Poole on 1 Samuel 13:15-23: Unarmed and Afraid before Enemies

Verse 15:[1] And Samuel arose, and gat him up from Gilgal unto Gibeah of Benjamin. And Saul numbered the people that were present (Heb. found[2]) with him, (1 Sam. 14:2) about six hundred men.


[Now, Samuel arose] Therefore, Saul had not yet been rejected, because Samuel forsake him (Sanchez). He arose, etc., that is, he prepared himself for the journey with Saul (Vatablus). Others otherwise: Saul was proceeding with his army at Gilgal, as it follows; but Samuel went before, and separated himself from Saul, so that he might show himself displeased (Lapide). I believe that they went up to Gibeah at the same time; but they, having been separated from each other on different roads, without any communing, dwelt for a time at Gibeah. For in the following war no mention is made of Samuel; neither did Saul consult God by him (Mendoza). Others thus: It appears that in the place of Samuel is to be read Saul. (For it was an easy mistake, especially if they were written without points: that is, שָׁאוּל/Saul and שְׁמוּאֵל/Samuel.) Indeed, since it is not narrated that Samuel did anything there; and since it is likely that he, offended by the disobedience of Saul, departed from him; just as he did in 1 Samuel 15:26, 27 (Piscator). Question: Why did Samuel ascend to Gibeah? Responses: 1. So that by his presence he might encourage the people, being about to ascend there also. 2. So that he might conceal himself among the schools of the Prophets, which were in Gibeah, 1 Samuel 10:5 (Mendoza out of Tostatus, Lapide). And there he might be free to praise God, and pray for Israel (Lapide).


Unto Gibeah of Benjamin; whither Saul also followed him, as appears from the next verse; either because it was better fortified than Gilgal; or because he expected a greater increase of his army there, it being in his own tribe, and nearer the heart of his kingdom; or because he hoped for Samuel’s assistance there.


[And the rest of the people went up after Saul, against the people that were fighting against them, comeing from Gilgal to Gibeah, in the hill of Benjamin] These words are not found in the Exemplars, Hebrews, Chaldean, and Greek of the Royal and Complutensian Editions; although similar words are found in the Sixtine. The sense: The rest of the people, namely, the Israelites, namely, those that were left from that great dispersion, went up against the people, namely, the Philistines, which Philistines were fighting against them, namely, the Israelites, coming from Gilgal to Gibeah, which was in the hill, or tribe, of Benjamin. Thus mutual conflict is signified (Mendoza).


[Who were found with him] That is, who were with him (Vatablus). To be found in the place of to be; and הַנִּמְצְאִים in the place of הַנִּמְצָאִים[3] (Drusius).


Verse 16:[4] And Saul, and Jonathan his son, and the people that were present with them, abode in Gibeah (Heb. Geba,[5] 1 Sam. 13:3[6]) of Benjamin: but the Philistines encamped in Michmash.


[The Philistines had encamped in Michmash] Michmash was not far from Gibeah, in which Saul and Jonathan had conjoined their men and camps, as it is evident from 1 Samuel 14:5 (Menochius out of Sanchez). Frome which Jonathan was able conveniently to break in upon the camp of the Philistines (Sanchez).


Verse 17:[7] And the spoilers came out of the camp of the Philistines in three companies: one company turned unto the way that leadeth to (Josh. 18:23) Ophrah, unto the land of Shual…


[And they went out to spoil, וַיֵּצֵ֧א הַמַּשְׁחִ֛ית[8]] And went out the spoiler (Montanus), the destroyer (Pagnine, similarly Junius and Tremellius, Piscator). Destroyers, or plunderers (Syriac, Arabic, Dutch, English). Men, martial and mighty, so that they might lay Israel waste (Kimchi in Munster). They were going forth, not to fight, since they thought that there would be no enemies to be attacked; but to spoil (Mendoza).


[Three companies, שְׁלֹשָׁ֣ה רָאשִׁ֑ים] In three heads (Pagnine, Montanus), squadrons (Arabic), troops (Syriac, Tigurinus, Junius and Tremellius, Vatablus). This they did; either, 1. From excessive security (Cajetan and Tostatus in Mendoza), knowing that the Hebrews were unarmed and fearful (Sanchez). Or, 2. From foresight of dangers, so that they might come to the help of each other (Mendoza).


In three companies; that they might march several ways, and so waste several parts of the country.


[To the land of Shual, שׁוּעָל] It appears to have its name from foxes, perhaps because it was abounding in them. See 1 Samuel 9:4[9] (Malvenda). But Ophrah here was mentioned as a town of Benjamin, concerning which Joshua 18:23. That is, northward, with respect to location, where the Philistines were camping (Piscator out of Junius).


Ophrah; a city of Benjamin, Joshua 18:23, southwest from Michmash.


Verse 18:[10] And another company turned the way to (Josh. 16:3; 18:13, 14) Beth-horon: and another company turned to the way of the border that looketh to the valley of (Neh. 11:34) Zeboim toward the wilderness.


[They were advancing by the way of Beth-horon, יִפְנֶה[11]] It was looking toward (Jonathan, Pagnine, Tigurinus, Montanus), turned itself (Junius and Tremellius), was holding (Syriac), proceeded (Arabic). In the tribe of Ephraim, towards the West (Junius, Piscator, Malvenda).


Beth-horon; a city of Ephraim, Joshua 16:3, northwest from Michmash.


[Toward the way of the border overlooking the valley of Zeboim, עַל־גֵּ֥י הַצְּבֹעִ֖ים] Upon or over against, or towards the valley of Zeboim (Pagnine, Montanus, Junius, Munster, Tigurinus). The valley of basilisks, or of princes (Vatablus, the Chaldean and Hebrew in Malvenda). Which are so called, because they tinged with various colors[12] (Vatablus). Another interpreter: unto the valley of hyenas (Theodotion out of Aquila), of roes. It confuses צְבָאיִם/gazelles with צְבֹעִים/ hyenas (Drusius). It is a place in the tribe of Benjamin towards the desert of Jordan (Piscator, Junius). It is called the valley of Zeboim, because in it formerly was that Zeboim, concerning which Deuteronomy 29:23.[13] Thus Genesis 10:19.[14] The borders of Canaan in the time of Moses are said to be Sodom, Gomorrah, etc., although those cities did not exist at that time (Mendoza).


The wilderness, that is, the wilderness of Jordan, eastward.


Verse 19:[15] Now (see 2 Kings 24:14; Jer. 24:1) there was no smith found throughout all the land of Israel: for the Philistines said, Lest the Hebrews make them swords or spears…


[A worker of iron was not found, וְחָרָשׁ֙ לֹ֣א יִמָּצֵ֔א[16]] A worker was not found (Syriac, Pagnine, Montanus, Junius and Tremellius). Understand this of workers of iron (Junius, Piscator, Arabic). An artificer making arms (Jonathan). The general term is restricted to a certain species (Drusius).


[Now, they had taken precautions, lest perhaps they make, etc.[17]] Hebrew: they had said, understanding, let us remove all the workers of iron from the region, lest perchance, etc. (Vatablus). In the Qere, it is they had said;[18] in the Kethib, he said,[19] namely, each of the Philistines (Drusius). This was harsh counsel, but prudent (Sanchez). Among the Romans, the use of arms was prohibited to servants. See Valerius Maximus’ Nine Books of Memorable Deeds and Sayings[20] 7:6, and Alexander ab Alexandro’s Festival Days[21] 6:22. See also Aristotle’s Politics 2:2 (Mendoza). The Philistines had taken precautions against this, with a covenant extorted; not dissimilar was the law that Porsenna imposed in covenant with the Romans, that they would not make use of iron except in agriculture.[22] The Historians pass over this in silence, as shameful to the people of the families afterwards victorious: but Pliny frankly admits it, Natural History 34:14 (Grotius). Which the Philistines did at this time; the Chaldeans afterwards, 2 Kings 24:14; Jeremiah 24:1; 29:2, when they carried off all workmen, as much as of wood as of iron, who would have known either how to fortify a city, or to construct a camp (Sanchez). It is not evident whence this prohibition of arms began. Not in the time of Saul, since hitherto they had made no war (Mendoza). While in the time of Samuel’s old age the Philistines had again pursued dominion over Israel, and had placed their outposts within the land of Israel, they carried off all the workmen, etc. (Munster, Kimchi in Tostatus). But Samuel succumbed to them in no battle; indeed, he always overcame them, according to that in 1 Samuel 7:13, the hand of the Lord was upon the Philistines all the days of Samuel. Which is thus to be understood, that Samuel admitted no new yoke of the Philistines; although not he did not remove all the old: for, while he was governing, they were yet retaining their outposts in the land of Israel. Therefore, this prohibition of arms was older. Others maintain that it began in the time of Eli: yet others, of Samson, who on that account armed himself with a jawbone:[23] others, in the time of Shamgar, because he smote the Philistines with a plowshare, Judges 3:31, not with a sword, or spear, that is, because that law was already in effect (Mendoza). Since at that time the Hebrews had served the Philistines, by their command they had been without workmen, who were not yet restored (Menochius almost out of Lyra). They took away, not only the use of arms, but also the ability of fabrication; and so they wanted all workmen to be exiled from the land of Canaan; and perhaps to migrate into their own Palestine, lest they should repatriate (Mendoza out of Lyra and Tostatus and Hugo). Abulensis adds that they took precautions, both by capital punishment, which they were establishing; and by military garrisons, lest either craftsmen of arms be admitted, or arms be imported from foreigners. But the Philistines accomplished little by this prohibition (Mendoza); as it is evident from this place, and Judges 3:31; 15. For, when human helps are taken away, divine helps are increased (Mendoza’s Annotations 15:3). Armed men were conquered by the unarmed, so that the victory might be attributed to the one God (Lapide out of Gregory).


There was no smith, etc.: This was a politic course of the Philistines, which also other nations have used. So the Chaldeans took away their smiths, 2 Kings 24:14; Jeremiah 24:1; 29:2; and Porsenna obliged the Romans by covenant, that they should use no iron but in the tillage of their lands.


Verse 20:[24] But all the Israelites went down to the Philistines, to sharpen every man his share, and his coulter, and his axe, and his mattock.


[All Israel was going down to the Philistines, so that each might sharpen his plowshare, etc.] It is not likely that the Hebrews went down to the region of the Philistines, which was far distant from many pars of the land of Israel, in order to sharpen their plowshares, etc.; but the Philistines had in various places their outposts, and in them blacksmith shops. And this, with respect to their counsel, was just as if they were only in Palestine (Sanchez, similarly Menochius). [Neither does the Hebrew prevent this sense, they went down הַפְּלִשְׁתִּים. They translate it, to the Philistines (Pagnine, Munster, Junius and Tremellius, nearly all interpreters). Which is true, if they went down to their garrisons.]


To the Philistines; not to the land of the Philistines, for it is not said so, and that was too remote; but to the stations and garrisons which the Philistines yet retained in several parts of Israel’s land, though Samuel’s authority had so far overawed them, that they durst not give the Israelites much disturbance. In these, therefore, the Philistines kept all the smiths, and here they allowed them the exercise of their art for the uses here following.


[So that they might sharpen their plowshare (thus Munster, Pagnine, Montanus),לִ֠לְטוֹשׁ אִ֣ישׁ אֶת־מַחֲרַשְׁתּ֤וֹ [25]] To polish his plowshare (Junius and Tremellius), or scythe (Syriac). To restore the plowshare of the plowmen (Tigurinus); to forge his scythe (Arabic, similarly the Septuagint). To sharpen his goad (Jonathan). מַחֲרַשְׁתּ֤וֹ signifies an instrument of which use is made by carpenters and stone-cutters (certain interpreters in Vatablus, Kimchi in Munster). Or whatever instrument suited for all fabrication, or for every work of the craftsman. Yet they derive it from חָרַשׁ, to plow[26] (Vatablus). Others undertand the hoe of those digging in the earth (Munster).


[And his mattock (thus Munster, Pagnine, Montanus, Junius and Tremellius), וְאֶת־אֵתוֹ[27]] And his tool, or instrument (the Septuagint in Mendoza); and his plowshare (Rabbi Salomon in Drusius, Syriac, Tigurinus, Kimchi), the pin of his yoke (Jonathan in Drusius), or spike (Drusius), the spike of the oxen (Kimchi in Drusius).


[And his axe (thus the Septuagint, Jonathan, Munster, Pagnine, Montanus, Tigurinus, Junius and Tremellius, Jonathan), וְאֶת־קַרְדֻּמּוֹ] And his mattock (Syriac), double-edged axe (Arabic, Vatablus). They say that at that time the doube-edged axe was after the likeness of the blade of a quarryman (Vatablus).


[And his hoe (thus Pagnine, Tigurinus), וְאֵת מַחֲרֵשָׁתוֹ] And that of those digging in the earth (Montanus); his single-bladed hoe (Septuagint), shovel (Syriac, Junius and Tremellius), axe (Arabic), implements of iron (Jonathan). The other implements of iron (Castalio). And his workman’s tools (Munster), from חָרַשׁ, to plow. It appears to be an instrument wherewith they plow, and draw ridges and furrows in the earth (Drusius).


Verse 21:[28] Yet they had a file (Heb. a file with mouths[29]) for the mattocks, and for the coulters, and for the forks, and for the axes, and to sharpen (Heb. to set[30]) the goads.


[And so the edges of their plowshares were dull, etc. (similarly Munster, Tigurinus, Castalio)] That is to say, their farming implements, which could be of service for military purposes, were dull, and not suitable for battle (Mendoza). By continuous tilling they were dull and blunted; and it was difficult for the Hebrews, in order to sharpen them, to go so often to the Philistines (Lapide). But it is quite different in Hebrew (Mariana).


[וְהָיְתָ֞ה הַפְּצִ֣ירָה פִ֗ים לַמַּֽחֲרֵשֹׁת֙] But there was a file (toothed file [Mariana], a file having a mouth [Montanus]) for their plowshares (Pagnine). Otherwise (namely, for those that were not willing, or were not able, to visit the Philistines [Junius]), was used (Hebrew: there was [Junius]) a file for their shovels, etc. (Junius and Tremellius). I translate it, For files were there. Hebrew: there was a file. An Ellipsis and Enallage of number. File; Hebrew, eagerness of mouths. It is an instrument whereby there is a pressing with mouths; this is for sharpening the edges of iron implements. Periphrasis and metaphor. By which metaphor come the saying, the mouth of the sword, Joshua 6:21,[31] and the sword of mouths, Psalm 149:6;[32] Proverbs 5:4[33] (Piscator). They say that a file is called פְּצִירָה/ PETZIRAH, either from its pressing;[34] or from breaking, because it breaks things, or because it has many fractures, or incisions. Others thus: And there was a file having a mouth, or many mouths, for their plowshares, etc.; that is to say, Their plowshares, more like unto files, were blunted with close set fractures. Or, a file having a mouth; that is, full of incisions for sharpening iron. Others: and there was a serration of points in their plowshares, etc.; that is, their plowshares were deformed into a serrated appearance. Others: And was made a rupture, blunting, dulling of the edges of their plowshares, etc.; that is, the edges of their plowshares were broken, dulled, etc. (Malvenda). Others thus: And what file was broader was turned into a scythe (Syriac). And to make a scythe out of a broader file (Arabic). A file abounding in mouths; that is, an instrument having many incisions, mouths, as it were (Hebrews in Vatablus). And was made a collection of mouths in their plowshares. Now, פִים is plural (contractedly in the place of פִיִים) from פֶּה/ mouth; which nevertheless is thus more frequently found, פִּיוֹת, פִּי. Moreover, by collection is understood the very serration of the edge, as, when a knife from much use is defored into the appearance of a saw, it is needful that it be restored by a smith (Kimchi in Munster).


[And of their tridents, וְלִשְׁלֹ֥שׁ קִלְּשׁ֖וֹן[35]] And for their tridents (Montanus, Drusius, Munster, Castalio, Junius and Tremellius), three-pronged fork, fork with three teeth (Tigurinus). קִלְּשׁוֹן is an instrument of iron with teeth, wherewith they remove dung and chaff (Kimchi in Drusius). Fork (Rabbi Salomon in Drusius). Some translate it drag-hoe; others, shovel (Drusius). The word is found only here, not elsewhere (Malvenda).


[And of their axes, וּלְהַקַּרְדֻּמִּים] And for their axes (Montanus, Munster, Tigurinus, Castalio). Here, the article ה is after the ל, which is exceedingly rare.[36] Thus elsewhere לְהָעָם, to the people,[37] and לְהַגְּדוּד, for the army[38] (Drusius).


[Even unto the goad, which was to be mended, וּלְהַצִּ֖יב הַדָּרְבָֽן׃] And to stand (to set [Dutch, English], to adapt [Junius and Tremellius], to repair [Tigurinus, Castalio], to sharpen [Pagnine]) the goad (Montanus), as much that part that is fastened to the shaft; as the other wherewith beasts are prodded (Junius). To set (that is, to insert into the shaft) the point, namely, of the ox-goad (Vatablus). And the forks to be affixed (Munster). Even for the support of the goad (Jonathan). For the shaft of the goad (Syriac). And they made two-edged axes, and shafts with points so that they might serve as spears (Arabic). דָּרְבָן is a goad; the wood to which the point is fixed is called מַלְמָד, wherewith oxen are prodded (Drusius).


Yet they had a file, etc.: So the sense is, They allowed them some small helps to make their mattocks, and in some sort to serve their present use. But these words may be otherwise translated, and are so by some learned, both ancient and modern, translators: thus, Therefore the mouths or edges of the mattocks and coulters, etc., were dull or blunt. Or rather thus, When (Hebrew, and put for when, as the particle and is sometimes rendered, as Mark 15:25) the mouths or edges of the mattocks, etc., were blunt. So this passage very well agrees both with the foregoing and following words; and the whole sense of the place is entirely thus, They went to the Philistines to sharpen their shares, and mattocks, and coulters, and axes, when they were blunt, and (which was more strange, they were forced to go to them even) to sharpen their goads.


Verse 22:[39] So it came to pass in the day of battle, that (so Judg. 5:8) there was neither sword nor spear found in the hand of any of the people that were with Saul and Jonathan: but with Saul and with Jonathan his son was there found.


[The day of battle] When the battle lines on both sides charge. מִלְחָמָה here signifies battle, but elsewhere war. Thus differ πόλεμος/war and μάχη/ battle. קְרָב is properly used of battle.[40] War is that whole time in which enemies are at arms (Drusius).


[There was not found a sword, etc.] This will appear strange, how they without arms smote either that outpost of the Philistines,[41] or the army of the Ammonites;[42] and how they had no more of those arms that they were able to take from them; neither is it plausible that they afterwards neglected those things that were so necessary for the dangers then threatening (Sanchez). Responses: 1. It is not said that all the Israelites were without swords; but rather these six hundred that were with Saul: whom perhaps the Lord permitted to be unarmed so that the victory might be all the more glorious (Menochius). The arms were taken only from those that were in Gibeah (Carthusianus and Hugo in Mendoza). But this is contradicted in verse 19, in all the land of Israel, and in verse 20, all Israel went down (Mendoza). If any arms were plundered from the Philistines or Ammonites, those that had deserted Saul had taken all (Sanchez). 2. I might also believe that the majority of the soldiering that had adhered to Saul were of Gibeah, which was their common homeland with Saul; but the men of Gibeah were incredibly capable in the casting a stones with a sling, Judges 20:16. For which reason it is not improbable that they neglected other sorts of arms; as David afterwards did, being about to fight Goliath[43] (Menochius). Although they were without iron arms; that is, with the outpost of the Philistines that was in Gibeah urging them to put those aside; nevertheless, they abounded in others: and so they armed themselves with slings and stones (Mendoza). The use of slings was common among the Israelites. See Judges 20:16; 2 Kings 3:25; Zechariah 9:15; Judith 6:12;[44] 1 Maccabees 9:11.[45] David did not need other arms to defeat Goliath. The Beleares[46] have only this sort of arms, neither do they appear inferior to others in fighting. Wherefore the matter was able not incommodiously to be conducted without sword and spears (Sanchez). 3. Although the Israelites did not have swords, nevertheless they were not without other darts; and also farming instruments were able easily to be converted for the use of war (Menochius out of Sanchez). [Which also the Arabic appears to have understood, which thus renders the preceding verse: and to fabricate a scythe of a broader file, and they fabricated for themselves stakes and spits from files, and made two-edged axes and spears with tips to serve as javelins.] Bows were present, of which there is great use in wars. Objection: But they were not having arrows tipped with iron (Tostatus). Response: In some regions, in the place of an iron tip they place flint on the tip of their arrows, which pierces bodies no less than if it were of iron (Sanchez). [But it is not likely that the Philistines prohibited bows and arrows with the same strictness as other arms.] Pliny, Natural History 16:40, says that a javelin of cornal wood is so strong and sturdy, that it is wont to serve in the place of an iron tip. Add that of old, before the invention of spears tipped with iron on a pole, and afterwards also, in the place of spears there were stakes hardened by burning; which is testified to by Curtius in his Concerning the Persians 3; Virgil in his Æneid 7, …no longer in a rustic quarrel did they compete with hard poles, and fire-hardened stakes; Propertius in his Elegies 4:1, they were mixing unarmed fighting with burned stakes; Statius in his Achilleid 1, there is no measure to the bending of bows, or the casting of projectiles, or the burining of stakes, or the heightening of helms with crests; Silius in his Punica[47] 8, they were bearing spears, fire-hardened javelins of cornel wood without tips of iron (Sanchez). The Israelites were fighting with staves, clubs, slings, stakes, after the manner of the ancients. See Judges 5:8, amond forty thousand there was no sword. And in Chronicles, those excellent men, who drew near to David, made use of bows and slings, so that they might strike to the right and to the left.[48] Add that is this manner God willed to testify to His own power (Martyr). Kimchi thinks that the Israelites had their ancient arms, but made no new ones (Willet). That prohibition was no so strict that no arms at all remained: but they were so rare, especially in so great a people, that there appeared to be none (Tostatus in Mendoza).


There was neither sword nor spear found, etc.: Question: How could the Israelites smite either the garrison of the Philistines, above, 1 Samuel 13:3, or the host of the Ammonites, 1 Samuel 11:11, without arms? And when they had conquered them, why did they not take away their arms, and reserve them to their own use? Answer 1. This want of swords and spears is not affirmed concerning all Israel, but is restrained unto those six hundred who were with Saul and Jonathan, whom God by his providence might suffer to be without those arms, that the glory of the following victory might be wholly ascribed to God; as for the very same reason God would have but three hundred men left with Gideon, and those armed only with trumpets, and pitchers, and lamps Judges 7. There were no doubt a considerable number of swords and spears among the Israelites, but they generally hid them, as now they did their persons, from the Philistines. And the Philistines had not yet attained to so great a power over them, as wholly to disarm them, but thought it sufficient to prevent the making of new arms, knowing that the old ones would shortly be decayed and useless. 2. There were other arms more common in those times and places than swords and spears, to wit, bows and arrows, and slings and stones; as appears from Judges 20:16; 2 Samuel 1:18, 22; 2 Kings 3:25; 1 Chronicles 12:1, 2; besides clubs, and instruments of agriculture, which might easily be turned into weapons of war. 3. God so governed the affairs of the Israelites, that they had no great number of swords or spears, Judges 5:8, that so they might be kept in more dependence upon and subjection unto God, wherein their safety and happiness consisted. And therefore that famous victory obtained against the Philistines in Samuel’s days, was not got by the sword of men, but only by thunder from heaven, 1 Samuel 7:10.


Verse 23:[49] (1 Sam. 14:1, 4) And the garrison (or, standing camp[50]) of the Philistines went out to the passage of Michmash.


[The outpost of the Philistines went out, וַיֵּצֵא֙ מַצַּ֣ב[51]] And went out the prefect or captain (Montanus, Jonathan), the garrison (Pagnine), a scout (Arabic), the station (Syriac, Junius and Tremellius, Tigurinus, Munster), that is, one belonging to a station, or soldiers belonging to a station (Munster, Drusius). מַצָּב is taken for נְצִיבִים, men standing (Munster). The standing camp (English). The Septuagint, ἐξ ὑποστάσεως, from the setting, which they render from the station, and understand, a plunderer (Drusius).


[So that they might pass over unto Michmash, אֶֽל־מַעֲבַ֖ר מִכְמָֽשׂ׃] Towards or unto the passage (the ford [Jonathan], the opposite side [Arabic], the straits [Junius and Tremellius]) of Michmash (Pagnine, Montanus, Vatablus), that is, unto that part which was between Michmash and Gibeah of Benjamin; that is, they had stationed a garrison beyond Michmash: it signifies the way or field through which it was necessary to pass (Vatablus). They located their camp there with this intention, that they might besiege Saul in Gibeah, and capture him with the city, and kill him (Menochius). With these straits occupied, the approach was open to them to the plains of Benjamin; concerning those see 1 Samuel 14:4; Isaiah 10:29 (Junius). So that they might pass beyond Michmash (Munster). But the Philistines were in Michmash, 1 Samuel 13:5, 11; how then are they passing unto Michmash? Namely, going out of the camp, they advanced either to the ford, or to the road that was running to Michmash (Mariana). And the army of the Philistines was passing by Michmash (Strigelius). The sense: The outpost of the Philistines was reaching unto the boards of Michmash: on which occasion Jonathan attacked the outpost (Osiander). But this verse appears to have been more rightly joined with the following chapter (Osiander, similarly Junius).


The passage of Michmash: A place so called, because it was near to Michmash, and led towards Gibeah, which, it seems, they designed to besiege, and in the mean time to waste the adjoining country.

[1] Hebrew: וַיָּ֣קָם שְׁמוּאֵ֗ל וַיַּ֛עַל מִן־הַגִּלְגָּ֖ל גִּבְעַ֣ת בִּנְיָמִ֑ן וַיִּפְקֹ֣ד שָׁא֗וּל אֶת־הָעָם֙ הַנִּמְצְאִ֣ים עִמּ֔וֹ כְּשֵׁ֥שׁ מֵא֖וֹת אִֽישׁ׃ [2] Hebrew: הַנִּמְצְאִים. [3] The expected pointing. See Ezra 8:25: “And weighed unto them the silver, and the gold, and the vessels, even the offering of the house of our God, which the king, and his counsellors, and his lords, and all Israel there present, had offered (הַנִּמְצָאִים)…” [4] Hebrew: וְשָׁא֞וּל וְיוֹנָתָ֣ן בְּנ֗וֹ וְהָעָם֙ הַנִּמְצָ֣א עִמָּ֔ם יֹשְׁבִ֖ים בְּגֶ֣בַע בִּנְיָמִ֑ן וּפְלִשְׁתִּ֖ים חָנ֥וּ בְמִכְמָֽשׂ׃ [5] Hebrew: בְּגֶבַע. [6] 1 Samuel 13:3: “And Jonathan smote the garrison of the Philistines that was in Geba (בְּגֶבַע), and the Philistines heard of it. And Saul blew the trumpet throughout all the land, saying, Let the Hebrews hear.” [7] Hebrew: וַיֵּצֵ֧א הַמַּשְׁחִ֛ית מִמַּחֲנֵ֥ה פְלִשְׁתִּ֖ים שְׁלֹשָׁ֣ה רָאשִׁ֑ים הָרֹ֙אשׁ אֶחָ֥ד יִפְנֶ֛ה אֶל־דֶּ֥רֶךְ עָפְרָ֖ה אֶל־אֶ֥רֶץ שׁוּעָֽל׃ [8]שָׁחַת in the Hiphil Conjugation signifies to destroy. [9] 1 Samuel 9:4: “And he passed through mount Ephraim, and passed through the land of Shalisha, but they found them not: then they passed through the land of Shalim (שַׁעֲלִים), and there they were not: and he passed through the land of the Benjamites, but they found them not.” [10] Hebrew: וְהָרֹ֤אשׁ אֶחָד֙ יִפְנֶ֔ה דֶּ֖רֶךְ בֵּ֣ית חֹר֑וֹן וְהָרֹ֙אשׁ אֶחָ֤ד יִפְנֶה֙ דֶּ֣רֶךְ הַגְּב֔וּל הַנִּשְׁקָ֛ף עַל־גֵּ֥י הַצְּבֹעִ֖ים הַמִּדְבָּֽרָה׃ [11]פָּנָה signifies to turn. [12]צֶבַע signifies dye, or dyed stuff. [13] Deuteronomy 29:23: “And that the whole land thereof is brimstone, and salt, and burning, that it is not sown, nor beareth, nor any grass groweth therein, like the overthrow of Sodom, and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim (וּצְבֹיִים), which the Lord overthrew in his anger, and in his wrath…” [14] Genesis 10:19: “And the border of the Canaanites was from Sidon, as thou comest to Gerar, unto Gaza; as thou goest, unto Sodom, and Gomorrah, and Admah, and Zeboim (וּצְבֹיִם), even unto Lasha.” [15] Hebrew: וְחָרָשׁ֙ לֹ֣א יִמָּצֵ֔א בְּכֹ֖ל אֶ֣רֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל כִּֽי־אָמַ֣ר פְלִשְׁתִּ֔ים פֶּ֚ן יַעֲשׂ֣וּ הָעִבְרִ֔ים חֶ֖רֶב א֥וֹ חֲנִֽית׃ [16]חָרָשׁ signifies artificer. [17] Hebrew: כִּי־אָמַ֣ר פְלִשְׁתִּ֔ים פֶּ֚ן יַעֲשׂ֣וּ הָעִבְרִ֔ים וגו״. [18] Hebrew: אָמְרוּ. [19] Hebrew: אָמַר. [20] Factorum et Dictorum Memorabilium Libri Novem. [21]Dies Geniales. [22] Lars Porsenna, an Etruscan king, waged a successful war agains the city of Rome circa 508 BC. [23] Judges 15:15-17. [24] Hebrew: וַיֵּרְד֥וּ כָל־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל הַפְּלִשְׁתִּ֑ים לִ֠לְטוֹשׁ אִ֣ישׁ אֶת־מַחֲרַשְׁתּ֤וֹ וְאֶת־אֵתוֹ֙ וְאֶת־קַרְדֻּמּ֔וֹ וְאֵ֖ת מַחֲרֵשָׁתֽוֹ׃ [25]לָטַשׁ signifies to hammer, or to sharpen. [26] Or, to dig or gouge out. [27] 1 Samuel 13:20: “But all the Israelites went down to the Philistines, to sharpen every man his share, and his coulter (וְאֶת־אֵתוֹ), and his axe, and his mattock.” [28] Hebrew: וְֽהָיְתָ֞ה הַפְּצִ֣ירָה פִ֗ים לַמַּֽחֲרֵשֹׁת֙ וְלָ֣אֵתִ֔ים וְלִשְׁלֹ֥שׁ קִלְּשׁ֖וֹן וּלְהַקַּרְדֻּמִּ֑ים וּלְהַצִּ֖יב הַדָּרְבָֽן׃ [29] Hebrew: הַפְּצִ֣ירָה פִ֗ים. [30] Hebrew: וּלְהַצִּיב. [31] Joshua 6:21: “And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the mouth of the sword (לְפִי־חָרֶב).” [32] Psalm 149:6: “Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a twoedged sword (וְחֶ֖רֶב פִּֽיפִיּ֣וֹת, a sword of mouths) in their hand…” [33] Proverbs 5:4: “But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a twoedged sword (כְּחֶ֣רֶב פִּיּֽוֹת׃, as a sword of mouths).” [34]פָּצַר signifies to press. [35]קִלְּשׁוֹן may signify a point, from the Chaldean קלשׁ, to be thin. [36] Normally, when an inseparable is added to a definite noun, the ה falls away, surrendering its pointing to the preposition. [37] 2 Chronicles 10:7: “And they spake unto him, saying, If thou be kind to this people (לְהָעָ֤ם הַזֶּה֙), and please them, and speak good words to them, they will be thy servants for ever.” [38] 2 Chronicles 25:10: “Then Amaziah separated them, to wit, the army (לְהַגְּדוּד) that was come to him out of Ephraim, to go home again: wherefore their anger was greatly kindled against Judah, and they returned home in great anger.” [39] Hebrew: וְהָיָה֙ בְּי֣וֹם מִלְחֶ֔מֶת וְלֹ֙א נִמְצָ֜א חֶ֤רֶב וַחֲנִית֙ בְּיַ֣ד כָּל־הָעָ֔ם אֲשֶׁ֥ר אֶת־שָׁא֖וּל וְאֶת־יוֹנָתָ֑ן וַתִּמָּצֵ֣א לְשָׁא֔וּל וּלְיוֹנָתָ֖ן בְּנֽוֹ׃ [40] For example, Zechariah 14:3: “Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle (בְּי֥וֹם קְרָֽב׃).” [41] 1 Samuel 13:3. [42] 1 Samuel 11:11. [43] 1 Samuel 17:38-40. [44] Judith 6:12: “And when the men of the city saw them, they took up their weapons, and went out of the city to the top of the hill: and every man that used a sling kept them from coming up by casting of stones against them.” [45] 1 Maccabees 9:11: “With that the host of Bacchides removed out of their tents, and stood over against them, their horsemen being divided into two troops, and their slingers and archers going before the host and they that marched in the foreward were all mighty men.” [46] The Balearic Islands are off the eastern coast of Spain. The inhabitants were famous for their skill with the sling, and served both the Carthaginians, and later the Romans, as mercenaries. [47] Silius Italicus (c. 26-c. 101) was a Roman senator and epic poet of the Silver Age. [48] 1 Chronicles 12:2. [49] Hebrew: וַיֵּצֵא֙ מַצַּ֣ב פְּלִשְׁתִּ֔ים אֶֽל־מַעֲבַ֖ר מִכְמָֽשׂ׃ [50] Hebrew: מַצַּב. [51]נָצַב signifies to stand.

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