1 Samuel 17:12
Now David was the son of that Ephrathite of Bethlehemjudah, whose name was Jesse; and he had eight sons: and the man went among men for an old man in the days of Saul.
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(12) Now David was the son of that Ephra-thite.—This verse, and the following verses to the end of 1Samuel 17:31, are left out altogether, with 1Samuel 17:55-58, in the Vatican LXX. This omission was, no doubt, owing to the difficulty connected with this mention of David, where he is apparently introduced for the first time into the history; the LXX. translation not un-frequently adding or subtracting from the text when anything met them which they could not readily understand. The passage, as we find it, is undoubtedly genuine; the probable explanation of what puzzled the LXX. is given below.

It is, however, better (with the Syriac Version) to place all the words after “Beth-lehem-judah” down to the end of 1Samuel 17:14 in a parenthesis. 1Samuel 17:15, after the parenthesis descriptive of Jesse and his three elder sons, takes up the account of David again, thus: “But David went,” &c.

Went among men for an old man.—This rendering follows the translation of Jerome’s Vulgate, “Senex et grandævus inter viros,” rather than the Hebrew. The literal translation of ba-baănashim would be went among men. It is best to assume that the verb ba- here is used elliptically for ba-bayamin, “was advanced in days,” that is, “was an old man.” Keil renders baanashim “among the weak,” that is, “Jesse had come to be reckoned among the weak” (or the aged). Maurer and others believe the present Hebrew reading corrupt; the sense, however, is clear.

Jesse is represented in this parenthesis, descriptive of the father of David, for some reason known only to the compiler, as already an old man. Possibly this notice is inserted to explain the reason why the father of the future hero-king of Israel was not among the warriors of Saul.

1 Samuel 17:12-15. David was the son of that Ephrathite, &c. — Being chosen of God to combat with Goliath, we are here informed of whom he was descended. The man went among men — Was accounted; an old man — Therefore he went not himself to the camp. David was the youngest — Being young, he was not put to the hardships of war; but the three eldest undertook to serve their prince and their country in this time of common danger. David went and returned from Saul — Left his court, with his permission, for the present. Probably he returned upon his father’s sending his three eldest sons into Saul’s service. Having been instrumental in relieving Saul, he was not now particularly wanted at court, but probably was wanted to feed his father’s sheep, and might be sent for again when occasion should require.17:12-30 Jesse little thought of sending his son to the army at that critical juncture; but the wise God orders actions and affairs, so as to serve his designs. In times of general formality and lukewarmness, every degree of zeal which implies readiness to go further, or to venture more in the cause of God than others, will be blamed as pride and ambition, and by none more than by near relations, like Eliab, or negligent superiors. It was a trial of David's meekness, patience, and constancy. He had right and reason on his side, and did not render railing for railing; with a soft answer he turned away his brother's wrath. This conquest of his own passion was more honourable than that of Goliath. Those who undertake great and public services, must not think it strange if they are spoken ill of, and opposed by those from whom they expect support and assistance. They must humbly go on with their work, in the face not only of enemies' threats, but of friends' slights and suspicions.This and the following verses down to the end of 1 Samuel 17:31 are omitted in the Vatican copy of the Septuagint, as are 1 Samuel 17:55-58. The object of the omission was doubtless to avoid the apparent inconsistency with regard to Saul's acquaintance with David (see 1 Samuel 16:21 note). 1Sa 17:12-58. David Accepts the Challenge, and Slays Him. The son of that Ephrathite, i.e. of the man of Ephratah, or Beth-lehem, Genesis 35:19.

He had eight sons: see on 1 Samuel 16:10. Now David was the son of that Ephrathite of Bethlehemjudah, whose name was Jesse,.... Before made mention of, 1 Chronicles 16:1.

and he had eight sons; seven only are mentioned, 1 Chronicles 2:13 one of them being, as is thought by some, a grandson, perhaps Jonadab the son of Shammah; or was a son by another woman, or died without children, as Jarchi, and therefore not mentioned:

and the man went among men for an old man in the days of Saul; the phrase, "among men", either signifies that he was ranked among old men, infirm and unfit for war, and so excused, and his sons went in his room, so Kimchi; or he was reckoned among men of the first rank, men of esteem, credit, and reputation, so Jarchi and R. Isaiah, with which agrees the Targum; or whenever he went abroad, he was attended by many men, had a large retinue, which sense Abarbinel mentions, and is that of Ben Gersom, and agrees with the Talmud (t); but the Syriac and Arabic versions read "stricken in years", which seems most agreeable.

(t) T. Bab. Beracot: fol. 58. 1.

Now David was the son of that Ephrathite of Bethlehemjudah, whose name was Jesse; and he had eight sons: and the man went among men for an old man in the days of Saul.
12. that Ephrathite] “That” signifies “who has been mentioned before,” and is inserted to connect the narrative with ch. 16 “Ephrathite” = “of Ephrath,” the old name of Bethlehem, which is here called in full Beth-lehem-judah, i.e. Bethlehem in Judah.

the man went among men, &c.] By the introduction of a slight emendation the sentence may be rendered: Now in the days of Saul the man was old and well stricken in years. Jesse’s age is mentioned to account for his absence from the army.

12–31. David’s errand to the camp

12–31. This section is not found in the Vatican MS. of the Sept. On the difficulties it presents, and the question of its genuineness see Note VI. p. 241.Verses 12-14. - Jesse... went among men for an old man in the days of Saul. This translation is taken from the Vulgate; but the Hebrew is, "And the man in the days of Saul was old, gone among men." Some explain this as meaning "placed," i.e. "reckoned among men of rank;" but probably an aleph has dropped out in the word rendered men, and we should read "gone," i.e. "advanced in years." Old is used in a very indefinite way in the Books of Samuel; but as Jesse had eight sons, of whom the youngest was now grown up, he must have been nearly sixty. Went and followed. Hebrew, "And there went the three elder sons of Jesse went after Saul to the war." Some grammarians consider that this repetition of the verb is intended to give it the force of a pluperfect, - they had gone,-but it is more probably an error, and one of the two verbs should be omitted. And "greaves of brass upon his feet, and a brazen lance (hung) between his shoulders," i.e., upon his back. כּידון signifies a lance, or small spear. The lxx and Vulgate, however, adopt the rendering ἀσπὶς χαλκῆ, clypeus aeneus; and Luther has followed them, and translates it a brazen shield. Thenius therefore proposes to alter כּידון into מגן, because the expression "between his shoulders" does not appear applicable to a spear or javelin, which Goliath must have suspended by a strap, but only to a small shield slung over his back, whilst his armour-bearer carried the larger צנּה in front of him. But the difficulty founded upon the expression "between his shoulders" has been fully met by Bochart (Hieroz. i. 2, c. 8), in the examples which he cites from Homer, Virgil, etc., to prove that the ancients carried their own swords slung over their shoulders (ἀμφὶ δ ̓ ὤμοισιν: Il. ii. 45, etc.). And Josephus understood the expression in this way (Ant. vi. 9, 1). Goliath had no need of any shield to cover his back, as this was sufficiently protected by the coat of mail. Moreover, the allusion to the כּידון in 1 Samuel 17:45 points to an offensive weapon, and not to a shield.
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