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Sunday, June 16th, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
1 Samuel 18

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

Verses 1-30

2. David’s Friendship with Jonathan. He is made General of the Army

1 Samuel 18:1-5

1And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his 2own soul. And Saul took him that day, and would let him no more go home 3[would not let him return] to his father’s house. Then [And] Jonathan and David 4made a covenant, because Hebrews 1:0 loved him as his own soul. And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, and his garments [war-dress], even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle.

5And David went out whithersoever Saul sent him, and behaved himself wisely.2 And Saul set him over the men of war, and he was accepted in the sight of all the people, and also in the sight of Saul’s servants.

3. David is hated by King Saul. 1 Samuel 18:6-16

6And it came to pass as they came, when David was [om. was] returned from the slaughter of the Philistine,3 that the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing,4 to meet King Saul, with tabrets, with joy and with instruments 7of music [triangles]. And the women answered one another as they played,8and said, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands. And Saul was very wroth,5 and the [this] saying displeased him; and he said, They have ascribed [given] unto David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed [given] but thousands; and what can he have more but the kingdom? [there remains for9 him only the kingdom.]6 And Saul eyed6 David from that day and forward.

10And it came to pass on the morrow that the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied7 in the midst of the house; and David played [was playing] with his hand as at other times, and there was a javelin in Saul’s hand [and 11Saul’s javelin was in his hand]. And Saul cast8 the javelin, for he [and] said, I will smite David even to [I will pin David to] the wall with it [om. with it]. And 12David avoided out of his presence [turned away from him] twice. And Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord [Jehovah] was with him, and was departed from 13Saul. Therefore [And] Saul removed him from him, and made him his [om. his] 14captain over a thousand; and he went out and came in before the people. And David behaved himself wisely in all his ways; and the Lord [Jehovah] was with 15him. Wherefore when [And] Saul saw that he behaved himself very wisely, [ins. 16and] he was afraid of him. But all Israel and Judah loved David, because he went out and came in before them.

4. Saul’s Artful Attempt against David’s Life in the Offer of Marriage with his Daughter. 1 Samuel 18:17-30

17And9 Saul said to David, Behold my elder daughter Merab, her will I give thee to wife; only be thou valiant for me, and fight the Lord’s [Jehovah’s] battles. For [And] Saul said, Let not my hand be upon him, but let the hand of the Philistines 18be upon him. And David said unto Saul, Who am I? and what10 is my life, or [om. or] my father’s family in Israel, that I should be son-in-law to the 19king? But it came to pass at the time when Merab, Saul’s daughter, should have been given to David, that she was given unto Adriel,11 the Meholathite, to wife. 20And Michal, Saul’s daughter, loved David; and they told Saul, and the thing 21pleased him. And Saul said, I will give him her, that she may [and she shall] be a snare to him, and that [om. that] the hand of the Philistines may [shall] be against him. Wherefore [And] Saul said to David [ins. the second time],12 Thou shalt this day be my son-in-law in the one of the twain [om. in the one of the twain]. 22And Saul commanded his servants, saying, Commune [Speak] with David secretly, and say, Behold the king hath delight in thee, and all his servants love thee; now, therefore, be the king’s son-in-law. And Saul’s servants spake these words in the 23ears of David. And David said, Seemeth it to you a light thing to be a [the] 24 king’s son-in-law, seeing that I am a poor man and lightly esteemed? And the servants of Saul told him, saying, On this manner spake David.

25And Saul said, Thus shall ye say to David, The king desireth not any dowry but13 an hundred foreskins of the Philistines, to be avenged of the king’s enemies. 26But Saul thought to make David fall by the hand of the Philistines. And when [om., when] his servants told David these words, [ins. and] it pleased David well 27to be the king’s son-in-law; and the days were not expired.14 Wherefore [And] David arose and went, he and his men, and slew of the Philistines two15 hundred men, and David brought their foreskins, and they [better om. they16] gave them in full tale to the king, that he might be the king’s son-in-law. And Saul 28gave him Michal his daughter to wife. And Saul saw and knew that the Lord [Jehovah] was with David, and that [om. that] Michal,17 Saul’s daughter, loved 29him. And Saul was yet the more afraid of David, and Saul became [was] David’s 30enemy continually. Then18 [And] the princes of the Philistines went forth. And it came to pass, after [as often as] they went forth, that David behaved himself more wisely than all the servants of Saul, so that his name was set by.


1 Samuel 17:55-58. David at the royal court, his lineage better known, and himself permanently taken up.—On the relation of this section to 1 Samuel 16:14-23 (the two coming from different sources), and to the general narrative, see the full discussion in the Introduction, p. 16 sqq. Considering the undeniable difference between the account here (where Saul is ignorant of David’s person and family), and that in 1 Samuel 16:14-23, (where Saul, after negotiation with Jesse, takes David to his court, and keeps him till the outbreak of the war), and considering the vain attempts which have been made to harmonize this difference, we accept Nägelsbach’s conclusion (Herz. xiii. 402): “All attempts at reconciliation failing, we can only, till a satisfactory explanation is found, suppose that these two accounts come from really different and discrepant sources.” [Without laying stress on the fact that Saul here inquires after David’s father, and not after David himself (which, though urged by Houbigant, Chandler, Wordsworth, and others, does not seem to amount to anything), we may still insist that the two accounts, though different, are not necessarily discrepant in the sense that both cannot be true. It is only necessary to admit that David’s absence at home had been long (and there is no exact chronological datum), that Saul had rarely seen him except in moments of madness, that Abner had been absent from court when David was there, and that the personal appearance of the latter had changed (suppositions which, taken singly or together, are not improbable), and Saul’s ignorance becomes natural, These old narratives, giving brief and partial views of occurrences, may well sometimes seem to contradict each other, and it is wise (as Nägelsbach hints) in view of the historical authority of the Heb. text, at least to suspend our judgment.—Tr.]

1 Samuel 17:55. We need not take the verbs here as Pluperf. (Then., Keil, &c.), since this narrative is to be regarded simply as an addition to the preceding. In their context 1 Samuel 17:55-56 belong after 1 Samuel 17:40 and form a supplement to the vivid description of David’s advance against Goliath. The words “against the Philistine” refer to the close of 1 Samuel 17:40. Saul’s question is to be understood not merely of David’s father and family, but also of his person. According to this Saul does not know him. The question and Abner’s answer must necessarily be taken in connection with the surprise and astonishment felt at David’s bold procedure. Saul’s question could not be answered till David’s return; it is therefore mentioned here, and connected with David’s appearance before Saul under Abner’s guidance.

1 Samuel 17:57-58. The concluding words of 1 Samuel 17:57 : “and the head,” &c., show that this statement is to be put between 1 Samuel 17:53 and 1 Samuel 17:54. According to this Abner’s leading David to Saul was occasioned by the latter’s question. David’s words in 1 Samuel 17:58 are not to be regarded as forming his whole answer; from 1 Samuel 17:1 we infer that he had a somewhat long conversation with Saul.

2. 1 Samuel 18:1-5. David’s friendship with Jonathan and permanent residence at Saul’s court as commander of the army. 1 Samuel 18:1. The consequence of this conversation was the formation of a friendship between David and Jonathan, as is indicated by the words: “when he had ceased speaking with Saul.” The word “knit” (נִקְשְׁרָה as in Genesis 44:30) denotes, under the figure of a chain, the firm union and inseparable unity of souls in friendship, expressing the thought that their inner lives of feeling work deeply into each other, and so each has perpetually fast hold of the other. Clericus: “In almost all languages friendship is considered as a union of souls bound together by the band of love.” Grotius: “An admirable description of friendship. So Aristotle (Nicom. IX. 8) has noted that friends are called one soul. The same thing is set forth by the Lat. concordia and the Greek ὁμονοἰα. Papinius says that souls are bound together.”—And Jonathan loved him as his own soul. To the conception of firmness is here added the idea of innerness of friendship, the complete identification of essence of two souls.19 (The Kethib has the rarer contracted suffix וֹ, the Qeri the commoner ־ֵהוּ. Ew. § 249 b).—David’s heroic courage, firm trust in God, and splendid feat of arms had won him Jonathan’s heart.20

1 Samuel 18:2. Not till after the narrative of this friendship follows the statement that Saul took David permanently to court: he took him, that is, into his service, and allowed him not to return to his father’s house, as he had done in 1 Samuel 17:15; the words presuppose that David had desired to return thither. That Saul virtually ordered David’s permanent stay with him immediately after their conversation (Keil) is not necessarily to be assumed. Rather from the sequence of the sentences it seems as if the narrator intended to connect the rise of the friendship of David and Jonathan with the friendly relation which Saul first assumed in his conversation with David, and then to set forth David’s permanent stay at court as a consequence of this friendship.

1 Samuel 18:3. Jonathan’s love for David (he loved him as his own soul) is the ground of this solemn and formal sealing of their friendship. The covenant indicates the mutualness of the love which they pledged one another. Grot.: “they mutually-promised perpetual friendship,” comp. 1 Samuel 20:3.

1 Samuel 18:4 is closely attached to 1 Samuel 18:3 in so far as here by the gift of the upper garment, the robe (מְעִיל) and the separate parts of the war-equipment to David, the conclusion of the covenant of friendship on Jonathan’s part is solemnly confirmed. Clericus supposes that the object of this gift was to enable the poorly-clad David to appear at court in seemly dress. But the mention of the several weapons, which together make a complete war-outfit, rather suggests that Jonathan wished to honor David as the military hero; and this manner of sealing their friendship was a proof that the two, as heroes, equally crowned by God with victory, could love one another, and that Jonathan was far from feeling envy and jealousy of David for his heroic deed. Jonathan’s here taking the initiative is in keeping with his position at court as king’s son in respect to the young shepherd. His clothing David with his own war-dress is sign that his hearty friendship sets aside the barrier which his rank and position would raise between them in the first instance on the common ground of the theocratic chivalry, as whose representatives they had come to love one another. [Philippson: The gift of one’s own garment, especially by a prince to a subject, is in the East still the highest mark of honor. So in “Esther” (1 Samuel 6:0) Mordecai is clothed in the king’s apparel.—Tr.]

1 Samuel 18:5 belongs to what goes before as the declaration of the honorable position which David (along with this relation to Jonathan) took at Saul’s court, as generally beloved in his office and calling. First, his position was a military one; for that the “went out” (which is to be taken separately, and not connected with the following)21 refers to war, and not to “general business” [Clericus] is plain not only from the following account which mentions not only military undertakings for Saul, but also from the statement of the position of General which he received in consequence of his success in what was entrusted to him, and from the account of the military equipment which Jonathan (1 Samuel 18:4) presented to him. In all, whereto Saul sent him, he was successful.—His warlike undertakings were fortunate and successful. The Verb (הַשְׂכִּיל) means “to act prudently, wisely” and then to be successful,” as in Joshua 1:7 [Eng. A. V. “prosper”]. It always refers to conduct, “to act wisely, and then to be prosperous in one’s undertakings.” Saul set him over the men of war, that is, made him a military officer. He was appointed commander of a body of soldiers.—David soon attained to high consideration and acceptance in the eyes of all the people, and also in the sight of Saul’s servants.—By this term we are to understand the officials at Saul’s court. David’s winning loveliness of character is here brought out more strongly by the statement that he did not excite the envy and jealousy of his fellow-officials at court. Clericus: “he pleased even the courtiers, who are commonly envious, especially of those who have newly found favor with the king.” This idea is involved in the “and also” [= and even]. [Philippson: “As he was afterwards promoted to be chiliarch, he must here have been made centurion.” But see on 1 Samuel 18:13.—Tr.]

3. 1 Samuel 18:6-16. Here is related how Saul’s deadly hatred against David springs from envy and jealousy. As the section 1 Samuel 17:54-58 lays the foundation for David’s permanent stay at the royal court—and as the section 1 Samuel 18:1-5, being the summary description of David’s personal relations to Saul’s family as Jonathan’s friend, and to the court-officials and the people as military commander, explains what is afterwards said of David’s relation to Jonathan and of his military career—so in this section, 1 Samuel 18:6-16, we have the cause of the deadly hate which Saul henceforth bore in his heart against David, there being preserved (a fact to be noted) in 1 Samuel 18:5 a significant silence as to Saul’s feeling towards him, only the friendly disposition of Jonathan and of the officials and people being mentioned. That no strict chronological advance is attempted in the narrative in 1 Samuel 17:55 sq. is clear from the above remarks. As in 1 Samuel 17:0. 1 Samuel 17:55 belongs as to its contents to 1 Samuel 17:40, and 1 Samuel 17:57 belongs next to 1 Samuel 17:54, so 1 Samuel 17:6 here is not connected in context and time immediately with 1 Samuel 17:5, but goes back to 1 Samuel 17:52-53. In 1 Samuel 17:1-4 is told what happened to David immediately after his victory over Goliath; he became Jonathan’s friend, and was permanently fixed at court. That was the immediate result of his exploit (which decided the issue of the war with the Philistines.) In 1 Samuel 18:5 we have a further consequence: Saul employs David in warlike enterprises against the Philistines, and gives him command of a body of troops. But, according to 1 Samuel 17:52-53, the war with the Philistines was not ended by the victory over Goliath; on the contrary, they were again several times defeated, and their camp was plundered by the victorious Israelites on their return from pursuit. That Saul in thus finishing the war employed David as a bold leader is clearly stated in 1 Samuel 18:5, wherewith is also summarily told how David in his new position won the favor of the people and also of Saul’s servants, while it is not said that Saul in appointing him to office bestowed his favor on him. The narration of 1 Samuel 18:6 now, going back to 1 Samuel 17:53, connects itself with the return of the people and of David from the concluded war, in order to point out how on this occasion Saul’s ill-will and hatred towards David arose, on which is founded the whole of the following narrative of the relation between David and Saul. The “as they came” refers to the return of the whole army from the happily ended war (comp. 1 Samuel 17:53); at the same time is mentioned David’s return with express reference to his victory over Goliath, which had determined the successful issue of the war, in order to bring into its proper historical connection the honor which then accrued to him. This return of David, therefore (along with the whole army), is not synchronous with his return to Saul in 1 Samuel 17:57 immediately after the killing of the Philistine, but occurred after the victory over the whole Philistine army was completed. Here began Saul’s envy and hatred against David. There is, therefore, no contradiction between the statement that Saul kept David by him and gave him a military command (1 Samuel 18:2; 1 Samuel 18:5), and the following statement (1 Samuel 18:6 sq.) that in consequence of the honor shown David he conceived a lasting hatred against him (1 Samuel 18:9).—We have the description of the festive reception given by the women from all the cities of Israel to the returning victorious army, Saul at its head. In the words: with song and dance the Art. [in Heb.] points to the usual employment of song and dance in such receptions. They met Saul with tabrets, with joyful outcry, and with triangles. Here שִּׂמְחָה [“joy”], standing between the two instruments of music, must denote, in distinction from the song of joy, the joyful cry which accompanied the beating of the tabrets. For dances accompanied by tabrets see Exodus 14:20.

1 Samuel 18:7. The women performed an antiphonal song; “they answered one another in turn” (Cleric.). The Partcp. (מְשַׂחֲקוֹת [Eng. A. V. “played”]) means perhaps alternate dancing, corresponding to the alternate song (Winer: Contredance s. v. Tanz), along with the choral dancing (מְחֹלוֹת). The Piel of שָׂחַק, “laugh,” properly = “sport, play,” e.g., of children on the street, Zec 8:5.22—The song: “Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands” (comp. 1 Samuel 21:12 and 1 Samuel 29:5)—a part of a folk-song, which shows the great consideration in the sight of the people which David had obtained by his victory over Goliath.

1 Samuel 18:8. Saul was very wroth that greater honor was paid to David than to him. And there is yet only the kingdom for him, that is, for him to obtain. In this outburst of wrath he expresses in a curt ejaculation the well-founded anticipation that the so highly honored David would receive the royal dignity in his place. Clericus: “especially since Samuel had more than once predicted that it would pass into another family.”

1 Samuel 18:9. From this point dated the evil, curious eye with which Saul henceforth looked on David.23 Clericus: “in these words we see envy and jealousy.” Luther: “And Saul looked sourly on David.” It is an express statement of the continuous bitterness of Saul against David from now on.

1 Samuel 18:10-11. Saul’s anger against David rises to madness and to murderous purpose. The evil spirit from God came upon Saul. Comp. 1 Samuel 16:14 : “וַיִּתְנַבֵּא [Eng. A. V. “prophesied;” Erdmann, “raved”], the influence of the evil spirit, analogous to the ecstatic condition of inspiration in which the good spirit from God put the prophets: he raved, raged. The old condition of internal disorder again came over Saul, now heightened by envy and jealousy against David. As in 1 Samuel 16:23, David seeks by playing on the harp to mitigate Saul’s rage. But as he was its object, the madness takes the form of an attempt on his life. The harp in David’s hand and the spear in Saul’s hand—taking the place of the sceptre, 1 Samuel 22:6—are here put in sharpest contrast to one another.—[Saul’s condition of mind is neither that of simple madness nor that of true prophecy. He is under the control of a power higher than himself; but it is an evil power. For the precise expression of this supernaturally-determined condition of mind and soul, in which the whole spiritual energy of the man moves freely, yet in a sphere into which it is supernaturally brought, becoming for the time one with the spirit, the Heb. has no other word than naba (נבא), and the Eng. no other word than prophecy. R. P. Smith (“Prophecy a Preparation for Christ,” II. 54 sq.) points out a difference between the Niphal (generally but not always used of true divine prophecy) and the Hithpael (generally but not always of false prophecy), and we may here render: “he acted the prophet” (so here Junius); but it is desirable to exhibit in the translation, if possible, the supernatural element. Whether the Eng. “prophesied” will bear the meaning “spoke like a prophet” or “raved supernaturally” is doubtful; but it is so used of false prophets in Eng. A. V. in 1 Kings 22:10 (Hithp.) and 12 (Niph.).—Tr.]

1 Samuel 18:11. (וַיָּטֶל, Hiph. of טּוּל, properly “to stretch out longitudinally,” comp. Psalms 37:24). As it is not said, that Saul actually threw the spear against the wall (as in 1 Samuel 19:10), the sense rather is: “he purposed to throw;” and we are to suppose a threatening movement of the arm.24David turned, withdrew before this threatening movement. Twice he did so; this supposes that Saul twice lifted his spear. This also proves that Saul only moved, did not throw the spear, as in 1 Samuel 19:10. Bunsen well observes: “If Saul actually threw the spear, we could not understand David’s twice retiring. Saul held the spear in his hand, and David stood so near him that he could save himself only by withdrawing.” This is therefore not the same thing as what is told in 1 Samuel 19:9-10, where Saul actually throws the spear, which pierces the wall. The Sept. has after its manner arbitrarily omitted this section 1 Samuel 18:9-11, because it wrongly assumed the identity of the two accounts.

1 Samuel 18:12 relates how Saul’s heart was divided between fierce envy and fear of David; the latter became an object of fear to him. The reason given for this is that the Lord was with David, and was departed from Saul. Through the honor accorded David for his God-given victory Saul became aware of what had already taken place, namely, that he was forsaken and rejected by the Lord.

1 Samuel 18:13. Enmity against David (born of envy and jealousy) and fear of him (as one specially blessed by God) led Saul to remove him from his presence.—He made him captain over a thousand. This means a different military position from that mentioned in 1 Samuel 18:5, “whether it denotes a higher position than the first, or the latter means an undefined promotion, as to which we can now hardly determine with certainty” (Keil).—He went out and in before the people is to be understood of David’s military undertakings.

1 Samuel 18:14. Here as before (1 Samuel 18:5) David is in everything prosperous. Whereby Saul’s fear (which had led him to remove David from his side) is only increased, he was afraid of him (1 Samuel 18:15); for he saw afresh that God was with David (1 Samuel 18:14), but was departed from him.

1 Samuel 18:16. The love of the whole people for him now grew still greater, his consideration rose still higher. This must needs have increased Saul’s fear, and along with it his envy and jealousy. So Saul’s condition of soul is portrayed in progressive development with psychological truthfulness. Of this nothing is said in 1 Samuel 18:5, not a word of Saul’s feeling towards David’s success. Here, therefore, in 1 Samuel 18:15-16, we have not the same situation (as if from a different source) as in 1 Samuel 18:5. The difference between them and the advance in the exhibition of Saul’s inner life and his attitude towards David is obvious.25

4. 1 Samuel 18:17-30. Saul’s attempt on David’s life in connection with his marriage with his daughter. In fulfilling his promise to give his daughter to the conqueror of Goliath (1 Samuel 17:25), Saul takes occasion to prepare the way for David’s death in battle with the Philistines by requiring him to inflict a heavy defeat on them, thus artfully hoping to get rid of him. Such a murderous purpose Saul doubtless had when, after the failure of his murderous attempt in the house, he gave David command over a thousand. A clear light is thus thrown on his new appointment here to a definitely determined military position.

1 Samuel 18:17. “My oldest daughter” (Heb. large, as in 1 Samuel 16:11 small = youngest). Saul’s words: only be valiant, etc., are not to be taken as a condition, for the condition of receiving Saul’s daughter to wife was the conquest of Goliath; but they contain an obligation which Saul lays on him, and which David is to accept in return for the honor of becoming Saul’s son-in-law. Such exhortation and expectation on Saul’s part would not seem strange to David, since in his continued wars against the Philistines Saul needed valiant heroes as leaders of his soldiers. It was also in itself perfectly proper for Saul to say to David: “Fight the battle or wars of the Lord;” for in thus designating Israel’s wars against the Philistines, he expresses the same idea which David expressed in the words (1 Samuel 17:36; 1 Samuel 17:47): “He has defied the ranks of the living God,” and “The battle is the Lord’s.” These wars were “the wars of Jehovah,” because Israel, whom the Philistines oppressed, was God’s chosen covenant-people, in which the kingdom of God was to take shape within the territory contested by the Philistines, in attacking whom, therefore, the Philistines were trying to make void God’s purpose of salvation. So must God needs oppose these enemies of His people and of the holy affairs of His kingdom. And this is the meaning of the title of that old collection of songs, Numbers 21:14 : “Book of the Wars of the Lord.” And as it was the war of God Himself, the combatants therein were necessarily sure of the Lord’s assistance.—But behind this proper language of Canaan was hid Saul’s cunning and wickedness towards David.—Saul thought: My hand shall not be on him, but the hand of the Philistines shall be on him.—This “he thought” shows the same disposition in Saul as the same expression [Eng. A. V. “said”] in 1 Samuel 18:11. There he had stretched out hand and spear; but the deed had not come to performance. Here Saul resolves that David shall not die by his hand; but guile shall lead him to the desired end. So deep-sunken is he morally and intellectually that he seeks to avoid only the outward completion of the evil deed with his own hand, separates between the criminal hand and the wicked heart, and besides covers his wickedness with the hypocritical tongue, which speaks zealously for the things of the Lord. Berl. Bib.: “The finer the words the greater the deceit. Further, he would rather see the Philistines triumph than David survive.”

1 Samuel 18:18. David’s artless simplicity and honest humility are here sharply contrasted with Saul’s artfulness and trickiness. As heretofore the struggle between Saul’s better and worse impulses and the progress of the latter has been set forth with admirable delicacy and clearness, so now, on the other hand, David’s disposition and character is most excellently exhibited by the simple narration of his conduct.—By the question: Who am I? David intimates the distance between his insignificant person as shepherd-lad and the high honor offered him. The question: מִי חַיַּי [Eng. A. V.: “what is my life?”] does not refer to David’s life; for if it mean his personal life, it involves a tautology with the preceding, and reference to his official life does not suit the connection, where the point is only of his person and family, apart from the fact that grammatically the personal interrogative pron. [so in the Eng.: “who is my life?”—Tr.] does not suit the noun “life.” Nor can it mean in general position in life; חַיִּים never means this. Keil, in defence of this view, says, that “מִי refers to the persons of the class of society to which David belonged,” in which he admits that it is not the neuter real [Germ, sachliche—Tr.] conception “condition of life,” but the fundamental meaning of the word “The living” that is here employed; “for מִי never refers to things, but always to persons” (Böttcher). The word means here (as חַיָּה in Psa 68:11; 2 Samuel 23:11; 2 Samuel 23:13) a troop, people, or, from the connection: “my folks, my family.” See Ew. § 179 b. To this is added: My father’s family.—In his own eyes David seems too insignificant in person, in family and the House of his father to be son-in-law to the king.26

1 Samuel 18:19. “In the time of giving,” that is, when she ought to have been given. Ew. § 237 a: “When the time is clear from the connection, a future event may be expressed by the Inf. with בְּ.” Comp. Deu 23:14; 2 Kings 2:2.—Saul did not keep his word; for some reason he gave Merab to Adriel, the Meholathite to wife, “which cannot surprise us, considering Saul’s capricious disposition in his advanced age” (Stähelin, Leben Davids, p. 11). A place, Abelmeholah, is mentioned in Judges 7:22, in Manasseh, west of the Jordan.—The section 1 Samuel 18:17-19 is arbitrarily omitted in the Sept. because the translators did not understand why Saul failed to keep his promise, and why his action was so contradictory or undecided.—One really does not see why the oscillating, self-contradictory Saul, governed by the momentary whims of his discordant soul, should not have been guilty of such breach of faith. Thenius’ confident assertion “that these verses contain nothing but a popular story made out of the fact related in 1 Samuel 18:20 in imitation of Jacob’s marriage with Leah and Rachel,” is wholly without ground. To such an imitation there is lacking agreement in the chief features of the two narratives.

1 Samuel 18:20-30. Michal becomes the wife of David, who issues victoriously out of the great dangers in battle with the Philistines, into which Saul had sent him to a certain death, as he hoped. That it is expressly said of Michal: She loved David, does not warrant the conclusion that Merab did not love him, and was therefore not given to him. The reason for this is not mentioned, simply because Saul’s procedure was arbitrary. Perhaps there was at this moment no war with the Philistines in which he might have looked for David’s destruction. It pleased Saul that Michal loved David. Between the transpiring of Michal’s love and Merab’s marriage we must suppose a space of time, during which Michal’s love was developed.

1 Samuel 18:21. Michal was to be a snare to David, that is, Saul would impose such conditions on him in the marriage as would secure his death: on her account or occasion the hand of the Philistines should be on him (comp. 1 Samuel 18:25):—בִּשְׁתַּיִם [Eng. A. V. in the one of the twain,” see “Text and Gram.”] is literally: in two [feminine]. Accordingly it is proposed to render (as Bunsen): David is to make a double marriage with Merab and Michal, as Jacob did; in this case (so Tremell.) 1 Samuel 18:19 is to be taken as Pluperfect:she had been given.” Similarly, S. Schmid, only he takes 1 Samuel 18:19 in this way, that Saul excused himself to David, and offered to restore Merab to him, she having been already married to another; but if he did not wish this, he should at least marry Michal. Or it is rendered: “Twice shalt thou sue for my alliance”—having failed in Merab’s case, thou shalt succeed in Michal’s (Cler.); or it is translated in duabus rebus gener meus eris hodie [in two things27 thou shalt be my son-in-law to-day] (Vulg.), or, “by the second thou shalt contract an alliance with me to-day” (S. Schmid in the 2d ed. of the Bib. Heb. of Ev. v. d. Hooght, Lips., 1740). But all these renderings are materially [that is, as to content; German, sachlich.—Tr.] and linguistically untenable. The difficulty lies in their taking the numeral as a cardinal number. But there are passages where it = the second time, as undoubtedly in Job 33:14, and Nehemiah 13:20. If now we connect the word with the following (according to the accents), it reads: “a second time wilt thou become my son-in-law,” that is, according to the explanation first given by Bunsen: “The first time by the betrothal to Merab (afterwards broken off), the second time by the actual marriage with Michal.” Bunsen remarks that this explanation is forced and grammatically hard, as to which (1) grammatically the “second time,” is justified by the above-cited passages, and (2) as to content or meaning this view is far less difficult and suspicious than that preferred by Bunsen, though it must be confessed to be open to the objection that the first marriage did not actually take place.—Keil’s explanation: “in a second way thou shalt be my son-in-law,” is unclear, and the rendering “second way” seems not grammatically sustained.—We escape all the difficulties of a connection with what follows if, with De Wette and Thenius, neglecting the accents (which cannot be finally decisive), we connect with the preceding and translate: “And Saul said to David the second time” (understanding the first time to be in 1 Samuel 18:17).—Thenius thinks that the words “And Saul said * * * * to-day” [Eng. A. V. “Saul said * * * * twain”] are an interpolation by the same hand as 1 Samuel 18:17-19, (1) because Saul would not have made the proposition first himself and then through the courtiers (1 Samuel 18:22); (2) because he certainly acted only through others, the better to conceal his shameful purpose, and (3) because, if Saul had spoken first directly to David, we should expect also a direct answer from David (as in 1 Samuel 18:18). But these three reasons seem insufficient to establish his view; for (1) it does not appear why Saul should not first make this proposition himself, when we recollect that David returned no answer, and he thought it necessary to employ the agency of the courtiers28; (2) in making the proposition himself he could the better conceal his purpose, as he had not performed his first promise to David, and might now seem to make it good by offering his second daughter; (3) David’s experience of deceit was sufficient to make him silent at first in respect to Saul’s offer. O. v. Gerlach here well says: “Saul proposed this matter to David; but the latter did not answer, as he knew Saul’s vacillation, and distrusted him; it therefore needed the persuasion of others to induce him to come into Saul’s views.”

1 Samuel 18:22 sq. In the fluent discourse of the courtiers we see (1) something of the flattering, conciliatory tone usual in such circles, and (2) Saul’s lively interest in the success of his plan to destroy David through Michal’s love. Saul’s servants were to speak with David “in secret,” that is, “as if they did it behind the king’s back” (Keil).—David’s answer (1 Samuel 18:23) is two-fold: (1) he affirms the great importance of such a step as marrying the king’s daughter—referring to the distance between him and the honor for which he was to strive, and probably also herein alluding to Saul’s former breach of faith in respect to Merab, which proceeded from contempt for his person; (2) he declares himself too poor to furnish a dowry suitable for a king’s daughter. As to the dowry, or “morning-gift,” see Genesis 34:12.

1 Samuel 18:25. In consequence of the courtiers’ report of David’s reasons for declining the marriage, Saul advances another step.29 To attain his end he dispenses with the usual dowry, and demands only a hundred foreskins of Philistines (Jos. Ant., vi. 10–27, 600 heads)! It is herein supposed that the Philistines were again attacking Saul. This appears also from the fact that David was in this way to show that he had killed a hundred Philistines, to avenge the king of his enemies. Thus Saul thought to put David out of the way by the hand of the Philistines.

1 Samuel 18:26. David accepts Saul’s proposition the more gladly as the demand was in keeping with his military calling, and he was to win Michal by a heroic achievement. And the days were not expired, that is, the time to the marriage, or the time set by Saul for the performance of the warlike deed, though Saul is not expressly said to have set any limit. Ewald explains that the time for the marriage with Merab was not yet expired [so Bib. Com.—Tr.]; but it is more natural to refer to the marriage with Michal.

1 Samuel 18:27. David marched to battle with his men, that is, with the thousand which had been assigned him (1 Samuel 18:13), not with a few valiant followers (as Ewald, Bunsen, and others hold, because with a large body there would have been no danger); we are to suppose that David attacked a large Philistine force, as is intimated in the words “he slew among the Philistines two hundred men,” which he could not have done with a small party. David doubly fulfills Saul’s demand by bringing two hundred foreskins. And they counted out the full number. The arbitrary method of the Sept. is seen in their reading “one hundred” from 1 Samuel 18:25 instead of “two hundred.” [Many modern critics, neglecting the spirit of the narrative, prefer the Sept. reading to the Heb., referring also to 2 S. 1 Samuel 3:14. Ignoring the enthusiasm and prowess of David, they insist on an arithmetical correctness in his slaughter, as if a youthful warrior on such an occasion would not rejoice in going beyond the mark. In 2 S. 1 Samuel 3:14 David properly mentions the price demanded by Saul; all beyond was not price, but free gift.—Tr.] 1 Samuel 18:28 sq. Here, similarly, the Sept. for “Michal, Saul’s daughter,” puts “all Israel.” Bunsen: “A completely unfounded change of the Heb. text,” taken from 1 Samuel 18:16. The issue of the hostile schemes set on foot against David is the opposite of what Saul intended. The narrative asserts not only that God was with David, but also that Saul knew it. Michal’s love to David, and Saul’s hate, which had grown into permanent enmity, are here sharply contrasted. “Saul was yet the more afraid” points back to 1 Samuel 18:12-15. Saul’s perception of the fact that David was under God’s special protection only increased the feeling that he himself was forsaken and rejected by God, who shielded David against his wicked designs.30

1 Samuel 18:30 stands in pragmatic connection with the following narrative of Saul’s conduct towards David, whose brilliant exploits against the Philistines and rising reputation still more inflamed the jealousy and hatred of Saul.


1. The history of sin in Saul’s inner life shows a steady and rapid progress in evil after it had gained footing and mastery in his heart. When a man once gives place to passion in his soul, he comes more and more into its power, and is at last completely ruled by it, and driven even more violently on from sin to sin. “He that doeth sin is the slave of sin.”—Jealousy, which, in a heart that has lost God’s love and honor as its centre, is born of selfishness (wanting all love, honor, joy for itself alone), has always for its companion envy of the successes, the honor and the good fortune of others. From envy come gradually hatred and enmity, and then, by hidden or by open ways, murder—“he who hateth his brother is a murderer.” Parallel to the example of Saul are those of Cain and Joseph’s brothers.

2. With the deeds which God the Lord performs in the history of his kingdom through chosen instruments, whom He has thereto prepared and enabled by the wise leadings of His grace, are often connected immediate consequences, which (like the consequences of David’s victory for him,) are of far-reaching importance for their further course in life, and provide them with broader and higher equipment of the inner and outer life for greater tasks which are assigned them for the kingdom of God. And the more willingly they thus enter the school of suffering and conflict, as David did, the more do they grow in humility, obedience, and childlike submission to God’s will, but the more also do they learn the truth of the word: God gives grace to the humble, He makes the upright to prosper. He who, like David, walks humbly and obediently in God’s ways, unmoved by the good fortune granted him, or by the trials and conflicts which often come upon him out of such good fortune through the sins of others, sees himself everywhere led by the Lord’s hand, and accompanied by His blessing.
3. True friendship in two souls must be rooted in a like attitude of the heart to a loving God, must exhibit itself in a mutual unselfish devotion of heart in love which is based on a common love to the Lord, and must approve itself in the school of suffering.
4. In the character-pictures which it presents to us (as is clear in the history of Saul and David), Holy Scripture never exhibits a pause in religious-moral life, but always holds up the mighty “Either * * * Or,” which man has to decide,—either forward on the way in which man walks at the hand of God with giving up of his own will and humble obedience to the will of God, or backwards with uncheckable step, when man puts God’s guidance from him, and, following his own will, suffers not God’s will to be accomplished in, on, and through himself.
[Maurice: (Prophets and Kings of the Old Test.): I have not tried to ascertain the point at which the moral guilt of Saul ends and his madness begins; the Bible does not hint at a settlement of that question. It is enough for us to know, and to tremble as we know, that the loss of all capacity for discerning between right and wrong may be the rightful and natural result of indulging any one hateful passion. On the other hand, it is comforting to believe that there are conditions of mind to which we must not and dare not impute moral delinquency; a still greater and deeper comfort to know that in these conditions, as well as those where there is most of wilful wrong, God may still be carrying on His great and wonderful work of “bringing souls out of darkness and the shadow of death, of breaking their bonds asunder.” There are glimpses of light in the later life of Saul which must be referred to the divine source.

Chandler (Life of David, p. 60): David, in the destruction of the Philistines, acted contrary to no rules of religion and morality; for the men he destroyed were the enemies of his country, in a state of actual war with his prince and people, and therefore lawful prize wherever he could lay hold of them.—Tr.]


1 Samuel 17:1 sq. J. Lange: To love good people, and that in such a way that one loves and esteems them for the good he sees in them, is a sign that one is good himself.—Schlier: True friendship is a gift of God, and God grants it to those who fear Him.—Berl. Bible: The connection which God establishes between truly converted men is almost indescribable. There is an incomprehensible something that out of two such souls makes a single one in God. No blood relationship or natural friendship comes up to this, because such a union proceeds from utter conformity. When men have experienced such a oneness of soul, they make with each other an everlasting covenant.—[1 Samuel 18:3. Taylor: A league of friendship, which for sincerity, constancy, and romantic pathos, is unrivalled in the annals of history, whether sacred or profane.—Tr.]

1 Samuel 17:4. Schmid: True and genuine love delights to show itself also by outward signs.—Cremer: They are true friends who help not only in prosperity but also in necessity.—F. W. Krummacher: These two loved each other truly in God, to whose service they had devoted themselves in holy hours of consecration, and their views, judgments, opinions and strivings were completely harmonious.—When such conditions concur, there grows up the sweet flower which the apostle, in distinction from universal love, calls “peculiar.” There blooms the friendship, which, rooting itself in similarity of sanctified natural disposition, and working an improvement of this on both sides, takes one of the highest places among earthly blessings. There knits itself the communion of heart, in consequence of which one man becomes to another, as it were, a living channel, through which there incessantly streams upon him a fulness of refreshing consolation and encouragement, enriching his inner life.

1 Samuel 17:5. Schlier: The Lord makes everything right and good! That God who so wonderfully led David, and even in the least and most trifling things trained him up for his calling, will also lead us by the hand step after step, and if we let ourselves be led, will certainly lead everything to a good result. Let us always hold to the old saying: As God will, hold I still!

1 Samuel 17:7. F. W. Krummacher: Let us always celebrate our heroes, perpetuate their memory in monuments, twine laurel crowns for all who have done good service for the common weal, or through their creative gifts have enlarged the domain of elevating and wholesome ideas. Only let us not forget, through whatever of great, noble and blessed is achieved by the sons of man, to be reminded first of the Father of spirits, from whom every good and perfect gift comes down to us, and let us in humility and modesty give to Him, before all others, the honor which is His due.

1 Samuel 17:8. Starke: Where prosperity comes, envy soon follows (Genesis 37:8, Daniel 6:1-5). [Henry: Now begin David’s troubles, and they not only tread on the heels of his triumphs, but take rise from them; such is the vanity of that in this world which seems greatest.—Scott: Lavish commendations of those whom we love and admire, in such a world as this, often prove a real injury.—Tr.]

1 Samuel 17:9. sq. F. W. Krummacher: Were it granted us in our own local circles everywhere to look behind the curtain, who knows how often we too should behold like scenes! Scenes of a wild outpouring of an injured feeling of honor, or of unrestrained vexation at losses, or of flaming and heart-consuming envy, so that we too could not avoid designating these paroxysms by the expression “demoniacal.”—Berl. Bible: Selfishness occasions a deadly jealousy, for it makes one grudge the favors which God grants to others.—Schlier: If everything had gone on so, if all the people had continually shouted to meet the bold hero, how easily might pride have taken possession of him, how easily might he have fallen from his humility, and become full of vanity and assumption. Therefore God the Lord took him into His own school, and such a school of trouble is indeed bitter, but it is good and wholesome, and he who learns in it first rightly becomes a man after God’s own heart.—F. W. Krummacher: Scarcely one trying condition of life can be thought of, in which David had not found himself at some time or other during his pilgrimage. Even for his own sake, that he might not be exalted above measure through the abundant favors vouchsafed unto him, he needed continual reminders of his dependence on Him who, on high and in the sanctuary, dwells with those who are of contrite and humble spirit. Besides, David was to become even for thousands of years a loved and comforting companion to the weary and oppressed of every sort, and for that reason, also, no cup of trouble must pass him by untasted.—[Scott: For every great and good work a man must expect to be envied by his neighbor; no distinction or preeminence can be so unexceptionably obtained, but it will expose the possessor to slander and malice, and perhaps to the most fatal consequences. But such trials are very useful to those who love God; they serve as a counterpoise to the honor put upon them, and check the growth of pride and attachment to the world; they exercise them to faith, patience, meekness, and communion with God; they give them a fair opportunity of exemplifying the amiable nature and tendency of true godliness, by acting with wisdom and propriety in the most difficult circumstances; they make way for increasing experience of the Lord’s faithfulness, in restraining their enemies, raising them up friends, and affording them His gracious protection; and they both prepare them for those stations in which they are to be employed, and open their way to them: for in due time modest merit will shine forth with double lustre.—Tr.]

1 Samuel 17:10. Cramer: When one opens the door of his heart to the devil by envy, pride, scorn, sour looks and rudeness, he is not far off, but soon enters in with his hellish forces (Genesis 37:8; Genesis 37:18 sq.). Wurt. Summ.: How unhappy is a man who has turned away from God, and yet will not acknowledge and confess his guilt, but still assumes that he is in the right! This makes him discontented with God, and grudging and hostile to others who are favored by God.

1 Samuel 17:11. Starke [from Bp. Hall]: It is well for the innocent that wicked men cannot keep their own counsel. [Henry: Compare David, with his harp in his hand, aiming to serve Saul, and Saul, with his javelin in his hand, aiming to slay David; and observe the sweetness and usefulness of God’s persecuted people, and the brutishness and barbarity of their persecutors.—Tr].

1 Samuel 17:12. Osiander: God turns away the blows of enemies, be that they are in vain and do no damage.—Starke: Those who have in God a gracious father and a protector are feared by others (Mark 6:20).

1 Samuel 17:13. S. Schmid: The evil which ungodly men threaten and do to the pious God knows how to change into something good (Genesis 1:20).

1 Samuel 17:15. Schmid: One can avenge himself on envious men in no better and nobler way, than when with God’s help, he behaves himself wisely, and seeks in prayer the increase of the divine blessing.

1 Samuel 17:16. Starke: When ungodly men think to lessen the honor and consideration of the pious, it is often so much the more increased.—Chrysostom (3 Homilies on David and Saul): But that holy man even after all this, continued caring for the other’s interests, and incurring perils to promote his safety, and taking place in the ranks in all battles, and preserving by his own perils the one who wished to slay him, and neither in words nor in deeds did he provoke that savage wild beast, but in all things yielded and was obedient.—Tr.].

1 Samuel 17:17. Friendlier face, worse rogue; therefore try the spirits (Psalms 28:3; Psalms 55:22 [21]). [Saul a hypocritical pretender, both to paternal affection (comp. 1 Samuel 18:20-21), and to pious devotion, “the Lord’s battles.”—Tr.]—Osiander: Hypocrites persuade themselves that they have done no evil if only they do not put their own hand to it, although they manage to do it through others.—Starke: A true Christian must also be a good soldier, and fight the Lord’s battles (2 Timothy 2:5; 2 Timothy 4:7).

1 Samuel 17:18. A pious man is even in prosperity humble of heart.—Berl. Bible: This humility of David may teach us much. He knew well that he was to be king, and that God had caused him to be anointed thereto; yet he never spoke of such a favor, but rather gives it to be understood how utterly nothing he is, and how unworthy he thought himself.

1 Samuel 17:20. Schlier: When God does not give us something which we have desired, we should be certain that our wish would not have been good for us, and should be not less certain that God has something better in store for us.

1 Samuel 17:22. Starke: One should not let himself be used for the purpose of causing others to fall.

1 Samuel 17:23. Berl. Bible: A truly humble man never seeks his own honor, even though opportunities should occur in which he might well do so.—Simplicity and uprightness put all the devices of evil subtlety to shame. And those who always go straight forward often catch those who wanted to catch them.

1 Samuel 17:29. Osiander: The greater injustice and violence any one does to innocent people, the more must he be afraid of them.

[Henry: Observe how God brought good to David out of Saul’s projects against him. 1. Saul gave him his daughter to be a snare to him, but that marriage made his succeeding Saul less invidious. 2. Saul thought by putting him upon dangerous service to have him taken off, but that very service increased his popularity and facilitated his coming to the crown. Thus God makes the wrath of man to praise Him, and serves His designs of kindness to His own people by it.—Tr.]

1 Samuel 17:1-2. F. W. Krummacher. The fruit which David personally gained from his triumph over Goliath was threefold: a joyful acquisition, a perilous honor, and a threatening displeasure.

[1 Samuel 17:12. Taylor. Three lessons from this chapter: (1) The evil of centering our thoughts and plans entirely on ourselves. This was the root of Saul’s misery. (2) The servant of God may expect to encounter adversity in an early stage of his career. (3) The wisest course in time of danger is to do faithfully his daily duty, and leave our case with God.—Tr.]

Chap. 18. Disselhoff: Pleasure and Burden, or, Temptation and Victory: (1) In the pleasure lies the temptation, (2) in the burden lies the power to overcome.

[1 Samuel 18:1-4. Jonathan, the man of generous soul. (1) Generous in admiring, (a) Not jealous, though his own military fame is eclipsed. (b) Fully appreciating the merit of a new and obscure man. (c) Admiring not only a brilliant exploit, but modest, graceful and devout words (David’s “speaking,” comp. 1Sa 17:37; 1 Samuel 17:45-47, and remember that he was a poet of rare genius). (2) Generous in proposing friendship, where he might so naturally have indulged jealousy (as his father did). Love at first sight, seeking permanent union. (Hall: “A wise soul hath piercing eyes, and hath quickly discovered the likeness of itself in another. * * * * That true correspondence that was both in their faith and valor, hath knit their hearts.”) (3) Generous in giving, what was not only valuable and suitable to his friend’s present wants, but honorable as being associated with himself.—Generosity, shown in mutual appreciation and mutual benefits, is the basis of sweet and lasting friendship—and in general, it is one of the noblest traits of human character.

1 Samuel 18:1-9. How David gained a friend and an enemy. (Hall: “David’s victory had a double issue, Jonathan’s love and Saul’s envy, which God so mixed that the one was a remedy of the other.”)

1 Samuel 18:5-30. David’s prudence. (1) Amid the perils of sudden prosperity. The shepherd-youth honored with the friendship of the prince, the plaudits of the multitude, military command, the prospect of entering the royal family—but he behaved wisely and prospered all the more. (Henry: “Those that climb fast have need of good heads and good hearts.” Hall: “Honor shows the man. * * * * He is out of the danger of folly, whom a speedy advancement leaveth wise.” Comp. Joseph and Daniel.) (2) Amid the plots of jealous rivals—Saul, the courtiers—but he avoids the javelin of rage, and foils the cunning of hypocrisy. (3) Amid provocations to wrath, by promises broken (1 Samuel 18:19), and fresh demands (25). The brilliant young warrior and poet as prudent as a sage statesman—for the Lord was with him (1 Samuel 18:12; 1 Samuel 18:14; 1 Samuel 18:28).

1 Samuel 18:17. The shrinking hand and the scheming heart.

1 Samuel 18:28-29. Growing prosperity, growing hate.—Tr.]


[1][1 Samuel 18:3. The Sing. pron. is due to the fact that “Jonathan” is the real subject in the foregoing clause.—Tr.]

[2][1 Samuel 18:5. The verb שָׂכַל means in Hiph. properly “to act prudently;” but there is sometimes connected with this the notion of success, as probably throughout this chapter. ו is to be supplied before the verb.—Tr.]

[3][1 Samuel 18:6. Margin of Eng. A. V. “Philistines,” and so the Arab.; the other VSS. have the Sing., which is to be preferred here, though the return at the end of the campaign is meant, because the slaying of Goliath was its most prominent event.—Tr.]

[4][1 Samuel 18:6. The Heb. is difficult. The Sept. has merely: “And the dancers came out to meet David,” etc., omitting the first clause perhaps to avoid the statement that David excited Saul’s jealousy on the day of his combat with Goliath, and yet was afterwards preferred by him to places of honor. This difficulty is removed if we suppose this verse to refer to the end of the campaign (Philippson).—Chald. has “to praise with dances,” Syr. renders the second word “drums.” Wellhausen proposes to substitute (after the Sept.) הַמְּחוֹלְלוֹת for הַנָּשִׁים. According to Ew., § 339 a we may translate: “for song and dance;” but this is difficult here on account of the Art. and the nature of the words, and it seems better to change the Art. ה into ל and render as in Vulg. and Eng. A. V., or with Thenius to insert ב, and render “song with dancing.”—The Kethib “to sing” (so Chald. and Syr.) is preferable in the latter case, the Qeri “for song” in the former.—Tr.]

[5][1 Samuel 18:8. These two clauses are omitted in the Sept., which has thus a noticeable simplicity and directness in its narrative, but loses much of the warmth and life of the Heb. To reject these clauses as “exaggerated” and “psychologically inaccurate” (Wellhausen) is obviously carrying subjective criticism too far. The historical authority is every way in favor of the Heb. text.—Tr.]

[6][1 Samuel 18:9. Keth. Partcp. of stem עון, Qeri of st. עין. Sept. omits 1 Samuel 18:9-12, as to which see remark on 1 Samuel 18:8. This passage may be omitted without injuring the sense; but it adds to the vividness of the narrative, agrees with 1 Samuel 16:14-23, and rests on the same authority as the other portions of the chapter.—Tr.]

[7][1 Samuel 18:10. Erdmann and Philippson: “raved,” and so Wordsworth and the Targum; the Syr., Arab. and Vulg. and most Eng. commentators (Patrick, Gill, Clarke, Bib. Com.) render “prophesy.” See the Exposition.—Tr.]

[8][1 Samuel 18:11. The Greek (Alex. MS.) and Chald. have “lifted,” as if from נָטַל, and this seems better (וַיִּטּל), since it does not appear that he actually cast the weapon (see 1 Samuel 19:10).—Tr.]

[9][1 Samuel 18:17. The passage 1 Samuel 18:17-19 is omitted in Sept. (Vat.), namely, the story of Merab, perhaps as apparently useless in advancing the narrative. The name Merab means “increase.” Comp. in Eng. the well-known “Increase Mather.”—Tr.]

[10][1 Samuel 18:18. Literally “who is my life?” which is explained by the following clause; but this clause is not therefore necessarily a marginal (unauthorized) addition. The Alex. Sept. has: “what is the life of my father’s family?” which is clear, but unsupported.—Tr.]

[11][1 Samuel 18:19. Some MSS. and VSS. have Azriel.—Tr.]

[12][1 Samuel 18:21. The Heb. text (בִּשְׁתַּיִם) seems to be supported by all the VSS. (the clause is omitted in Vat. Sept.). The translation here given (which is that of Thenius. Erdmann, Wordsworth, Bib. Com.) is the most satisfactory as to sense; but its correctness is open to doubt. Philippson renders: “with the second,” the older Eng. Comms. follow the Targ.: “in one of the two.” Theodotion has the ingenious rendering: ἐπὶ ταῖς δυσίν, and another Gr. VS.: ἐφ’ αιρέσει. The Arab. cuts the knot by translating: “I wish thee to be my son-in-law,” herein forsaking the Syr., which has “in both of them.” Some Jews held that David married both the daughters.—Tr.]

[13][1 Samuel 18:25. Some MSS. have כִּי אִם, which is not necessary, since כִּי alone may mean “but;” or it may be taken as=“for.”—Tr.]

[14][1 Samuel 18:26. This clause is omitted in Vat. Sept. See on 1 Samuel 18:8.—Tr.]

[15][1 Samuel 18:27. This number is sustained by all the VSS. except Vat. Sept., which has “one hundred,” probably to avoid an apparent contradiction. Here the presumption is not in favor of the smaller number (Wellhausen), but in favor of the harder reading. Wellh. refers to 2 Samuel 3:14, where the Heb. has 100, and the Syr. 200, which perhaps shows a disposition to exaggerate, but cannot be regarded as decisive against our text.—Tr.]

[16][1 Samuel 18:27. The Sing. is found in Sept., Aq and Theod., as well as in Vulg., Syr., Arab.—Tr.]

[17][1 Samuel 18:28. Sept.: “all Israel,” which is better suited to the context.—Tr.]

[18][1 Samuel 18:30. This verse is omitted in Sept. (Vat.).—Tr.]

[19][The German (obviously by oversight) has: “and he loved Jonathan as his soul,” and explains it as the expression of the formation of friendship on David’s part.—Tr.]

[20][Jonathan’s conduct no less exhibits his own lofty and generous nature (Bib. Com.).—Tr.]

[21][Erdmann translates (not so well): “And David went out; everywhere, whither Saul sent him, he was prudent (successful).” This is to avoid supplying “and” before “was prudent;” it seems better (with Chald., Syr.) to supply “and.” See “Text. and Gram.”—Tr.]

[22][And see Judges 16:25 for its use on festive occasions.—Tr.]

[23] עֹוֵן, “eyeing,” Denom. from עַיִן, “eye.”

[24][For a different pointing of the verb=“he lifted,” see “Text. and Gram.” Erdmann’s rendering is allowable, but rare.—Tr.]

[25][The separate mention of Israel and Judah in 1 Samuel 18:16 points to the independence and separateness of Judah even at that time (Bib. Com.), and perhaps also to a post-Solomonic date for the authorship of the book.—Tr.]

[26][On the text of this verse see “Text. and Gram.” Philippson explains: “My life offered in battle would be a poor gift,” which, however, the text will hardly bear.—Tr.]

[27][That is, by two deeds—killing Goliath and slaying the Philistines (1 Samuel 18:25.)—Tr.]

[28][That is, David’s silence as to Saul’s proposition explains why the latter had recourse to his courtiers.—Tr.]

[29]It is unnecessary to read, with Sept., Vulg., Chald., and others, כִּיֹאִם, instead of כִּי. Maurer: “Here, as often elsewhere, after a negative, כִי signifies “but,” or rather “for” in this sense: the king desires no dowry, but (for) he desires a hundred Philistine foreskins.”

[30] לֵרֹא contracted from יֵרֹא and prefix לְ—Ew. § 328 c. Olshausen, Gr., pp. 297, 530, regards it as a clerical error for לִירִא.

Bibliographical Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 18". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lcc/1-samuel-18.html. 1857-84.
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