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Bible Commentaries

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

1 Samuel 17



Verse 1

Now. Ch. 1 Samuel 17:1 reads on chronologically from 1 Samuel 16:13 (see note on 1 Samuel 16:14). An author"s right is claimed for placing the later episode here (1 Samuel 16:14, 1 Samuel 16:23), in order to connect and contrast the two spirits with Saul and David. The canonical order alternates David"s call and Saul"s. See notes on 1 Samuel 16:14; 1 Samuel 18:12.

Verse 2

men. Hebrew. "ish. App-14.

by = in. About sixteen miles south-west of Jerusalem.

Verse 4

champion. Hebrew. "ish-habbenayivl = "the man between the two [hosts]", or, the duellist. This accords with the subscription of Psa 8 (see note there)

Muth-labben = the death of the man between; i.e. the death of the champion (Goliath) which Psa 8 celebrates. Psa 144, which has the same words, "What is man" has for its title in Septuagint. "A Psalm of David concerning Goliath"(compare 1 Samuel 8:4 with Psalms 144:3). See 1 Samuel 17:23.

six. Note this number "6" stamped like a "hallmark" on this "man" (as on Nebuchadnezzar, Dan 3) Compare the six pieces of armour, verses: 1 Samuel 17:5-7.

cubits. See App-51.

span. See App-51.

Verse 5

And. Note the Figure of speech Polysyndeton in verses: 1 Samuel 17:5-7. App-6. Note the six pieces of armour thus emphasised; and see App-10.

Verse 6

target. Hebrew. kedon, a small shield. Translated "shield "in 1 Samuel 17:45.

Verse 7

shield. Hebrew zinnah, a shield of the largest size, covering the whole body. Same word in 1 Samuel 17:41, not 1 Samuel 17:6 and 1 Samuel 17:45.

Verse 8

man. Hebrew. "ish. App-14.

Verse 11

greatly afraid = feared exceedingly. Compare 1 Samuel 17:24.

Verse 12

eight sons. David was now between sixteen and seventeen years old. See note on 1 Samuel 16:5.

men. Hebrew "enosh. App-14.

for an old man. Septuagint and Syriac read "was old", advanced in years.

Verse 14

was = he [was].

Verse 16

forty. The number significant of probation. App-10.

Verse 17

ephah. See App-51.

Verse 18

their pledge: i.e. a token from them of their welfare = a message or letter, or a lock of hair. Compare Genesis 37:13, Genesis 14:32, Genesis 14:33.

Verse 20

as = according as.

fight = place of battle.

Verse 22

carriage = baggage: i. e, goods carried.

Verse 23

behold. Figure of speech Asterismos. App-6.

armies = ranks.

Verse 24

men. Hebrew. "ish. App-14.

man. Hebrew. "ish. App-14.

were sore afraid = feared exceedingly. Compare 1 Samuel 17:11.

Verse 25

and. Note the Figure of speech Polysyndeton. App-6.

Verse 26

men. Heb, "enosh. App-14.

defy = reproach.

God. Hebrew. Elohim. App-4. "Living", always in contrast with idols.

Verse 30

manner = word.

Verse 32

Let no man"s heart fail. Septuagint reads "Let not the heart of my lord fail".

man"s. Hebrew. "adam. App-14.

Verse 34

kept = was keeping. Compare 1 Samuel 16:11.

his. Some codices, quoted in the Massorah, read "my".

and. Note the Figure of speech Polysyndeton (App-6) in verses: 1 Samuel 17:34-36.

Verse 35

beard = mane, or throat.

Verse 36

them. The Septuagint adds "them" and reads "[Shall I not go and smite him, and turn aside reproach to-day from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine] that he hath", &c.

defied = reproached.

living God, Both these words in plural in Hebrew Compare 1 Samuel 17:26.

Verse 37

The LORD = Jehovah. App-4.

paw . . . hand. Put by Figure of speech Metonymy (of Cause) for power put forth by it. App-6.

Verse 39

assayed = tried, or, was content to start: assay French essayer.

Verse 40

staff = club, one of the three equipments of the Eastern shepherd: crook for the sheep"s help, club for sheep"s defence, and the bag for himself.

Verse 42

ruddy. Compare 1 Samuel 16:12, 1 Samuel 16:13.

dog. No stronger term of contempt. 2 Kings 8:13. Matthew 15:26.

gods = god, as in Judges 16:23.

Verse 44

field. Some codices, with Aramaean, Septuagint, and Vulgate, read "earth".

Verse 45

shield. See note on "target", 1 Samuel 17:6.

the LORD of hosts. See note on 1 Samuel 1:3.

Verse 46

and. Note the Figure of speech Polysyndeton in verses: 1 Samuel 17:46-47. give. Septuagint reads "give [thy limbs and] the carcasses", &c.

that there is a God in Israel = that Israel bath a God.

Verse 47

assembly = assembled host. Compare Numbers 22:4, "company".

Verse 51

drew it out; showing that Goliath had not deigned to do so.

champion. Hebrew. gibbor = mighty man. App-14. Not the same word as in 1 Samuel 17:4 and 1 Samuel 17:23.

Verse 52

the valley. Septuagint reads "entrance into Gath".

wounded = stricken, or slain.

Verse 53

children = sons.

tents = camps.

Verse 54

Jerusalem. Jerusalem (west of Moriah) had been taken by Judah, who dwelt there. The Jebusites were still holding Jebus, or Zion, the mount immediately south of Moriah. Compare Joshua 15:63. Judges 1:7, Judges 1:8. Zion was taken later by David. See 2 Samuel 5:7, and App-68.

Verse 55

whose son . . . ? Though Saul had just had an interview with David, he did not know his father, whom he had promised (1 Samuel 17:25) to make free in Israel. Note in all these passages (verses: 55, 56, 58) Saul"s inquiry is not about David, but about David"s father.

thy soul = thyself (emph.) Hebrew. nephesh. App-13.


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Bibliography Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 17:4". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". 1909-1922.

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