Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

1 Samuel 18:6

It happened as they were coming, when David returned from killing the Philistine, that the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with joy and with musical instruments.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Armies;   Art;   Dancing;   Harp;   Joy;   Music;   Prudence;   Victories;   Women;   Thompson Chain Reference - Instruments, Chosen;   Music;   Musical Instruments;   Tabrets;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Armies of Israel, the;   Arts of the;   Music;   Woman;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Dancing;   Music;   War;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Dancing;   David;   Philistia, philistines;   Saul, king of israel;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Prayer;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Dance;   David;   Music, Instrumental;   Tabret;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Marriage;   Miriam;   Music;   Neginah;   Women;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Art and Aesthetics;   Dancing;   Hymn;   Music, Instruments, Dancing;   Samuel, Books of;   Tabret;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Judges (1);   Music and Musical Instruments;   Samuel, Books of;   Saul;   Tabret;   War;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Dance;   David;   Music;   Musical;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Music;   Musical Instruments of the Hebrews;   Timbrel, Tabret;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Triumphs;   War;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Company;   David;   Games;   Gesture;   Instruments of Music;   Joy;   Merab;   Music;   Samuel, Books of;   War;   Woman;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Dancing;   Music and Musical Instruments;   Timbrel;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

When David was returned - This verse connects well with the 54th verse of the preceding chapter; and carries on the narration without any break or interruption. See the notes on 1 Samuel 17:54.

The women came out - It was the principal business of certain women to celebrate victories, sing at funerals, etc.

With instruments of music - The original word (שלשים shalishim ) signifies instruments with three strings; and is, I think, properly translated by the Vulgate, cum sistris, "with sistrums." This instrument is well known as being used among the ancient Egyptians: it was made of brass, and had three, sometimes more, brass rods across; which, being loose in their holes, made a jingling noise when the instrument was shaken.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 18:6". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/1-samuel-18.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

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

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

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

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 18:6". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/1-samuel-18.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

SAUL'S JEALOUSY AROUSED BY THE SONG OF THE WOMEN

"As they were coming home, when David returned from slaying the Philistine, the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with timbrels, with songs of joy, and with instruments of music. And the women sang to one another as they made merry:

`Saul has slain his thousands,

And David his ten thousands.'

And Saul was very angry, and this saying displeased him; he said, "They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed thousands; and what more can he have but the kingdom"? And Saul eyed David from that day on."

We are well aware that some very able commentators take this paragraph as a record of what happened immediately after David slew Goliath; but it appears to this writer that there are substantial objections to that viewpoint. Not even the enthusiastic women could have referred to the victory over one man as his slaying his "ten thousands." The most likely occurrence of this celebration was at the end of the whole military campaign, the temporary end of the war.

"When David returned from the slaying of the Philistine" (1 Samuel 18:6). The ASV margin here notes that the plural "Philistines" is an alternate rendition, and we believe that to be correct. "The allusion here is not to the combat with Goliath but to one of the expeditions mentioned in 1 Samuel 18:5. The women would not have described the slaughter of one champion as the slaying of ten thousand, nor would there have been any contrast between David's act and the military enterprises of Saul."[3]

Keil also agreed that, "Saul took David into his service immediately after his defeat of Goliath, and before the war had been brought to an end; but the celebration of the victory in which the women excited Saul's jealousy did not take place until the return of the people and of the king at the close of the war."[4]

"And Saul eyed David from that day on" (1 Samuel 18:9). This means that from that day forward, Saul's jealous envy and hatred of David would never be diminished. Saul probably guessed, at this point of time, that David would be his successor. His Majesty resolved to do everything in his power to prevent that from happening.

Copyright Statement
Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 18:6". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/1-samuel-18.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And it came to pass, as they came,.... The armies of Israel, with their commanders at the head of them:

when David was returned from the slaughter of the Philistine; either from the slaughter of Goliath, with his head in his hand, going to Jerusalem, and Saul accompanying him; or rather from the slaughter of the Philistines at some other time, the singular being put for the plural; since, according to the order of the history, this seems to be done after David was brought to court, and had been made a captain, and had been sent out on military expeditions, and had been successful therein, and from one of which he now returned:

that the women came out of all the cities of Israel; through which they passed:

singing and dancing; as were usual after great victories obtained, and deliverances wrought, the female sex being generally greatly affected with such things; since when things go otherwise they suffer much, and their fears rise high in time of battle; and when victory goes on their side, it gives them great joy, and which they used to express in this way:

to meet King Saul; the commander-in-chief, with his other officers, and David among the rest:

with tabrets, with joy, and with instruments of music; with pipes or flutes, which they both blew with their mouths, and played on with their hands, and other musical instruments exciting joy; the last word is, by the Targum, rendered,"with cymbals;'and so the Septuagint version; it signifies a musical instrument of three cords, according to Kimchi; and others, as Ben Gersom, understand it of principal songs, in which things wonderful, excellent, and honourable, were spoken of: see Exodus 15:20. Such sort of women were among the Romans called Cymballatriae and TympanistriaeF20Vid. Pignorium de Servis, p. 166, 174. , who shook the cymbals, and beat upon tabrets and drums at times of rejoicing.

Copyright Statement
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 18:6". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/1-samuel-18.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And it came to pass as they came, when David was returned from the slaughter of the c Philistine, that the women came out of all cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet king Saul, with tabrets, with joy, and with instruments of musick.

(c) That is, Goliath.
Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 18:6". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/1-samuel-18.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

the women came out of all cities of Israel — in the homeward march from the pursuit of the Philistines. This is a characteristic trait of Oriental manners. On the return of friends long absent, and particularly on the return of a victorious army, bands of women and children issue from the towns and villages, to form a triumphal procession, to celebrate the victory, and, as they go along, to gratify the soldiers with dancing, instrumental music, and extempore songs, in honor of the generals who have earned the highest distinction by feats of gallantry. The Hebrew women, therefore, were merely paying the customary gratulations to David as the deliverer of their country, but they committed a great indiscretion by praising a subject at the expense of their sovereign.

Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 18:6". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/1-samuel-18.html. 1871-8.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

1 Samuel 18:6 And it came to pass as they came, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women came out of all cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet king Saul, with tabrets, with joy, and with instruments of musick.

Ver. 6. Women came ont.] Women share deeply in a common calamity by war; they usually are ravished, abused, slaved; they therefore greatly rejoiced, as there was reason, when the enemy was vanquished. See Exodus 15:20, 11:34

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 18:6". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/1-samuel-18.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

When David was returned from the slaughter of the Philistine; either, first, From some eminent victory obtained by him against the Philistines, though not particularly related, wherein also Saul might be present and concerned. Or rather, secondly, From the slaughter of Goliath, and the other Philistines with him. Against this it is objected, that this song was sung either after David was advanced and employed, as is related 1 Samuel 18:5, and therefore not immediately after that great victory; or, before he was so advanced; and then it would have raised Saul’s jealousy and envy, and consequently hindered David’s advancement. But it may be replied, that this song, though placed afterwards, was sung before David’s advancement, related 1 Samuel 18:5. And that this did not hinder David’s preferment, must be ascribed partly to Saul’s policy, who, though he had an eye upon David, and designed to crush him upon a fit occasion; yet saw it necessary for his own reputation, and the encouragement of other men’s valour, and for the satisfaction of Jonathan’s passionate desire, and the just and general expectation of the whole army and people, to give him some considerable preferment for the present; and principally to God’s providence overruling Saul, against his own inclination, and his mistaken interest.

Out of all cities of Israel, i.e. out of all the neighbouring cities, by or through which the victorious army marched.

Singing and dancing, according to the custom of those times and places; of which See Poole "Exodus 15:20", See Poole "Jude 11:34".

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 1 Samuel 18:6". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/1-samuel-18.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

6.All cities of Israel — All those near which the returning army passed.

Singing and dancing — According to the custom of the Hebrew women after great victories. Compare Exodus 15:20; Judges 11:34.

Instruments of music — Margin, three-stringed instruments. שׁלשׁים, as the name of a musical instrument, occurs here only, and signifies, literally, threes. The triangle is probably intended, of which we subjoin an engraving.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 18:6". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/1-samuel-18.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Philistine. Some explain this of some fresh achievement against that nation, (Malvenda; Worthington) but without reason. --- Dancing. Hebrew also playing on the flute, or on some such instrument of music. (Calmet) --- So Mary [Miriam] sung after the Israelites had crossed the Red Sea, Exodus xv. 20., 2 Kings i. 20., and Judges xi. 34.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 18:6". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/1-samuel-18.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Philistine. Authorized Version and Revised Version margin "Philistines". dancing. A great celebration. Twice referred to later (1 Samuel 21:11; 1 Samuel 29:5). Compare subscription of Psa 52, which is mahalath = the great dancing".

tabrets. Hebrew. toph = drums of various sizes.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 18:6". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/1-samuel-18.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And it came to pass as they came, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women came out of all cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet king Saul, with tabrets, with joy, and with instruments of musick.

The women came out of all cities of Israel - in the homeward march from the pursuit of the Philistines.

With instruments of music, [ uwbshaalishiym (Hebrew #7991); Septuagint, en kumbalois] - with cymbals. These were metallic instruments of percussion. They were in form somewhat like a cup, and on the outside of the hollow part was a strap, through which the player who held them struck one against the other with greater or less violence, as the music or the occasion called for (Psalms 150:5). In the open air their sound produced a martial effect. This is a characteristic trait of Oriental manners. On the return of friends long absent, and particularly on the return of a victorious army, bands of women and children issue from the towns and villages, to form a triumphal procession to celebrate the victory, and as they go along, gratify the soldiers with dancing, instrumental music, and extempore songs, in honour of the generals who have earned the highest distinction by feats of gallantry. They formed themselves into two choirs, which sung in alternate or responsive strophes. The chorus was:

"Saul has slain his thousands, And David his ten thousands."

(See the note at Exodus 15:20 : cf. Psalms 68:11-12.) The Hebrew women, therefore, were merely paying the customary congratulations to David as the deliverer of their country; but they committed a great indiscretion by praising a subject at the expense of their sovereign.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 18:6". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/1-samuel-18.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(6) When David was returned.—The triumphant return of the young soldier does not refer to the homecoming after the death of the giant, but to the close of the campaign which followed that event. Evidently a series of victories after the fall of the dreaded champion—perhaps spread over a very considerable period—had for a time restored the supremacy of Israel in Canaan. In this war, David, on whom after his great feat of arms the eyes of all the soldiery were fixed, established his character for bravery and skill.

Singing and dancing.—This was on some grand occasion—probably the final triumph at the end of the war. The Speaker’s Commentary, on the English rendering “singing and dancing,” remarks that “the Hebrew text is probably here corrupt, and suggests that for vau, ‘and,’ we ought to read beth, ‘with’ and that then the sense would be to sing ‘in the dance,’ or ‘with dancing.’ The action was for the women to dance to the sound of the timbrel, and to sing the Epinicium with strophe and antistrophe as they danced and played.” (Comp. Exodus 15:20-21; Judges 11:34.)

We know that music and song were originally closely connected with dancing. David, for instance, when a mighty king, on one great occasion in Jerusalem actually himself performed dances before all the people (2 Samuel 6:14; 2 Samuel 6:16). (See Note on Exodus 15:20.)

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 18:6". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/1-samuel-18.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And it came to pass as they came, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women came out of all cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet king Saul, with tabrets, with joy, and with instruments of musick.
Philistine
or, Philistines. the women.
Exodus 15:20; Judges 11:34; Psalms 68:25; Jeremiah 31:11-13
instruments of music
Heb. three stringed instruments. The original shalishim, is rendered by the Vulgate sistris. The sistrum was an ancient Egyptian instrument made of brass, with three, and sometimes more brass rods across; which, being loose in their holes, made a jingling noise when shaken.
Reciprocal: Genesis 14:17 - to;  Judges 21:21 - dance;  1 Samuel 29:5 - General2 Samuel 1:20 - Philistines;  Jeremiah 31:4 - again

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 18:6". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/1-samuel-18.html.