And it was told Saul, saying, Behold, David is at Naioth in Ramah.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Naioth.—Naioth, or Nevaioth, as it is also written, was not a town, but, as the name denotes, a cluster of dwellings or abodes. It is derived from the verb navali, to rest or abide. Samuel had his own house in Ramah, and these dwellings, where his prophetic schools were established, were in the immediate neighbourhood, “Naioth in Ramah.” It was to this school he took David on this occasion. The Chaldee Targum renders or paraphrases Naioth here by “house of learning.”
18-23. David fled, … and came to Samuel to Ramah—Samuel was living in great retirement, superintending the school of the prophets, established in the little hamlet of Naioth, in the neighborhood of Ramah. It was a retreat congenial to the mind of David; but Saul, having found out his asylum, sent three successive bodies of men to apprehend him. The character of the place and the influence of the sacred exercises produced such an effect on them that they were incapable of discharging their commission, and were led, by a resistless impulse, to join in singing the praises of God. Saul, in a fit of rage and disappointment, determined to go himself. But, before reaching the spot, his mental susceptibilities were roused even more than his messengers, and he was found, before long, swelling the ranks of the young prophets. This singular change can be ascribed only to the power of Him who can turn the hearts of men even as the rivers of water.near Ramah; the Hebrew preposition beth, in, being oft put for near, as it is apparently used, Numbers 33:37,38 Jos 5:13 Jeremiah 20:2 32:7.
Naioth was either a house or college in the town of Ramah, or a village in the territory of Ramah, or near to the town of Ramah; in which there was a college of the prophets, amongst whom Samuel thought David might be secure.
saying, behold, David is at Naioth, in Ramah; or near it; according to R. Isaiah, Ramah was the name of a hill, or mountain, so called from its height, and Naioth the name of a place on it; it signifies pastures and pleasant places, as meadows and pastures are; and here in the fields near Ramah was the house of doctrine, as the Targum calls it, or the school of the prophets, being pleasant and retired, and fit for study.And it was told Saul, saying, Behold, David is at Naioth in Ramah.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verses 19, 20. - On hearing where David was, Saul sends messengers to arrest him, and we thus incidentally gain a most interesting account of the inner condition of Samuel's schools. Evidently after Saul had become king Samuel devoted his main energies to this noble effort to raise Israel from the barbarous depths into which it had sunk; and when the messengers arrive they enter some hall, where they find a regularly organised choir, consisting not of "sons of the prophets," young men still under training, but of prophets, men who had finished their preparatory studies, and arrived at a higher elevation. The Chaldee Paraphrast calls them scribes; and doubtless those educated in Samuel's schools held an analogous position to that of the scribes in later days. And Samuel himself was standing - not as appointed over them; he was the founder and originator of these schools, and all authority was derived from him. What the Hebrew says is that he was "standing as chief over them," and they, frill of Divine enthusiasm, were chanting psalms to God's glory. So noble was the sight, that Saul's messengers on entering were seized with a like enthusiasm, and, laying aside their murderous purpose, joined in the hearty service of the prophetic sanctuary. Instead of they saw the Hebrew has "he saw," but as all the versions have the plural, it is probably a mere mistake. The Hebrew word for company is found only here. By transposing the letters we have the ordinary word for congregation, but possibly it was their own technical name for some peculiar arrangement of the choir. Genesis 31:19). The meaning of העזּים כּביר is doubtful. The earlier translators took it to mean goat-skin, with the exception of the Seventy, who confounded כּביר with כּבד, liver, upon which Josephus founds his account of Michal having placed a still moving goat's liver in the bed, to make the messengers believe that there was a breathing invalid beneath. כּביר, from כּבר, signifies something woven, and עזּים goats' hair, as in Exodus 25:4. But it is impossible to decide with certainty what purpose the cloth of goats' hair was to serve; whether it was merely to cover the head of the teraphim with hair, and so make it like a human head, or to cover the head and face as if of a person sleeping. The definite article not only before תּרפים and בּגד, but also with העזּים כּביר, suggests the idea that all these things belonged to Michal's house furniture, and that עזּים כּביר was probably a counterpane made of goats' hair, with which persons in the East are in the habit of covering the head and face when sleeping.
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