1Samuel 26

 

1Samuel 26:1–26

 


Outline of Chapter 26:

 

       vv.    1–3        Saul Goes Out After David Again

       vv.    4–7        David and Abishai Go Into Saul’s Camp

       vv.    8–12      David Explains to Abishai What is Permissible with Regards to Saul

       vv.   13–16      David Chides Abner for not Protecting Saul

       vv.   17–25      David and Saul Converse One Last Time


Charts, Short Doctrines and Maps:

 

       v.      4           The Niphal Participle of Kûwn

       v.      5           A Summary of Abner’s Lineage

       v.      5           What Did We Really Learn When We Examined Where Saul Slept?

       v.      7           1Samuel 26:2–7 Presented Chronologically

       v.     19           A Summation of 1Samuel 26:19

       v.     25           The Intransitive Meanings of ׳âsâh and Yâkôl

       v.     25           Qal infinitive absolute

       v.     25           An Almost Definitive Listing of the Various English Translations of 1Samuel 26:25b

       v.     25           Why Saul Will Not Pursue David Again

       v.     25           Compare and Contrast 1Samual 24 and 26

       v.     25           Why Did God Allow Saul to Persecute David for this Many Years?


Doctrines Covered

Doctrines Alluded To

The Importance of Israel in the Old Testament

 

 


Psalms Alluded To

 

Psalm 54

 

Psalm 18


I ntroduction: Although it appeared as though Saul might be ready to stop pursuing David back in 1Sam. 24, that is not really the case. Saul was not a rational person. Anything could set him off. What happens in this chapter is the Ziphites come to Saul and tell him that David can be found in the hill of Hachilah, which is right on the edge of the desert. This is all the encouragement that Saul needs. He gathers up and army of 3000 and goes in pursuit of David. However, David finds a place to hide where he is able to observe Saul entering into his space. So, when Saul and his men camp within David’s visual range, David decides to take Abishai with him to pay Saul a visit in the camp. The first thing that occurs to me at this point, on the outset of this study, is why? Why does David take a man and go down into Saul’s camp? Maybe I’ll have some idea by the time the exegesis of this chapter is complete.


Once they get into Saul’s well-fortified camp, Abishai immediately suggests to David that they kill Saul. You may recall the reasoning given in 1Sam. 24: David’s men quote some Scripture, which we postulated was Psalm 110:1, which should not have been applied to David. Abishai offers to kill Saul for David, but David tells him that he cannot strike the Lord’s anointed without consequences. Instead of killing Saul, David takes his spear, which is stuck in the ground next to his head; and he takes Saul’s personal water jar. Then David puts some distance between himself and Saul’s camp and then calls out to Saul’s primary aide-de-camp, Abner and chews him out for falling asleep during a watch. This apparently wakes Saul up, who realizes it is David; and David again asks, “Why are you pursuing me?” Saul apologizes again and David sends his spear back as a constant reminder. Saul tells David that he will not pursue him any more and he returns to Gibeah.


One of the accusations leveled against this portion of Samuel is that this is a different version of the events that we have already covered in 1Sam. 24. Footnote Since there are similarities, higher critics say that these are two traditions based upon the same event; and that they were recorded sometime after the actual event. Now, apart from the obvious (and superficial) similarities between the two chapters, there is no other reason to think this. Personally, I have had several incidents in my life which had similar aspects to them. I have had situations involving the same people and involving different people, where there were many things in common. However, the situations were different. Therefore, there is no reason to postulate that these two situations have to be based upon the same occurrence. Just like all of the higher criticism that we have faced up until this time, there is no reason to fall for it. The primary purpose of so called higher criticism is to discredit Scripture. The idea is to somehow imply that Scripture is not inspired by God the Holy Spirit. If these two chapters are about the same incident, then one set of events is incorrect; and possibly both chapters have inaccuracies in them. If that is the case, then there is no such thing as inspired Scripture. However, if one approaches this from an objective view, examines all of the fulfilled prophecy, then one cannot help but be amazed as to how clairvoyant these Scriptures seem to be. An impartial examination would indicate that it is more likely that these Scriptures are inspired; and that there is much more evidence for this than there is for these to be poorly recorded history, written down centuries after the events spoken of. Furthermore, even one of the greatest secular historians of all time, Will Durant, remarked concerning the accuracy of Scripture, that, apart from the miraculous events which were recorded, one could not help but recognize the historical detail contained within both testaments, and that there was no logical reason to regard Scripture as inaccurate. Footnote There are similarities between this chapter and 1Sam. 24; therefore, at the completion of this chapter, we will compare it these two chapters.


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to the Chart Index


Saul Goes Out After David Again


Slavishly literal:

 

Moderately literal:

And so come the Ziphites unto Saul the Gibeah-ward, to say, “[Is] not David hiding himself in a hill of the Hachilah upon faces of the Jeshimon?”

1Samuel

26:1

Then the Ziphites went to Saul in Gibeah and said, “[Is] David not hiding himself in the Hachilah hill overlooking Jeshimon [or, the desert-wasteland]?”

Then the Ziphites went to Saul in Gibeah and said to him, “Isn’t David hiding out in the Hachilah hill overlooking the desert wasteland (Jeshimon)?”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

The Dead Sea Scrolls            .

Peshitta                                 Then the Ziphites came to Saul at Gibeah, saying, “Behold, David is hiding himself in the Gibaoth-hawilah, which is before the wilderness.”

Septuagint                             And the Ziphites come out of the dry country to Saul to the hill, saying, “Behold, David hides himself with us in the hill Echela, opposite Jessemon.”

 

Significant differences           .


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Once again, some people from Ziph went to Gibeah to talk with Saul. "David has a hideout on Mount Hachilah near Jeshimon out in the desert," they told him.

NAB                                       Men from Ziph came to Saul in Gibeah, reporting that David was hiding on the hill of Hachilah at the edge of the wasteland.

NLT                                        Now some messengers from Ziph came back to Saul at Gibeah to tell him, “David is hiding on the hill of Hakilah, which overlooks Jeshimon.”

REB                                       The Ziphites came to Saul at Gibeah with the news that David was in hiding on the hill of Hachilah overlooking Jeshimon.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         The people of Ziph came to Saul at Gibeah. "David is hiding at the hill of Hachilah near Jeshimon," they said.

JPS (Tanakh)                        The Ziphites came to Saul at Gibeah and said, “David is hiding in the hill of Hachilah facing Jeshimon.”


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

MKJV                                     And the Ziphites came to Saul at Gibeah, saying, Is not David hiding himself in the hill of Hachilah, on the edge of the desert?

Young's Updated LT              And the Ziphites come in unto Saul, at Gibeah, saying, “Is not David hiding himself in the height of Hachilah, on the front of the desert?”


What is the gist of this verse? The Ziphites again go to Saul and tell him exactly where David is hiding.


1Samuel 26:1a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa or va (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

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

zîyphîym (םי.פי.ז) [pronounced zee-FEEM]

transliterated Ziphites

plural gentilic adjective with the definite article

Strong’s #2130 BDB #268

el (לא) [pronounced el]

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

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

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

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

transliterated Gibeah; this same word means hill

proper feminine singular with the definite article and the locative hê

Strong’s #1390 BDB #149


Translation: Then the Ziphites went to Saul in Gibeah... This is the second time that the Ziphites went to Saul to tell them where David was. First of all, we need to distinguish between the two Ziph’s: There is a city Ziph in the Negev area of Judah (Joshua 15:24 1Chron. 2:42 4:16) and a second in the hill country of Judah (Joshua 15:55). That there are two cities named Ziph in Judah should not be disturbing, as both are mentioned in Joshua 15. During the time that David was hiding from Saul, he spent much of his time in the hill country of Judah, just west of the Dead Sea. That he might pass through the same area more than once is to be expected. That the Ziphites might turn David in twice is also not unexpected. If they would do it once, and they discover David in their general area again, then what would prevent them from turning him in again? David was upset by this and he wrote a Psalm 54 about them (and about his enemies in general), a psalm we have already studied.


The Ziphites were pesky people for David. They kissed up to Saul and made every overture to get on his good side. It is even possible that some of them viewed David as a national threat. Recall the Jesus Christ was a great divider of people. So, a man of God should also be expected to divide people are well.


I am assuming that the Ziphites had no specific assignment from Saul; that is, Saul did not specifically go to Ziph and tell them to report any Davidic activity; but he certainly rewarded them the first time, and made it worth their whiles to betray David. Therefore, when the opportunity presented itself once again, the Ziphites ran immediately to Saul with the information. And, of course, we are probably dealing with a small delegation of less than a dozen (probably 3 or 4). This was probably a result of a quick, unofficial meeting of a dozen or so of the elders, who then sent an immediate delegation to Saul.


Now, if you or I were David, we might store this away in our memories and go wipe out the Ziphites once becoming king over Israel. However, the city of Ziph is only mentioned in Joshua 15 and in 1Chron. 2:42 4:16; and after this chapter, we will not hear about the Ziphites again during David’s kingship (except for Psalm 54, of course). Ziph will only be mentioned once again as a city rebuilt for defense purposes by Rehoboam (2Chron. 11:8).


1Samuel 26:1b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

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

Qal infinitive construct

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

hă ( ֲה) [pronounced heh]

interrogative particle which acts almost like a piece of punctuation, like the upside-down question mark which begins a Spanish sentence. The verb to be may be implied.

Strong’s #none BDB #209

lô (אֹל or אל) [pronounced low]

not, no

negates the word or action that follows; the absolute negation

Strong’s #3808 BDB #518

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

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

çâthar (ר ַת ָס) [pronounced saw-THAR]

to hide onself

Hithpael participle

Strong's #5641 BDB #711

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

No Strong’s # BDB #88

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

hill; this same word is transliterated Gibeah

feminine singular construct

Strong’s #1389 BDB #148

Chăkîylâh (הָלי.כֲח) [pronounced khuh-kee-LAW]

dark, gloomy; and is transliterated Hachilah

Proper noun location with the definite article

Strong’s #2444 BDB #314

Four early printed editions and the Syriac version read Habilah. Footnote

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

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

preposition of proximity

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

pânîym (םי̣נָ) [pronounced paw-NEEM]

face, faces; presence

masculine plural construct (plural acts like English singular)

Strong’s #6440 BDB #815

Together, ׳al and pânîym mean upon the face of, facing, in front of, before (as in preference to), in addition to, overlooking

Gordon tells us that the Hill of Hachilah is south of Jeshimon, so [which] overlooks is the best translation. Footnote I chose it simply because it was the best translation given the context.

yeshîymôwn (ןמי̣ש׃י) [pronounced ye-shee-MOAN]

desert, wasteland, waste-place; transliterated Jeshimon

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #3452 BDB #445

Some translations occasionally render this Jeshimon, as a proper noun. Given the meaning of yeshîymôwn, this is probably a moot point.

Its being transliterated in the Greek as Jessemon suggests that they understood this as a proper noun as well.


Translation: ...and said, “[Is] David not hiding himself in the Hachilah hill overlooking Jeshimon [or, the desert-wasteland]?” These men don’t simply go to Saul and give him a general idea where David was (like Doeg did—recall, he passed along very old information to Saul). However, their information about David was accurate, precise and up-to-date.


1Sam. 23:19 reads: Then Ziphites came up to Saul at Gibeah, saying, “Is David not hiding with us in the strongholds at Horesh, on the hill of Hachilah, which is on the south of Jeshimon?” The description which follows tells Saul where on the hill David and his men are. Furthermore, as you see, the two verses are quite similar. Therefore, when we complete this chapter, we will compare the incidents.


Since the hill of Hachilah is only mentioned in these two verses. So, we really don’t know where this place is, but Saul and David both knew. It is also possible that this is related to Keilah, which is mentioned back in 1Sam. 23:10—you may recall that David delivered the people of Keilah from the Philistines, but they were still willing to turn him in to Saul. Ziph and Keilah are possibly neighboring cities (or territories) with a mountain or two between them—one known as the hill of Hachilah. It is a reasonable theory; however, I should point out that Hachilah and Keilah are spelled quite differently, although their pronunciations are probably similar (the pronunciations which I offer are based, to some degree, on Hebrew lexicon and grammar books, but no one knows for sure how the Hebrew sounded then).


Jeshimon is also only mentioned in these two passages (1Sam. 23:19, 24 26:1, 3). There is another Jeshimon found in Num. 21:20 23:28, which is a region of Pisgah in Moab, northeast of the Dead Sea (for those who are geographically challenged, Judah—which is where David is—is to the west of the Dead Sea). The same word is also found in Jer. 22:6 and Hosea 2:3, where it is rendered wilderness, desert, desert-wilderness, waste. In these passages, it is clearly not a reference to a particular geographical area, but to a type of geographical area. You may wonder, how did Saul know where to go? Simple: he is speaking to Ziphites; they occupy a specific geographical area, and therefore the knowledge made it clear as to where Jeshimon is.


Jamieson, Fausset and Brown suggest Footnote that, since David married Abigail, he returned to this general area so that they could keep an eye on her land holdings and possessions, which were extensive. They did not live on her land, as an attack by Saul could devastate her property.


And so arises Saul and so he goes down unto a wilderness of Ziph. And with him three of a thousands man—chosen [ones] of Israel—to seek David in a wilderness of Ziph.

1Samuel

26:2

So Saul arose and he went down to the wilderness of Ziph, along with [lit., and with him] 3000 men—chosen [men] of Israel—to seek David in the wilderness of Ziph.

So Saul arose, along with 3000 chosen Israeli soldiers, and they went down to seek David in the wilderness of Ziph.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Septuagint                             And Saul arose and went down to the wilderness of Ziph, and with him [were] 3000 men chosen out of Israel, to seek David in the wilderness of Ziph.

 

Significant differences           .


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Saul took three thousand of Israel's best soldiers and went to look for David there in Ziph Desert.

NJB                                        So Saul set off and went down to the desert of Ziph, accompanied by three thousand picked me of Israel, to search for David in the desert of Ziph.

NLT                                        So Saul took three thousand of his best troops and went to hunt him down in the wilderness of Ziph.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Saul went to the desert of Ziph, taking with him 3,000 of Israel's best-trained men to search for David. .

JPS (Tanakh)                        Saul went down at once to the wilderness of Ziph, together with three thousand picked men of Israel, to search for David in the wilderness of Ziph,...


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

MKJV                                     And Saul arose and went down to the wilderness of Ziph to seek David in the wilderness of Ziph, having three thousand chosen men of Israel with him.

Young's Updated LT              And Saul rises, and goes down unto the wilderness of Ziph, and with him three thousand men, chosen ones of Israel, to seek David in the wilderness of Ziph.


What is the gist of this verse? Saul takes 3000 of his men to the desert-wilderness of Ziph to find David.


1Samuel 26:2a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

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

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #6965 BDB #877

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982


Translation: So Saul arose... This is the same word used for to take a stand, and this is what Saul is doing. He is going to take another stand against David. Again and again, Saul aggressively pursued David, looking to kill him; and God allowed him only to live so that David could grow spiritually.


It is possible that Saul was not actively searching for David at this point in time—as per the end of 1Sam. 24—and suddenly, when the Ziphites came to him, his killer lust returned to him. It would be a good time to attack David, Saul might have reasoned to himself, as David would not be expecting it.


Application: Although I have never had any person as crazy as Saul go after me with the idea of taking my life, I have had enemies throughout the years, and many have sought to impact my life in a very negative way; and at least two (and possibly more) looked to remove me from my livelihood. There are many others who have treated me unjustly. Now, many times, I was hurt and bothered by these attacks; however, just every once and awhile, at least for a portion of the attack, I realized that God was allowing them to do this and that their efforts would all come to naught. So there is no misunderstanding, no matter what these people did, and no matter how they thought they may have succeeded, the end result for me was always a blessing. Even for the many times that I did not have the faith to trust God’s judgment and guidance (after all, pressure and difficult circumstances are often used by God to guide us). In every case where my enemies sought to affect me financially, the end result was generally less work and more money. The time period for which this was not the case was very brief. As a believer, you will be attacked and some of these attacks will be vicious and they may even appear to be life-changing. You need not worry about what others do to you. God is over all; God is sovereign. They are doing just exactly what God has allowed them to do and they are going no farther than God allows them to go. The end result, if you are a growing believer, will be blessing. In fact, the end result if you are simply in fellowship, will be blessing.


I want you to recognize what is going on here. A thousand years later, the Peter will speak of a dog returning to his vomit (1Peter 2:22): this is Saul in this situation. He knows what he did was wrong—his pursuance of David with the intent to kill him (1Sam. 24:16–19). However, he still makes an attempt to chase down David with the intent of killing him. For a believer in reversionism, Footnote or an unbeliever who has rejected the gospel, they may often return to a course of action which they formerly rejected, having their soul inculcated with darkness (or, as Bob Thieme referred to it: scar tissue). All that Saul said at the end of 1Sam. 24 was accurate, and probably the product of a sincere heart. Nevertheless, in this chapter, Saul is ready to go after David once again, with murderous intent. It’s wrong, Saul previously recognized it was wrong, and yet, his blackened soul sends him again after David.


1Samuel 26:2b

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 singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #3381 BDB #432

el (לא) [pronounced el]

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

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

midebâr (רָ ׃ד ̣מ) [pronounced mide-BAWR]

wilderness, unpopulated wilderness, desert wilderness; mouth

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #4057 BDB #184

Zîyph (ףי.ז) [pronounced ziff]

transliterated Ziph

proper noun; location

Strong’s #2128 BDB #268


Translation: ...and he went down to the wilderness of Ziph,... David’s location was well-described by the Ziphites; a particular and well-known site in their stomping grounds, which is the wilderness (or, desert) of Ziph. This does not mean well-populated or often visited; just known well enough to where their description will get Saul there. Because this area was generally uninhabited, this made for an ideal hiding place for David.


1Samuel 26:2c

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

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

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

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

Strong's #854 BDB #85

shelôshâh (הָשֹלש) [pronounced shiloh-SHAW]

a three, a trio, a triad, a threesome

feminine numeral construct

Strong’s #7969 BDB #1025.

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

thousands, families, [military] units

masculine plural noun

Strong’s #505 (and #504) BDB #48

The spelling of the word above is messed up and the meaning may be different.

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: ...along with [lit., and with him] 3000 men... Saul, of course, is not going to pursue David without his own men. David has 600 men, so Saul brings along five times as many. He does not want to leave anything to chance.


Application: I mentioned the attacks of others. I recall one attack of one individual which involved several years of preparation. This person left very little to chance. She worked at this from several different angles, recruiting those who would support her, and acting with great stealth. The result was, she got exactly what she wanted. The result was, I was out of a job. The final result is that I work literally a fifth of the hours that I did in the past, and I have a greater income and considerably more in my savings accounts. Had she not acted as she did, the financial blessing which I received would not have come to me. It was a matter of her setting into motion a number of things that I would not have initiated myself. The result for me was less work and greater prosperity. You must realize that God can handle these people. God is able to work things out for your good. Now, I want to make something very clear: I did not deserve the end results. I was not blessed because I was a good person or because I was any better than this other person. This was all a part of God’s plan for my life and He used adversity, as He often does, to guide us and to bring about the best for us.


1Samuel 26:2d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

bâchîyr (רי.חָ) [pronounced baw-KHEER],

chosen, chosen ones, elect [ones]

masculine plural construct

Strong’s #972 BDB #104

Yiserâêl (לֵאָר ׃̣י) [pronounced yis-raw-ALE]

transliterated Israel

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3478 BDB #975


Translation: ...—chosen [men] of Israel—... Saul didn’t just take the first 3000 men who volunteered; he chose Israel’s finest fighting men. Recall that David’s 600 were mostly malcontents, who do not always make the best soldiers. 3000 was typically Saul’s ideal fighting force (1Sam. 13:2 24:2).


1Samuel 26:2e

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

bâqash (שַקָ) [pronounced baw-KAHSH]

to seek, to search, to desire, to strive after, to attempt to get, to require, to demand, to ask, to seek with desire and diligence

Piel infinitive construct

Strong’s #1245 BDB #134

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

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

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187


Translation: ...to seek David First on the list for Saul was to find David; to locate exactly where he was hiding. Interestingly enough, although we have witnessed Saul’s rage in previous chapters, that motivation is not mentioned here—however, we may reasonably imply it.


1Samuel 26:2f

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

No Strong’s # BDB #88

midebâr (רָ ׃ד ̣מ) [pronounced mide-BAWR]

wilderness, unpopulated wilderness, desert wilderness; mouth

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #4057 BDB #184

Zîyph (ףי.ז) [pronounced ziff]

transliterated Ziph

proper noun; location

Strong’s #2128 BDB #268


Translation: ...in the wilderness of Ziph. Again, Saul knew that David was in the wilderness of Ziph, and he knew precisely what area David was staying in. This will be clear, as Saul will camp close enough to David that David will know where he is.


And so camps Saul in a hill of Hachilah which [is] upon faces of Jeshimon upon the way. And David was staying in the desert-wilderness. And so he see that came Saul after him the desert-wilderness-ward.

1Samuel

26:3

So Saul camped upon the road at the hill of Hachilah which [is] overlooking Jeshimon while [lit., and] David was staying in the desert-wilderness. He observed that Saul had come to the desert-wilderness after him.

Saul camped along the road at the hill of Hachilah, which overlooks Jeshimon, which David remained in the wilderness. David saw that Saul had come to the wilderness in search of him.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Peshitta                                 And Saul encamped in Gibaoth-hawilah, which is before the wilderness by the wayside. But David abode in the wilderness, and he saw that Saul came after him in the wilderness.

Septuagint                             And Saul encamped in the hill of Echela in front of Jessemon, by the way, and David dwelt in the wilderness. And David saw that Saul comes after him into the wilderness.

 

Significant differences           .


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Saul set up camp on Mount Hachilah, which is across the road from Jeshimon. But David was hiding out in the desert. When David heard that Saul was following him,...

NAB                                       Saul camped beside the road on the hill of Hachilah, art the edge of the wasteland. David, who was living in the desert, saw that Saul had come into the desert after him...

NLT                                        Saul camped along the road beside the hill of Hakilah, near Jeshimon, where David was hiding. But David know of Saul’s arrival,...


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Saul camped by the road at the hill of Hachilah near Jeshimon, but David stayed in the desert. When he realized Saul had come to the desert for him,...

JPS (Tanakh)                        ...and Saul encamped on the hill of Hachilah which faces Jeshimon, by the road. When David, who was then living in the wilderness, learned that Saul had come after him into the wilderness,...


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

MKJV                                     And Saul pitched in the hill of Hachilah, which is on the edge of the desert, by the highway. And David was staying in the wilderness. And he saw that Saul came after him into the wilderness.

Young's Updated LT              And Saul encamps in the height of Hachilah, which is on the front of the desert, by the way, and David is abiding in the wilderness, and he sees that Saul has come after him in to the wilderness;...


What is the gist of this verse? When Saul got closer to David, David was able to observe that he was nearby.


1Samuel 26:3a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

chânah (ה ָנ ָח) [pronounced khaw-NAW]

to bivouac, to camp, to encamp in [or, against], to set up camp

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #2583 BDB #333

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982

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

No Strong’s # BDB #88

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

hill; this same word is transliterated Gibeah

feminine singular construct

Strong’s #1389 BDB #148

Chăkîylâh (הָלי.כֲח) [pronounced khuh-kee-LAW]

dark, gloomy; and is transliterated Hachilah

Proper noun location with the definite article

Strong’s #2444 BDB #314

4 early editions and the Syriac version read Habilah. Footnote

ăsher (רשֲא) [pronounced uh-SHER]

that, which, when, who

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

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

preposition of proximity

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

pânîym (םי̣נָ) [pronounced paw-NEEM]

face, faces; presence

masculine plural construct (plural acts like English singular)

Strong’s #6440 BDB #815

Together, ׳âl and pânîym mean upon the face of, facing, in front of, before (as in preference to), in addition to, overlooking

yeshîymôwn (ןמי̣ש׃י) [pronounced ye-shee-MOAN]

desert, wasteland, waste-place; transliterated Jeshimon

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #3452 BDB #445

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

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

preposition of proximity

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

dereke (ר) [pronounced DEH-reke]

way, distance, road, journey, manner, course

masculine singular noun

Strong's #1870 BDB #202


Translation: So Saul camped upon the road at the hill of Hachilah which [is] overlooking Jeshimon... Saul knew just about where David was. However, he camped along the trail or road in this area, which meant that he could be easily seen by others. It is possible that this was part of his strategy, as some generals like to intimidate their enemies first. He had a huge army surrounding him; and he probably felt very secure in that fact.


1Samuel 26:3b

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

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

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

yâshab (בַשָי) [pronounced yaw-SHAHBV]

inhabiting, staying, dwelling, sitting

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

No Strong’s # BDB #88

midebâr (רָ ׃ד ̣מ) [pronounced mide-BAWR]

wilderness, unpopulated wilderness, desert wilderness; mouth

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #4057 BDB #184


Translation: ...while [lit., and] David was staying in the desert-wilderness. David could not camp out in the open. David and his men needed to stay off the beaten path, and they had to be in a position to observe others.


1Samuel 26:3c

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

rââh (ה ָאָר) [pronounced raw-AWH]

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

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #7200 BDB #906

kîy (י̣) [pronounced kee]

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

conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

bôw (א) [pronounced boh]

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

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #935 BDB #97

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982

achar (ר ַח ַא) [pronounced ah-KHAHR]

after, following, behind

adjective/substantive with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #310 BDB #29

midebâr (רָ ׃ד ̣מ) [pronounced mide-BAWR]

wilderness, unpopulated wilderness, desert wilderness; mouth

masculine singular noun with the definite article and the directional hê

Strong’s #4057 BDB #184


Translation: He observed that Saul had come to the desert-wilderness after him. David and his men were positioned to watch over the general area around them. Therefore, it was easy for them to spot Saul coming along the trail. David could have had many different reactions here.


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to the Chart and Map Index


David and Abishai Go Into Saul's Camp


And so sends David treaders and so he knows that has come Saul confirming.

1Samuel

26:4

Then David sent spies so that [lit., and so] he could confirm [lit., to know to a certainty] that Saul had come [after him].

Then David sent out spies in order to confirm that Saul had come out after him.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Peshitta                                 David therefore sent out spies, and learned that Saul had come after him.

Septuagint                             And David sent spies and ascertained that Saul was come prepared out of Keila.

 

Significant differences           .


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       ...he sent some spies to find out if it was true.

NAB                                       ...and sent out scouts, who confirmed Saul’s arrival.

LT                                  ...so he sent out spies to watch his movements.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         David sent spies to confirm that Saul had arrived.

JPS (Tanakh)                        ...David sent out scouts and made sure that Saul had come.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Amplified Bible                David sent out spies, and learned that Saul had actually come.

Updated Emphasized Bible   David therefore sent runners, and took knowledge that Saul had come for a certainty.

MKJV                                     And David sent out spies and knew that Saul had come indeed.

Young's Updated LT              ...and David sends spies, and knows that Saul had come unto Nachon,...


What is the gist of this verse? David sends out spies to have a closer look.


These details could offer up several slightly different scenarios. One possibility was that, David already had men who moved throughout the periphery of their camp, to keep their eye out for Saul’s troops; when they saw this, came back and reported it to David. On the other had, what I believed happened is, David, either himself or through his troops, observed a large troop movement, and, although he assumed that this was Saul, he sent men out to confirm this suspicion.


1Samuel 26:4a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

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

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

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

râgal (לַגָר) [pronounced raw-GAHL]

to move the feet, to foot it, to tread, to go about, to go about as an explorer, to go about as a spy, to go on foot to scope something out

masculine plural, Piel participle

Strong’s #7270 BDB #920


Translation: Then David sent spies... David and his men observed a large army nearby; although their assumption is that it was Saul again, they had to make certain. Therefore, David sent out a couple spies. Based upon what is to come, David probably sent out Ahimelech the Hittite and Abishai ben Zeruiah to confirm that this is Saul (see v. 6).


You will note that most of this account is from David’s perspective. We do not know if Saul sent out spies or not.


1Samuel 26:4b

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

yâda׳ (ע ַדָי) [pronounced yaw-DAHĢ]

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

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #3045 BDB #393

kîy (י̣) [pronounced kee]

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

conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

bôw (א) [pronounced boh]

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

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #935 BDB #97

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982

el (לא) [pronounced el]

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

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

kûwn (ן) [pronounced koon]

to be firmly established, to be set up, to be established, to be prepared, to be ready; to confirm, to set up, to maintain, to found [a city]

Niphal participle

Strong’s #3559 BDB #465

As you see, this last word is difficult to translate; therefore, Young transliterated it, making it into a proper noun (Nachon). We do not generally expect to see a preposition lead us into a verb; however, a participle can act as a noun.

Although I had great difficulty translating this last portion (as did every other translator), I think what we have is the repetition of the verb kûwn from v. 2a. Saul rose up, essentially taking a stand against David in v. 2a; here, David is confirming that Saul rose up against him. Given this difficulty, we need to examine the Niphal participle of kûwn:


If there was found only an instance or two of the verb kûwn in the Niphal participle, we might gloss over this translation, since coming upon a fixed meaning would be difficult. However, the Niphal participle of kûwn is found about 35 times in the Old Testament.

The Niphal Participle of Kûwn

1.    Kûwn, in the Qal, means to erect (to stand up perpendicular), to set up, to establish, to prepare, to strengthen, to be stabilized.

2.    In the Niphal, kûwn means to be firmly established, to be set up, to be established, to be prepared, to be ready; to confirm, to set up, to maintain, to found [a city]. kûwn is found 33 times in the perfect and imperfect tenses and in the imperative mood. In fact, we could probably render this to established or to be prepared in all of those passages.

3.    The Niphal participle is something entirely different, however. The KJV renders this established, ready, certain, standeth, stood, very deed, prepared, right, faithfulness, fixed.

4.    The idea is, something is stood up in such a way as to remain there.

5.    Therefore, the meaning is established, well-established, permanent, fixed.

6.    Because something is well-established and permanent, it may be considered dependable, faithful, confirmed, certain.

7.    The use here is, David is getting information about Saul’s entrance into his general area to a certainty.

This may seem that we have gone a full circle for nothing; however, it is through these points that we make certain the meaning of the Niphal participle of kûwn. One must know the correct translation of a verse in order to explain that verse and the chapter surrounding that verse.

Our conclusion is, with verbs of perception, we may translate this to know with certainty.


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to the Chart and Map Index


Translation: ...so that [lit., and so] he could confirm [lit., to know to a certainty] that Saul had come [after him]. As mentioned above, this final word in v. 4 is very difficult to translate. David needs to know for certain if this is Saul who has come out.


As a side issue: you may wonder why Young, for instance, did not get this. Robert Young was a genius and his translation is generally unappreciated. Part of the problem is, in his desire to be consistent, he lost much of the literary power of the KJV, which is a literary masterpiece. However, as one who dabbles in translation and exegesis, I can confirm that one can only devote so much time to each word. So, this is why Young chose Nachon here. He really did not examine this word carefully enough. I cannot fault him, as he translated the entire Bible. If I exegete half of it before I die, I will have impressed myself.


Since the Hebrews do not always think in terms of chronological order, it might be interpreted that David first sent out the spies and then found out that Saul was out there still after him. However, David (or his lookouts) could hear Saul’s men set up camp. He could see them, although apparently, he could barely make them out; so David send out spies to get ore information. Because of the final word in this verse, which indicates that this matter was confirmed, we know that David sent out spies after Saul’s presence had become known. I am sure that David did not expect trouble so soon from Saul, given their last encounter; however, how does one really know with Saul. In any case, Saul was too far away for his presence to be confirmed. So I believe what David was looking for was to determine if this army was out on a miliary call or whether Saul was there, indicating that they were probably looking for David.


As Matthew Henry points out, Footnote David is acting defensively and not offensively. He is not looking to go to war against Saul and his army. Other political leaders would be looking to foment a revolution. Saul is wasting the resources of his country. This means that he is letting other things go by the wayside. A deft politician or revolutionary could cause the people to rise up against such a leader. David is not like that, and he will make it clear in this chapter what is and is not allowed with regards to deposing a ruler like Saul. David’s primary concern was for his own safety and for the safety of those who had joined him.


And so arises David and so he comes to the place that has camped there Saul. And sees David the place that laid there Saul and Abner son of Ner chief of his army. And Saul is laying in the in the entrenchment and the people were camping around him.

1Samuel

26:5

Then David arose and he came to the place where Saul had camped, and David sees where Saul lays and [he sees] Abner, the son of Ner, [who is] Saul’s chief-of-staff [lit., commander of his army]. Saul is laying in a [wagon] path and the people were camped around him.

Then David rose up and went to where Saul was camped, and he observed that Saul was sleeping and that his chief-of-staff, Abner, was sleeping nearby. Saul was surrounded by his army.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Peshitta                                 And David arose and came to the place where Saul was encamped; and David saw the place where Saul lay, and Abner the son of Ner, the commander of Saul’s army, was lying in the path, and the people were encamped round about him.

Septuagint                             And David arose secretly and he goes into the place where Saul was sleeping and there was Abenner, the son of Ner, the captain of his host. And Saul was sleeping in a chariot, and the people had encamped round about him.

 

Significant differences           .


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Then he sneaked up to Saul's camp. He noticed that Saul and his army commander Abner the son of Ner were sleeping in the middle of the camp, with soldiers sleeping all around them.

NJB                                        Setting off, David went to the place where Saul had pitched camp. He saw the place where Saul and Abner son of ner, commander of his army, had bedded down. Saul had bedded down inside the camp with the troops bivouacking round him.

NLT                                        David slipped over to Saul’s camp one night to look around. Saul and his general, Abner son of Ner, were sleeping inside a ring formed by the slumbering warriors.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Then David went to the place where Saul had camped. David saw the place where Saul and Ner's son Abner, the commander of the army, were lying. Saul was lying in the camp, and the troops were camped around him. .

JPS (Tanakh)                        David went at once to the place where Saul had encamped, and David saw the spot where Saul and his army commander, Abner son of Ner, lay asleep. Saul lay asleep inside the barricade and the troops were posted around him.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Updated Emphasized Bible   So then David arose and he came to the place where Saul had encamped, and David saw the place where Saul was lying, with Abner, son of Ner, prince of his host. And ║Saul║ was lying within the circular trench, with ║the people║ encamped round about him.

MKJV                                     And David arose and came to the place where Saul had pitched. And David saw the place where Saul lay. And Abner the son of Ner, the captain of his army, and Saul were lying within the barricade. And the people pitched all around him.

Young's Updated LT              ...and David rises, and comes in unto the place where Saul had encamped, and David sees the place where Saul has lain, and Abner son of Ner, head of his host, and Saul is lying in the path, and the people are encamping round about him.


What is the gist of this verse? David observes that Saul is asleep in a trench and that he is surrounded by his army and that Abner, his chief-of-staff, is nearby.


1Samuel 26:5a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

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

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #6965 BDB #877

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, and then, then, and

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

el (לא) [pronounced el]

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

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

mâqôwm (םקָמ) [pronounced maw-KOHM]

place, situated; for a soldier, it may mean where he is stationed; for people in general, it would be their place of abode (which could be their house or their town)

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #4725 BDB #879

ăsher (רשֲא) [pronounced uh-SHER]

that, which, when, who

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

chânah (ה ָנ ָח) [pronounced khaw-NAW]

to bivouac, to camp, to encamp in [or, against], to set up camp

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #2583 BDB #333

shâm (ם ָש) [pronounced shawm]

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

adverb

Strong’s #8033 BDB #1027

I believe ăsher + shâm can be rendered where when found together.

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982


Translation: Then David arose and he came to the place where Saul had camped,... David has already observed Saul from a distance. He has already sent out spies to confirm that Saul was there. Now he is moving closer to get a better look. David may not be sure himself what he is going to do; he may not have a specific plan in mind. However, he has 600 men camped with him. Saul and 3000 men are within a mile of his camp. David cannot ignore this. He has to do something; so he goes down personally to investigate.


Now, recall that the Hebrew mind does not necessarily think chronologically. David is not going toward Saul’s camp alone. He will take someone with him. However, this is not mentioned until the next verse. Chronologically, we would have put v. 6 before v. 5 because that is how we think.


Application: Trusting God and putting it in the Lord’s hands does not mean that you become a bastion of inactivity. There are times when you must sit back and watch to see what God will do. There are other times when you must act; and it requires doctrine and the guidance of God the Holy Spirit to indicate which approach you should take. I must admit to always having a liking for the Alcoholics Anonymous prayer, which expresses this sentiment: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.


1Samuel 26:5b

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

rââh (ה ָאָר) [pronounced raw-AWH]

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

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #7200 BDB #906

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

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

mâqôwm (םקָמ) [pronounced maw-KOHM]

place, situated; for a soldier, it may mean where he is stationed; for people in general, it would be their place of abode (which could be their house or their town)

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #4725 BDB #879

ăsher (רשֲא) [pronounced uh-SHER]

that, which, when, who

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

shâkabv (ב ַכ ָש) [pronounced shaw-KAHBV]

to lie down, to lie down [to sleep, to have sexual relations, to die; because of sickness or humiliation]; to relax

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #7901 BDB #1011

shâm (ם ָש) [pronounced shawm]

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

adverb

Strong’s #8033 BDB #1027

I believe ăsher + shâm can be rendered where when found together.

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982


Translation: ...and David sees where Saul lays... Interestingly enough, David can get close enough to where he can see where Saul is. Now, although his spies could have told David where Saul was, and David could have gone out there alone; and then returned to take someone with him. I don’t believe that is the gist of these few verses. I believe David sent out the spies, Ahimelech and Abishai (and possibly others), and that these spies figured out exactly where Saul was; and now David returns with one of the spies.


David may or may not see Saul; however, he can see where Saul is lying. Abishai points the place out to David.


1Samuel 26:5c

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

ăbenêr ר̤נבֲא) [pronounced ubve-NAYR]

my father is Ner or my father is a lamp, and is transliterated Abner

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #74 BDB #4

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

nêr (ר̤נ) [pronounced nair]

lamp and is transliterated Ner

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #5369 BDB #633

sar (ר ַ) [pronounced sar]

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

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #8269 BDB #978

tsâbâ (א ָב ָצ) [pronounced tsawb-VAW]

army, war, or warfare

masculine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #6635 DB #838


Translation: ...and [he sees] Abner, the son of Ner, [who is] Saul’s chief-of-staff [lit., commander of his army]. David and see both Saul and his chief-of-staff, Abner; with whom David is familiar. Recall that David was a military man (as well as a shepherd); so he knows all of Saul’s high-ranking officers and Saul’s shepherds. He is able to recognize and identify them. As a former military leader in Saul’s army, David knew Abner personally.


We first examined Abner’s lineage back in 1Sam. 14 and in 1Chron. 8:30–33. There are two viewpoints on this. Let’s summarize them below:

A Summary of Abner’s Lineage

My Own Viewpoint:

The Most Commonly Held Viewpoint:

Jeiel (Abiel)

┌───────────────────────┐

       Kish1                                      Ner

┌───────────────────────┐

                       Kish2                                      Abner

Saul

 

Ner1

Jeiel (Abiel)

┌─────────── ┴──────────┐

            Kish                                    Ner2

                                                    

            Saul                                    Abner Footnote

In my scenario, there must be two Kish’s. Jeiel (or Abiel) is found in 1Sam. 9:1 14:51 1Chron. 8:29 9:35. Kish1 is found in 1Chron. 8:30 9:36. Ner is found in 1Sam. 14:51 1Chron. 8:33 9:36, 39 and the Greek of 1Chron. 8:30. Kish2 is found in 1Sam. 9:1 14:51 1Chron. 8:33 9:39. Saul is in 1Sam. 9:2 14:51 1Chron. 8:33 9:39 and Abner is named in 1Sam. 14:51. In this version, Abner is Saul’s uncle.

In the most commonly held lineage, there are two Ner’s instead of two Kish’s. The same list of Scriptures can be applied. In this latter case, Saul and Abner are cousins.

1Sam. 14:50b–51 reads: And the name of the captain of his army was Abner the son of Ner (or Abner ben Ner), Saul’s uncle. And Kish was the father of Saul, and Ner the father of Abner was the son of Abiel. In 1Chron. 8:33a, Ner is clearly Saul’s grandfather, making Abner Saul’s uncle: And Ner became the father of Kish and Kish became the father of Saul... This is not in conflict with 1Sam. 14:50, where the designation Sauls uncle could just as easily apply to Abner as is does to Ner. Footnote

Geisler and Nix use the same passages to justify their position. They are not adamant about it; they write: There were probably two men named Ner, one Saul’s uncle and the other his great grandfather. Footnote

I hold to my position with a little more dogma than they do theirs; however, either explanation clears up any supposed lineage problems. Now, if you have never known anyone named after their uncle (or grandfather), they may seem unusual to you.


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to the Chart and Map Index


1Samuel 26:5d

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

shâkab (ב ַכ ָש) [pronounced shaw-KAHBV]

to lie down, to lie down [to sleep, to have sexual relations, to die; because of sickness or humiliation]; to relax

Qal active participle

Strong’s #7901 BDB #1011

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

No Strong’s # BDB #88

ma׳egâl (לָע -מ) [pronounced mahģe-GAWL]

entrenchment, track, rut [wherein a wheel revolves]; a way, path; a course of action

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #4570 BDB #722

The Septuagint has Saul sleeping in a chariot; the Peshitta has him in the road. Saul probably thought of himself as being safe; David thinks differently, and will show Saul that he isn’t safe.


Translation: Saul is laying in a [wagon] path... It is apparently in the evening some time. There was probably a forced march from Gibeah to Ziph. David is getting a closer look to determine what he should do. Most of the translations have Saul sleeping in a rut, or in the track of a chariot; his men would be stationed about him. The Septuagint has Saul in a chariot instead.

 

Gill offers the following explanation: this is to be understood either of the camp itself, so called, as Ben Gersom, Abarbinel, and Ben Melech think, because it lay in a circular form, that all comers to it on every side might be seen; or else a sort of fortress all around the camp, made of carriages joined together; and as the word signifies a carriage, cart or chariot, it may design the chariot in which Saul slept, as kings have been used to do when not in their houses; and to this the Septuagint agrees, which uses a word that Procopius Gazaeus says signifies one kind of a chariot, and is used of a chariot drawn by mules, in the Greek version of Isa. 66:20; Grotius observes, kings used to sleep in chariots where there were no houses. Footnote


A chariot designed for Saul to sleep in seems to be the most reasonable explanation here. However, the masculine and feminine forms of this noun all seem to indicate an entrenchment, tench, rut, or path (see Psalm 23:3 65:11 140:5 Prov. 2:9 4:11, 26 Isa. 26:7 Footnote ). Furthermore, when a translation is changed, it is often changed to become more logical; therefore, I would have to say that Saul is in the wagon path right now, with his men around him.

 

The Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge is rather adamant about this point: The word maugal never signifies a ditch or rampart, but a chariot or wagon way. Nor does it seem to denote a ring of carriages, as Buxtorf and others interpret the word; for it is not probable that Saul would encumber his army with baggage in so rapid a pursuit, nor that so mountainous a country was practicable for wagons. It appears simply to mean here, the circular encampment (from agal, “round”) which these troops formed, in the midst of which, as being the place of honour, Saul reposed. An Arab camp, D’Arvieux informs us, is always circular, when the disposition of the ground will permit, the prince being in the middle, and the troops at a respectful distance around him. Add to which, their lances are fixed near them in the ground all the day long, ready for action. Footnote


You may wonder to yourself, if this is the case, why? That is, why would Saul sleep in along a wagon path rather than in a chariot? Recall that Saul is not of sound mind, and his thinking may be, he can see all around him from the path; however, he could not see this from a chariot, and he would be a sitting duck inside the royal chariot at night. Now, for the clincher: if Saul were inside a chariot, then the spear would not be stuck in the ground next to his head (vv. 7, 12). Furthermore, Abishai says that he will pin Saul to the ground with the spear in one blow (v. 8)—this makes little sense unless Saul is on the ground sleeping.


As a tangent: I realize that you are thinking, what is the big deal? Who really cares if Saul is on the ground in the chariot? After all, where Saul actually slept is a fairly trivial matter. Therefore, we should ask the following question:

What Did We Really Learn When We Examined Where Saul Slept?

1.    We first examine the original language to determine the meaning of a verse.

2.    We also examine what great and learned theologians have said in the past.

3.    We do not just stop with one authoritative viewpoint. You may recall that Gill sounded very reasonable and it would have been easy to take his position and stop. However, we found an equally persuasive argument for the other side.

4.    A few more points on famous theologians:

       a.    Do not think that God hid His greatest truths from us until this century or the previous century.

       b.    That is, cults and cultic teachers that come along and present to us a faith which deviates considerably from orthodoxy should be avoided as references.

       c.     Although I have come across several points of theology which I do not believe was properly taught in the past, I have come across nothing which revolutionizes the Christian faith.

       d.    Bob Thieme Jr. was revolutionary only insofar as he taught Christian mechanics, something which had received little or no attention in the past. However, his doctrine still lined up with orthodox teaching.

       e.    Therefore, you can look back to the many outstanding theologians of the past for guidance and clarification. Like anything else, some are good, some are lousy, and most fall somewhere in between.

       f.     There are several places where my work is superior to that of older theologians:

               i.      I can freely draw from many of their works.

               ii.     I can more easily edit my work.

               iii.    And I can include charts and maps, something which many of them were unable to do. Looking at a family tree of Saul, and the two basic viewpoints of his relationship to Abner is much more clear than a paragraph of words explaining exactly the same thing.

5.    Then we looked at the context of the passage.

6.    We compared the different viewpoints that we had with other scriptures.

7.    Finally, we used simple, human logic, which should not be ignored when examining Scripture. In fact, it was human logic in this case which clinched this particular point of view.

8.    Despite the fact that this was a trivial point, if not completely irrelevant to any theological notion, what this did was give us a plan of attack for any difficult passage of Scripture, which, in turn, helps to shape an accurate theology.

9.    If we follow these general steps, we should be able to nail down the meaning of many difficult passages of Scripture, and thus increasing out knowledge of the truth.

10.  You will note that, how I feel right now is not important or an issue.

11.  What I have experienced in the past is not an issue. Maybe every time you have ever camped out, you have slept inside a camper. That is not important. Your life experiences do not make this or that position of doctrine valid or invalid.

12.  An similar event in Scripture is not reason enough to take this position or that.

       a.    For instance, if we examined David when out on the run and observed that he always slept on the ground or in a tent—this would be irrelevant.

       b.    We must be careful how we apply other Scriptures, particularly if they record what happened rather than give us a principle of truth.

       c.     What comes to my mind, at this point, is the tongues movement. Yes, I have heard all of their arguments, and I am well aware the Paul spoke in more tongues than all of the Corinthians, and tha the thanked God for that. However, when this issue is examined, apart from our own human experience, using the principles found herein, we are forced to the conclusion that tongues were a temporary gift which faded away, and completely ended by the time the authority of the Apostles and their writings had been clearly established.

       d.    Without digressing into the entire area of tongues, let me give you some of the problems with their approach to this doctrine:

               i.      Their personal experience plays an important part in their arguments for speaking in gibberish tongues.

               ii.     They focus on a limited number of Scriptures which they take out of context.

               iii.    They focus on a couple of occurrences in the book of Acts which may or may not be the pattern for Christian experience.

               iv.    They take certain passages—especially 1Cor. 13:1—completely out of context and force it to mean something which it does not mean. 1Cor. 13:1 is the only passage in the entire Bible which can be twisted in order ot support the idea that speaking in tongues is speaking in gibberish.

               v.     If 1Cor. 13:1 is removed, or, better yet, properly interpreted within the context it is found, then there is no Biblical support for anyone speaking in gibberish. Remove the gibberish-speaking from the tongues movement, and there is nothing left. The entire structure of the present day tongues movement rises or falls based upon this one passage; because, without it, there is no justification anywhere that speaking in tongues is equivalent to speaking in gibberish.

               vi.    Now, do you see how important a logical approach which takes into account the context and the original language is? We can take this same approach to any theological issue or viewpoint found in Scripture (or allegedly found in Scripture) and often come to an accurate conclusion.

13.  An addendum: it is important to recognize what we know and what we speculate about:

       a.    In this passage, we are certain that Saul did not sleep in a chariot.

       b.    This does not guarantee us that he was on a path (as he could be sleeping in a trench); but it does guarantee us that he is on the ground.

       c.     When we examine the sequence of events of David’s first observation of Saul’s army to the point where he stands over Saul’s sleeping body, note that I will not take a position of equal dogmatism.

       d.    This is because, there were alternate theories which were just as reasonable.

       e.    Do not take a position of dogmatism if that position is unwarranted.

       f.     Do take a position of dogmatism when we have followed the steps above and it leads us to a particular conclusion.

14.  Again, what we got from this passage is not the answer to, did Saul sleep on the ground or in a chariot? We learned a plan of attack for any difficult Scripture.

15.  When you examine a doctrine from one of the various cults, you will find that one or more of the steps above are generally ignored.

       a.    I have used the tongues movement as an example; let me also offer up the Jehovah’s Witnesses as an example.

       b.    The JW’s do not believe that Jesus Christ is God.

       c.     One of the passages which gives them great trouble is John 1:1–3,14 (which says, The Word was with God and the Word is God...and the Word became flesh and lived among us).

       d.    The JW’s assert that this should read the word is a god.

       e.    In taking this position, they ignore all linguistic scholars of the past.

       f.     They put together their own Bible and change the translation to agree with their position.

       g.    However, even in their own Bible, they are extremely inconsistent. In every other passage in the New Testament where we find θεός in an anarthrous construction (which is the proper designation for the construction of Θεός in John 1:1), they translate it God, and not a god. They take a dogmatic position, yet do not follow that position consistently in their own translation.

16.  My point is, we approached a rather trivial piece of information with great theological rigor; not necessarily to determine where Saul slept, but to put together a series of steps that we can follow in all situations.

What we got from this is not, did Saul sleep in a chariot or on the ground? What we really got from this passage was a plan of attack—several steps that we can follow—in order to unravel any difficult portion of Scripture.


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to the Chart and Map Index


We will find out in v. 7 that David and Abishai had actually entered into Saul’s camp. This explains why David is able to make these observations at night (we must assume there is enough light available from the moon to aid David in seeing Saul). Once we get to v. 7, then we will regroup and look at these events chronologically.


1Samuel 26:5e

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

׳am (ם ַע) [pronounced ģahm]

people; race, tribe; family, relatives; citizens, common people; companions, servants; entire human race; herd [of animals]

masculine singular collective noun with the definite article

Strong’s #5971 BDB #766

chânah (ה ָנ ָח) [pronounced khaw-NAW]

to bivouac, to camp, to encamp in [or, against], to set up camp

masculine plural, Qal active participle

Strong's #2583 BDB #333

çâbîyb (בי̣בָס) [pronounced sawb-VEEBV]

around, surrounding, circuit, round about, encircle

adverb with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #5439 BDB #686


Translation: ...and the people were camped around him. David has observed where Saul and Abner are; and he sees that Saul’s army are camped around him. We can reasonably assume that David and Abishai actually went into the camp at this point (even though Abishai has not yet been mentioned by name). In any case, David is close enough to know where Saul is (possibly because Abishai knows this information from having already been in the camp); and we also know that David will go into the camp for certain (vv. 7–12). All I am doing is suggesting a chronological scenario (which I will formalize in v. 7).


And so answers David and so he says unto Ahimelech the Hittite and unto Abishai ben Zeruiah, brother of Joab, to say, “Who goes down with me unto Saul, unto the camp?”


And so says Abishai, “I—I will go down with you.”

1Samuel

26:6

So David spoke and said to Ahimelech the Hittite and to Abishai, the son of Zeruiah, brother of Joab, saying, “Who will go down with me to Saul [and] into the camp?”


And Abishai said, “I will go down with you.”

David approached Ahimelech the Hittite and Abishai, the son of Zeruiah, the brother of Joab, and he asks them, “Which one of you will go down with me to Saul’s camp?”


Abishai answered, “I will go down with you.”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic text                        And so answers David and so he says unto Ahimelech the Hittite and unto Abishai ben Zeruiah, brother of Joab, to say, “Who goes down with me unto Saul, unto the camp?”

And so says Abishai, “I—I will go down with you.”

Peshitta                                 Then David said to Ahimeleck the Hittite and to Abishai the son of Zoriah, Joab’s brother, saying, “Who will go down with me to Saul’s camp?” And Abishai said, “I will go down with you.”

Septuagint                             And David answered and spoke to Abimelech the Chettite, and to Abessa the son of Saruia the brother of Joab, saying, “Who will go in with me to Saul into the camp?” And Abessa said, “I will go in with you.”

 

Significant differences           No significant differences.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       David asked Ahimelech the Hittite and Joab's brother Abishai, "Which one of you will go with me into Saul's camp?" "I will!" Abishai answered.

NJB                                        Speaking to Ahimelech the Hittite and Abishai son of Zeruiah and brother of Joab, David said, ‘Who will come down with me to the camp, to Saul?’ Abishai answered, ‘I will go down with you.’

NLT                                        “Will anyone volunteer to go in there with me?” David asked Ahimelech the Hittite and abishai son of Zeruiah, Joab’s brother.

“I’ll go with you,” Abishai replied.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         David asked Ahimelech the Hittite and Abishai, who was Zeruiah's son and Joab's brother, "Who will go with me to Saul in the camp?" Abishai answered, "I'll go with you.”

JPS (Tanakh)                        David spoke up and asked Ahimelech the Hittite and Abishai son of Zeruiah, Joab’s brother, “Who will go down with me into the camp to Saul?” And Abishai answered, “I will go down with you.”


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

MKJV                                     And David answered and said to Ahimelech the Hittite, and to Abishai the son of Zeruiah, the brother of Joab, saying, Who will go down with me to the camp to Saul? And Abishai said, I will go down with you.

Young's Updated LT              And David answers and says unto Ahimelech the Hittite, and unto Abishai son of Zeruiah, brother of Joab, saying, `Who goes down with me unto Saul, unto the camp?' and Abishai says, “I—I go down with you.”.


What is the gist of this verse? David asks of the two spies which will return with him to the camp (it is an assumption on my part that these are the two spies).


1Samuel 26:6a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

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

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

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187


Translation: So David spoke up... This can also mean to answer. What has probably occurred is, these two men, Ahimelech and Abishai, were the spies sent out in v. 4. They have returned with the information that David has asked for. Now David looks at them and says, “Okay, which one of you wants to return to the camp with me?” We would not order the verses this way, as we think chronologically. And, we want more information; we would like to hear that these are the two spies that David sent out.


Another proposed scenario is, spies went out and found where Saul was. David went out on his own and observed where Saul was. Then David returned to take someone with him. This position is based more upon these verses occurring in chronological order than anything else, which is a foolish assumption (I think we could make that general assumption with Luke; but probably with no other writer of Scripture).


1Samuel 26:6b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

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]

unto, in, into, toward, 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

Even though we find Abimelech in the Greek, bear in mind that there is no h in the Greek.

Chittîy (י. ̣ח) [pronounced khiht-TEE]

transliterated Hittite

gentilic adjective with the definite article

Strong’s #2850 BDB #366


Translation: ...and said to Ahimelech the Hittite... David has a less authoritative approach to his leadership role. He does not order one person to follow after him, but he chooses two, and asks which of them wants to follow him.


The first person he speaks to is Ahimelech the Hittite. We don’t know if he took these two men aside or whether he spoke to them in front of everyone else. It is possible that the three went together (perhaps with others); and these two had gone into Saul’s camp and now David wants to go into Saul’s camp as well. The verb used seems to indicate that he spoke to them in front of everyone else. He voice was loud enough to be heard by them, but not by, of course, anyone in Saul’s camp.


There are at least three different Ahimelech’s in the Old Testament; Abimelech the Hittite is found only here. Ham, Noah’s son, had a son Canaan, who had a son Sidon, who had a son Heth, who was the father of the Hittites (Gen. 10:1, 6, 15). These Anatolian Hittites ruled an empire which extended down into Syria during to the fourteen and thirteenth centuries  b.c. Footnote Uriah will be another Hittite under David’s command. This should indicate that men from all over the world were willing to come to David to get a fresh start. This is a picture of men coming to Jesus for a fresh start. David had the truth, and there were men who were drawn to him ultimately because he had the truth (even though they may not have realized this).


Surprisingly enough, there is nothing mentioned about anyone in Saul’s camp being sent out as spies to find David. That could be attributed to Saul’s poor strategizing or to his over-confidence. Also, we are getting this narrative mostly from David’s point of view, so we would not necessarily know if Saul sent out spies himself. I suspect that Saul depended more upon the numbers than he was about a careful approach and attack.


1Samuel 26:6c

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

el (לא) [pronounced el]

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

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

ăbîyshay (י-שי.בֲא) [pronounced ub-vee-SHAH-ee]

my father is Jesse and is transliterated Abishai

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #52 BDB #5

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

Tserûwyâh (הָירצ) [pronounced tzeroo-YAW]

transliterated Zeruiah

feminine singular proper noun

Strong’s #6870 BDB #863

âch (ח ָא) [pronounced awhk]

brother, kinsman or close relative

masculine singular construct

Strong's #251 BDB #26

yôwâb (בָאי) [pronounced YOH-awbv]

Yah is father and is transliterated Joab

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #3097 BDB #222

Because of the lineage given to us in 1Chron. 2:16, we know that Joab is the brother of Abishai and not Zeruiah (Joab is the son of Zeruiah). This helps us at other times when we are not so sure. There is no wâw conjunction and brother of Joab refers back to Abishai, rather than to Zeruiah.


Translation: ...and to Abishai, the son of Zeruiah, brother of Joab,... David apparently had two men whom he trusted; one was a Hittite, and the other was Abishai. We meet Abishai for the first time in this chapter and are given his lineage, even though it means little to us. This is the first mention of Joab and the first mention of Zeruiah as well, in the English Bible. However, we have encountered them all before when we examined 1Chron. 2. David’s brothers are named in 1Chron. 2:13–15 and his sisters are named in 1Chron. 2:16, who are Zeruiah and Abigail. Zeruiah has three sons named: Abishai, Joab and Asahel. Abishai’s name means Jesse is my father. In the Hebrew, father does not necessarily mean the man who sired you; for the Jews, Abraham is their father. So, technically, Jesse is Abishai’s grandfather. However, this is proper usage in the Hebrew. Since Abishai will not play a big part in David’s life until 2Samuel, where he becomes more involved (at least, in recorded history), we will wait until 2Sam. 2–3 to discuss Abishai further (when he and Abner face one another again). All we need to know now is that he is David’s nephew.


1Samuel 26:6d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

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

Qal infinitive construct

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

mîy (י ̣מ) [pronounced mee]

who; occasionally rendered how, in what way

pronominal interrogative

Strong’s #4310 BDB #566

yârad (ד ַר ָי) [pronounced yaw-RAHD]

to descend, to go down

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #3381 BDB #432

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

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

preposition (which is identical to the sign of the direct object) with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong's #854 BDB #85

el (לא) [pronounced el]

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

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

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

el (לא) [pronounced el]

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

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

machăneh (ה נ ֲח ַמ) [pronounced mah-khuh-NEH]

camp, encampment; the courts [of Jehovah]; the heavenly host

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #4264 BDB #334


Translation: ...saying, “Who will go down with me to Saul [and] into the camp?” Here is the question which David poses to these two men; “Which of you wants to go with me to Saul and to the enemy camp?” We don’t know if David gave any more information than that. It is likely that David was uncertain as to what he was going to do exactly. However, as the leader of these men, he cannot ignore 3000 soldiers camped within a mile, whose assignment is to capture and kill him. Therefore, David must act, even though he may not even know right at this point in time what this act is going to be.


1Samuel 26:6e

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

ăbîyshay (י-שי.בֲא) [pronounced ub-vee-SHAH-ee]

my father is Jesse and is transliterated Abishai

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #52 BDB #5

ânîy (י.נָא) [pronounced aw-NEE]

I, me; in answer to a question, it means I am, it is I

1st person singular, personal pronoun

Strong’s #589 BDB #58

yârad (ד ַר ָי) [pronounced yaw-RAHD]

to descend, to go down

1st person singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #3381 BDB #432

׳îm (ם̣ע) [pronounced ģeem]

with, at, by, near

preposition of nearness and vicinity with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix; pausal form

Strong’s #5973 BDB #767


Translation: And Abishai said, “I will go down with you.”  Abishai chose to go with David on this mission. This shows great trust in David’s leadership, as these were two men walking down into an encampment of 3000. Abishai is willing to follow David, even though David has not laid out a plan of action.


Please realize that David will become king. This has become fairly well-known. For those who believe it, sticking with David is probably the safest place to be. He is the king elected by Jehovah God. Therefore, nothing is going to happen to David. Therefore, the safest place to be is with David. Abishai, traveling with David toward a camp of 3000 hand-picked warriors is probably safer than those who remain in camp. I hope that you see the obvious parallel. When we are in Christ, David’s greater Son, we are also safe and protected. Nothing can be done to us that God has not already made provision for.


And so goes David and Abishai unto the people [at] night and behold Saul is laying— sleeping—in the encampment and his spear is pressed in the ground at his head. And Abner and the people are laying around him.

1Samuel

26:7

So David and Abishai went to the army [lit., people] [that] night and observed [that] Saul is lying asleep in the encampment with his spear embedded [lit., pressed] into the ground at his head. And Abner and the army [lit., people] are laying around him.

So David and Abishai went into the encampment, in the midst of Saul’s army, and they observed that Saul was asleep with his spear stuck in the ground at his head. Around him lay Abner and the rest of Saul’s army, sleeping.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Peshitta                                 So David and Abishai came to the people by night; and behold, Saul lay asleep in the path, with his spear lying on the ground by his bedside; and Abner and the people lay round about him.

Septuagint                             So David and Tbessa go in among the people by night; and behold, Saul was fast asleep in the chariot, and his spear was stuck in the ground near his head, and Abenner and his people slept round about him.

 

Significant differences           .


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       That same night, David and Abishai crept into the camp. Saul was sleeping, and his spear was stuck in the ground not far from his head. Abner and the soldiers were sound asleep all around him.

NAB                                       So David and Abishai went among Saul’s soldiers by night and found Saul lying asleep within the barricade, with his spear thrust into the ground at his head and Abner and his men sleeping around him.

NJB                                        So in the dark David and Abishai made their way towards the force, where they found Saul lying asleep inside the camp, his spear stuck in the ground beside his head, with Abner and the troops lying round him.

NLT                                        So David and Abishai went right into Saul’s camp and found him asleep with his spear stuck in the ground beside his head. Abner and he warriors were lying asleep around him.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         So David and Abishai went among Saul's troops that night. Saul was lying asleep inside the camp with his spear stuck in the ground near his head. Abner and the soldiers were lying around him.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

MKJV                                     So David and Abishai came to the people by night. And behold, Saul lay sleeping in the tent, and his spear stuck in the ground at his head. But Abner and the people lay around him.

Young's Updated LT              And David comes—and Abishai—unto the people by night, and lo, Saul is lying sleeping in the path, and his spear struck into the earth at his pillow, and Abner and the people are lying round about him.


What is the gist of this verse? David and Abishai go into the midst of Saul’s camp and everyone, including his elite guard, is asleep. They find Saul asleep with his spear stuck in the ground next to his head.


1Samuel 26:7a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

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

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

ăbîyshay (י-שי.בֲא) [pronounced ub-vee-SHAH-ee]

my father is Jesse and is transliterated Abishai

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #52 BDB #5

el (לא) [pronounced el]

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

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

׳am (ם ַע) [pronounced ģahm]

people; race, tribe; family, relatives; citizens, common people; companions, servants; entire human race; herd [of animals]

masculine singular collective noun with the definite article

Strong’s #5971 BDB #766

layelâh (ה ָל  ׃י ַל) [pronounced LAY-law]

night; nightly, at night, in the night, during the night

masculine singular noun; this word can take on adverbial qualities

Strong’s #3915 BDB #538


Translation: So David and Abishai went to the army [lit., people] [that] night... We have postulated that David made one trip into Saul’s camp, taking Abishai with him, who was probably one of the spies. However, it is possible that Saul’s camp was entered as many as three times that night: once by David’s spies; once by David, and once by David and Abishai. In any case, this is the only time that we know that David (or anyone) actually went into the camp itself.


Let me offer you an explanation which covers the individual events:

1Samuel 26:2–7 Presented Chronologically

1.    Saul and his army of 3000 come to the wilderness of Ziph.

2.    David's lookouts inform David of a large troop movement and he looks for himself.

3.    David calls for two spies to move closer into the camp, to make certain it is Saul.

4.    When this is confirmed, David goes with the two spies to see for himself.

5.    Once they get close, David asks for one of the spies to go with him into the camp.

6.    Abishai goes with David into the camp, to where they are actually standing right next to where Saul is sleeping.

7.    

Although this is not the only way this could have occurred; we will assume for now that these are the chronological events of these verses.


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to the Chart and Map Index


I have mentioned that some claim that this chapter and 1Sam. 24 are different traditions of the same historical event. If that is the case, why not also throw in Judges 7:9–14, when Gideon and Purah also go down, two men, into an enemy camp (the Midianites). In fact, while we are at it, why not say this is also another version of Jonathan and his young man, who, as two men, attacked a camp of enemy soldiers (1Sam. 14)? My point is, life is filled with situations that have some similarities to other situations.


1Samuel 26:7b

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

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

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

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982

shâkab (ב ַכ ָש) [pronounced shaw-KAHBV]

to lie down, to lie down [to sleep, to have sexual relations, to die; because of sickness or humiliation]; to relax

Qal active participle

Strong’s #7901 BDB #1011

yâshên (ן̤שָי) [pronounced yaw-SHAYN]

sleeping, asleep, slept

verbal adjective

Strong’s #3463 BDB #445

There are 4 other words which are identical to yâshên, except for the vowel points.

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

No Strong’s # BDB #88

ma׳egâl (לָע -מ) [pronounced mahģe-GAWL]

entrenchment, track, rut [wherein a wheel revolves]; a way, path; a course of action

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #4570 BDB #722

You will recall that the Peshitta had Saul sleeping in a chariot in v. 5; he is in a pathway in the Peshitta in this verse, according to the English rendering. Footnote You will also recall that this is unlikely, given that Saul’s spear is said to be stuck in the ground next to his head.


Translation: ...and observed [that] Saul is lying asleep in the encampment... They were able to walk into the camp because everyone in the camp was asleep. Saul was laying asleep in a ditch or in a chariot path. It is interesting that a man of Saul’s unstable condition could sleep so well. However, we do not know how many days Saul was awake after finding out from the Ziphites where David was. This could be his third day without sleep and perhaps he just fell out immediately. This would account for all of his army being asleep as well. Saul, the egotist that he is, would have driven his soldiers hard; as long as he was awake, he would have forced marched them. We will later find out that this sleep was supernaturally induced.


1Samuel 26:7c

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

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

spear

feminine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #2595 BDB #333

mâ׳ake (-עָמ) [pronounced maw-ĢAHKe]

to be pressed, to be bruised [resulting in castration for an animal]; to be pressed [or stuck] into

feminine singular, Qal passive participle

Strong’s #4600 BDB #590

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

No Strong’s # BDB #88

erets (ץ ר א) [pronounced EH-rets]

earth (all or a portion thereof), land

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #776 BDB #75

meraăshôth (תֹשֲא-ר מ) [pronounced merah-uh-SHOHTH]

place at the head, at the head of [anyone or anything]; head-place; pillow, bolster [a long, cylindrical pillow or cushion]

feminine plural noun sometimes used as a preposition; with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #4763 (and #4761) BDB #912


Translation: ...with his spear embedded [lit., pressed] into the ground at his head. At least two theologians Footnote suggest that this spear stuck in the ground was SOP. Freeman also tells us that even today, the sheikh’s tent is always recognized by a tall spear stuck in the ground in front of it; and the place where the sheikh reclines to rest when halting on a march is designated in like manner. Footnote In any case, this aspect of Saul’s sleep is germane to this account. At Saul’s head was his spear, stuck into the ground.


1Samuel 26:7d

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

ăbenêr ר̤נבֲא) [pronounced ubve-NAYR]

my father is Ner or my father is a lamp, and is transliterated Abner

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #74 BDB #4

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

׳am (ם ַע) [pronounced ģahm]

people; race, tribe; family, relatives; citizens, common people; companions, servants; entire human race; herd [of animals]

masculine singular collective noun with the definite article

Strong’s #5971 BDB #766

shâkab (ב ַכ ָש) [pronounced shaw-KAHBV]

to lie down, to lie down [to sleep, to have sexual relations, to die; because of sickness or humiliation]; to relax

masculine plural, Qal active participle

Strong’s #7901 BDB #1011

çâbîyb (בי̣בָס) [pronounced sawb-VEEBV]

around, surrounding, circuit, round about, encircle

adverb with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #5439 BDB #686


Translation: And Abner and the army [lit., people] are laying around him. As mentioned, Saul, the madman, probably put his soldiers on a force march from Gibeah to Judah; they probably did not stop and rest; and Saul, no doubt, was carried. So once they arrive and know they are near David, everyone is totally exhausted. However, it is also typical in the ancient world to execute an night guard staff if they fall asleep. We will find out that this was God’s work in v. 12.


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to the Chart and Map Index


David Explains to Abishai What is Permissible with Regards to Saul


And so says Abishai unto David, “Has delivered over Elohim the day your enemy in your hand. And now I strike him, I pray you in the spear and the earth—a beat one and I will not do again to him.”

1Samuel

26:8

Then Abishai said to David, “Elohim has today delivered over your enemy into your hand. Therefore, let me strike him [lit., I will strike him, I pray you] with the spear into the earth one time—and I will not [have to] do [it] to him again.”

Then Abishai whispered to David, “God has this day delivered your enemy into your hand. Therefore, please allow me to strike him one time with this spear—I will not have to strike him twice.”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Peshitta                                 Then said Abishai to David, “Your God has delivered your enemy into your hands this day; now therefore, let me strike him just once wit this spear which is on the ground, and I will not strike him the second time.”

Septuagint                             And Abessa said to David, “The Lord has this day shut up your enemy into your hands, and now I will strike him [dead] to the earth with the spear in the ground

 

Significant differences           . once, and I will not strike him again.”


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Abishai whispered, "This time God has let you get your hands on your enemy! I'll pin him to the ground with one thrust of his own spear.”

NAB                                       Abishai whispered to David: “God has delivered your enemy into your grasp this day. Let me nail him to the ground with one thrust of the spear; I will not need a second thrust!”

NLT                                        “God has surely handed your enemy over to you this time!” Abishai whispered to David. “Let me thrust that spear through him. I’ll pin him to the ground, and I won’t need to strike twice!”


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Abishai said to David, "Today God has turned your enemy over to you. Please let me nail him to the ground with one stab of the spear. I won't have to do it twice!”


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

MKJV                                     And Abishai said to David, God has shut up your enemy into your hand this day. And please let me strike him with the spear even to the earth at once, and I will not repeat [it] to him.

Young's Updated LT              And Abishai says unto David, “God has shut up to-day your enemy into your hand; and, now, let me strike him, I pray you, with a spear, even into the earth at once—and I do repeat it to him.”


What is the gist of this verse? Abishai tells David that God has given Saul into his hand; and he asks fo kill Saul himself.


1Samuel 26:8a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

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

ăbîyshay (י-שי.בֲא) [pronounced ub-vee-SHAH-ee]

my father is Jesse and is transliterated Abishai

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #52 BDB #5

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto, in, into, toward, 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

çâgar (רַג ָס) [pronounced saw-GAHR]

to deliver over

3rd person masculine singular, Piel perfect

Strong’s #5462 BDB #688

Some may point out that this word means to shut up, to imprison; therefore, you may wonder, how do we get to deliver over from this? The idea is first, in the Qal, to shut up, to close up, to imprison. However, it is also a reference to delivering someone over to be imprisoned; finally, it has the extended meaning (in the Piel) to deliver over. This word is found in the Piel only 4 times, all in the book of Samuel, and in each case, it means simply to deliver over.

ělôhîym (מי̣הֹלֱא) [pronounced el-o-HEEM]

gods or God; transliterated Elohim

masculine plural noun with a 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #430 BDB #43

yôwm (םי) [pronounced yohm]

day; today (with a definite article)

masculine singular noun with a definite article

Strong’s #3117 BDB #398

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

âyabv (בַי ָא) [pronounced aw-YABV]

enemy, the one being at enmity with you; enmity, hostility

Qal active participle with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #340 BDB #33

Written enemies but read enemy. It is both written and read enemy in 4 printed editions. Footnote

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

No Strong’s # BDB #88

yâd (דָי) [pronounced yawd]

generally translated hand

feminine singular noun with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #3027 BDB #388


Translation: Then Abishai said to David, “Elohim has today delivered over your enemy into your hand. Automatically, David’s sidekick Abishai has assumed that all of this is a sign from God. He has assumed that their being able to easily walk into the camp, find Saul sleeping with the spear near his head is a sign from God that David can kill Saul. When Saul had come into the cave where David and his men were hiding, his soldiers at that time told him the same thing, possibly even quoting one of David’s psalms (1Sam. 24:4).


First of all, there is some precedent for God handing over an enemy into the believer’s hand; see Joshua 21:44 Judges 1:4 1Sam. 23:14. So here is where David must explain to Abishai that, simply because Saul is lying before them helpless, this does not give them the right to kill him. One of the great problems with false doctrine and particularly with cults, is they tend to be very myopic. They hold to a handful of Scriptures, which make up their essential doctrine, and then essentially ignore the others. They do not recognize that similar situations may require a different tact or a different approach from the believer. There are times when God has delivered the enemy into the hands of His people when they were to destroy every last one of their enemies; and there are times when an enemy is to be preserved. Back in 1Sam. 15, Saul was supposed to destroy all the Amalekites; because he did not, there was an attempted holocaust in the days of Esther (1Sam. 15:8, 33 Esther 3:1, 8–10). However, the difference here is, God chose Saul to lead Israel. He was an appropriate leader for Israel: unstable, emotional, unwilling to examine the results of his actions. God would place David over Israel when the time is right. Not only must David be prepared for this undertaking, but those who would make up his cabinet must also be prepared.


Application: I have observed Christians for a long period of time. Almost every Christian that I have seen when they come upon fortuitous circumstances, despite the shaky moral ground, choose these circumstances and take what it is that they want. This is exactly how Abishai looks at this situation. With Saul dead, David will become king, and—oh, what do you know about that—Abishai is responsible here, so he expects to be second in command. Do you see how he has interpreted this situation to be just what he wants? Abishai has forgotten one detail: there is no legitimate justification for killing a king of Israel, a king installed by God. Do you see how this is a test? Abishai has failed, but David will pass this test.


1Samuel 26:8b

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

׳attâh (ה ָ ַע) [pronounced ģaht-TAWH]

now, at this time, already

adverb of time

Strong’s #6258 BDB #773

When followed by an imperative or an interrogative, we + the adverb ׳attâh mean and so, thus, things being so, therefore, now therefore. Sometimes, the concept of time is lost when this combination is used to incite another.

nâkâh (ה ָכ ָנ) [pronounced naw-KAWH]

to smite, to assault, to hit, to strike, to strike [something or someone] down, to defeat

1st person singular, Hiphil imperfect with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong #5221 BDB #645

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

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

No Strong’s # BDB #88

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

spear

feminine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #2595 BDB #333

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

erets (ץ ר א) [pronounced EH-rets]

earth (all or a portion thereof), land

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #776 BDB #75


Translation: Therefore, let me strike him [lit., I will strike him, I pray you] with the spear into the earth... Abishai wants the privilege of killing Saul, because this automatically will elevate him before David. He sees this as a great opportunity, both for David, but more for himself. Recall that these men who have joined up with David are not great men, great soldiers, or great anything else. They are malcontents. They have given David an opportunity to lead them to greatness; to mold them and to influence their sloppy thinking. Almost anyone can lead great men; few can lead losers. David has a platoon of losers and he will guide them and lead them to greatness.


Illustration: When I was a teacher, I excelled with the honors students. I believe I was able to push them further than any other teacher. However, these students would have succeeded with any teacher. However, those teachers who were able to take to losers, the low-level students, and lead them to success—that kind of teacher is to be revered. This is not to say that honors students do not need outstanding teachers—they do—but I must acknowledge and salute the greatness of the few teachers who could reach this group of young people who were the most disenfranchised. This is the kind of person that David is—he could take 600 losers and make them into great men.


Now Abishai could have made quite the case in favor of killing Saul: Saul was ego-centric, implacable and cruel; no act of kindness or reason would sway him. Furthermore, Saul would waste the resources of his country on personal vendettas and he would lie without his conscience being conflicted. Footnote He only obeyed God when it was convenient. That Saul was a sorry leader was clear by any objective standard. However, extremely bad leadership does not give David or any of his men the right to assassinate Saul.


There are actually three possible reasons why Abishai offers to kill Saul: (1) First of all, Abishai was a malcontent who joined up with David. This would indicate that he did not like Saul nor did he like Israel’s present administration. (2) Abishai had hoped that if he does this job, David would be beholden to him and that would elevate Abishai on David’s list. This could put him as high as second in command. (3) Thirdly, David did not kill Saul the last time when he had a chance. Abishai did not realize what David’s reasons were. He may have assumed that David didn’t want to get his hands dirty or that David himself did not want to raise his hands against the Lord’s anointed.


An excellent question is, why does this happen a second time? Why does God place Saul before David a second time? Two reasons: (1) The first time, David cut part of Saul’s robe, which would have been embarrassing to the king. David was later ashamed that he did that. God gave him a do-over so that he could pass this test completely. (2) Secondly, even though David had enough doctrine to know not to kill Saul the first time, he apparently did not convey this information to his men. Here, Abishai offers to kill Saul, thinking perhaps that the problem was, David could not kill the king; but I can. However, the key is David cannot simply kill off his political enemies. He cannot allow others to do this for him. And those under David have to know why as well.


Recall that David also foreshadows Jesus Christ. Being in Christ and being guided by God the Holy Spirit takes men and women who are losers and makes them into winners. Look at the disciples—particularly look at Peter. He was a big, dumb fisherman who had a lot to say, but had no follow through. He, along with the other loser disciples, who argued about who was the greatest among them, were 12 of the biggest losers that Jesus Christ could round up. Jesus took these 12 men and, through God the Holy Spirit, made them great (they did not begin to manifest this greatness as a group until the day of Pentecost). David was able to do the same with his own men. God gave him 600 losers and David leads them, day by day, and trains them. What is important is, David will make the issues clear to Abishai, so that Abishai will learn. And we will hear a lot from Abishai when David becomes king. However, what he requires now is for David to split a few hairs or him; to explain exactly what is going on and what can be cone and what cannot be done.


1Samuel 26:8c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

pa׳am (םַעָ) [pronounced PAH-ģahm]

beat, foot, anvil, occurrence, time, steps; the connotation is the passage of time

feminine plural noun

Strong’s #6471 BDB #821

echâd (ד ָח א) [pronounced eh-KHAWD]

one, first, certain, only; but it can also mean a composite unity

numeral

Strong's #259 BDB #25

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

lô (אֹל or אל) [pronounced low]

not, no

negates the word or action that follows; the absolute negation

Strong’s #3808 BDB #518

shânâh (הָנָש) [pronounced shaw-NAW]

to repeat, to do a second time, to do again; to be other, to be diverse; to be changed [usually for the worst]

1st person singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #8138 BDB #1040

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

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

preposition with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510


Translation: ...one time—and I will not [have to] do [it] to him again.” Abishai promises that he will only have to strike Saul one time; he will not have to strike him again. Again, Abishai needs David’s guiding hand. He needs to learn what is right and what is wrong. He needs David’s guidance in situations as morally prickly as this one. One of the reasons that Abishai needs this is, he will become one of David’s high ranking officers in David’s cabinet. He must be able to act correctly on his own without David having to explain to him what is right and what is wrong. As a man of great political power, Abishai will be making many life and death decisions. One key to great leadership is delegated power. In fact, a leader may be only moderately intelligent but if he has a firm moral grasp of the situation, and if those under him are men of great integrity, then he becomes a great leader because of them. A president with a poorly chosen cabinet cannot help but be mediocre.


And so says David unto Abishai, “You will not destroy him, for who has put forth his hand in a messiah of Yehowah and has been acquitted?”

1Samuel

26:9

David then said to Abishai, “You will not destroy him, for who put forth his hand against Yehowah’s anointed and has been guiltless?”

David then said to Abishai, “You will not kill him, because no one can strike Jehovah’s anointed without being punished.”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Septuagint                             And David said to Abessa, “Do not ay him low, for who will lift up his hand against the anointed of the Lord and be guiltless?”

 

Significant differences           .


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       “Don't kill him!" David whispered back. "The LORD will punish anyone who kills his chosen king.

NLT                                        “No!” David said. “Don’t kill him. For who can remain innocent after attacking the Lord’s anointed one?

REB                                       David said to him, ‘Do him no harm. Who has ever lifted his hand against the Lord’s anointed and gone unpunished?


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         "Don't kill him!" David told Abishai. "No one has ever attacked the LORD'S anointed king and remained free of guilt.

JPS (Tanakh)                        But David said to Abishai, “Don’t do him violence! No one can lay hands on the Lord’s anointed with impunity.”


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

MKJV                                     And David said to Abishai, Do not destroy him. For who can stretch forth his hand against Jehovah's anointed and be guiltless?

Young's Updated LT              And David says unto Abishai, “Destroy him not; for who has put forth his hand against the anointed of Jehovah, and been acquitted?”


What is the gist of this verse? David tells Abishai not to kill Saul, because Saul is God’s anointed and Abishai will be guilty of murder.


1Samuel 26:9a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

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

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

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

el (לא) [pronounced el]

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

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

ăbîyshay (י-שי.בֲא) [pronounced ub-vee-SHAH-ee]

my father is Jesse and is transliterated Abishai

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #52 BDB #5

lô (אֹל or אל) [pronounced low]

not, no

negates the word or action that follows; the absolute negation

Strong’s #3808 BDB #518

shâchath (ת ַח ָש) [pronounced shaw-KHAHTH]

to cause one to go to ruin, to spoil, to ruin, to corrupt, to destroy

2nd person masculine singular, Hiphil imperfect with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #7843 BDB #1007


Translation: David then said to Abishai, “You will not destroy him,... Here is Davids place. Not only is he in training to be king over all Israel, but he also trains his men. We also guides them each and every day with his words and actions. Abishai is about to be an opportunist, which is certainly his character. David will not just forbid Abishai to act, but he will explain why Abishai cannot act against Saul. David has the authority to simply say, “Nothing doing, Abishai; cool down, brother.” But David does more than that. David explains why this is not the proper move at this time.


1Samuel 26:9b

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

kîy (י̣) [pronounced kee]

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

conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

mîy (י ̣מ) [pronounced mee]

who; occasionally rendered how, in what way

pronominal interrogative

Strong’s #4310 BDB #566

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 perfect

Strong’s #7971 BDB #1018

yâd (דָי) [pronounced yawd]

generally translated hand

feminine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #3027 BDB #388

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

No Strong’s # BDB #88

Mâshîyach (-חי.שָמ) [pronounced maw-SHEE-ahkh]

anointed, anointed one, transliterated Messiah

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #4899 BDB #603

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

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

nâqâh (הָקָנ) [pronounced naw-KAWH]

to be acquitted, unpunished, declared free or declared guiltless

3rd person masculine singular, Niphal perfect

Strong #5352 BDB #667


Translation: ...for who put forth his hand against Yehowah’s anointed and has been guiltless?” Saul was chosen by God. God put Saul over all Israel. Israel recognized this,, but it was God who placed Saul in this position of leadership. This makes Saul Jehovah’s anointed (literally, messiah). David explains that no one can strike God’s anointed without facing severe consequences. Abishai would not just be guilty of murder; he would be guilty of murdering Jehovah’s anointed one.


I expected that a point like this would have been logically derived; however, there is a great deal of additional Scriptural support for this position (1Sam. 24:6–7 2Sam. 1:14–16 Psalm 105:15—Do not touch my anointed ones or harm my prophets). This principle was referenced much more often than I expected it to be. However, since we do not know the date of writing for Psalm 105, we do not know if David arrived at this conclusion logically or from that psalm. I do want you to notice one thing in particular: Saul remains God’s anointed. He never loses that position. God took Saul out probably via the sin unto death, but Saul remained God’s anointed despite his total lack of faithfulness.


And so says David, “Lives Yehowah that if Yehowah strikes him or his day comes and he has died or in the battle he goes down and he has been swept away.

1Samuel

26:10

David then said, “[As] Yehowah lives, only if Yehowah strikes him: whether his day comes and he dies or he goes down to battle and perishes.

David then added, “As Jehovah lives, Saul will die only if Jehovah personally strikes him down: whether his day comes and he dies of natural causes or he goes to war and dies in battle.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Peshitta                                 David said, furthermore, “As the Lord lives, the Lord will strike him; or the day of his death will come; or he will be struck in battle and perish.

Septuagint                             And David said, “The Lord lives, if the Lord strikes him or his day come and he dies or he goes down to battle and he is added.

 

Significant differences           .


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       As surely as the LORD lives, the LORD will kill Saul, or Saul will die a natural death or be killed in battle.

NJB                                        As Yahweh lives,’ David said, ‘Yahweh himself will strike him down: either the day will come for him o die, or he will go into battle and perish then. [Take note of the punctuation here].

NLT                                        Surely the Lord will strike Saul down someday, or he will die in battle or of old age.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         I solemnly swear, as the LORD lives," David added, "the LORD will strike him. Either his time will come when he'll die naturally, or he'll go into battle and be swept away.

JPS (Tanakh)                        And David went on, “As the Lord lives, the Lord Himself will strike him down, or his time will come and he will die, or he will go down to battle and perish.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

MKJV                                     And David said, As Jehovah lives, except Jehovah strike him, or his day shall come, and he dies, or he goes down to battle and is consumed,...

Young's Updated LT              And David says, “Jehovah lives; except Jehovah does strike him, or his day come that he has died, or into battle he go down, and has been consumed—...


What is the gist of this verse? David tells Abishai the only two ways in which Saul is allowed to die: of natural causes or in battle with the enemy (which does not include David and Abishai).


1Samuel 26:10a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

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

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

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

chay (י ַח) [pronounced KHAH-ee]

living, alive, active, lively, vigorous [used of man or animals]; green [vegetation]; fresh [used of a plant]; flowing [water]; reviving [of the springtime]; raw [flesh]

adjective

Strong's #2416 BDB #311

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

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217

kîy (י̣) [pronounced kee]

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

conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

îm (ם ̣א) [pronounced eem]

if, though; lo, behold; oh that, if only; when, since, though when (or, if followed by a perfect tense which refers to a past event)

primarily an hypothetical particle

Strong's #518 BDB #49

Together, kîy îm (ם ̣א י ̣) [pronounced kee-eem] act as a limitation on the preceding thought, and therefore should be rendered but, except, unless and possibly only. However, these particles are not used in a limiting way if they follow an oath, a question or a negative. Then they can be rendered that if, for if, for though, that since, for if, but if, indeed if, even if.

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

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217

nâgaph (ףַגָנ) [pronounced naw-GAHF]

to strike, to strike down, to hit

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #5062 BDB #619


Translation: David then said, “[As] Yehowah lives, only if Yehowah strikes him:... Abishai has just suggested to David that he kill Saul. Saul is laying there helpless before them, and Abishai say, “Let me do it.” David makes an oath here. The idea behind the oath is, they will do nothing to kill Saul. Saul is God’s anointed one, and, as such, is not to be harmed. Only God can remove His own anointed from this world.


Do you see the parallel which David has set up? No one can remove God’s Messiah until God removes Him Himself. God puts David under this similar test so that David can grow, so that this can be recorded, and so that David can teach these things to his own men.


1Samuel 26:10b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

ô (א) [pronounced oh]

or, or rather, otherwise, also, and

conjunction

Strong's #176 BDB #14

When ô is doubled (as it is here), it means ...whether...or... Footnote I must admit to being surprised that only the NJB understood ô in this way (they used a colon, which expresses the same idea).

yôwm (םי) [pronounced yohm]

day; today (with a definite article)

masculine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #3117 BDB #398

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

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

mûwth (תמ) [pronounced mooth]

to die

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #4191 BDB #559


Translation: ...whether his day comes and he dies... Here is an oddity. Even though Gesenius tells us that the doubling of ô means ...whether...or..., none of the literal translations seem to understand that. However, what David does is give two, not three, ways in which Saul may die. The first way in which it is permissible for Saul to die is of natural causes. This is one way in which it is obvious that God has come for someone...when they die of natural causes.


The Bible mentions death by natural causes several times: Job 14:5, 14 Psalm 37:13 Heb. 9:27. The idea presented seems to be that we have a predetermined amount of time on this earth; and we are not going to live beyond that time. David was more than willing to let Saul live out his natural life.


This may help to explain why David’s involvement with Nabal was mentioned in the previous chapter. This is what David learned from that situation. He had a personal beef with Nabal; Nabal had cheated David on a business deal, and David wanted to kill him. However, David was dissuaded by Nabal’s wife, Abigail, and God took Nabal out of this world via natural causes. David found out that there was no need for him to fight his own battles. God was willing and more able to do so.


1Samuel 26:10c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

ô (א) [pronounced oh]

or, or rather, otherwise, also, and

conjunction

Strong's #176 BDB #14

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

No Strong’s # BDB #88

milechâmâh (ה ָמ ָח  ׃ל  ̣מ) [pronounced mil-khaw-MAW]

battle, war

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #4421 BDB #536

yârad (ד ַר ָי) [pronounced yaw-RAHD]

to descend, to go down

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #3381 BDB #432

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

çâphâh (ה ָפ ָס) [pronounced saw-PHAWH]

to be taken away, to be swept away, to perish; to hide away [in one’s house]

3rd person masculine singular, Niphal perfect

Strong’s #5595 BDB #705


Translation: ...or he goes down to battle and perishes. This is the second way in which it is permissible for Saul to die. As king over Israel, one of Saul’s primary functions is to provide security from the outside. It is part of Saul’s job description to protect Israel from outside armies (1Sam. 8:20). So, if Saul goes into battle and an enemy strikes him down, then one may interpret that as God’s time for Saul to die. However, there is no justification anywhere for David or Abishai to assassinate Saul.


Application: At this point, I realize I am talking to a very, very small minority, but, recognize that Saul was out of control and he persecuted David for no reason. Still, David would not raise his own hand against Saul. This means, we may not raise our hand against God’s anointed. You cannot assassinate a leader simply because they are unjust. Few rulers are as unjust as Saul, and here, David will not lift his hand against him.


A blasphemy for me from Yehowah from sending my hand to anointed of Yehowah. And now take, please, the spear which [is] at his head and a jar of the waters and we go there to us.”

1Samuel

26:11

[It is] profane for me on account of Yehowah from stretching my hand against the anointed of Yehowah. Now therefore, take, I implore you, the sword by his head and the jar of water and let us depart.”

It would be profane for me to raise my hand against Jehovah’s anointed. This being so, take the sword by his head and that jar of water and then let us depart.”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Peshitta                                 The Lord forbid that I should stretch forth my hand against the Lord’s anointed; but now take the spear that is by his bedside, and the jug of water, and let us go.

Septuagint                             The Lord forbid it me that I should lift up my hand against the anointed of the Lord. And now take, I pray you, the spear from his bolster, and the pitcher of water, and let us return home.

 

Significant differences           .


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       But I pray that the LORD will keep me from harming his chosen king. Let's grab his spear and his water jar and get out of here.”

NLT                                        But the Lord forbid that I should kill the one he has anointed! But I’ll tell you what—we’ll take his spear and his jug of water and then get out of here!”


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         It would be unthinkable for me to attack the LORD'S anointed king. But please take that spear near his head and that jar of water, and let's go.”

JPS (Tanakh)                        But the Lord forbid that I should lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed! Just take the spear and the water jar at his head and let’s be off.”


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

MKJV                                     ...far be it from me by Jehovah, from putting forth my hand against Jehovah's anointed. And now, please take the spear at his head and the cruse of water, and we will go.

Young's Updated LT              ...far be it from me, by Jehovah, from putting forth my hand against the anointed of Jehovah; and, now, take, I pray thee, the spear which is at his pillow, and the cruse of water, and we go away.”


What is the gist of this verse? David concludes by telling Abishai that it would be wrong to raise his hand against Jehovah’s anointed (David does not distinguish between giving the order to kill Saul or doing it himself). David says to take the spear and jug of water, and they would go.


1Samuel 26:11a

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

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

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, off, out from, out of, away from, on account of, since, than, more than, greater than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

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

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, off, out from, out of, away from, on account of, since, than, more than, greater than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

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

to send, to send for [forth, away], to dismiss, to deploy, to put forth, to stretch out

Qal infinitive construct

Strong’s #7971 BDB #1018

yâd (דָי) [pronounced yawd]

generally translated hand

feminine singular noun with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong's #3027 BDB #388

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

No Strong’s # BDB #88

Mâshîyach (-חי.שָמ) [pronounced maw-SHEE-ahkh]

anointed, anointed one, transliterated Messiah

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #4899 BDB #603

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

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217


Translation: [It is] profane for me on account of Yehowah from stretching my hand against the anointed of Yehowah. David is not to make a move against God’s anointed. it is profane (an affront to God) for him to do so. Recall that David has just had the lesson of Nabal fresh on his mind. Nabal caused David problems, but David was stopped by Abigail before he killed Nabal; and God took Nabal out of this life. Footnote As you will recall, David was ready and willing to kill Nabal. In fact, psychologically, David may have been taking out some of his frustration on Nabal. So David is well-aware that God can take care of this Himself.


1Samuel 26:11b

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

׳attâh (ה ָ ַע) [pronounced ģaht-TAWH]

now, at this time, already

adverb of time

Strong’s #6258 BDB #773

When followed by an imperative or an interrogative, we + the adverb ׳attâh mean and so, thus, things being so, therefore, now therefore. Sometimes, the concept of time is lost when this combination is used to incite another.

lâqach (חַקָל) [pronounced law-KAHKH]

take, seize, take away, take in marriage; send for, fetch, bring, receive

2nd person masculine singular, Qal imperative

Strong’s #3947 BDB #542

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

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

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

spear

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #2595 BDB #333

ăsher (רשֲא) [pronounced uh-SHER]

that, which, when, who

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

meraăshôth (תֹשֲא-ר מ) [pronounced merah-uh-SHOHTH]

place at the head, at the head of [anyone or anything]; head-place; pillow, bolster [a long, cylindrical pillow or cushion]

feminine plural noun sometimes used as a preposition; with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #4763 (and #4761) BDB #912


Translation: Now therefore, take, I implore you, the sword by his head... However, this time, David will not humiliate Saul by cutting part of his royal clothing, but he will take the sword so that it was clear that he could have killed Saul, had he chosen to do so.


1Samuel 26:11c

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

tsapachath (ת-ח--צ) [pronounced tzahp-PAH-khahth]

jar, jug [flat or broad shape], cruse [for holding water]

feminine singular construct

Strong’s #6835 BDB #860

mayim (ם̣יַמ) [pronounced MAH-yim]

water, waters

masculine plural noun with the definite article

Strong's #4325 BDB #565


Translation: ...and the jar of water... Also next to Saul was a jar of water, and David took that as well, to make it clear that he was right there standing right above Saul. With these two items, there will be no doubt that David was standing right there above Saul with the ability to kill him.


Some authors have made a big deal out of the water jug here, and what it was for, suggesting even a purification rite. Footnote However, there is no reason to get too carried away here. Saul and his men have been traveling for some distance. Even though Saul probably had it easy, he no doubt got thirsty. So we would expect him to carry his water with him.

 

Freeman admits that we do not know what the container looked like then, but tells us the vessel at present used in the East for the purposes of a cruse or flask is globular in shape, and is made of blue porous clay. It is nine inches in diameter, with a neck three inches long. At the lower part is a small handle, and opposite is a straight spout having an orifice about the size of a straw, through which water is sucked. Footnote This same container is also used for oil in 1Kings 17:12–16 and water in 1Kings 19:6. However, the vessels mentioned in 1Kings 14:3 and 2Kings 2:20 are different, as the Hebrew is different.


1Samuel 26:11d

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

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

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

1st person plural, Qal imperfect with the voluntative hê

Strong’s #1980 (and #3212) BDB #229

The hê at the end, it is called a voluntative hê and the verb itself is known as a cohortative and is often translated with the additional word let, may, might, ought, should.

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 plural suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

Literally, this means let us go to us; however, the addition of the lâmed preposition and the suffix combined with this verb means [let us] depart. Footnote


Translation: ...and let us depart.” The literal rendering of these last few words is messy; however, Gesenius tells us that the addition of the lâmed preposition with the suffix simply means that the verb means to depart. Obviously, they could not spend a lot of time there. Neither one of them recognizes the fact that God has caused Saul’s entire camp to be asleep.


Application: There are going to be many events and occurrences in your life which are carefully orchestrated by God, and we will not see them as such. They will just seem like everyday life to us. However, in retrospect, we will be able to recognize God’s hand in it. Now, I don’t mean that it will be supernatural, as we find here; however, it will be clearly God’s hand. There are a number of things that have occurred in my life; some of them moderately difficult, and I can look back and easily recognize that God was behind it all.


And so takes David the spear and a jar of the waters at a head of Saul and so they go to themselves and none are seeing and none are knowing and none are awake for all of them sleeping for a deep sleep of Yehowah had fallen over them.

1Samuel

26:12

So David took the spear and the jar of water at Saul’s head and they depart. Furthermore [lit., and] no one sees and no one knows and no one is awake because all of them [are] asleep, because a deep sleep from Yehowah had fallen over them.

So David took the spear and the jar of water and they departed. And no one saw them and no one knew they were there because Jehovah had caused a deep sleep to fall over them.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Septuagint                             So David took the spear, and the pitcher of water from his bolster, and they went home. And there was no one that saw and no one that knew and there was no one that awoke, all being asleep, for a stupor from the Lord had fallen upon them.

 

Significant differences           .


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       David took the spear and the water jar, then left the camp. None of Saul's soldiers knew what had happened or even woke up--the LORD had made all of them fall sound asleep.

NLT                                        So David too the spear and jug of water that were near Saul’s head. Then he and Abishai got away without anyone seeing them or even waking up, because the Lord had put Saul’s men into a deep sleep.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         David took the spear and the jar of water near Saul's head, and they left. All of them were asleep. No one saw them, knew about it, or woke up. The LORD had made them fall into a deep sleep.

JPS (Tanakh)                        So David took away the spear and the water jar at Saul’s head, and the left. No one saw or knew or woke up; all remained asleep; a deep sleep from the Lord had fallen upon them.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

MKJV                                     And David took the spear and the cruse of water from Saul's head. And they went away, and no one saw, and no one knew; and no one was awake; for all of them were sleeping, because a deep sleep from Jehovah had fallen on them.

Young's Updated LT              And David takes the spear, and the cruse of water at the pillow of Saul, and they go away, and there is none seeing, and there is none knowing, and there is none awaking, for all of them are sleeping, for a deep sleep from Jehovah has fallen upon them.


What is the gist of this verse? The spear and jar of water were removed, and no one in camp realizes that they were there, as God had caused a deep sleep to fall over them.


1Samuel 26:12a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

lâqach (חַקָל) [pronounced law-KAHKH]

to take, to take away, to take in marriage; to seize

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #3947 BDB #542

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

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

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

spear

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #2595 BDB #333

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

tsapachath (ת-ח--צ) [pronounced tzahp-PAH-khahth]

jar, jug [flat or broad shape], cruse [for holding water]

feminine singular construct

Strong’s #6835 BDB #860

mayim (ם̣יַמ) [pronounced MAH-yim]

water, waters

masculine plural noun with the definite article

Strong's #4325 BDB #565

meraăshôth (תֹשֲא-ר מ) [pronounced merah-uh-SHOHTH]

place at the head, at the head of [anyone or anything]; head-place; pillow, bolster [a long, cylindrical pillow or cushion]

feminine plural construct

Strong’s #4763 (and #4761) BDB #912

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982


Translation: So David took the spear and the jar of water at Saul’s head... This time David does nothing which will embarrass Saul as king. However, he does have to let Saul know that he was there. Therefore, he takes the two items that are closest to Saul. The spear indicates that he could have killed Saul and the water jar simply backs up the fact that David was right there next to him.


More than likely, it was actually Abishai who took the spear and water jar. However, he did so under David’s orders, so it is reasonable for Scripture to state that David took them. Certainly, it is possible that Abishai refused to take these things, and that David took them himself, as Gill suggests; Footnote however, that is very unlikely. In any case, there is no supposed conflict with this verse and v. 11. Footnote


1Samuel 26:12b

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

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

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

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #1980 (and #3212) BDB #229

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

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

preposition with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

Literally, this means they went to them; however, the addition of the lâmed preposition and the suffix combined with this verb means [let us] depart. Footnote


Translation: ...and they depart. We had a similar construction earlier, and this means that David and Abishai departed. David did what he had set out to do, and now it was time to leave.


1Samuel 26:12c

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 [none, no one]

particle of negation; substantive of negation

Strong’s #369 BDB #34

rââh (ה ָאָר) [pronounced raw-AWH]

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

Qal active participle

Strong's #7200 BDB #906


Translation: Furthermore [lit., and] no one sees... Saul was surrounded by 3000 hand-picked men. These were soldiers who were great soldiers. However, not one of them saw David or Abishai.


1Samuel 26:12d

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 [none, no one]

particle of negation; substantive of negation

Strong’s #369 BDB #34

yâda׳ (ע ַדָי) [pronounced yaw-DAHĢ]

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

Qal active participle

Strong’s #3045 BDB #393


Translation: ...and no one knows... At no time did a soldier awaken and realize that someone had been in the camp. No soldier around Saul looked over to Saul and realized that Saul’s spear and water jug were gone.


1Samuel 26:12e

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 [none, no one]

particle of negation; substantive of negation

Strong’s #369 BDB #34

qîyts (ץי ̣ק) [pronounced keets] Footnote

to be aroused out of sleep, to be aroused from the slumber of death, to be awakened

Hiphil participle

Strong’s #6974 BDB #884


Translation: ...and no one is awake... Not one man in these 3000 was awake. Now, this is quite unusual, as falling asleep while on watch is an offense punishable by death.


1Samuel 26:12f

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

kol (לָ) [pronounced kol]

the whole, totality, all, the entirety, every

masculine singular noun with the 3rd person plural suffix

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

yâshên (ן̤שָי) [pronounced yaw-SHAYN]

sleeping, asleep, slept

masculine plural, verbal adjective

Strong’s #3463 BDB #445

kîy (י̣) [pronounced kee]

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

conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

tareddêmâh (הָמ̤ר -) [pronounced tahre-day-MAW]

deep sleep

feminine singular construct

Strong’s #8639 BDB #922

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

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217

nâphal (ל ַפ ָנ) [pronounced naw-FAHL]

to fall, to lie, to die a violent death, to be brought down, to settle, to sleep deeply

3rd person feminine singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #5307 BDB #656

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

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

preposition of proximity with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752


Translation: ...because all of them [are] asleep, because a deep sleep from Yehowah had fallen over them. This final phrase explains why these men were asleep. God had caused a deep sleep to fall over them. God had made it so these men would not wake up and discover David and Abishai in their midst. This was likely noted as a realization from David after being in the camp.


This, by the way, is the second time that God supernaturally interfered with Saul’s killer lust. Recall that he pursued after David when David went to Samuel’s school of prophets. Once he arrived, Saul was seized by God the Holy Spirit and he lay on the ground prophesying (1Sam. 19:23–24).


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to the Chart and Map Index


David Chides Abner for not Protecting Saul


And so goes over David the region across and so he stands upon a top of the mountain from a distance great of place in their midst.

1Samuel

26:13

Then David went over [to] the region across and he stood upon the top of a mountain from afar off, a great space [lit., place] between them.

David then traveled some distance away and stood on the top of a mountain afar off, with a great space between them.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Septuagint                             So David went over to the other side, and stood on the top of a hill afar off, and a good distance between them.

 

Significant differences           .


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       David and Abishai crossed the valley and went to the top of the next hill, where they were at a safe distance.

NAB                                       Going across to an opposite slope, David stood on a remote hilltop at a great distance from Abner, son of Ner, and the troops.

NLT                                        David climbed the hill opposite the camp until he was at a safe distance.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         David went over to the other side and stood on top of the hill some distance away. (There was a wide space between them.)

JPS (Tanakh)                        David crossed over to the other side and stood afar on top of a hill; there was considerable distance between them.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

MKJV                                     And David went over to the other side and stood on the top of a hill afar off, a great space between them.

 

Young's Updated LT              And David passes over to the other side, and stands on the top of the hill afar off—great is the place between them;...


What is the gist of this verse? David moves to a place which is far away from Saul, on an adjacent hill.


1Samuel 26:13a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

׳âbar (ר ַב ָע) [pronounced ģawb-VAHR]

to pass over, to pass through, to pass on, to pass, to go over

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #5674 BDB #716

׳êber (ר ב ֵע) [pronounced ĢAYB-ver]

region across, beyond, side

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #5676 BDB #719


Translation: Then David went over [to] the region across... David will have to let Saul know exactly what transpired. However, Saul is unpredictable; so David moves to an area across from where Saul is. Just because David trusts God, this does not mean that he has to act stupidly. You will note that he did not try to wake Saul up and say, “Try to catch me, sucker.”


1Samuel 26:13b

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

׳âmad (ד ַמ ָע) [pronounced ģaw-MAHD]

to take a stand, to stand, to remain, to endure, to withstand

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #5975 BDB #763

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

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

preposition of proximity

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

rôsh (שאֹר) [pronounced rohsh]

head, top, chief, front, choicest

masculine singular construct

Strong's #7218 BDB #910

har (ר ַה) [pronounced har]

hill, mountain, hill-country

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #2042 (and #2022) BDB #249


Translation: ...and he stood upon the top of a mountain... David takes a stand on a hill or a peak nearby Saul, from whence he can be heard. We know that this is a mountainous area by the description of the Ziphites to Saul. Therefore, when David moves to an adjacent mountain, he will be relatively safe from Saul.


1Samuel 26:13c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, off, out from, out of, away from, on account of, since, than, more than, greater than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

râchôq (קח ָר) [pronounced raw-KHOHK]

distant, far; as a noun, it means distance (which can be a reference to time or space)

Noun/adjective

Strong’s #7350 BDB #935

Min + râchôq mean from afar off, from a emotive distance.

rab (בַר) [pronounced rahv]

many, much, great (in the sense of large or significant, not acclaimed)

masculine singular adjective construct

Strong's #7227 BDB #912

mâqôwm (םקָמ) [pronounced maw-KOHM]

place, situated; for a soldier, it may mean where he is stationed; for people in general, it would be their place of abode (which could be their house or their town)

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #4725 BDB #879

bêyn (ןיֵ) [pronounced bane]

in the midst of, between, among; when found twice, it means between

preposition with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong's #996 BDB #107


Translation: ...from afar off, a great space [lit., place] between them. This tells us that this peak that David is standing upon is a long distance away and there is a great distance between then. However, in this places of mountaintops, David will be able to shout to Saul from where he is.


Although what we find here is a true historical incident, and the final exchange between Saul and David, one wonders just how it should be interpreted metaphorically speaking. David and Saul’s last exchange, and in between them is a great gulf fixed. Gordon may have expressed it best when he writes: the physical distance between them is emblematic of the greatly divergent paths that they are pursuing. Footnote


And so calls David unto the people and unto Abner ben Ner to say, “Will not you answer, Abner?”


And so answers Abner and so he says, “Who [are] you? You have called unto the king.”

1Samuel

26:14

David then called out to the people and to Abner ben Ner, saying, “Will you not answer, Abner?”


And Abner answered and said, “Who [are] you? You have called out to the king.”

David called out to the people and to Abner son of Ner, saying, “Can you hear me, Abner?”


And Abner responded by saying, “Who are you? You are calling out to the king.”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Septuagint                             And David called to the people, and spoke to Abenner, saying, “Will you not answers, Abenner?” And Abenner answered and said, “Who are you that calls?”

 

Significant differences           .


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       "Abner!" David shouted toward Saul's army. "Can you hear me?" Abner shouted back. "Who dares disturb the king?”

NLT                                        Then he shouted down to Abner and Saul, “Wake up, Abner!”

“Who is it?” Abner demanded.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Then David called to the troops and to Ner's son Abner. "Won't you answer, Abner?" he asked. "Who is calling the king?" Abner asked.

JPS (Tanakh)                        And David shouted to the troops and to Abner son of Ner, “Abner, aren’t you going to answer?” And Abner shouted back, “Who are you to shout at the king?”


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

ESV                                       And David called to the army, and to Abner the son of Ner, saying, "Will you not answer, Abner?" Then Abner answered, "Who are you who calls to the king?”

Young's Updated LT              ...and David calls unto the people, and unto Abner son of Ner, saying, “Do you not answer, Abner?” and Abner answers and says, “Who are you who have called unto the king?”


What is the gist of this verse? David calls out to Abner and chides him about his skill as Saul’s chief commanding officer. Abner responds.


1Samuel 26:14a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

qârâ (א ָר ָק) [pronounced kaw-RAW]

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

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #7121 BDB #894

This is a homonym; the other qârâ means to encounter, to befall, to meet, to assemble.

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

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

el (לא) [pronounced el]

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

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

׳am (ם ַע) [pronounced ģahm]

people; race, tribe; family, relatives; citizens, common people; companions, servants; entire human race; herd [of animals]

masculine singular collective noun with the definite article

Strong’s #5971 BDB #766

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

el (לא) [pronounced el]

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

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

ăbenêr ר̤נבֲא) [pronounced ubve-NAYR]

my father is Ner or my father is a lamp, and is transliterated Abner

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #74 BDB #4

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

nêr (ר̤נ) [pronounced nair]

lamp and is transliterated Ner

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #5369 BDB #633


Translation: David then called out to the people and to Abner ben Ner,... David gets himself a safe distance away from Abner and the army. There are not many people who are bigger idiots than Christians. This is not simply an observation, but a Biblical doctrine (Not many mighty are called; not many wise). The typical idiot Christian would have suggested to David, “Pick up the spear and then nudge Saul. That reveals your trust in God.” David did not play it that way. Just because God has promised David that he will become king, this does not mean that David should be an idiot about it. He waits until he is a safe distance from Abner and then he calls out to him.


Application: Acting irrationally or illogically does not indicate that you have great faith in God. Don’t expect to find a job unless you first apply for a job. Don’t expect to be hooked up with your right man o right woman unless you actually talk to members of the opposite sex. Don’t expect to be cured from a disease apart from taking the proper medicine for it (or apart from undergoing the proper medical treatment for that disease). You are not a great witness for Christ when you act irrationally. When you break your arm, you don’t tell the doctor, “I will let God set the bone; I believe in a great God.” Automatically, you will be viewed as an idiot (as well you should be) and the cause of Christ further discredited.


It is interesting that David would call out to Abner and not to Saul; however, it will be clear why when we get to the next few verses.


1Samuel 26:14b

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

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

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

Qal infinitive construct

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

hă ( ֲה) [pronounced heh]

interrogative particle which acts almost like a piece of punctuation, like the upside-down question mark which begins a Spanish sentence. The verb to be may be implied.

Strong’s #none BDB #209

lô (אֹל or אל) [pronounced low]

not, no

negates the word or action that follows; the absolute negation

Strong’s #3808 BDB #518

hă lô together expect an affirmative answer.

׳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

2nd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #6030 BDB #772

ăbenêr ר̤נבֲא) [pronounced ubve-NAYR]

my father is Ner or my father is a lamp, and is transliterated Abner

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #74 BDB #4


Translation: ...saying, “Will you not answer, Abner?” It sounds as though David does not think Abner will answer him. However, the interrogative and the negation together expect an affirmative reply. We might better understand this usage if David had called out to Saul, “Are you not the king of Israel?” The obvious answer is, yes. So, this question expects a reply from Abner. It is possible that it is David’s cry which wakes Abner up.


1Samuel 26:14c

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

ăbenêr ר̤נבֲא) [pronounced ubve-NAYR]

my father is Ner or my father is a lamp, and is transliterated Abner

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #74 BDB #4

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

mîy (י ̣מ) [pronounced mee]

who; occasionally rendered how, in what way

pronominal interrogative

Strong’s #4310 BDB #566

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

qârâ (א ָר ָק) [pronounced kaw-RAW]

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

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #7121 BDB #894

This is a homonym; the other qârâ means to encounter, to befall, to meet, to assemble.

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto, in, into, toward, 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: ...And Abner answered and said, “Who [are] you? You have called out to the king.” David is some distance away. He is far enough away that Abner does not recognize his voice nor David’s visage. In fact, he may not even see David. Even though I picture David standing on a rock in the open on a cliff, he may be well hidden on the top of the mountain where he is. It is even possible, since David is yelling from a mountain top, that Abner cannot even pinpoint from where he is calling. However, in any case, David is far enough away that Abner cannot recognize him or his voice.


What Abner points out, to whoever is calling, is, “You have just called out to the king.” Very likely, he suspects that the caller does not realize the importance and stature of the party that he has called out to.


And so says David unto Abner, “[Are] not a man you? And who [is] like you in Israel? And to why have you not guarded unto your adonai the king? For had come one of the people to destroy the king your adonai.

1Samuel

26:15

Then David said to Abner, “[Are] you not a citizen [or, soldier]? Who [is] like you in [all] Israel? Why have you not guarded your adonai the king? For one of the people had come in to destroy the king your adonai.

Then David said to Abner, “What kind of a man are you? Are you not unique in all of Israel? Then why have you not guarded your lord the king? For a man came into your camp tonight to kill the king your lord.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Peshitta                                 And David said to Abner, “Are you not a valiant man? And who is like you in all Israel? Why then have you not guarded your lord the king? For there came in one of the people today to destroy your lord the king.

Septuagint                             And David said to Abenner, “[Are] you not a man? And who [is] like you in Israel? Why then do you not guard your lord the king? For one out of the people went in to destroy your lord the king.

 

Significant differences           .


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       “Abner, what kind of a man are you?" David replied. "Aren't you supposed to be the best soldier in Israel? Then why didn't you protect your king? Anyone who went into your camp could have killed him tonight.

NJB                                        David said to Abner, ‘Are you not a man? Who is your equal in Israel? Why, then, did you not guard the king your lord? One of the people came to kill the king your lord.

REB                                       David said to Abner, ‘Do you call yourself a man? Is there anyone like you in Israel? Why, then, did you not keep watch over your lord the king, when someone came to harm your lord the king?


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         David asked Abner, "Aren't you a man? Is there anyone like you in Israel? Then why didn't you guard your master, the king? Someone came to kill His Royal Majesty.

JPS (Tanakh)                        And David answered Abner, “You are a man, aren’t you? And there is no one like you in Israel! So why didn’t you keep watch over your lord the king? For one of [our] troops came to do violence to your lord the king.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

MKJV                                     And David said to Abner, Are you not a man? And who is like you in Israel? But why have you not watched over your lord the king? For one of the people came in to destroy your lord the king.

Young's Updated LT              And David says unto Abner, “Are not you a man? And who is like you in Israel? But why have you not watched over your lord the king? For one of the people had come in to destroy the king, your lord.


What is the gist of this verse? David chides Abner for not properly guarding the king.


What David will say to Abner is based upon Abner’s off-handed remark to him, “Do you realize that you have called upon the king of Israel?”


1Samuel 26:15a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

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

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

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

el (לא) [pronounced el]

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

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

ăbenêr ר̤נבֲא) [pronounced ubve-NAYR]

my father is Ner or my father is a lamp, and is transliterated Abner

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #74 BDB #4

hă ( ֲה) [pronounced heh]

interrogative particle which acts almost like a piece of punctuation, like the upside-down question mark which begins a Spanish sentence. The verb to be may be implied.

Strong’s #none BDB #209

lô (אֹל or אל) [pronounced low]

not, no

negates the word or action that follows; the absolute negation

Strong’s #3808 BDB #518

hă lô together expect an affirmative answer.

îysh (שי ̣א) [pronounced eesh]

a man; a husband; one of virile age; an inhabitant of, a citizen of [when followed by a genitive of a place]; companion of, solider of, follower of [when followed by a genitive of king, leader, etc.]; anyone, someone, a certain one, each, each one, everyone

masculine singular noun

Strong's #376 BDB #35

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


Translation: Then David said to Abner, “[Are] you not a citizen [or, soldier]? David will ask Abner three questions, using all of the particles that one can ask a question with in the Hebrew. The first question is almost an insult. David does not ask Abner, “Are you the five-star general?” He does not even ask him, “Are you a solider?” He simply asked Abner, “Are you a man?” This is less than either of those categories, and David by saying this implies that Abner is not just less than a general or less than a soldier, but he is asking, “Are you less than a man?” A similar colloquialism today might be, “What kind of a man are you?” David will, of course, elaborate, building upon this first question.


1Samuel 26:15b

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

kaph or ke ( ׃) [pronounced ke]

like, as, according to; about, approximately

preposition of comparison or approximation with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #453

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

No Strong’s # BDB #88

Yiserâêl (לֵאָר ׃̣י) [pronounced yis-raw-ALE]

transliterated Israel

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3478 BDB #975


Translation: Who [is] like you in [all] Israel? First David denigrates Abner, asking him, “What kind of a man are you?” and then he asks, “Is there anyone like you in all of Israel?” Abner is the #2 man in all of Israel, the greatest soldier in all of Israel (next to David and Jonathan), and as the #2 man, part of his duty is to protect King Saul. Now, an ordinary man would protect his king. And Abner is not just some ordinary man.


Bear in mind that Abner does not know who this is calling out to him. Abner has just warned the speaker that he is disturbing the king of Israel. And suddenly, he is being chided. “Are you a man? Is there anyone like you in all of Israel?” David has called out.


1Samuel 26:15c

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

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.

lô (אֹל or אל) [pronounced low]

not, no

negates the word or action that follows; the absolute negation

Strong’s #3808 BDB #518

shâmar (ר ַמ ָש) [pronounced shaw-MAR]

to keep, to guard, to watch, to preserve

2nd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #8104 BDB #1036

el (לא) [pronounced el]

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

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

âdôwn (ןד ָא) [pronounced aw-DOHN]

lord, master, owner, superior, sovereign; transliterated adonai

masculine singular noun with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #113 BDB #10

meleke ( ל מ) [pronounced MEH-lek]

king, ruler, prince

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #4428 BDB #572


Translation: Why have you not guarded your adonai the king? Now David hits Abner right between the eyes. “Why have you not properly guarded your lord the king?” Any ordinary man would have done the same. And here is Abner, the leader of all the troops there, and he has not taken any precautions, as David implies, to protect Saul. It is very reasonable that David did not realize that it was God who put all of Saul’s soldiers into a deep sleep. Otherwise, he might not have come down so hard on Abner.


1Samuel 26:15d

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

bôw (א) [pronounced boh]

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

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #935 BDB #97

echâd (ד ָח א) [pronounced eh-KHAWD]

one, first, certain, only; but it can also mean a composite unity

numeral construct

Strong's #259 BDB #25

׳am (ם ַע) [pronounced ģahm]

people; race, tribe; family, relatives; citizens, common people; companions, servants; entire human race; herd [of animals]

masculine singular collective noun with the definite article

Strong’s #5971 BDB #766

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

shâchath (ת ַח ָש) [pronounced shaw-KHAHTH]

to cause one to go to ruin, to spoil, to ruin, to corrupt, to destroy

Hiphil infinitive construct

Strong's #7843 BDB #1007

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

âdôwn (ןד ָא) [pronounced aw-DOHN]

lord, master, owner, superior, sovereign; transliterated adonai

masculine singular noun with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #113 BDB #10


Translation: For one of the people had come in to destroy the king your Adonai. David is not referring to himself but he is referring to Abishai. Had David not stopped him, Abishai would have had no compunctions about killing the king. David accuses Abner of lying down on the job and not handling his own duties.


Even though David is chiding Abner, this does not mean that he lacks respect for him. When Abner dies, David will speak very highly of him (2Sam. 3:31–34, 38).


Not good the word the this which you have done. Living Yehowah for sons of death you who have not guarded over your adonais, over your anointed of Yehowah. And now see where a spear of the king and a jar of waters which [was] at his head.

1Samuel

26:16

This thing which you have done is not good. [As] Yehowah lives, you [are] deserving of death [lit., sons of death], [you] who have not guarded over your adonai, the anointed of Yehowah. Now see where the spear of the king and the water jar [are] which [were] at his head.

This thing which you have done is not good! As Jehovah lives, you are deserving of death because you have not guarded over you lord, the anointed of Jehovah. Now look at where his spear and water jar are.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Septuagint                             And this thing [is] not good which you have done. [As] the Lord lives, you are worth of death, you who guard your lord the king, the anointed of the Lord. And now, behold, I pray you, the spear of the king, and the cruse of water—where are the articles that should be at his head?”

 

Significant differences           .


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       You're a complete failure! I swear by the living LORD that you and your men deserve to die for not protecting the LORD's chosen king. Look and see if you can find the king's spear and the water jar that were near his head.”

NLT                                        This isn’t good at all! I swear by the Lord that you and your men deserve to die, because you failed to protect your master, the Lord’s anointed! Look around! Where are the eking’s spear and the jug of water that were beside his head?”


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         What you've done isn't good. I solemnly swear, as the LORD lives, you are dead men. You didn't guard your master, the LORD'S anointed king. Look at the king's spear and the jar of water that were near his head.”

JPS (Tanakh)                        You have not given a good account of yourself! As the Lord ives, [all of] you deserve to die, because you did not keep watch over your lord, the Lord’s anointed. look around, where are the king’s spear and the water jar that were at his head?”


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

MKJV                                     This thing that you have done is not good. As Jehovah lives, because you have not watched over your master, Jehovah's anointed, you also are worthy to die. And now see where the king's spear is, and the cruse of water that was at his head.

Young's Updated LT              Not good is this thing which you have done; Jehovah lives, but you are sons of death, in that you have not watched over your lord, over the anointed of Jehovah; and now, see where the king's spear is, and the cruse of water which is at his bolster.”


What is the gist of this verse? David’s chiding becomes more serious. He tells Abner that he left the king’s life at risk.


1Samuel 26:16a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

lô (אֹל or אל) [pronounced low]

not, no

negates the word or action that follows; the absolute negation

Strong’s #3808 BDB #518

ţôwb (בט) [pronounced tohbv]

pleasant, pleasing, agreeable, good, better

masculine feminine singular adjective which acts like a substantive

Strong’s #2896 BDB #373

dâbâr (רָבָ) [pronounced dawb-VAWR]

word, saying, doctrine, thing, matter, command

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #1697 BDB #182

zôth (תאֹז) [pronounced zoth]

here, this, thus

feminine singular of zeh; demonstrative pronoun, adverb

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

ăsher (רשֲא) [pronounced uh-SHER]

that, which, when, who

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

׳âsâh (ה ָ ָע) [pronounced ģaw-SAWH]

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

2nd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #6213 BDB #793


Translation: This thing which you have done is not good. These men have been under a deep sleep from God. David believes have failed Saul by falling asleep when on watch over Saul. David is commenting on this, not realizing that God had done this so that he could go into the camp with Abishai.


1Samuel 26:16b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

chay (י ַח) [pronounced KHAH-ee]

living, alive, active, lively, vigorous [used of man or animals]; green [vegetation]; fresh [used of a plant]; flowing [water]; reviving [of the springtime]; raw [flesh]

adjective

Strong's #2416 BDB #311

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

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217

kîy (י̣) [pronounced kee]

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

conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine plural construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

mâveth (ת∵וָמ) [pronounced MAW-veth]

death, death [as opposed to life], death by violence, a state of death, a place of death

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #4194 BDB #560

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


Translation: [As] Yehowah lives, you [are] deserving of death [lit., sons of death],... Those who guarded the king were subject even to human law, which called for their death if they fell asleep on watch. Such an offense was one of the greatest a soldier could commit. If you have a hard time relating to that, imagine an air traffic controller who falls asleep on the job. That sort of person were be fired, as he endangers the lives of hundreds of people. When a soldier on night watch falls asleep, he also endangers hundreds of soldiers (in this case, 3000 men).


1Samuel 26:16c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

ăsher (רשֲא) [pronounced uh-SHER]

that, which, when, who

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

lô (אֹל or אל) [pronounced low]

not, no

negates the word or action that follows; the absolute negation

Strong’s #3808 BDB #518

shâmar (ר ַמ ָש) [pronounced shaw-MAR]

to keep, to guard, to watch, to preserve

2nd person masculine plural, Qal perfect

Strong's #8104 BDB #1036

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

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

preposition of proximity

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

âdôwn (ןד ָא) [pronounced aw-DOHN]

lord, master, owner, superior, sovereign; transliterated adonai

masculine singular noun with the 2nd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #113 BDB #10


Translation: ...[you] who have not guarded over your adonai,... Those who are deserving of death are those who have not guarded over their lord, who is Saul. Abner has sworn his allegiance to Saul—even to the point of following Saul out to chase after David. Therefore, he has not acted as he should.


1Samuel 26:16d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

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

preposition of proximity

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

Mâshîyach (-חי.שָמ) [pronounced maw-SHEE-ahkh]

anointed, anointed one, transliterated Messiah

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #4899 BDB #603

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

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217


Translation: ...the anointed of Yehowah. Here is the key to Saul’s position: he was anointed by God. Jehovah God chose him to rule over Israel, and therefore, his soldiers should do everything in their power to protect him. Furthermore, this is why David could not attack Saul directly. Saul was chosen by God to lead Israel. Whether or not he was a good ruler was not the question; the fact that God chose him was the only issue. And note, this was recognized by the man that Saul sought to kill.


1Samuel 26:16e

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

׳attâh (ה ָ ַע) [pronounced ģaht-TAWH]

now, at this time, already

adverb of time

Strong’s #6258 BDB #773

When followed by an imperative or an interrogative, we + the adverb ׳attâh mean and so, thus, things being so, therefore, now therefore. Sometimes, the concept of time is lost when this combination is used to incite another.

rââh (ה ָאָר) [pronounced raw-AWH]

look, see, behold, view, see here, listen up

2nd person masculine plural, Qal imperative

Strong's #7200 BDB #906

êy (י̤א) [pronounced āy]

where

adverb; with a suffix, the verb to be may be implied

Strong’s #335 BDB #32

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

spear

feminine singular construct

Strong’s #2595 BDB #333

meleke ( ל מ) [pronounced MEH-lek]

king, ruler, prince

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #4428 BDB #572

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

tsapachath (ת-ח--צ) [pronounced tzahp-PAH-khahth]

jar, jug [flat or broad shape], cruse [for holding water]

feminine singular construct

Strong’s #6835 BDB #860

mayim (ם̣יַמ) [pronounced MAH-yim]

water, waters

masculine plural noun with the definite article

Strong's #4325 BDB #565

ăsher (רשֲא) [pronounced uh-SHER]

that, which, when, who

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

meraăshôth (תֹשֲא-ר מ) [pronounced merah-uh-SHOHTH]

place at the head, at the head of [anyone or anything]; head-place; pillow, bolster [a long, cylindrical pillow or cushion]

feminine plural noun sometimes used as a preposition; with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #4763 (and #4761) BDB #912


Translation: Now see where the spear of the king and the water jar [are] which [were] at his head. I can see David holding up the spear in one hand and the jug of water the in the other. Abner knew that these things were next to Saul at all times when he slept. I can see Abner quickly look over to Saul when David calls out these words and holds these things up. That David is holding up these items is proof positive that he could have killed Saul, if that was his intention.


I need to say that I may be misleading you at this time. David and Abishai went into this camp at night. They probably went at midnight, and there was enough light by the moon to find their way there and to find Saul specifically. However, given this time frame, David probably did not wait until daybreak to call out to Saul. It probably took him an hour or less to hike into Saul’s camp and to find Saul, and another hour to hike to a safe place on an adjacent mountain. David may have timed this to occur after midnight, but it is unlikely that he did any of this near dawn. My point in all this is, it is probably still night; it is probably still dark. All David is to Saul’s camp at this point is a voice. They can hear him, but, because it is dark, they cannot pinpoint its location. In other words, even if David holds these things up, no one but Abishai can see them. But, Saul and Abner can take a quick visual inventory and note that these things are gone from Saul’s head.


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to the Chart and Map Index


David and Saul Converse One Last Time


And so recognizes Saul a voice of David and so he says, “[Is] your voice this, my son David?”


And so says David, “My voice, my Adonai, the king.”

1Samuel

26:17

Saul recognized David’s voice, and said, “[Is] this your voice, David my son?”


And David answered, “[Yes, it is] my voice, my adonai, the king.”

Saul recognized David’s voice, and asked him, “Is this you, David, my son?”


David answered him, “Yes, it is my voice, my lord, the king.”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Septuagint                             And Saul recognized the voice of David, and said, “[Is] this your voice, son David?” And David said, “I [am] your servant, lord, O king.”

 

Significant differences           .


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Saul could tell it was David's voice, and he called out, "David, my son! Is that you?" "Yes it is, Your Majesty.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Saul recognized David's voice. "Is that your voice, my servant David?" he asked. "It is my voice, Your Royal Majesty," David answered.

JPS (Tanakh)                        Saul recognized David’s voice, and he asked, “Is that your voice, my son David?” And David replied, “It is, my lord king.”


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

MKJV                                     And Saul knew David's voice and said, Is this your voice, my son David? And David said, It is my voice, my lord, O king.

Young's Updated LT              And Saul discerns the voice of David, and says, “Is this your voice, my son David?” And David says, “My voice, my lord, O king!”


What is the gist of this verse? Saul has been awaken by all of this, and he recognizes David’s voice. He calls out to David, “Is that you?” and David answers in the affirmative.


1Samuel 26:17a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

nâkar (רַכָנ) [pronounced naw-KAHR]

to contemplate, to behold, to recognize, to acknowledge, to be acquainted with, to know, to know how, to care for

3rd person masculine singular, Hiphil imperfect

Strong’s #5234 BDB #647

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

qôwl (לק) [pronounced kohl]

sound, voice, noise; loud noise, thundering

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #6963 BDB #876

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

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187


Translation: Saul recognized David’s voice,... God has released His supernatural hold over the people, which had kept them asleep, and David and Abner and yelling back and forth, from one mountain to another. Everyone else is quiet, to hear what is being said. Since David addressed Abner, and not Saul, Saul is listening. Saul recognizes David’s voice. Again, bear in mind that it is still dark; neither Saul nor Abner can see David. David is just a voice calling out to them from afar.


David used to play his guitar for Saul and, since he wrote words, we can assume that David also sang to Saul. Therefore, David’s voice is going to be very familiar to Saul. So, even though David is so far away that he cannot even be recognized, Saul knows who it is.


1Samuel 26:17b

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

hă ( ֲה) [pronounced heh]

interrogative particle which acts almost like a piece of punctuation, like the upside-down question mark which begins a Spanish sentence. The verb to be may be implied.

Strong’s #none BDB #209

qôwl (לק) [pronounced kohl]

sound, voice, noise; loud noise, thundering

masculine singular noun with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #6963 BDB #876

zôth (תאֹז) [pronounced zoth]

here, this, thus

feminine singular of zeh; demonstrative pronoun, adverb

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

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant