1Samuel 22

 

1Samuel 22:1–23

Saul Executes the Priests of Nob and Their Families


Outline of Chapter 22:

 

       vv.    1–5        David in the Cave of Adullam

       vv.    6–10      Saul Finds Out that David Had Been in Nob

       vv.   11–15      Saul Brings the Priests to Gibeah and Interrogates Them

       vv.   16–19      Saul Orders the Deaths of the Priests and Their Families

       vv.   20–23      Abiathar Ben Ahimelech Escapes and Tells David


Charts and Maps:

 

       v.      2           The Parallels Between Our Lord and David

       v.      5           Did David Stay in Primarily in the Cave of Adullam or Did He Have Several Hideouts?

       v       8           David and Saul—a Literary Contrast

       v.     10           The Reasons Why We Know Doeg is Embellishing his Story to Saul

       v.     14           The Varied Perceptions of David

       v.     20           The Relationship between Ahijah and Abiathar


Doctrines Covered

Doctrines Alluded To

 

 

The Cities of Mizpah

 


Psalms Alluded To

Psalm 52

Psalm 57

Psalm 142


I ntroduction: 1Sam. 22 marks an important turning point in the life of David. In this chapter, David begins to become a true leader. In this chapter, we cut back and forth between David and Saul. First, David hides in the cave of Adullam and takes steps to protect his family, who, simply because they are related to him, are subject to Saul’s vengeful wrath. David will then take the advice of Gad the prophet and he will go back to Judah. Then we go to Saul. You will recall in the previous chapter, David used the priest to get weapons and food, without regard as to how this would affect the priest (or the entire city of Nob, city of the priests). In this chapter, we will see how David’s disregard for their safety resulted in the deaths of 200–300 innocent men, women and children. At the very end of this chapter, Abiathar, the last surviving priest from this city of priests, will run to David and David will both give him protection and express regrets over the deaths of his family, apparently taking responsibility for his previous actions.


David first goes to the famous Cave of Adullam, from whence he wrote two psalms, and his family comes to him. David sees to the security of his parents, one of the first acts of leadership which he displays. He also takes charge of about 400 malcontents who come to him. Finally, in the first five verses, he listens to the advice of a prophet. All of these situations move David more toward being the great leader that he will become. He is no longer completely self-involved.


Saul, meanwhile, is pumping his troops for information. David has eluded him and Saul knows that someone in his outfit must have some information about David. Doeg the Edomite steps forward, telling Saul that he saw David in Nob being helped by the priests.


Saul calls for Ahimelech and all of the other priests to come to him. Then he rails against them for helping David and orders their deaths. Only Doeg the Edomite is willing to do the actual killing of these men. Then Saul goes to Nob and kills the entire population of Nob in his anger (which is apparently done by his soldiers, who at first declined to kill the priests). Abiathar, the son of Ahimelech, escapes this slaughter and goes to David, and David takes responsibility for the deaths of the population of Nob and he takes responsibility for Abiathar.


This is one of the few times where a chapter division appears to be truly inspired. In the previous chapter, David was completely self-centered. He was looking out for #1. He would lie, if necessary, to save his sorry ass. This approach reveals a complete lack of faith in God. If God has named David king over all Israel and he is not king over Israel yet, then that means that David must live at least long enough to be crowned king. It is simply a matter of faith. In our present chapter, we see David as a man who is a leader, who is willing to look after the needs of someone besides himself; and, most importantly, we see David as a man willing to take responsibility for his bad decisions.


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David in the Cave of Adullam


Slavishly literal:

 

Moderately literal:

And so goes David from there and so he is delivered unto a cave of Adullam. And hear his brothers and all a house of his father and so they go down unto him there.

1Samuel

22:1

So David departed from there and he escaped to the cave of Adullam. His brothers and his father’s house heard and they went down to him there.

So David departed from Nob and hid himself in the cave of Adullam. His family heard where he was and they went down to him there.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so goes David from there and so he is delivered unto a cave of Adullam. And hear his brothers and all a house of his father and so they go down unto him there.

Septuagint                             And David departed from there and escaped; and he comes to the cave of Odollam and his brothers hear, and the house of his father, and they go down to him there.

 

Significant differences           .


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       When David escaped from the town of Gath, he went to Adullam Cave. His brothers and the rest of his family found out where he was, and they followed him there.

NLT                                        So David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. Soon his brothers and other relatives joined him there.

TEV                                       David fled from the city of Gath and went to a cave near the town of Adullam. When his brothers and the rest of the family heard that he was there, they joined him.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         So David escaped from that place and fled to the cave at Adullam. When his brothers and all └the rest┘ of his family heard about it, they went to him.

JPS (Tanakh)                        David departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam; and when his brothers and all his father’s house heard, they joined him down there.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     So David departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam; and when his brothers and all his father’s household heard of it, they went down there to him.

Young's Updated LT              And David goes from there, and is escaped unto the cave of Adullam, and his brothers hear, and all the house of his father, and go down unto him there;...


What is the gist of this verse? David left Gath and went to the cave of Adullam. When his family hears that is where he is, they join him there.


1Samuel 22:1a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa or va (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

hâlake ( ַל ָה) [pronounced haw-LAHKe]

to go, to come, to depart, to walk; to advance

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #1980 (and #3212) BDB #229

Dâvid (ד̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, away from, out from, out of from, off, on account of, since, above, than, so that not, above, beyond, more than, greater than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

shâm (ם ָש) [pronounced shawm]

there; at that time, then; therein, in that thing

adverb

Strong’s #8033 BDB #1027


Translation: So David departed from there... There are no chapter divisions in the original Bible. David had been at Nob. He obtained a sword and some food from Ahimelech, the priest at Nob, and he left him. David was still more or less directionless. From Nob, he went to Gath; when he realized that the king of Gath might have him put to death, David feigned insanity and left Gath.


1Samuel 22:1b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

mâlaţ (ט ַל ָמ) [pronounced maw-LAHT]

to be delivered; to deliver oneself, to escape, to slip away, to slip through [or past]; to go away in haste

3rd person masculine singular [often a reflexive meaning in the] Niphal imperfect

Strong’s #4422 BDB #572

el (לא) [pronounced el]

in, into, toward, unto, to, regarding, against

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

me׳ârâh (ה ָר ָע  ׃מ) [pronounced me-ģaw-RAW]

cave

feminine plural noun

Strong’s #4631 BDB #792

׳ădullâm (םָֻדֲע) [pronounced ģuh-dool-LAWM]

retreat, refuge; justice of the people and is transliterated Adullam

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #5725 BDB #726


Translation: ...and he escaped to the cave of Adullam. The verb escaped refers to David being delivered from the Philistines at Gath. Although the king of Gath was willing to let David go, his underlings obviously were ready to execute David.

 

One modern description of this cave comes from William M. Thompson: Leaving our horses in charge of some Arabs, and taking one for our guide, we started for the cave now known as Mughâret Khureitûn, which is believed to be the cave Adullam, having a fearful gorge below, gigantic cliffs above, and the path winding along a narrow shelf of the rock. At length, from a great rock hanging on the edge of the shelf, we entered by a long leap a low window which opened into the perpendicular face of the cliff. We were then within the traditional hold of David, and, creeping half doubled through a narrow crevice for a few rods, we stood beneath the dark vault of the first grand chamber of this mysterious and oppressive cavern, 1Sam. 22:1–2; 2Sam. 23:13-17. Our whole collection of lights did little more than make the damp darkness visible. After groping about as long as we had time to spare, we returned to the light of day, fully convinced that, with David and his lion-hearted followers inside, all the strength of Israel under Saul could not have forced an entrance - would not have even attempted it. Footnote


The word adullam means refuge, retreat. We do not know if this meaning came out of this incident or whether this was the original meaning; however, the fact that Adullam is found in the book of Genesis would indicate that this name had been associated with the place for a long time. ZPEB tells us that Adullam was situated on the route via Azegah and Soko, that controlled one of the principal passes into the hill-country of Judah from the northern Shephelah. Footnote Jamieson, Fausset and Brown give us this description: Adullam, now called Deir-Dubban, [is] a number of pits or underground vaults, some nearly square, and all about fifteen or twenty feet deep, with perpendicular sides, in the soft limestone or chalky rocks. They are on the borders of the Philistine plain at the base of the Judea mountains, six miles southwest from Beth-lehem, and well adapted for concealing a number of refugees. Footnote Barnes says of Adullam: Innumerable caverns, one nearly 100 feet long, are excavated in the soft limestone hills in the neighborhood of Beit-Jibrin. (The cave is placed by Ganneau and Conder on the hill (500 feet high) over ‘Aid el Ma or Miyeh.). Footnote The city of Adullam is first mentioned back in Gen. 38. It is from this city of Canaanites that Judah took his wife (Gen. 38:1–5). It is one of the royal cities named in Joshua 12:15 and it was given over to Judah in Joshua 15:35. If you drew a line between Jerusalem and Gath (which line would run southwest), Adullam would be about 5 miles south of this line, somewhat closer to Gath. The Open Bible (NLT) describes its location as being in the lowland country of Judah some 16 miles (26 km) southwest of Jerusalem and about 12  miles (19 km) northeast of Gath. Footnote David will again use this cave as a hideout in a later campaign against the Philistines in 2Sam. 23:13.


We will not hear of this city again (apart from its mention in the psalms) until we come to the time of King Rehoboam, David’s grandson, who fortifies the city in 2Chron. 11:7 as a part of his westward fortification project. Micah foretells the invasion of Sennacherib and one of the cities that Sennacherib will invade is Adullam (Micah 1:15). Its final mention is in Neh. 11:30, where Adullam is one of the villages inhabited in Judah when the Jews returned to the land.


David wrote two psalms from the cave of Adullam: Psalms 57 and 142; so we ought to examine those two psalms now (Psalm 142 should be examined first).


1Samuel 22:1c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

shâma׳ (ע ַמ ָש) [pronounced shaw-MAHĢ]

to listen, to hear, to listen intently, to listen and obey, to listen and act upon, to listen and give heed to, to hearken to, to be attentive to, to listen and take note of, to listen and be cognizant of

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong's #8085 BDB #1033

âch (ח ָא) [pronounced awhk]

brother, kinsman or close relative

masculine plural noun with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #251 BDB #26

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

kôl (לֹ) [pronounced kohl]

every, each, all of, all, any of

masculine singular construct not followed by a definite article

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

bayith (ת̣י ַ) [pronounced BAH-yith]

house, household, habitation as well as inward

masculine singular construct

Strong's #1004 BDB #108

âbv (ב ָא,) [pronounced awbv]

father, both as the head of a household or clan

masculine singular noun with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #1 BDB #3


Translation: His brothers and his father’s house heard... This is an interesting development. Given this and the next sentence, the animosity that Saul feels for David has obviously become more apparent and more public. Saul’s desire to kill David has become known throughout Israel. Given that this has been revealed to the general public, David’s family both knows this and are in danger themselves. It will become apparent that Saul is willing to do anything to capture and kill David. He will terrorize and polarize the nation over this. So David’s family hear what Saul is doing and they are also aware that they are in danger. Like all underground movements, there is information known to certain ones; and David’s family will be able to ascertain where David is, even though Saul will not.


1Samuel 22:1d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

yârad (ד ַר ָי) [pronounced yaw-RAHD]

to descend, to go down

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #3381 BDB #432

el (לא) [pronounced el]

in, into, toward, unto, to, regarding, against

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied); with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #413 BDB #39

shâm (ם ָש) [pronounced shawm]

there; at that time, then; therein, in that thing

adverb with the directional hê

Strong’s #8033 BDB #1027

This simply means there; hê acts almost like a demonstrative.


Translation: ...and they went down to him there. David’s family determined where David was and they went down to him there. This represents a serious shift in the thinking of this family. At one time, they considered David as a young man barely able to take care of the sheep (1Sam. 17:28) and now they go to him for refuge. It is apparent that David had continued to see his family (1Sam. 20:6) Footnote and the public opinion of David (1Sam. 18:7, 16) along with his character gradually changed his family’s view of him. Furthermore, as Gordon so aptly observed, If Saul would attack his own family (20:33), there was no telling what he might do to David’s. Footnote


And so gather [themselves] unto him every man a distressed one and every man who to him a creditor and every man bitter of soul. And so he is over them a chief. And so they are with him about four hundreds a man.

1Samuel

21:2

And so allied [lit., gathered] [themselves] to him every distressed man and every man who is in debt [lit., to him a creditor] and every man [who is] bitter of soul. And he is a captain over them and they with him are about 400 men.

So every man who was distressed, every man who was in debt and every man who was bitter allied himself with David and he became their leader. Altogether, there were about 400 men.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so gather [themselves] unto him every man a distressed one and every man who to him a creditor and every man bitter of soul. And so he is over them a chief. And so they are with him about four hundreds a man.

Septuagint                             And there gathered to him every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was troubled in mind; and he was a leader over them and there were with him about 400 men.

 

Significant differences           .


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       A lot of other people joined him too. Some were in trouble, others were angry or in debt, and David was soon the leader of four hundred men.

NLT                                        Then others began coming—men who were in trouble or in debt or who were just discontented until David was the leader of about four hundred men.

TEV                                       People who were oppressed or in debt or dissatisfied went to him, about four hundred men in all, and he became their leader.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Then everyone who was in trouble, in debt, or bitter about life joined him, and he became their commander. There were about four hundred men with him.

JPS (Tanakh)                        Everyone who was in straits and everyone who was in debt and everyone who was desperate joined him, and he became their leader; there were about four hundred men with him..


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     And everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt [lit., had a creditor], and everyone who was discontented [lit., bitter of soul], gathered to him; and he became captain over them. Now there were about four hundred men with him.

Young's Updated LT              ...and gather themselves unto him do every man in distress, and every man who has an exactor, and every man bitter in soul, and he is over them for head, and there are with him about four hundred men.


What is the gist of this verse? God will put together a rag tag force of men for David to command, w™hich will include those who are distressed, those who are in debt and those who are bitter (about 400 men in all).


1Samuel 22:2a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

qâbats (ץ ַב ָק) [pronounced kaw-BATS]

to gather selves together, to be gathered together, to be collected

3rd person masculine plural, HIthpael imperfect

Strong’s #6908 BDB #867

The Hithpael is the reflexive of the Piel.

el (לא) [pronounced el]

in, into, toward, unto, to, regarding, against

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied); with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #413 BDB #39

kôl (לֹ) [pronounced kohl]

every, each, all of, all, any of

masculine singular construct not followed by a definite article

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

îysh (שי ̣א) [pronounced eesh]

a man, a husband; anyone; a certain one; each, each one, everyone

masculine singular noun

Strong's #376 BDB #35

mâtsôq (קצ ָמ) [pronounced maw-TZOHK]

stress, distress

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #4689 BDB #848


Translation: And so allied [lit., gathered] [themselves] to him every distressed man... There were three categories of men who gathered themselves or allied themselves with David. The first are men who were distressed. Obviously, most men in Israel were under stress of some sort. Either their jobs, their businesses or their wives and kids caused them some sort of stress (although I would suppose that the vast majority of these men were not married because in coming to David, a married man would have effectively left his family). When it comes to those who are distressed, here we are dealing with the more severe cases.


You will note again that these men are able to locate David and join up with him, whereas Saul has no idea where David is.


1Samuel 22:2b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

kôl (לֹ) [pronounced kohl]

every, each, all of, all, any of

masculine singular construct not followed by a definite article

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

îysh (שי ̣א) [pronounced eesh]

a man, a husband; anyone; a certain one; each, each one, everyone

masculine singular noun

Strong's #376 BDB #35

ăsher (ר ש ֲא) [pronounced ash-ER]

that, which, when, who

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

preposition with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

nâshâ (אָשָנ) [pronounced naw-SHAW]

to lend on interest; it means creditor as a participle

Qal active participle

Strong’s #5378 BDB #673


Translation: ...and every man who is in debt [lit., to him a creditor]... There are people who are successful and there are people who are not. In the United States, almost everyone is in debt. Some are in debt for things which equal or exceed the debt (a house, for instance) and others are in debt for things which are called depreciating assets, whose value often falls far below the debt incurred to purchase them (e.g., cars, furniture). In our society, some debt is acceptable and debt for appreciating assets (at lease for a house) is encouraged. There is also the important relationship between debt and income: a college student in debt $3000 who only makes $300/month is in serious debt. An adult who makes $6000/month and has a $3000 balance on credit cards is not considered to be in serious debt. However, during the time of Israel, debt was not encouraged and, unlike today’s approaches to debt, in the ancient world, you paid your debts, often through indentured servitude if you were unable to scratch up the capital to pay them. Furthermore, the percentage of debtors in Israel is going to be much smaller than the percentage here in the United States.


Here, we are not speaking of every man who owes any money, but we are speaking of men who really owe more than they are able to pay back. Today, this would be the college student with $3000 credit card debt or the adult with $10,000 in credit card debt.


In the ancient world, debt was not simply swept under the carpet. When a man was far enough in debt, then he could become a slave to pay these debts off (which, in many ways, is not a bad approach to indebtedness). In the Mosaic Law, even if you lost your property and went into slavery, every 49 years, your property was to be returned to you and you were manumitted. However, obviously, slavery could be a life sentence for many men. Also, although the Law did provide for this restoration (which parallels God’s restoration of Israel in the end times), we do not have any example of this ever having been followed in Israel’s history.


Now, I don’t want you to misinterpret the kind of men who have flocked to David. These are not necessarily men who have had a bad break, or have been persecuted unjustly—we have no verbiage which suggests that—these are men who wish to vent their grievances, avoid their responsibilities and shake up the system. Footnote During the infamous Watts riots, hundreds of men roamed the streets and broke into various businesses, stealing whatever they could carry, and torching whatever they left behind. It is like David suddenly hooked up with about 400 of these malcontents. David’s men weren’t quite that antisocial, but that is simply because they would have been summarily executed (had police gone into the streets of the riot and begun to shoot random rioters, then most of the remaining rioters would have quickly returned home). In other words, if you attend church regularly, you probably don’t know anyone like the men who hooked up with David. However, if you collected several hundred men who don’t work and hang out on the streets, that would similar to the men who came to David.


I am certain that, in my previous remarks, I probably seemed a tad too judgmental. Recognize that these men who come to David are generally unsavory types. However, to set up a parallelism, they are not near as unsavory as we must be before God. Apart from Christ, we bring nothing to God. We are sinful, rebellious, men with whom God cannot have fellowship. However, without relaxing His own character, God through Christ Jesus, allows us to come to Him, despite our complete and utter unworthiness. We are completely abhorrent to God, yet He will in no way cast us out, as we come to Him clothed in the righteousness of Christ. I would hope that the parallel should be obvious here—and I will develop it to a greater extent later on in this verse.


1Samuel 22:2c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

kôl (לֹ) [pronounced kohl]

every, each, all of, all, any of

masculine singular construct not followed by a definite article

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

îysh (שי ̣א) [pronounced eesh]

a man, a husband; anyone; a certain one; each, each one, everyone

masculine singular noun

Strong's #376 BDB #35

mar (ר-מ) [pronounced mahr]

bitter, bitterness

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #4751 BDB #600

nephesh (שפ נ) [pronounced NEH-fesh]

soul, life, living being, desire

feminine singular noun

Strong’s #5315 BDB #659


Translation: ...and every man [who is] bitter of soul. There are those who every time you see them, they are complaining about this or that. They complain about their wives, their kids, their jobs, their car—whatever they come into contact with, it upsets them. They are bitter and angry and disappointed with life. In this life, without God’s promises and assurances, there is a lot to be bitter and angry about. In fact, if we are simply an accident—a lucky combination of elements and energy which took on life, then we face a very distressing world indeed, where there is no true justice, there is no right and wrong, where each and every law is arbitrary. This would be a life without hope.


For those in David’s time, these are men who are bitter as to how their life has turned out thus far; they have been victims of injustice or simply of a string of bad luck. They recognize that David is both a leader and a man who is also a victim of terrible injustices. David is a man like they are, except in him, they see hope and promise. There is a parallel here to our Lord, Who is a man as are we; a victim of terrible injustices; except in Him, we see hope and promise.


1Samuel 22:2d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; to become, to come into being; to come to pass

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity with a 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

sar (ר ַ) [pronounced sar]

chieftain, chief, ruler, official, captain, prince, leader, commander

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #8269 BDB #978


Translation: And he is a captain over them... Now recall, David has already been a leader. He has led a 1000 men and more into war. However, the military was an honorable profession and the very best men became military in those times (often hand-picked by Saul—1Sam. 14:52 16:22). However, David had just the opposite experience—every malcontent and borderline criminal came to him; they didn’t like Saul, they didn’t like their lives, and they didn’t mind stirring things up a bit. God placed in David’s care the worst group of 400 able-bodied men that were in Israel. Now we will get to see what sort of a leader David can be with the very worst that his society had to offer.

 

Gill makes the following outstanding observation: [David] meant not to shelter them from paying their just debts if able, nor to encourage them in disloyalty to their king, only to make use of them for his own preservation for the present. In this he was a type of Christ, who receives sinners distressed with a sense of sin, discontented in their present state, and in debt, and, unable to pay their debts. Footnote Matt. 11:28: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” John 10:10b: “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”


Throughout the Old Testament, God often chooses men and situations to parallel His Plan or His Truth. The parallels between Jesus Christ and David at this point are remarkable, points which Gill (above) and McGee both make. Footnote

The Parallels Between Our Lord and David

David

Jesus Christ

Everyone who was in distress came to David.

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11:28).

Everyone who was in debt came to David. As discussed, those in the ancient world who were in debt could lose their land and end up as slaves.

We have a debt that we cannot pay. We are in the slave market of sin and have no way of purchasing our own freedom. Jesus Christ, with His blood, purchased our freedom. Realize that you weren't set free from the worthless life handed down to you from your ancestors by a payment of silver or gold which can be destroyed. Rather, the payment that freed you was the precious blood of Christ, the lamb with no defects or imperfections (I Peter 1:18–19 God’s Word™).

Everyone who was discontented came to David. They saw David as a man similar to themselves; a victim of terrible injustices, but a man to whom they could go for hope and promise.

Those who have become discontented with the world may turn to Jesus for acceptance and fulfillment. We recognize that Jesus was a man just as we are flesh; we know that He was a victim of great injustices; but we may turn to Him for hope and promise.

David’s family members, who had previous rejected him, came to him for help and protection.

The Jews, from whom Christ’s humanity came, have historically rejected our Lord. They will return to Him for help and protection.

David became captain over these lost souls.

Jesus Christ is the captain over the souls of those who come to Him.

This rag tag group of misfits become great men under David’s rule and guidance.

We as believers are a group of misfits who become great when we place ourselves under the authority and guidance of Jesus Christ. The early disciples give us a great parallel to these misfits who hook up with David in the beginning.

David was persecuted by the political establishment.

Jesus was eventually tortured and then crucified by the political establishment.

Despite the fact that he had acted honorably at all times with respect to Saul, David was persecuted by him (see 1Sam. 19:4–6).

Despite the fact that our Lord sinned not and acted honorably with respect to the state and to the religious establishment, He was still persecuted by them both.

David wrote, My soul is among lions (Psalm 57:4a), as Saul hunted him and those with him like animals. Those with him were protected because they were with him.

We are admonished, Be sober and vigilant, for your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion seeking whomever he may devour (I Peter 5:8). Believers are under God’s protection in this world.

David did not turn anyone away. We have no instances of David meeting a man coming to him for help, and David saying, “Naw, you’re just a bit too much of a malcontent; you owe too much money; I can’t do anything for you.” David took in all men who came to him.

Jesus does not turn away any who come to Him. “All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will in no way cast out.” (John 6:37 MKJV).

Twice, in the next chapter, David is called the deliverer (or savior) of Keilah, an Israelite city.

Jesus is the Savior of Israel, as well as of all mankind.

David was rejected by the very same people who should have celebrated his person. In the next chapter, the officials of Keilah and the people of Ziph are both willing to betray David over to Saul.

Our Lord was rejected by the very ones who should have celebrated His person. The priests and the scribes and the pharisees should have all celebrated His first coming. However, instead, they sought to kill Him.


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Return to the Chart and Map Index


1Samuel 22:2e

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; to become, to come into being; to come to pass

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

׳îm (ם ̣ע) [pronounced ģeem]

with, at, by, near

preposition of nearness and vicinity with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #5973 BDB #767

kaph or ke ( ׃) [pronounced ke]

like, as, according to; about, approximately

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #453

areba׳ (עַרַא) [pronounced ahre-BAHĢ]

four

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #702 BDB #916

mêâh (ה ָא ֵמ) [pronounced may-AW]

one hundred

feminine plural numeral

Strong’s #3967 BDB #547

îysh (שי ̣א) [pronounced eesh]

a man, a husband; anyone; a certain one; each, each one, everyone

masculine singular noun

Strong's #376 BDB #35


Translation: ...and they with him are about 400 men. Altogether, David was put in charge of about 400 difficult and unsavory men. Although Barnes refers to these men as simply exasperated with Saul’s tyranny Footnote (which would be true of some of them), the Open Bible more accurately notes that many were probably refugees from Saul’s misguided and erratic rule, but others were merely discontented. Footnote

 

Clarke makes an excellent observation concerning these men: It is very possible that these several disaffected and exceptionable characters might at first have supposed that David, unjustly persecuted, would be glad to avail himself of their assistance that he might revenge himself upon Saul, and so they in the mean time might profit by plunder, etc. But if this were their design they were greatly disappointed, for David never made any improper use of them. They are never found plundering or murdering; on the contrary, they always appear under good discipline, and are only employed in services of a beneficent nature, and in defense of their country. Whatever they were before they came to David, we find that he succeeded in civilizing them, and making profitable to the state those who were before unprofitable. It is not necessary to strain the words of the original in order to prove that these were oppressed people, and not exceptionable characters, as some have done. Footnote David, with these men, becomes a great leader.


Because of David’s greatness, these men will also become great. At the point of joining up with David, they are malcontents, men who are living outside the law or on the edge. Through their association with David they will become his power base, his honorable men, his deservedly high-ranking generals. David doesn’t continue to promote these men simply because they were with him at the beginning. They became great because of being under David’s authority and guidance; and David appropriately advanced them. The obvious parallel here is to Jesus Christ and His followers. We could go back to His first disciples, who were are a rag tag bunch of loosers who became great; to even us. I certainly wouldn’t call myself great; but I am in a better place than I would have been outside of Christ.


And so goes David from there [to] Mizpeh of Moab and so he says unto a king of Moab, “Let come out please my father and my mother with you as far as when I know what does for me God.”

1Samuel

22:3

Then David went from there [to] Mizpeh in Moab and he said to the king of Moab, “Please let my father and my mother come [here] to you until I know what God will do for me.”

David went from there to Mizpeh (the Mizpeh in Moab) and he petitioned the king of Moab, saying, “Please let my mother and father remain here with you until I can figure out what God has planned for me.”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so goes David from there [to] Mizpeh of Moab and so he says unto a king of Moab, “Let come out please my father and my mother with you as far as when I know what does for me God.”

Septuagint                             And David departed from there to Massephath of Moab, and said to the king of Moab, “Let, I pray you, my father and my mother be with you until I know what God will do to me.”

 

Significant differences           .


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       David left Adullam Cave and went to the town of Mizpeh in Moab, where he talked with the king of Moab. “Please,” David said, “let my father and mother stay with you until I find out what God will do with me.”

NLT                                        Later David went to Mizpeh in Moab, where he asked the king, “Would you let my father and mother live here under royal protection until I know what God is going to do for me?”


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         From there David went to Mizpah in Moab. He asked the king of Moab, “Please let my father and mother stay with you until I know what God is going to do for me.”

JPS (Tanakh)                        David went from there to Mizpeh of Moab, and he said to the king of Moab, “Let my father and mother come [and stay] with you, until I know what God will do for me.”


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Amplified Bible                And David went from there to Mizpah of Moab; and he said to the king of Moab, Let my father [or Moabite descent] and my mother, I pray, come out [of Judah] and be with you, till I know what God will do for me.

NASB                                     And David went from there to Mizpah of Moab; and he said to the king of Moab, “Please let my father and my mother come and stay with you until I know what God will do for me.”

Young's Updated LT              And David goes from there to Mizpeh of Moab, and says unto the king of Moab, “Let, I pray you, my father and my mother go out with you, till that I know what God does for me;...”


What is the gist of this verse? David’s first thought is to see that his parents are protected from Saul’s wrath. He takes them to the king of Moab for protection.


1Samuel 22:3a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

hâlake ( ַל ָה) [pronounced haw-LAHKe]

to go, to come, to depart, to walk; to advance

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #1980 (and #3212) BDB #229

Dâvid (ד̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, away from, out from, out of from, off, on account of, since, above, than, so that not, above, beyond, more than, greater than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

shâm (ם ָש) [pronounced shawm]

there; at that time, then; therein, in that thing

adverb

Strong’s #8033 BDB #1027

mitsepêh (הָ ׃צ ̣מ) pronounced mitze-PAY]

outlook point, watchtower; transliterated Mizpeh

proper noun

Strong’s #4708 (& #4709) BDB #859

This is equivalent to the proper noun mitsepâh (הָ ׃צ ̣מ) pronounced mitze-PAW], which is transliterated Mizpah.

Môwâb (בָאמ) [pronounced moh-AWBV]

transliterated Moab

Masculine proper noun; gentis and territory

Strong’s #4124 BDB #555

Also spelled Môâb (בָאֹמ) [pronounced moh-AWBV].


Translation: Then David went from there [to] Mizpeh in Moab... There are about 6 different Mizpah’s mentioned in Scripture, which we studied back in 1Sam. 7:5 in the Doctrine of the Cities of Mizpah. This one is in Moab, which is east of the Dead Sea. Mizpeh means lookout point, watchtower, and, since many of the cities of the ancient world were build upon hills, this was a very common name for a city. Building a city on a mountaintop gave the Moabites a vantage point from which they could observe much of what occurred around them. It also gave them preparation time and provided them with a relatively safe place to defend. Keil and Delitzsch identify this as the mountains of Abarim or Pisgah (see Deut. 34:1). Footnote


Now, you may think that it is odd for David to again go to a traditional enemy of Israel (Joshua 24:9 Judges 3:12–14 1Sam. 14:47), but Moab and Israel were not always at odds; although there were wars between these two nations, there were longer periods of time of peace between them. Furthermore, David had a reason for going to Moab, which will be discussed.


1Samuel 22:3b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

el (לא) [pronounced el]

in, into, toward, unto, to, regarding, against

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

meleke ( ל מ) [pronounced MEH-lek]

king, ruler, prince

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #4428 BDB #572

Môwâb (בָאמ) [pronounced moh-AWBV]

transliterated Moab

Masculine proper noun; gentis and territory

Strong’s #4124 BDB #555

yâtsâ (א ָצ ָי) [pronounced yaw-TZAWH]

to go out, to come out, to come forth

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #3318 BDB #422

In the Septuagint and the Vulgate, the verb here is to live, to dwell. Footnote

nâ (אָנ) [pronounced naw]

please, I pray you, I respectfully implore (ask, or request of) you, I urge you

particle of entreaty

Strong's #4994 BDB #609

âbv (ב ָא,) [pronounced awbv]

father, both as the head of a household or clan

masculine singular noun with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong’s #1 BDB #3

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

Owen has the bêyth preposition here instead; however, that does not agree with the Hebrew Tanakh I have on computer (courtesy of e-Sword). Furthermore, the wâw conjunction makes much more sense here than the bêyth preposition.

êm (ם̤א) [pronounced aim]

mother

feminine singular noun with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong’s #517 BDB #51

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

with, at, near, by, among, directly from

preposition (which is identical to the sign of the direct object); with a 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #854 BDB #85


Translation: ...he said to the king of Moab, “Please let my father and my mother come [here] to you... Like anywhere else, there are groups of people who would ally themselves with Israel and others who might not necessarily ally themselves with Israel, but with David, who is a fugitive from Israel. Given that 400 malcontents were able to find David, when Saul was unable to, and given that they would want to find David, tells us that the schism between David and Saul had become known throughout the Palestine area.


David realized that he could not expect his parents to travel with him and be subject to the rigors and privation of military life. So, rather than run off to the first place that came to mind (like Gath), David determined where he might find some outside support, where his family would be safe, and he entrusts his parents to the king of Moab. Why exactly did David choose Moab? Boaz, a Jew, is the grandfather of Jesse (David’s father). Jesse’s grandmother is Ruth, who is a Moabite. So, even though Ruth accepted the religion of the Jews, she was a Moabite by birth, making their son, Obed, half-Moabite, and making his son, Jesse, at least a quarter Moabite (see Ruth 1:4–5, 14–16 4:13, 21–22). David knew his origins and he knew that the king of Moab would protect David’s parents from Saul, who had already fought against the Moabites (1Sam. 14:47). Since Saul had declared himself both the enemy of the Moabites and of David, that also allowed for there to be an alliance of sorts between David and the Moabites (again, the enemy of my enemy is my friend). David’s relationship with the Moabites was therefore generally friendly. However, David later did war against the Moabites, and he forced them to pay tribute to him (2Sam. 8:2–12 1Chron. 18:2–11). We are not given any details as to why there was a rift in David’s relations with Moab.


1Samuel 22:3c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

׳ad (דַע) [pronounced ģahd]

as far as, even to, up to, until

preposition

Strong’s #5704 BDB #723

ăsher (ר ש ֲא) [pronounced ash-ER]

that, which, when, who

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

Together, they mean until, until that, until the time, until that time, until then; referring generally to past time when used with a perfect tense and future when used with an imperfect tense.

yâda׳ (ע ַדָי) [pronounced yaw-DAHĢ]

to see; to know, to perceive, to acquire knowledge, to become acquainted, to know by experience, to have a knowledge of something

1st person singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #3045 BDB #393

mâh (ה ָמ) [pronounced maw]

what, how, why; what [thing]; anything, something, whatever

interrogative; exclamatory particle; indefinite pronoun; relative pronoun

Strong’s #4100 BDB #552

׳âsâh (ה ָ ָע) [pronounced ģaw-SAWH]

to do, to make, to construct, to fashion, to form, to prepare

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #6213 BDB #793

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

preposition with the 1st person singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

ělôhîym (מי ̣הֹלֱא) [pronounced el-o-HEEM]

gods or God; transliterated Elohim

masculine plural noun

Strong's #430 BDB #43


Translation: ...until I know what God will do for me.” Note, here David also expresses the ability to wait on God. Prior to this, he seemed to be strictly a man of action, which did not always work out to everyone’s benefit.


Now, you may wonder: now that David seems like he’s on the right path, everything will be hunky dory, right? Unfortunately, David has made some bad decisions prior to this time and the actions of our life all have results—and rebound does not necessarily wipe out the natural results of our actions.


Application: No matter what you do, when you rebound, God has forgiven you for that sin. However, that does not mean that sin will no longer have any effect upon you. Yes, you can murder someone, confess it, and God will forgive you that sin. However, this does not mean that you will not spend the rest of your life in jail. This does not mean that you will not be executed. We had a woman on death row here in Texas (I have since forgotten her name), and she was involved in a grisly, ghastly murder; but in jail, away from drugs, she had the opportunity to believe in Jesus Christ and she apparently did. God forgave her for this heinous sin. She was still executed and she is now absent from the body and face to face with the Lord.


Murder, obviously, is an extreme example. One act of adultery, although forgiven by God, can ruin your life and the lives of your family. One act of dishonesty, although forgiven by God, can taint an important relationship forever with distrust. The sin you commit, even though God will forgive it, can have effects which last a lifetime. God doesn’t designate something sin so that you can’t have any fun in this life. He designates something as a sin (1) because it is wrong and against His laws and (2) because the negative results often far outweigh the enjoyment or satisfaction of committing that sin. As a parent, you don’t want your kids involved in pre-marital sex; you don’t want them to take drugs; and you don’t want them to go on drinking binges. This is not because you are dedicated to seeing that your children live their adolescent years without fun. You simply know the lifelong ruinous results of those kinds of actions. God is fully aware of the lifelong, ruinous results of the actions of sin, and therefore forbids it. However, because Christ died for our sins and paid the price for our sins, God will not allow sin to stand in the way of our fellowship with Him. For this reason, God has provided for us rebound, the naming of our sins to God, so that we can have fellowship with Him, despite our multifarious failures.


And so he leaves [them] to faces of a king of Moab and so they remain with him all days is David in the stronghold.

1Samuel

22:4

Then he left [them] before the king of Moab and they stayed with him all the time [that] David was in [his] stronghold [or, on Masada].

David then left them with the king of Moab and they stayed there all the time that David was in his stronghold.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so he leaves [them] to faces of a king of Moab and so they remain with him all days is David in the stronghold.

Septuagint                             And he persuaded the face of the king of Moab, and they dwelt with him continually, while David was in the hold.

 

Significant differences           .


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       So he brought his parents to the king of Moab, and they stayed with him while David was in hiding.

NLT                                        The king agreed, and David’s parents stayed in Moab while David was living in his stronghold.

TEV                                       So David left his parents with the king of Moab, and they stayed there as long as David was hiding out in the cave.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         He brought them to the king of Moab, and they stayed with him as long as David was living in his fortified camp.

JPS (Tanakh)                        So he led them to [left them with in the Targum and Syriac] the king of Moab, and they stayed with him as long as David remained in the stronghold.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Amplified Bible                And he brought them before the king of Moab, and they dwelt with him all the while that David was in the mountain-fastness [in Moab].

Updated Emphasized Bible   So he set them before the king of Moab, —and they lived with him, all the days that David was in the fortress.

NASB                                     Then he left them with the king of Moab; and they stayed with him all the time that David was in the stronghold.

Young's Updated LT              ...and he leads them before the king of Moab, and they dwell with him all the days of David's being in the fortress.


What is the gist of this verse? David then brings his parents before the king Moab and entrusts them to him. They remain there all the time that David is in hiding from Saul.


1Samuel 22:4a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

nâcham (ם ַח ָנ) [pronounced naw-KHAHM]

to cause to comfort, to cause to console, to have compassion, to show compassion

3rd person masculine singular, Hiphil imperfect

Strong’s #5162 BDB #636

...or, other versions have the verb...

nûwach (ַחנ) [pronounced NOO-ahkh]

to deposit, to set down, to cause to rest

3rd person masculine singular, Hiphil imperfect

Strong’s #5117 (and #3240) BDB #628

You will note that the verbs are similar and that the slightest amount of absent-mindedness could cause the scribe to put the first verb in for the second. However, if the first verb is the original and correct reading, it is easy to see how the second verb might be substituted in for it, given that it makes more sense.

In the Greek, we have he persuaded the face of the king. This would indicate that David simply did not go before the king of Moab and say, “Here are my parents; you need to watch over them.” He argued his case before the king, persuading him to watch over his parents.

Which reading belongs is not clear-cut. In the first case, David causes the face of the king of Moab to have compassion upon his parents; in the second, David deposits his parents (or causes them to rest) before the king of Moab. Footnote

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

pânîym (םי̣נָ) [pronounced paw-NEEM]

face, faces; presence

masculine plural construct (plural acts like English singular)

Strong’s #6440 BDB #815

Together, they mean before, in presence of.

meleke ( ל מ) [pronounced MEH-lek]

king, ruler, prince

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #4428 BDB #572

Môwâb (בָאמ) [pronounced moh-AWBV]

transliterated Moab

Masculine proper noun; gentis and territory

Strong’s #4124 BDB #555


Translation: Then he left [them] before the king of Moab... After speaking with the king of Moab and being assured of his sincerity (there was probably either a deal or an alliance struck between them), David left his parents with this man. Notice, David is not thinking only of himself, but he is thinking of his parents, which is a step in the right direction.


I would speculate that David did not bring his parents into the Moab place but that he had his parents outside the perimeter of Mizpah in a safe place with his most trusted men. They no doubt had instructions as to what to do if David did not return.


Jewish tradition has it that the king of Moab killed David’s parents, Footnote but we have no Scriptural indication of that.


1Samuel 22:4b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

yâshab (ב ַשָי) [pronounced yaw-SHAHBV]

to remain, to stay, to inhabit, to sit, to dwell

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong's #3427 BDB #442

׳îm (ם ̣ע) [pronounced ģeem]

with, at, by, near

preposition of nearness and vicinity with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #5973 BDB #767

kôl (לֹ) [pronounced kohl]

with a plural noun, it is rendered all of; any of

masculine singular construct with a masculine plural noun

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

yâmîym (םי.מָי) [pronounced yaw-MEEM]

days, time of life, lifetime; a specific time period, a year

masculine plural noun

Strong’s #3117 BDB #398

hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; to become, to come into being; to come to pass

Qal infinitive construct

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

Dâvid (ד̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

Strong’s# none BDB #88

metsûwdâh (הָדצמ) [pronounced metzoo-DAW]

fortress, stronghold, top of a mountain; capture, prey, hunted; snare, net; transliterated Masada

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #4686 BDB #845


Translation: ...and they stayed with him all the time [that] David was in [his] stronghold [or, on Masada]. This phrase indicates two things: (1) this sentence was probably written after David had become king over Israel and (2) his choice for a hiding place for his parents was an intelligent choice.


Stronghold here probably refers to both to the cave of Adullam, where David spent a great deal of time; as well as to other places where he hid out (see v. 5). The use of the singular does not indicate that this is a reference to only one stronghold; it simply indicates that David could stay at one stronghold at a time (he didn’t spread his forces out to different areas).


Some suggest that David hid out in Moab, on the southern border of Israel. This would indicate that David took all of his allies with him to Moab at the same time that he took his parents there. He may have left his men at a secure location just north of Moab, and went with a very few men and his parents to the king of Moab. I will discuss this issue in the next verse’s exegesis.


And so says Gad the prophet unto David, “You will not remain in the stronghold; depart and you have gone [into] a land of Judah.” And so departs David and so he goes [into] a forest of Hereth

1Samuel

22:5

So Gad the prophet said to David, “Do not remain in the stronghold [or, on Masada]; depart and go [lit., you have gone] [into] the land of Judah.” So David departed and went [into] the forest of Hereth.

So Gad the prophet said to David, “Do not stay in the stronghold [or, on Masada]; you must depart and go into the land of Judah.” So David departed and went into the forest of Hereth.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so says Gad the prophet unto David, “You will not remain in the stronghold; depart and you have gone [into] a land of Judah.” And so departs David and so he goes [into] a forest of Hereth

Septuagint                             And Gad the prophet said to David, “Do not stay in the hold; go and you will enter the land of Juda.” So David went and came and lived in the city of Saric.

 

Significant differences           .


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       One day the prophet Gad told David, “Don't stay here! Go back to Judah.” David then left and went to Hereth Forest.

NLT                                        One day, the prophet Gad told David, “Leave the stronghold and return to the land of Judah.” So David went to the forest of Hereth.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         “Don't live in your fortified camp,” the prophet Gad told David. “Go to the land of Judah.” So David went to the forest of Hereth.

JPS (Tanakh)                        But the prophet Gad said to David, “Do not stay in the stronghold; go at once to the territory of Judah.” So David left and went to the forest of Hereth.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     And the prophet Gad said to David, “Do not stay in the stronghold; depart, and go into the land of Judah.” So David departed and went into the forest of Hereth.

Young's Updated LT              And Gad the prophet says unto David, “You do not abide in a fortress, go, and you have entered for you the land of Judah;” and David goes and enters the forest of Hareth..


What is the gist of this verse? Then David receives some guidance from Gad the prophet (who simply seems to pop up out of nowhere)—he tells David to leave his stronghold and go to Judah, and David obeys him.


1Samuel 22:5a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

Gâd (דָג) [pronounced gawd]

invader; troop; fortune; transliterated Gad

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1410 BDB #151

nâbîy (אי̣בָנ) [pronounced nawb-VEE]

spokesman, speaker, prophet

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #5030 BDB #611

el (לא) [pronounced el]

in, into, toward, unto, to, regarding, against

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

Dâvid (ד̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

lô (אֹל or אל) [pronounced low]

not, no

negates the word or action that follows; the absolute negation

Strong’s #3808 BDB #518

yâshab (ב ַשָי) [pronounced yaw-SHAHBV]

to remain, to stay, to inhabit, to sit, to dwell

2nd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #3427 BDB #442

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

Strong’s# none BDB #88

metsûwdâh (הָדצמ) [pronounced metzoo-DAW]

fortress, stronghold, top of a mountain; capture, prey, hunted; snare, net; transliterated Masada

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #4686 BDB #845

Those who don’t know Hebrew, we transliterate this Masada.


Translation: So Gad the prophet said to David, “Do not remain in the stronghold [or, on Masada];... Recall that I have already presented evidence that these few chapters were written sometime after they occurred. However, the way that Gad the prophet is introduced seems to indicate that he needs no introduction. This would indicate that at least the original author wrote this very soon after these events occurred. An author who came along later might be tempted to add some information about this Gad fellow (and the writer may have been Gad—see 1Sam. 29:29). However, here we are simply told that he is Gad the prophet. This would suggest that the author, who is possibly David (and it may possibly be Gad), is very familiar with Gad and takes this familiarity for granted when recording this history. Footnote


We don’t know what inspired Gad to come to David. It is not clear whether God spoke to Gad directly or whether Samuel sent Gad to David. In any case, he arrives with a message from God. This would suggest to us (along with what has already taken place) that David, despite his faith and devotion, had no direct contact with God. This may be one reason that David is called a man after God’s heart (1Sam. 13:14 Acts 13:22).


Gad is called David’s seer in 1Chron. 21:9 and he speaks with David on at least two other occasions (2Sam. 24:11 1Chron. 29:29). We will examine him in more depth in 2Sam. 24. Several exegetes suggest that Gad is from the Samuel’s School of Prophets (1Sam. 19:20). David was also advised by Nathan the prophet (e.g., 2Sam. 7).


We also know that Gad composed a history of David (1Chron. 29:29). We don’t know if what we are reading is what Gad wrote (prophets Samuel and Nathan are also said to be authors of that time period in the same passage). It is possible that Gad and Nathan also assisted David with the musical arranging of his psalms (2Chron. 29:25).


David has deposited his parents in Moab with the king of Moab and he is now in his stronghold, which location could be the cave of Adullam or a secure location north of Moab, near the border of Israel and Moab. If Gad was from the tribe of Gad, then he would have been right there near David if David was in Moab. If Gad was a member of the school ot prophets, then he would have been in Benjamin, just north of Judah (which is also where David may have been).


There is another alternative: this could be a reference to the famous Masada, a natural fortress in the eastern Judæan Desert along the western shores of the Dead Sea. The known history of Masada only goes back to about 100 b.c., during which time Jonathan the High Priest fortified it, according to Josephus. Footnote Herod later took this fortress and kept his family there for safety reasons while he attempted to consolidate his power in Judæa. Herod, after his control of Judæa was certain, built a tremendous fortress there, both to protect himself from enemies without and from within Judæa. About 60 years after Herod’s death, when Israel was rebelling against Roman rule, a group of Jewish Zealots seized the fortress, as well as the weapons which Herod had kept there. They enjoyed nearly 6 years of relatively peaceful existence on Masada. However, Jerusalem fell to the Romans in 70 a.d. and two years later, there was a vicious and bloody attack against Masada. When the Romans finally breached the fortress walls, there were only 7 people who were still alive; the other 960 had taken their own lives and had burned their belongings. Again, we don’t know if this is where David stayed for awhile, just across the Dead Sea from the peninsula which led into Moab. However, this would be a reasonable place for him to have stayed after depositing his parents in Moab.


1Samuel 22:5b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

hâlake ( ַל ָה) [pronounced haw-LAHKe]

go, come, depart, walk; advance

2nd person masculine plural, Qal imperative

Strong’s #1980 (and #3212) BDB #229

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

bôw (א) [pronounced boh]

to come in, to come, to go in, to go, to enter

2nd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #935 BDB #97

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

preposition with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

erets (ץ ר א) [pronounced EH-rets]

earth (all or a portion thereof), land

feminine singular construct

Strong's #776 BDB #75

Yehûwdâh (הָדהי) [pronounced yehoo-DAW]

possibly means to praise, to be praised; and is transliterated Judah

masculine proper noun/location

Strong’s #3063 BDB #397


Translation: ...depart and go [lit., you have gone] [into] the land of Judah.” Wherever David is, Gad’s marching orders are to leave and go to the land of Judah. This introduces a minor problem. We are not completely certain as to where David actually is at this time. He may be at the cave of Adullam, also called the stronghold, which is in Judah. If this is where David is, then Gad’s marching orders, “Go to Judah” are somewhat confusing. Therefore, let’s examine our three possibilities: (1) the cave Adullam is not David’s present stronghold; (2) this Adullam is not located in Judah (which is the least likely); or (3) David is in the cave of Adullam when Gad comes to him. What initially makes the most sense is that Adullam is on the edge of Judah (it would be reasonably near the border of Philistia and Judah) and the implication of Gad’s orders is that David needs to take a more visible stance before Israel. The verb means to go in, to come in and the preposition is the lâmed preposition, which, with regards to direction, means toward. So David is on the outskirts of Judah, and he is to enter into Judah, traveling towards the land of Judah; or, the heart of Judah, if you will. In fact, it is even possible for this stronghold to be in the midst of Judah, and that Gad is directing David to a more public area.


Another possibility is that David had established a stronghold near Moab; Footnote however, that is not really documented anywhere, and this narrative seems to follow each of David’s moves fairly carefully. They key word, here is seems. We don’t have the verbiage that David returned to his stronghold. We are simply told that David remained in his stronghold while his parents were in Moab. On the other hand, stronghold is in the singular; and all references to David’s stronghold appear to point to the cave of Adullam. (from which two psalms were written—Psalm 57 142).


There are two viewpoints: David either spent most of his time at the Cave of Adullam (to which he would return after going out into the land) or he stayed in several different hideouts. Both views are espoused by various expositors.

Did David Stay in Primarily in the Cave of Adullam or Did He Have Several Hideouts?

In Favor of the Cave of Adullam

In Favor of Several Hideouts

1.    Stronghold here is in the singular, as it is found everywhere else. Therefore, there was one primary stronghold.

 

2.    The cave of Adullam is the only stronghold actually named.

 

3.    Since there is only one cave named, the two psalms (57 and 142) must have been written from the cave of Adullam, which would require that David remain there for awhile.

 

4.    Whereas, most of David’s hideouts and stops are given by name and/or location, from Moab, we simply have David as being in his stronghold while his parent were in Moab. This would seem to indicate that David had one particular place that he returned to after his various jaunts.

 

5.    David would have traveled quickly to Moab with a skeleton force to deliver his parents. Therefore, he would have had to have gone back to the cave of Adullam.

 

6.    Explaining Gad’s order for David to leave the cave of Adullam and to go to Judah is simple to explain, even though the cave was in Judah. The cave of Adullam is on the border of Philistia and Judah, so Gad was asking David to take a more visible stand.

 

7.    Even though the word stronghold can refer to a high, mountainous area; we are told in v. 4 that David’s parents remained with the king of Moab all the time that David was in the stronghold. David did not remain in Moab; he left as soon as Gad told him to leave (from wherever he was). This would mitigate against v. 4b as referring to a particular place in Moab.

1.    David could only stay in one stronghold at a time; therefore, this word is always found in the singular. Stronghold is a general term which can be applied to anyplace where David and his men hid.

2.    Even in Psalms 57 and 142, we are simply told that David wrote them while in the cave; there is no specific reference to Adullam. Even though I believe that these psalms were written while David was in the cave of Adullam, this in no way means that this cave was David’s primary hideout. He apparently took a breather and remained there for awhile, during which time, he advanced spiritually, his family came to him, and 400 malcontents came to him.

3.    The cave of Adullam is only mentioned once as one of David’s hideouts. That brief mention in no way mandates that David hid there and only there.

4.    David’s movement is fairly well documented in Scripture. He went to Nob (the city of the priests); then to Gath; then to the cave of Adullam; then to Moab; then back to Judah, to the forest of Hereth; then to Keilah; then to the wilderness area of Ziph in the hill country of Judah, in or near Horesh; then to the wilderness of Moan; and finally the strongholds of Engedi (this takes us through 1Sam. 21–23). There is no need for David to continue to return to the cave of Adullam; and there is no mention of a return to this cave.

5.    David would have taken all of his men to Moab. He had a relatively small force; he needed to provide his parents with a maximum amount of protection, and these malcontents were not men that he wanted to leave unsupervised. Since he seemed to travel everywhere with these men, there is no reason to think that he did not take them all to Moab (although they did not all necessarily go with him into the palace of the king of Moab).

6.    At most, David may have returned to the cave of Adullam after taking his parents to Moab. However, there is nothing in Scripture to substantiate this, other than the mention of the cave of Adullam in v. 1 and the mention of David being in the stronghold in v. 4 (which, by the way, does not state that David returned to this stronghold).

7.    Gad the prophet could very well be from the tribe of Gad, which is just north of Moab. If David were hiding out in northern Moab or in southern Gad, then Gad the prophet coming to him would make sense.

8.    Finally, the Hebrew word for stronghold, can also refer to a high, mountainous region; and Mizpeh means lookout, lookout tower. Therefore, this is not necessarily a reference to a previous stronghold, but a reference to a high, mountainous area when David and his men stayed, just north of Moab (or in northern Moab). This would be in keeping with David’s general location.

Although one could make an argument for the cave of Adullam as being David’s primary hideout to which he returned from Moab, there is really no Scriptural support for this position. Furthermore, I think that the arguments in favor of the cave of Adullam as being a one-time (or, at most, a two-time) hideout are the most convincing.

In the MacMillan Bible Atlas, they suggest that the stronghold is an actual place, different from the other places where David has traveled to (they identify it with Masada, previously discussed). They have it as a particular hideout, just west of the Dead Sea, right across from the peninsula which goes to Moab. The idea is that David would have traveled by water to take his parents to Moab. On the plus side, this would be a relatively straight route for David to get to the king of Moab; however, it would make less sense in 1Sam. 23:1 for David to be informed of a Philistine attack on Keilah if he is that far away from Keilah. However, bear in mind that Gad had come to David, and told him to leave this stronghold and go into Judah. David would have been on the eastern outskirts of Judah, in a generally unpopulated area; Gad, if he was from the tribe of Gad, may have reached David by boat, traveling through a portion of Moab; or he could have come from Samuel’s famous school of prophets.

David is soon going to be informed of a Philistine attack upon Keilah, which is very close to Adullam. One of our problems is that we really do not know where the forest of Hereth is (which is where David traveled to after being in the stronghold). Since Gad had told David to move to a more prominent place in Judah, we might assume that the forest of Hereth was closer to Keilah, more public than the stronghold, and therefore, it would be more logical for someone to come to David and inform him of the attack upon Keilah.

More about David’s wanderings can be found in Albert Barnes, Barnes’ Notes on the Old Testament; from e-Sword, Psalm 56:8 (which we will cover in more detail at the end of the book of Samuel).


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Keil and Delitzsch point out that David must learn to trust in the Lord as his only refuge and fortress. Footnote David has already learned how to hide quite well. Now he must stand out as a leader. Furthermore, if his cause is just, then he needs to put himself out there, before the people, rather than to lurk about like some criminal.


1Samuel 22:5c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

hâlake ( ַל ָה) [pronounced haw-LAHKe]

to go, to come, to depart, to walk; to advance

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #1980 (and #3212) BDB #229

Dâvid (ד̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

bôw (א) [pronounced boh]

to come in, to come, to go in, to go, to enter

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #935 BDB #97

ya׳ar (ר -ע-י) [pronounced YAH-ģahr]

wood, forest, thicket

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #3293 and #3264 (plural form) BDB #420

Châreth (ת∵רָח) [pronounced KHAW-reth]

to engrave; and is transliterated Hereth

proper noun location

Strong’s #2802 BDB #362

The Septuagint has here, instead, the city of Saric. Given that David was mostly hiding out, we would expect to find him in a forest, a cave or a mountain top. We don’t expect to find him hanging with his 400 troops in a city. Both Hereth and Saric are unknown apart from this verse.


Translation: So David departed and went [into] the forest of Hereth. You will recall how I mentioned that this chapter is a turning point in David’s life; here is another instance indicating just that. A prophet tells David what he is to do and David does it.


Hereth is found only here. According to ZPEB, the forest of Hereth is located in Judah, between Adullam and Giloh and they suggest that this is near Kharas, a village near Khirbet Qila. Footnote Because of the more visible position that David takes, others will eventually find out where David is and some will go to him (see 1Sam. 23:13 27:2 30:9). Because of this, Saul will hear that David and his small army are on the move in Judah. However, Saul will essentially remain clueless with regards to David’s exact position; in fact, he will only find out where David has been.


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Saul Finds out That David Had Been in Nob


And so hears Saul that has been known David and men who [are] with him. Saul was sitting in the Gibeah under the tree in the height and his spear [is] in his hand and all his servants are standing above him.

1Samuel

22:6

Saul also hears that [the whereabouts of] David and his men are known. Saul was sitting in Gibeah under the tree in a high place [or, on a hill, under a tree in Ramah] and his spear [is] in his hand and all of his servants are standing around him.

Saul also hears that the whereabouts of David and his men are known while he is in Gibeah sitting under a tree on a hill with his spear in his hand and his servants standing around him.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so hears Saul that has been known David and men who [are] with him. Saul was sitting in the Gibeah under the tree in the height and his spear [is] in his hand and all his servants are standing above him.

Septuagint                             And Saul heard that David was discovered, and his men with him. How Saul dwelt in the hill below the field that is in Rama, and his spear [was] in his hand, and all his servants stood near him.

 

Significant differences           .


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Saul was sitting under a small tree on top of the hill at Gibeah when he heard that David and his men had been seen. Saul was holding his spear, and his officers were standing in front of him.

NLT                                        The news of his arrival in Judah soon reached Saul. At the time, the king was sitting beneath a tamarisk tree on the hill at Gibeah, holding his spear and surrounded by his officers.

REB                                       News that the whereabouts of David and his men was known reached Saul while he was in Gibeah, sitting under the tamarisk tree on the hilltop with his spear in his hand and all his retainers standing about him.

TEV                                       One day Saul was in Gibeah, sitting under a tamarisk tree on a hill, with his spear in his hand, and all his officers were standing around him. He was told that David and his men had been located...


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Saul heard that David and his men had been found. Saul was staying in Gibeah under the tamarisk tree at the worship site with his spear in his hand and all his officials standing around him.

JPS (Tanakh)                        When Saul heard that David and the men with him had been located—Saul was then in Gibeah, sitting under the tamarisk tree on the height, spear in hand, with all his courtiers in attendance upon him—...


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     Then Saul heard that David and the men who were with him had been discovered. Now Saul was sitting in Gibeah, under the tamarisk tree on the height with his spear in his hand, and all his servants were standing around him.

Young's Updated LT              And Saul hears that David has become known, and the men who are with him, and Saul is abiding in Gibeah, under the grove in Ramah, and his spear is in his hand, and all his servants standing by him.


What is the gist of this verse? Saul, while in Gibeah, hears that David has been seen in Judah.


This is a meanwhile, back at the ranch verse, which takes us to where Saul is located.


1Samuel 22:6a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

shâma׳ (ע ַמ ָש) [pronounced shaw-MAHĢ]

to listen, to hear, to listen intently, to listen and obey, to listen and act upon, to listen and give heed to, to hearken to, to be attentive to, to listen and take note of, to listen and be cognizant of

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #8085 BDB #1033

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982

kîy (י̣) [pronounced kee]

for, that, because; when, at that time, which, what time

conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

yâda׳ (ע ַדָי) [pronounced yaw-DAHĢ]

to be known, to become known; to be instructed, to be taught by experience, to be punished

3rd person masculine singular, Niphal imperfect

Strong’s #3045 BDB #393

Dâvid (ד̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

îysh (שי ̣א) [pronounced eesh]

men; inhabitants, citizens; companions, soldiers, companions

masculine plural noun

Strong's #376 BDB #35

ăsher (ר ש ֲא) [pronounced ash-ER]

that, which, when, who

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

with, at, near, by, among, directly from

preposition (which is identical to the sign of the direct object); with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #854 BDB #85


Translation: Saul also hears that [the whereabouts of] David and his men are known. There are obviously a lot of people who know where David is. 400 men came to David directly to join him. At some point, someone loyal to Saul will find out David’s general whereabouts and this will be reported to the palace. Now, you may think that those who are loyal to Saul make up a small percentage; however, recall that Saul, at first, was a great king and a greater man of war, which is one of the primary reasons the people of Israel desired a king. Therefore, there is going to be an ultra-conservative faction who support Saul.


Now, you might recall that a gathering of men—particularly malcontents—can be seen as a threat to the established government. Although it will become clear that David will not kill Saul, God’s anointed, this is not something which everyone will know about. Therefore, when there is a gathering of malcontents with David as leader, and David is known to be estranged from Saul, and Saul is known to have declared David an enemy of the state, then some would consider it their patriotic duty to report that they know where David is.


However, at this point, Saul has only heard that David’s general whereabouts are known—and possibly by some of his men. He himself does not know himself where David is. What is likely, is that it is reported to him that David and his small army was sighted somewhere in Judah; or that he is known to be somewhere in Judah. Recall that God, through Gad, told David to get to Judah, which involved making his presence known to more. It is this guidance by God which probably resulted in David’s general movement being known by Saul. The following verses will make it clear that not much more is known—not by Saul and not by any of his men.


1Samuel 22:6b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982

yâshab (ב ַשָי) [pronounced yaw-SHAHBV]

to remain, to stay, to inhabit, to sit, to dwell

Qal active participle

Strong's #3427 BDB #442

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

Strong’s# none BDB #88

Gibe׳âh (ה ָע ׃ב ̣) [pronounced gibve-ĢAW]

transliterated Gibeah; this same word means hill

proper feminine singular noun

Strong’s #1390 BDB #149

tachath (ת ַח ַ) [pronounced TAH-khahth]

underneath, below, under, beneath, in the place [in which one stands] [when found in accusative position]

preposition

Strong’s #8478 BDB #1065

êshel (ל∵ש̤א) [pronounced AY-shel]

tamarisk-tree, tree; trees, grove

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #815 BDB #79

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

Strong’s# none BDB #88

râmâh (הָמָר) [pronounced raw-MAW]

height, high place; possibly shrine; also transliterated Ramah

feminine noun used primarily as a proper noun

Strong’s #7413 BDB #928

Even though we generally find this word used as a proper noun, it would be difficult for Saul to be both in Gibeah and in Ramah. Since Saul is more closely associated with Gibeah than he is with Ramah, we will assume that he is in Gibeah on a high place rather than in Ramah on a hill.

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

chănîyth (תי.נֲח) [pronounced khuh-NEETH]

spear

feminine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #2595 BDB #333

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

Strong’s# none BDB #88

yâd (דָי) [pronounced yawd]

generally translated hand

feminine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #3027 BDB #388


Translation: Saul was sitting in Gibeah under the tree in a high place [or, on a hill, under a tree in Ramah] and his spear [is] in his hand... Although the alternate reading sounds better in the English, we must recognize that Gibeah is really Saul’s city, whereas Ramah is the city of Samuel. Therefore, we would expect this scene to occur in Gibeah. On the other hand, Saul may have gathered up some servants and gone to Samuel again; and here we find Saul stewing because he has not found David.


What we should recognize at this point is that this verse introduces a literary contrast. David is in his place of hiding, yet people come to him (his family, the 400 misfits, Gad). Saul is in his place as well, which is not a hideout, but a place where he has gathered his men, which is apparently on a hill in Gibeah. I’ll give a more detailed comparison later on.


Saul is sitting on a hill under a tree with his spear. Saul appears to have liked sitting under trees in the outdoors (1Sam. 14:2). We have observed Saul on several occasions sitting or standing with his spear in hand (e.g., 1Sam. 18:10 19:9 20:33). Although Saul apparently did not participate in any battles, he certainly liked to carry around this weapon. Saul’s sword, along with his men who surrounded him, were his only security. Saul was fully aware that God had taken the kingdom from him, but he hung onto this life with every human resource that he could muster. Although our president does not personally carry around a gun wherever he goes, we have seen pictures in the news of various mid-eastern leaders who carry guns in public as a part of their ensemble. This is not unlike Saul.


1Samuel 22:6c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

kôl (לֹ) [pronounced kohl]

with a plural noun, it is rendered all of; any of

masculine singular construct with a masculine plural noun

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

׳ebed (ד ב ע) [pronounced ĢEB-ved]

slave, servant

masculine plural noun with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #5650 BDB #713

nâtsabv (בַצָנ) [pronounced naw-TSAHBV]

to be stationed, to be left standing, to station oneself, to take one’s stand

Niphal participle

Strong’s #5324 BDB #662

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity with a 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752


Translation: ...and all of his servants are standing around him. Saul is tired and frustrated and desires to kill David. He is sitting in the shade with his spear, and his servant-soldiers are standing around him. He is aware that there might even be someone among his own soldiers who might know more precisely where David is. Now what he needs to do is coax the information from them.


Clarke reasonably suggests that Saul assembled all of these men here so that he could deliver the speech which follows. Footnote Barnes adds that a high place, where Saul waits under a tamarisk tree, would be a very reasonable place for Saul to gather his men in order to quiz them. Why was there not a place in the palace for such a gathering? Let me speculate that Saul thought that he may have to kill a few men, and better to kill them here where he could leave them, rather than within the palace walls. Or, it is possible that Saul gathered a rather large group—too large for the palace. This would be his open air parliament.


And so says Saul to his servants, the stationed ones above him, “Listen please, Benjamites, even to all of you, gives the son of Jesse fields and vineyards? To all of you, he places chiefs of thousands and chiefs of hundreds,...”

1Samuel

22:7

Then Saul said to his servants, those stationed around him, “Listen, please, Benjamites, even all of you: [Has] the son of Jesse given [you] fields and vineyards; to all of you, [has] he made [you] chiefs of thousands and chiefs of hundreds...”

Then Saul said to his servants, who were stationed around him, “Listen, if you will, men of Benjamin: will the son of Jesse give you fields and vineyards? Can he make you a commander over a thousand or over a hundred?”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so says Saul to his servants, the stationed ones above him, “Listen please, Benjamites, even to all of you, gives the son of Jesse fields and vineyards? To all of you, he places chiefs of thousands and chiefs of hundreds,...”

Septuagint                             And Saul said to his servants that stood by him, “Hear now, you sons of Benjamin: will the son of Jessæ indeed give all of you fields and vineyards, and will he make you all captains of hundreds and captains of thousands?

 

Significant differences           .


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       He told them: Listen to me! You belong to the Benjamin tribe, so if that son of Jesse ever becomes king, he won't give you fields or vineyards. He won't make you officers in charge of thousands or hundreds as I have done.

NJB                                        ‘Listen, Benjamites’ said Saul to them, ‘Is the son of Jesse going to give you all fields and vineyards and make all of you commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds...

NLT                                        “Listen here, you men of Benjamin,” Saul shouted when he heard the news. “Has David promised you fields and vineyards has he promised to make you commanders in his army?


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         He said to his officials, “Listen here, men of Benjamin! Will Jesse's son give every one of you fields and vineyards? Will he make you all officers over a regiment or a battalion of soldiers?

JPS (Tanakh)                        Saul said to the courtiers standing about him, “Listen, men of Benjamin will the son of Jesse gives fields and vineyards to every one of you? And will he make all of you captains of thousands or captains of hundreds?


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Amplified Bible                Saul said to his servants who stood about him, Hear now, you Benjamites; will the son of Jesse give every one of you fields and vineyards, and make you all commanders of thousands and hundreds,...

NASB                                     And Saul said to his servants who stood around him, “Here now, O Benjamites! Will the son of Jesse also give to all of you fields and vineyards? Will he make you all commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds?

Young's Updated LT              And Saul says to his servants who are standing by him, “Hear, I pray you, you Benjamites; also to all of you does the son of Jesse give fields and vineyards! All of you he does appoint heads of thousands and heads of hundreds!


What is the gist of this verse? Saul begins his speech by noting that supporting him over David is in the self-interest of those listening. David does not have the power to give them fields or vineyards; and David is unable to make them commandeers over military units.


Although the structure of these next two verses is really one long question, I have broken this up into more mouth sized pieces. However, at the end of this, I will go back and reassemble this passage and present it as it should be presented.


1Samuel 22:7a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

׳ebed (ד ב ע) [pronounced ĢEB-ved]

slave, servant

masculine plural noun with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #5650 BDB #713

nâtsabv (בַצָנ) [pronounced naw-TSAHBV]

to be stationed, to be left standing, to station oneself, to take one’s stand

masculine plural Niphal participle with the definite article

Strong’s #5324 BDB #662

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity with a 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

shâma׳ (ע ַמ ָש) [pronounced shaw-MAHĢ]

to listen, to hear, to listen intently, to listen and obey, to listen and act upon, to listen and give heed to, to hearken to, to be attentive to, to listen and take note of, to listen and be cognizant of

2nd person masculine plural, Qal imperative

Strong's #8085 BDB #1033

nâ (אָנ) [pronounced naw]

please, I pray you, I respectfully implore (ask, or request of) you, I urge you

particle of entreaty

Strong's #4994 BDB #609

ben yemîynîy (י.ני.מין∵) [pronounced ben-yemee-NEE]

son of [my] right hand and is rendered Benjamite

gentilic adjective

Strong’s #1145 BDB #122

gam (ם ַ) [pronounced gahm]

also, furthermore, in addition to, even, moreover

adverb

Strong’s #1571 BDB #168

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

kol (לָ) [pronounced kol]

the whole, totality, all, the entirety, every

masculine singular noun with a 2nd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481


Translation: Then Saul said to his servants, those stationed around him, “Listen, please, Benjamites, even all of you:... Saul is uncertain as to how to deal with this situation. He knows that someone in his group must know something about where David is. He is certain of that. Therefore, he must reason with these men to get this information from them. So, while they are gathered around him, Saul asks them to listen to him. He uses the particle of entreaty, which is unusual for a king to use.


His officers and heads of various organizations are all Benjamites. Saul, for the most part, functioned under the good ole boy system of politics. He is a Benjamite (1Sam. 9:1–2 10:21 1Chron. 8:1, 33); so he has appointed relatives and friends to positions of power; and, if he ran out of names, then friends of friends. There was no campaign to go throughout the land and gather up the top men from every tribe, even though he did collect men for the army in that way. Saul was a Benjamite, therefore, most of those who held high positions were also Benjamites. Although it will be obvious that not all of his men are Benjamites, the vast majority were (this explains the additional phrase ...even all of you...). This helps to explain why 400+ men are able to locate David and join up with him, whereas none of Saul’s officers have a clue as to where David is. Since these are almost all Benjamites, their contacts are limited. Officers Bob and Charley, who are both Benjamites, have a limited and overlapping set of contacts. Their families and former associates are all to be found in Benjamin. Had Saul’s officers been a bit more heterogenous, Saul would have had a better chance of locating David. Furthermore, Saul surrounds himself with yes-men. Only Jonathan stood up to Saul with regards to David (1Sam. 19:2–6 20:27–34) Footnote Therefore, Saul could get these men to pursue David, even though David was an honorable man (1Sam. 19:11, 20). On the other hand, these men were ineffective when it came to actually finding and capturing David.


Application: If you find yourself in a place of authority, do not surround yourself with yes-men and with your own good-old-boys. There are two results of doing this: (1) those under you become fractured into two groups: an in-group and an out-group. Those who are a part of the in-group will tell you whatever it is that you want to hear in order to remain a part of this in-group. Those on the out-group will barely tolerate your authority, if at all. (2) You will never be given a clear picture of that over which you have authority. Those in the out-group will quickly learn that you do not want to hear opposing views and they will cease to contribute. Those in the in-group will agree with whatever it is that you propose, without criticism. However, those in the in-group will not be able to help you with those in the out-group.


1Samuel 22:7b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

nâthan (ן ַתָנ) [pronounced naw-THAHN]

to give, to grant, to place, to put, to set

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #5414 BDB #678

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

Yîshay (י ָש̣י) [pronounced yee-SHAH-ee]

transliterated Jesse

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3448 BDB #445

sâdeh (ה∵דָ) [pronounced saw-DEH]

field, land, open field, open country

masculine plural noun

Strong’s #7704 BDB #961

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

kerem (ם∵ר∵) [pronounced keh-REM]

vineyard, orchard

masculine plural noun

Strong’s #3754 BDB #501


Translation: ...[Has] the son of Jesse given [you] fields and vineyards;... We interpret this phrase as a question, as did most translators. We do not find an actual particle which indicates that this is a question. We may therefore reasonably assume that tone of voice also could indicate that a question was being posed.


Saul first asks whether David can give them fields and vineyards. Obviously, since David is on the run, and without any real political power, the expected answer is no. Saul is ruler of Israel and can seize whatever land he deems necessary by his inherent power of eminent domain. If Saul determines that he needs a particular tract of land, he can either pay for it, through tax monies; or, he can simply seize it for the state. I have mentioned that Saul has to be concerned about feeding his vast army; he therefore has appointed Doeg as a chief of the king’s shepherds; these animals over which these men have control, didn’t come out of Saul’s personal flocks. They come from taxation, so to speak. Saul has a large army and a large staff of men for whom he is responsible. Saul, although he doesn’t really look upon it as a responsibility, here deals with this more like a bribe. He seizes property and animals from his people, and then he gives them to his own officers and their underlings in order to insure their loyalty. Many of his actions might be very similar to those of a king who takes responsibility for his minions; however, Saul’s purpose is altogether different. These are rewards and bribes; not remuneration. Recall what Samuel warned the people of Israel: "These are the rights of a king: He will draft your sons, make them serve on his chariots and horses, and make them run ahead of his chariots. He will appoint them to be his officers over 1,000 or over 50 soldiers, to plow his ground and harvest his crops, and to make weapons and equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters and have them make perfumes, cook, and bake. He will take the best of your fields, vineyards, and olive orchards and give them to his officials. He will take a tenth of your grain and wine and give it to his aids and officials. He will take your male and female slaves, your best cattle, and your donkeys for his own use. He will take a tenth of your flocks. In addition, you will be his servants.” (1Sam. 8:11b–17 God’s Word™).


What is even more reprehensible than Saul’s blatant bribery, is the fact that he is not going to give most of those men present fields and vineyards. He has the power to, but this does not mean that he will actually do it. What he seizes is for the state (read, Saul); and few of these things will be actually given to those under him (although, they may act as temporary guardians of his flocks or fields).


1Samuel 22:7c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

kol (לָ) [pronounced kol]

the whole, totality, all, the entirety, every

masculine singular noun with a 2nd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

sîym (םי ̣) [pronounced seem]; also spelled sûwm (ם) [pronounced soom]

to put, to place, to set, to make

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #7760 BDB #962

sar (ר ַ) [pronounced sar]

chieftain, chief, ruler, official, captain, prince, leader, commander

masculine plural construct

Strong’s #8269 BDB #978

ălâphîym (מי.פָלֲא) pronounced uh-law-FEEM]

thousands, families, [military] units

masculine plural noun

Strong’s #505 (and #504) BDB #48

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

sar (ר ַ) [pronounced sar]

chieftain, chief, ruler, official, captain, prince, leader, commander

masculine plural construct

Strong’s #8269 BDB #978

mêâh (ה ָא ֵמ) [pronounced may-AW]

one hundred

feminine plural numeral

Strong’s #3967 BDB #547


Translation: ...to all of you, [has] he made [you] chiefs of thousands and chiefs of hundreds...” These men who work for Saul also have aspirations. They want a higher position, a better salary, greater prestige. Saul asks them if David is in a position to grant these things to them. The implication is, of course, is that he is able to give these things to them. He is able to make them a commander over a thousand men or over a hundred men. Quite obviously, there are only so many chiefs for large groups of Indians, so Saul cannot promote everyone. However, the idea here is not necessarily that he is going to promote everyone, but that he is the one who promotes them and David is not.

 

Wesley loosely translates (interprets) this verse: “You Benjamites — You that are of my own tribe and kindred, from whom David designs to translate the kingdom to another tribe. Will he distribute profits and preferments among you Benjamites, as I have done? Will he not rather prefer those of his own tribe before you?”  Footnote


Saul’s warning to these men is, David is from the tribe of Judah; just like Saul has enlisted hundreds of Benjamites as his cabinet and as heads of his military, David would do the same for the men of Judah, which would leave these men without employment. However, we will later find out that David enlists a wide variety of men to serve him.


Application: Are you the kind of boss or manager who makes it clear to those under you that you are the one who promotes and demotes them? Obviously this a part of the responsibilities of those with authority, and such a responsibility should be based upon one’s abilities and production, not upon how much they kiss up to you. I have seen on several occasions where superiors have promoted not those who worked the hardest or did the best work, but those who were their friends and confidants. This never works in favor of the institution or organization that this authority purports to function on behalf of.


Application: If you are in a position of authority, do you allow your personal feelings to influence your judgments. That is, do you promote those whom you like, and keep those that you don’t much care for running in place? Do you promote as a trade out of sorts? If they give you friendship, loyalty, or, whatever, then you promote them? This is not how to function as a person in authority. You have both a responsibility to the organization for which you work and to those who are under your authority. Your responsibility to your organization is to have it run by the best people possible. For those below you, you have the responsibility to promote those who work the hardest and are most closely aligned with the purposes of your organization—and whether you like them or not, is not an issue. Whether they are going to sit with you at lunch or not is not an issue. Whether they support every single one of your proposals without question is not an issue.


...that you conspired all of you against me and not revealing [to] my ear in a cutting [of a covenant] of my son with a son of Jesse and none are worn down from you against me and revealing [to] my ear that has caused to stand my son my servant against me to one lying in wait as the day the this?”

1Samuel

22:8

...that you have all conspired against me? That no one reveals to me [lit., uncovers my ear] when my son makes an alliance [lit., cuts a covenant] with the son of Jesse? That no one from among you is pained by me even to reveal to me [lit., to uncover my ear] that my son has raised up [or, established] my servant against me, [even] to lie in wait [for me] this day?”

Furthermore, you have all conspired against me to the point that no one has revealed to me that my son has made a covenant with that son of Jesse and none of you are pained by my situation to even reveal to me that my son has raised up my servant against me, and he lies in wait to ambush me even on this day.”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       ...that you conspired all of you against me and not revealing [to] my ear in a cutting [of a covenant] of my son with a son of Jesse and none are worn down from you against me and revealing [to] my ear that has caused to stand my son my servant against me to one lying in wait as the day the this?”

Septuagint                             That you are all conspiring against me, and there is no one that informs me, whereas my son has made a covenant with the son of Jessæ, and there is no one of you that is sorry for me, or informs me that my son has stirred up my servant against me for an enemy, as on this day?”

 

Significant differences           .


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       But you're all plotting against me! Not one of you told me that my own son Jonathan had made an agreement with him. Not one of you cared enough to tell me that Jonathan had helped one of my officers rebel. Now that son of Jesse is trying to ambush me.

NJB                                        ...that you all conspire against me? No one warmed me when my son made a pact with the son of Jesse; none of you felt sorry for me or warned me when my son incited my servant to become my enemy, as he is now.’

NLT                                        Is that why you have conspired against me? For not one of you has ever told me that my own son is on David’s side. You’re not ever sorry for me. Think of it! My own son—encouraging David to try and kill me!”

TEV                                       Is that why you are plotting against me? Not one of you told me that my own son had made an alliance with David. No one is concerned about me or tells me that David, one of my own men, is right now looking for a chance to kill me, and that my son has encouraged him!”


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         All of you are plotting against me, and no one informed me when my son entered into a loyalty pledge with Jesse's son. No one felt sorry for me and informed me that my son has encouraged my servant David to ambush me, as he's doing now.”

JPS (Tanakh)                        Is that why all of you have conspired against me? For no one informs me when my own son makes a pact with the son of Jesse; no one is concerned for me and no one informs me when my own son has set my servant in ambush [Septuagint reads “as an enemy”] against me, as is now the case.”


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Amplified Bible                ...That all of you have conspired against me? No one discloses to me when my son makes a league with the son of Jesse; none of you is sorry for me or discloses that my son has stirred up my servant against me, to lie in wait, as this day?

NASB                                     “For all of you have conspired against me so that there is no one who discloses to me [lit., uncovers my ear] when my son makes a covenant with the son of Jesse, and there is none of you who is sorry for me or discloses to me [lit., uncovers my ear] that my son has stirred up my servant against me to lie in ambush, as it is this day.”

Young's Updated LT              ...for you have conspired all of you against me, and there is none uncovering my ear about my son's covenanting with the son of Jesse, and there is none of you grieving for me, and uncovering my ear, that my son has raised up my servant against me, to lie in wait as at this day.”


What is the gist of this verse? Saul complains that none of his servants are sympathetic to his plight, which includes the fact that his very own son has made a pact with David that would result in David’s being established as a legitimate political threat to Saul.


This speech of Saul’s (which is probably abridged), is another example of Saul’s long-windedness, which we first witnessed when he was trying to justify his actions to Samuel when he began sacrificing animals without Samuel being there (1Sam. 13:11–14). For this reason, we will break down Saul’s run-on pity party into several parts, so that we can analyze each.


The Amplified Bible rarely runs the sentence of one verse into that of another, but here it is a very reasonable rendering (and I am surprised that I do not find this same continuation in any other translation other than Young’s): Saul said to his servants who stood about him, Hear now, you Benjamites; will the son of Jesse give every one of you fields and vineyards, and make you all commanders of thousands and hundreds, That all of you have conspired against me? No one discloses to me when my son makes a league with the son of Jesse; none of you is sorry for me or discloses that my son has stirred up my servant against me, to lie in wait, as this day? Have all of these men conspired against Saul because David has already promised them property and promotions?


1Samuel 22:8a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

kîy (י̣) [pronounced kee]

for, that, because; when, at that time, which, what time

conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

qâshar (ר-שָק) [pronounced kaw-SHAHR]

to bind; to conspire; a state of being compact and firm [and therefore] robust

2nd person masculine plural, Qal perfect

Strong’s #7194 BDB #905

kol (לָ) [pronounced kol]

the whole, totality, all, the entirety, every

masculine singular noun with a 2nd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752


Translation: ...that you have all conspired against me? The first thing that Saul does is accuse all of his men of conspiring against him. The verb is in the masculine plural, but he adds the phrase all of you [plural] for good measure. The gist is that almost everyone of the men who stand before him—his most loyal servants—have participated in a conspiracy against him. This conspiracy is on behalf of David, the son of Jesse, who cannot give them any property and who cannot advance them in military rank. Saul will, in the following phrases, indicate how all of these men have conspired against him.


1Samuel 22:8b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

êyn (ןי̤א) [pronounced ān]

nothing, not, [is] not; not present, not ready; expresses non-existence, absence or non-possession; there is no

particle of negation; substantive of negation, construct form

Strong’s #369 BDB #34

gâlâh (ה ָלָ) [pronounced gaw-LAWH]

to uncover, [one’s ear to hear something]; to reveal, to disclose, to make naked; to remove, to depart; to make [a land] naked of inhabitants, to emigrate, to be led into exile

Qal active participle

Strong's #1540 BDB #162

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

ôzen (ן∵זֹא) [pronounced OH-zen]

ear

feminine plural noun with the 1st person singular suffix; pausal form

Strong’s #241 BDB #23

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

Strong’s# none BDB #88

kârath (תַרָ) [pronounced kaw-RAHTH]

to cut off, to cut down; to kill, to destroy; to make a covenant

Qal infinitive construct

Strong's #3772 BDB #503

The infinitive construct, when combined with the bêyth preposition, can often take on a temporal meaning and may be rendered when [such and such happens]. It can serve as a temporal marker that denotes an event which occurs simultaneously with the action of the main verb.

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular noun with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

׳îm (ם ̣ע) [pronounced ģeem]

with, at, by, near

preposition of nearness and vicinity with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #5973 BDB #767

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

Yîshay (י ָש̣י) [pronounced yee-SHAH-ee]

transliterated Jesse

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3448 BDB #445


Translation: That no one reveals to me [lit., uncovers my ear] when my son makes a alliance [lit., cuts a covenant] with the son of Jesse? Saul has either deduced that Jonathan and David have made a pact with one another. Saul does not take into account that it is possible that these men do not know that Jonathan and David have made a pact with one another. Or, even if he does, he does not reveal this to them. The idea is to pile on the guilt, even if they are not guilty.


We are not told where Jonathan is at this time. We don’t know if he is there, with the other men that Saul has summoned or whether he is elsewhere. My thinking is that Saul summoned these men before him, and that there were more than just his immediate cabinet. It was every high ranking official under him. Saul already knows that Jonathan is disloyal (at least in his own mind), so he did not summon him. Furthermore, Saul does not wants Jonathan’s undue influence to be felt, so he did not call Jonathan to this meeting for that reason.


1Samuel 22:8c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

êyn (ןי̤א) [pronounced ān]

nothing, not, [is] not; not present, not ready; expresses non-existence, absence or non-possession; there is no

particle of negation; substantive of negation, construct form

Strong’s #369 BDB #34

châlâh (ה ָל ָח) [pronounced chaw-LAW]

to be worn down in strength, to be weak, to be infirm; to be sick, to become sick; to be pained

Qal active participle

Strong’s #2470 BDB #317

The Septuagint has, instead, to take pity upon, to be sorry for. Again, this is an easier read in the English and this is why most English translations follow the Septuagint at this point; however, that does not mean it is what was originally found in the Hebrew. If it seems like an odd verb to use, remember that Saul is in great emotional stress at this time. The unusually long sentence, which is most of vv. 7–8 is also an indication of his high emotional fervor.

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, away from, out from, out of from, off, on account of, since, above, than, so that not, above, beyond, more than, greater than

preposition of separation with a 2nd person masculine plural suffix

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752


Translation: That no one from among you is pained by me... Saul uses an unusual verb here, and one whose meaning is very specialized here. This is usually used for someone who is sick or weak from sickness; however, Saul uses this verb to refer to being pained by their disloyalty (or, more precisely, to say that those around him were not pained by their disloyalty to him). Again, Saul adds another prepositional phrase (from among you [all]) to emphasize that it is all of the men who stand before him who have been disloyal to him. They do not even care enough to be empathetic or pained because of his situation.


1Samuel 22:8d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

gâlâh (ה ָלָ) [pronounced gaw-LAWH]

to uncover, [one’s ear to hear something]; to reveal, to disclose, to make naked; to remove, to depart; to make [a land] naked of inhabitants, to emigrate, to be led into exile

Qal active participle

Strong's #1540 BDB #162

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

ôzen (ן∵זֹא) [pronounced OH-zen]

ear

feminine plural noun with the 1st person singular suffix; pausal form

Strong’s #241 BDB #23

kîy (י̣) [pronounced kee]

for, that, because; when, at that time, which, what time

conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

qûwm (םק) [pronounced koom]

to cause to raise up, to cause to stand, to establish, to fulfill, to cause to stand; to uphold, to perform [a testimony, a vow, a commandment, a promise]

3rd person masculine singular, Hiphil perfect

Strong’s #6965 BDB #877

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular noun with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

׳ebed (ד ב ע) [pronounced ĢEB-ved]

slave, servant

masculine singular noun with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong’s #5650 BDB #713

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752


Translation: ...even to reveal to me [lit., to uncover my ear] that my son has raised up [or, established] my servant against me,... Now Saul takes the supposed covenant between David and Jonathan one step further—not only do they have a covenant, but Saul asserts that Jonathan has actually taken action to insure that David would be raised up against Saul. This does not mean that Saul is aware of the actual alliance which David and Jonathan struck. They apparently did this in private. However, he is more than aware of his son’s sympathies, as has been demonstrated on at least two previous occasions (1Sam. 19:4–5 20:32). What Saul has done is he now sees his son as enabling David to have the wherewithal to lead a revolt against Saul. Whether he believes this or not is unknown; however, he certainly tries to convince his men of this. He needs to portray David to his men as a revolutionary, who actively pursues the kingdom by any means necessary. By virtue of their position in his government, this makes them enemies of David as well.

 

Edersheim: His son has made a league with David, of which the only object could be to deprive him of his throne. This could only be accomplished by violence. Everyone was aware that David and his men then held a strong position. A conspiracy so fully organized must have been known to his courtiers. If they had no sympathy with a father betrayed by his own son, at lest what profit could they as Benjamites hope to derive from such a plot?  Footnote


Furthermore, Saul again does not call David by his given name, but refers to him as his servant. David, a man who would have at one time stood among these men before him, has been placed in a position of strength against Saul. It’s as though Saul enters into his private residence, and his personal servants overpower him and take over his house. No sense of loyalty; and, in the case of Jonathan, no sense of family. And the saddest thing about this is that the servants who stand around him have not even been willing to tell Saul that this has happened. Obviously, this is what he has deduced as king by observation.


Saul is utterly paranoid. His men may, in part, have had some sympathy for David, but recall that Saul has gotten groups of his men to go after David on four or five occasions so Saul is probably speaking to a group of men who would tell him where David was if they knew. But realize, these are men who have hung out with Saul, for the most part, so they aren’t going to know where David is. As I have mentioned before, they are primarily Benjamites, so that their contacts are limited. Furthermore, Jonathan is going to know who is loyal to Saul and he is not going to tell those men anything. So, no one is specifically keeping anything from Saul (except for Jonathan and Doeg also has some dated information on David).


1Samuel 22:8e

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

ârab (ב ַר ָא) [pronounced aw-RABV]

to ambush, to lay in wait, to hide

masculine singular, Qal active participle

Strong’s #693 BDB #70

kaph or ke ( ׃) [pronounced ke]

like, as, according to; about, approximately

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #453

yôwm (םי) [pronounced yohm]

day, today (with a definite article)

masculine singular noun with a definite article

Strong’s #3117 BDB #398

zeh (הז) [pronounced zeh]

here, this, thus

demonstrative adjective with a definite article

Strong’s #2088, 2090 (& 2063) BDB #260


Translation: ...[even] to lie in wait [for me] this day?” The end result is that David, his former servant, lies in wait to ambush him, to take over Saul’s position, even on this very day. Saul’s point is that these men who stand before him are his servants, not David’s. The end result is that they are cutting their own throats. David cannot give them land and promotion; Saul can. Yet, they have betrayed Saul. Saul, in so many words, has said, “Could you be any more stupid? You have cut your own throats by betraying me!”


As I mentioned earlier, vv. 7–8 are really one very long question, which more properly goes like this: Then Saul said to his servants, those stationed around him, “Listen, please, Benjamites, even all of you: [Has] the son of Jesse given [you] fields and vineyards; [has] he made [you] chiefs of thousands and chiefs of hundreds so that you have all conspired against me; so that no one reveals to me when my son makes an alliance with the son of Jesse; so that no one from among you is pained by me even to reveal to me that my son has raised up my servant against me, [even] to lie in wait [for me] this day?” Note the structure: Saul asks if David has made promises to these men, and therefore they have betrayed Saul by not revealing where David is. Saul seems to recognize no motive on the part of others but that of the most sordid selfishness. Footnote


The author has intentionally contrasted David and Saul in this previous few verses. However, this may not be clear, so let me spell it out for you:

David and Saul—a Literary Contrast

David

Saul

David has taken care of the protection of his parents.

Saul has, for all intents and purposes, disowned his own son (although this will be temporary).

David entreats a foreigner—the king of Moab—to protect his parents.

Saul entreats a foreigner—Doeg of Edom—to betray David.

David is in a secure place, called a stronghold, with his 400 misfits, whom he has taken responsibility for.

Saul is on a hill in Gibeah surrounded by everyone that he could gather.

David listens to Gad the prophet for direction. David has no master plan except to be guided by God.

Saul listens to no man for direction. He wants information. He has already determined what he will do (seek David and kill him; and kill anyone connected with helping David). Saul has no interest in divine guidance.

David is willing to reach out for help (he asks the king of Moab to protect his parents).

Saul will ignore what others tell him, if it does not fit in with his plan (e.g., the honest words of the priest Ahimelech will go unheeded).

David is willing to be guided by the prophet Gad.

Saul becomes extremely antagonistic toward the priests of God.

David has taken full responsibility for his men, which are a group of misfits. He guides them and inspires them to be greater than they were when they came to him. Although David makes no meaningless promises, many of these men will become great under his guidance.

Saul browbeats his men and he manipulates them. He makes empty promises and implies promotion and wealth in order to manipulate them. His soldiers fall into a downward spiral under his command.

David has taken upon himself the responsibility to better those who have come to him. All those who remain with David will become better people for doing so.

Saul appeals to the basest desires of his men in order to manipulate them. All those under his command will become worse people for remaining with him.

David is motivated by God’s guidance (1Sam. 22:5 23:2).

Saul is motivated by jealousy, anger and bitterness.

One of the things that we are told is that, as believers, we should be refreshing to those who are associated with us. People should be blessed by knowing us; people should look upon our relationship as something good. See Rom. 15:32 I Cor. 16:18 II Cor. 7:13 II Tim. 1:16. The close association with an unbeliever or with a believer out of fellowship is often a disaster, resulting in jealousy, betrayal and manipulation.

As emissaries for our Lord, we should reflect His character and His blessing. People should want to associate with us. They should not desire to ignore our emails, phone calls and our personal contact.


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And so answers Doeg the Edomite and he is standing by servants of Saul and so he says, “I saw a son of Jesse coming Nob-ward unto Ahimelech son of Ahitub.

1Samuel

22:9

Then Doeg the Edomite spoke up (he is among [lit., beside] the servants of Saul) and he says, “I saw the son of Jesse coming to Nob to Ahimelech ben Ahitub.

Then Doeg the Edomite spoke up from among the servants of Saul, and he said, “I saw the son of Jesse coming to Nob to speak with Ahimelech ben Ahitub.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so answers Doeg the Edomite and he is standing by servants of Saul and so he says, “I saw a son of Jesse coming Nob-ward unto Ahimelech son of Ahitub.

Septuagint                             And Doec the Syrian who was over the mules of Saul answered and said, “I saw the son of Jesse as he came to Nomba to Abimelech son of Achitob the priest.

 

Significant differences           .


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Doeg the Edomite was standing with the other officers and spoke up, “When I was in the town of Nob, I saw that son of Jesse. He was visiting the priest Ahimelech the son of Ahitub.

NJB                                        Then, up spoke Doeg the Edomite, who was in command of Saul’s staff, ‘I saw the son of Jesse coming to Nob, to Ahimelech son of Ahitub.

NLT                                        Then Doeg the Edomite, who was standing there with Saul’s men, spoke up. “When I was at Nob,” he said, “I saw David talking to Ahimelech the priest.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Then Doeg from Edom, standing with Saul's officials, answered him, “I saw Jesse's son when he came to Ahimelech, Ahitub's son, in Nob.

JPS (Tanakh)                        Doeg the Edomite, who was standing among the courtiers of Saul, spoke up: “I saw the son of Jesse come to Ahimelech son of Ahitub at Nob.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     Then Doeg the Edomite, who was standing by the servants of Saul, answered and said, “I saw the son of Jesse coming to Nob, to Ahimelech the son of Ahitub.

Young's Updated LT              And answer does Doeg the Edomite, who is set over the servants of Saul, and says, “I have seen the son of Jesse coming in to Nob, unto Ahimelech son of Ahitub,...


What is the gist of this verse? What Saul says pricks the conscience of Doeg, who is not a Jew but an Edomite (descended from Esau, Jacob’s twin brother). He tells Saul that he has seen David coming to Nob to speak to Ahimelech ben Ahitub.


1Samuel 22:9a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

׳ânâh (הָנָע) [pronounced ģaw-NAWH]

to answer, to respond; to speak loudly, to speak up [in a public forum]; to testify; to sing, to chant, to sing responsively

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #6030 BDB #772

Dôêg (ג ̤הֹ) [pronounced doh-AYG]; also spelled ג ̤א

anxious, concerned, fear and is transliterated Doeg

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1673 BDB #178

ědôwmîy (י.םד ֱא) [pronounced eh-doh-MEE]

reddish; and is transliterated Edomite; also Syrian

gentilic adjective with the definite article

Strong’s #123 BDB #10

In the LXX, Doeg (Doec) is called a Syrian. The Syrians are located northeast of Israel in the general area of Reuben (the Edomites are located due south of Israel).

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

hûw (אה) [pronounced hoo]

he, it

3rd person masculine singular, personal pronoun

Strong’s #1931 BDB #214

nâtsabv (בַצָנ) [pronounced naw-TSAHBV]

to be stationed, to be left standing, to station oneself, to take one’s stand

Niphal participle

Strong’s #5324 BDB #662

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

׳ebed (ד ב ע) [pronounced ĢEB-ved]

slave, servant

masculine plural construct

Strong’s #5650 BDB #713

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982

In the Septuagint, it reads rather that Doeg (or Doec) was over the mules of Saul. They have him in a particular responsibility.


Translation: Then Doeg the Edomite spoke up (he is among [lit., beside] the servants of Saul)... Doeg is the only man who has any information about David whatsoever. He stands out from the group and speaks out. The information he has is probably a week to a month old, but he can at least tell Saul where David was.


Why didn’t Doeg speak up until now? Although I don’t claim to be able to look into Doeg’s mind, my thinking is that Saul actually hadn’t yielded the floor until this point. He had put together this speech, of which, we heard the gist, and now was ready to hear from his men where David was. A more speculative question would be, why didn’t Doeg go straight to Saul with this information when he returned from Nob? Doeg was one of the chief shepherds—possibly even Saul’s chief shepherd. Most of Saul’s time is spent with his military staff; when he carried on a search and destroy mission, this was with his military staff. Doeg may not have even been aware of this rift between Saul and David (after all, Ahimelech did not know about it). He may have been far enough out of the loop to not know; Doeg was called to this very large meeting along with a great many others who were not generally in Saul’s presence.


Okay, then, you may ask, why didn’t Saul do this before? Why hasn’t he assembled a larger group of men to sweat out prior to this? Here is where you have to realize how Saul’s mind works—he is in a state of psychosis. In his mind, he is the center of the universe. When anything happens to him, he believes that everyone is aware of it. I had an old friend, who, if I called on a day when she was having a difficult day, then I would be chewed out for calling her on such a day. Even though I had not a clue as to what was going on in her life, she acted as though I did and held me responsible for further disturbing her in troubled times. Saul is like this; he at first tried to keep his attacks on David from Jonathan (compare 1Sam. 19 with 20:1–3). However, even though he became more public about it, not everyone knew about it (e.g., Ahimelech). In Saul’s warped mind, everyone should have recognized the pain of betrayal that he was feeling and should have known to come to him with any information about David. However, the true facts of the matter were that some knew and some did not. So Doeg, being a shepherd, may not have realized the importance of his information; and Saul may not have realized that his situation was not known by all.


No matter what the situation, Doeg now speaks up, although his information is dated.


1Samuel 22:9b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

rââh (ה ָא ָר) [pronounced raw-AWH]

to see, to look, to look at, to view, to behold; to perceive, to understand, to learn, to know

1st person singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #7200 BDB #906

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

Yîshay (י ָש̣י) [pronounced yee-SHAH-ee]

transliterated Jesse

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3448 BDB #445

bôw (א) [pronounced boh]

to come in, to come, to go in, to go, to enter

Qal active participle

Strong’s #935 BDB #97

Nob (בֹנ) [pronounced nohbv]

to proclaim; prophet; and is transliterated Nob

Proper noun; location with a directional hê

Strong’s #5011 BDB #611

el (לא) [pronounced el]

in, into, toward, unto, to, regarding, against

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

ăchîymeleke (∵ל∵מי.ח ֲא) [pronounced uh-khee-MEH-lek]

brother of Melek or brother of a king and is transliterated Ahimelech

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #288 BDB #27

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

ăchîţûwbv (בטי.חֲא) [pronounced uh-khee-TUBV]

my brother [is] goodness, and is transliterated Ahitub

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #285 BDB #26


Translation: ...and he says, “I saw the son of Jesse coming to Nob to Ahimelech ben Ahitub. David is long gone from Nob. As we saw in the previous chapter, he went to Nob, scored some bread and a sword, and split for Gath. However, when you are pursuing a man, best place to go (unless you are psychic) is where he was last seen.


Doeg reveals himself as an opportunist and a kiss-ass here. He and David were well acquainted. David, a former shepherd, would have gone out of his way to meet those who were over Saul’s livestock and their knowing one another is documented in the psalms (Psalm 52:inscription). Their relationship, although not necessarily close, was probably cordial. However, here Doeg reveals his true colors. We know this because of the way he designates David—he calls David the son of Jesse, aping Saul. Saul doesn’t speak David’s name, and Doeg follows suit. Saul does it from contempt; Doeg does it because he is an opportunist and a kiss-ass. Doeg here completely follows Saul’s lead.


Doeg probably had another motivation as well. King Saul has made it quite clear in this speech to his cabinet that David is his sworn enemy and that whoever sides with David is against Saul. If it ever came out that Doeg knew David’s whereabouts—that he and David were in the same city at the same time (Nob), then Saul, in his uncontrollable rage, might execute Doeg. So, thinking completely about his own self preservation, Doeg makes this fact known to Saul.


Application: Saul’s own son, Jonathan, recognizes Saul’s insanity and does nothing to encourage his father; however, Doeg enables Saul to act out according to his mental demons. We are all under authority at one time or another; some of us for all of our lives. Obviously, we are to obey those in authority over us; however, do we take it to Doeg’s level? Are we willing to be opportunistic; are we willing to brown nose whoever our boss is? Although the author of this narrative takes no obvious position, the result of Doeg’s behavior is going to be the death of every priest in Nob (along with all of their families).


Application: Our contemporary name for this set of behaviors is known as office politics. It is one thing to do your job and to do it to the best of your ability; it is completely another to get caught up in office politics.


And so he petitions for him in Yehowah and provisions he had given and a sword of Goliath the Philistine he had given to him.”

1Samuel

22:10

He also inquired in the presence of God for him and he gave him provisions and he gave him the sword of Goliath, the Philistine.”

He also inquired guidance for David before God, as well as giving him provisions and the sword of Goliath the Philistine.”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so he petitions for him in Yehowah and provisions he had given and a sword of Goliath the Philistine he had given to him.”

Septuagint                             And he inquired of God for him and gave him provisions and he gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine.”

 

Significant differences           .


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Ahimelech talked to the Lord for him, then gave him food and the sword that had belonged to Goliath the Philistine.”

NLT                                        Ahimelech consulted the Lord to find out what David should do. Then he gave David food and the sword of Goliath the Philistine.”


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Ahimelech prayed to the Lord for David and gave him food and the sword of Goliath the Philistine.”

JPS (Tanakh)                        He inquired of the Lord on his behalf and gave him provisions; he also gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine.”


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     “And he inquired of the Lord for him, gave him provisions, and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine.”

Young's Updated LT              ...and he asks for him at Jehovah, and provision has given to him, and the sword of Goliath the Philistine has given to him.


What is the gist of this verse? Doeg told Saul what he observed, which was that David asked for guidance from God through the priest (although we do not know if Doeg is embellishing at this point), as well as food and a weapon.


Recall that Doeg has two motivations here: (1) Saul’s approbation and (2) insurance that Saul, at a later date won’t find out that David was in Nob with Doeg and then execute Doeg out of anger. So, when he presents this stale information to Saul, he must deflect Saul’s anger onto someone else. Doeg does this deftly. What he will say next is designed to make Saul rage against Ahimelech.


1Samuel 22:10a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

shâal (ל ַא ָש) [pronounced shaw-AHL]

to ask, to petition, to request, to inquire; to demand; to question, to interrogate

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #7592 BDB #981

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

preposition with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, among, in the midst of; at, by, near, on, before, in the presence of, upon; with; to, unto, upon, up to; in respect to, on account of; by means of, with, about, concerning

primarily a preposition of proximity; however, it has a multitude of functions

Strong’s #none BDB #88

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217


Translation: He also inquired in the presence of God for him... We need to take two approaches here: (1) Doeg is telling the truth or (2) Doeg is lying. My first reaction was that, Doeg is embellishing this information. In the previous chapter, nothing was said about David asking God for guidance. Furthermore, although it will be clear that Doeg saw David and David saw Doeg, there is no indication that they got close enough to one another for Doeg to hear David ask Ahimelech for guidance. Also, realize that David lied to Ahimelech. He wanted food and a weapon, so he told Ahimelech that he was on a secret mission from Saul. Asking Ahimelech for guidance at that point would have been confused. In Ahimelech’s mind, David would be asking about what should he do with regards to this secret mission from Saul. David knew this was a lie, and he would have to interpret all of Ahimelech’s answers in this light; or pose his questions in such a way as to allow for either a secret mission or his true actions, which were to hide from Saul. Whatever David asked would have to be filtered through Ahimelech’s mind, who has a different understanding of the situation, as David is deceiving him. So there are very few questions that David can ask which will result in a helpful answer. He might ask, which way should I go? However, this would make little sense, as David is supposedly bringing the bread to the men who are with him. He might ask which way should I go? after hooking up with these men; but that would possibly insert a lie into what he is requesting from God (also, recall, we don’t even know for certain if there were other men besides David). About the only question I can field easily would be, why is Doeg lying? Doeg could have seen David speaking with Ahimelech and simply assumed that David was asking for guidance. In any case, Doeg needs to deflect Saul’s anger. He can’t have Saul get made at the messenger, so he gives Saul enough information to make it appear as though David and Ahimelech are in league with one another.


Let’s approach this from the standpoint that Doeg is telling the truth. Note that this is the first thing that Doeg says. Usually, when one embellishes, he tells what he knows, looks at the listener, and then decides, “I need to add some more information; he didn’t get enough.” However, the first thing that Doeg says is that David inquired God’s guidance through Ahimelech. If one was telling the truth, this would make sense. If Doeg was lying, then we would expect this to be added in at the end. This brings up the question, if David did ask Ahimelech for guidance, why weren’t we told that in the previous chapter? The previous chapter emphasized the bad decisions that David was making. If the writer mentioned that David had asked Ahimelech for guidance from God, this would have been a mixed message that some would not grasp. However, in retrospect, we could reasonably assume that David was out of fellowship because he lied to Ahimelech and therefore, God was not going to communicate with him. Evidence for this position would be the fact that the next thing that David did was go to Gath and almost get himself killed. That surely was not God’s directive will.


My gut tells me, however, that Doeg has embellished this story; or, he misinterpreted David and Ahimelech’s talk, which he did not hear. From seeing David and Ahimelech talk, Doeg perhaps only inferred that David must be asking for guidance. Ahimelech places this embellishment on the front end of his answer to Saul. Let me give you several reasons why Ahimelech was probably embellishing his story to Saul:

The Reasons Why We Know Doeg is Embellishing his Story to Saul

1.     Doeg is an opportunist and a kiss-ass. Developing a rapport by further vilifying a common enemy would be in line with this personality type.

2.     There is nothing in the previous chapter about David asking Ahimelech for guidance.

3.     There is nothing in any previous chapter about David ever asking any priest for guidance (although, one might infer from his meeting with Samuel in chapter 19 that David desired guidance from Samuel).

4.     Since David was deceiving Ahimelech, getting guidance which made sense would have been quite difficult.

5.    Ahimelech appears to have no idea what Saul is accusing him of (v. 15). He asks Saul, “Did I just begin to inquire of God for David? Because I didn’t do this in the past.” He is nonplussed by Saul’s accusation.

6.     Since David is lying to Ahimelech, then he is out of fellowship and he would not have any interest in determining God’s will.

7.     David does not want Ahimelech to know what he is up to (which is why he lied to him). Requesting that Ahimelech ask God for anything, at this point, could end up revealing his lie to Ahimelech.

8.     David’s first geographical move after Nob is to go to Gath where he almost gets himself killed (and alerts the Philistine forces to the fact that Israel’s greatest general is no longer a man to be feared). God would not have guided David to do that.

9.    David did not ask guidance from God through Ahimelech because it is clear in this chapter the Ahimelech never had a clue as to what David was up to. Saul called Ahimelech and the other priests, and they went to Saul, expecting Saul to thank them for helping David in his secret mission. Had David asked him for guidance, Ahimelech would have gotten some sort of clue as to what David was really up to.

10.  David did not ask guidance from God through Ahimelech, because his next stop is Gath. David will fake insanity in Gath in order to escape, and this will give the Philistines good reason to attack the Israelites.

11.   Most importantly of all, in the psalm referencing Doeg (Psalm 52), David apparently labels Doeg as a worker of deceit (v. 2), as one who loves falsehood more than speaking what is true (v. 3), and as one with a deceitful tongue (v. 4). 3 times in a very short psalm, David excoriates Doeg for lying. For me, this is proof positive against Doeg.

As an addendum to this study, I should point out that several exegetes believed that David actually did inquire of the Lord (Clarke; Gill; Jamison, Fausset and Brown; Keil and Delitzsch) and at least one did not (Barnes). Why not go along with the majority? Most of the exegetes which I read have given entire commentaries on Scripture, and this is without the hundreds of resources which I have at my fingertips. Furthermore, it is also rare for an exegete to have a mathematical mind, which is better swayed by logical arguments. Given my age and the amount of time that it takes me to plow through any given chapter of Scripture (usually about 4 weeks); there is no way that I will ever complete a study of each and every book of Scripture. With my approach, I am able to take more time with each issue, and ruminate on it (I try not to make a mess). So, what my studies will lack in breadth will certainly be made up for in depth.

I have recently heard a pastor cover a passage of Scripture in one night, and the main point of an entire epistle on another night. Here, he steps back and takes a holistic view of the material, like taking a snapshot with a wide-angled lens. I tend to move in close and look at things in much more detail. Both examinations of Scripture are reasonable. I am of the opinion that, no matter how closely you examine God’s Word, it will still yield up a vast quantity of doctrine and application.


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As an aside, I do not enter into these speculations with a set position (usually). Footnote I recognize the various possible scenarios and often play them out, as you saw me do here, considering their various ramifications and implications. Usually, I will come to a point where one position simply makes much more sense than another. Here, the strongest point against Doeg embellishing this story is that the embellishment is added to the front end of his report to Saul. The second strongest point is, we are not told of David’s asking for guidance, as it would not have been in keeping with the theme of that portion of God’s Word. Finally, what Ahimelech says in 1Sam. 22:15 (“Did I begin to inquire of God for him today?”), to some is an admission that he had given David divine guidance. Footnote Given the 7 arguments in favor of Doeg embellishing this story (or, misinterpreting David and Ahimelech’s conversation), these are very weak points indeed.


1Samuel 22:10b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

tseydah (ה ַדי ֵצ) [pronounced TSAY-dah]

provisions [taken on a journey]

feminine singular noun

Strong’s #6720 BDB #845

nâthan (ן ַתָנ) [pronounced naw-THAHN]

to give, to grant, to place, to put, to set

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #5414 BDB #678


Translation: ...and he gave him provisions... We did observe this. David received the leftover bread from the Table of Showbread. New bread had been added; some priests obviously had picked up several loaves of the old bread; and David took the last five loaves.


1Samuel 22:10c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

chereb (ב ר ח) [pronounced khe-REBV]

sword, knife, dagger; any sharp tool

feminine singular construct

Strong’s #2719 BDB #352

Gâleyath (ת-ילָ) [pronounced gohl-YAHTH]

conspicuous and is transliterated Goliath

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1555 BDB #163

Pelishetîy (י. ש ̣ל) [pronounced pe-lish-TEE]

transliterated Philistine

masculine singular gentilic adjective (acts like a proper noun) with the definite article

Strong’s #6430 BDB #814

nâthan (ן ַתָנ) [pronounced naw-THAHN]

to give, to grant, to place, to put, to set

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #5414 BDB #678

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

preposition with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510


Translation: ...and he gave him the sword of Goliath, the Philistine.” Doeg also observed that David took with him the sword of Goliath. In today’s vernacular, Saul might say, “So David is now armed and dangerous.”


Doeg did not speak out at first. It is likely that Saul had not opened the floor yet. Doeg recognizes that Saul could turn his vehemence toward him for not coming to him directly with this information about David; therefore, he has mentally organized this information so that Saul’s anger will be vented toward someone else—in this case, Ahimelech the priest—rather than back at him. Therefore, what he would say was mentally organized before stepping forward. This is why Doeg began with a slight stretch of the truth. So he tells Saul that Ahimelech provided David with God’s guidance, and with food and with a weapon.


Now, what I want you to recognize is that, in Saul’s eyes, Ahimelech the priest was completely duplicitous in his interaction with David. He gave David a weapon; he gave David provisions; and he gave David guidance. From Saul’s point of view, this is treason.


Application: I hope that it is clear that Doeg’s take on this situation was not altogether accurate; what he passed along to Saul by way of information endangered the priests of Nob. You must be absolutely careful when it comes to relaying information about a person’s character, particularly when requested as a reference for that person. And when it comes to gossiping; simply don’t do it. What you have heard about Charley Brown is immaterial to all conversations and all requests for information about Charley Brown. What Doeg is doing is the equivalent of gossiping. He does not know that Ahimelech gave David guidance; and he obviously did not recognize that David got the sword and provisions by lying to Ahimelech.


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Saul Brings the Priests to Gibeah and Interrogates Them


And so sends the king to call Ahimelech son of Ahitub the priest and all of a house of his father, the priests who [were] in Nob. And so they come all of them unto the king.

1Samuel

22:11

The king then sent [men] to summon Ahimelech ben Ahitub the priest, and all of his father’s house; [that is], the priests who [were] at Nob. So all of them came to the king.

The king then sent men to summon Ahimelech ben Ahitub, the priest, along with all of his father’s house—namely, the priests who lived at Nob. Therefore, all of them went to the king.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so sends the king to call Ahimelech son of Ahitub the priest and all of a house of his father, the priests who [were] in Nob. And so they come all of them unto the king.

Septuagint                             And the king sent to call Abimelech son of Achitob and all his father’s sons, the priests that were in Nomba; and they all came to the king.

 

Significant differences           .


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Saul sent a message to Ahimelech and his whole family of priests at Nob, ordering them to come to him. When they came,...

NAB                                       At this the king sent a summons to Ahimelech the priest, son of Ahitub, and to all his family who were priests in Nob; and they all came to the king.

NLT                                        King Saul immediately sent for Ahimelech and all his family, who served as priests at Nob.

TEV                                       So King Saul sent for the priest Ahimelech and all his relatives, who were also priests in Nob, and they came to him.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Then the king sent for the priest Ahimelech, who was Ahitub's son, and his entire family who were the priests in Nob. All of them came to the king.

JPS (Tanakh)                        Thereupon the king sent for the priest Ahimelech son of Ahitub and for all the priests belonging to his father’s house at Nob. They all came to the king,...


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     Then the king sent someone to summon Ahimelech the priest, the son of Ahitub, and all his father’s household, the priests who were in Nob; and all of them came to the king.

Young's Updated LT              And the king sends to call Ahimelech son of Ahitub, the priest, and all the house of his father, the priests, who are in Nob, and they come all of them unto the king;...


What is the gist of this verse? Saul summons all of the priests in Nob to come to him (in particular, Ahimelech, whom Saul sees as being in cahoots Footnote with David). They all come, unsuspecting.


This verse, and what follows, is the saddest thing that one could imagine. Had David been honest with Ahimelech from the beginning, then these men would not have gone up to Gibeah like so many sheep to the slaughter. Although we do not know any specific details, these men have already eluded destruction when Shiloh was destroyed, so they are able to move and hide when necessary. However, in speaking to David, Ahimelech found that David was on a secret mission for Saul and he assumes that, in being called to Saul, that this is related to this secret mission.


1Samuel 22:11a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

shâlach (ח ַל ָש) [pronounced shaw-LAKH]

to send, to send for, to send forth, to send away, to dismiss, to deploy, to put forth

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #7971 BDB #1018

meleke ( ל מ) [pronounced MEH-lek]

king, ruler, prince

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #4428 BDB #572

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

qârâ (א ָר ָק) [pronounced kaw-RAW]

to call, to proclaim, to read, to call to, to call out to, to assemble, to summon

Qal infinitive construct

Strong's #7121 BDB #894

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

ăchîymeleke (∵ל∵מי.ח ֲא) [pronounced uh-khee-MEH-lek]

brother of Melek or brother of a king and is transliterated Ahimelech

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #288 BDB #27

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

ăchîţûwbv (בטי.חֲא) [pronounced uh-khee-TUBV]

my brother [is] goodness, and is transliterated Ahitub

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #285 BDB #26

kôhên (ן ֵהֹ) [pronounced koh-HANE]

priest

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #3548 BDB #463


Translation: The king then sent [men] to summon Ahimelech ben Ahitub the priest,... Ahimelech ben Ahitub is like naming a person by his first and last name; therefore, the reference here is to one person, Ahimelech, who is the priest. As you will recall, the words High Priest are not found in the book of Samuel; we would reasonably infer from the text that Ahimelech was the acting High Priest. He is the man to whom David speaks in the previous chapter and he is the man that Saul calls specifically from Nob. He also took upon himself the decision to give David the sword of Goliath and the holy bread; therefore, we may reasonably infer that he is acting High Priest. The fact that Saul asks for him by name, seems to indicate that he speaks for all of the priests as well.


You may recall that back in 1Sam. 14, Saul was associated with a priest Ahijah who carried the Ephod of God and who is also the son of Ahitub (1Sam. 14:3). Some suggest that Ahi, Ahijah, and Ahiah are all abbreviated forms for the name Ahimelech. This would mean that Saul is calling upon the priest who used to serve him. This would make sense; that is, it would make sense that Saul would ask for this man; that this man would be the one who would carry the Ephod and therefore be the High Priest; and that Saul probably sent him back to stay with priests when God would not speak to Saul through him (1Sam. 14:37). That he would be known by his more informal name to Saul when in close association with Saul (1Sam. 14:3, 18), and yet referred to here very formally (Ahimelech ben Ahitub) is also reasonable, as Saul believes that he has betrayed him and advised David (1Sam. 22:13–15). This feeling that his own priest betrayed him would cause Saul to lose it, and demand the execution of all of these priests.


There are two other possibilities: Ahijah could be the son of Ahimelech, and still be called Ahijah ben Ahitub; and it is possible the Ahijah and Ahimelech are brothers. However, making them equivalent ties everything together quite nicely.


1Samuel 22:11b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

kôl (לֹ) [pronounced kohl]

every, each, all of, all, any of

masculine singular construct not followed by a definite article

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

bayith (ת̣י ַ) [pronounced BAH-yith]

house, household, habitation as well as inward

masculine singular construct

Strong's #1004 BDB #108

âbv (ב ָא,) [pronounced awbv]

father, both as the head of a household or clan

masculine singular noun with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #1 BDB #3

kôhên (ן ֵהֹ) [pronounced koh-HANE]

priest

masculine plural noun with the definite article

Strong's #3548 BDB #463

ăsher (ר ש ֲא) [pronounced ash-ER]

that, which, when, who

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

Strong’s# none BDB #88

Nob (בֹנ) [pronounced nohbv]

to proclaim; prophet; and is transliterated Nob

Proper noun; location

Strong’s #5011 BDB #611


Translation: ...and all of his father’s house; [that is], the priests who [were] at Nob. Saul knows enough from Doeg that Ahimelech spent a fair amount of time with David. It is very likely that Doeg observed them, but did not go right up to them and listen on their conversation, as that would have seemed weird. Saul, suspecting that there might be a bond between David and Ahimelech (like the bond between his son Jonathan and David), so he asks for all of the priests at Nob to come to him.


Note, the king does not go to Nob, but he summons these priests to all come to him. If this were a movie, you might be yelling at the screen, “Don’t go!” But recall that Ahimelech believe that he helped David while David was on a mission from Saul. If anything, he expect acolades from Saul for what he has done.


1Samuel 22:11c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

bôw (א) [pronounced boh]

to come in, to come, to go in, to go, to enter

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #935 BDB #97

kol (לָ) [pronounced kol]

the whole, totality, all, the entirety, every

masculine singular noun with a 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

el (לא) [pronounced el]

in, into, toward, unto, to, regarding, against

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

meleke ( ל מ) [pronounced MEH-lek]

king, ruler, prince

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #4428 BDB #572


Translation: So all of them came to the king. These priests expected nothing, except perhaps some commendation from Saul for cooperating with his mission. Ahimelech may or may not have shared the reason for David’s visit (what he thought was the reason for David’s visit); my guess is that he did not tell any of the other priests why David was there, as it was a secret mission. However, all of the priests went to Saul and it is apparent that no one suspects a thing.


Now, this is interesting that Saul expects them to come. He does not go to Nob and surround the place (not yet, anyway). There is an aspect to this that we are not really informed of. It will be clear that all of these priests are restrained somehow near the end of this chapter. At this point, it is unclear as to how many messengers were sent to fetch them. Saul may have sent enough soldiers so that the priests would not object to going, but not so many that they would become afraid. My guess is that about 10 messengers were sent to fetch them, which in part accounts for their orderly arrival. The other aspect of this is, these priests have no idea as to what is going on between Saul and David.


And so says Saul, “Listen, please, son of Ahitub.”


And so he says, “Behold me, my lord.”

1Samuel

22:12

Saul then said, “Listen, please, son of Ahitub.”


And he answered, “Here [I am], my lord.”

Saul then said, “Listen, if you would, son of Ahitub.”


And he answered, “I am here, my lord.”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so he says, “Behold me, my lord.”

Septuagint                             And Saul said, “Hear now, you son of Achitob.” And he said, “Lo! I. Speak, lord.”

 

Significant differences           .


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Saul told them, “Listen to me, you son of Ahitub.” “Certainly, Your Majesty,” Ahimelech answered.

NLT                                        When they arrived, Saul shouted at him, “Listen to me, you son of Ahitub!”

“What is it, my king?” Ahimelech asked.

REB                                       Saul said, ‘Now listen, you son of Ahitub,’ and the man answered, ‘Yes, my lord?’

TEV                                       Saul said to Ahimelech, “Listen, Ahimelech!”

“At your service, sir,” he answered.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Saul said, “Listen here, son of Ahitub.” “Yes, sir?” he responded.

JPS (Tanakh)                        ...and Saul said, “Listen to me, son of Ahitub.” “Yes, my lord,” he replied.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Updated Emphasized Bible   And Saul said,

Hear, I pray you, you son of Ahitub!

And he said

Behold me! my Lord.

NASB                                     And Saul said, “Listen now, son of Ahitub.” And he answered [lit., said], “Here I am, my lord.”

Young's Updated LT              ...and Saul says, “Hear, I pray you, son of Ahitub.” and he says, “Here am I, my lord.”


What is the gist of this verse? Saul speaks directly to Ahimelech, and tells him to listen. Ahimelech acknowledges Saul’s authority.


1Samuel 22:12a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982

shâma׳ (ע ַמ ָש) [pronounced shaw-MAHĢ]

to listen, to hear, to listen intently, to listen and obey, to listen and act upon, to listen and give heed to, to hearken to, to be attentive to, to listen and take note of, to listen and be cognizant of

2nd person masculine singular, Qal imperative

Strong's #8085 BDB #1033

nâ (אָנ) [pronounced naw]

please, I pray you, I respectfully implore (ask, or request of) you, I urge you

particle of entreaty

Strong's #4994 BDB #609

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

ăchîţûwbv (בטי.חֲא) [pronounced uh-khee-TUBV]

my brother [is] goodness, and is transliterated Ahitub

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #285 BDB #26


Translation: Saul then said, “Listen, please, son of Ahitub.” Saul begins very politely, and in exactly the same way as he addressed his own servants (see v. 7a). Note, when Saul is irritated with someone, he tends to call them by their formal name. If Saul called in Charlie Brown today, he would say, “Listen to me, if you would, Mr. Brown.” In those days, he would say, “Listen, please, son of Brown.” In the south, we sometimes use the word sir to express respect and sometimes we use it because we think the person that we are speaking to is probably an asshole. Most of us have been trained not to say exactly what we think.


In the past generation or two, there is a pride in some people coming out and saying just exactly what is on their mind (actually, they never say everything that is on their mind; for instance, they rarely say things which make them look bad). However, they have no problem with making someone else feel bad with what they say (unless, of course, it is someone whose feelings they genuinely care about—which is generally a very minuscule group of people).


1Samuel 22:12b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

hinnêh (הֵ ̣ה) [pronounced hin-NAY]

lo, behold, or more freely, observe, look here, look, listen, pay attention, get this, check this out

interjection, demonstrative particle with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong’s #2009 (and #518, 2006) BDB #243

âdôwn (ןד ָא) [pronounced aw-DOHN]

lord, master, owner, superior, sovereign

masculine singular noun with the 1st person plural suffix

Strong’s #113 BDB #10


Translation: And he answered, “Here [I am], my lord.” Ahimelech responds in kind, although he probably has no idea as to what is coming. He might even expect some kind of award or pat on the back for assisting David in his secret mission.


And so says unto him Saul, “For why have you conspired against me—you and a son of Jesse—in a your giving to him bread and a sword and a petition for him in Elohim to rise into me to an ambushing as the day the this?”

1Samuel

22:13

Then Saul said to him, “Why have you conspired against me—you and the son of Jesse—in your giving him bread and a sword, and [you] petitioned Elohim for him [in order] to rise up against me for lying in wait on [lit., as] this day [forward]?”

Then Saul said to him, “Why have you conspired against me with the son of Jesse? You have given him both food and a sword; you petitioned God on his behalf so that he can now rise up against me and lie in wait to ambush me from this day forward.”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so says unto him Saul, “For why have you conspired against me—you and a son of Jesse—in a your giving to him bread and a sword and a petition for him in Elohim to rise into me to an ambushing as the day the this?”

Septuagint                             And Saul said to him, “Why have you and the son of Jessæ conspired against me, that you should give him bread and a sword and should inquire of God for him, to raise him up against me as an enemy, as he is this day?”

 

Significant differences           .


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Saul demanded, “Why did you plot against me with that son of Jesse? You helped him rebel against me by giving him food and a sword, and by talking with God for him. Now he's trying to ambush me!”

NLT                                        “Why have you and David conspired against me?” Saul demanded. “Why did you give him food and a sword? Why have you inquired of God for him? Why did you encourage him to revolt against me and to come here and attack me?”


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Saul asked him, “Why did you and Jesse's son plot against me? You gave him bread and a sword and prayed to God for him so that he can rise up against me and ambush me, as he's doing now.”

JPS (Tanakh)                        And Saul said to him, “Why have you and the son of Jesse conspired against me? You gave him food and a sword, and inquired of God for him—that he may rise in ambush [the Septuagint reads as an enemy] against me, as is now the case.”


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     Saul then said to him, “Why have you and the son of Jesse conspired against me, in that you have given him bread and a sword and have inquired of God for him, that he should rise up against me by lying in ambush as it is this day?”

Young's Updated LT              And Saul says unto him, “Why have you conspired against me, you and the son of Jesse, by your giving to him bread and a sword, and to ask for him at God, to rise against me, to lie in wait, as at this day?”


What is the gist of this verse? Saul makes almost the exact same accusations against the priests as he did against his soldiers: (1) the conspired with the son of Jesse, giving him food and a weapon; (2) they have made it possible for David to rise up in rebellion against Saul, to lie in wait for him. Also, he accuses Ahimelech of inquiring God’s direction to help David in these endeavors.


If you go back to v. 8, you will see almost the same list of imagined infractions which Saul accused his soldiers of. The sentence structure is very different in this verse; Saul uses a several infinitive constructs (whose usage will be covered within the Hebrew exegesis).


1Samuel 22:13a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

el (לא) [pronounced el]

in, into, toward, unto, to, regarding, against

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied); with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #413 BDB #39

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

mâh (ה ָמ) [pronounced maw]

what, how, why

interrogative; exclamatory particle

Strong’s #4100 BDB #552

Lâmed + mâh can be rendered why, for what reason, to what purpose, for what purpose, indicating an interrogatory sentence.

qâshar (ר-שָק) [pronounced kaw-SHAHR]

to bind; to conspire; a state of being compact and firm [and therefore] robust

2nd person masculine plural, Qal perfect

Strong’s #7194 BDB #905

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

attâh (הָ-א) [pronounced aht-TAW]

you (often, the verb to be is implied)

2nd person masculine singular, personal pronoun

Strong’s #859 BDB #61

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

Yîshay (י ָש̣י) [pronounced yee-SHAH-ee]

transliterated Jesse

masculine proper noun, pausal form

Strong’s #3448 BDB #445


Translation: Then Saul said to him, “Why have you conspired against me—you and the son of Jesse—... Although Saul addresses Ahimelech specifically, the verb is in the 2nd person masculine plural, possibly indicating that he is speaking to all of the priests who are gathered there. Saul is accusing all of the priests of conspiring against him. Not only have they all conspired against him, but they have done so with the son of Jesse, who is, of course, David. Footnote


When Saul says this, both Ahimelech and the other priests are taken aback. Ahimelech is shocked by this accusation, not realizing that Saul and David were at odds; and the other priests are concerned that they may be included in the plural of the verb.


1Samuel 22:13b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

Strong’s# none BDB #88

nâthan (ן ַתָנ) [pronounced naw-THAHN]

to give, to grant, to place, to put, to set

Qal infinitive construct with a 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #5414 BDB #678

A Qal infinitive construct with a preposition can introduce a purpose clause, a result clause or a temporal clause.

The infinitive construct, when combined with the bêyth preposition, can often take on a temporal meaning and may be rendered when [such and such happens]. It can serve as a temporal marker that denotes an event which occurs simultaneously with the action of the main verb.

lechem (ם ח ל) [pronounced LEH-khem]

literally means bread; used more generally for food

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #3899 BDB #536

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

chereb (ב ר ח) [pronounced khe-REBV]

sword, knife, dagger; any sharp tool

feminine singular noun

Strong’s #2719 BDB #352


Translation: ...in your giving him bread and a sword,... Now Saul will begin to list the ways that Ahimelech (and possibly the other priests) conspired against him. Ahimelech first gave David food and a sword, so now he is nourished, armed and dangerous. I believe that we call this aiding and abetting the enemy.


Here, by the way, the 2nd person masculine singular is used, so that the other priests are now sighing a bit of relief, thinking that, whatever is going on, they are probably off the hook.


1Samuel 22:13c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

shâal (ל ַא ָש) [pronounced shaw-AHL]

to ask, to petition, to request, to inquire; to demand; to question, to interrogate

Qal infinitive absolute

Strong’s #7592 BDB #981

A Qal infinitive absolute is a verb which can act like noun, a verb or an adverb. Generally it takes the place of a noun and serves to intensify meanings. When used as a complement of affirmation, it may be rendered surely, indeed; and when it is a complement of improbability and condition, we render it at all, freely, indeed. The Qal infinitive absolute can also serve as an adverbial complement; or, as a verb, it can replace finite verbs, imperatives, participles, and the infinitive constructs. Footnote

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

preposition with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

Strong’s# none BDB #88

ělôhîym (מי ̣הֹלֱא) [pronounced el-o-HEEM]

gods or God; transliterated Elohim

masculine plural noun

Strong's #430 BDB #43


Translation: ...and [you] petitioned Elohim for him... Not only have they fed and given David a weapon, but Ahimelech also supposedly petitioned God on David’s behalf. As was mentioned, we did not know about that until this chapter; and it is in this chapter when David appears to get his spiritual bearings. And, again, we don’t know if Ahimelech actually did petition God on David’s behalf; when I viewed all the reasons, I came to the conclusion that this was a lie of Doeg’s.


Saul should have realized that this is somewhat of a contradiction. If David is conspiring against Saul and petitions God, then God would have told him to back off. However, Saul knows that God is against him, and therefore, David inquiring of God can only work against Saul. Saul sees himself as an enemy of both David and God, who, essentially, are also conspiring against him. What Saul does not seem to recognize is, if God wanted Saul off the throne that instant, Saul would be off the throne.


1Samuel 22:13d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

qûwm (םק) [pronounced koom]

to stand, to rise up, to establish, to establish a vow, to cause a vow to stand, to confirm or to fulfill a vow

Qal infinitive construct

Strong’s #6965 BDB #877

The lâmed with an infinitive construct generally expresses purpose or result, although it can have three other common uses with the infinitive: (1) It can have a gerundial or adverbial sense to explain the circumstances of a previous action; (2) it can act as a periphrastic future in nominal clauses; and, (3)  Comment it can behave as a gerund, in the sense of is to be, must be, ought to be. Footnote (4) Lâmed with the infinitive can connote shall or must. Footnote

el (לא) [pronounced el]

in, into, toward, unto, to, regarding, against

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied); with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong's #413 BDB #39


Translation: ...[in order] to rise up against me... Since David is nourished, is brandishing a weapon, and he knows the will of God, he is now able to rise up against Saul. This is the result of the illegal enabling of the priests, as Saul sees it.


You may wonder about all of the constructs as well as the participle found in this verse, which is quite different from v. 8, even though the charges are almost the same. Saul is looking into Ahimelech’s eyes, trying to determine just what he has done, and how much the other priests participated. When Saul uses a construct, then there is no reference to number or gender, so it is unclear whether Saul is referring to Ahimelech alone or to him and the other priests.


1Samuel 22:13e

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

ârab (ב ַר ָא) [pronounced aw-RABV]

to ambush, to lay in wait, to hide

Qal active participle

Strong’s #693 BDB #70

kaph or ke ( ׃) [pronounced ke]

like, as, according to; about, approximately

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #453

yôwm (םי) [pronounced yohm]

day, today (with a definite article)

masculine singular noun with a definite article

Strong’s #3117 BDB #398

zeh (הז) [pronounced zeh]

here, this, thus

demonstrative adjective with a definite article

Strong’s #2088, 2090 (& 2063) BDB #260


Translation: ...for lying in wait on [lit., as] this day [forward]?” In Saul’s eyes, these priests (or, at least, Ahimelech) have enabled David to rise up against Saul and to lie in wait for him. The idea is that David could be lying in wait even today to kill Saul.


We only know what Saul says here, and not what he thinks. We don’t know if he has decided already to kill all of these priests; nor do we know if his concern here is real. My guess is, despite David’s lack of aggression, Saul’s intense paranoia sees David as an active rebel looking to take his crown.


And so answers Ahimelech the king and so he says, “And who in all your servants as David? Faithful and son-in-law of the king and has turned aside in your guard and is honored in your house.

1Samuel

22:14

Then Ahimelech answered the king, saying, “And who is like David among all your servants? [He is] faithful, the king’s son-in-law; he has turned aside [or, has access to] your bodyguard [Greek: (is) captain (or prince) over your commands] and [he is] honored in your house.

Then Ahimelech answered the king, saying, “Who is like David of all your servants? He is faithful, he is your son-in-law; he is captain over your bodyguard and he has been honored in your home.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so answers Ahimelech the king and so he says, “And who in all your servants as David? Faithful and son-in-law of the king and has turned aside in your guard and is honored in your house.

Septuagint                             And he answered the king ad said, “And who [is] there among all your servants faithful as David; and a son-in-law of the king, and ruler [or, prince] of all your commands, and honorable in your house? Although I generally follow Brenton and simply update his translation, I had to go back a re-do a portion of this verse to more correctly reflect what was found in the Greek.

 

Significant differences           .


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       “Your Majesty, none of your officers is more loyal than David!” Ahimelech replied. “He's your son-in-law and the captain of your bodyguard. Everyone in your family respects him..

NLT                                        “But sir,” Ahimelech replied, “is there anyone among all your servants who is as faithful as David, your son-in-law? Why he is the captain of your bodyguard and a highly honored member of your household!

TEV                                       Ahimelech answered, “David is the most faithful officer you have! He is your own son-in-law, captain of your bodyguard, and highly respected by everyone in the royal court.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Ahimelech asked the king, “But whom among all your officials can you trust like David? Your Majesty, he's your son-in-law, the commander of your bodyguard. He's honored in your own household.

JPS (Tanakh)                        Ahimelech replied to the king, “But who is there among all your courtiers as trusted as David, son-in-law of Your Majesty and obedient to your bidding, and esteemed in your household?


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     Then Ahimelech answered the king and said, “And who among all your servants is as faithful as David, even the king’s son-in-law, who is captain over [so with the Greek; Hebrew: turns aside to] your guard, and is honored in your house?”

NRSV                                    Then Ahimelech answered the king, “Who among all your servants is so faithful as David? He is the king’s son-in-law, and is quick [Heb., and turns aside] to do your bidding, and is honored in your house.

Young's Updated LT              And Ahimelech answers the king and says, “And who among all your servants is as David—faithful, and son-in-law of the king, and has turned aside unto your council, and is honoured in your house?


What is the gist of this verse? Ahimelech figures that he will simply reason with Saul; he thinks, if he states the facts and lists several of David’s attributes, then this will all get straightened out.


1Samuel 22:14a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

׳ânâh (הָנָע) [pronounced ģaw-NAWH]

to answer, to respond; to speak loudly, to speak up [in a public forum]; to testify; to sing, to chant, to sing responsively

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #6030 BDB #772

ăchîymeleke (∵ל∵מי.ח ֲא) [pronounced uh-khee-MEH-lek]

brother of Melek or brother of a king and is transliterated Ahimelech

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #288 BDB #27

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

meleke ( ל מ) [pronounced MEH-lek]

king, ruler, prince

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #4428 BDB #572

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55


Translation: Then Ahimelech answered the king, saying,... Ahimelech’s approach is simple—David is a man of great honor who has always supported King Saul. Ahimelech assumes that there is some kind of a misunderstanding here and that Saul’s sudden characterization of David is just plain wrong. So, Ahimelech will make the mistake that many have made before him: he will attempt to reason logically with Saul in order to straighten things out.


1Samuel 22:14b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

mîy (י ̣מ) [pronounced mee]

who; occasionally rendered how, in what way

pronominal interrogative

Strong’s #4310 BDB #566

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

Strong’s# none BDB #88

kôl (לֹ) [pronounced kohl]

with a plural noun, it is rendered all of; any of

masculine singular construct with a masculine plural noun

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

׳ebed (ד ב ע) [pronounced ĢEB-ved]

slave, servant

masculine plural noun with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #5650 BDB #713

kaph or ke ( ׃) [pronounced ke]

like, as, according to; about, approximately

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #453

Dâvid (ד̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187


Translation: “And who is like David among all your servants? Everything that Ahimelech will say is true. First of all, he makes a general statement, which he will support. He asks, “Who is like David among all your servants?” Even though this is stated like a question, the answer that Ahimelech hopes to elicit (even though it is a rhetorical question) is, there is no one like David among all of Saul’s servants (meaning that David is a great man; the greatest of all Saul’s servants). Now Ahimelech will support this with several reasons why David is one of the of Saul’s most trusted servants.


1Samuel 22:14c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

âman (ן ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MAHN]

to be well-founded, firm, stable, of long continuance, perennial, faithful, trustworthy, sure, certain; something that someone can lean upon

Niphal participle

Strong's #539 BDB #52

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

châthân (ן ָת ָח) [pronounced khaw-THAWN]

son-in-law, a daughter’s husband, a bridegroom

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #2860 BDB #368

meleke ( ל מ) [pronounced MEH-lek]

king, ruler, prince

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #4428 BDB #572


Translation: [He is] faithful, the king’s son-in-law;... First of all, David was faithful, trustworthy, dependable. He was someone that Saul could lean upon. No matter what Saul needed, he could always go to David, put forth a request, and David would do it. We have had illustration after illustration of David going into battle on Saul’s behalf and emerging victorious.


The second on this list is obvious: David is Saul’s son-in-law. Saul’s daughter chose David, and Saul approved of their marriage. Everyone knows this. How could the king be questioning his own, personally-approved son-in-law?


1Samuel 22:14d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

çûwr (רס) [pronounced soor]

to turn aside, to depart, to go away

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #5493 (and #5494) BDB #693

Keil and Delitzsch: Lit. to turn aside from the way, to go in to any one, or to look after anything (Ex. 3:3 Ruth 4:1 etc.); hence in the passage before us “to have access,” to be attached to a person. This is the explanation given by Gesenius and most of the modern expositors, whereas the early translators entirely misunderstood the passage, though they have given the meaning correctly enough at 2Sam. 23:23. Footnote

In the Greek, this reads and is captain [prince or lord] over...

el (לא) [pronounced el]

in, into, toward, unto, to, regarding, against

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied); with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong's #413 BDB #39

mishema׳ath (תַע ַמש ̣מ) [pronounced mishe-MAH-ģahth]

guard, command, council, bodyguard, obedient band, a body of subjects

feminine singular noun with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #4928 BDB #1036

In the Greek, this reads [your] directives, orders, precepts, commands.


Translation: ...he has turned aside [or, has access to] your bodyguard [Greek: (is) captain (or prince) over your commands]... There is a problem with the translation here. In the Greek, David is a captain over Saul’s commands. In the Greek, the idea is that, Saul would give an order to David and David would see that the order of implemented. The Hebrew is confusing at this point, although Keil and Delitzsch suggest the additional meaning has access to. Footnote This understanding would mean that David had direct access to Saul’s bodyguard, and could therefore have attempted an assassination long before this point in time, if he were truly against Saul.


In any case, I don’t think that we could interpret this as the priest being cleaver, and stating what David could have done (“He could have turned your own bodyguard against you”). The priest is attempted to be as clear and as logical as he can be. This particular phrase would be out of context and out of character if he expected Saul to infer its meaning.


The easiest approach to the meaning of this portion of v. 14 is to simply go with the Greek, which is clear and easy to understand. However, we would expect the translators of the Greek, had they faced these particular words in the Hebrew, to attempt to make some sense of them. Therefore, this portion of Scripture will have to be relegated to the portion whose meaning we can attempt to determine, but cannot pinpoint with any real certainty.


1Samuel 22:14e

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

kâbêd (ד ֵב ָ) [pronounced kawb-VADE]

to be honored, to be held in honor, to be glorified; to show oneself to be great or glorious [reflexive use], to be heavy, to be abundant, to be rich

Niphal participle

Strong's #3513 BDB #457

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

Strong’s# none BDB #88

bayith (ת̣י ַ) [pronounced BAH-yith]

house, household, habitation as well as inward

masculine singular noun with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #1004 BDB #108


Translation: ...and [he is] honored in your house. Finally, David has received honor after honor in the house of Saul. That is, at the end of any campaign, Saul would call forth the officers in his army and hand out rewards and David always received great rewards from Saul.


Now, as far as Ahimelech is concerned, he has made his case on David’s behalf. He is at first shocked as to Saul’s accusations—as if he had done something wrong. And then Ahimelech tells Saul why his actions were appropriate, given who David was in relation to King Saul. The idea is, “I don’t know exactly the person David it is that you are referring to, but this is the David who had come to me for help.” Or, “This is the background of the person David that I know—are we talking about the same person?”


It might be helpful to see the points of view of these two men concerning David:

The Varied Perceptions of David

Saul’s Perception of David

Ahimelech’s Perception of David

David and Ahimelech have conspired with one another against Saul (Ahimelech gave David food, a weapon, and guidance from God).



He is ready to rise up against Saul (in rebellion).



He is lying in wait, ready to ambush Saul at any time.

David is the most faithful of all Saul’s servants.


David is the king’s son-in-law (and Saul approved this union).


David has been responsible for carrying out Saul’s most important orders.


David has been honored in Saul’s palace.

What Ahimelech knows to be true is completely accurate about David. Every argument which he makes in favor of David is based upon true information. Saul’s information is based upon his personally messed up perception of reality.


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The day I have begun to petition for him in God? Far be it to me! Let not put the king in his servant a word in all a house of my father, for has not known your servant in all of this, a word small or great.”

1Samuel

22:15

Have I begun today to petition for him before Elohim? That's absurd! [lit., Far be it for me!] Let not the king impute [lit., place] anything [lit., a word] against his servant [or] against any of my father’s house, for your servant does not know about [lit., in] any of this, anything [lit., a word] great or small."

What? Do you think that I have just begun today to petition on David’s behalf before God? That’s absurd! Let not the king impute anything against his servant or against the house of my father, for your servant knows nothing about this, large or small.”

 

Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       The day I have begun to petition for him in God? Far be it to me! Let not put the king in his servant a word in all a house of my father, for has not known your servant in all of this, a word small or great.”

Septuagint                             Have I begun today to inquire of God for him? By no means; do not let the king bring a charge against his servant, and against the whole of my father’s house; for your servant knew nothing at all in these matters great or small.”

 

Significant differences           .


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       This isn't the first time I've talked with God for David, and it's never made you angry before! Please don't accuse me or my family like this. I have no idea what's going on!”

NJB                                        Was today the first time I ever consulted God on his behalf Indeed it was not! The king has no grounds for bringing any charge against his servant or against his whole family, for your servant knew nothing whatever about all this.’

NLT                                        This was certainly not the first time I had consulted God for him! Please don’t accuse me and my family in this matter, for I knew nothing of any plot against you.”

 

EV                                  Yes, I consulted God for him , and it wasn’t the first time. As for plotting against you, Your Majesty must not accuse me or anyone else in my family. I know nothing about this matter!”


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Is this the first time I have prayed to God for him? Not at all! You shouldn't blame me or anyone in my family for this. I knew nothing at all about this.”

JPS (Tanakh)                        This is the first time that I inquired of God for him; I have done no wrong [lit., far be it from me!]. Let not Your Majesty find fault with his servant [or] with any of my father’s house; for your servant knew nothing whatever about all this.”


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Amplified Bible                Have I only today begun inquiring of God for him? No! Let not the king impute any wrong to his servant, nor to all the house of my father; for your servant has known nothing of all this, little or much.

Updated Emphasized Bible   Did I ║that day║ begin to enquire for him of God? Far from me! Let not the king impute to his servant such a thing, nor to any of the household of my father, for your servant knows nothing of all this, less or more. Nor is found in the Septuagint and the Syriac but not in the Hebrew.

NASB                                     “Did I just begin to inquire of God for him today? Far be it from me! Do not let the king impute anything to his servant or to any of the household of my father, for your servant knows nothing at all of this whole affair.”

NKJV                                     “Did I then begin to inquire of God for him? Far be it from me! Let not the king impute anything to his servant, or to any in the house of my father. For your servant knew nothing of all this, little or much.”

NRSV                                    Is today the first time that I have inquired of God for him? By no means! Do not let the king impute anything to his servant or to any member of my father’s house; for your servant has known nothing of all this, much or little.”

Young's Updated LT              Today have I begun to ask for him at God? far be it from me! let not the king lay anything against his servant, against any of the house of my father, for your servant has known nothing of all this, less or more.”


What is the gist of this verse? Ahimelech then says, “Obviously there is something going on here, but I have no idea as to what it is.”


Obviously, I have quoted a number of different translations. The reason is, this first line is not altogether straightforward and requires some interpretation. Even the literal translations put a slightly different spin on this first line.


Given this and the previous verse, you might be thinking, This Ahimelech really has got a lot to say! However, the deal is this: he is speaking to King Saul, and he is looking at him at the same time. With every word that he says, he sees no reprieve in Saul’s face. He realizes that Saul is extremely angry, and he says whatever he can to attempt to mollify Saul’s anger. He keeps talking and he notices that Saul continues looking more and more angry.


1Samuel 22:15a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

yôwm (םי) [pronounced yohm]

day, today (with a definite article)

masculine singular noun with a definite article

Strong’s #3117 BDB #398

châlal (לַלָח) [pronounced khaw-LAHL]

 to begin

1st person singular, Hiphil perfect

Strong's #2490 BDB #320

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

shâal (ל ַא ָש) [pronounced shaw-AHL]

to ask, to petition, to request, to inquire; to demand; to question, to interrogate

Qal infinitive construct

Strong’s #7592 BDB #981

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

preposition with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

Strong’s# none BDB #88

ělôhîym (מי ̣הֹלֱא) [pronounced el-o-HEEM]

gods or God; transliterated Elohim

masculine plural noun

Strong's #430 BDB #43


Ahimelech has taken a very blunt approach at first—he simply tells Saul that David is his most trusted servant. In speaking clearly so that he cannot be misunderstood, Ahimelech has made a succinct and straightforward argument on David’s behalf. All the while, he is looking at Saul, to gauge his response, and Saul’s expression is not encouraging. In this verse, Ahimelech becomes both angry and worried, and he is somewhat sarcastic and colloquial in response to Saul’s ever increasing look of anger. A modern-day equivalent to preface what Ahimelech will say, would be, “Oh, come on now!” Or, “King Saul, this is absolutely ridiculous!” Or, “You can’t be serious!”


Translation: Have I begun today to petition for him before Elohim? There are two ways to interpret this. The first is as per the CEV, God’s Word™ or the NASB; the idea is, “What’s the deal? Did I just begin to petition God on behalf of David today? I have been doing that for David for years with your blessing!” This would be in agreement with the view that David did inquire of the priest God’s will. The priest did recognize David when he came to him, which would suggest that they knew each other prior to this. Furthermore, this interpretation does require that Ahimelech guided David spiritually at this crucial time; it means that Ahimelech does not answer this question, as being accused of doing something which he has done many times in the past seems absolutely ludicrous to him.


Another interpretation would be, “Are you kidding? Did I just begin petition God on David’s behalf today? (As I have never done that before!)” The idea here is that Ahimelech has never petitioned God on behalf of David for guidance. This is a somewhat sarcastic response (both interpretations involve some sarcasm). This interpretation would, first of all, be in complete agreement that Ahimelech did not petition God for guidance for David, which would make what Doeg said a lie. Furthermore, this tells us that Ahimelech had never petitioned on David’s behalf before. Recall that David was not honest with Ahimelech to begin with so that he may not have asked Ahimelech for guidance, knowing that Ahimelech might figure out that he is on the lamb and blow his cover.

 

Barnes agrees with the second interpretation, explaining: Some lay the stress upon the word “begin,” as though Ahimelech’s justification was that he had often before inquired of the Lord for David when employed on the king’s affairs. But it is much better to understand the words as Ahimelech’s solemn denial of having inquired of the Lord for David, a duty which he owed to Saul alone as king of Israel. The force of the word “begin” lies in this, that it would have been his first act of allegiance to David and defection from Saul. This he strenuously repudiates, and adds, “thy servant knew nothing of all this” conspiracy between Jonathan and David of which Saul speaks: he had acted quite innocently. Footnote There is a problem with Barnes’ justification for this interpretation: if this signified Ahimelech’s first act of allegiance to David and a defection from Saul, then that could imply that he knew of the rift between Saul and David (which he will vehemently deny). However, one could understand that Ahimelech just now, in talking to Saul, recognizes that there is a great conflict between Saul and David and answers knowing this new fact. This would explain the word begin; “Did I just today begin to allign myself with David against you?”

 

Gill argues the other side: Was this the first time of inquiring of God for him? no; I have done this many a time, when he has been going upon the king's business, engaging in war with his enemies; he has then consulted the Lord by me, and I have inquired of the Lord for him, as I now did; and which I did as innocently, and as much for the king's service, as ever I did any. Kimchi observes it may be read without the interrogation, "that day I began to inquire of God for him"; it was the first time I ever did, and I did not know it would have been grievous to thee, or have given thee any disturbance or uneasiness. I did not know that he fled from thee, or was not in thy service, and upon thy business; had I known it, I would never have done it, and as it is the first time it shall be the last. Footnote Of course, you will notice that Gill cannot substantiate Ahimelech’s previous guidance of David, as we have no Scriptural references where David did inquire of God through Ahimelech.


Let me add one more argument in favor of Ahimelech’s denial that he had guided David; note that he says nothing about the sword and the bread. Ahimelech’s answer to Saul deals with his guidance to David. He does not deny that he provided the sword and the bread to David—although Ahimelech says nothing about either, he tells Saul that he did not know of any political infighting, which should get him off the hook (in his own mind) for giving those provisions to David. However, when it comes to providing divine guidance for David, Ahimelech denies that charge outright, which is v. 15a. Note the psychology here: if Ahimelech is faced with a false accusation followed by two true accusations, he is going to answer the false charge first, and that with great vehemence (which accounts for the sarcasm). Then he will plead extenuating circumstances on the two true charges (“I did not know of your political infighting; I did not know that David was an enemy of the state”).


Both interpretations allow for the scenario where David did not inquire of God through Ahimelech. Only the first interpretation would allow for David to have inquired of God through Ahimelech while Doeg was watching. Now, you may not care for the fact that I have given two possible spins to what Ahimelech says. You may want me to take a side and explain why; however, the idea here is, whether Ahimelech guided David or not; whether Ahimelech’s point is, whether he has on many occasions petitioned God on David’s behalf; or, he has never petitioned God on David’s behalf; these are not even issues—the fact of the matter is, neither Ahimelech nor his family know anything about a rift between Saul and David. That is the point. “Okay, I understand by listening to you now that there is some sort of a thing between you and David going on right now; but I knew nothing about this and none of the other priests knew anything about this either. You simply cannot hold us responsible for every new development in your policy if we are not made aware of it.”


1Samuel 22:15b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

châlîylâh (ה ָלי ̣ל ָח) [pronounced khaw-LEE-law]

far be it [from me or you], to profane [something], a profanity!, a blasphemy!

adverb, substantive, interjection

Strong’s #2486 BDB #321

Châlîylâh might be updated to no way, impossible, ridiculous, absurd, that’s wrong, that’s so wrong, you’re completely mistaken.

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

preposition with the 1st person singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510


Translation: That's absurd! [lit., Far be it for me!] With either interpretation, the priest says, “That’s absurd!” In other words, “Saul, you have got it all wrong!” In the first interpretation, Ahimelech has sought the will of God for David several times in the past, all with Saul’s knowledge and apparent blessing. The point he makes is, “What—would this have been the first time I have approached God on behalf of David? That’s absurd!” Note that Ahimelech is not necessarily saying that he did or did not ask God to guide David.


If Ahimelech did not previously petition God on behalf of David, then what he says is, “What? Did I just begin today to petition God for David? That’s absurd!” In other words, Ahimelech has never petitioned God on behalf of David and that was a complete fabrication on the part of Doeg.


In either case, Ahimelech is clear innocent of any wrongdoing, which is the point. He has not done anything that Saul should be angry about. Yet, he keeps looking at Saul and he realizes that nothing that he is saying is placating Saul. He also recognizes that the male members of his family are being held there, and that they are at risk.


1Samuel 22:15c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

al (ל-א) [pronounced al]

not; nothing; none

adverb of negation; conjunction of prohibiting, dehorting, deprecating, desire that something not be done

Strong’s #408 BDB #39.

sîym (םי ̣) [pronounced seem]; also spelled sûwm (ם) [pronounced soom]

to put, to place, to set, to make

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect apocopated

Strong's #7760 BDB #962

meleke ( ל מ) [pronounced MEH-lek]

king, ruler, prince

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #4428 BDB #572

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

Strong’s# none BDB #88

׳ebed (ד ב ע) [pronounced ĢEB-ved]

slave, servant

masculine singular noun with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #5650 BDB #713

bvâr (ר ָב ָ) [pronounced dawb-VAWR]

word, saying, doctrine, thing, matter, command

masculine singular noun

Strong's #1697 BDB #182


Translation: Let not the king impute [lit., place] anything [lit., a word] against his servant... Then Ahimelech, looking into the face of Saul, says, “Please, do not let the king impute anything against your servant.” He speaks of the king and of himself in the 3rd person. The idea is, he is not ordering the king around here; he is making a polite petition, recognizing their respective stations in life. Saul is the king and he is the king’s servant. The 3rd person is also a sign of respect.


1Samuel 22:15d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

Both the Greek and the Syriac insert a conjunction here.

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

Strong’s# none BDB #88

kôl (לֹ) [pronounced kohl]

every, each, all of, all, any of

masculine singular construct not followed by a definite article

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

bayith (ת̣י ַ) [pronounced BAH-yith]

house, household, habitation as well as inward

masculine singular construct

Strong's #1004 BDB #108

âbv (ב ָא,) [pronounced awbv]

father, both as the head of a household or clan

masculine singular noun with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong’s #1 BDB #3


Translation: ...[or] against any of my father’s house,... I am very surprised that we do not have a connective here in the Hebrew; however, we do have one in the Greek and the Septuagint. Ahimelech is shocked and afraid. He came, bringing all the male members of his family, thinking that Saul was possibly going to commend them for helping David on this secret mission. Instead, Saul is yelling at him and Saul is furious. Sometimes, before some awful is about to happen, you get this incredible sense of dread that seems to permeate your being—and this is where Ahimelech is. He doesn’t know exactly what is going on, but he recognizes that he is in serious trouble, and his entire being is filled with a sense of dread—both for himself and for his family. He knows that he is facing serious consequences, even though he has committed no crime against the state; and it is apparent that the rest of the priests are facing the same consequences.


1Samuel 22:15e

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

kîy (י̣) [pronounced kee]

for, that, because; when, at that time, which, what time

conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

lô (אֹל or אל) [pronounced low]

not, no

negates the word or action that follows; the absolute negation

Strong’s #3808 BDB #518

yâda׳ (ע ַדָי) [pronounced yaw-DAHĢ]

to see; to know, to perceive, to acquire knowledge, to become acquainted, to know by experience, to have a knowledge of something

3rd person masculine singular suffix, Qal perfect

Strong’s #3045 BDB #393

׳ebed (ד ב ע) [pronounced ĢEB-ved]

slave, servant

masculine singular noun with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #5650 BDB #713

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

Strong’s# none BDB #88

My guess is that this should not be a bêyth (ב) but a kaph preposition (כ), which means as, like, about. They look very similar and there are many instances of one being confounded with the other.

kôl (לֹ) [pronounced kohl]

every, each, all of, all, any of

masculine singular construct not followed by a definite article

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

zôth (תאֹז) [pronounced zoth]

here, this, thus

feminine singular of zeh; demonstrative pronoun, adverb

Strong’s #2063 (& 2088, 2090) BDB #260

bvâr (ר ָב ָ) [pronounced dawb-VAWR]

word, saying, doctrine, thing, matter, command

masculine singular noun

Strong's #1697 BDB #182

qâţôn (ןטָק or ןֹט ָק) [pronounced kaw-TOHN]

small, insignificant; a word particularly used for youth, younger

masculine singular adjective

Strong’s #6995 & #6996 BDB #882

ô (א) [pronounced oh]

or, or rather, otherwise, also, and

conjunction

Strong's #176 BDB #14

gâdôwl (לדָ) [pronounced gaw-DOLE]

great in quantity, great in magnitude and extent, mighty, vast, unyielding, immutable; great things, significant and astonishing [or mind-blowing] things

adjective often used as a substantive

Strong’s #1419 (& #1431) BDB #152


Translation: ...for your servant does not know about [lit., in] any of this, anything [lit., a word] great or small." Ahimelech changes person again. He knows that something is up, that something is wrong, and he pleads innocence, based upon the fact that he does not know what the problem or issue is. “I don’t fully understand what this is about! I don’t understand your threatening tone or this line of questioning.” Then he adds that he doesn’t know anything about this, great or small. The idea is, he does not even have a small idea about Saul’s line of questioning or about Saul’s threatening tone. “Whatever is going on here—whatever issues are between you and David—I do not have a clue as to what this is all about.” He pleads ignorance.


Now, one of the things that I have mentioned is that, for many people, the world revolves around them. Everything that they think and feel is of the utmost importance. The feelings of others are not even considered. Saul has been after David for awhile now; he has taken small armies out to search for David. So, in Saul’s mind, everyone knows that David is an outlaw and a rebel and that he, Saul, must capture and execute him. The priests, however, are completely unaware of this situation. Since Samuel told Saul that the kingdom has been taken from him, Saul has had little or no association with Samuel or with the priests. The communication between the palace and the Tabernacle has been almost nonexistent. And since the priests probably did not have their Internet up and running yet, they were truly unaware of this rift between Saul and David.


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Saul Orders the Deaths of the Priests and Their Families


And so says the king, “A dying you die, Ahimelech—you and all of a house of your father.”

1Samuel

22:16

The king then said, “You must die, Ahimelech—you and all your father’s house.”

The king then said, “You must die, Ahimelech—you and your entire family!”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so says the king, “A dying you die, Ahimelech—you and all of a house of your father.”

Septuagint                             And King Saul said, “You will surely die, Abimelech—you and all your father’s house.”

 

Significant differences           .


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       “Ahimelech,” Saul said, “you and your whole family are going to die.”

NJB                                        The king retorted, ‘You must die, Ahimelech, you and your whole family.’

NLT                                        “You will surely die, Ahimelech, along with your entire family!” the king shouted.

 

EV                                  The king said, “Ahimelech, you and all your relatives must die.”


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Saul said, “Ahimelech, you and your entire family are going to die.”

JPS (Tanakh)                        But the king said, “You shall die, Ahimelech, you and all your father’s house.”


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     But the king said, “You shall surely die, Ahimelech, you and all your father’s household!”

Young's Updated LT              And the king says, “You do surely die, Ahimelech, you, and all the house of your father.”


What is the gist of this verse? Saul has heard enough, and he informs Ahimelech that he and his entire family must die.


1Samuel 22:16

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

meleke ( ל מ) [pronounced MEH-lek]

king, ruler, prince

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #4428 BDB #572

mûwth (תמ) [pronounced mooth]

to die

Qal infinitive absolute

Strong's #4191 BDB #559

mûwth (תמ) [pronounced mooth]

to die

2nd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #4191 BDB #559

The Qal infinite absolute is a verbal noun which can serve as a noun, verb or adverb. Here, it is used to intensify the meaning of the main verb and would be translated surely, certainly, indeed, must.

ăchîymeleke (∵ל∵מי.ח ֲא) [pronounced uh-khee-MEH-lek]

brother of Melek or brother of a king and is transliterated Ahimelech

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #288 BDB #27

attâh (הָ-א) [pronounced aht-TAW]

you (often, the verb to be is implied)

2nd person masculine singular, personal pronoun

Strong’s #859 BDB #61

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

kôl (לֹ) [pronounced kohl]

every, each, all of, all, any of

masculine singular construct not followed by a definite article

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

bayith (ת̣י ַ) [pronounced BAH-yith]

house, household, habitation as well as inward

masculine singular construct

Strong's #1004 BDB #108

âbv (ב ָא,) [pronounced awbv]

father, both as the head of a household or clan

masculine singular noun with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #1 BDB #3


Translation: The king then said, “You must die, Ahimelech—you and all your father’s house.” Saul is not standing there listening patiently and weighing the words of Ahimelech; he is standing there getting more and more angry. The end result is, “You helped David, Ahimelech; and now you and your entire family must die!” Whatever else is unimportant to Saul. Ahimelech’s arguments on David’s behalf—his reasoning and his sarcasm—all were meaningless to Saul. It was clear to Saul that Ahimelech thought a great deal of David (v. 14); and therefore, Ahimelech’s denials of wrongdoing were immaterial to Saul. Furthermore, Ahimelech clearly aided and abetted Saul’s enemy. Insofar as Saul is concerned; Ahimelech is guilty.

 

Gill: [Saul] pronounces the sentence himself, without taking the opinion and advice of others, or further time; which was an act of arbitrary power, and upon an innocent person, which was an act of great injustice. Footnote Saul pronounces sentence not only on Ahimelech but upon his entire family.


If any verse every cried out to be split into two verses, it is v. 17. One wonders what were the verse splitters thinking at this point.


And so says the king to the runners, the stationed ones above him, “Turn and kill the priests of Yehowah for also their hand [is] with David and for they knew that fleeing he and they did not uncover my ear.” And would not consent, servants of the king, to put forth their hand to fall in priests of Yehowah.

1Samuel

22:17

Then the king said to the runners, the ones stationed by him, “Turn around and execute the priests of Yehowah because their hand [is] also with David and because they knew that he fled, but they did not reveal [this] to me.” But the servants of the king were not willing to put forth their hand to fall upon the priests of Yehowah.

The king then turned toward his messengers, those who were standing nearby, and he said, “Turn around and execute these priests of Jehovah because they are also allied with David for they knew that he was fleeing from me, and yet they refused to reveal this information to me.” However, the king’s servants were not willing to move against the priests of Jehovah.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so says the king to the runners, the stationed ones above him, “Turn and kill the priests of Yehowah for also their hand [is] with David and for they knew that fleeing he and they did not uncover my ear.” And would not consent, servants of the king, to put forth their hand to fall in priests of Yehowah.

Septuagint                             And the king said to the footmen that attended on him, “Draw near and kill the priests of the Lord, because their hand [is] with David, and because they knew that he flees and they did not inform me. But the servants of the king would not lift their hands to fall upon the priests of the Lord.

 

Significant differences           .


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Saul shouted to his bodyguards, “These priests of the Lord helped David! They knew he was running away, but they didn't tell me. Kill them!” But the king's officers would not attack the priests of the Lord.

NAB                                       The king hten commanded his henchmen standing by: “Make the rounds and kill the priests of the Lord, for they assisted David. They knew he was a fugitive and yet failed to inform me.” But the king’s servants refused to lift a hand to strike the priests of the Lord.

NLT                                        And he ordered his bodyguards, “Kill these priests of the Lord, for they are allies and conspirators with David! They knew he was running away from me, but they didn’t tell me!” But Saul’s men refused to kill the Lord’s priests.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         “Turn and kill the Lord’s priests because they support David,” the king said to the runners standing around him. “When they knew David was fleeing, they didn't inform me.” But the king's men refused to attack the Lord’s priests.