Then shall you go on forward from there, and you shall come to the plain of Tabor, and there shall meet you three men going up to God to Bethel, one carrying three kids, and another carrying three loaves of bread, and another carrying a bottle of wine:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Thou shalt come to the plain of Tabor.—The accurate translation of the Hebrew is “to the terebinth or oak of Tabor.” There was evidently a history, now lost, connected with the “terebinth of Tabor.” Ewald suggests that “Tabor” is a different form for Deborah, and that this historic tree was the oak beneath which Deborah, the nurse of Rachel, was buried (Genesis 35:8).
Going up to God to Beth-el.—This since the old patriarchal days had been a sacred spot. Samuel used to visit it as judge, and hold his court there annually, no doubt on account of the number of pilgrims who were in the habit of visiting it. These men were evidently on a pilgrimage to the old famous shrine.1 Samuel 10:3. Thou shalt come to the plain — Not that at the foot of mount Tabor, which was far from these parts; but another, belonging to some other place. Beth-el — Properly so called, which was in Ephraim, where there was a noted high place, famous for Jacob’s vision there, (Genesis 28:19,) and where it is probable they offered sacrifices, in this confused state of things, when the ark was in one place, and the tabernacle in another.Judges 4:11 note). It has been ingeniously conjectured that "Tabor" is either a different form of "Deborah," or a corruption of it, and that the "oak," or "terebinth of Tabor," is the same as "Allon-bachuth," the oak under which Deborah was buried, and which lay "beneath Bethel" Genesis 35:8. The terebinth, where the three men came upon Saul, must have been at some point previous to that where the road leading northward from Jerusalem branches; when they reached that point they would go on with their offerings to Bethel, he would pursue his journey to Gibeah.
three men going up to God to Beth-el—apparently to offer sacrifices there at a time when the ark and the tabernacle were not in a settled abode, and God had not yet declared the permanent place which He should choose. The kids were for sacrifice, the loaves for the offering, and the wine for the libations.To the plain of Tabor; not that at the foot of Mount Tabor, which was far from these parts; but another belonging to some other place, or man, called Tabor. Beth-el; properly so called, which was in Ephraim, where there was a noted high place, famous for Jacob’s vision there, Genesis 28:19, where it is probable they offered sacrifices in this confused state of things, when the ark was in one place, and the tabernacle, if not destroyed, in another. Or, to the house of God, i.e. to Kirjath-jearim, where the ark, the habitation of God, now was, 1 Samuel 7:1,2,16.
Loaves of bread might be offered, either by themselves, as Leviticus 2:4, or with other sacrifices.
A bottle of wine; which was poured forth in drink-offerings. See Leviticus 23:13 Numbers 15:5.
and thou shall come to the plain of Tabor; not that which lay at the bottom of the famous and well known mountain Tabor; for that was in the tribe of Zebulun, at a great distance from hence: but a plain, so called perhaps from the name of the owner of it:
and there shall meet thee three men going up to God to Bethel: the same with Luz, where Jacob built an altar, and called upon God; and so Elohimbethel here is the same with Elbethel, Genesis 35:6. Here was an high place as at Ramah, whither in those times, when there was no fixed place for worship, the tabernacle at one place, and the ark at another, the people went up to worship; and they might the rather choose this, because it was a place devoted to the worship and service of God by their father Jacob; so the Targum paraphrases it,"going up to worship God in Bethel;''so Josephus (c), they were going thither to pray, and, as it seems by what follows, to sacrifice: one carrying three kids; which were used in sacrifice, and were a pretty heavy load if carried far; though, according to Josephus (d), it was but one kid:
and another carrying three loaves of bread; for the minchah, the meat offering, or rather bread offering, Leviticus 2:4.
and another carrying a bottle of wine; for the drink offering, the fourth part of an hin of wine being required for each kid, Numbers 15:5. This bottle, Ben Melech says, was a bottle made of skin, a leathern bottle or bag, or a potter's vessel or pitcher; the Targum renders it, a flagon of wine.Then shalt thou go on forward from thence, and thou shalt come to the plain of Tabor, and there shall meet thee three men going up to God to Bethel, one carrying three kids, and another carrying three loaves of bread, and another carrying a bottle of wine:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)3. the plain of Tabor] Rather, the oak of Tabor. It has been ingeniously conjectured that this is to be identified with the oak under which Rebekah’s nurse Deborah was buried “under Bethel” (Genesis 35:8), and the palm tree between Ramah and Bethel under which Deborah judged Israel (Jdg 4:5), Tabor being either a corruption or dialectic variation for Deborah; but nothing certain is known about the place.
going up to God to Bethel] On the sanctuary at Bethel see note on 1 Samuel 7:16. As yet the presence of God was only connected with holy places, or the Ark, and the Omnipresence of God scarcely realised. See Genesis 28:16 and 1 Samuel 14:36.
a bottle of wine] i.e. a skin bottle: Sept. ἀσκός. Cp. 1 Samuel 1:24.Verse 3. The second sign was to be the presenting of an offering to him out of their sacrificial gifts by three men going on a pilgrimage to Bethel. He would meet them not in the plain of Tabor, but at the oak, elon, of Tabor. Many attempt to connect this elon-Tabor with the allon, or oak, under which Deborah, Rachel's nurse, was buried (Genesis 35:8), and suppose that Tabor is a corruption of the name Deborah. This is scarcely possible, and it is better to acknowledge that we know nothing of the site of this tree, except that it was on the road to Bethel. This was one of the places which Samuel used to visit as judge (1 Samuel 7:16); but these men were on a pilgrimage thither because since the days of Jacob it had been a sacred spot, and a chief seat of the old patriarchal worship, for which see 1 Samuel 9:12. Leviticus 3:4), and only the flesh of the animals offered in sacrifice was applied to the sacrificial meal. What was attached to the leg, therefore, can only have been such of the fat upon the flesh as was not intended for the altar. Whether the right or left leg, is not stated: the earlier commentators decide in favour of the left, because the right leg fell to the share of the priests (Leviticus 7:32.). But as Samuel conducted the whole of the sacrificial ceremony, he may also have offered the sacrifice itself by virtue of his prophetic calling, so that the right leg would fall to his share, and he might have it reserved for his guest. In any case, however, the leg, as the largest and best portion, was to be a piece of honour for Saul (see Genesis 43:34). There is no reason to seek for any further symbolical meaning in it. The fact that it was Samuel's intention to distinguish and honour Saul above all his other guests, is evident enough from what he said to Saul when the cook had brought the leg: "Behold, that which is reserved is set before thee (שׂים is the passive participle, as in Numbers 24:21); for unto this time hath it been kept for thee, as I said I have invited the people." למּועד is either "to the appointed time of thy coming," or possibly, "for the (this) meeting together." Samuel mentions this to give Saul his guest to understand that he had foreseen his coming in a supernatural way. לאמר, saying, i.e., as I said (to the cook).
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