And the Philistines came and spread themselves in the valley of Rephaim.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)And the Philistines came.—Now the Philistines had come. The narrative goes back to 1Chronicles 14:8 a. The invaders had approached by another road than usual, and encamped in the valley of Rephaim (1Chronicles 11:15).
Spread themselves.—The chronicler has given an easier term than that used in Samuel.2 Samuel 5:11-25, the only important variations from which are in 1 Chronicles 14:4-7, the list of the sons of David (see 1 Chronicles 3:1 note), and in 1 Chronicles 14:12, where the fact is added that the idols taken from the Philistines were burned.
8. all the Philistines went up to seek David—in the hope of accomplishing his ruin (for so the phrase is used, 1Sa 23:15; 24:2, 3) before his throne was consolidated. Their hostility arose, both from a belief that his patriotism would lead him, ere long, to wipe out the national dishonor at Gilboa, and by fear, that in any invasion of their country, his thorough knowledge of their weak points would give him superior advantages. They resolved, therefore, to surprise and crush him before he was fairly seated on his throne.And the Philistines came and spread themselves in the valley of Rephaim.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)9. spread themselves] R.V. made a raid. In fact both renderings are right; the Philistines scattered themselves in search of spoil.
the valley of Rephaim] to be identified probably with the shallow valley, now called Beḳâ‘a, across which runs the road from Jerusalem to Beth-lehem (Bädeker, p. 120).Verse 9. - Spread themselves. The root, פָשַׁט appears here for the נָטַש of the parallel place. So also again in ver. 13 of this chapter. In the valley of Rephaim; i.e. of giants, though some translate "healers," and yet others "chiefs." Though not Canaanites, they once held portions of Canaan. Their origin is very uncertain. Kalisch ('Commentary on Old Testament,' p. 351) thinks they were descendants of Japheth (Genesis 14:5; Genesis 15:20; Deuteronomy 2:9-11; Deuteronomy 3:11). The "valley" was south of Jerusalem, but whether more south-east or south-west is not certain; probably the former (Joshua 15:8; Joshua 18:16; Isaiah 17:5). 2 Samuel 5:12, in the Chronicle we read למעלה נשּׂאת כּי, that his kingdom had been lifted up on high. The unusual form נשּׂאת may be, according to the context, the third pers. fem. perf. Niph., nisaa't having first been changed into נשּׂאת, and thus contracted into נשּׂאת; cf. Ew. 194, b. In 2 Samuel 19:43 the same form is the infin. abs. Niph. למעלה is here, as frequently in the Chronicles, used to intensify the expression: cf. 1 Chronicles 22:5; 1 Chronicles 23:17; 1 Chronicles 29:3, 1 Chronicles 29:25; 2 Chronicles 1:1; 2 Chronicles 17:12. With regard to the sons of David, see on 1 Chronicles 3:5-8.
In the account of the victories over the Philistines, the statement (2 Samuel 5:17) that David went down to the mountain-hold, which has no important connection with the main fact, and would have been for the readers of the Chronicle somewhat obscure, is exchanged in 1 Chronicles 14:8 for the more general expression לפניהם ויּצא, "he went forth against them." In 1 Chronicles 14:14, the divine answer to David's question, whether he should march against the Philistines, runs thus: מעליהם הסב אחריהם תּעלה לא, Thou shalt not go up after them; turn away from them, and come upon them over against the baca-bushes; - while in 2 Samuel 5:23, on the contrary, we read: אל־אחריהם הסב תעלה הסב אל־א לע, Thou shalt not go up (i.e., advance against the enemy to attack them in front); turn thee behind them (i.e., to their rear), and come upon them over against the baca-bushes. Bertheau endeavours to get rid of the discrepancy, by supposing that into both texts corruptions have crept through transcribers' errors. He conjectures that the text of Samuel was originally אחריהם תּעלה לא, while in the Chronicle a transposition of the words עליהם and אחריהם was occasioned by a copyist's error, which in turn resulted in the alteration of עליהם into מעליהם. This supposition, however, stands or falls with the presumption that by תּעלה לא (Sam.) an attack is forbidden; but for that presumption no tenable grounds exist: it would rather involve a contradiction between the first part of the divine answer and the second. The last clause, "Come upon them from over against the baca-bushes," shows that the attack was not forbidden; all that was forbidden was the making of the attack by advancing straight forward: instead of that, they were to try to fall upon them in the rear, by making a circuit. The chronicler consequently gives us an explanation of the ambiguous words of 2 Samuel, which might easily be misunderstood. As David's question was doubtless expressed as it is in 1 Chronicles 14:10, הפל על האעלה, the answer תּעלה לא might be understood to mean, "Go not up against them, attack them not, but go away behind them;" but with that the following וגו להם וּבאת, "Come upon them from the baca-bushes," did not seem to harmonize. The chronicler consequently explains the first clauses of the answer thus: "Go not up straight behind them," i.e., advance not against them so as to attack them openly, "but turn thyself away from them," i.e., strike off in such a direction as to turn their flank, and come upon them from the front of the baca-bushes. In this way the apparently contradictory texts are reconciled without the alteration of a word. In 1 Chronicles 14:17, which is wanting in Samuel, the author concludes the account of these victories by the remark that they tended greatly to exalt the name of David among the nations. For similar reflections, cf. 2 Chronicles 17:10; 2 Chronicles 20:29; 2 Chronicles 14:13; and for שׁם ויּצא, 2 Chronicles 26:15.
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