1 Samuel 15:4
And Saul gathered the people together, and numbered them in Telaim, two hundred thousand footmen, and ten thousand men of Judah.
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(4) In Telaim.—Identical with Telem (Joshua 15:24), a place on the south border of Judah, near the region where the Amalekites chiefly dwelt.—Kimchi Telaim, however, signifies “lambs;” probably “Beth,” house of, is to be understood. Thus it was no town, but the “place or house of lambs”—some open spot, where, at the proper season, the lambs were collected from the pastures in the wilderness.—Dean Payne Smith.

Ten thousand men of Judah.—Again the numbers of this great tribe are out of proportion to the numbers furnished by the rest of the tribes. (See Note on 1Samuel 11:8.)

15:1-9 The sentence of condemnation against the Amalekites had gone forth long before, Ex 17:14; De 25:19, but they had been spared till they filled up the measure of their sins. We are sure that the righteous Lord does no injustice to any. The remembering the kindness of the ancestors of the Kenites, in favour to them, at the time God was punishing the injuries done by the ancestors of the Amalekites, tended to clear the righteousness of God in this dispensation. It is dangerous to be found in the company of God's enemies, and it is our duty and interest to come out from among them, lest we share in their sins and plagues, Re 18:4. As the commandment had been express, and a test of Saul's obedience, his conduct evidently was the effect of a proud, rebellious spirit. He destroyed only the refuse, that was good for little. That which was now destroyed was sacrificed to the justice of God.Telaim - Probably the same as "Telem" Joshua 15:24, one of the uttermost cities of Judah, toward the coast of Edom. The name means "lambs," and was probably so called from the numerous flocks.

Two hundred thousand ... - A wonderful contrast with the six hundred men who composed his whole army before 1 Samuel 13:15, and a proof how completely for a time the Philistines had been driven back. The separate mention of the men of Judah shows how little union there was between Juduh and Ephraim even at this time; a circumstance which throws light upon the whole after history.

4. Saul gathered the people together—The alacrity with which he entered on the necessary preparations for the expedition gave a fair, but delusive promise of faithfulness in its execution.

Telaim—or Telem, among the uttermost cities of the tribe of Judah towards the coast of Edom (Jos 15:21, 24).

Who are particularly noted here, as also Zechariah 11:8, either as select persons of extraordinary strength and courage; or to commend that tribe, which, though the kingdom had been promised to their own tribe, yet were forward in serving and obeying a king of another, and that a far meaner tribe.

And Saul gathered the people together,.... Or "made them to hear" (r), by the sound of a trumpet; or by sending heralds into all parts of the land to proclaim the above order of the Lord, and summon them to come to him, perhaps at Gilgal; so the Septuagint version, and Josephus (s):

and numbered them in Telaim; thought to be the same with Telem, a place in the tribe of Judah, Joshua 15:24, the word signifies "lambs"; hence the Vulgate Latin version is,"he numbered them as lambs;''and the Jews (t) say, because it was forbid to number the children of Israel, which was the sin of David; therefore every man had a lamb given him, and so the lambs were numbered, by which it was known what was the number of the people; and the Targum says, this was done with the passover lambs, it being now the time of the passover; but the numbering here made was not of the people of the land in general, and so there was no occasion of such a precaution, only a numbering and mustering of the army when got together and rendezvoused in one place: the sum of which is here given:

two hundred thousand footmen and ten thousand men of Judah; which last were reckoned separately, as distinct from the other tribes of Israel, to show their obedience to Saul, who was of another tribe, though the kingdom was promised to theirs; but R. Isaiah observes, that the reason why so few of the men of Judah came, in comparison of the other tribes, was, because they envied the government being in one of the tribe of Benjamin, when they thought it should have been in one of theirs; the number is greatly increased in the Septuagint version, which makes the whole to be 400,000, and 30,000 men of Judah; and so Josephus (u).

(r) "audire fecit", Vatablus, Drusius. (s) Antiqu. l. 6. c. 7. sect. 2.((t) T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 22. 2. Jarchi in loc. (u) Ut supra. (Antiqu. l. 6. c. 7. sect. 2.)

And Saul gathered the people together, and numbered them in Telaim, two hundred thousand footmen, and ten thousand men of Judah.
4. in Telaim] Nowhere else mentioned, unless it is the same as Telem (Joshua 15:24), the position of which in the southern border of Judah suits the circumstances. The name means “lambs,” and was probably derived from the pastures in the neighbourhood.

ten thousand men of Judah] This implies that the 200,000 foot-soldiers were from the other tribes. See note on 1 Samuel 11:8.

Verse 4. - Telaim. Kimchi identifies this with Telem (Joshua 15:24), a place on the southern border of Judah near the country of the Amalekites. But as telaim means "lambs," more probably beth, "house," is to be understood; and so it was no town, but the "place of lambs," i.e. some open spot where at the proper season the lambs were collected from the pastures in the wilderness. Ten thousand men of Judah. A very small number compared with the hosts of Israel, especially as Judah was most exposed to the Amalekite, raids (but see on 1 Samuel 11:8. A large army was necessary, because the Bedouin race, though offering little direct resistance, would be very difficult to overtake 1 Samuel 15:4Saul summoned the people to war, and mustered them (those who were summoned) at Telaim (this was probably the same place as the Telem mentioned in Joshua 15:24, and is to be looked for in the eastern portion of the Negeb). "Two hundred thousand foot, and ten thousand of the men of Judah:" this implies that the two hundred thousand were from the other tribes. These numbers are not too large; for a powerful Bedouin nation, such as the Amalekites were, could not possibly be successfully attacked with a small army, but only by raising the whole of the military force of Israel.
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