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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible


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JESSE (more correctly Jishai , cf., as regards formation, Ittai ; perhaps an abbreviated form; the meaning of the name is quite uncertain). A Bethlehemite, best known as the father of David. The earliest historical mention of him ( 1 Samuel 17:12 ; see David, § 1) represents him as already an old man. On this occasion he sends David to the Israelite camp with provisions for his brothers; this was destined to be a long separation between Jesse and his son, for after David’s victory over the Philistine giant he entered definitely into Saul’s service. There are two other accounts, each of which purports to mention Jesse for the first time: 1 Samuel 16:1 ff., in which Samuel is sent to Bethlehem to anoint David; and 1 Samuel 16:18 , in which Jesse’s son is sent for to play the harp before Saul. Nothing further is heard of Jesse until we read of him and his ‘house’ coming to David in the ‘cave’ of Adullam; David then brings his father and mother to Mizpeh of Moab, and entrusts them to the care of the king of Moab ( 1 Samuel 22:3-4 ). This is the last we hear of him. In Isaiah 11:1 the ‘stock of Jesse’ is mentioned as that from which the Messiah is to issue; the thought probably being that of the humble descent of the Messiah as contrasted with His glorious Kingdom which is to be.

W. O. E. Oesterley.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Jesse'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. 1909.

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