Then said Samuel, Why then do you ask of me, seeing the LORD is departed from you, and is become your enemy?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Seeing the Lord is departed from thee.—In other words, If Jehovah have left thee, why comest thou to consult me, His servant and prophet? The Hebrew word here translated “enemy” is only found in Psalm 139:20 and has been assumed to be an Aramaic form—ain for tsadde. There are, however, no other Aramaic forms in this book, which is written in pure “classical” Hebrew. The letter ain, or the first letter in the text here, through a very slight error of the copyist, could easily have been altered from tsadde, the first letter of the usual word for “enemy.” The LXX. and Vulg. Versions apparently had another reading before them, for they translate the last clause of the verse, “and is with thy neighbours.”1 Samuel 28:19; 2 Samuel 12:23) is represented as under the earth Isaiah 14:9-10; Ezekiel 32:18.
seeing the Lord is departed from thee; as Saul himself owned: to which he adds:
and is become thine enemy; to make his case appear still more desperate; for his whole view is to lead him to despair, which shows what sort of spirit he was: though some understand this as spoken of David, and read the words, and "he is with thine enemy" (i); is on his side, and favours his cause; so the Targum,"and he is for the help of a man, whose enmity thou sharest in;''or who is at enmity with thee, meaning David; but now the true Samuel would never have said this, or suggested it, that David was an enemy to Saul, for he was not.Then said Samuel, Wherefore then dost thou ask of me, seeing the LORD is departed from thee, and is become thine enemy?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)16. Wherefore then, &c.] As if in such extremity I who am only God’s servant could do aught for thee.
is become thine enemy] The expression is startling, and it is almost certain that there is some corruption in the text. (a) The word for “enemy” is an Aramaic form, found elsewhere in Hebrew only in one or two doubtful instances. (b) The ancient versions point to some different reading. The Sept. gives “has turned to be with thy neighbour;” the Vulg. “has passed over to thy rival;” the Targ. “has become the help of a man who is thine enemy.” It seems best to follow the Sept. Comp. 1 Samuel 15:28; 1 Samuel 16:13-14.
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