Poole on 1 Samuel 13:6, 7: Fear and Flight

Verse 6:[1] When the men of Israel saw that they were in a strait, (for the people were distressed,) then the people (Judg. 6:2) did hide themselves in caves, and in thickets, and in rocks, and in high places, and in pits.


[And when the men of Israel saw that they set in a tight space (for the people was afflicted), etc., כִּ֣י צַר־ל֔וֹ כִּ֥י נִגַּ֖שׂ הָעָ֑ם] That a strait was to them, because hemmed in (pressed [Tigurinus, Drusius], dismayed [Strigelius], afflicted, squeezed [Vatablus]) was the people (Montanus, similarly Pagnine, Junius and Tremellius, Dutch, English, Vatablus, Drusius); that affliction was to them, because oppressed was the people (Jonathan); they were hemmed in, and fear got hold of the people. The passive נִגַּשׂ, it was pressed, is here written with the point Smol [that is, left: just as it is written by Buxtorf, Schindler, and Pagnine in their Lexica; although in the Hebrew codex of the Plantinian edition,[2] and in the Bible Polyglots, it is pointed on the right], and signifies the same thing as נִּדְחַק, to be smitten with distress;[3] and it drew not near,[4] as some of our men have incorrectly translated it (Munster). That a strait was to them. As if they had no place to escape, nor courage to fight. It is added by way of parenthesis (for the people was afflicted), where a difficulty is presented, of what matter is this account given, whether of their knowledge, or of their affliction? Response 1: Not of their affliction; because thus a thing would be explained by itself. You will say that a reason is rendered for the former: they were downcast internally, because they were actually in danger, which was the object of their sadness. But it is fitting that צַר/strait and נִצַּר, was pressed, be taken in the same way. [But in the text, it is not נִצַּר, it was pressed, but נִגַּשׂ, it was distressed.[5]] Response 2: An account is given of their knowledge through external affliction, or through the object of affliction; that is, they knew themselves to be in danger, because it was actually so. Which is not said without reason. For often those that are secure think themselves to be in danger, and those that are in danger are secure (Mendoza). [Others translate the passage otherwise:] And a man of Israel saw, that he was in a strait, so that he might not draw nigh (Septuagint), that is, that the matter fell to him in a tight place, and thus he is troubled, that he is not at all able to join battle with the adversaries: and so he hid himself. The Complutensian more plainly, but at a greater distance from the Hebrew: that they were pressed, and the people retreated, and hid (Nobilius). The Israelites, seeing that their affairs were in a strait, with those drawing near (Castalio). When they saw themselves in a stait, or in tribulation, for the people had drawn near; that is, for the Philistines with their aforementioned camp had drawn near to the Israelites: and so the Israelites, smitten with fear, slipping away in all directions, hid themselves (Osiander) [Judge whether this sense matches well both the Hebrew words and context.]


They were in a strait, notwithstanding their former presumption, that if they had a king they should be free from all such straits. And hereby God intended to teach them the vanity of all carnal confidence in men; and that they did not one jot less need the help and favour of God now than they did before, when they had no king. The people were distressed; they were not mistaken in their apprehensions of danger, as men oft are, for they were really in great danger, their enemy’s host far exceeding theirs, both in number, and order, and courage, and arms.


[They hid themselves in caves, etc. (thus all interpreters)] That that region was full of retreats of this sort, and that the Israelites were wont to enter them in times of manifest danger, is evident out of Josephus’ Jewish War 1:12, and Joshua 10; 1 Samuel 24 (Sanchez).


[And in lairs, וּבַחֲוָחִים[6]] And in fortified places (Pagnine, Montanus, Junius, Kimchi in Munster, Drusius), in clefts of the mountains (Cajetan in Mendoza), in crypts (Syriac), in thickets (Tigurinus, Vatablus, Junius and Tremellius, Rabbi Salomon in Drusius). For a thorn-bush is called חוֹחַ, whence חֲוָחִים/thorn-bushes (Drusius).


[And in hollows, וּבַצְּרִחִים[7]] And in towers (Pagnine, Montanus), in places high (Munster, Drusius), or steep (Vatablus), in strongholds (Junius and Tremellius, Tigurinus), in caves of stone, or rock (Jonathan in Drusius), in apertures (Arabic).


[And in cisterns[8]] Or wells, or pits (thus all interpreters).


The people did hide themselves in caves; whereof there were divers in those parts for this very use, as we read in Josephus, and in the Holy Scripture.


Verse 7:[9] And some of the Hebrews went over Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead. As for Saul, he was yet in Gilgal, and all the people followed him trembling (Heb. trembled after him[10]).


[But the Hebrews passed over Jordan, וְעִבְרִ֗ים עָֽבְרוּ֙ אֶת־הַיַּרְדֵּ֔ן] And the Hebrews passed over Jordan (Montanus). Οἱ διαβαίνοντες διέβησαν, the crossers crossed (Septuagint). The article shows that the repetition of the verb is not for the sake of ornament; but that are signified those that we noted somewhat earlier were called Hebrews by Aquila; transfluvials by Symmachus (Nobilius). Moreover, the trans-Jordanians (or those farther [certain interpreters in Munster]) passed over (Tigurinus). Nevertheless, Jonathan interprets it as Jews, being on the near side of Jordan, and these passed over (Munster). But the Hebrews (that is, who were of the other bank of Jordan) crossed over, etc. (Syriac, Arabic). Now, Hebrews, understanding, some, or certain (Pagnine, Drusius, Munster), or other (Junius and Tremellius). Some of the Israelites hid themselves; others passed over Jordan; others trembled after Saul (Drusius, Mariana). I prefer, but Hebrews, with the supplement omitted, that is, but those Israelites that were not engaged with Saul in the military campaign. Hebrews here is set over against the people in verse 6, which appears is to be understood of the people that were with Saul, that is, of the soldiers (Piscator on verses 6 and 7). Moreover, the sacred text appears to have called these that passed over Jordan Hebrews, rather than Israelites, so that there might be some allusion to the signification of the Hebrew word, which signifies crossers[11] (Menochius). Allusions are common in Sacred Scripture, just as also in prophane writings: thus in 1 Samuel 25, according to his name so is he.[12] And in Zephaniah 2:4, עֶקְרוֹן/Ekron shall be rooted up; עָקַר signifies this.[13] Thus in Philemon 11, he says that Onesimus is going to be useful;[14] that is, according to his name.[15] Thus they are now called Hebrews, because they passed over Jordan in accordance with their name. Or perhaps, the Transjordanians are called Hebrews, because it was necessary for them to cross the Jordan, if they want to join themselves with the rest of the people. And for this reason I could believe that they are commonly called Hebrews (Sanchez). These are called Hebrews, not Israelites, namely, because Israel signifies fortitude.[16] But Hebrew signifies one crossing, or transfluvial. And so thus they were called contemptuously, as those fleeing beyond Jordan (Estius, similarly Mendoza).


[Into the land of Gad and Gilead] Why does he omit the land of Reuben? Could it be that they were a great distance from the Jordan? (Drusius out of Kimchi).


[The people were terrified, who were following him, וְכָל־הָעָ֖ם חָרְד֥וּ אַחֲרָֽיו׃] And all the people trembled (were troubled [Pagnine]) after him (Montanus, similarly the Septuagint, Vatablus); following him, it was trembling (Strigelius, similarly Tigurinus, English, Dutch); they trembled after him, that is, they trembled and went after him. Ellipsis (Piscator). Frightened, they rushed after him (Junius and Tremellius, similarly Vatablus); it moved after him (Munster); they gathered after him (Jonathan); the whole people was with him (Syriac, similarly the Arabic). Here, the people are able to see the vanity of their counsel. They wanted to have a prince, under whom they might live securely and in peace. But no king is able to furnish this (Martyr).


All the people, to wit, his whole army, opposed to the common people, verse 6.

[1] Hebrew: וְאִ֙ישׁ יִשְׂרָאֵ֤ל רָאוּ֙ כִּ֣י צַר־ל֔וֹ כִּ֥י נִגַּ֖שׂ הָעָ֑ם וַיִּֽתְחַבְּא֣וּ הָעָ֗ם בַּמְּעָר֤וֹת וּבַֽחֲוָחִים֙ וּבַסְּלָעִ֔ים וּבַצְּרִחִ֖ים וּבַבֹּרֽוֹת׃ [2] The Plantin (or Antwerp) Polyglot, as known as the Biblia Regia, was printed by Christopher Plantin in Antwerp in eight volumes, 1568-1573. The first four volumes cover the Old Testament in Hebrew, Greek, and Chaldean, each with a Latin translation. Volume 5 contains the New Testament in Greek and Syriac, both with a Latin translation, and the Syriac with a Hebrew translation. A complete Bible in the original languages, and an interlinear Bible, are found in volume 6. Volumes 7 and 8 provide lexical and grammatical aids. [3] Judges 2:18: “And when the Lord raised them up judges, then the Lord was with the judge, and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge: for it repented the Lord because of their groanings by reason of them that oppressed them and vexed them (וְדֹחֲקֵיהֶם).” [4]נָגַשׁ signifies to approach. [5] 1 Samuel 13:6: “When the men of Israel saw that they were in a strait (כִּ֣י צַר־ל֔וֹ), (for the people were distressed [כִּ֥י נִגַּ֖שׂ הָעָ֑ם],) then the people did hide themselves in caves, and in thickets, and in rocks, and in high places, and in pits.” [6] 1 Samuel 13:6b: “…then the people did hide themselves in caves, and in thickets (וּבַחֲוָחִים), and in rocks, and in high places (וּבַצְּרִחִים), and in pits (וּבַבֹּרוֹת).” [7]צְרִיחַ appears to be related to the verbal root צרח, to rend open. [8] Hebrew: וּבַבֹּרוֹת. [9] Hebrew: וְעִבְרִ֗ים עָֽבְרוּ֙ אֶת־הַיַּרְדֵּ֔ן אֶ֥רֶץ גָּ֖ד וְגִלְעָ֑ד וְשָׁאוּל֙ עוֹדֶ֣נּוּ בַגִּלְגָּ֔ל וְכָל־הָעָ֖ם חָרְד֥וּ אַחֲרָֽיו׃ [10] Hebrew: חָרְד֥וּ אַחֲרָֽיו׃. [11] Note the similarity between עִבְרִי/Hebrew and the verb עָבַר, to pass over. [12] 1 Samuel 25:25a: “Let not my lord, I pray thee, regard this man of Belial, even Nabal: for as his name is, so is he; Nabal is his name, and folly is with himנָבָ֣ל שְׁמ֔וֹ) וּנְבָלָ֖ה עִמּ֑וֹ)…” [13] Zephaniah 2:4: “For Gaza shall be forsaken, and Ashkelon a desolation: they shall drive out Ashdod at the noon day, and Ekron shall be rooted up (וְעֶקְר֖וֹן תֵּעָקֵֽר׃).” [14] Philemon 11: “Which in time past was to thee unprofitable, but now profitable to thee and to me (τόν ποτέ σοι ἄχρηστον, νυνὶ δὲ σοὶ καὶ ἐμοὶ εὔχρηστον)…” [15]Ὀνήσιμος/Onesimus, from ὄνησις/profit, means profitable. [16] Genesis 32:28: “And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel (יִשְׂרָאֵל): for as a prince hast thou power with God (כִּֽי־שָׂרִ֧יתָ עִם־אֱלֹהִ֛ים) and with men, and hast prevailed.”

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