2 Samuel 17:19
And the woman took and spread a covering over the well's mouth, and spread ground corn thereon; and the thing was not known.
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(19) Ground Corn.—This word occurs elsewhere only in Proverbs 27:22, and means wheat or barley beaten or ground so as to remove the hull; in this condition it was spread out to dry.

17:1-21 Here was a wonderful effect of Divine Providence blinding Absalom's mind and influencing his heart, that he could not rest in Ahithophel's counsel, and that he should desire Hushai's advice. But there is no contending with that God who can arm a man against himself, and destroy him by his own mistakes and passions. Ahithophel's former counsel was followed, for God intended to correct David; but his latter counsel was not followed, for God meant not to destroy him. He can overrule all counsels. Whatever wisdom or help any man employs or affords, the success is from God alone, who will not let his people perish.A covering - Hebrew "the covering," perhaps "the hanging" or "awning" at the door of the house, as the word seems to mean when spoken of the tabernacle.

Ground corn - Or "peeled barley," which she spread out as if for the purpose of drying it in the sun.

18. and came to a man's house in Bahurim, which had a well in his court—The court was that of the house, and the well an empty cistern. All the houses of the better class are furnished with such reservoirs. Nothing could more easily happen than that one of these wells, in consequence of a deficiency of water, should become dry and it would then answer as a place of retreat, such as David's friends found in the man's house at Bahurim. The spreading of a covering over the well's mouth for the drying of corn is a common practice. Spread ground corn thereon, under pretence of drying it by the sun; which shows it was summer time.

And the woman took and spread a covering over the well's mouth,.... This woman, very probably, was the man's wife of the house, as Abarbinel notes; who took a cloth, and spread it over the well's mouth, that it could not be seen or known that there was a well there:

and spread ground corn thereon: just taken out of the mill, before it was sifted, while in the bran; or corn unhusked, or just threshed out, in order to be dried in the sun, and then parched; or wheat bruised for that purpose: Josephus says (q) they were locks of wool she spread:

and the thing was not known; that the young men were in the well.

(q) Antiqu. l. 7. c. 9. sect. 7.

And {h} the woman took and spread a covering over the well's mouth, and spread ground corn thereon; and the thing was not known.

(h) Thus God sends help to his, in their greatest dangers.

19. a covering] The covering, either the usual cover of the cistern, or, as the general use of the word suggests, the curtain which hung in the doorway. See Exodus 26:36 (E. V. hanging).

ground corn] Bruised or husked wheat, which she spread out as if to dry. The mode of its preparation is referred to in Proverbs 27:22, the only other passage in which the word occurs.

Verse 19. - A covering; Hebrew, the cover; that is, the usual cover of the cistern, which had been taken off to let the young men descend into it. Over it she spread, not ground corn, but brayed or peeled corn (see Proverbs 27:22), probably barley groats. She was probably busy in removing the husks of the barley with a pestle in a mortar when Jonathan and Ahimaaz sought refuge with her; and thus her whole proceeding was so natural as to excite no suspicions. 2 Samuel 17:19And the man's wife spread a covering (המּסך, the covering which she had close at hand) over the well (over the opening into the cistern), and scattered groats (ריפות, peeled barley: Proverbs 27:22) upon it, so that nothing was noticed. The Vulgate explanation is a very good one: "quasi siccans ptisanas" (as if drying peeled barley).
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