And David said to Saul, Who am I? and what is my life, or my father's family in Israel, that I should be son in law to the king?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)What is my life?—These words in David’s modest and wise answer have been variously interpreted. (a) They have been taken to refer to David’s personal life; but surely that has been alluded to in the preceding words, “Who am I?” (b) As referring to the condition of life in which he was born and to which he was accustomed; so Keil; but it is doubtful if the Hebrew word here used ever has this significance. (c) With a reference to David’s family; so Ewald and Lange. Ewald would translate, “What are my folks or relations?” Of these (c) is undoubtedly the preferable meaning.1 Samuel 18:18. David said, Who am I? and what is my life? — How little is my life worth, that by the exposing of that to some hazard, I should purchase a king’s daughter! In these expressions David showeth not only his humility, but also his wisdom, in discovering so deep a sense of his own meanness, that Saul might see how far he was from aspiring at the kingdom. Or my father’s family in Israel? — In riches, for otherwise David’s family was as noble as any in Israel. That I should be son-in-law to the king — This was not a refusal of the honour but a modest acknowledgment how unworthy he was of it; and it indicates such modesty and prudence, that, considering David’s youth, and all other circumstances, we may well conclude that nothing but the Spirit of the Lord being with him could have made him act so wisely.Proverbs 27:27 margin).
17. Saul said to David, Behold my elder daughter Merab, her will I give thee to wife—Though bound to this already [1Sa 17:25], he had found it convenient to forget his former promise. He now holds it out as a new offer, which would tempt David to give additional proofs of his valor. But the fickle and perfidious monarch broke his pledge at the time when the marriage was on the eve of being celebrated, and bestowed Merab on another man (see on 2Sa 21:8); an indignity as well as a wrong, which was calculated deeply to wound the feelings and provoke the resentment of David. Perhaps it was intended to do so, that advantage might be taken of his indiscretion. But David was preserved from this snare.My life, i.e. my manner of living. How obscure is that condition in which I was born, and have been bred! Or rather thus, How little is my life worth, that by the exposing of that to some hazard (which Saul required of him). I should purchase a king’s daughter! In these expressions David showeth not only his humility, but also his wisdom, in discovering so deep a sense of his own meanness, that Saul might see how far he was from aspiring at the kingdom, and might have no occasion to suspect that he was already anointed thereto.
who am I? as to his person, parentage, and employment, mean and despicable, at least in his own eyes, a type of the lowly Jesus, Matthew 11:29,
and what is my life? keeping sheep, for from thence was he taken and advanced; though some think his meaning is, that to hazard his life, as Saul proposed, was not equivalent to such an honour he meant to confer upon him, and that he was ready to do it at all times:
or my father's family in Israel; though in an honourable tribe, and was an honourable family, yet it seems not to be very great, at least was not in David's esteem worthy of such high advancement, as that one of it should be so nearly related to the king; Ben Gersom thinks David has reference to the original of his family, Ruth the Moabitess:And David said unto Saul, Who am I? and what is my life, or my father's family in Israel, that I should be son in law to the king?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)18. what is my life] Probably, who are my folk, even my father’s family? David acknowledges himself unworthy of the proposed honour on the score of social position.1 Samuel 19:1.).
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