Then Abigail made haste, and took two hundred loaves, and two bottles of wine, and five sheep ready dressed, and five measures of parched corn, and an hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs, and laid them on asses.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Five measures.—The LXX. alter the measure into five ephahs, thinking the quantity in the text ridiculously small for such an host as followed David. Ewald too, would change 5 into 500; but the truth is that Abigail in her haste, thinking rightly that no time must be lost, as the danger was pressing, simply pro-provided a liberal present for David’s own immediate followers, not for the whole force.
An hundred clusters of raisins.—That is, an hundred cakes of dried grapes—what in Italy is called “simmuki.”1 Samuel 25:18-19. Then Abigail took two hundred loaves, &c. — This shows he was a great man, who had plenty of provisions in his house. Abigail did this of her own accord, without her husband’s leave, because it was a case of apparent necessity, for the preservation of herself and husband, and all the family, from imminent ruin. She said unto her servants, Go on before me, &c. — They carried the present, that David, beholding it, might be a little mitigated before she came to him.2 Samuel 16:1. The provisions were all ready to Abigail's hand, having been provided for the sheep-shearing feast.
14-18. Then Abigail made haste—The prudence and address of Nabal's wife were the means of saving him and family from utter destruction. She acknowledged the demand of her formidable neighbors; but justly considering, that to atone for the insolence of her husband, a greater degree of liberality had become necessary, she collected a large amount of food, accompanying it with the most valued products of the country.
bottles—goatskins, capable of holding a great quantity.
parched corn—It was customary to eat parched corn when it was fully grown, but not ripe.Abigail took two hundred loaves; which she did without his leave, and against his mind, because it was a case of apparent necessity, for the preservation of herself, and husband, and all the family from imminent ruin. And surely that real and urgent necessity which dispenseth with God’s positive commands, might well dispense with the husband’s right in this case.
and took two hundred loaves; of bread; of what size or weight they were is not said; though it may be reasonably concluded they were pretty large, since they are not called cakes, but loaves, and since they were to be a present to David and his men, who were numerous:
and two bottles of wine; not such as ours are, which would have borne no proportion to the rest of the provision; but these were leathern bags which held a large quantity, in which they put and carried wine in those times and countries; the Septuagint version is, two vessels or casks of wine:
and five sheep ready dressed; killed and dressed by the butcher, or made ready by the cook, boiled or roasted; the word which the Targum uses, according to the interpretation of Jarchi, from one of their Rabbins, signifies such as were stuffed with small pieces of meat, and eggs in them, or, as it should seem, made into pastries:
and five measures of parched corn; or five seahs, a measure which held, according to Bishop Cumberland (b), two wine gallons, four bottles, and a little more; of this parched corn; see Gill on 1 Samuel 17:17; where mention is made of an ephah of it; and the Septuagint version has the same measure here, and calls them five ephahs of flour:
and an hundred clusters of raisins; or dried grapes, as the Targum; the Septuagint is, one omer of them, which was the tenth part of an ephah:
and two hundred cakes of figs; which were dried, and pressed, and made into lumps, and she took two hundred of these; or, as the Targum, two hundred pound weight of them:
and laid them on asses; one not being sufficient to carry all this provision.Then Abigail made haste, and took two hundred loaves, and two bottles of wine, and five sheep ready dressed, and five measures of parched corn, and an hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs, and laid them on asses.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)18. Abigail made haste, and took] A store of provisions was prepared for the shearing feast (1 Samuel 25:11). For the different items of the present compare 2 Samuel 16:1; 1 Chronicles 12:40.
two bottles of wine] Skins, holding a considerable quantity. Ziba only brought one “bottle” of wine for David in his flight (2 Samuel 16:1). Those now used in the East are made of kid, goat, or ox skins, according to the size required.
five measures of parched corn] See on 1 Samuel 17:17. The “measure” (Heb. seah) contained one third of an ephah. See on 1 Samuel 1:24. Parched corn was only a delicacy, which accounts for the comparatively small quantity.
clusters of raisins] Lumps of dried grapes. The vineyards near Hebron still produce the largest and best grapes in all the country, and the finest of them are dried as raisins. Robinson’s Bibl. Res. I. 214, II. 81.
cakes of figs] Figs dried and compressed. They still grow in abundance in the neighbourhood of Hebron.Verses 18-20. - Five measures of parched corn. The measure named here, the seah, contains about a peck and a half. As this seems little, Ewald reads 500 seahs, but probably it was regarded as a delicacy. Clusters of raisins. Rather, as in the margin, lumps of raisins. The bunches of grapes when dried were pressed into cakes. Sending her servants in front leading the asses which carried the present, she followed behind, and met David as she was coming down by the covert of the hill. Hebrew, "in secret of the hill," under cover of the hill, i.e. she met him as she was descending into some glen into which he had entered from the other end.
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