And the women answered one another as they played, and said, Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.—These words, which sing of the early glory of David in battle, are quoted again in 1Samuel 29:5. They were, no doubt, the favourite refrain of an old national or folk-song.Judges 16:25 note). Answered one another; singing by parts alternately.
David his ten thousands; so they said, because David killed Goliath, which was the principal cause of all the following slaughter of the Philistines.
and said, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands; which, if to be referred to the battle in the preceding chapter, as it commonly is, must be understood thus, that though Saul, in pursuit of the Philistines, slew many thousands of them, and David but one, even Goliath; yet the slaying of him was the occasion of slaying ten thousands, and therefore it is ascribed to him: but it seems rather that in some after battles David had been more prosperous and victorious than Saul, and therefore superior commendations are given him by the author of the song the women sung; which, however just it might be to give them, was not wise, since it served to irritate their king, as follows.And the women answered one another as they played, and said, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)7. answered one another] The women who “played”—i.e. danced and gesticulated—sang in antiphonal chorus (Exodus 15:21) the refrain of a popular song, which evidently became widely current, as it was well known even among the Philistines (1 Samuel 21:11, 1 Samuel 29:5).
David his ten thousands] For the Philistine champion was a host in himself. Comp. the people’s words to David: “thou art worth ten thousand of us” (2 Samuel 18:3).Verse 7. - The women answered. I.e. they sang alternately. It was this alternate singing which led to the psalms being composed in parallel sentences, and not in metre; and we from the temple service have inherited our method of chanting antiphonally. As they played. The word is ambiguous, and to an English reader would suggest the idea of the women playing upon the musical instruments. It usually refers to merriment, and so in Zechariah 8:5 it is used of the children playing in the streets, but especially it refers to dancing. Thus in 2 Samuel 2:14 it is used of a war dance ending in a real conflict; and again (2 Samuel 6:5, 21; 1 Chronicles 13:8; 1 Chronicles 15:29) of David dancing to instruments of music, before the ark. Michal probably would not have despised David for playing an instrument of music during a religious ceremony; it was the posturing of the dance which seemed to her beneath the dignity of a king. So these women danced in alternate choruses to the beating of their tambourines and triangles. In Judges 16:25, where, however, it is in a different conjugation, the verb is translated "to make sport." Really Samson was compelled to dance Israel's national war dance before the Philistines. 1 Samuel 18:1 the writer commences with the love of Jonathan to David, and then after that proceeds in 1 Samuel 18:2 to observe that Saul took David to himself from that day forward; whereas it is very evident that Saul told David, either at the time of his conversation with him or immediately afterwards, that he was henceforth to remain with him, i.e., in his service. "The soul of Jonathan bound itself (lit. chained itself; cf. Genesis 44:30) to David's soul, and Jonathan loved him as his soul." The Chethibh ויּאהבו with the suffix ו attached to the imperfect is very rare, and hence the Keri ויּאהבהוּ (vid., Ewald, 249, b., and Olshausen, Gramm. p. 469). לשׁוּב, to return to his house, viz., to engage in his former occupation as shepherd.
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