1 Samuel 17:24
And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him, and were sore afraid.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(24) Fled from him, and were sore afraid.—The student of the history can hardly understand this great fear of a giant Philistine which seems to have come upon the warriors of Saul. When we remember the gallant deeds of the people in former years, it reads like a page out of the story of another race. A dull, cowardly torpor had come over Saul, the punishment for his self-will and disobedience, and the king’s helpless lethargy had settled now on the hearts of the soldiers he had trained so well in his earlier and nobler days.

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. 22. left his carriage in the hand of the keeper of the carriage—to make his way to the standard of Judah. No text from Poole on this verse.

And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man,.... Even as it should seem before they heard him; knowing who he was, and what he was about to say, having seen and heard him forty days running:

fled from him, and were sore afraid; it is pretty much a whole army should be afraid of one man, and flee from him; they must be greatly forsaken of God, and given up by him, see Deuteronomy 32:30; but perhaps they were not so much afraid of personal danger from him, as that they could not bear to hear his blasphemy.

And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him, and were sore afraid.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1 Samuel 17:24All the Israelites fled from Goliath, and were so afraid. They said (ישׂראל אישׁ is a collective noun), "Have ye seen this man who is coming? (הרּאיתם, with Dagesh dirim as in 1 Samuel 10:24. Surely to defy Israel is he coming; and whoever shall slay him, the king will enrich him with great wealth, and give him his daughter, and make his father's house (i.e., his family) free in Israel," viz., from taxes and public burdens. There is nothing said afterwards about the fulfilment of these promises. But it by no means follows from this, that the statement is to be regarded as nothing more than an exaggeration, that had grown up among the people, of what Saul had really said. There is al the less probability in this, from the fact that, according to 1 Samuel 17:27, the people assured him again of the same thing. In all probability Saul had actually made some such promises as these, but did not feel himself bound to fulfil them afterwards, because he had not made them expressly to David himself.
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