1 Samuel 14:52
And there was sore war against the Philistines all the days of Saul: and when Saul saw any strong man, or any valiant man, he took him to him.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(52) All the days of Saul.—Although after the rout of Michmash the Philistines were driven out of their fastnesses in the land of Israel back into their own coast districts, yet all through the reign of Saul they continued to be powerful, and were a constant source of danger and trouble to the people. We know that in the end Saul lost his life in an engagement with this warlike and restless race, who were not finally crushed before the days of his successor, David. To keep them in check necessitated the maintenance of a standing army, which, in the days of David, became one of the great armed forces of the East. The reader of this verse is reminded at once of a similar military fancy of King Frederick William of Prussia, the founder of Prussian military greatness, and the father of the Great Frederick.

1 Samuel 14:52. When Saul saw any strong man, he took him — That is, when he saw any one behave well in battle, or of great strength, he took him into his band to be near to him on all occasions, and to go out to battle with him. 14:47-52 Here is a general account of Saul's court and camp. He had little reason to be proud of his royal dignity, nor had any of his neighbours cause to envy him, for he had but little enjoyment after he took the kingdom. And often men's earthly glory makes a blaze just before the dark night of disgrace and woe comes on them.Read, "And Kish the father of Saul, and Ner the father of Abner, were the sons of Abiel." Ner was Saul's uncle. 47, 48. So Saul … fought against all his enemies on every side—This signal triumph over the Philistines was followed, not only by their expulsion from the land of Israel, but by successful incursions against various hostile neighbors, whom he harassed though he did not subdue them. Into his service, or army. And there was sore war against the Philistines all the days of Saul,.... For notwithstanding the late victory over them, and slaughter made among them, they recovered themselves, and came out again to battle, and gave Saul a great deal of trouble, and he at last died in battle with them:

and when Saul saw any strong man, or any valiant man, he took him unto him; to be his bodyguard, as Josephus (q) says; or for soldiers and officers in his army, even such, as the same writer observes, that exceeded others in comeliness of person, and in largeness and height; such as were in some measure like himself, that were strong, able bodied men, and of courage, and valour, and fortitude of mind.

(q) Ut supra. (Antiqu. l. 6. c. 6. sect. 5.)

And there was sore war against the Philistines all the days of Saul: {z} and when Saul saw any strong man, or any valiant man, he took him unto him.

(z) As Samuel had forewarned in 1Sa 8:11.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
52. he took him] to serve in his permanent corps of picked soldiers (1 Samuel 13:4).Verse 52. - The summary ends with two important particulars respecting Saul's kingdom - the first, that the Philistines were powerful and dangerous enemies to Israel all his days; the second, that in order to carry on the war with them he ever kept around him the nucleus of a standing army. In thus forming a "school of heroes" he raised the whole spirit of the people, and took an essential and necessary step for maintaining Israel's freedom. With much of the despot in him, Saul had grand qualities as a soldier, and for many years admirably fulfilled the primary object for which he was chosen. And while he was thus giving the nation internal security, Samuel was teaching it how to use its growing prosperity, and was raising it in the scale of intellectual worth. If in the time of the judges we have Israel in its boyhood, as in the Sinaitic desert we have it in its infancy, under Saul and Samuel it reached its manhood, and became a powerful, vigorous, and well ordered community, able to maintain its freedom, and with means for its internal development in the schools of the prophets, which ended in making it not merely enlightened itself, but the giver of light to the rest of mankind.



With the feeling of this guilt, Saul gave up any further pursuit of the Philistines: he "went up" (sc., to Gibeah) "from behind the Philistines," i.e., desisting from any further pursuit. But the Philistines went to their place, i.e., back into their own land.
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