1 Samuel 20:30
Then Saul's anger was kindled against Jonathan, and he said to him, You son of the perverse rebellious woman, do not I know that you have chosen the son of Jesse to your own confusion, and to the confusion of your mother's nakedness?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(30) Saul’s anger was kindled.—As David expected, his absence kindled into a flame the anger of Saul. Probably he had determined at that very feast, surrounded by his own devoted friends and members of his family, to carry out his evil designs against David’s life.

Murder was, probably enough, one of the incidents arranged for at that banquet, but the absence of the intended victim marred the plot; besides which, the king, too, with the cunning which the partially insane so often display, saw through the veil of the specious excuse that David too clearly suspected his wicked design, and purposely stayed away; nay, more, that his own son Jonathan, the heir of his kingdom, suspected him, and openly sympathised with his friend David, for whose pointed absence he thus publicly apologised.

Thou son of the perverse rebellious woman.—These words, spoken in public, in any sense were a bitter insult to the prince. Another and better rendering has, however, been suggested. The word naăvath, rendered perverse, instead of being a feminine adjective, is probably an abstract noun. The translation would then run, “Thou son of perversity of rebellion,” a common Hebraism for “a man of perverse and refractory nature;” so Clericus, Lange, and Payne Smith. This avoids the extreme improbability that Saul insulted his own wife, Jonathan’s mother, which, as has been observed, contradicts the Hebrew family spirit.

The confusion of thy mother’s nakedness.—This is far from insulting Jonathan’s mother; it is simply an Oriental mode of saying, “she will feel ashamed at having brought such a son into the world.”

20:24-34 None were more constant than David in attending holy duties; nor had he been absent, but self-preservation obliged him to withdraw. In great peril present opportunities for Divine ordinances may be waved. But it is bad for us, except in case of necessity, to omit any opportunity of statedly attending on them. Jonathan did wisely and well for himself and family, to secure an interest in David, yet for this he is blamed. It is good to take God's people for our people. It will prove to our advantage at last, however it may now be thought against our interest. Saul was outrageous. What savage beasts, and worse, does anger make men!The greatest insult and most stinging reproach that can be cast upon an Oriental is to reproach his parents or ancestors (see Job 30:8). Saul means to intimate that Jonathan was stubborn from his mother's womb. 30. Thou son of the perverse rebellious woman—This is a striking Oriental form of abuse. Saul was not angry with his wife; it was the son alone, upon whom he meant, by this style of address, to discharge his resentment. The principle on which it is founded seems to be, that to a genuine filial instinct it is a more inexpiable offense to hear the name or character of a parent traduced, than any personal reproach. This was, undoubtedly, one cause of "the fierce anger" in which the high-minded prince left the table without tasting a morsel. Thou son of the perverse rebellious woman; this base temper of thine thou hast not from me, but from thy mother; of whose perverseness I have had so much experience. Or,

thou son of perverse rebellion, i.e. thou perverse and rebellious son. Or, thou most perverse rebel; for in the Hebrew language, the word

son thus used, is an aggravation of a man’s crime, and notes one who is extraordinarily addicted to it. Thus he calls him, because he hid and preserved that man whom the king had commanded to be brought forth, that he might be slain.

To thine own confusion; for it will be a horrible shame and reproach unto thee, that David by his crafty insinuations, and fair pretences, should cheat thee of thy kingdom. To the confusion of thy mother’s nakedness; men will conclude, that thy mother was a whore, and thou a bastard; and that thou hast no royal blood in thy veins, that canst so tamely give up thy crown to so contemptible a person. Then Saul's anger was kindled against Jonathan,.... For giving David leave to go, and for excusing him in this manner:

and he said unto him, thou son of the perverse and rebellious woman; most of the Jewish commentators supply it as we do, but the supplement of woman may as well be left out, and be read, "thou son of perverse rebellion" (f); thou perverse and rebellious wretch, perverse in thy temper, and rebellious in thy conduct; for the design of the expression is not to reproach his mother, for which there seems no provocation, but Jonathan only; and the next clause confirms it, which expresses a concern for his mother's honour and credit; the Targum is,"an obstinate son, whose rebellion is hard,''or intolerable; according to which, Abarbinel says, it may refer to David:

do not I know that thou hast chosen the son of Jesse to thine own confusion, and unto the confusion of thy mother's nakedness? The above writer observes, that he does not say to his own confusion, because David would not reign in his lifetime, only after his death, but to the shame of Jonathan and his mother; to Jonathan's shame, who would be reckoned by men an arrant fool, to be so friendly to a rival, and who in all probability would jostle him out of the throne; and what would men say of him? that either he was not fit to reign, or had no right to the throne, that a son-in-law took place before him; and that his mother had played the whore, and he was no son of Saul, having nothing of his genius, temper, and disposition in him, as appeared by loving such his father hated; and besides, his mother would not have the honour she expected, to be the mother of a king.

(f) "fili perversae rebellionis", Pagninus, Montanus.

Then Saul's anger was kindled against Jonathan, and he said unto him, Thou {o} son of the perverse rebellious woman, do not I know that thou hast chosen the son of Jesse to thine own confusion, and unto the confusion of thy mother's nakedness?

(o) You are always contrary to me as your mother is.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
30. Thou son of the perverse rebellious woman] “To any Oriental, nothing is so grievously insulting as a reproach cast upon his mother.… The mother herself is not held to be affronted in such cases, but the son who hears such words applied to her is insulted, and meant to be insulted, beyond expiation.” Kitto, Bible Illustr. The words might also be rendered, “thou son of perverse rebellion,” i.e. according to a common Heb. idiom (cp. 1 Samuel 1:16), “thou perverse rebel.”

that thou hast chosen] The Sept. reads, “that thou consortest with.”

to thine own confusion, &c.] Thy unfilial conduct disgraces both thyself and the mother who bare thee.Verses 30, 31. - Thou son of the perverse rebellious woman. Literally, "thou son of one perverse in rebellion." In the East it is the greatest possible insult to a man to call his mother names; but the word rendered perverse, instead of being a feminine adjective, is probably an abstract noun, and "son of perversity of rebellion" would mean one who was thoroughly perverse in his resistance to his father's will. Unto the confusion of thy mother's nakedness. I.e. thy mother will feel ashamed and disgraced at having borne such a son. He shall surely die. Hebrew, "he is a son of death," son, being constantly used in Hebrew to express qualities, or, as here, the fate to which a man is destined. David thereupon concealed himself in the field, whilst Jonathan, as agreed upon, endeavoured to apologize for his absence from the king's table.

1 Samuel 20:24-25

On the new moon's day Saul sat at table, and as always, at his seat by the wall, i.e., at the top, just as, in eastern lands at the present day, the place of honour is the seat in the corner (see Harmar Beobachtungen ii. pp. 66ff.). "And Jonathan rose up, and Abner seated himself by the side of Saul, and David's place remained empty." The difficult passage, "And Jonathan rose up," etc., can hardly be understood in any other way than as signifying that, when Abner entered, Jonathan rose from his seat by the side of Saul, and gave up the place to Abner, in which case all that is wanting is an account of the place to which Jonathan moved. Every other attempted explanation is exposed to much graver difficulties. The suggestion made by Gesenius, that the cop. ו should be supplied before אבנר, and ויּשׁב referred to Jonathan ("and Jonathan rose up and sat down, and Abner [sat down] by the side of Saul"), as in the Syriac, is open to this objection, that in addition to the necessity of supplying ו, it is impossible to see why Jonathan should have risen up for the purpose of sitting down again. The rendering "and Jonathan came," which is the one adopted by Maurer and De Wette, cannot be philologically sustained; inasmuch as, although קוּם is used to signify rise up, in the sense of the occurrence of important events, or the appearance of celebrated of persons, it never means simply "to come." And lastly, the conjecture of Thenius, that ויּקם should be altered into ויקדּם, according to the senseless rendering of the lxx, προέφθασε τὸν Ἰονάθαν, is overthrown by the fact, that whilst קדּם does indeed mean to anticipate or come to meet, it never means to sit in front of, i.e., opposite to a person.

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