1 Samuel 17:55-18:9

1 Samuel 17:55-18:9
A Women’s Lectionary – Proper 15


17:55 When SaulI sawII DavidIII go outIV

Notes on verse 17:55a

I “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.”
II “saw” = raah. This is to see in a literal or figurative sense so stare, advise, think, view.
III “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.”
IV “go out” = yatsa. This is to go or come out, bring forth, appear. It is to go out in a literal or figurative sense.

againstV the Philistine,VI he said to Abner,VII

Notes on verse 17:55b

V “against” = qara. This is to meet, befall, happen upon. It can be to encounter by chance or for aggression.
VI “Philistine” = 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.
VII “Abner” = Abner. From ab (father in a literal or figurative sense – grandfather, chief, ancestor) + ner (properly, to glisten; a lamp, light, burner, candle; light literal or figurative). This is Abner, a name meaning “my father is a lamp,” “father of light,” “enlightening.”

the commanderVIII of the army,IX “Abner, whose sonX is this young man?”XI

Notes on verse 17:55c

VIII “commander” = sar. This is chief, leader, ruler, lord, official, governor, prince, military leader. It refers to someone at the top of a rank or class.
IX “army” = tsaba. From tsaba (to wage war, serve, assemble, fight, perform, muster, wait on). This is a large group of persons (used figuratively for a group of things). It implies a campaign literally as with army, war, warfare, battle, company, soldiers. Can also be used figuratively for hardship or for worship.
X “son” = ben. From banah (to build or obtain children). This is son, age, child. It is son in a literal or figurative sense.
XI “young man” = naar. May be from na’ar (to shake, toss up and down, tumble around). This is a child or a servant. It is a child in their active years so they could be aged anywhere from infancy to adolescence.

Abner said, “As your soulXII lives,XIII O king,XIV I do not know.”XV 

Notes on verse 17:55d

XII “soul” = nephesh. Related to naphash (to refresh or be refreshed). This is soul, self, person, emotion. It is a breathing creature. Can also refer to appetites and desires.
XIII “lives” = 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.
XIV “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.
XV “know” = yada. This is to know, acknowledge, advise, answer, be aware, be acquainted with. Properly, this is to figure something out by seeing. It includes ideas of observation, recognition, and care about something. It can be used causatively for instruction, designation, and punishment.

56 The king said, “InquireXVI whose son the young manXVII is.” 

57 On David’s returnXVIII from killingXIX the Philistine,

Notes on verses 17:56-57a

XVI “inquire” = shaal. Related to “Saul” in v17:55. See note I above.
XVII “young man” = elem. 2x in OT. Perhaps from alam (to bind or tie fast; to be silent or speechless, whether voluntary or involuntary). This is something that one hides from sight like a young boy. So, it could be a youth. It could also be a stripling.
XVIII “return” = 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.”
XIX “killing” = 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.

Abner tookXX him and broughtXXI him beforeXXII Saul, with the headXXIII of the Philistine in his hand.XXIV 

Notes on verse 17:57b

XX “took” = laqach. This is to take, accept, carry away, receive. It can also have the sense of take a wife or take in marriage.
XXI “brought” = bo. This is to enter, come in, advance, fulfill, bring offerings, enter to worship, attack. It can also have a sexual connotation.
XXII “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.
XXIII “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).
XXIV “hand” = yad. This is hand, ability, power. Hand in a literal sense, but also what one can do or the means by which one does it.

58 Saul said to him, “Whose son are you, young man?”XXV

And David answered, “I am the son of your servantXXVI JesseXXVII the Bethlehemite.”XXVIII

Notes on verse 17:58

XXV “young man” = naar. Same as “young man” in v17:55. See note XI above.
XXVI “servant” = ebed. From abad (to work, serve, compel; any kind of work; used causatively, can mean to enslave or keep in bondage). This is a servant, slave, or bondservant.
XXVII “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
XXVIII “Bethlehemite” = Beth Hallachmi. Related to “son” in v17:55. 4x in OT. From beth lechem (Bethlehem); {from bayit (house, court, family, palace, temple); {probably from banah (see note X above)} + lechem (bread, food, loaf; food for people or for animals); {from lacham (to eat, feed on; figuratively, to battle as a kind of consumption/destruction)}. This is a resident of Bethlehem.

18:1 XXIXWhen David had finishedXXX speakingXXXI to Saul, the soul of JonathanXXXII was boundXXXIII to the soul of David, and Jonathan lovedXXXIV him as his own soul. 

Notes on verse 18:1

XXIX {untranslated} = hayah. This is to be or become, to happen.
XXX “finished” = kalah. This is to end, be finished, complete, prepare, consume, spent, or completely destroyed.
XXXI “speaking” = dabar. This is generally to speak, answer, declare, or command. It might mean to arrange and so to speak in a figurative sense as arranging words.
XXXII “Jonathan” = Yehonathan. Related to {untranslated} in v18:1. From YHVH (proper name of the God of Israel; God, Lord; the self-existent or eternal one); from havah (to become) or hayah (see note XXIX above)} + natan (to give, put, set, offer; to give literally or figuratively). This is Jonathan or Jehonathan, meaning “the Lord has given.”
XXXIII “bound” = qashar. This is to tie or bind. It can also refer to joining together as a league or in love. In a negative sense, it can mean to conspire.
XXXIV “loved” = aheb. This is to love, beloved, friend. It is to have affection for sexually or otherwise.

Saul took him that dayXXXV and would not letXXXVI him return to his father’sXXXVII house.XXXVIII 

Notes on verse 18:2

XXXV “day” = 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.
XXXVI “let” = natan. Related to “Jonathan” in v18:1. See note XXXII above.
XXXVII “father’s” = ab. Related to “Abner” in v17:55. See note VII above.
XXXVIII “house” = bayit. Related to “son” in v17:55 & “Bethlehemite” in v17:58. See note XXVIII above.

Then Jonathan madeXXXIX a covenantXL with David because he lovedXLI him as his own soul. 

Notes on verse 18:3

XXXIX “made” = karat. This is to cut down, cut off, or make a covenant (idiom for making a covenant is “to cut a covenant”). It can also mean to destroy, fail, or consume.
XL “covenant” = berit. Perhaps from barah (to eat, choose, make clear); perhaps from bar (grain, wheat); from bara (to select, purify, cleanse, test, brighten, polish). This is a compact, covenant, alliance, treaty, or league.
XLI “loved” = ahabah. Literally, “because of his love for him.” Related to “loved” in v18:1. From ahab (love or affection); from aheb (see note XXXIV above). This is love as a noun.

Jonathan strippedXLII himself of the robeXLIII that he was wearing and gaveXLIV it to David and his armorXLV

Notes on verse 18:4a

XLII “stripped” = pashat. This is to raid or invade. Figuratively, it means to strip or plunder.
XLIII “robe” = meil. From maal (to cover up; figuratively, to act in a covert or treacherous way, to be unfaithful or transgress). This is a robe, mantle, or cloak – an outer garment.
XLIV “gave” = natan. Same as “let” in v18:2. See note XXXVI above.
XLV “armor” = mad. 11x in OT. From madad (to measure, stretch, be extended, continue). This is measure, cloth, cloak, armor, stature, height.

and even his swordXLVI and his bowXLVII and his belt.XLVIII 

Notes on verse 18:4b

XLVI “sword” = chereb. From charab (to attack, slay). This is any sharp instrument like a sword, dagger, axe, or mattock.
XLVII “bow” = qeshet. Perhaps from qush (to set a trap, lure, ensnare) OR from qashah (to be fierce, cruel, dense, tough, severe). This is a bow, arrow, or archer. Bow can be used figuratively for strength.
XLVIII “belt” = chagor. 7x in OT. From chagar (to gird, bind, or arm; using a belt to gather up one’s garment so that it’s easier to run or move quickly). This is a loincloth, belt, or armor.

David went out and was successfulXLIX whereverL Saul sentLI him; as a result, Saul setLII him over the army.LIII

Notes on verse 18:5a

XLIX “was successful” = sakal. This is to consider or be prudent and so it can mean to instruct or be an expert. It can also mean dealing prudently, which implies success and prospering. This verb presumes intelligence of the subject. In one form of the verb, it can mean laying cross-wise.
L “wherever” = kol. From kalal (to complete). This is all or every.
LI “sent” = shalach. This is to send out, away, send for, forsake. It can also mean to divorce or set a slave free.
LII “set” = sum. This is to put or place in a literal or figurative sense. It can be appoint, care, change, make, and may other things.
LIII “army” = enosh + milchamah. Literally, “men of war.” Enosh is related to “Jesse” in v17:58. See note XXVII above. Milchamah is related to “Bethlehemite” in v17:58. From lacham (see note XXVIII above). This is battle, war, fighting, or one who fights (i.e. a warrior).

AndLIV allLV the people,LVI even theLVII servants of Saul, approved.LVIII

Notes on verse 18:5b

LIV {untranslated} = ayin. This is eye in a literal or figurative sense so eye, appearance, favor, or a fountain (the eye of the landscape).
LV “all” = kol. Same as “wherever” in v18:5. See note L above.
LVI “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.
LVII {untranslated} = ayin. Same as {untranslated} in v18:5. See note LIV above.
LVIII “approved” = yatab. This is to be good or pleasing, joyful. It can also mean doing good in an ethical sense or be beautiful, happy, successful, or right.

6 LIXAs they were comingLX home, when David returned from killing the Philistine, the womenLXI came outLXII

Notes on verse 18:6a

LIX {untranslated} = hayah. Same as {untranslated} in v18:1. See note XXIX above.
LX “coming” = bo. Same as “brought” in v17:57. See note XXI above.
LXI “women” = ishshah. Related to “Jesse” in v17:58 & “army” in v18:5. From ish (man); perhaps from enosh (see note XXVII above). This is woman, wife, or female.
LXII “came out” = yatsa. Same as “go out” in v17:55. See note IV above.

of all the townsLXIII of Israel,LXIV singingLXV and dancing,LXVI

Notes on verse 18:6b

LXIII “towns” = iyr. From uwr (to awaken or wake oneself up). This can mean excitement in the sense of wakefulness or city. Properly, this is a place that is guarded. Guards kept schedules according to watches. This sense of the word would include cities as well as encampments or posts that were guarded.
LXIV “Israel” = Yisrael. 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.
LXV “singing” = shir. From shir (song, singer). This is to sing. It could also refer to one who is singing or leading others in song.
LXVI “dancing” = mecholah. 8x in OT. From machol (round dance); from chul (whirling around so dancing as in a circle or writhing in pain; used particularly for the pain of childbirth or from writhing due to fear; can also be falling in pain or waiting). This is a dance.

to meetLXVII King Saul, with tambourines,LXVIII with songs of joy,LXIX and with musical instruments.LXX 

Notes on verse 18:6c

LXVII “meet” = qara. Same as “against” in v17:55. See note V above.
LXVIII “tambourines” = toph. 17x in OT.  Perhaps from taphaph (to play a drum, timbrel, or tambourine). This is a timbrel or tambourine.
LXIX “joy” = simchah. From samach (to rejoice, be glad; properly, to brighten up; also used figuratively). This is joy, rejoicing, pleasure, or glee.
LXX “musical instruments” = shaliysh. 17x in OT. From shalosh (three, fork, triad). This is literally a third. So, it could refer to some kind of musical instrument like a triangle or a lute with three strings. It could also refer to a triple measure. Additionally, it could be a highly ranked person like a captain, lord, or prince.

And the women sangLXXI to one another as they made merry,LXXII

“Saul has killed his thousandsLXXIII
    and David his ten thousands.”LXXIV

Notes on verse 18:7

LXXI “sang” = anah. This is answer, respond, announce, sing, shout, or testify. It means to pay attention, which implies responding and, by extension, starting to talk. Used in a specific sense for singing, shouting, testifying, etc.
LXXII “made merry” = sachaq. This is to laugh, celebrate, joke, mock, scorn. This is laughing, whether for joy or scorn. It can imply plays or holding a contest.
LXXIII “thousands” = eleph. Perhaps from the same as eleph (herd, cattle); from alaph (to learn, speak, associate with). This is thousand.
LXXIV “ten thousands” = rebabah. 16x in OT. From rabab (being many or much, abounding, increasing, multiplying; cast together and so the sense of increasing, generally in number). This is abundance, a myriad. It can be an indefinite large amount or mean ten thousand or a million.

Saul was veryLXXV angry,LXXVI for this sayingLXXVII displeasedLXXVIII him.LXXIX

Notes on verse 18:8a

LXXV “very” = meod. Perhaps from the same as uwd (firebrand, a poker). This is very, greatly, exceedingly. It can also mean vehemence, force, abundance.
LXXVI “was…angry” = charah. Perhaps related to charar (to be hot, burn, glow, melt, be scorched; figuratively, to incite passion, be angry). This is to be displeased, burn with anger, glow, become warn. Figuratively it is a blaze of anger, zeal, or jealousy.
LXXVII “saying” = dabar. Related to “speaking” in v18:1. From dabar (see note XXXI above). 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.
LXXVIII “displeased” = ra’a’. This is to be evil, bad, afflict. Properly, it means to spoil – to destroy by breaking into pieces. Figuratively, it is to cause something to be worthless. It is bad in a physical, social, or moral sense – something that displeases, does harm or mischief, punishes or vexes.
LXXIX {untranslated} = ayin. Same as {untranslated} in v18:5. See note LIV above.

He said, “They have ascribedLXXX to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed thousands; what more can he have but the kingdom?”LXXXI 

SoLXXXII Saul eyedLXXXIII David from that day on.LXXXIV

Notes on verses 18:8b-9

LXXX “ascribed” = natan. Same as “let” in v18:2. See note XXXVI above.
LXXXI “kingdom” = melukah. Related to “king” in v17:55. From the same as melek (see note XIV above). This is kingship, kingdom, reign. It can also mean royalty.
LXXXII {untranslated} = hayah. Same as {untranslated} in v18:1. See note XXIX above.
LXXXIII “eyed” = avon. Perhaps related to avah (to bend, twist, be amiss). This is sin, mischief, guilt, fault, punishment for iniquity, or moral evil.
LXXXIV “on” = haleah. 16x in OT. This is beyond, far away, to this point, back, forward.

Image credit: “David and Goliath” by Titian, between 1542 and 1544.

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