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Bible Commentaries

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible

1 Samuel 18



Verses 1-30

The Love of Jonathan for David

1 Samuel 18:6-30 of this chapter seem to be connected with 1 Samuel 16:14-23 and not to be taken from the same document as 1 Samuel 17:1 to 1 Samuel 18:5. LXX omits a large part of this section and only retains 1 Samuel 18:6-8; 1 Samuel 12; 1 Samuel 13-16, 20-21; 1 Samuel 22-26; 1 Samuel 27-29 a. In this case the LXX text gives an easy and straight forward account, and many suppose that it is the original. But the character of the LXX omissions in 1 Samuel 17 renders this a little doubtful.

6. Cp. Exodus 15:20; Judges 11:34; Psalms 68:11 (RV).

7. Played] lit. 'sported.' The word is used of festive sports and especially of festal dancing: cp. 1 Chronicles 15:29.

8. But the kingdom] The knowledge of his deposition rankled in Saul's mind.

10. Prophesied] The words 'prophet' and 'prophesy' are applied in OT. to the servants of the gods of Canaan as well as to the servants of Jehovah: cp. 1 Kings 18:19. The behaviour of these Canaanite prophets must have greatly resembled the possession of Saul (1 Kings 18:28). The word 'prophesy' includes such wild outbreaks of frenzy as well as the calm utterances of Isaiah. In the case of Saul this frenzy was regarded as produced by an evil spirit from God.

16. Went out and came in] i.e. lived in an open public manner in contrast to Saul's seclusion which was the natural result of his melancholy.

17. Every battle fought by Israel was an act of religious worship to Jehovah: cp. 1 Samuel 25:28.

18. What is my life] RM 'Who are my kinsfolk?' The word denotes a division of the tribe larger than a 'father's family.'

21. In the one of the twain] RV 'a second time.' It is an example of regal and rather caustic wit. The first time was when Merab was offered (1 Samuel 18:19).

23. A poor man] This would suggest that David's lack of patrimony had been made an excuse for not giving Merab to him: but see intro. note to the chapter This v. is plainly inconsistent with 1 Samuel 18:19-21.

25. Dowry] In ancient times some payment was made to the father by the intending bridegroom (Genesis 34:12; Exodus 22:16), a relic of still earlier days, when a wife was either bought from her parents or captured from foes. But service might be rendered instead of payment in money (Genesis 29:20).

26. And the days were not expired] This appears to refer to the time, not previously mentioned, within which the exploit was to be performed.

28. Michal Saul's daughter] LXX 'all Israel.'


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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 18:4". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". 1909.

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