And a certain man drew a bow at a venture, and smote the king of Israel between the joints of the harness: why he said to the driver of his chariot, Turn your hand, and carry me out of the host; for I am wounded.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)A certain man.—Josephus says, “a young man named Naaman.” (Comp. 2Kings 5:1 : “because by him the Lord had given deliverance to Syria.”)
The driver of his chariot.—In the Egyptian and Assyrian monuments, as subsequently in the Greek of the Homeric days, the war-chariot holds but two, the warrior and the charioteer. This is the first place where the chariot, introduced by Solomon from Egypt (1Kings 10:29), is mentioned as actually used in war. (See subsequently, 2Kings 9:16; 2Kings 9:21; 2Kings 23:30; and compare the proverbial expression of this period, “The chariot of Israel and the horsemen thereof,” 2Kings 2:12; 2Kings 13:14.)1 Kings 22:34. A certain man drew a bow at a venture — Shot at a venture among the army, without care, or choice, or any design of reaching Ahab, or any particular person; and smote the king of Israel between the joints of the harness — Where the several parts of his armour were joined together; the only place about him where this arrow of death could find entrance. No armour is proof against the darts of divine vengeance. Case the criminal in steel, and it is all one; he that made him can make his sword approach him. And that which to us seems altogether casual, comes by the determined counsel of God.
Between the joints of the harness - literally, as in the margin. The "joints" were probably pieces of armor which attached the breast-plate to the helmet or to the greaves. The arrow entered between the breastplate and one of these "joints." breastplates made of metal scales were common both in Egypt and Assyria.At a venture, Heb. in simplicity, i.e. ignorantly, without care, or choice, or any design, or thought of reaching Ahab. Or, according to his perfection, i.e. with his perfect or utmost strength; which is mentioned as the reason why it pierced through the joints of his armour.
Between the joints of the harness; where the several parts of his armour are joined together; which possibly were not then joined with so much art and closeness as now they are.
Out of the host; out of the midst of the host, where the heat of the battle was, into a safer part of the army. See 1 Kings 22:35. 2 Chronicles 18:33, this man is said to be Naaman, the general of the army of the king of Syria, and so Jarchi here; but though he did this in his simplicity, as the word signifies, without any intention to smite any particular person; yet God directed the arrow to the man he had marked for destruction, and neither his disguise, nor coat of mail, could secure from that:
and smote the king of Israel between the joints of the harness: of which the pieces of armour on him were joined together, the higher and lower parts of it, the breastplate, and what covered the belly; and though these were joined as close as they were capable of joining them in those times, yet the arrow, guided by divine Providence, found its way into his body:
wherefore he said unto the driver of his chariot, turn thine hand; or hands, with which he held the reins, and turn the horses on one side:
and carry me out of the host; where the battle was hottest, to a place more remote and private, that he might have the wound examined, and the blood stopped, and return again, as it seems he did:
for I am wounded; or rather "I am sick" (s), or ill, as the Targum; somewhat out of order, and therefore chose to retire a little while; not caring it should be known that he was smitten and wounded, lest his soldiers should be disheartened.And a certain man drew a bow at a venture, and smote the king of Israel between the joints of the harness: wherefore he said unto the driver of his chariot, Turn thine hand, and carry me out of the host; for I am wounded.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)34. And a certain man] Josephus has given him a name. ‘A certain youth of the royal family of Adad [i.e. Ben-hadad] whose name was Aman.’ ‘Fate, the inevitable,’ he says, ‘found Ahab out even without his robes.’
drew a bow [R.V. his bow] at a venture] The noun is definite in form in the Hebrew, so that the change is necessary. The word rendered ‘at a venture’ is translated in other places, and on the margin of A.V. and R.V. ‘in his simplicity.’ It is also rendered ‘in his integrity’ (Proverbs 19:1) and ‘in his uprightness’ (Proverbs 28:6). The idea appears to be that the man taking aim at some one, was quite unaware at whom he was shooting. He levelled at some enemy and hit him, not knowing how he had contributed to the victory. ‘At a venture’ must therefore not be taken to mean ‘a shot at random.’ The LXX. εὐστόχως ‘with good aim’ is a conjecture.
between the joints of the harness] The margins of R.V. ‘between the lower armour and the breastplate’ and of A.V. ‘between the joints and the breastplate’ help us to understand what is meant. The former word, rendered ‘joints,’ indicates that part where the breastplate terminated and where the lower armour commenced. A part of the body would there necessarily be less securely protected.
wherefore he said unto the driver of his chariot] He would not wish to spread alarm among his soldiers, and so made his retreat without observation.
I am wounded] R.V. sore wounded. The literal rendering ‘made sick’ which is given on the margin of A.V. implies more than an ordinary wound. The translation ‘sore wounded’ is from 2 Chronicles 35:23 (A.V.). Perhaps Ahab employed the word, which might have a certain vagueness, that the charioteer should not spread an alarm. For the driver knew of course who it was whom he was carrying.Verse 34. - And a certain man [Heb. a man. It was natural for some of the Rabbins to identify this archer with Naaman - the tradition is found in Josephus. But it is directly contrary to the spirit of the narrative to attempt to identify him. As it was a chance arrow, so it was by an unknown archer] drew a bow at a venture [Heb. in his simplicity, i.e., with no intention of shooting Ahab: not knowing what he was doing. That this is the meaning is clear from the use of the words in 2 Samuel 15:11], and smote the king of Israel between the Joints of the harness [The marg., joints and the breastplate, comes nearer the Hebrew. But it is clear that the rendering joints, notwithstanding that it has the support of Gesenius and others, is a mistaken one. "In the joints" we can understand, but "between the joints and the coat of mail," gives no sense. It is obvious that הַדְּבָקִים like הַשִּׁרְיָן following, must signify, some portion of the armour, and the meaning of the verb דָבַק adhaesit, leads us to conclude that "the hanging skirt of parallel metal plates - hence the plural" - (Bahr) is intended. The coat of mail only covered the breast and ribs. To this a fringe of movable plates of steel was attached or fastened, hence called דְבָקִים. So Luther, Zwischen den Panzer und Hengel. One is reminded here of the Parthian arrow which wrung from Julian the Apostate the dying confession, "Thou hast conquered, O Galilean." Cf. Psalm 7:13, 14]: wherefore he said unto the driver of his chariot, Turn thine hand [or, according to the Chethib, hands. The charioteers of Palestine, like those of Egypt and Assyria, or those of modern Russia, held a rein in each hand. Same expression 2 Kings 9:23. The meaning is "turn round"] and carry me Out of the host; for I am wounded, [Heb. made sick. The king probably felt his wound to be mortal, as a wound in such a part, the abdomen (cf. 2 Samuel 2:23; 2 Samuel 3:27; 2 Samuel 20:10), would be Vulgate, graviter vulneratus sum. How far an arrow in such a place could penetrate, we may gather from 2 Kings 9:24; cf. Job 16:13. And he was seemingly anxious that the army should not know it, lest would soon discover it if he remained with the host; he can fight no longer; his wound needs attention; hence this command. It is quite possible that the charioteer, in the din and confusion of battle, may not have observed that his master was wounded. The arrow had not struck any part of the armour.] Micah 1:2).
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