Bible Commentaries
1 Samuel 13

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal and HomileticalLange's Commentary

Verses 1-23


King Saul’s Government Up To His Rejection
1 Samuel 13-15


The Unfolding of his Royal Power in Successful Wars

1 Samuel 13-15

I. Against the Philistines. 1 Samuel 13:1 to 1 Samuel 14:46

1Saul reigned one year; and when he had reigned two years over Israel, [Saul was——years old when he began to reign, and he reigned——years over Israel].1 2[Ins. And] Saul chose him three thousand men [ins. out] of Israel, whereof [om. whereof, ins. and] two thousand were with Saul in Michmash and in mount [the mountains of] Bethel, and a thousand were with Jonathan in Gibeah of Benjamin; 3and the rest of the people he sent every man to his tent [tents].2 And Jonathan smote the garrison of the Philistines that was in Geba, and the Philistines heard of it. And Saul blew the trumpet throughout all the land, saying, Let the Hebrews 4:0 hear.3 And all Israel heard say that Saul had smitten a garrison4 of the Philistines, and that Israel also was had in abomination with the Philistines. And the 5people were called together after Saul to Gilgal. And the Philistines gathered themselves together to fight with Israel, thirty5 thousand chariots, and six thousand horsemen, and people as the sand which is on the seashore in multitude; and they 6came up, and pitched in Michmash eastward from [over against] Bethaven. When [And] the men of Israel saw that they were in a strait (for the people were distressed), then [and] the people did hide [hid] themselves in caves and in thickets 7[caverns]6 and in rocks and in highplaces [hollows]7 and in pits. And some8 of the Hebrews went over Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead, as for [and] Saul he [om. he] was yet in Gilgal, and all the people followed him trembling.

8And he tarried seven days according to the set time that Samuel had appointed9; 9but Samuel came not to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him. And Saul said, Bring [ins. me] hither [om. hither] a [the] burnt-offering to me [om. to 10me] and [ins. the] peace-offerings. And he offered the burnt-offering. And it came to pass that, as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt-offering, behold, 11Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him that he might salute him. And Samuel said, What hast thou done? And Saul said, Because I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that thou camest not within the days appointed [at the appointed time], and that the Philistines gathered themselves together at Michmash, 12Therefore said I, The Philistines will [Now will the Philistines] come down now [om. now] upon me to Gilgal, and I have not made supplication unto the Lord [Jehovah], [ins. And] I forced myself therefore [om. therefore], and offered a [the] 13burnt-offering. And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly [ins. in that]10 thou hast not11 kept the commandment of the Lord [Jehovah] thy God, which he commanded thee; for now would the Lord [Jehovah] have established thy kingdom 14upon [over] Israel for ever. But now thy kingdom shall not continue; the Lord [Jehovah] hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the Lord [Jehovah] hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the Lord [Jehovah] commanded thee.

15And Samuel arose and gat him up from Gilgal unto Gibeah12 of Benjamin. And Saul numbered the people that were present with him, about six hundred men. 16And Saul and Jonathan his son and the people that were present with them abode in Gibeah [Geba]12 of Benjamin, but [and] the Philistines encamped in Michmash. 17And the spoilers came out of the camp of the Philistines in three companies: one company turned unto the way that leadeth [om. that leadeth] to Ophrah, unto the 18land of Shual; And another company turned the way to Bethhoron; and another company turned to [om. to] the way of the border13 that looketh to the valley 19of Zeboim towards the wilderness. Now there was no smith found throughout [in] all the land of Israel; for the Philistines said, Lest the Hebrews make them swords 20or spears. But [And] all the Israelites went down to the Philistines, to sharpen 21every man his share and his coulter and his axe and his mattock.14 Yet [And] they had a file for the mattocks, and for the coulters, and for the forks, and for the axes, 22and to sharpen the goads. So [And] it came to pass in the day of battle15 that there was neither sword nor spear found in the hand of any of the people that were with Saul and Jonathan; but with Saul and with Jonathan his son was there found. 23And the garrison of the Philistines went out to the passage [pass] of Michmash.

1 Samuel 14:1. Now [And] it came to pass upon a day that Jonathan the son of Saul said unto [to] the young man that bore his armor, Come, and let us go over to the Philistines’ garrison, that is on the other side. But [And] he told not his 2father. And Saul tarried [was lying] in the uttermost part of Gibeah under a pomegranate tree in Migron,16 and the people that were with him were about six hundred 3men, And17 Ahiah, the son of Ahitub, Ichabod’s brother, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eli, the Lord’s priest [priest of Jehovah] in Shiloh, wearing an [the] 4ephod. And the people knew not that Jonathan was gone. And between the passages [passes] by which Jonathan sought to go over unto the Philistines’ garrison there was a sharp rock on the one side and a sharp rock on the other side; and the 5name of the one was Bozez, and the name of the other Seneh. The forefront of the one was situate northward [The one rock was a column18 on the north] over against Michmash, and the other southward [on the south] over against Gibeah [Geba].19 6And Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armor, Come, and let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; it may be that the Lord [Jehovah] will work for us; for there is no restraint to the Lord [Jehovah] to save by many or by 7few. And his armorbearer said unto him, Do all that is in thine heart; turn 8thee,20 behold, I am with thee according to thy heart.21 Then said Jonathan [And Jonathan said], Behold, we will pass over unto these [the] men, and we will [om. 9we will] discover ourselves unto them. If they say thus unto us, Tarry [stand still] until we can come to you, then we will stand still [om. still] in our place and will 10not go up unto them. But, if they say thus, Come up unto us, then we will go up, for the Lord [Jehovah] hath delivered them into our hand; and this shall be a [the] 11sign unto us. And both of them [the two] discovered themselves unto the garrison of the Philistines; and the Philistines said, Behold, the Hebrews come forth [there 12are Hebrews coming forth] out of the holes where they had hid themselves. And the men of the garrison answered Jonathan and his armorbearer and said, Come up to us, and we will show [tell] you a thing [something]. And Jonathan said unto his armorbearer, Come up after me, for the Lord [Jehovah] hath delivered them 13into the hand of Israel. And Jonathan climbed up upon [on] his hands and upon [on] his feet, and his armorbearer after him; and they fell22 before Jonathan, and 14his armorbearer slew after him. And that first slaughter which Jonathan and his armorbearer made was about twenty men, within, as it were, an half acre of land, which a yoke of oxen might plow [within about a half-furrow of a yoke of land].23 15And there was trembling in the host [camp], in the field, and among all the people; the garrison and the spoilers they also trembled, and the earth quaked, so [and] it [om. it] was [became] a very great trembling [a trembling of God].

16And the watchmen of Saul in Gibeah of Benjamin looked [saw], and behold, the multitude melted away and they went on beating down one another [om. and . . . 17another, ins. hither24 and thither]. Then said Saul [And Saul said] unto the people that were with him, Number now, and see who is gone from us. And when they had numbered [And they numbered and] behold, Jonathan and his armorbearer 18were not there. And Saul said unto Ahiah, Bring hither the ark25 of God [the ephod]; for the ark25 of God was at that time with [for he bore the ephod at that 19time before]26 the children of Israel. And it came to pass, while Saul talked unto the priest, that the noise that was in the host [camp] of the Philistines went on and [om. and] increased [increasing]; and Saul said unto the priest, Withdraw thy20hand. And Saul and all the people that were with him assembled themselves [shouted]27 and they [om. they] came [advanced] to the battle; and behold, every 21man’s sword was against his fellow, and there was a very great discomfiture. Moreover [And] the Hebrews28 that were with the Philistines [ins. as] before that time, which went up with them into the camp from the country round about [om. from . . . about], even [om. even] they also turned28 [turned] to be with the Israelites that 22were with Saul and Jonathan. Likewise [And] all the men of Israel which had hid themselves in mount [the hill-country of] Ephraim when they [om. when they] heard that the Philistines fled, [ins. and] even [om. even] they also followed hare 23after them in the battle. So [And] the Lord [Jehovah] saved Israel that day. And the battle passed over unto Beth-aven.

24And the men of Israel were distressed that day.29 For [And] Saul had [om. had] adjured the people saying, Cursed be the man that eateth any [om. any] food until evening, that I may be avenged on mine enemies. So [And] none of the people 25tasted any [om. any] food. And all they of [om. they of] the land came to a [the] 26wood, and there was honey upon the ground. And when [om. when] the people were come [came] into [unto] the wood,30 [ins. and] behold, the honey dropped [was flowing]; but [and] no man put his hand to his mouth, for the people feared the oath. 27But [And] Jonathan heard not when his father charged the people with the oath, wherefore [and] he put forth the end of the rod that was in his hand, and dipped it in an honey-comb, and put his hand to his mouth, and his eyes were enlightened.31 28Then answered one of the people [And one of the people answered] and said, Thy father strictly charged the people with an oath, saying, Cursed be the29man that eateth any [om. any] food this day. And the people were faint.32 Then said Jonathan [And Jonathan said], My father hath troubled the land; see, I pray you, how mine eyes have been enlightened, because I tasted a little of the honey. 30How much more if haply [om. haply] the people had eaten freely to-day of the spoil of their enemies which they found! for had there not been now a much greater 31slaughter [for now had not the33 slaughter been great] among the Philistines? And they smote the Philistines that day from Michmash to Aijalon [Ajjalon]; and the people were very faint.

32And the people flew upon the spoil, and took sheep and oxen and calves, and 33slew them on the ground; and the people did eat them with [on] the blood. Then [And] they told Saul, saying, Behold, the people sin against the Lord [Jehovah] in that they eat with [on] the blood. And he said, Ye have transgressed [acted faithlessly]; 34roll a great stone unto me this day [roll me a great stone hither34]. And Saul said, Disperse yourselves among the people, and say unto them, Bring me hither every man his ox, and every man his sheep, and slay them here, and eat; and sin not against the Lord [Jehovah] in eating with [on] the blood. And all the 35people brought every man his ox with him35 that night, and slew them there. And Saul built an altar unto the Lord [to Jehovah]; the same was the first altar that 36he built unto the Lord [to Jehovah].36 And Saul said, Let us go down after the Philistines by night, and spoil them until the morning-light, and let us not leave a man of them. And they said, Do [om Do] whatsoever seemeth good unto thee [ins. do]. Then said the priest [And the priest said], Let us draw near hither unto God. 37And Saul asked counsel of God, Shall I go down after the Philistines? wilt thou deliver them into the hand of Israel? But [And] he answered him not that day. 38And Saul said, Draw ye near hither, all the chief [heads] of the people, and know 39and see wherein this sin hath been this day. For, as the Lord [Jehovah] liveth, which [who] saveth Israel, though it be37 in Jonathan my son, he shall surely die. 40But [And] there was not a man among all the people that answered him. Then said he [And he said] unto all Israel, Be ye on one side, and I and Jonathan my son will be on the other side. And the people said unto Saul, Do [om. Do] what 41seemeth good unto thee [ins. do]. Therefore [And] Saul said unto the Lord [Jehovah] God of Israel, Give a perfect lot.38 And Saul and Jonathan [Jonathan and 42Saul] were taken; but [and] the people escaped. And Saul said, Cast lots between me and Jonathan my son. And Jonathan was taken. Then [And] Saul said to 43Jonathan, Tell me what thou hast done. And Jonathan told him, and said, I did but taste [I tasted] a little honey with the end of the rod that was in mine hand; 44and [om. and] lo, I must die. And Saul answered [said], God do so and more also,45for [om. for] thou shalt surely die, Jonathan. And the people said unto Saul, Shall Jonathan die, who hath wrought this great salvation in Israel? God forbid [Far be it]; as the Lord [Jehovah] liveth, there shall not one hair of his head fall to the ground, for he hath wrought with God this day. So [And] the people rescued 46Jonathan that he died not. Then [And] Saul went up from following the Philistines, and the Philistines went to their own place.

II. Against the other Enemies round about—especially the Amalekites. 1 Samuel 14:47-52

47So [And] Saul took the kingdom over Israel, and fought against all his enemies on every side, against Moab, and against the children of Amnion, and against Edom, and against the kings of Zobah, and against the Philistines; and whithersoever Hebrews 4:0; Hebrews 4:08turned himself he vexed them. And he gathered an host [grew in strength], and smote the Amalekites, and delivered Israel out of the hands of them that spoiled them.

49Now [And] the sons of Saul were Jonathan and Ishui [Ishwi]39 and Melchishua; and the names of his two daughters were these [om. were these], the name of the firstborn 50Merab, and the name of the younger Michal. And the name of Saul’s wife was Ahinoam, the daughter of Ahimaaz, and the name of the captain of his host 51was Abner, the son of Ner, Saul’s uncle. And Kish was [om. was] the father of Saul, and Ner the father of Abner was the son [were sons40] of Abiel.

52And there was sore war against the Philistines all the days of Saul; and when Saul saw any strong man, or any valiant man, he took him unto him.


The connection of 1 Samuel 13:1 sq. with what precedes is not to be explained as a resumption here of the narrative which was dropped in 1 Samuel 10:16. In support of this view Thenius affirms that it is only by supposing an original immediate connection between 1 Samuel 13:2 and 1 Samuel 10:16 that the words of Samuel, 1 Samuel 10:7, “when these signs come to thee, undertake confidently what occasion may suggest,” have a definite reference; but there is such a reference in chap. 11 already in the deed there done by Saul. And, when the same expositor makes Saul, inspired by the patriotic hymns of the prophets, proceed straightway to free his people from the yoke of the Philistines, he takes for granted what is not suggested in the words, and puts too much into them.—Against the view that the real continuation of the narration ending with 1 Samuel 10:16 is not given till now (the section 1 Samuel 10:17 to 1 Samuel 12:25 containing matter foreign to the connection) Keil (Comm. p. 90, Rem. 1 [Eng. Tr., p. 122, Rem. 1]) admirably remarks that, on this supposition, it is inconceivable that Saul, who on his return from Samuel to Gibeah concealed his royal anointing from his kinsfolk (1 Samuel 10:16), should straightway have entered on his public career by choosing 3000 men and beginning the war against the Philistines—or further, that Saul should have had such universal, complete respect as is supposed by the people’s pouring to him as king on his call, unless he had before been publicly proclaimed king in the presence of all Israel, and had won by a public deed the recognition and confidence of the whole people—and, finally, that the narrative in 1 Samuel 13:1-7 requires the intermediate events of 1 Samuel 10:17 to 1 Samuel 12:25 in order to be intelligible.—But this view of the real and historical connection between 1 Samuel 13:0 :sq. and 1 Samuel 10:17 to 1 Samuel 12:25 does not exclude the possibility that the redactor of the book from 13 on used another authority than that employed in the previous history of Samuel, one, namely, which treated of Saul’s reign and rejection; though, on the other hand, it is more probable that the editor of the book (which is derived from several sources) here uses the same authority for Saul’s life as in chap, 9, speaking more at length of his deeds and official life, after having introduced from the source relating to Samuel what was required to continue the narrative, and set forth the historical events in their objective pragmatical connection.

1 Samuel 13:1. The chronological statements at the beginning of Saul’s official life correspond to the usual notices of the age and time of reign of the kings at the outset of their history (comp. 2 Samuel 2:10-11; 2 Samuel 5:4 and the many similar places in the books of Kings). We should therefore expect a different datum from that of the text: “Saul was one year old when he became king, and he reigned two years.” And the attempts to extract sense from the present text, at least the first part of the verse, must be pronounced, partly on linguistic, partly on factual grounds, utter failures; so that of Luth., Grot., Cler., v. Gerlach [Eng. A. V.]: “Saul had been king one year,” and the Chald.: “Saul was as an innocent child, when he became king.” The text (which is presupposed even in the Sept.) is certainly corrupt, in the first place, in the first half, and a number must be supplied between בֶּן and שָׁנָה. Nägelsbach supposes (Herz. XIII, 433) that a ן = 50 has fallen out after בֶּן by reason of the double Nun; to which it is no objection (Thenius) that then Saul, supposing that he reigned 20 years, would have been 70 when he went into his last battle (1 Samuel 31:6), but great difficulty arises from the statement of Saul’s youth (1 Samuel 9:2). Others, as Bunsen, Vaihinger (Herz. VIII. 8) supply a מ = 40, supposed to have fallen out from the following similar ש, which would suit both the statement in 1 Samuel 13:5, that Jonathan was already a stout warrior, and that in 1 Samuel 9:5. This first statement about Jonathan makes it impossible to accept the supplement ל = 30 (in an anonymous version in the Hexapla).—In the second half of the verse many try to retain the text “and he reigned two years over Israel” by construing it syntactically with 1 Samuel 13:2, and explaining, with Grotius, that Saul collected his armed band after having reigned two years. So also Clericus: “As, twelve months and some more after birth one may be said to be the son of one year and living in his second year, so, the whole of one year of reign and the greater part of the second having elapsed, one may be called a king of one year, who was reigning two years.” But 1 Samuel 13:1 cannot form a syntactic unit with 1 Samuel 13:2, unless the subject Saul were omitted in 1 Samuel 13:2, which would be arbitrary. Here, too, we must suppose a gap left by the omission of a numeral; and it is highly probable that כ = 20 has fallen out, so that the duration of the entire reign was given as in other cases. But the supposition (taking the text without connection with 1 Samuel 13:2) that Saul reigned altogether only two years, hardly deserves mention; it is shown to be absurd by the summary statement in 1 Samuel 14:47 of Saul’s wars.41

I. The principal war against the Philistines, 13; 1 Samuel 14:1-46.

1. 1 Samuel 13:2-7. The introduction of the war. That this war occurred in the beginning of Saul’s reign is highly probable from the statement at the end of 1 Samuel 13:2, that he sent the rest of the people home. For here a gathering of the whole arms-bearing population is presupposed, from which three thousand men were chosen, and it is natural to infer, since nothing has been said of any general summons of the people except for the Ammonite war (chap. 11), that on this latter followed soon the war against the Philistines narrated in 13,14.—The statement, “And Saul chose him three thousand men out of Israel,” indicates an important fact for Saul’s military rule: The formation of a standing warlike body of chosen men into a permanent disciplined army in distinction from the mass of the people, who had hitherto been summoned to war. This body of 3000 men was so divided between Saul and his son Jonathan (who is here mentioned for the first time) that the former had command of 2000, and the latter of 1000. This is indicated by the “with” (עִם), and it is therefore unnecessary to insert with Thenius a “which” (אשר) after “two thousand” (אַלְפַּיִם) “because Saul himself could have been only in one place.”42Michmash, according to Rob. II. 328 sq. [Am. ed. I., 440–442, and see Grove in Smith’s Bib. Dict., s. v.—Tr.] the present desolate village Muchmash, 3½ hours [nearly 9 Eng. miles, but Grove says 7—Tr.] northeast of Jerusalem on the northern cliff of the narrow pass which runs between it and Geba (which was on the southern range of heights), the present Wady Suweinit. The mountain or mountain-range of Bethel, which along with Michmash was a post of the 2000 men under Saul, can be none other than the range (Joshua 16:1) on which the old Bethel lay (comp. 1S. 1 Samuel 10:3). The ruins of Beitin, on the old site of Bethel, and surrounded by mountains, are 3¾ hours [9½ or 10 Eng. miles] from Jerusalem. The two posts were thus not far from one another, and had probably about the same altitude.—The other division, of 1000 men, was at Gibeah of Benjamin, the home of Saul’s family, under Jonathan’s command.—The reason for the dismissal of the rest of the people was partly, no doubt, that Saul did not venture to advance against the Philistines with an undisciplined mass, and that no compact body, but only a strong garrison here marked the borders of the Philistine power and authority.

1 Samuel 13:3. Jonathan’s heroic deed. He smote the garrison of the Philistines in Geba. There is no reason for reading Gibeah (though the ancient vss. so have it) instead of Geba; for this reading is obviously an attempt to correct the text which (from Gibeah in 1 Samuel 13:2) was supposed to be incorrect. Whether this garrison was the same as that mentioned in 1 Samuel 10:5, which was perhaps, in consequence of the Israelites’ occupying Michmash, removed to Geba opposite, is uncertain. Jonathan with his thousand men inflicted a total defeat on this garrison of the Philistines. The word “smote,” from its ordinary military use and from the context, can here mean nothing but a “slaughter.” Saul and Jonathan’s first movement may have been concealed from the Philistine garrison by the nature of the ground, or may have been so sudden as to be like a surprise;43 and, as to the narrative, it was not necessary to go into details on the method and result of this military blow, because it is considered merely as the beginning and occasion of the decisive struggle against the Philistines. It is therefore unnecessary to regard נָצִיב as “pillar,” sign of the authority of the Philistines (Then.), or as the name of a Philistine officer whom Jonathan slew, (Ew.), or as a proper name (Sept.). Aquila has correctly ὑπόστημα, statio.—The word “saying” (לֵאמֹר) usually, where as here it is connected with blowing a trumpet, introduces what is to be publicly proclaimed after the sounding of the trumpet, comp. 2Sa 20:1; 1 Kings 1:34; 1Ki 1:39; 2 Kings 9:13. We might accordingly say that Saul ordered it to be proclaimed by sound of trumpet through the land: “Let the Hebrews hear.” Then would follow (from the connection) the story of Jonathan’s heroic deed. These words would in that case be the usual introduction to what was to be made known, as among us in public proclamations accompanied by musical instruments, there are first words to call attention.44 The herald would then give the event to be proclaimed simply and clearly.—But it is an equally well-supported view, that what is said is merely that Saul had the important fact proclaimed by trumpet throughout all Israel, without quoting the words of the proclamation, and that the “saying” introduces (as usual) only the words or thoughts of the subject of the sentence. That is: Saul blew the trumpet in all Israel, saying (or thinking), The Hebrews shall hear it, namely, the deed of Jonathan. We need not, therefore, in any case, with Thenius, following the Sept. ἠθετήκασιν οἱ δοῦλοι, “the slaves have revolted,”45 put “revolt” (יִפְשְׁעוּ) for “hear” (יִשְׁמְעוּ) and render: “Let the Hebrews revolt, free themselves.” Nor does the “revolting” suit the presupposed relation of the Hebrews to the Philistines. The words of Josephus, quoted by Thenius: “He proclaims it throughout the whole land, summoning them to freedom,” contain an explanatory, paraphrastic remark on what was of course understood in the public proclamation in consequence of Jonathan’s feat, and cannot therefore furnish a basis for a change of text. But that in fact the content of the proclamation was not a summons to revolt, but the statement of Jonathan’s blow, appears from 1 Samuel 13:4 : with the trumpet-proclamation went throughout Israel the news: Saul (that is, as chief commander, head of the military force, a part of which had inflicted the blow) has smitten the garrison of the Philistines.—At the same time the people became aware of the consequence and significance of this attack on the position of the Philistines: Israel, it is said, had become stinking, that is, suspected or hated with the Philistines (comp. 1 Samuel 27:12; Genesis 34:20; Exodus 5:21), by their purpose to shake off, arms in hand, the foreign yoke. The enkindled hate and anger of the Philistines must needs have led them to a speedy military undertaking against Israel, as is narrated in 1 Samuel 13:5; and Israel was thereby compelled quickly to gather all its strength against the Philistines. This military summons of the whole people is expressed by וַיִצָּעֲקיּ [called]: The people were called together (summoned) after Saul to Gilgal. Vulg., Sanctius, Luther translate incorrectly: “cried” [instead of “were called together”]. The summons took place at the same time with the trumpet-announcement. Saul went to Gilgal, the old camping-place, because the people were to assemble there, and indeed could only assemble behind the steep declivities of the hills in the broad plain which stretches to the Jordan.

1 Samuel 13:5. To this movement of Israel answers the rapid gathering of a large army by the Philistines. Most expositors regard the number of chariots (30,000) as too large in proportion to the number of horsemen (6,000), and (comparing similar numbers in 2 Samuel 10:18; 1 Kings 10:16; 2 Chronicles 12:3) suppose an error of text here. According to Thenius the Codex 715 of De Rossi has (originally) simply “a thousand” (אֶלֶף).46 It is “a natural conjecture that the sign for 30, ל, has been repeated from the preceding word, and we then read ‘a thousand chariots’ ” (Bunsen). The supposition of three thousand chariot-warriors (Syr., Calov., Hez., Schulz, Maur.) is arbitrary, and unsustained by 2 Samuel 10:18.—The large army of the Philistines (one thousand chariots, six thousand horsemen) encamped in Michmash (which Saul had left) in front of Bethaven. The locality is disputed among modern expositors. In the first place, against Jerome who (on Hosea 5:8, Bethaven, quæ quondam vocabatur Bethel) identifies Bethaven with Bethel, the distinctness of these two places is, according to Joshua 7:2, to be maintained; according to this passage, Bethaven lay east from Bethel, and according to Joshua 18:12 there was a “wilderness of Bethaven.” We must first inquire how we are to understand “over against” (קִדְמָת). If we assume that this expression “in geographical statements always means east” (Then)., it yet by no means follows, as Then. thinks, that Michmash was very near the Jordan, far from Gibeah. Apart from the groundless identification of Gibeah and Geba (the former, Jonathan’s position, was nine47 miles farther south), there is between Bethaven (east of Bethel) and the Jordan so considerable a distance, that Michmash may well have lain east from Bethaven, without being “very near the Jordan,” and therefore farther from Geba than the narrative permits. It is, therefore, unnecessary (with Keil), in order to meet Thenius’ objection, to render קִדְמַת “in front of” though to this there is no objection, since the constant geographical expression for “east” is מִקֶּדֶם, and the identity of the two neither has been nor can be shown (from Genesis 2:14; Gen 4:16; 1 Samuel 13:5; Ezekiel 39:11, the only places in which our word occurs); and so Ewald, Bib. Jahrb. X. 54 (comp. Keil on Genesis 2:14). In Isaiah 10:29 Gibeah-Benjamin (along with Ramah) is named with Geba in such a way that the latter appears as a strong camping-place, which had to protect the two other places, and from which their territory was commanded. If, now, Saul (according to 1 Samuel 13:2) was posted northward at Michmash and Jonathan southward at Gibeah-Benjamin, the Philistine position at Geba would be between them; certainly the double Israelitish position was intended to embrace the Philistine garrison on both sides. Jonathan having destroyed this garrison by a coup de main, and the Philistines having marched to Michmash in great force (1 Samuel 13:5), Saul was obliged to abandon this position (which was now after Jonathan’s feat of no importance to him), and betake himself to the old camping-plain at Gilgal, that he might here assemble the people to war, while Jonathan kept his position at Gibeah-Benjamin (1 Samuel 14:16-17), whence he performed a second bold feat against the camp of the Philistines at Michmash. Thenius reads Beth-horon instead of Bethaven, on the ground that the Philistine camp would probably be pitched in the fertile region around Gibeon; but both these places lie too far west to suit this narrative, and the Philistines, in changing their camp at Michmash (1 Samuel 13:23), would certainly march eastward in the valley between Michmash and Geba. The people were afraid of them (1 Samuel 13:6-7), because they were apprehensive that the Philistines would advance from Michmash into the Gilgal-plain, and overpower them, unprepared as they were.—“And the men of Israel saw that they were in a strait (in augustiis), because the people were pressed by the Philistines.” This recognition of danger and fear of a superior force expresses itself in three ways. Partly, they hid themselves in the country this side of the Jordan in caves,48 thorn-bushes (why thick bushes (from חוֹחַ thorn) should not serve for hiding (Then.) is not obvious), in clefts of rocks, in watch-towers or castles (the word is found elsewhere only in Judges 9:46; Judges 9:49, where it is distinguished from migdal, “tower,” and is a high, isolated, roofed building, perhaps designed to guard against military attacks. Clericus: “fortified places; they are high places, fortified on a lofty site, as appears from the Arabic, in which the word means any lofty structure”) and in pits; partly (1 Samuel 13:7), they flee across the Jordan into the land of Gad and Gilead (Clericus: “regions toward the source of the Jordan, mountainous and more difficult of access for the Philistine army”), while Saul still remained at Gilgal; we see from this, as well as from the expressions down and up (1 Samuel 13:12-15), that this Gilgal could not have been the elevated Gilgal or Jiljalieh between Sichem and Jerusalem, which also would be impossible from the military positions here mentioned of the Philistines and of Saul; partly, they go trembling after Saul, that is, the soldiers, who were there as one body under his command (אַחֲרָיו). It thus appears that the Philistines advanced against the Israelites with rapidity and energy in strong force, to avenge themselves and establish their authority; and that among the Israelites there was great dismay and confusion.

2. 1 Samuel 13:8-14. Saul’s hasty offering in opposition to the divine arrangement, and, in consequence of this, his rejection by Samuel’s prophetic judicial sentence.

1 Samuel 13:8. Saul waited49 according to 1 Samuel 10:8 seven days for Samuel to come and make the offering for the people who were arming themselves for the war against the Philistines. After “which” supply “appointed” (יעד or אמר, Sept., Chald.), 2 Samuel 20:5. Comp. Ew. § 292 b.But Samuel came not to Gilgal, that is, during the seventh day; the people were scattered from him partly through fear of the Philistines, partly from the failure of the hope held out by Saul that Samuel would come.

1 Samuel 13:9. Saul makes the offering, or causes it to be made, without waiting longer for Samuel. The fear that he would become entangled in battle before the people were thereto consecrated by offering and prayer, and apprehension of the complete dispersion and disheartenment of the people drove him (1 Samuel 13:12) to this disobedience and this overhaste.

1 Samuel 13:10. When the offering was finished, behold, Samuel came, from the context, on the same day on which Saul had waited for him in vain and made the offering. In his impatience in the presence of the prepared enemy Saul had not waited to the end of the appointed day.

1 Samuel 13:11-12. Samuel’s question: What hast thou done? is an earnest reproof to Saul for his self-willed violation of the divine arrangement which had been prophetically made known to him. In defence Saul pleads three things: the dispersion of the people, the danger of a sudden descent of the Philistines into the plain of Jericho, and the possibility of being obliged to go into battle without divine consecration and blessing. The Heb. phrase (ח׳, etc.) is literally “to stroke the face of Jehovah,” in order to gain His favor and grace by offering or prayer. Comp. Exodus 32:11. “I forced myself,” did violence to my desire, took courage. Saul here intimates that it was only after a strong internal conflict that he determined to act contrary to the divine command.

1 Samuel 13:13. Two constructions may here be taken. The first clause may be conditional (לוּ = לוּא = לֹא), “if thou hadst kept,” and the second (כִּי עַתָּה = “yea, then!”) the result: “yea, then would the Lord;” or the first may be simply declarative (לֹא = “not”): “thou hast not kept,” and before the second (כִּי עַתָּה, “yea, then would the Lord have established thy kingdom”) we may supply the condition [“if thou hadst kept”] required by the sense. The latter is preferable from the whole situation, to which such liveliness of discourse better answers. Examples of such a construction, with omission of conditional protasis, are Exodus 9:15; 2 Kings 13:19; Job 3:13; Job 13:19. See Ew., § 358 a. The twice (beginning of 1 Samuel 13:13 and end of 1 Samuel 13:14) repeated declaration: “thou hast not kept the commandment of the Lord,” indicates the ground of the similarly twice (first hypothetically—then affirmatively) repeated judgment: “thy kingdom will not be established by the Lord, nor stand.” It is therein assumed that Saul received through Samuel a divine direction, and that he had recognized Samuel’s arrangement as a direction from God given him through the mouth of the legitimate mediator, which Samuel, as Prophet of the Lord, was. The content of the divine direction was this: Saul was to await the arrival of Samuel, who, not arbitrarily, but in accordance with his other (here unmentioned) prophetic work, determined the time at which the battle was to begin under the consecration and direction of the representative of the invisible King of Israel. Comp. 1 Samuel 10:8 : “that I may show thee what thou art to do.” Saul had thus been directed to await the divine directions, and by his action here transgressed the fundamental law of obedience to his King; unquiet and impatient, self-willed and fleshly, he fails to stand the trial which lay in this command, and sets himself outside of the relation of unconditional obedience to the will of God, the humble fulfilment of which was the condition of the establishment and continuance of His kingdom. Samuel recognized with his prophetic look the disposition of heart which was at the bottom of Saul’s conduct, on account of which neither he nor his house could be the permanent bearer of the kingdom. Samuel’s judgment is therefore not hasty, unjust, harsh, as it has been thought, but the expression of the divine righteousness and holiness, as whose organ he stood over against Saul; and his conduct towards Saul corresponds exactly to his position (as we have heretofore seen him) as instrument of Israel’s God-king. Samuel’s judicial sentence signifies the rejection of Saul; negatively, it is the denial of what would have occurred, if Saul had fulfilled the required condition, the permanent establishment of His kingdom, positively it is the announcement that the Lord had chosen another as theocratic king in his stead. Back of this judicial act of Samuel stands as its motive the truth, brought to light by Saul’s conduct, that Saul had forfeited the royal office committed to him; for the theocratic king must be, at the head of God’s people, in full accord with the royal will of God. Cleric.: “Yea, the authority of the prophet, rather, of God Himself, was maintained—which, if Saul could with impunity neglect the most important commands, would afterwards have been despised by the obstinate people impatient of the yoke, and by the king himself.”

1 Samuel 13:15, The 600 men, all that remained to Saul, shows that he could not in any case have avoided what he wished to avoid. The declaration, “thou hast acted foolishly,” is thus confirmed. Saul’s conduct was foolish because it of necessity produced the opposite of that which he was to gain by obedience and trust in God.

3. 1 Samuel 13:15-23. Samuel’s “going up” from the plain of Gilgal to the elevated (Gibeah-Benjamin, Saul’s home, is stated simply as a fact, and the reason not given. That Saul also went thither from Gilgal (Then.) is not necessarily supposed in the word “numbered.” The mustering of his remaining troops is best placed in Gilgal; he there reviewed them in order now to march against the Philistines. The number of warriors was reduced to 600. Saul had therefore, by his hasty, disobedient conduct, not attained his purpose of holding the people together (1 Samuel 13:11).

1 Samuel 13:16. Here the two positions on the opposite heights of Geba and Michmash, a deep gorge between them running eastward into the plain, are clearly and distinctly marked. The camp of Saul and Jonathan is said to be in Geba (the present Jeba, to be distinguished from Gibeah-Benjamin), without mention of Saul’s march to Geba; the words “were encamped” rather introduce us into the midst of the situation. Between the words “from Gilgal” and “Gibeah-Benjamin” [1 Samuel 13:15] the Sept. (not understanding the passage) inserts: “and the rest of the people went up after Saul to meet him after the men of war, they having come from Gilgal.” So with some modification the Vulg.: et reliqui populi ascenderunt post Saul obviam populo qui expugnabant eos venientes de Galgala. But such a filling out is not needed in order to understand the connection. The author’s task is not to give a complete, detailed history of this war, but to set forth from the theocratic point of view, in respect to Saul’s conduct and God’s dealing, what occurred. Having in respect to the former given a detailed account of the scene at Gilgal, without mentioning that Saul had gone from Michmash to Gilgal (which is assumed in 1 Samuel 13:4), it was sufficient, taking it for granted that Saul had moved from Gilgal to Geba, to state the fact that the camp of the Israelites was then in Geba, and thereby to indicate the new scene, in which in the following context the condition of subjugation of the Israelites by the Philistines under the divine permission is set forth. In this simply theocratic sporadic description, which corresponds to the cut-up nature of the land on which this occurrence took place, and to the immediate vicinity of hill and valley, we have from 1 Samuel 13:2 on a series of distinct pictures, without statement of their historical-geographical connection: 1) Michmash—Gibeah-Benjamin and Geba (1 Samuel 13:2-3); 2) Michmash—Gilgal (1 Samuel 13:4-15); 3) Gibeah-Benj. and Geba-Benj.—Michmash. The historical-geographical situation is as follows: At first the Israelitish army in two divisions lay on the one side in Michmash, on the other, side in Gibeah-Benjamin. From this point Jonathan smote the garrison or camp of the Philistines in Geba. In consequence of this the Philistines—who controlled the plain—collected their forces. Saul left Michmash and marched down to Gilgal in order there to gather Israel to the conflict against the Philistines, while the latter occupied Michmash deserted by Saul. While Samuel remained at Gibeah-Benjamin, Jonathan’s former position, Saul and Jonathan took position over against the Philistines in Geba; that is, at the place where Jonathan had broken up the Philistine garrison.

1 Samuel 13:17-23. The oppression of Israel by the Philistines. In 1 Samuel 13:17-18 the devastation of the Israelitish territory by Philistine raids is described. From the camp of the Philistines at Michmash went forth “the spoiler” (הַמַּשְׁחִית). The Article denotes that part of the army to which was assigned the task of plundering and devastation, and thus inciting to battle. There were three bands (רָאשׁים—as in 1 Samuel 11:11).One of the bands took the road to Ophra, to the land of Shual. Ophrah was in the territory of Benjamin (Joshua 18:23), five Roman miles [1 Rom. mile=about 1618 English yards] east of Bethel (Onom.), conjectured by Rob. II. 338 [Am. ed. I. 447] to be the present Taiyibeh.50 This band therefore moved northward. Shual, “Foxland,” is probably the same with Shaalim, 1 Samuel 9:4. The second party went towards Bethhoron (Joshua 10:11), that is, westward. The third band moved in a south-easterly direction. This Zeboim (צבעים) is to be distinguished from the Zeboim (צביים) of Deuteronomy 29:22; Gen 14:28; according to Nehemiah 11:34 it was a city inhabited by Benjamites, and therefore in the Benjamite territory. The direction is given by the added words: “towards the wilderness,” for this wilderness is doubtless no other than that of Judah, which extended east from Jerusalem. While, therefore, the Israelites under Saul and Jonathan held a strong point on the heights, the Philistines plundered the plains and valleys where they had the control,

1 Samuel 13:19-20. Here they deprived the Israelites of arms; for “there was no smith found in all the land.” The Philistines had broken up the smithies—for they said: “lest the Hebrews make them swords or spears.” Only the implements necessary for agriculture were allowed them—to sharpen which they must go to the Philistines. So Porsenna allowed the Romans iron implements for agriculture only. Before “the Philistines” the Sept. inserts “the land of,” which is merely an explanation of an unusual expression. The people signifies the land or territory (Ew. § 281d). The meaning of the names of implements in 1 Samuel 13:20 cannot be determined with certainty. The first (מַחֲרֶשֶת) from its etymology may be any cutting instrument. The fourth (מַחֲרֵשָׁתוֹ) Jerome renders sarculum, “hoe.” The second (אֵת) is, as in Micah 4:3; Isaiah 2:4, “ploughshare,” or “coulter.” The third (קַרְדּם) is “axe” or “hatchet.”

1 Samuel 13:21 shows the consequence (וִהָיְתָה) of the Hebrews having no smiths, and having to go to the Philistines to sharpen their tools. And there was dulness—properly notching of edges to the shares, etc.; or, there came edge-dulness to the shares. (פּצירָה from a stem which in Arab, means “cleave.” As the Art. here and its absence in פים are both strange; and the st. abs. stands instead of the st. const., it is probable that the text is corrupt, and (with Keil) to be read הַפְצִיר הַפִּים, Inf. Hiph. and rendered “so there occurred dulness of the edges,” etc.) Bunsen says excellently: “The parenthesis indicates that the result of the burdensome necessity of going to the Philistines was that many tools became useless by dulness, so that even this poorer sort of arms did the Israelites not much service at the breaking out of the war.” And to set the goads.—“To set” corresponds to “to sharpen,” and completes the picture of the Hebrews’ dependence on the Philistines in respect to agricultural implements. The previously mentioned implements (including the trident or fork) needed sharpening; the ox-goad needed new setting. The translation of De Wette: “when, namely, the edges …… were dulled ……” is certainly not tenable (Then.). On the other hand, neither this parenthesis, which describes the consequence of the oppression, nor the difference in the lists of implements, is so remarkable as to require the following of the text of the Sept. (Then. and Böttcher).

1 Samuel 13:21 reads thus in the Sept: “and the vintage was ready to be gathered, and the tools were three shekels to the tooth, and to the axe and the scythe there was the same rate.” In their conjectural restoration of the original text according to the Greek, Then. and Böttch. proceed eclectically,51 and translate: “And there happened sharpening of the edges to the shares and the spades at three shekels a tooth (that is, a single piece), and so for the axe and the sickle, yea, for the setting of the ox-goad” (Böttch. who differs from Then. as to the names of the implements, renders the second half: “and so for the sickles and the axes, and for the setting of the prong.”) Against this (conjectural) fixing of the text are: first, the unintelligibleness and confusion of the Greek text, on which this emendation is founded; then, the obviously wrong conception of the Heb. by the Sept. in the beginning of 1 Samuel 13:21; further, the untenableness of the rendering “single piece” for ὀδόντα, שֵׁן [tooth], which is not supported (Then.) by Theodoret’s remark “Symmachus renders odonta ploughshare, and Aquila plough,” for this means merely that odonta was understood of this or that implement, not that it meant a single piece in reference to price; finally (Keil), “the then value of money,” according to which “three shekels for sharpening an axe or a sickle would be an unheard-of price.”—From this whole section it appears that, while the Philistines held the lowlands, the Hebrews carried on their tillage on the highlands and in the gorge of the Jordan.—In 1 Samuel 13:22 Sept. has “in the days” for “in the day,” and after “battle” inserts “of Michmash,” and so Then. and Ew.; but this is not necessary.52 Referring to 1 Samuel 13:19 it is said: There was neither sword nor spear found in the hand of any of the people that were with Saul and Jonathan. In consequence of the above-mentioned measure of the Philistines, the entire force with Saul and Jonathan, 600 in number (to this force the phrase “all the people” is from the context to be referred) was unprovided with arms. This is not in contradiction with the narrative of the battle and victory of Israel over the Ammonites (chap. 11); for there we have not a regular army, but a sudden rising of the people, and, even though arms were gotten by that victory, it does not thence follow that the comparatively small force that remained with Saul and Jonathan must have been regularly furnished with arms, inasmuch as the Philistine plan of disarming the Israelites was a permanent one, and necessarily resulted in a general lack of arms. These arms were found only with Saul and Jonathan.

1 Samuel 13:23. מַעֲבַר מ׳ is the passage or pass of Michmash. From Beeroth (Bireh) extends a deep valley, the present Wady es Suweinit, south-east and then east, opening into the valley towards Jericho. On the heights opposite lay southward Geba (Jeba) northward Michmash (Muchmas). Eastward from these camps of the Israelites and Philistines several side-Wadys opened into the deep Wady, partly from the north-west, partly from the south-west, by which the passage was formed. Comp. Rob. Pal., II. 327 sq. [Am. ed., I. 440 sq.]., and Later Bibl. Researches, 378 sq. [Am. ed., III. 289 sq.]. “The ridges between these (the side-Wadys) terminate in elevated points projecting into the great Wady; and the easternmost of these bluffs on each side were probably the outposts of the two garrisons of Israel and the Philistines.” Towards the pass of Michmash (north, therefore, over against the Israelites) the Philistines sent forward a post, a van-guard, as protection against the Israelites, who might else have slipped up unperceived through the side-Wadys or the pass formed by these, and surprised the Philistine camp. The strategical movement here indicated precisely accords with the ground where Robinson has pointed out the pass. It is hence unnecessary (with Ew. and Bunsen) to read מֵעֵבֶר and translate: “The van-guard of the Philistines was thrown forward beyond the camp of Michmash,” though this in fact was done, since a force was thrown forward from the camp eastward towards the pass.



[1][1 Samuel 13:1. The translation of Eng. A. V. is untenable, and that given in brackets is the only possible one. The numerals have fallen out, and can be only approximately restored. The plu. שׁנים would indicate that the period of Saul’s reign was less than ten years, but, in the present corrupt state of the text, no such inference can safely be drawn. The omission of this verse in the Sept. may have been from its absence in their MS., or from their inability to make sense of it, or from clerical inadvertence. It is better to leave the numerals blank, and explain in a note that they have fallen out. Some, however, think (Hitzig, Maurer, Thenius, Wellhausen) that the numbers were designedly left out by the author.—Tr.]

[2][1 Samuel 13:2. Here the Heb., in accordance with universal O. T. usage, has the plural.—Tr.]

[3][1 Samuel 13:3. The Syr., Arab., Vulg., Chald., here sustain the Mas. text. The reading of the Sept. is discussed by Erdmann. Wellhausen proposes to read: “and Saul blew the trumpet throughout the land, and the Philistines heard, saying, The slaves revolt (פִּשְׁעוּ),” the words “saying, etc.” being taken as a gloss.

[4][1 Samuel 13:4. A different Heb. word from that used in 1 Samuel 14:1, though from the same verbal stem. It is used also in 1Sa 10:5; 1 Samuel 13:3; 2Sa 8:6; 2 Samuel 8:14; 1 Chronicles 11:6. Ewald renders “officer,” distinguishing נָצִיב (Sept. Νασίβ) from נְצִיב.—Tr.]

[5][1 Samuel 13:5. This number is generally regarded as too large. Some suppose baggage included (Patrick), some the chariot-soldiers (Cahen and others, comp. 2 Samuel 10:18), others suppose an error of text and read 3 for 30 (Clarke, Syr., Arab.), or 300 (Bib. Comm.). Still other conjectures are given in Poole’s Synopsis.—Tr.]

[6][1 Samuel 13:6. The lexicons generally render “thickets,” as Eng. A. V. and Erdmann; Fürst renders “clefts,” and Ewald reads חורים “caves.” But Chald. has “fortresses,” Syr. and Vulg. “secret places,” and Sept. “enclosures” or “holes.” Of the modern versions Luther and Diodati have “clefts,” Spanish follows Vulg., the French (of Martin), Port., Dutch agree with Eng. A. V. Other German versions give “hedges,” “thorn-bushes,” “clefts.” The renderings of the ancient versions make Ewald’s reading probable, and this sense accords better with the context.—Tr.]

[7][1 Samuel 13:6. So the ancient versions. The moderns generally render “towers” (so Erdmann), which is supported by the Arab, sarhun. The word occurs only three times in O. T., twice rendered in Eng. A. V. “hold” (Judges 9:46; Judges 9:49) and here “high-place,” which, as is remarked in Bib. Comm., is an unfortunate rendering, liable to be confounded with the places of religious worship.—Tr.]

[8][1 Samuel 13:7. Literally, “Hebrews went over,” so Syr., Chald., Vulg. The Sept. has οἱ διαβαίνοντες (הָעוֹבְרִים) and Symmachus οἱ ἑκ τοῦ πέραν. The mas. text does not suit the context, that of Sept. is against Heb. usage, and that of Symmachus (מֵעֵבֶר) is unsupported. Wellhausen proposes ועברוּ מעברוֹת הירדן “and they crossed the fords of the Jordan,” which gives a good sense with a very slight change in the letters. Throughout this narrative the Hebrews (apparently recreant Israelites) seem to be distinguished from the Israelites (who followed Saul).—Tr.]

[9][1 Samuel 13:8. This word is not in our Heb. text, but אמר is found in several MSS. and printed editions; others have שם which De Rossi suggests has fallen out from resemblance to the two initial letters of the following word שׁמוּאֵל. On the critical objections to this section, 1 Samuel 13:8-15 a, see Erdmann’s Introduction.—Tr.]

[10][1 Samuel 13:13. Several MSS. and printed eds. insert ו and Sept. has ὅτι.—Tr.]

[11][1 Samuel 13:13. Hitzig proposes unnecessarily to point לֻא instead of לֹא.—Tr.]

[12][1 Samuel 13:15-16. It is somewhat surprising that Samuel goes to Gibeah (1 Samuel 13:15), while Saul is found in Geba (1 Samuel 13:16) without previous mention of his having gone thither. Instead of Geba the ancient vss. have Gibeah, and are followed by Eng. A. V. and Erdmann. Robinson (quoted in Bib. Comm.) thinks Geba correct. A good sense is gotten by connecting 7 a with 15 b. The readings of the Sept. are discussed by Keil and Erdmann.—Tr.]

[13][1 Samuel 13:18. It is objected, but without sufficient ground, that the word שקף (“stretches towards, looks, overhangs”) cannot be used of “border.” The Sept. has “hill” (גבעה).—Tr.]

[14][1 Samuel 13:20. No satisfactory rendering has yet been given of this ver. and the following. The names of the instruments are given differently in different versions, there is doubt about the meanings of the names, the Sept. has a different text in 1 Samuel 13:21, and the initial words of this ver. in the Heb. and the connection of the two verses are yet obscure. The simplest reconstruction of the text would be to consider 1 Samuel 13:21 as an erroneous repetition of 1 Samuel 13:20, and omit all except the last two words (of the Heb.); but this would not account for the difference in form of the two verses, and is rendered difficult by the retention in all the versions of 1 Samuel 13:21 in full. In order to exhibit the differences of the Heb. and the Sept., we set them here down together, giving the latter conjecturally:- וְהָיְתָה הַפְּצִירָה פִים לַמַּהֲרֵשׁוֹת וְלָאֵתִים וְלִשְׁלשׁ קִלְּשוֹן וּלהַקַּרְדֻּמִּים וּלְהַצִּיב הַדָּוְבָן.—H. הַצִּיב אֶחָד בָּם [וּלַמַּהֲרֵשָׁה] וְהָאֵתִים שָׁלשׁ שֶׁקֶל לַשֵּׁן וְלַקַּרְדּם (or לַמַחֲרֵשוֹת) וְהָיָה הַבָּצִיר נָבוֹן לִקְצוֹ.—G. The translation of the Greek is: “And the vintage was ready, and their tools were three shekels to the tooth, and for the axe and the sickle there was the same rate (or character).” The Sept. thus substantiates in the main the consonants of the Hebrew, but gives no clear sense; the price of sharpening tools, three shekels to the tooth (adopted by Aquila and Thenius) is enormous, and the reference to the harvest, while it is suggestive, is unclear. The Heb., on the other hand, offers a meaningless repetition in 1 Samuel 13:21, and the ungrammatical הפ׳, the compound שׁ׳ל׳) and the disconnected two last words present great difficulties. A sense may be gotten by putting the three first words of 1 Samuel 13:21 at the beginning of 1 Samuel 13:20, and considering the names in 1 Samuel 13:20 as repeated from 1 Samuel 13:21. But, before stating this reading, let us look at the names of implements. The first, which is the same in both verses (except apparently in the Chald.), is rendered “share” (Sym., Vulg.) “scythe” (Syr.), “cutting-tool” (Ch.), “ox-goad” (Theod.), and is probably best given as “share” or “coulter,” though the authority for “scythe” is good. The second name is probably “spade” or “hoe” (so Chald. (?), Sym., Vulg., Kimchi, Winer, Ewald, comp. Isaiah 2:4); Saalschütz (Arch. I., 103–105) prefers “sickle,” from Isaiah 2:4. The third name is undoubtedly “axe.” The fourth name (which is almost identical in form in the Heb. with the first), is rendered “trident” (Aq.), “bident” (Sym.) “scythe” (Sept.) “goad” (Syr.) “coulter” (Vulg.), and is apparently a repetition by mistake of the first name, or of the last word in 1 Samuel 13:21; if it be the correct reading it is best rendered “coulter.” In 1 Samuel 13:21 the third name is usually given as “trident,” but by Syr. as “scraper.” The words are suspicious and may perhaps be properly read לְשַׁלֵּב ק׳ (or לִלְטשׁ). In the beginning of 1 Samuel 13:21 the second word must drop its Article (perhaps repeated from preceding word), and take the construct, form.—The following reading, then, might be proposed: “And there was bluntness of edges to the shares and hoes, and all Israel went down to the Philistines to sharpen every man his share and his hoe, and to sharpen the point of his axe, and to fix his goad.” This rendering would account for the Sept. treatment of the latter half of 1 Samuel 13:21, for the repetitions of names, and for the Chald. rendering (“goad”) of the first name in 1 Samuel 13:20. It would be necessary to suppose that the dislocation of the words took place very early, before the Sept. translation was made. But such dislocation is hard to account for, and it might be better to suppose a parenthesis and read: “And all Israel went down to the Philistines, to sharpen every man his share and his hoe and his axe and his coulter (for there was bluntness of edges to the coulters and hoes and tridents and axes) and to fix the goad” which is very unsatisfactory, but perhaps the best that the present text permits.—Tr.]

[15][1 Samuel 13:22. Sept. here inserts “of Michmash,” which is supported by the construct. form מ׳, but is against Heb. usage, which would give “the day of Michmash” (Wellhausen). There is here a duplet, מלחמת and מכמש. On the alleged contradiction between 1 Samuel 13:22 and 1 Samuel 13:2 see Exegetical Notes.—Tr.]

[16][1 Samuel 13:2. Sept. Μαγδών, Syr., Geb’un, Vulg., Magron. The word means “threshing-floor,” Arab. mijran.—Tr.]

[17][1 Samuel 13:3. This verse may be taken as an independent parenthetical sentence.—Tr.]

[18][1 Samuel 13:5. Thenius thinks this word (which is not in Sept.) superfluous, and probably a repetition of the following word; but Syr., Chald., and Vulg., read apparently as the Mas. text.—Tr.]

[19][1 Samuel 13:5. So the Heb.; but the versions have “Gibeah,” which, says Stanley, is plainly a mistake.—Tr.]

[20][1 Samuel 13:7. So Syr., Chald., Vulg. (perge quo cupis), but the Sept. has “do all that thy heart inclines to,” and this is adopted by Erdmann. The Heb. expression is somewhat hard, but not impossible. Syr. read לֵךְ “go,” instead of לָךְ “to thee.”

[21][1 Samuel 13:7. Sept.: “as thy heart is my heart,” which is better. The Heb. phrase alone may mean “according to thy desire,” but this would require a verb before it.—Tr.]

[22][1 Samuel 13:13. Sept. ἐπέβλεψαν = וַיִּפְּנוּ.—Tr.]

[23][1 Samuel 13:14. For this unintelligible reading Thenius ingeniously proposes בְּחִצִּים וּבְצוּר הַשָּׂדְה “with darts and stones of the field,” from which both Heb. and Sept. may be constructed.—Tr.]

[24][1 Samuel 13:16. For וַיֵּלְךְ read (with Sept.) הֲלֹם; so Erdmann.—Tr.]

[25][1 Samuel 13:18. The improbability of the ark’s being in the field, the impropriety of the phrase “bring the ark,” and the general use of the ephod in inquiring of God (as in 1 Samuel 30:7) recommend the Sept. reading “ephod,” the Heb. word for which differs only slightly from that for “ark.” Erdmann retains “ark.”—Tr.]

[26][1 Samuel 13:18. For the same reasons the Sept. reading is adopted here. The Heb. וּבְנֵיּ is an error for עִם בְּנֵי, or ‎לפני ב׳; the latter is adopted by Erdmann (“the ark was in the presence of Israel”), who otherwise follows the Heb.—Tr.]

[27][1 Samuel 13:20. So Syr., Vulg., Then., Erdmann (Qal); Chald. and Sept. as Eng. A. V. (Niphal).—Tr.]

[28][1 Samuel 13:21. Sept. incorrectly δοῦλοι. Note here the contrast between Hebrews and Israelites. The Eng. A. V. has correctly “turned” (סָבְבוּ), but renders the same word (סָבִיב as it incorrectly stands in the Heb. text) again “round about.”—Tr.]

[29][1 Samuel 14:24. For the insertion of Sept. see Exeget. Notes.—Tr.]

[30][1 Samuel 14:26. This verse is little more than a repetition of the preceding. Syr. in Walton (but not in Lee) omits 26 a. Sept. reads: “And Jaal was a wood abounding in bees, on the face of the field, and the people went into the place of bees, and lo, they went on talking,” where they read דבר for דבש; but Wellhausen’s emendation: "And there was honey on the ground, and the people went into the wood, and bees were moving” is doubtful. The passage is difficult.—Tr.]

[31][1 Samuel 14:27. So the Qeri instead of Kethib “saw.”—Tr.]

[32][1 Samuel 14:28. A parenthetical clause, apparently inserted by mistake from 1 Samuel 14:31.—Tr.]

[33][1 Samuel 14:30. This word should have the Art. in the Heb.—Tr.]

[34][1 Samuel 14:33. Read הֲלֹם (Sept.) instead of הַיִוֹם.—Tr.]

[35][1 Samuel 14:34. Sept. “what was in his hand.”—Tr.]

[36][1 Samuel 14:35. Literally: “It (or as to it) he began to build an altar to Jehovah,” an obscure phrase.—Tr.]

[37][1 Samuel 14:39. The masc. pron. (referring to a fem. noun) may be defended as having an indefinite reference. According to Thenius the Sept. read יַעֲנֶה (ἀποκριθῆ).—Tr.]

[38][1 Samuel 14:41. For discussion of the text of this passage see Exeget. Notes.—Tr.]

[39][1 Samuel 14:49. “For ישוי the Sept. read איש־בשם=אש־בעל=אשיו=ישיו” (Wellhausen). Ishyo was equivalent to Ishbaal at a time when the name Baal (lord) was used of the God of Israel. Afterwards, from repugnance to the false Baal-worship, Bosheth was substituted for Baal.—Tr.]

[40][1 Samuel 14:51. The change to the plural is rendered necessary by 1 Samuel 9:1 and 1 Chronicles 9:36.—Tr.]

[41][Some suppose that the numerals, being unknown to the editor (who lived long afterwards), never were in the text. But neither the omission of 1 Samuel 13:1 in Sept. nor the resemblance of שתי (for שני) to שנים requires this supposition, which on general grounds is not probable.—Tr.]

[42][Thenius (following Sept.) renders “2000, which were partly in Michmash, partly in Bethel.”—Tr.]

[43][One of the translators who has visited the spot points out that the attention of the garrison would naturally be directed to Saul’s force at Michmash, which was very near them on the north; and thus Jonathan, who was several miles distant on the southwest, could more easily effect a surprise.—Tr.]

[44][Bib. Comm. compares our Oyez, oyez.—Tr.]

[45]The untrustworthiness of this is shown by the δοῦλοι, which has arisen by confounding עִבְרִים with עבדים.

[46][So De Rossi states in his Var. Lect., and also mentions that Bochart, Capellus and Ηoubigant favor the reading of Syr., Arab., 3,000, Wordsworth suggests that the Philistines hired chariots from other nations (1 Chronicles 19:6-7). Rashi, Radak, Ralbag say nothing.—Tr.]

[47][Gibeah was not nine miles southwest of Geba, but about four miles; see the maps of Robinson and Porter, and Erdmann’s statement on 1 Samuel 14:16.—Tr.]

[48][On these names see “Textual and Grammatical,” in loco.—Tr.]

[49]The Hiph. of Qeri, וַיּוֹחֶל, is clearly formed after Hiph. in 1 Samuel 10:8, and Kethib, רייחל (Niph. or Pi) is to be retained. [On this section, 1 Samuel 13:8-15 a, see Erdmann’s Introduction.—Tr.]

[50][Mr. Grove thinks this uncertain (Smith’s Bib. Diet. s. v.).—Tr.]

[51]Rejecting the הַבָּצִיר [vintage] of the Greek, and reading הָפְצִיר [sharpening], which they connect with הַפִּים [the edges], and instead of לִשְׁלשׁ קִלְּשׁוֹן [tridents] read בִּשְׁלשָׁה שְׁקָלִים לַשֵּׁן וְכֵן [at three shekels to the tooth, and so].

[52]On the form מִלְחֶמֶת see Ewald, Grammar, §188 c.

Bibliographical Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 13". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". 1857-84.