When he was gone out, his servants came; and when they saw that, behold, the doors of the parlor were locked, they said, Surely he covers his feet in his summer chamber.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Behold, the doors of the parlour were locked.—It never occurred to them to suppose that they could have been fastened from without. “They were not strictly on the watch, both because of the heat and because they had gone to dinner” (Jos.).
Surely he covereth his feet.—They assumed that the king had fastened the door inside for the sake of privacy. The margin correctly explains the phrase “covereth his feet,” following the LXX. in both their readings (apokenoi tous podas B. pros diphrous kathētai. A) and the “Vulgate (purgat alvum), the Chaldee, and the Syriac. Josephus gives the same explanation when alluding to the scene described in 1Samuel 24:4 (Jos., Antt. vi. 13, § 3), though here (Antt. v. 4, § 2) he explains it erroneously of “lying down to sleep.” It is an Eastern euphemism taken from spreading out the garments while relieving the needs of nature (Bochart, Hierozoicon, i. 677).
In his summer chamber.—The word used for “chamber” (cheder) is not the same as in Judges 3:20. It may mean either gynœceum, i.e., “women’s apartments,” or some “retiring place,” as rendered by the Alexandrian Codex of the LXX.Jdg 3:24. He covereth his feet — This phrase is used only here, and 1 Samuel 24:3. A late judicious interpreter expounds it, of composing himself to take a little sleep, as it was very usual to do in the day-time in those hot countries. And when they did so in cool places, such as this summer parlour unquestionably was, they used to cover their feet. And this may seem to be the more probable, both because the summer parlour was proper for this use, and because this was a more likely reason for their long waiting at his door, lest they should disturb his repose. And this sense best agrees with Saul’s case in the cave, when, being asleep, David could more securely cut off the lap of his garment. 1 Samuel 24:3. It is commonly understood in both places, of easing nature; because the men not then wearing breeches, as we do, but long coats, they did in that act cover their feet, as women do: but a late judicious interpreter expounds it of composing himself to take a little sleep or rest, as was very usual to do in the day-time in those hot countries, 2 Samuel 4:5 11:2. And when they did so in cool places, such as this summer parlour unquestionably was, they used to cover their feet, as appears from Ruth 3:7. And this may seem to be the more probable, both because the summer parlour was more proper for this use than for the former; and because this was a more likely reason of their long waiting at his door, lest they should disturb his repose. And this sense best agrees with Saul’s case in the cave, when being asleep David could more securely cut off the lap of his garment, 1 Samuel 24:3, where See Poole "1 Samuel 24:3". annotations.
and when they saw that behold the doors of the parlour were locked; which they supposed were done by the king himself with inside, having no suspicion of Ehud:
they said, surely, or "perhaps", as Noldius (f) renders it:
he covereth his feet in his summer chamber; that is, was easing nature; and, as the eastern people wore long and loose garments, when they sat down on such an occasion, their feet were covered with them; or they purposely gathered them about their feet to cover them, and so this became a modest expression for this work of nature, see 1 Samuel 24:3; though some think that in that place, and also in this, is meant lying down to sleep; and that Eglon's servants supposed that he had laid himself down on his couch in his summer chamber to take sleep, when it was usual to cover the feet with long garments, to hide those parts of nature which otherwise might be exposed; and it must be owned that this seems more agreeable to a summer parlour than the former, and better accounts for the servants waiting so long as they did; and Josephus (g) is express for it, that his servants thought he had fallen asleep. Indeed, the Jews in later times used the phrase in the first sense (h), which seems to be taken from hence.When he was gone out, his servants came; and when they saw that, behold, the doors of the parlor were locked, they said, Surely he covereth his feet in his summer chamber.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)24. his servants came]. It is implied that Eglon’s servants saw Ehud go out by the usual way, for they evidently believe their master to be alone, clause b; Moore.
he covereth his feet] An euphemism, cf. 1 Samuel 24:3.Verse 24.- Covereth his feet, i.e. is asleep (see 1 Samuel 24:3). The servants, finding the door locked, and all quiet within, coneluded that he was taking his sieJudges 3:19, after they had gone some distance from Jericho. But he himself returned from the stone-quarries at Gilgal, sc., to Jericho to king Eglon. הפּסילים מן refers to some place by Gilgal. In Deuteronomy 7:25; Isaiah 21:9; Jeremiah 8:19, pesilim signifies idols. And if we would retain this meaning here, as the lxx, Vulg., and others have done, we must assume that in the neighbourhood of Gilgal there were stone idols set up in the open air-a thing which is very improbable. The rendering "stone quarries," from פּסל, to hew out stones (Exodus 34:1, etc.), which is the one adopted in the Chaldee, and by Rashi and others, is more likely to be the correct one. Gilgal cannot be the Gilgal between Jericho and the Jordan, which was the first encampment of the Israelites in Canaan, as is commonly supposed, since Ehud passed the Pesilim on his flight from the king's dwelling-place to the mountains of Ephraim (Judges 3:26, Judges 3:27); and we can neither assume, as Bertheau does, that Eglon did not reside in the conquered palm-city (Jericho), but in some uncultivated place in the neighbourhood of the Jordan, nor suppose that after the murder of Eglon Ehud could possibly have gone from Jericho to the Gilgal which was half an hour's journey towards the east, for the purpose of escaping by a circuitous route of this kind to Seirah in the mountains of Ephraim, which was on the north-west of Jericho. Gilgal is more likely to be Geliloth, which was on the west of Jericho opposite to the ascent of Adummim (Kaalat ed Dom), on the border of Judah and Benjamin (Joshua 18:17), and which was also called Gilgal (Joshua 15:7). Having returned to the king's palace, Ehud sent in a message to him: "I have a secret word to thee, O king." The context requires that we should understand "he said" in the sense of "he had him told" (or bade say to him), since Ehud himself did not go in to the king, who was sitting in his room, till afterwards (Judges 3:20). In consequence of this message the king said: הס, lit. be silent (the imperative of הסה fo); here it is a proclamation, Let there be quiet. Thereupon all who were standing round (viz., his attendants) left the room, and Ehud went in (Judges 3:20). The king was sitting "in his upper room of cooling alone." The "room of cooling" (Luther, Sommerlaube, summer-arbour) was a room placed upon the flat roof of a house, which was open to the currents of air, and so afforded a cool retreat, such as are still met with in the East (vid., Shaw, pp. 188-9). Then Ehud said, "A word of God I have to thee;" whereupon the king rose from his seat, from reverence towards the word of God which Ehud pretended that he had to deliver to him, not to defend himself, as Bertheau supposes, of which there is not the slightest intimation in the text.
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