1 Samuel 25:14-19, 23-25, 32-34, 42-43

1 Samuel 25:14-19, 23-25, 32-34, 42-43
A Women’s Lectionary – Proper 17


14 But oneI of the young menII toldIII Abigail,IV

Notes on verse 14a

I “one” = echad. Perhaps from achad (to unify, continue on a path; figuratively, to gather one’s thoughts). This is the number one, first, united. It can also be alone, altogether, a certain, a few.
II “young men” = 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.
III “told” = nagad. This is to declare, make conspicuous, stand in front, manifest, predict, explain.
IV “Abigail” = Abigayil. 17x in OT. From ab (father, ancestor, grandfather; father in a literal or figurative sense) + gil (circle, rejoicing, or age); {from gil (properly, twirling around because of a strong feeling – whether of rejoicing or from fear; to rejoice, be glad or joyful, to cry)}. This is Abigail, meaning “my father is joy” or “the father is joyful” or “father of exultation” or “source of joy.” See https://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Abigail.html

Nabal’sV wife,VI, VII

Notes on verse 14b

V “Nabal’s” = Nabal. From nabal (to be foolish, senseless, fall away, faint, wither, to be wicked, disgrace). This is Nabal, meaning “dolt.”
VI “wife” = ishshah. From ish (man); perhaps from enosh (human, humankind, mortal); from anash (to be weak, sick, or frail). This is woman, wife, or female.
VII {untranslated} = naar. Same as “young men” in v14. See note II above.

VIIIDavidIX sentX messengersXI

Notes on verse 14c

VIII {untranslated} = hinneh. From hen (lo! Behold! If, though; an expression of surprise). This is to draw attention, show suddenness or surprise, or to emphasize the importance of the coming statement. See! Lo! Behold!
IX “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.”
X “sent” = shalach. This is to send out, away, send for, forsake. It can also mean to divorce or set a slave free.
XI “messengers” = malak. This is a messenger, an angel, or a deputy of some kind. Can be used for human messengers literally or for prophets, priests, or teachers as messengers of God. Also used for supernatural messengers i.e. angels.

out of the wildernessXII to saluteXIII our master,XIV and he shouted insultsXV at them. 

Notes on verse 14d

XII “wilderness” = midbar. From dabar (to speak, command, declare). This is mouth or speech. It can also be desert or wilderness. Additionally, it can be used for a pasture to which one drives cattle.
XIII “salute” = barak. This is to kneel, to bless. It is blessing God as part of worship and adoration or blessing humans to help them. It can be used as a euphemism to say curse God.
XIV “master” = adon. From a root that means ruling or being sovereign. This is lord, master, or owner.
XV “shouted insults” = iyt. 2x in OT. This is to swoop down, to scream, to shout insults.

15 Yet the menXVI were veryXVII goodXVIII to us, and we suffered no harm,XIX

Notes on verse 15a

XVI “men” = enosh. Related to “wife” in v14. See note VI above.
XVII “very” = meod. Perhaps from the same as uwd (firebrand, a poker). This is very, greatly, exceedingly. It can also mean vehemence, force, abundance.
XVIII “good” = tob. From tob (to be pleasing, to be good). This is good, beautiful, pleasant, agreeable, bountiful, at ease. This word is used for goodness as a concept, a good thing, a good person. This can refer to prosperity and welfare as well as joy, kindness, sweetness, and graciousness. So, this is ethically good, but also enjoyably good.
XIX “suffered…harm” = kalam. This is bearing shame, bringing dishonor or disgrace, humiliate insult, taunt, embarrass, reproach. Properly, to wound in a figurative sense.

and we never missedXX anythingXXI when we wereXXII

Notes on verse 15b

XX “missed” = paqad. This is to attend to or visit – can be used for a friendly or violent encounter. So, it can be to oversee, care for, avenge, or charge.
XXI “anything” = meumah. From the same as mum (defect – an ethical one or a literal bodily one). Its root may mean to stain. This can mean a speck or fault. More broadly, it can also refer to anything or nothing.
XXII “were” = hayah. This is to be or become, to happen.

in the fieldsXXIII as long asXXIV we wereXXV with them; 

Notes on verse 15c

XXIII “fields” = sadeh. This is literally field, ground, soil, or land. It can be used to mean wild like a wild animal.
XXIV “as long as” = kol + yom. Literally, “all of the days.” Kol is from kalal (to complete). This is all or every. Yom has a root that 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.
XXV “were” = 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.

16 they were a wallXXVI to us both by nightXXVII and by day,XXVIII allXXIX the while we were with them keepingXXX the sheep.XXXI 

Notes on verse 16

XXVI “wall” = chomah. From the same as cham (father-in-law – one’s husband’s father; perhaps from a root meaning to join). This is a wall – a wall as used for protection.
XXVII “night” = layil. Properly, this refers to light twisting away. It is used for night or midnight. Figuratively, this can mean adversity.
XXVIII “by day” = yomam. Related to “as long as” in v15. From yom (see note XXIV above). This is day as the hours that are hot. This can be daytime in a literal or figurative sense.
XXIX “all” = kol. Same as “as long as” in v15. See note XXIV above.
XXX “keeping” = 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.
XXXI “sheep” = tson. This is a flock of sheep and goats.

17 Now, therefore, knowXXXII this and considerXXXIII what you should do,XXXIV for evilXXXV

Notes on verse 17a

XXXII “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.
XXXIII “consider” = raah. This is to see in a literal or figurative sense so stare, advise, think, view.
XXXIV “do” = asah. This is to make, do, act, appoint, become in many senses.
XXXV “evil” = ra’. From ra’a’ (to be evil, bad, afflict; properly, to spoil – to destroy by breaking into pieces; figuratively, to cause something to be worthless; this is bad in a physical, social, or moral sense; that which displeases, to do harm or mischief, to punish or vex). This is bad, disagreeable, that which causes pain, misery, something having little or no value, something that is ethically bad, wicked, injury, calamity. This refers to anything that is not what it ought to be – a natural disaster, a disfigurement, an injury, a sin.

has been decidedXXXVI against our master and against all his house;XXXVII he is so ill-naturedXXXVIII that no one can speakXXXIX to him.”

Notes on verse 17b

XXXVI “decided” = kalah. This is to end, be finished, complete, prepare, consume, spent, or completely destroyed.
XXXVII “house” = bayit. Probably from banah (to build, make, set up, obtain children; to build literally or figuratively). This is house, court, family, palace, temple.
XXXVIII “ill-natured” = ben + beliyaal. Literally, “child of evil.” Ben is related to “house” in v17. From banah (see note XXXVII above). This is son, age, child. It is son in a literal or figurative sense. Beliyaal is from beli (lack, nothing, without, wearing out, failure, destruction); {from balah (to grow old, wear out, waste away, consume, spend)} + yaal (to gain, profit, do good, ascend, be useful or valuable; benefitted). This is worthlessness, evil, destruction, and Belial.
XXXIX “speak” = dabar. Related to “wilderness” in v14. See note XII above.

18 Then Abigail hurriedXL and tookXLI two hundredXLII loaves,XLIII

Notes on verse 18a

XL “hurried” = mahar. This is being liquid, which implies flowing. So, this word implies hurrying forward, whether in a positive or negative sense.
XLI “took” = laqach. This is to take, accept, carry away, receive. It can also have the sense of take a wife or take in marriage.
XLII “two hundred” = meah. This is hundred or some number times one hundred (i.e. hundredfold or the base of two hundred, three hundred, etc.).
XLIII “loaves” = lechem. From lacham (to eat, feed on). This is bread, food, loaf. It can refer to food more generally for people or for animals.

twoXLIV skinsXLV of wine,XLVI fiveXLVII sheep ready dressed,XLVIII

Notes on verse 18b

XLIV “two” = shenayim. From sheni (double, again, another, second); from shanah (to fold, repeat, double, alter, or disguise). This is two, both, second, couple.
XLV “skins” = nebel. From nabel (to fall away, faint, wither, languish, sink; figuratively, being senseless, foolish, or wicked; to despise, disgrace, or fall to nothing, to be seen with contempt). This is a vessel, perhaps made of skins for holding liquids. It could be a skin, vase, or lyre as having a similar shape.
XLVI “wine” = yayin. Root may mean to effervesce, referring to the fermentation process. This is wine, grape, or banquet. It can imply intoxication.
XLVII “five” = chamesh. This is five or fifth.
XLVIII “ready dressed” = asah. Same as “do” in v17. See note XXXIV above.

five measuresXLIX of parchedL grain, one hundredLI clusters of raisins,LII and two hundred cakes of figs.LIII

She loadedLIV them on donkeysLV 

Notes on verse 18c

XLIX “measures” = seah. 9x in OT. This is a seah, used to measure flour or grain – about 7 quarts.
L “parched” = qali. 6x in OT. From qalah (to roast, toast or parch – to dry or scorch in part). This is parched or roasted – used to refer to grain.
LI “one hundred” = meah. Same as “two hundred” in v18. See note XLII above.
LII “clusters of raisins” = tsimmuq. 4x in OT. From tsamaq (to shrivel, dry). This is cluster or bunch of raisins.
LIII “cakes of figs” = debelah. 6x in OT. May be from a word that means press together. This is a lump or cake – specifically of figs.
LIV “loaded” = sim. This is to put or place in a literal or figurative sense. It can be appoint, care, change, make, and may other things.
LV “donkeys” = chamor. From chamar (to be red, blush). This is a male donkey.

19 and said to her young men, “Go onLVI aheadLVII of me;LVIII I am comingLIX afterLX you.” But she did not tell her husbandLXI Nabal.

Notes on verse 19

LVI “go on” = abar. This is to pass over or cross over. It is used for transitions, whether literal or figurative. It can also mean to escape, alienate, or fail. This is the root verb from which “Hebrew” is drawn.
LVII “ahead” = 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.
LVIII {untranslated} = hen. Related to {untranslated} in v14. See note VIII above.
LIX “coming” = bo. This is to enter, come in, advance, fulfill, bring offerings, enter to worship, attack. It can also have a sexual connotation.
LX “after” = achar. From achar (to remain behind, linger, continue, be behind, or delay; can also imply procrastination). This is after or the last part, following.
LXI “husband” = ish. Related to “wife” in v14 & “men” in v15. See note VI above.

23 When Abigail sawLXII David, she hurried and dismountedLXIII from the donkey and fellLXIV

Notes on verse 23a

LXII “saw” = raah. Same as “consider” in v17. See note XXXIII above.
LXIII “dismounted” = yarad. This is to go down, descend; going down in a literal or figurative sense. It can be going to the shore or a boundary, bringing down an enemy.
LXIV “fell” = naphal. This is to fall, whether by accident, to fall prostrate, or to fall in violent death. Figuratively, it can refer to personal ruin or calamity, a city falling, an attack or a falling away. It can also be a deep sleep or wasting away.

beforeLXV David on her face,LXVI bowingLXVII to the ground.LXVIII 

Notes on verse 23b

LXV “before” = aph. From anaph (to be angry; properly, breathing hard as a signifier of being enraged). This properly refers to the nose or nostril and by extension the face. It can specifically refer to anger or wrath as one breathes hard and nostrils flare in times of great anger.
LXVI “face” = paneh. Same as “ahead” in v19. See note LVII above.
LXVII “bowing” = shachah. This is to bow down, make a humble entreaty, to do homage to royalty or to God.
LXVIII “ground” = erets. Root may mean to be firm. This is earth, ground, field land, or country.

24 She fell at his feetLXIX and said, “Upon me alone, my lord,LXX be the guilt;LXXI

Notes on verse 24a

LXIX “feet” = 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.
LXX “lord” = adon. Same as “master” in v14. See note XIV above.
LXXI “guilt” = avon. Perhaps related to avah (to bend, twist, be amiss). This is sin, mischief, guilt, fault, punishment for iniquity, or moral evil.

pleaseLXXII let your servantLXXIII speak in your earsLXXIV and hearLXXV the wordsLXXVI of your servant. 

Notes on verse 24b

LXXII “please” = na. This particle is used for requests or for urging. It can be we pray, now, I ask you, oh. This is the same “na” in “hosanna.”
LXXIII “servant” = amah. This is female servant or slave, handmaid.
LXXIV “ears” = ozen. This is ear, hearing, audience, show. Properly, it is broadness – applied to its ear in reference to its shape.
LXXV “hear” = shama. This is to hear, call, consent, or consider. It implies listening intelligently, giving attention, and, because of these two factors, obedience and action are often implied.
LXXVI “words” = dabar. Related to “wilderness” in v14 & “speak” in v17. From dabar (see note XII 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.

25 My lord, do notLXXVII take seriouslyLXXVIII this ill-natured fellow,LXXIX

Notes on verse 25a

LXXVII {untranslated} = na. Same as “please” in v24. See note LXXII above.
LXXVIII “take seriously” = simleb. Sim is the same as “loaded” in v18. See note LIV above. Leb may be related to labab (to encourage; properly, to be encased as with fat; used in a good sense, this means to transport someone with love; used in a bad sense, it can mean to dull one’s senses). This is the heart, courage, one’s inner self, the mind, or the will. Heart is only used in a figurative sense in the Old and New Testaments.
LXXIX “fellow” = ish. Same as “husband” in v19. See note LXI above.

Nabal, for as his nameLXXX is, soLXXXI is he; Nabal is his name, and follyLXXXII is with him, but I, your servant, did not see the young men of my lord, whom you sent.

Notes on verse 25b

LXXX “name” = shem. Related to “loaded” in v18. May be from sim (see note LIV above). 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.
LXXXI “so” = ken. Perhaps from kun (properly, in a perpendicular position; literally, to establish, fix, fasten, prepare; figuratively, it is certainty, to be firm, faithfulness, render sure or prosperous). This is to set upright. Generally used figuratively to mean thus, so, afterwards, rightly so.
LXXXII “folly” = nebalah. Related to “Nabal’s” in v14. 13x in OT. From nabal (see note V above0). This is foolishness, disgrace, folly, outrage, villainy, a crime or punishment. Used frequently of sexual sin, but not always.

32 David said to Abigail, “Blessed beLXXXIII the Lord,LXXXIV the GodLXXXV of Israel,LXXXVI who sent you to meetLXXXVII me today!LXXXVIII 

Notes on verse 32

LXXXIII “blessed be” = barak. Same as “salute” in v14. See note XIII above.
LXXXIV “Lord” = YHVH. Related to “were” in v15. From havah (to be, become) or hayah (see note XXII above). This is the name of the God of Israel, the self-existent and eternal one, the tetragrammaton. This pronunciation has been lost to time so “Lord” is generally used in its place.
LXXXV “God” = Elohim.
LXXXVI “Israel” = Yisrael. Related to “God” in v32. From sarah (to persist, exert oneself, contend, persevere, wrestle, prevail) + el (see note LXXXV). 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.
LXXXVII “meet” = qara. This is to meet, befall, happen upon. It can be to encounter by chance or for aggression.
LXXXVIII “today” = yom. Same as “as long as” in v15. See note XXIV above.

33 Blessed be your good sense,LXXXIX and blessed be you, who keptXC me todayXCI from bloodguiltXCII and from avengingXCIII myself by my own hand!XCIV 

Notes on verse 33

LXXXIX “good sense” = taam. 13x in OT. From taam (to taste, perceive). This is taste, perception, discernment, decree, understanding, sanity.
XC “kept” = kala. 18x in OT. This is to stop in the sense of holding back or restraining. It could be keep, refuse, forbid, or to prohibit by word.
XCI {untranslated} = bo. Same as “coming” in v19. See note LIX above.
XCII “bloodguilt” = dam. Perhaps from damam (to cease, be or become mute, silent, still, cut off, hold peace, be astonished, die). This is blood, bloodshed, bloodguilt, lifeblood, and death. It is used for people and animals. More often blood from a wound or the blood of the innocent. Used figuratively for violence or for wine. Closely tied to life and death.
XCIII “avenging” = yasha. To deliver, defend, help, preserve, rescue, be safe. Properly, to be open, wide or free, which implies being safe. Used causatively, it means to free.
XCIV “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.

34 For as surely as the LordXCV the God of Israel lives,XCVI who has restrainedXCVII me from hurtingXCVIII you,

Notes on verse 34a

XCV “Lord” = YHVH. Same as “Lord” in v32. See note LXXXIV above.
XCVI “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.
XCVII “restrained” = mana. This is to hold back, refuse, restrain, deny. It could be in a positive or in a negative sense.
XCVIII “hurting” = ra’a’. Related to “evil” in v17. See note XXXV above.

unless you had hurried and come to meet me, truly by morning there would not have been leftXCIX to Nabal so much asC one male.”CI

Notes on verse 34b

XCIX “left” = yathar. This is to jut over, remain behind, preserve, to excel. It can be to leave or to be in abundance.
C “so much as” = ad + or + boqer. Literally, “by light of morning.”  Or is from or (to be or become light). This is light, sun, sunshine, dawn, or daylight. Figuratively, it can refer to light from instruction, light of a face (that is to say one that is cheerful or finds favor). It can refer to prosperity or salvation; a light that guides, a light eternal from Zion.  Boqer is from baqar (to seek, plow, break forth, admire, care for). This refers to the break of day. So it is dawn, early, morning, or morrow.
CI “one mall” = shathan + qir. Literally, “urinates on the wall.” Shathan is 6x in OT. From shayin (urine). This is to urinate. Qir is perhaps from qur (to dig, destroy, wall up). This is a wall, ceiling, surface, mason, or town.

42 Abigail got upCII hurriedly and rode awayCIII on a donkey; her five maidsCIV attendedCV her. She wentCVI after the messengers of David and became his wife.

Notes on verse 42

CII “got up” = qum. To arise, stand, accomplish, establish, abide. This is rising as in rising against, getting up after being sick or asleep, arising from one state to another, becoming powerful, or rising for action. It can also be standing in a figurative sense.
CIII “rode away” = rakab. This is to ride an animal or in some vehicle. It can also mean bringing on a horse.
CIV “maids” = naarah. Related to “young men” in v14. From naar (see note II above). This is a girl or young lady ranging anywhere in age from infancy to adolescence.
CV “attended” = halak + regel. Halak is the same as “were” in v15. See note XXV above. Regel is the same as “feet” in v24. See note LXIX above.
CVI “went” = halak. Same as “were” in v15. See note XXV above.

43 David also marriedCVII AhinoamCVIII of Jezreel;CIX bothCX of them became his wives.

Notes on verse 43

CVII “married” = laqach. Same as “took” in v18. See note XLI above.
CVIII “Ahinoam” = Achinoam. 7x in OT. From ach (brother, kindred, another, other, like) + noam (pleasantness, beauty, favor, agreeableness, delight, splendor, or grace); {from naem (to be pleasant, beautiful, sweet, or agreeable in a literal or figurative sense)}. This is Achinoam or Ahinoam, meaning “my brother is delight” or “brother of pleasantness” or “kindred to sweetness” or “brother of grace” or “a delightful ally.” See https://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Ahinoam.html
CIX “Jezreel” = Yizreel. Related to “God” and “Israel” in v32. From zara (to sow or scatter seed; conceive or yield) + el (see note LXXXV above). This is Jezreel or Yizreel. It means “God sows” or “God will sow.”
CX “both” = shenayim. Same as “two” in v18. See note XLIV above.

Image credit: “Large Kneeling Statue of Hatshepsut, c. 1479–1458 B.C.E.” Photo by Steven Zucker, 2015.

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