Poole on 1 Samuel 14:47-52: Saul's Wars

Verse 47:[1] So Saul took the kingdom over Israel, and fought against all his enemies on every side, against Moab, and against the children of (1 Sam. 11:11) Ammon, and against Edom, and against the kings of (2 Sam. 10:6) Zobah, and against the Philistines: and whithersoever he turned himself, he vexed them.


[With the kingdom confirmed, וְשָׁא֛וּל לָכַ֥ד וגו״[2]] And Saul took the kingdom (Pagnine, Montanus, Piscator, Dutch, English), that is, as an enemy is taken/ captured (Piscator). He obtained (possessed [Munster]) the kingdom (Syriac); he occupied (Piscator); he claimed for himself (Vatablus); he was prospered (strengthened [Hebrews in Vatablus]) in the kingdom (Jonathan); by lot he began to reign (Septuagint); he confirmed himself in the kingdom (Kimchi in Drusius); he held fast the kingdom received (Junius and Tremellius), that is, he tyrannically occupied and administrated, after the two prior years of the just and legitimate administration of it (Malvenda). See 1 Samuel 13:1 (Junius). Others thus: Moreover, Saul, having obtained the kingdom of Israel, waged wars (Tigurinus, similarly Castalio, Strigelius).


Took the kingdom, that is, recovered it, and resumed the administration of it, after he had in a manner lost it, partly by Samuel’s sentence, 1 Samuel 13:14, and partly by the Philistines, who had almost turned him out of it. But now, being encouraged by this success, he returns to the exercise of his kingly office.


[He fought, etc.] Since he now had an ample and eager army, he determined that his enemies were to be subjugated; which, since they were neighbors, was not difficult to defeat them in a brief space, suppose a half-year or year (Sanchez, Tirinus).


[Against Moab and the children of Edom] Neighbors to the Hebrews on the East (Menochius).


[Edom] The Idumeans, who were neighboring the Hebrews towards the South (Menochius).


[The kings of Zobah] Whose kingdom was on the northern side of Israel: And so the king of Syria-Damascus is recorded as having brough help to Hadadezer, king of Zobah, 2 Samuel 8:5. Now, Damascus is in the northern part of the holy land. Also, the kings of Zobah were bearing enmity towards the kings of Hamath; but the land of Hamath is towards the northern quarter of Israel. See on Numbers 34:8 (Menochius). The kings of Zobah, of the Zobean peoples, who were holding the region from Batanea[3] to Euphrates. Concerning which see 2 Samuel 8 (Junius, Piscator).


Zobah lay not far from Damascus. See 2 Samuel 8:5.


[Withersoever he turned himself (similarly nearly all interpreters),וּבְכֹ֥ל אֲשֶׁר־יִפְנֶ֖ה] And in all that he was regarding (Montanus). In every place whithersoever he was looking (Jonathan).


[He was overcoming, יַרְשִׁיעַ[4]] [They render it variously:] He was conquering (Syriac, similarly the Arabic); he was acting manfully (Pagnine); he was conducting himself intrepidly (Vatablus). He was prevailing as a wicked man, who prevails over his companion, and plunders his wealth (Druius out of Rabbi Isaiah). He was harassing (Junius and Tremellius, Buxtorf, Drusius). For הִרְשִׁיעַ is opposed to הִשְׁקִיט in Job 34:29,[5] which signifies to keep quiet; and they think that one is said רָשַׁע, to be wicked, from the inquietude of the soul (Drusius). He vexed (English); he was terrifying, or casting into confusion (Hebrews in Vatablus); he was wasting (Jonathan in Vatablus) them as guilty, that is (Vatablus). He was exacting punishments (Dutch, Strigelius, Marinus in Malvenda); he was prosecuting the guilty (Rabbi Levi in Drusius); he was holding, or treating, them as impious; that is, he was destroying them, or laying them waste, etc. (Malvenda). He was acting impiously, or wickedly (Malvenda, Piscator, Lyra). [But they explain this diversely:] He was becoming impious (Lyra). He was acting impudently, insolently (Malvenda). It rather appears that this is put in the place of, he had his hands full; just as the poet said, wicked labor (Piscator). The Greeks have, wherever he turned, he was being saved. In the place of יַרְשִׁיעַ, he vexed, they read יִוָּשֵׁעַ, he was being saved, with a sense no less suitable (Cappel’s Sacred Criticism 4:261).


He vexed them; Hebrew, he condemned them, he treated them like wicked people, and enemies to God and his people; or, he punished them.


Verse 48:[6] And he gathered an host (or, wrought mightily[7]), and (1 Sam. 15:3, 7) smote the Amalekites, and delivered Israel out of the hands of them that spoiled them.


[And, with an army gathered, וַיַּ֣עַשׂ חַ֔יִל] And he wrought virtue/power (Montanus, Septuagint); he gathered an army (Jonathan, Munster, Pagnine, similarly the Syriac, Drusius out of Kimch and Rabbi Salomon, Tigurinus, Junius and Tremellius).


[He smote the Amalekites] Which war is narrated in the following chapter (Menochius, Tirinus).


Smote the Amalekites; which is here mentioned only in the general, but is particularly described in the next chapter.


Verse 49:[8] Now (1 Sam. 31:2; 1 Chron. 8:33) the sons of Saul were Jonathan, and Ishui, and Melchi-shua: and the names of his two daughters were these; the name of the firstborn Merab, and the name of the younger Michal…


[The sons of Saul, etc.] There is no mention here of Ishbosheth, because he was not apt for war (Martyr, Sanchez in Menochius). He only names those that were following their father in war, and fell there (Malvenda). But Ishbosheth survived Saul (Lapide).


[Ishui] He is called Abinadab in 1 Chronicles 8:33 (Menochius, Malvenda, Junius, Piscator).


Ishui, called also Abinadab, 1 Samuel 31:2; 1 Chronicles 8:33. Ishbosheth, Saul’s other son, is here omitted, because he intended to mention only those of his sons who went with him into the battles here mentioned, and who were afterwards slain with him.


Verse 50:[9] And the name of Saul’s wife was Ahinoam, the daughter of Ahimaaz: and the name of the captain of his host was Abner (Heb. Abiner[10]), the son of Ner, Saul’s uncle.


Verse 51:[11] (1 Sam. 9:1) And Kish was the father of Saul; and Ner the father of Abner was the son of Abiel.


Verse 52:[12] And there was sore war against the Philistines all the days of Saul: and when Saul saw any strong man, or any valiant man, (1 Sam. 8:11) he took him unto him.


[Any mighty man he had seen] In times of war might men are highly prized (Grotius).


[He was uniting him to himself] He received him to himself. Perhaps the sense is, into his house. Thus, he rushed at Pompeius, that is, at the house of Pompeius (Drusius).


He took him unto him: Into his service, or army.

[1] Hebrew: וְשָׁא֛וּל לָכַ֥ד הַמְּלוּכָ֖ה עַל־יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל וַיִּלָּ֣חֶם סָבִ֣יב׀ בְּֽכָל־אֹיְבָ֡יו בְּמוֹאָ֣ב׀ וּבִבְנֵי־עַמּ֙וֹן וּבֶאֱד֜וֹם וּבְמַלְכֵ֤י צוֹבָה֙ וּבַפְּלִשְׁתִּ֔ים וּבְכֹ֥ל אֲשֶׁר־יִפְנֶ֖ה יַרְשִֽׁיעַ׃ [2]לָכַד signifies to take or capture. [3] Batanea was a region immediately to the east of the Jordan. [4]רָשַׁע signifies to condemn, or to act wickedly. [5] Job 34:29: “When he giveth quietness, who then can make troubleוְה֤וּא יַשְׁקִ֙ט׀ וּמִ֥י) יַרְשִׁ֗עַ)? and when he hideth his face, who then can behold him? whether it be done against a nation, or against a man only…” [6] Hebrew: וַיַּ֣עַשׂ חַ֔יִל וַיַּ֖ךְ אֶת־עֲמָלֵ֑ק וַיַּצֵּ֥ל אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מִיַּ֥ד שֹׁסֵֽהוּ׃ [7] Hebrew: וַיַּ֣עַשׂ חַ֔יִל. [8] Hebrew: וַיִּֽהְיוּ֙ בְּנֵ֣י שָׁא֔וּל יוֹנָתָ֥ן וְיִשְׁוִ֖י וּמַלְכִּי־שׁ֑וּעַ וְשֵׁם֙ שְׁתֵּ֣י בְנֹתָ֔יו שֵׁ֤ם הַבְּכִירָה֙ מֵרַ֔ב וְשֵׁ֥ם הַקְּטַנָּ֖ה מִיכַֽל׃ [9] Hebrew: וְשֵׁם֙ אֵ֣שֶׁת שָׁא֔וּל אֲחִינֹ֖עַם בַּת־אֲחִימָ֑עַץ וְשֵׁ֤ם שַׂר־צְבָאוֹ֙ אֲבִינֵ֔ר בֶּן־נֵ֖ר דּ֥וֹד שָׁאֽוּל׃ [10] Hebrew: אֲבִינֵר. [11] Hebrew: וְקִ֧ישׁ אֲבִֽי־שָׁא֛וּל וְנֵ֥ר אֲבִֽי־אַבְנֵ֖ר בֶּן־אֲבִיאֵֽל׃ [12] Hebrew: וַתְּהִ֤י הַמִּלְחָמָה֙ חֲזָקָ֣ה עַל־פְּלִשְׁתִּ֔ים כֹּ֖ל יְמֵ֣י שָׁא֑וּל וְרָאָ֙ה שָׁא֜וּל כָּל־אִ֤ישׁ גִּבּוֹר֙ וְכָל־בֶּן־חַ֔יִל וַיַּאַסְפֵ֖הוּ אֵלָֽיו׃

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