Now Saul, and they, and all the men of Israel, were in the valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)In the valley of Elan, fighting with the Philistines.—The words of this verse, which read in the English Version as an explanatory parenthesis, are really part of Jesse’s direction to his shepherd son, telling him where he would find his brethren. “They are in the valley of the Terebinth (Elah), fighting with the Philistines.”1 Samuel 17:19. Fighting with the Philistines — That is, in a posture and readiness to fight with them, as it is explained 1 Samuel 17:20-21, being drawn up in battle array. In the valley of Elah — Not, strictly speaking, in the valley, but hard by it, on the side of the mountain, where they faced the Philistines, and showed themselves resolved to fight, if the latter came down from the other mountain to oppose them.
take their pledge—Tokens of the soldiers' health and safety were sent home in the convenient form of a lock of their hair, or piece of their nail, or such like.1 Samuel 17:20,21. Men are oft said in Scripture to do what they intend and are prepared to do, as hath been showed formerly by instances.
and all the men of Israel; the soldiers in the army:
were in the valley Elah; or "by" it, near unto it; for they were set in array on the mountain on the side of it:
fighting with the Philistines; not actually engaged in battle, but drawn up for it; prepared and in readiness to engage whenever it was necessary, or they were obliged to it; and perhaps there might be now and then some skirmishes in the outer parts of the camp.Now Saul, and they, and all the men of Israel, were in the valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)19. Now Saul, &c.] Probably, “Now Saul and they … are,” &c., i.e. it is Jesse’s direction to David where to find his brothers, not a remark of the historian.1 Samuel 16:6-9, whilst the third, Shammah, is called Shimeah (שׁמעה) in 2 Samuel 13:3, 2 Samuel 13:32, שׁמעי in 2 Samuel 21:21, and שׁמעא in 1 Chronicles 2:13; 1 Chronicles 20:7.
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