1 Samuel 17:54
And David took the head of the Philistine, and brought it to Jerusalem; but he put his armour in his tent.
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(54) The head of the Philistine.—There is no real difficulty here, for although the fortress of Jebus, on Mount Zion, was in the hands of the Jebusites, and continued to be so until David captured the stronghold, many years later, the city of Jerusalem already belonged to the Israelites. (See Joshua 15:63; Judges 1:21.) This “place of arms” was naturally selected for the home of the famous trophy, being the nearest stronghold to the scene of the victory.

But he put his armour in his tent.Ohel, the Hebrew word rendered here “tent,” is the ancient word for “dwelling.” If we understand that David kept for the present the armour of his mighty adversary, we must suppose he took it to his dwelling at Bethlehem, and after a time presented it to the sanctuary at Nob. In 1Samuel 21:9 we read of the “sword of Goliath wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod.” Abarbanel, however, with great probability, believes that by the expression “in his tent” the “tabernacle of Jehovah” is meant—“His tabernacle,” so termed pointedly by the compiler of the history, because David, in later days, with great ceremony, “pitched it” in his own city (2Samuel 6:17). In Acts 15:16 the writer of this New Testament Book expressly calls the sacred tent “the Tabernacle of David.”

1 Samuel 17:54. And brought it to Jerusalem — After he had shown it to Saul, 1 Samuel 17:57, and exposed it to all the people, chap. 1 Samuel 18:6. Jerusalem was now become a noted city, which was the reason why he brought his head thither. Some think, however, that this is spoken of a future action, namely, that when David was come to the kingdom, and had made Jerusalem his royal seat, he ordered the scull of Goliath to be fixed up in some public place there, as a monument of this most signal victory. But he put his armour in his tent — A tent which probably was set up for David on this occasion. The sword was afterward placed behind the ephod in the tabernacle, being consecrated to God, and preserved as a memorial of the victory to his honour, 1 Samuel 21:9.

17:48-58 See how frail and uncertain life is, even when a man thinks himself best fortified; how quickly, how easily, and by how small a matter, the passage may be opened for life to go out, and death to enter! Let not the strong man glory in his strength, nor the armed man in his armour. God resists the proud, and pours contempt on those who defy him and his people. No one ever hardened his heart against God and prospered. The history is recorded, that all may exert themselves for the honour of God, and the support of his cause, with bold and unshaken reliance on him. There is one conflict in which all the followers of the Lamb are, and must be engaged; one enemy, more formidable than Goliath, still challenges the armies of Israel. But resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Go forth to battle with the faith of David, and the powers of darkness shall not stand against you. But how often is the Christian foiled through an evil heart of unbelief!Jerusalem - See Judges 1:8 note.

His tent - Perhaps the tabernacle. David had neither tent nor house of his own. It would be quite in accordance with David's piety that he should immediately dedicate to God the arms taken from the Philistine, in acknowledgment that the victory was not his own but the Lord's (compare 1 Samuel 21:9). His tabernacle, meaning the tabernacle which he had pitched (2 Samuel 6:17; compare Acts 15:16).

54. tent—the sacred tabernacle. David dedicated the sword of Goliath as a votive offering to the Lord. Brought it to Jerusalem; either to terrify the Jebusites, who yet held the fort of Zion, 2 Samuel 5:7; or for some other reason not recorded, nor now known.

In his tent, i.e. in the tent which was erected for him in the camp, upon this occasion. There it was kept for the present, though afterwards it seems to have been translated to the tabernacle, where we find his sword, 1Sa 21, and it is not unlikely the rest of his armour was there also.

And David took the head of the Philistine, and brought it to Jerusalem,.... After he had been introduced with it to Saul, and when he had passed through various cities in Israel, carrying the head in triumph; where he was congratulated by the women, who came out singing and dancing, and speaking highly in his commendation and praise: why he carried it to Jerusalem is not easy to say, this not being a royal city, nor was it wholly in the hands of the Israelites; part of it indeed was in the possession of Judah and Benjamin, but the stronghold of Zion was possessed by the Jebusites; and it is generally thought that it was to the terror of them that the head of Goliath was carried there. R. Joseph Kimchi thinks, that Nob, where the tabernacle was at this time, was surnamed Jerusalem, but for what reason cannot be said:

but he put his armour in his tent; not where the army was encamped before the engagement; for David had not his tent there, and beside the camp broke up upon this victory obtained; but rather in his tent or apartment at Bethlehem, when he returned thither, and where he laid up the armour he took from Goliath; though Abarbinel thinks, and so other Jews (q), that by his tent is meant the tabernacle of the Lord, called David's, because of his attachment to it; and certain it is that the sword of Goliath was either now, or at least hereafter, laid up there, see 1 Samuel 21:9; where all that went to sacrifice might see it, and call to mind this wonderful instance of the power and goodness of God, and praise him for it.

(q) Hieron. Trad. Heb. in lib. Reg. fol. 76. E.

And David took the head of the Philistine, and brought it to Jerusalem; but he put his armor in his tent.
54. to Jerusalem] There are no indications that Jerusalem had yet attained any importance either as a political or religious centre. The citadel still remained in the hands of the Jebusites, though the lower city had been captured (Joshua 15:63). It seems best therefore to suppose that David deposited the head as a votive offering in the Tabernacle at Nob which was close to Jerusalem. We know that he afterwards placed Goliath’s sword there, and possibly the rest of his armour along with it. This is preferable to the conjecture that the historian here relates by anticipation what David did eventually when he occupied Jerusalem.

in his tent] So long as the army remained in the field he kept it as a trophy of his victory.

We might naturally expect that David would celebrate his victory by a Psalm of thanksgiving. No extant Psalm however can with certainty be referred to this occasion. The Sept. adds “against Goliath” to the title of Psalms 144 (Sept. 143), but without any sufficient probability; and the Psalm appended to the Psalter in the Sept., which professes to belong to this period, is certainly not authentic. A translation of it may be found in Smith’s Dict. of the Bible, I. 403.

Verse 54. - David...brought it to Jerusalem. This is an anticipation of later history. The Jebusites at this time held Jerusalem; but when David had taken it from them, he removed the head of Goliath thither, and the narrator, following the usual custom of Hebrew historians, mentions the ultimate fate of this trophy here (see on 1 Samuel 16:21). He put his armour in his tent. I.e. he carried it to his home (see on 1 Samuel 2:35; 4:10; 13:2, etc.), where it became his private property. The mistranslation of camp by tents in ver. 53 might lead an English reader to suppose that it meant a tent in the camp of Israel; but most probably the men all slept under their wagons. Abravanel supposes that by David's tent was meant the tabernacle of Jehovah, but this would surely have been stated more fully. Either, however, now, or at some later period, David must have presented the sword as an offering to the tabernacle, as it was laid up at Nob, whence he took it with him in his flight (see 1 Samuel 21:9). SAUL'S INQUIRY CONCERNING DAVID'S PARENTAGE (vers. 55-58). 1 Samuel 17:54But David took the head of Goliath and brought it to Jerusalem, and put his armour in his tent. אהל is an antiquated term for a dwelling-place, as in 1 Samuel 4:10; 1 Samuel 13:2, etc. The reference is to David's house at Bethlehem, to which he returned with the booty after the defeat of Goliath, and that by the road which ran past Jerusalem, where he left the head of Goliath. There is no anachronism in these statements; for the assertion made by some, that Jerusalem was not yet in the possession of the Israelites, rests upon a confusion between the citadel of Jebus upon Zion, which was still in the hands of the Jebusites, and the city of Jerusalem, in which Israelites had dwelt for a long time (see at Joshua 15:63, and Judges 1:8). Nor is there any contradiction between this statement and 1 Samuel 21:9, where Goliath's sword is said to have been preserved in the tabernacle at Nob: for it is not affirmed that David kept Goliath's armour in his own home, but only that he took it thither; and the supposition that Goliath's sword was afterwards deposited by him in the sanctuary in honour of the Lord, is easily reconcilable with this. Again, the statement in 1 Samuel 18:2, to the effect that, after David's victory over Goliath, Saul did not allow him to return to his father's house any more, is by no means at variance with this explanation of the verse before us. For the statement in question must be understood in accordance with 1 Samuel 17:15, viz., as signifying that from that time forward Saul did not allow David to return to his father's house to keep the sheep as he had done before, and by no means precludes his paying brief visits to Bethlehem.
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