1 Samuel 17:17
And Jesse said unto David his son, Take now for thy brethren an ephah of this parched corn, and these ten loaves, and run to the camp to thy brethren;
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1 Samuel 17:17-18. Jesse said, Take now for thy brethren, &c. — He thought provisions might be scarce with them. But, having other sons at home with him, it was, no doubt, through a divine influence that he sent David from the sheep upon this errand. Carry these ten cheeses unto the captain — Whose favour might be very serviceable to them. And take their pledge — That is, bring me some token of their welfare. Perhaps Jesse and his sons had fixed on some pledge between them, that they might be assured the messengers they sent to each other had been with them, and executed their commission.

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.David went ... - "Was gone," referring to 1 Samuel 16:19-20. Had he been Saul's armour-bearer at this time it is highly improbable that he would have left him to feed sheep. 17. Take now for thy brethren an ephah of this parched corn, and these ten loaves—In those times campaigns seldom lasted above a few days at a time. The soldiers were volunteers or militia, who were supplied with provisions from time to time by their friends at home. Parched corn; a food then much in use, which they used to mix with water, or milk, or oil, &c.

And Jesse said unto David his son,.... His youngest son, that was at home with him keeping sheep; he had three more at home, and who were elder than David, and yet he is directed by the providence of God to pick and send him on the following errand, there being work for him to do Jesse knew nothing of:

take now for thy brethren an ephah of this parched corn; pointing to a quantity of it in a certain place; this was wheat or barley dried in a furnace or oven, and ground into meal, and being mixed with water, or milk, or butter, or honey, or oil, was eaten, and reckoned very delicious; and besides this, there was another sort of "kali", the word here used, which was parched pulse, as beans, peas, &c. parched, and which to this day is by the Arabs called by this name (x); of both which mention is made, 2 Samuel 17:28. Now an "ephah" was as much as ten men could eat in a day, it consisted of ten omers, Exodus 16:16, and the number ten is after used of loaves and cheese:

and these ten loaves of bread; or cakes of bread, as Kimchi interprets it; pieces or morsels of bread, as the Targum; which seems not so agreeable as loaves or cakes, which are not in the text, but to be supplied:

and run to the camp to thy brethren; which, according to Bunting (y), was four miles from Bethlehem; and whither it seems he went on foot, and is bid to make haste, and even to run, as his brethren might be in want of provision; and Jesse was very desirous of relieving them, and hearing from them as soon as possible; it is very likely he had a servant or servants to attend him, and assist in carrying this load of provision, which, with what follows, was too much for one man to run with.

(x) Vid. Bochart. Hierozoic. par. 2. l. 1. c. 7. Colossians 47. (y) Travels, &c. p. 135.

And Jesse said unto David his son, {d} Take now for thy brethren an ephah of this parched corn, and these ten loaves, and run to the camp to thy brethren;

(d) Though Jesse meant one thing, yet God's providence directed David to another end.

17. parched corn] Still a common article of food in Palestine. “In the season of harvest the grains of wheat, not yet dry and hard, are roasted in a pan or an iron plate, and constitute a very palatable article of food; this is eaten along with bread or instead of it.” Robinson, Bibl. Res. II. 50. Cp. Ruth 2:14; 1 Samuel 25:18; 2 Samuel 17:18.

run] Rather, carry them quickly.

1 Samuel 17:17The Philistine drew near (to the Israelitish ranks) morning and evening, and stationed himself for forty days (in front of them). This remark continues the description of Goliath's appearance, and introduces the account which follows. Whilst the Philistine was coming out every day for forty days long with his challenge to single combat, Jesse sent his son David into the camp. "Take now for thy brethren this ephah of parched grains (see Leviticus 23:13), and these ten loaves, and bring them quickly into the camp to thy brethren."
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