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Bible Commentaries
1 Samuel 18

Barnes' Notes on the Whole BibleBarnes' Notes

Verse 1

Was knit with the soul of David - The same forcible phrase occurs of Jacob’s love for Benjamin (marginal reference). Jonathan’s truly heroic character is shown in this generous love of David, and admiration of his great deed.

Verse 6

The Philistine - Rather as in the margin. The allusion is not to Goliath, but to one of the expeditions referred to in 1 Samuel 18:5.

Singing and dancing - Women used to dance to the sound of the timbrel, and to sing as they danced and played.

(instruments of music The word means, an instrument like the triangle, or with three cords.

Verse 7

As they played - Or danced with vocal and instrumental music (see Judges 16:25 note).

Verse 8

What can he have ... - Rather, “There is only the kingdom left for him.” Compare for the same sentiment, 1 Kings 2:22. “A kingdom (says Camden) brooketh no companion, and majesty more heavily taketh injuries to heart.”

Verse 10

He prophesied - This, as the effect of the evil spirit coming upon him, is singular as regards Saul, but is borne out by what we read in 1 Kings 22:22. (Compare Acts 16:16-18; Acts 19:15; 1 John 4:1-3). It is impossible to give the sense of “raving” to the word “prophesied,” as though a merely natural state of frenzy were intended. The “prophesying” here was as directly the effect of the coming of the evil spirit upon Saul, as the “prophesying” in 1 Samuel 10:10 was the effect of the Spirit of God coming upon him. At the same time it is quite true that “madness” and “prophesyings” were considered as near akin (see Jeremiah 29:26; 2 Kings 9:11).

Verse 17

Saul had not hitherto fulfilled the promise of which David had heard (marginal reference); nor was it unnatural that Saul should delay to do so, until the shepherd’s boy had risen to a higher rank.

Verse 18

What is my life - i. e., condition, or means of living (Proverbs 27:27 margin).

Verse 19

Adriel the Meholathite - The five sons of this marriage perished by the hands of the Gibeonites (marginal reference), where we learn further that the name of Adriel’s father, or ancestor, was Barzillai. His birth-place was Meholah, probably the same as Abel-Meholah. (See 1 Kings 19:16 note).

Verse 20

The thing pleased him - It partly relieved him from the charge of breaking his faith.

Verse 21

In the one of the twain - Some prefer “the second time” Job 33:14. The first contract had been broken by giving Merab to Adriel.

Verse 23

A poor man and lightly esteemed - Compare Psalms 119:141. Poor, and therefore unable to pay a sufficient dowry. See 1 Samuel 18:25.

Verse 25

An hundred foreskins - This is merely another expression of the spirit which led to the constant application of the epithet uncircumcised to the Philistines 1 Samuel 14:6.

Verse 26

The days were not expired - David was so rapid in his attack upon the Philistines that he was able to bring the required dowry within the time, and to receive his wife (Michal), before the time had expired within which he was to receive Merab.

Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 18". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bnb/1-samuel-18.html. 1870.
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