1 Samuel 17:20
And David rose up early in the morning, and left the sheep with a keeper, and took, and went, as Jesse had commanded him; and he came to the trench, as the host was going forth to the fight, and shouted for the battle.
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(20) He came to the trench.—Literally, to the wagon rampart; a circle of wagons formed a rude fortification about the camp of Israel. There—that is, within the fortified enclosure—he left (1Samuel 17:22) his baggage, the ten cheeses, &c, and hastened to the “front,” where he knew his brethren and the men of Judah would be posted. (See Numbers 10:14.)

1 Samuel 17:20-22. He came to the trench — Probably the carriages wherewith the host was surrounded. As the host was going forth to the fight — Jesse little thought of sending his son to the camp just at that critical juncture. But the wise God orders the time and all the circumstances of affairs so as to serve the designs of his own glory. David left his carriage, &c. — He left the provision which his father had sent his brethren with some proper person, it being not a time to present it to them when the armies were just going to engage. And ran into the army — Eager to know what was doing there, being deeply concerned for the success of Israel, and desirous of seeing and speaking with his brethren before the commencement of the battle; for possibly it might be the last time he should ever converse with them or see them alive.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.The trench - Rather, "the wagons," which were all put together in the camp so as to form a kind of bulwark or fortification (see 1 Samuel 26:5, 1 Samuel 26:7). Here David left his "carriage" 1 Samuel 17:22, i. e., the things which he had carried, "his things" as we should say, or baggage (translated stuff in 1 Samuel 10:22; 1 Samuel 25:13; 1 Samuel 30:24). There seems to have been an officer ("the keeper," 1 Samuel 17:22) in the Hebrew army whose charge it was to guard the baggage. 20. David left the sheep with a keeper—This is the only instance in which the hired shepherd is distinguished from the master or one of his family.

trench—some feeble attempt at a rampart. It appears (see Margin) to have been formed by a line of carts or chariots, which, from the earliest times, was the practice of nomad people.

To the trench, i.e. to the camp or army which was there intrenched.

Shouted for the battle; as the manner was, both to animate themselves, and to terrify their enemies. And David rose up early in the morning,.... Being very ready and eager to obey his father's orders, and visit his brethren:

and left the sheep with a keeper; which showed his care and faithfulness in the discharge of his office; he was not unmindful of his father's sheep, any more than of his commands:

and took; the ephah of parched corn, the ten loaves, and the ten cheeses:

and went, as Jesse had commanded him; went and carried them to the camp, according to his orders:

and he came to the trench; foss or ditch, which was cast up all around the army, partly to prevent the enemy falling on them before, and partly to prevent deserters from them behind; or the word signifying a wagon or carriage, which is here used, this might be a fence around the camp made of wagons fastened to each other; though it may only signify, the camp itself, which lay in a circular form, with proper guards about it to watch the enemy. Now David came up to it just

as the host was going forth to the fight; preparing and getting every thing ready to the battle, and in motion, and upon the march to meet the enemy:

and shouted for the battle; which was usually done when about to make the onset, to animate the soldiers, and strike the greater terror into the enemy; and this noise was sometimes made with the voice in a hideous and howling way, and was called "barritus" (a) by the Romans; with the Trojans it was like the noise of cranes in the air (b); it was also attended with the clashing of shields and spears (c); with the Persians, it was a rough, boisterous, and confused noise (d).

(a) Vid. Valtrimum de re militar. Roman. l. 5. c. 3. p. 314, 315. & A. Gell. Noct. Attic. l. 1. c. 11. (b) Homer. Iliad. 3. ver. 1, 2, 3.((c) Vid. Lydium de re militari, l. 4. c. 3. p. 158, 159. (d) Curt. Hist. l. 3. c. 10. Vid. Alex. ab Alex. Genial. Dier. l. 4. c. 7.

And David rose up early in the morning, and left the sheep with a keeper, and took, and went, as Jesse had commanded him; and he came to the trench, as the host was going forth to the fight, and shouted for the battle.
20. the trench] The word may mean either, (a) the circular rampart round the camp; or (b) a barrier formed by the baggage waggons round the camp; or (c) the place where the baggage waggons of the army were kept. It occurs again in 1 Samuel 26:5; 1 Samuel 26:7.

shouted for the battle] Raised the ‘slogan’ or war-cry, like Gideon’s “For the Lord and for Gideon” (Jdg 7:18). Cp. Joshua 6:5 ff.Verses 20-22. - He came to the trench. More probably the barricade, or outer circle of defence for their camp, made of their wagons (see on ch. 10:22). Strictly the word means a wagon track, but the primary meaning of the verb is to be round. This was the shape of camps in old time, and they were protected against surprise by having the wagons and baggage placed round them. The word occurs again in 1 Samuel 26:5, 7. The latter part of the verse is literally, "And he came to the circle of the wagons, and to the host that was going forth to the array; and they shouted for the battle." If the article be omitted before "going forth," for which there is some authority, the rendering of the A.V. would be right. David left his carriage. I.e. that which he was carrying. The word is rendered stuff in 1 Samuel 10:22; 1 Samuel 25:13; 1 Samuel 30:24. Literally the word means utensils, and so whatever he had with him for any purpose (comp. Acts 21:15). Ran into the army. Literally, "to the array," "to the ranks," the place where the troops were drawn up (see ver. 10). "The three great (i.e., eldest) sons of Jesse had gone behind Saul into the war." הלכוּ, which appears superfluous after the foregoing ויּלכוּ, has been defended by Bttcher, as necessary to express the pluperfect, which the thought requires, since the imperfect consec. ויּלכוּ, when attached to a substantive and participial clause, merely expresses the force of the aorist. Properly, therefore, it reads thus: "And then (in Jesse's old age) the three eldest sons followed, had followed, Saul;" a very ponderous construction indeed, but quite correct, and even necessary, with the great deficiency of forms, to express the pluperfect. The names of these three sons agree with 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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