And there was yet a battle in Gath, where was a man of great stature, that had on every hand six fingers, and on every foot six toes, four and twenty in number; and he also was born to the giant.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)2 Samuel 21:20-22. There was yet a battle in Gath — That is, in the territory of that city; which circumstance intimates, that this, and consequently the other battles here described, were fought before David had taken Gath out of the hands of the Philistines, which he did many years before this, 2 Samuel 8:1, compared with 1 Chronicles 18:1; and therefore not in the last days of David, as some conceive, from the mention of them in this place. A man of great stature — Or, a man of Medin, or Madon, as the Seventy render it; so called from the place of his birth, as Goliath is said to be of Gath for the same reason. Who had on every hand six fingers, &c. — Tavernier, in his relation of the grand seignior’s seraglio, p. 95, says, that the eldest son of the emperor of Java, who reigned in the year 1648, when he was in that island, had six fingers on each hand, and as many toes on each foot, all of equal length. These four fell by the hand of David — That is, by his conduct and counsel, or concurrence. Indeed he contributed by his hand to the death of one of them; while maintaining a fight with him, he gave Abishai the easier opportunity of killing him. But what is done by the inferior commanders is commonly ascribed to the general, both in sacred and profane authors. 1 Chronicles 20:5 gives us the reading Jair. "Oregim" has evidently got in by a transcriber's error from the line below, where "oregim" is the Hebrew for "weavers." Again, the word the "Bethlehemite" is very doubtful. It is supported by 2 Samuel 23:24, but it is not found in the far purer text of 1 Chronicles 20:5, but instead of it we find the name of the Philistine slain by Elhanan, "Lahmi the brother of Goliath the Gittite." It is probable, therefore, that either the words "the Bethlehemite," are a corruption of "Lahmi," or that the recurrence of "Lahmi," and the termination of "Beth-lehemite" has confused the transcriber, and led to the omission of one of the words in each text. In Gath, i. e. in the territory of the city of Gath; which circumstance intimates that this, and consequently the other battles here described, were fought before David had taken Gath out of the hands of the Philistines, which he did 2 Samuel 8:1, compared with 1 Chronicles 18:1, and therefore not in the last days of David, as some conceive from their mention in this place.
A man of great stature, or, a man of Middin or Madon, as the LXX. render it; so called from the place of his birth, as Goliath is said to be of Gath for the same reason.
where was a man of great stature; for so the sense of the word appears to be from 1 Chronicles 20:6; though here it signifies a man of strife and contention, a man of war, and both were true of him:
that had on every hand six fingers, and on every foot six toes, four and twenty in number; twelve fingers on his two hands, and twelve toes on his two feet. Pliny (a) speaks of one M. Curiatius, a patrician, who had two daughters that had six fingers on an hand, and were called "Sedigitae", six-fingered; and of Volcatius, a famous poet, called "Sedigitus", or six-fingered, for the same reason; and elsewhere, from other writers (b) he makes mention of a people that had eight toes each foot; so Ctesias (c) speaks of a people in the mountains of India, which have eight fingers on each hand, and eight toes on each foot, both men and women:
and he also was born to the giant; a son of a giant.And there was yet a battle in Gath, where was a man of great stature, that had on every hand six fingers, and on every foot six toes, four and twenty in number; and he also was born to the giant.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)20. six fingers … six toes] Pliny mentions such a peculiarity (Hist. Nat. 11:43), and it is not unknown in modern times.1 Samuel 31:10.), and had the bones of the sons and grandsons of Saul who had been crucified at Gibeah collected together, and interred all these bones at Zela in the land of Benjamin, in the family grave of Kish the father of Saul. גּנּב, to take away secretly. בּית־שׁן מּרחב, from the market-place of Bethshan, does not present any contradiction to the statement in 1 Samuel 31:10, that the Philistines fastened the body to the wall of Bethshan, as the rechob or market-place in eastern towns is not in the middle of the town, but is an open place against or in front of the gate (cf. 2 Chronicles 32:6; Nehemiah 8:1, Nehemiah 8:3,Nehemiah 8:16). This place, as the common meeting-place of the citizens, was the most suitable spot that the Philistines could find for fastening the bodies to the wall. The Chethib תּלוּם is the true Hebrew form from תּלה, whereas the Keri תּלאוּם is a formation resembling the Aramaean (cf. Ewald, 252, a.). The Keri פלשׁתּים שׁמּה is correct, however, as פלשׁתּים, being a proper name, does not take any article. In הכּות בּיום the literal meaning of יום (day) must not be strictly pressed, but the expression is to be taken in the sense of "at the time of the smiting;" for the hanging up of the bodies did not take place till the day after the battle (1 Samuel 31:8.). - In 2 Samuel 21:14 the account is abridged, and the bones of the crucified persons are not mentioned again. The situation of Zela is unknown (see at Joshua 18:28). After this had been carried out in accordance with the king's command, God suffered himself to be entreated for the land, so that the famine ceased.
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