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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible

1 Samuel 18

 

 

Verses 1-5

1 Samuel 17:1 to 1 Samuel 18:5. David and Goliath (E, with additione by R).—In this section two narratives seem to have been interwoven. For the sake of convenience, we may denote one set of passages by (A), and the other by (B), thus:

(A) 1 Samuel 17:1-11, 1 Samuel 17:32-54.

(B) 1 Samuel 17:12-31, 1 Samuel 17:55 to 1 Samuel 18:5.

The (B) passages, together with 1 Samuel 17:41 and 1 Samuel 17:50, are omitted by very many MSS. of the LXX, including the very important Vatican Codex. (A) by itself would form a complete narrative, and would not present any very glaring inconsistencies with the previous chapters (cf., however, below). (B), even with the addition of 1 Samuel 17:41 and 1 Samuel 17:50, could hardly be read as a complete narrative.

Two explanations have been given of these facts:

(i) Apart from minor textual changes, the whole section, 1 Samuel 17:1 to 1 Samuel 18:5, belongs together and was taken from the same document. The (B) passages were omitted by LXX on account of the contradiction between them and 1 Samuel 16:10

1 Samuel 17:55 to 1 Samuel 18:5. Saul finds out who David is, and makes him one of his captains. It can hardly be meant that he took the place of Abner as commander-in-chief, but the author may write in a rhetorical vein and ignore the actual circumstances. Jonathan forms a passionate friendship for David.

1 Samuel 17:3 f. The covenant seems to be actually formed by this investiture of David with Jonathan's clothes and weapons. The clothes are, so to speak, impregnated with the personality of the wearer; there is thus an actual physical bond created between the original wearer and his successor. David carries about with him always something of Jonathan's personality. This physical contact, which in other forms plays a large part in covenants, is doubled if there is an exchange of garments. Nothing is said of such an exchange here, and David, of course, had no weapons. Cf. RS2, p. 335.—A. S. P.


Verses 6-9

1 Samuel 18:6-9. Saul's Jealousy (J).—The victors, as they return, are greeted by the women with songs and dances; Saul's jealousy is aroused because David's achievements are spoken of as greater than his.


Verses 10-30

1 Samuel 18:10 to 1 Samuel 19:17.—Saul's Plots against David. Compiled from various sources.

1 Samuel 18:10 f. (R). Saul makes an unsuccessful attempt to kill David. A premature duplicate of 1 Samuel 19:9 f. The verses are omitted by the LXX MSS which omit (B) in 1 Samuel 17:1 to 1 Samuel 18:5, and will be from the same source as (B). 1 Samuel 18:12 ff. is the natural sequel to 1 Samuel 18:9.

1 Samuel 18:12-16 (J). Saul alarmed at David's popularity, removes him from court and gives him a military command. David's behaviour and success ingratiate him with the people.

1 Samuel 18:12. Omit, "because the Lord . . . Saul" with Vatican LXX.

1 Samuel 18:17-19 (E?). A variant of the next section, of uncertain origin, omitted by Vatican LXX. To stimulate David's warlike ardour, Saul offers him his elder daughter Merab, but eventually gives her to Adriel (cf. 2 Samuel 21:8).

1 Samuel 18:18. life: rather as RVm, "kinsfolk."

1 Samuel 18:20-30 (J). Michal, Saul's daughter, loves David. Saul offers her to him on condition that he slays 100 Philistines; in the hope that he will be slain in the attempt. David accomplishes the task and marries Michal.

1 Samuel 18:25. dowry: rather the price paid by a man for a wife.

1 Samuel 18:27. two hundred: Vatican LXX, "one hundred" (cf. 2 Samuel 3:14).

1 Samuel 18:29 b, 1 Samuel 18:30. Omitted by Vatican LXX, late addition.

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 18:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/1-samuel-18.html. 1919.

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