|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
17:7-13 Micah thought it was a sign of God's favour to him and his images, that a Levite should come to his door. Thus those who please themselves with their own delusions, if Providence unexpectedly bring any thing to their hands that further them in their evil way, are apt from thence to think that God is pleased with them.
Verse 16. - Seven hundred... men left-handed. It is curious that the tribe of Benjamin, which means son of the right hand, should have this peculiar institution of a corps of left-handed men. Ehud the Benjamite was a man left-handed (Judges 3:15; see also 1 Chronicles 12:2). The Roman name Scaexola means left-handed. For the use of the sling see 1 Samuel 17:40, 49. Diodorus Siculus (quoted by Rosenmuller) mentions the remarkable skill of the inhabitants of the Balearic Islands in the use of the sling, adding, in terms very similar to those of the text, that they seldom miss their aim.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Among all this people there were seven hundred chosen men lefthanded,.... According to Ben Gersom, these were the seven hundred men of Gibeah; but this does not appear from the text, but, on the contrary, that these were among all the people; or there were so many to be selected out of them all, who were lefthanded men; nor is it likely that all the inhabitants of one place should be such. Benjamin signifies a son of the right hand, yet this tribe had a great number of lefthanded men in it, see Judges 3:15. Josephus (h) wrongly reduces the number to five hundred:
everyone could sling stones at an hair's breadth, and not miss: the mark they slung the stone at, so very expert were they at it; and perhaps their having such a number of skilful men in this art made them more confident of success, and emboldened them in this daring undertaking, to point to which this circumstance seems to be mentioned. There were a people that inhabited the islands, now called Majorca and Minorca, anciently Baleares, from their skilfulness in slinging stones, to which they brought up from their childhood, as it is related various writers, Strabo (i), Diodorus Siculus (k), Floras (l) and others (m); that their mothers used to set their breakfast on a beam or post, or some such thing, at a distance, which they were not to have, unless they could strike it off; and the first of these writers says, that they exercised this art from the time that the Phoenicians held these islands; and, according to Pliny (n), the Phoenicians, the old inhabitants of Canaan, were the first inventors of slings, and from these the Benjaminites might learn it. The Indians are said (o) to be very expert in slinging stones to an hair's breadth.
(h) Antiqu. l. 5. c. 2. sect. 10. (i) Geograph l. 3. p. 116. (k) Bibliothec. l. 5. p. 298. (l) Roman Cost. l. 3. c. 8. (m) Vid. Barthii Ammadv. ad Claudian. in 3 Consul. Honor. ver. 50. (n) Nat. Hist. l. 7. c. 56. (o) Philoetrat. Vit. Apollon. l. 2. c. 12.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
16. left-handed; every one could sling stones at an hair-breadth, and not miss—The sling was one of the earliest weapons used in war. The Hebrew sling was probably similar to that of the Egyptian, consisting of a leather thong, broad in the middle, with a loop at one end, by which it was firmly held with the hand; the other end terminated in a lash, which was let slip when the stone was thrown. Those skilled in the use of it, as the Benjamites were, could hit the mark with unerring certainty. A good sling could carry its full force to the distance of two hundred yards.
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