1 Samuel 17:1-7, 12-16, 24-27

1 Samuel 17:1-7, 12-16, 24-27
A Women’s Lectionary – Proper 14


Now the PhilistinesI gatheredII their armiesIII for battle;IV

Notes on verse 1a

I “Philistines” = Pelishti. From Pelesheth (Philistia); from palash (to mourn, wallow, maybe roll in). This is Philistines. Their name may mean “griever” or “burrower” or “weakener.” See https://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Philistine.html.
II “gathered” = asaph. This is to gather, assemble, or bring. It can also mean to take away, destroy, or remove.
III “armies” = machaneh. From chanah (to decline, bending down, or living in tents; can be camping to create a home or camping as a part of battle). This is an encampment, whether of people traveling together or soldiers. So, it can be a camp band, or company as well as an army of soldiers. Also can be used of other groups like animals, angels or stars.
IV “battle” = milchamah. From lacham (to eat or feed on; figuratively, to battle as a kind of consumption/destruction). This is battle, war, fighting, or one who fights (i.e. a warrior).

they were gathered at Socoh,V which belongs to Judah,VI and encampedVII betweenVIII Socoh

Notes on verse 1b

V “Socoh” = Sokoh. 8x in OT. From the same as sok (lair, thicket, den, or hiding place; a den or pavilion as made of intertwined boughs); from suk (to make a hedge, entwine; to enclose in order to hold back or protect). This is Socoh or Soco, a place whose name means “hedge”, “thicket,” “thorn,” or “fence.” See https://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Socoh.html
VI “Judah” = Yehudah. Probably from yadah (to throw one’s hands into the air in a gesture of praise); from yad (hand). This is Judah, meaning “praised.”
VII “encamped” = chanah. Related to “armies” in v1. See note III above.
VIII “between” = bayin. From bin (to discern, consider, attend to; distinguishing things in one’s mind or, more generally, to understand). This is among, between, interval.

andIX Azekah,X in Ephes-dammim.XI 

Notes on verse 1c

IX “and” = bayin. Same as “between” in v1. See note VIII above.
X “Azekah” = Azeqah. 7x in OT. From azaq (to dig around, to put a fence around). This is Azekah, a place whose name means “tilled.”
XI “Ephes-dammim” = Ephes Dammim. 1x in OT. From ephes (a ceasing, nothing, no one, worthless, end of the earth); {from aphes (to finish, fail, stop, come to nothing, disappear)} + dam (blood, bloodshed, bloodguilt, lifeblood, and death; used for people and animals; often blood from a wound or the blood of the innocent; figuratively, violence or wine; closely tied to life and death); {from damam (to cease, be or become mute, silent, still, cut off, hold peace, be astonished, or die)}. This is Ephes-dammim, a place whose name means “the two extremities” or “boundary of blood drops.”

SaulXII and the IsraelitesXIII gathered and encamped in the valleyXIV

Notes on verse 2a

XII “Saul” = Shaul. From shaal (to ask, inquire, beg, borrow, desire, request; can also mean demand). This is Saul or Shaul, meaning “asked of the Lord.”
XIII “Israelites” = ish + Yisrael. Literally, “men of Israel.” Ish is perhaps from enosh (human, humankind, mortal); from anash (to be weak, sick, or frail). This is man, husband, another, or humankind. Yisrael is from sarah (to persist, exert oneself, contend, persevere, wrestle, prevail) + el (God or god). This is Israel, meaning God strives or one who strives with God; new name for Jacob and for his offspring. This refers to the people and to the land.
XIV “valley” = emeq. From amoq (to be deep in a literal or figurative sense; profound). This is Vale or valley – frequently part of place names.

of ElahXV and formedXVI ranksXVII againstXVIII the Philistines. 

Notes on verse 2b

XV “Elah” = Elah. 16x in OT. From elah (oak or terebinth; or some other kind of tree that is strong); from ayil (terebinth, oak); from the same as ulam (porch, hall); from the same as ul (mighty, strength, body, belly; root may mean to twist and that implies strength and power). This is Elah, a personal and place name that means “terebinth” or “oak.”
XVI “formed” = arak. This is to arrange by setting in a row. It can also mean to set a battle, estimate, put in order, or compare.
XVII “ranks” = milchamah. Same as “battle” in v1. See note IV above.
XVIII “against” = qara. This is to meet, befall, happen upon. It can be to encounter by chance or for aggression.

The Philistines stoodXIX on the mountainXX on the one side, and Israel stood on the mountain on the other side, with a valleyXXI between them. And there came outXXII from the campXXIII of the Philistines a championXXIV

Notes on verses 3-4a

XIX “stood” = amad. This is to stand up in a literal or figurative sense. So it can be establish, continue, endure, take a stand, act, be a servant, stand still, remain, stand against an enemy.
XX “mountain” = har. From harar (hill or mountain). This is mountain, hill, hilly region.
XXI “valley” = gay. Perhaps from the same as gevah (pride, confidence); from gevah (the back or body); from gey (the back, among); from ga’ah (to grow up, rise, triumph, be majestic). This is valley or gorge that has high walls. It is, perhaps, a narrow valley, but not a winter-torrent.
XXII “came out” = yatsa. This is to go or come out, bring forth, appear. It is to go out in a literal or figurative sense.
XXIII “camp” = machaneh. Same as “armies” in v1. See note III above.
XXIV “champion” = ish + benayim. Literally, “a man of champions.” Ish is the same as “Israelites” in v2. See note XIII above. Benayim is related to “between” in v1. 2x in OT. From bayin (see note VIII above). This is champion or, more specifically, the space that exists between one army and another (the place where a champion would go).

namedXXV Goliath,XXVI of Gath,XXVII

Notes on verse 4b

XXV “named” = shem. May be from sum (to put, place, set). This is name, fame, renown. A name was thought to indicate something essential about a person – something about their individuality. So, this word can also mean honor, authority, or character.
XXVI “Goliath” = Golyath. 6x in OT. From galah (to remove, bring, carry, lead, appear; to strip someone or something bare in a negative sense; captives were typically stripped before being sent into exile; figuratively, in a positive sense, to reveal, disclose, discover). This is Goliath, a name meaning “exposer,” “conspicuous,” or “exile.” See https://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Goliath.html
XXVII “Gath” = Gath. From the same as gath (wine press); {perhaps from nagan (to strike a stringed instrument, to pluck or play it)}. This is Gath, a Philistine city whose name means “wine press.” It shares a root with “Gethsemane.”

whose heightXXVIII was fourXXIX cubitsXXX and a span.XXXI 

Notes on verse 4c

XXVIII “height” = gobah. 17x in OT. From gabah (to be tall, high, exalted, proud, haughty). This is height, whether literal like elevation and a raised platform or figurative in pride, dignity, grandeur, or excellency. It can also have a negative sense of arrogance or haughtiness.
XXIX “four” = shesh. {Some manuscripts say six instead of four.} This is six. Figuratively, it can be a surplus since it is one more than the number of fingers on the hand.
XXX “cubits” = ammah. From the same as em (mother). This is a cubit, post, threshold, pivot. It is mother as the basic measure (the length of the forearm). It is also mother as the which bonds an entryway i.e. the base of the door.
XXXI “span” = zeret. 7x in OT. Perhaps from zarah (to scatter or toss around; to disperse, cast away, scrutinize). This is the distance that you get when you spread your fingers, which is to say, a span.

He had a helmetXXXII of bronzeXXXIII on his head,XXXIV

Notes on verse 5a

XXXII “helmet” = koba. 6x in OT. It comes from a root that may refer to heigh or being curved. So, this is a helmet.
XXXIII “bronze” = nechosheth. Perhaps from nechushah (copper, bronze, brass – something made from this metal like a coin or fetter; something that is considered base in contrast to gold or silver.; from nachush (made of bronze or brass, coppery; figuratively, hard); from nachash (to divine, interpret omens, learn from experience, observe; to hiss). This is bronze, copper, steel, brass or something made from copper. So, it could be a coin or chains. It can also figuratively mean something considered lesser in contrast to gold or silver.
XXXIV “head” = rosh. This may come a word that means to shake. It is the head, captain, or chief. It can also be excellent or the forefront. It can be first in position or in statue or in time (i.e. the beginning).

and he was armedXXXV with a coatXXXVI of mail;XXXVII the weightXXXVIII of the coat was fiveXXXIX thousandXL shekelsXLI of bronze. 

Notes on verse 5b

XXXV “armed” = labash. This is to wrap around, which implies clothing oneself or someone else. This is wrapping around in a literal or figurative way.
XXXVI “coat” = shiryon. 9x in OT. Perhaps from sharah (to let free, direct). This is armor, a breastplate, or harness.
XXXVII “mail” = qasqeseth. 8x in OT. This is scale, like fish scales. It was also used to refer to jointed mail armor as a comparison to fish scales.
XXXVIII “weight” = mishqal. From shaqal (to weigh, spend, trade). This is to weigh, or a unit of weight. It shares a root with the word “shekel.”
XXXIX “five” = chamesh. This is five or fifth.
XL “thousand” = eleph. Perhaps from the same as eleph (herd, cattle); from alaph (to learn, speak, associate with). This is thousand.
XLI “shekels” = sheqel. Related to “weight” in v5. From shaqal se note XXXVIII above). This is shekel or sheqel. It is a unit of weight, generally used in trade.

He had greavesXLII of bronze on his legsXLIII and a javelinXLIV of bronze slung between his shoulders.XLV 

Notes on verse 6

XLII “greaves” = mitschah. 1x in OT. From the same as metsach (forehead, brow; its root refers to being easily seen; figuratively, impudent). This is greaves, a piece of armor worn over the shins.
XLIII “legs” = regel. This is foot, endurance, or journey. It is a foot as the means of walking and so it implies a step or a greater journey. It can be used euphemistically for private parts.
XLIV “javelin” = kidon. 9x in OT. Perhaps from the same as kiyd (bad luck, decay, calamity). This is something that you use to strike a target. So, it can be a dart, spear, lance, or shield.
XLV “shoulders” = katheph. Root may mean to clothe. This is shoulder, side, corner.

The shaftXLVI of his spearXLVII was like a weaver’sXLVIII beam,XLIX

Notes on verse 7a

XLVI “shaft” = chets. From chatsats (to divide, chop, pierce, distribute, shoot an arrow, an archer). This is an arrow or archer, shaft, staff. Properly, it is someone or something that pierces, such as an arrow. It can imply a wound. Used figuratively of God’s thunder bolt.
XLVII “spear” = chanith. Related to “armies” and “encamped” in v1. From chanah (see note III above). This is a spear or lance as a weapon that is thrust in the same way one pitches a tent.
XLVIII “weaver’s” = arag. 13x in OT. This is to weave or plait. It can also refer to someone who weaves.
XLIX “beam” = manor. 4x in OT. This is a yoke that is used to plow or the beam used in a weaver’s loom. Each time, this word is used in the Old Testament as a comparison to the shaft of a spear.

and his spear’s headL weighed sixLI hundredLII shekels of iron,LIII

Notes on verse 7b

L “head” = lehabah. 19x in OT. From lahab (flame, flashing, bright; figuratively, a blade or the point of a spear). This is a flame, blazing, head of a spear.
LI “six” = shesh. Same as “four” in v4. See note XXIX above.
LII “hundred” = meah. This is hundred or some number times one hundred (i.e. hundredfold or the base of two hundred, three hundred, etc.).
LIII “iron” = barzel. From the same as Birzoth (a name meaning holes). Root may mean to pierce. This is iron as something used as a cutting implement. It can also specifically mean ax head.

and his shield-bearerLIV wentLV beforeLVI him.

Notes on verse 7c

LIV “shield-bearer” = nasa + tsinnah. Nasa is to lift in a broad sense, literally and figuratively. So it could be to carry, take, or arise. It could also be bring forth, advance, accept. Tsinnah is from tsen (root may mean to be prickly; thorn, barb, cactus hedge). This is a hook or barb. It can also be a buckler, shield, target. Figuratively, it can refer to piercing cold.
LV “went” = halak. This is go, come, walk. It is walk literally and figuratively and includes people and animals. It can be used figuratively for one’s moral life – how we walk according to God’s way or against it. It can also refer to the walk of life as in the course one’s life takes, the choices we make, etc.
LVI “before” = paneh. From panah (to turn, face, appear). This is face in a literal or figurative sense. It could be face, presence, anger, respect. It can also be used of God to indicate divine favor or presence.

12 Now DavidLVII was the sonLVIII of an EphrathiteLIX

Notes on verse 12a

LVII “David” = David. From the same as dod (beloved, love, uncle); the root may mean to boil, which is used figuratively to describe love. So, this implies someone you love such as a friend, a lover, or a close family member like an uncle. David’s name likely means something like “beloved one.”
LVIII “son” = ben. From banah (to build or obtain children). This is son, age, child. It is son in a literal or figurative sense.
LIX “Ephrathite” = ish + Ephrathi. Literally, “a man, an Ephrathite.” Ish is the same as “Israelites” in v2. See note XIII above. Ephrathi is 5x in OT. From the same as apher (covering, ashes, bandage); {from the same as epher (ashes or dust – properly something strewn)} OR from ephrath (Ephrath or Ephrathah; a female name and the name of several places, including Bethlehem; may mean “fruitfulness,” “exhausted,” “worthless,” or “fruitful”); {from parah (to bear fruit, grow, be fruitful, increase; bearing fruit in a literal or figurative sense)}. This is Ephraimite or Ephrathite, someone in the lineage of Ephraim. See https://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Ephrath.html

of BethlehemLX in Judah named Jesse,LXI who had eightLXII sons.

Notes on verse 12b

LX “Bethlehem” = Beth lechem. Related to “son” in v12 & “battle” in v1. From bayit (house, court, family, palace, temple); {probably from banah (see note LVIII above)} + lechem (bread, food, loaf; food for people or for animals); {from lacham (see note IV above)}. This is Bethlehem, meaning “house of bread.”
LXI “Jesse” = Yishay. Perhaps from ish (man); {perhaps from enosh (human, humankind, mortal); from anash (to be weak, sick, or frail)} OR from the same as yesh (being, existence, substance). This is Jesse, a name which means “my husband” or “the Lord exists.” See https://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Jesse.html
LXII “eight” = shemoneh. Perhaps from shamen (to shine, which implies being oily, growing fat); from shaman (to grow fat, shine, be oily). This is eight or eighth. It can refer to abundance as being more than 7, the number of sacred fullness.

In the daysLXIII of Saul the manLXIV was already oldLXV and advancedLXVII in years.LXVII 

Notes on verse 12c

LXIII “days” = yom. Root may mean being hot. This is the day in a literal or figurative sense. It can also mean birth, age, daylight, continually or other references to time.
LXIV “man” = ish. Same as “Israelites” in v2. See note XIII above.
LXV “was…old” = zaqen. From the same as zaqan (beard or chin – the beard represents old age). This is to be old or grow old.
LXVI “advanced” = bo. This is to enter, come in, advance, fulfill, bring offerings, enter to worship, attack. It can also have a sexual connotation.
LXVII {untranslated} = ish. Same as “Israelites” in v2. See note XIII above.

13 The threeLXVIII eldestLXIX sons of Jesse had followedLXX Saul to the battle; the names of his three sons who went to the battle were EliabLXXI the firstborn,LXXII

Notes on verse 13a

LXVIII “three” = shalosh. This is three, fork, three times.
LXIX “eldest” = gadol. From gadal (to grow up, become great, become wealthy – to advance. The root meaning may be to twist in the sense of the process of growing). This is great, high, bigger, noble, old, marvelous. It can also refer to someone who is powerful or distinguished.
LXX “followed” = halak + achar. Halak is the same as “went” in v7. See note LV above. Achar is from achar (to remain behind, linger, continue, be behind, or delay; can also imply procrastination). This is after or the last part, following.
LXXI “Eliab” = Eliab. Related to “Israelites” in v2. From el (see note XIII above) + ab (father, chief, ancestor; father in a literal or figurative sense). This is Eliab, meaning “God is father” or “God of his father.”
LXXII “firstborn” = bekor. From bakar (to bear fruit, be firstborn, firstling, that which opens the womb, give the birthright to). This is firstborn or chief.

and next toLXXIII him Abinadab,LXXIV and the thirdLXXV Shammah.LXXVI 

Notes on verse 13b

LXXIII “next to” = mishneh. From shanah (to fold, repeat, double, alter, or disguise). This is double, second, next, duplicate. It can also be second in rank or age.
LXXIV “Abinadab” = Abinadab. Related to “Eliab” in v13. 12x in OT. From ab (fsee note LXXI above) + nadab (to offer voluntarily, incite, impel; to volunteer to be a soldier or offer freely). This is Abinadab, meaning “my father is noble” or “father of generosity,” which is to say very generous.
LXXV “third” = shelishi. Related to “three” in v13. From the same as shalosh (see note LXVIII above). This is third.
LXXVI “Shammah” = Shammah. 7x in OT. From the same as shammah (desolation, horror, dismay, waste); from shamem (to be appalled, astonished; to stun or devastate, be destitute). This is Shammah. It means “appalling desolation” or “waste.” See https://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Shammah.html

14 David was the youngest;LXXVII the three eldest followed Saul, 15 but David went back and forthLXXVIII from Saul to feedLXXIX his father’sLXXX sheepLXXXI at Bethlehem. 

Notes on verses 14-15

LXXVII “youngest” = qatan. From quwt (grieved, cut off, to detest). This is least, small, young, little one. It is literally smaller whether in amount or size. Figuratively it is smaller in the sense of younger or less important.
LXXVIII “back and forth” = shub. To turn back, return, turn away – literally or figuratively. Doesn’t necessarily imply going back to where you started from. This is also the root verb for the Hebrew word for repentance “teshubah.”
LXXIX “feed” = ra’ah. This is to tend a flock, pasture, or graze. It can mean to rule or to associate with someone. Figuratively, it can be ruler or teacher.
LXXX “father’s” = ab. Related to “Eliab” and “Abinadab” in v13. See note LXXI above.
LXXXI “sheep” = tson. This is a flock of sheep and goats.

16 For fortyLXXXII days the Philistine came forwardLXXXIII and took his stand,LXXXIV morningLXXXV and evening.LXXXVI

Notes on verse 16

LXXXII “forty” = arbaim. From the same as arba (four); from raba (to make square or be four-sided); perhaps from raba (to lie down flat; can be to lie for mating). This is forty.
LXXXIII “came forward” = nagash. This is to draw, bring, or come near. It is approaching for any reason – as an attack on an enemy, in order to worship, to make an argument. It can also be used as a euphemism for sex.
LXXXIV “took…stand” = yatsab. This is to set oneself, take a stand, remain, continue, to station or set something in place.
LXXXV “morning” = shakam. This is leaning one’s shoulder into a burden or load, whether a person or an animal. Thus, it meant starting or rising early.
LXXXVI “evening” = arab. 3x in OT. From ereb (night, twilight, dusk). This is evening or eventide. It is to grow dark or dusky.

24 AllLXXXVII the Israelites, when they sawLXXXVIII the man, fledLXXXIX fromXC him and were very muchXCI afraid.XCII 

Notes on verse 24

LXXXVII “all” = kol. From kalal (to complete). This is all or every.
LXXXVIII “saw” = raah. This is to see in a literal or figurative sense so stare, advise, think, view.
LXXXIX “fled” = nus. This is to flee, vanish away, hide, escape, be displayed.
XC “from” = paneh. Same as “before” in v7. See note LVI above.
XCI “very much” = meod. Perhaps from the same as uwd (firebrand, a poker). This is very, greatly, exceedingly. It can also mean vehemence, force, abundance.
XCII “were…afraid” = yare. This is to fear, be afraid, dreadful. It can also refer to fearful reverence – to fear in a moral sense is to say to revere, respect.

25 The Israelites said, “Have you seen this man who has come up?XCIII Surely he has come up to defyXCIV Israel. The kingXCV will greatlyXCVI enrichXCVII theXCVIII man

Notes on verse 25a

XCIII “come up” = alah. This is to go up, approach, ascend, be high, be a priority; to arise in a literal or figurative sense.
XCIV “defy” = charaph. This is to expose and so figuratively to reproach, defame, carp at, defy. It can also mean spend the winter or betroth.
XCV “king” = melek. From malak (to be or become king or queen, to rise to the throne, to be crowned; by implication, to take counsel). This is king or royal.
XCVI “greatly” = gadol. Same as “eldest” in v13. See note LXIX above.
XCVII “enrich” = ashar. 17x in OT. This is to enrich, become rich, gain wealth, or otherwise accumulate.
XCVIII {untranslated} = osher. Related to “enrich” in v25. From ashar (see note XCVI above). This is fortune or wealth.

who killsXCIX him and will giveC him his daughterCI and makeCII his familyCIII freeCIV in Israel.” 

Notes on verse 25b

XCIX “kills” = nakah. This is to hit whether lightly or severely. It can be used in a literal or figurative sense. So, this could be beat, punish, give wounds, kill, or slaughter.
C “give” = natan. This is to give, put, set, offer. It is to give literally or figuratively.
CI “daughter” = bat. Related to “son” and “Bethlehem” in v12. From ben (see note LVIII above). This is daughter in a literal or figurative sense.
CII “make” = asah. This is to make, do, act, appoint, become in many senses.
CIII “family” = bayit + ab. Literally, “his father’s house.” Bayit is related to “son” and “Bethlehem” in v12 & “daughter” in v25. Probably from banah (see note LVIII above). This is house, court, family, palace, temple. Ab is the same as “father’s” in v15. See note LXXX above.
CIV “free” = chophshi. 17x in OT. From chaphash (to be free or loose; figuratively used for freeing slaves). This is free, liberty, or a free person. It can mean exempt from bondage, taxation, or worry.

26 David said to the menCV who stood by him, “What shall be doneCVI for the man who kills this Philistine and takes awayCVII the reproachCVIII from Israel? For who is this uncircumcisedCIX Philistine

Notes on verse 26a

CV “men” = enosh. Related to “Israelites” in v2. See note XIII above.
CVI “done” = asah. Same as “make” in v25. See note CII above.
CVII “takes away” = sur. This is to turn aside in a literal or figurative sense – to depart, decline, rebel, remove, or withdraw.
CVIII “reproach” = cherpah. Related to “defy” in v25. From charaph (see note XCIV above). This is reproach, rebuke, shame, or disgrace. It can also refer to genitals.
CIX “uncircumcised” = arel. From arel (to strip or expose, restrain; to remove in a literal or figurative sense). This is uncircumcised, unskilled, exposed, forbidden.

that he should defy the armiesCX of the livingCXI God?”CXII 

27 The peopleCXIII answered him in the same way,CXIV “So shall it be done for the man who kills him.”

Notes on verses 26b-27

CX “armies” = maarakah. Related to “formed” in v2. 19x in OT. From arak (see note XVI above). This is a row or rank. More broadly, it can refer to a formation such as used in a military setting or any other ordered arrangement.
CXI “living” = chay. From chayah (to live or keep alive literally or figuratively). This is alive, living, lifetime. It can also be used to describe someone’s age. It can refer to animals, plants, water, or a company or congregation of people. It is life in a very broad sense.
CXII “God” = Elohim. Related to “Israelites” in v2 & “Eliab” in v13. See note XIII above.
CXIII “people” = am. From amam (to darken, hide, associate; creating shadows by huddling together). This is people or nation. It can be used specifically for a tribe, collectively of troops or armies, or figuratively to refer to a flock of animals.
CXIV “way” = dabar. From dabar (to speak, declare, discuss). This is speech, a word, a matter, an affair, charge, command, message, promise, purpose, report, request. It is a word, which implies things that are spoken of in a wide sense.

Image credit: “David and Goliath” by Osmar Schindler, 1888.

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