1 Samuel 25:29
Yet a man is risen to pursue thee, and to seek thy soul: but the soul of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of life with the LORD thy God; and the souls of thine enemies, them shall he sling out, as out of the middle of a sling.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(29) A man is risen.—She here refers, of course, to Saul, but with exquisite courtesy and true loyalty refrains from mentioning in connection with evil the name of her king, the “Anointed of Jehovah.”

Shall be bound in the bundle of life.—This is one of the earliest and most definite expressions of a sure belief in an eternal future in the presence of God, and Hebrew tradition from the very earliest times down to our day has so regarded it. It is now a favourite and common inscription on Jewish gravestones. Keil beautifully paraphrases the words of the original. “The words,” he writes, “do not refer primarily to eternal life with God in heaven, but only to the safe preservation of the righteous on this earth in the grace and fellowship of the Lord. But whoever is so hidden in the gracious fellowship of the Lord in this life, that no enemy can harm him or injure his life, the Lord will not allow to perish, even though temporal death should come, but will then receive him into eternal life”—Keil.

The image, as so often in Eastern teaching, is taken from common every-day life—from the habit, as Dean Payne Smith remarks, of packing up in a bundle articles of great value or of indispensable use, so that the owner may carry them about his person. In India the phrase is common. Thus, a just judge is said to be bound up in the bundle of righteousness; a lover in the bundle of love. Among the striking references in the Babylonian Talmud to this loved and cherished saying of the wife of Nabal, we find how, in one of the Treatises of Seder Moed, “Rabbi Ezra says, The souls of the righteous are hidden beneath God’s glorious throne: as it is said, The soul of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of life with the Lord thy God.”—Treatise Shabbath, fol. 152, col. 2.

What student of this verse of the Book of Samuel, and the beautiful Talmud comments on the far-reaching words, can fail to see in them the original of St. John’s well-known picture of the “souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held?” (Revelation 6:9)—these souls of the righteous hidden beneath the glorious throne of God.

The thought is embodied in the following extract. The angel of death came and stood before Moses. Give me thy soul, said he; but Moses rebuked him, and said, thou hast no permission to come where he (Moses) was; and he departed crest-fallen. Then the Holy One—blessed be He !—took the soul of Moses, and hid it under His throne of glory: as it is said (1Samuel 25:29): ‘And the soul of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of life.’ But when He took it He took it by means of a kiss.”—Avoth. of Rabbi Nathan, 1 Samuel 12.

In the Seder Moed, again, in the same Treatise Shabbath, there is a remarkable parable, founded on this saying of Abigail: a parable that reminds us of the framework of one of the well-known pictures of the Redeemer. A king once distributed royal robes among his servants; those that were wise folded them up and laid them by in a coffer, and those that were foolish wore them on their working days. When the king demanded back his robes, those given to the wise were returned free from stains, whilst those of the foolish were soiled. The king, pleased with the wise servants, ordered their robes to be deposited in his treasury, and then that they should depart in peace. But he manifested his displeasure at the foolish servants; he sent their robes to be washed, and dispatched them to prison. So the bodies of the righteous “enter into peace, and rest in their beds” (Isaiah 57:2), and their souls are bound up in the bundle of life; but with reference to the bodies of the foolish there is no peace, saith the Lord, and the wicked (Isaiah 57:21) and their souls (quoting the next paragraph of this chapter of Samuel) are slung out, as out of the middle of a sling (1Samuel 25:29).—Treatise Shabbath, fol. 152, col. 2.

And the souls of thine enemies, them shall he sling out, as out of the middle of a sling.—The simile was one Abigail had with all probability heard from one or other of the prophets or their pupils. It was not unlikely originally suggested by the ever memorable encounter between David and Goliath: as in the case of the souls of the righteous, in the passage just discussed, the reference in the first instance was to the fate of the enemies of God in this life; but Hebrew theologians in all times have understood it in a deeper and more solemn sense, as a reference to the doom after death reserved for all unrighteous. (See, for instance, above in the passage quoted from the Talmud, Treatise Shabbath.) In the same most ancient writing–which, most probably, contains the teaching of the great Jewish schools before the Christian era—we read: “The souls of the wicked are incessantly thrown by angels, as with a sling, from one end of the world to the other, as it is said: ‘The souls of thine enemies shall he sling out, as out of the middle of a sling;’ and what, asks Ravah of Rav. Nachman (this is a later comment), is the lot of those who are neither righteous nor wicked? They, as well as the wicked, are handed over to ‘Dumah’—silence (see Psalm 115:17)—an angel who has charge of disembodied spirits. The former, the neither righteous nor wicked, have rest; the latter, the wicked, have none.”—Treatise Shabbath, fol. 152, col. 2.

The strange wild statement, as it seems to us, is no doubt a cryptograph; and the great rabbis of old days in their famous schools would now and again unrol its meaning. With that, for the present, we have not to concern ourselves. But the bare text, as we copy it from the Talmud, conveys to us this important fact,—that men and women in the Canaan of Samuel and Saul—people who lived remote, as it would seem, from any famous centre of civilisation, in the midst of shepherds and herdsmen in the lone sheep farms of Judah and Benjamin—believed in the glories of the life eternal with God, and looked on to a future state of rewards and punishments, instead of limiting their hopes and fears to the sitting in quiet peace under the vine and the fig tree of their own loved land of promise.

The knowledge of a future state of existence was ever the blessed heritage of the chosen race—but the spread of that knowledge and the re-awakening of that belief we ascribe to the beneficial influence of one man. The Divine record, if we read between its lines, and the mighty wealth of Hebrew tradition, if we take sufficient pains to make it our own, tell us one story—how Samuel, whom, when he was a child, the God of Israel loved: with whom, during his long and blameless life, He used to speak face to face—now by a vision, now by the echo of a voice—tell us how Samuel was the founder of those great Prophetic Schools where the lamp of the knowledge of God was re-lit, and then kept burning with a steady flame through his time and for centuries after: the one bright light during the long, sad record of Israel.

Hero-kings like David, prophets like Gad and Nathan, the great psalm writers and musicians of the Temple of Solomon, were the more prominent results of the peculiar teaching and spirit of these “schools;” but their noblest work, after all, was the high and beneficial influence they exercised over the people of the land—an influence exemplified in such characters as that of Abigail, the sheep-master of Carmel’s wife, a page of whose life story we have just been considering.

1 Samuel 25:29. A man hath risen to pursue thee — Saul, though no way injured. To seek thy soul — To take away thy life. Bundle of life — Or, in the bundle: that is, in the society, or congregation of the living; out of which men are taken, and cut off by death. The phrase is taken from the common usage of men, who bind those things in bundles which they are afraid to lose. The meaning is, God will preserve thy life; and therefore it becomes not thee, unnecessarily, to take away the lives of any; especially of the people of thy God. With the Lord — That is, in the custody of God, who, by his watchful providence, preserves this bundle, and all that are in it; and thee in a particular manner, as being thy God in a particular way, and special covenant. The Jews understand this, not only of the present life, but of that which is to come, even the happiness of separate souls; and therefore use it commonly as an inscription on their grave-stones. “Here we have laid the body, trusting the soul is bound up in the bundle of life with the Lord.” Them shall he sling out — God himself will cut them off suddenly, violently, and irresistibly; and cast them far away; both from his presence and from thy neighbourhood, and from all capacity of doing thee hurt.

25:18-31 By a present Abigail atoned for Nabal's denial of David's request. Her behaviour was very submissive. Yielding pacifies great offences. She puts herself in the place of a penitent, and of a petitioner. She could not excuse her husband's conduct. She depends not upon her own reasonings, but on God's grace, to soften David, and expects that grace would work powerfully. She says that it was below him to take vengeance on so weak and despicable an enemy as Nabal, who, as he would do him no kindness, so he could do him no hurt. She foretells the glorious end of David's present troubles. God will preserve thy life; therefore it becomes not thee unjustly and unnecessarily to take away the lives of any, especially of the people of thy God and Saviour. Abigail keeps this argument for the last, as very powerful with so good a man; that the less he indulged his passion, the more he consulted his peace and the repose of his own conscience. Many have done that in a heat, which they have a thousand times wished undone again. The sweetness of revenge is soon turned into bitterness. When tempted to sin, we should consider how it will appear when we think upon it afterwards.In the bundle - Rather, "the bag," in which anything precious, or important to be preserved, was put, and the bag was then tied up (compare Genesis 42:35).

The souls ... shall he sling out - The comparison is especially appropriate as addressed to David, whose feat with his sling was so celebrated 1 Samuel 17:49.

29. the soul of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of life with the Lord thy God—An Orientalism, expressing the perfect security of David's life from all the assaults of his enemies, under the protecting shield of Providence, who had destined him for high things. A man, to wit, Saul, though no way injured nor justly provoked by thee.

To seek thy soul, i. e. to take away thy life. In the bundle of life, or, in the bundle, i.e. in the society or congregation of

the living; out of which men are taken and cut off by death. The phrase is taken from the common usage of men, who bind those things in bundles which they are afraid to lose, because things that are solitary and unbound are soon lost. The meaning of the place is, God will preserve thy life; and therefore it becomes not thee unjustly and unnecessarily to take away the lives of any, especially the people of thy God and Saviour.

With the Lord thy God, i.e. in the hand and custody of God, who, by his watchful providence, preserves this bundle, and all that are in it; and time in a particular and singular manner, as being thy God in a peculiar way and special covenant. God himself will hide and keep thee in the secret of his presence, Psalm 31:20, where no hand of violence can reach thee. And therefore all the attempts of Saul or others against thee are vain and ridiculous. For who can destroy whom God will keep?

Them shall he sling out, as out of the middle of a sling; God himself will cut them off suddenly, violently, and irresistibly; and cast them far away, both from his presence, and from thy neighbourhood, and from all capacity of doing thee any hurt.

Yet a man is risen to pursue thee, and to seek thy soul,.... His life, to take it away, meaning Saul, whom she chose not to name, because he was king:

but the soul of my lord shall be bound up in the bundle of life with the Lord thy God; should be dear unto the Lord, precious in his esteem, and be carefully preserved by him, among other his chosen ones, and should be safe with him, in his hands, and under his care and keeping; the Jews refer this to eternal life in the world to come, and the safety and security of his soul hereafter; so the Targum,"the soul of my lord shall be treasured up in the treasury of eternal life, before the Lord thy God:''hence they speak of the souls of the righteous being laid up under the throne of glory (e), in proof of which they produce this text; and so Maimonides (f) understands it of what should be after death, see Revelation 6:9,

and the souls of thine enemies, them shall he sling out, as out of the middle of a sling; that is, remove them swiftly and suddenly, and with force, out of the world, as a stone is slung out of the middle of a sling; see Jeremiah 10:18.

(e) T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 152. 2.((f) Moreh Nevochim, par. 1. c. 41.

Yet {l} a man is risen to pursue thee, and to seek thy soul: but the soul of my lord shall be bound in the {m} bundle of life with the LORD thy God; and the souls of thine enemies, them shall he sling out, as out of the middle of a sling.

(l) That is, Saul.

(m) God will preserve you long in his service, and destroy your enemies.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
29. Yet a man, &c.] Better, And though men have arisen … yet the soul of my lord shall be bound up in the bundle of the living. The figure is taken from the practice of binding up valuables in a bag or bundle. Cp. Genesis 42:35. Of course the immediate reference is only to the safe preservation of David’s temporal life.

shall he sling out, &c.] A vigorous metaphor to express total rejection. Cp. Jeremiah 10:18.

the middle of a sling] Lit. the pan or hollow in which the stone was placed. The marginal rendering “bought” means “the bowed or bent part of a sling on which the stone was placed.” See the Bible Word-Book, p. 73.

Verses 29-31. - Yet a man is risen. Rather, "And should any one arise to pursue thee," etc. The reference is of course to Saul, but put with due reserve, and also made general, so as to include all possible injury attempted against David. Bound in the bundle of life. Hebrew, "of the living." The metaphor is taken from the habit of packing up in a bundle articles of great value or of indispensable use, so that the owner may carry them about his person. In India the phrase is common; thus, a just judge is said to be bound up in the bundle of righteousness; a lover in the bundle of love. Abigail prays, therefore, that David may, with others whose life is precious in God's sight, be securely kept under Jehovah's personal care and protection. In modern times the two words signifying "in the bundle of the living" form a common inscription on Jewish gravestones, the phrase having been interpreted in the Talmud, as also by Abravanel and other Jewish authorities, of a future life. Shall he sling out, etc. In forcible contrast with this careful preservation of David's life, she prays that his enemies may be cast away as violently and to as great a distance as a stone is cast out of a sling. The middle is the hollow in which the stone was placed. Ruler. i.e. prince. It is the word rendered captain in 1 Samuel 9:16; 1 Samuel 10:1, but its meaning is more correctly given here. Grief. The word really means much the same as stumbling block, something which makes a person stagger by his striking against it unawares. Abigail prays, therefore, that when David has become prince, and so has to administer justice, this violent and revengeful act which he was purposing might not prove a cause of stumbling and an offence of heart to himself, by his conscience reproaching him for having himself done that which he had to condemn in others. 1 Samuel 25:29"And should any one rise up to pursue thee, ... the soul of my lord will be bound up in the bundle of the living with the Lord thy God." The metaphor is taken from the custom of binding up valuable things in a bundle, to prevent their being injured. The words do not refer primarily to eternal life with God in heaven, but only to the safe preservation of the righteous on this earth in the grace and fellowship of the Lord. But whoever is so hidden in the gracious fellowship of the Lord in this life, that no enemy can harm him or injure his life, the Lord will not allow to perish, even though temporal death should come, but will then receive him into eternal life. "But the soul of thine enemies, He will hurl away in the cup of the sling." "The cup (caph: cf. Genesis 32:26) of the sling" was the cavity in which the stone was placed for the purpose of hurling.
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