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Poole's on 1 Samuel 25:4-9: David's Modest Request of Nabal

Verse 4:[1] And David heard in the wilderness that Nabal did (Gen. 38:13; 2 Sam. 13:23) shear his sheep.


Shear his sheep: Which times were celebrated with feasting and jollity. See 2 Samuel 13:23, 24.


Verse 5:[2] And David sent out ten young men, and David said unto the young men, Get you up to Carmel, and go to Nabal, and greet him in my name (Heb. ask him in my name of peace,[3] 1 Sam. 17:22[4])…


Verse 6:[5] And thus shall ye say to him that liveth in prosperity, (1 Chron. 12:18; Ps. 122:7; Luke 10:5) Peace be both to thee, and peace be to thine house, and peace be unto all that thou hast.


[And ye shall say, peace be to my brothers and to thee, etc.,וַאֲמַרְתֶּ֥ם כֹּ֖ה לֶחָ֑י וְאַתָּ֤ה שָׁלוֹם֙ וגו״] [They render it variously:] And thus shall ye say: for life (Montanus), or thus for life (Munster, Mariana), that is, in this manner be thou for a long life, both thou and thy family, and all that thou hast (Munster). Or may the joy of this day be continual; or join it with what follows, that is to say, while thou livest, thou peace, understanding, have (Mariana). And thus shall ye say, through thy life (Jonathan), or let thee live (Osiander), that is, may God prolong life to thee (Osiander). Or let thee live, and shear for many years (Arabic). The Greeks: εἰς ὥρας, for hours; that is, may thy prosperity be long (Grotius). And ye shall say, life, peace, etc., understanding, we wish for thee, etc. (Tigurinus). Thus to thee alive, or living, in the next year may it be granted to do, namely, that thou, unharmed, might shear thy sheep; and be safe, etc. With this manner of speech the Hebrews, just as also the Gauls, are wont to pray for longer life. Or as others have it, Thus may it fall to thee as long as thou livest, namely, that thou mayest be safe, etc., so that the and, or ו, might be translated appositively. Or, may such good be to thee throughout thy life, abounding in these riches as long as thou livest, etc. (Vatablus). Thus ye shall say to him, If he is unharmed (Junius and Tremellius). Hebrew: to him living; that is, enjoying peace now and prosperity, pray in my name for its continuation (Junius). Thus ye shall say, to this prosperous man (Dutch); to him that liveth in prosperity (English). Hebrew: to him living. Now, a pleasant life is understood by Synecdoche (Piscator, thus Glassius, Dutch), as in that poem of Catullus,[6] Let us live, my Lesbia, and let us love.[7] Likewise in that, The life of tomorrow is too late; live today[8] (Piscator). Thus in 1 Samuel 10:24 and 1 Kings 1:25, יְחִי הַמֶּלֶךְ, let the King live, where the Targum has יִצְלַח, let him be successful, prosperous (Glassius’ “Grammar” 265). The Vulgate reads לְאֶחַי, to my brethren (Mariana, Grotius). Ye shall say, I thou art well, it is well; peace be to thee (Strigelius). [That וְאַתָּ֤ה שָׁלוֹם֙ they translate variously:] Peace we wish for thee (Tigurinus). Peace be to thee, etc. (Strigelius, Dutch, English). Be thou in peace (Munster). And thou safe, etc. (Pagnine, Septuagint), or unharmed (Syriac). שָׁלוֹם is a Toar, or adjective, signifying pacific, or safe, not peace (Vatablus out of the Hebrews). Enjoy peace (Junius and Tremellius). But this expression is not Elliptical, but Emphatic (Piscator); wherein a substantive is put in the place of an adjective (Piscator, Glassius, similarly Malvenda); or an abstract in the place of a concrete, just as in Genesis 46:34, תוֹעֲבַת, he is an abomination, that is, abominable (Glassius’ “Grammar” 25). And thou peace (Jonathan, Montanus, Piscator), understanding, be (Piscator). The sense: And be thou prosperous, and thy house prosperous, etc. A similar expression see in Genesis 12:2 (Piscator). Moreover, שָׁלוֹם, peace, safety, has its name from perfection,[9] and expresses blessedness of every kind (Glassius’ “Grammar” 25).


To him that liveth in prosperity; Hebrew, to him that liveth.[10] Life is oft put for a prosperous and happy life, as in that prayer, Let the king live, 1 Samuel 10:24; 1 Kings 1:25, and in other passages of Scripture, and other authors; for an afflicted and calamitous life is unworthy of the name of life, and is esteemed a kind of death, and oft so called, as 2 Corinthians 1:10; 11:23. By this expression David both congratulates Nabal’s felicity, and tacitly minds him of the penury and distress in which David and his men now were. To thine house, that is, to all thy family. Unto all that thou hast; to all thy goods. So David’s prayer is very comprehensive, reaching to his soul, and body, and wife, and children, and servants, and all his estate.


Verse 7:[11] And now I have heard that thou hast shearers: now thy shepherds which were with us, we hurt (Heb. shamed[12]) them not, (1 Sam. 25:15, 21) neither was there ought missing unto them, all the while they were in Carmel.


[We were never troublesome to them, לֹ֣א הֶכְלַמְנ֗וּם[13]] We did not afflict them with disgrace (Montanus), or shame (Vatablus), or ignominy (Pagnine, Tigurinus, Piscator), or indignity (Piscator), or injury (Junius and Tremellius, similarly Munster); that is to say, When they asked anything of us, they suffered no rebuff (Vatablus). We did not hurt them (Jonathan, similarly the Syriac, Arabic). Farmers and shepherds consider it profit and benefit, if they receive no hurt from military men: For it is hardly able to be obtained no matter how great the care and effort of their commander. And so David truly bestowed a benefit upon Nabal, by keeping his men in their duty, etc. (Menochius).


We hurt them not, etc.: Which, considering the licentiousness of soldiers, and the necessities which David and his men were oft exposed to, was no small favour and privilege, which Nabal was bound both in justice, and gratitude, and prudence to requite.


[Neither was anything missing (thus Pagnine, Tigurinus),וְלֹֽא־נִפְקַ֤ד לָהֶם֙ מְא֔וּמָה] And nothing was desired by them (Junius and Tremellius). Hebrew: it was not visited to them (Montanus, Piscator). A Metonymy of the efficient, which sort was in 1 Samuel 20:6[14] (Piscator). The word פָּקַד sometimes signifies lack; whence in the Æthiopic tongue it is used for to lack/need, as in Matthew 3:14 (Dieu).


Verse 8: Ask thy young men, and they will shew thee. Wherefore let the young men find favour in thine eyes: for we come in (Neh. 8:10; Esth. 9:19) a good day: give, I pray thee, whatsoever cometh to thine hand unto thy servants, and to thy son David.


[Let them find grace] Hebrew: they found.[15] The past tense indicates their certain hope of obtaining the benefit (Malvenda).


[For in a good day we have come (thus Munster, Pagnine, similarly the Septuagint)] On a day favorable (Syriac), joyful (Junius and Tremellius, Vatablus, Piscator), and lively, that is, a feast day, on which thou exercisest thy liberality towards the shearers (Vatablus); on which thou receives thy yields from the flocks: And it is equitable by the law, Deuteronomy 15:7, that out of thine abundance thou sharest something with thy needy brethren (Junius, Piscator). Or, that is to say, no new outlay is necessary; or since the cheerful liberally yield what things are asked of them (Mariana). It was the custom of the ancients that, when they sheared their sheep, they prepared a solemn feast (Munster). See 2 Samuel 13:24, 28. Likewise, when they harvested the fruits of the field or of the vine. See Isaiah 9; 16; Jeremiah 48:33 (Sanchez). כִּֽי־עַל־י֥וֹם ט֖וֹב בָּ֑נוּ. [The Masorah notes that an א/Aleph is missing, and בָּאנוּ is to be read; and all follow that reading.] Since we are come unto thee, being about to supplicate for a favorable day (Arabic). The א/Aleph is missing in בָּנוּ, perhaps so that it might indicate that they were sent back empty (Malvenda).


In a good day, that is, in a day of feasting and rejoicing; when men are most cheerful and liberal; when thou mayst relieve us out of thy abundance without damage to thyself; when thou art receiving the mercies of God, and therefore obliged to pity and relieve distressed and indigent persons, Deuteronomy 12:12; 14:26, 29; 15:7.


[Whatsoever thine hand findeth] That is to say, whatever thou shalt have in readiness (Vatablus). See Leviticus 12:8[16] (Grotius).


[Give to thy servants] Which, as we are from the heart, so also by deeds we fulfilled the duty of services among thy servants, and David the duty of a son (Junius, Piscator). David prefers to ask, rather than to seize, what things are necessary for himself, and hence also due to him, as the one destined by God to be King (Grotius). Although he was not having the wherewithal to maintain his soldiers, yet he was not allowing them to lay hands on the wealth of any Jew. You will ask, Whence then was David maintaining his soldiers? Response: He was spoiling the Philistines and Syrians, declared by God to be enemies (Martyr).


[And to thy son David] Thus he calls himself, either he was of the same family, or because of a lesser age (Martyr).


Unto thy servants; to us who have been and still are ready to serve and guard thee and thine. Or the word servants may be only used as a word of respect, frequently used in Scripture, where inferiors speak to superiors, especially when they be suppliants, and beg some favour. To thy son; so he calls himself, to show that respect and affection which he bore to Nabal, as being elder and wealthier than himself, and of the same tribe with himself, and a branch of so worthy a family as Nabal's was.


Verse 9:[17] And when David’s young men came, they spake to Nabal according to all those words in the name of David, and ceased (Heb. rested[18]).


[And they were quiet, וַיָּנוּחוּ] And they rested, that is, they ceased to speak (Vatablus, Jonathan in Munster). They spoke nothing beyond their mandate (Grotius). They were silent (Munster). Thus Virgil’s Æneid 3: At last he ceased, and, with the end here made, was quiet. Or they rested, that is, after the weariness of the journey (Munster, certain interpreters in Vatablus). They restrained themselves quietly (Junius and Tremellius). Patiently to the end did they listen to Nabal, assailing themselves and David (Piscator).

[1] Hebrew: וַיִּשְׁמַ֥ע דָּוִ֖ד בַּמִּדְבָּ֑ר כִּֽי־גֹזֵ֥ז נָבָ֖ל אֶת־צֹאנֽוֹ׃ [2] Hebrew: וַיִּשְׁלַ֥ח דָּוִ֖ד עֲשָׂרָ֣ה נְעָרִ֑ים וַיֹּ֙אמֶר דָּוִ֜ד לַנְּעָרִ֗ים עֲל֤וּ כַרְמֶ֙לָה֙ וּבָאתֶ֣ם אֶל־נָבָ֔ל וּשְׁאֶלְתֶּם־ל֥וֹ בִשְׁמִ֖י לְשָׁלֽוֹם׃ [3] Hebrew: וּשְׁאֶלְתֶּם־ל֥וֹ בִשְׁמִ֖י לְשָׁלֽוֹם׃. [4] 1 Samuel 17:22: “And David left his carriage in the hand of the keeper of the carriage, and ran into the army, and came and saluted his brethren (וַיִּשְׁאַ֥ל לְאֶחָ֖יו לְשָׁלֽוֹם׃, and asked his brothers of peace).” [5] Hebrew: וַאֲמַרְתֶּ֥ם כֹּ֖ה לֶחָ֑י וְאַתָּ֤ה שָׁלוֹם֙ וּבֵיתְךָ֣ שָׁל֔וֹם וְכֹ֥ל אֲשֶׁר־לְךָ֖ שָׁלֽוֹם׃ [6] Gaius Valerius Catullus (c. 84-c. 54 BC) was a Roman poet. [7] Poem 5. [8] Martial’s Epigrams 1:15. [9]שָׁלֵם signifies to be complete. [10] Hebrew: לֶחָי. [11] Hebrew: וְעַתָּ֣ה שָׁמַ֔עְתִּי כִּ֥י גֹזְזִ֖ים לָ֑ךְ עַתָּ֗ה הָרֹעִ֤ים אֲשֶׁר־לְךָ֙ הָי֣וּ עִמָּ֔נוּ לֹ֣א הֶכְלַמְנ֗וּם וְלֹֽא־נִפְקַ֤ד לָהֶם֙ מְא֔וּמָה כָּל־יְמֵ֖י הֱיוֹתָ֥ם בַּכַּרְמֶֽל׃ [12] Hebrew: הֶכְלַמְנוּם. [13]כָּלַם in the Hiphil conjugation signifies to humiliate. [14] 1 Samuel 20:6: “If thy father at all miss me (אִם־פָּקֹ֥ד יִפְקְדֵ֖נִי אָבִ֑יךָ, if thy father at all visit, or seek in vain, me), then say, David earnestly asked leave of me that he might run to Bethlehem his city: for there is a yearly sacrifice there for all the family.” [15] Hebrew: וְיִמְצְאוּ. [16] Leviticus 12:8: “And if she be not able to bring (וְאִם־לֹ֙א תִמְצָ֣א יָדָהּ֮, and if her hand shall not find) a lamb, then she shall bring two turtles, or two young pigeons; the one for the burnt offering, and the other for a sin offering: and the priest shall make an atonement for her, and she shall be clean.” [17] Hebrew: וַיָּבֹ֙אוּ֙ נַעֲרֵ֣י דָוִ֔ד וַיְדַבְּר֧וּ אֶל־נָבָ֛ל כְּכָל־הַדְּבָרִ֥ים הָאֵ֖לֶּה בְּשֵׁ֣ם דָּוִ֑ד וַיָּנֽוּחוּ׃ [18] Hebrew: וַיָּנוּחוּ.

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Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
25 ก.ค. 2566


Matthew Henry: 'Here begins the story of Nabal....


David's humble request to him, that he would send him some victuals for himself and his men.


1. David, it seems, was in such distress that he would be glad to be beholden to him, and did in effect come a begging to his door. What little reason have we to value the wealth of this world when so great a churl as Nabal abounds and so great a saint as David suffers want! Once before we had David begging his bread, but then it was of Ahimelech the high priest, to whom one would not grudge to stoop. But to send a begging to Nabal was what such a spirit as…


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Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
25 ก.ค. 2566

Study 1 Samuel with the Illustrious Matthew Poole! www.fromreformationtoreformation.com/1-samuel

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