|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
15:1-9 The sentence of condemnation against the Amalekites had gone forth long before, Ex 17:14; De 25:19, but they had been spared till they filled up the measure of their sins. We are sure that the righteous Lord does no injustice to any. The remembering the kindness of the ancestors of the Kenites, in favour to them, at the time God was punishing the injuries done by the ancestors of the Amalekites, tended to clear the righteousness of God in this dispensation. It is dangerous to be found in the company of God's enemies, and it is our duty and interest to come out from among them, lest we share in their sins and plagues, Re 18:4. As the commandment had been express, and a test of Saul's obedience, his conduct evidently was the effect of a proud, rebellious spirit. He destroyed only the refuse, that was good for little. That which was now destroyed was sacrificed to the justice of God.
Verse 4. - Telaim. Kimchi identifies this with Telem (Joshua 15:24), a place on the southern border of Judah near the country of the Amalekites. But as telaim means "lambs," more probably beth, "house," is to be understood; and so it was no town, but the "place of lambs," i.e. some open spot where at the proper season the lambs were collected from the pastures in the wilderness. Ten thousand men of Judah. A very small number compared with the hosts of Israel, especially as Judah was most exposed to the Amalekite, raids (but see on 1 Samuel 11:8. A large army was necessary, because the Bedouin race, though offering little direct resistance, would be very difficult to overtake
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And Saul gathered the people together,.... Or "made them to hear" (r), by the sound of a trumpet; or by sending heralds into all parts of the land to proclaim the above order of the Lord, and summon them to come to him, perhaps at Gilgal; so the Septuagint version, and Josephus (s):
and numbered them in Telaim; thought to be the same with Telem, a place in the tribe of Judah, Joshua 15:24, the word signifies "lambs"; hence the Vulgate Latin version is,"he numbered them as lambs;''and the Jews (t) say, because it was forbid to number the children of Israel, which was the sin of David; therefore every man had a lamb given him, and so the lambs were numbered, by which it was known what was the number of the people; and the Targum says, this was done with the passover lambs, it being now the time of the passover; but the numbering here made was not of the people of the land in general, and so there was no occasion of such a precaution, only a numbering and mustering of the army when got together and rendezvoused in one place: the sum of which is here given:
two hundred thousand footmen and ten thousand men of Judah; which last were reckoned separately, as distinct from the other tribes of Israel, to show their obedience to Saul, who was of another tribe, though the kingdom was promised to theirs; but R. Isaiah observes, that the reason why so few of the men of Judah came, in comparison of the other tribes, was, because they envied the government being in one of the tribe of Benjamin, when they thought it should have been in one of theirs; the number is greatly increased in the Septuagint version, which makes the whole to be 400,000, and 30,000 men of Judah; and so Josephus (u).
(r) "audire fecit", Vatablus, Drusius. (s) Antiqu. l. 6. c. 7. sect. 2.((t) T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 22. 2. Jarchi in loc. (u) Ut supra. (Antiqu. l. 6. c. 7. sect. 2.)
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
4. Saul gathered the people together—The alacrity with which he entered on the necessary preparations for the expedition gave a fair, but delusive promise of faithfulness in its execution.
Telaim—or Telem, among the uttermost cities of the tribe of Judah towards the coast of Edom (Jos 15:21, 24).
1 Samuel 15:4 Parallel Commentaries
1 Samuel 15:4 NIV
1 Samuel 15:4 NLT
1 Samuel 15:4 ESV
1 Samuel 15:4 NASB
1 Samuel 15:4 KJV
Bible Hub: Online Parallel Bible