Clarke's Bible Commentary - 2 Samuel 1:21 Verse 21. As though he had not been] In stead of ylb beli, NOT, I read ylk keley, INSTRUMENTS.
Anointed with oil.] See the observations at the end. Chap. i. ver. 18, &c.: He bade them teach the children of Judah the use of the bow, tq kasheth.
The word kasheth is to be understood of the title of the song which immediately follows, and not of the use of the bow, as our translation intimates.
Many of David's Psalms have titles prefixed to them; some are termed Shosannim, some Maschil, Nehiloth, Neginoth, &c., and this one here, Kadesh or The Bow, because it was occasioned by the Philistine archers. 1 Sam. xxxi. 3: "And the archers hit him." But especially respecting the bow of Jonathan, "which returned not back from the blood of the slain," as the song itself expresses. And David could not but remember the bow of Jonathan, out of which "the arrow was shot beyond the lad," 1 Sam. xx. 36. It was the time when that covenant was made, and that affection expressed between them "which was greater than the love of women." On these accounts the song was entitled Kasheth, or The song of the Bow, and David commanded the chief musicians, Ethan, Heman, and Jeduthun, to teach the children of Judah to sing it.
"It is written in the book of Jasher." Sept., epi bibliou tou euqouv, "in the book of the upright." atyrwad arps siphra deoraitha, "The book of the Law." -Jonathan.
The Arabic says, "Behold it is written in the book of Ashee; this is the book of Samuel;" the interpretation of which is, "book of songs or canticles." This lamentation is justly admired as a picture of distress the most tender and the most striking; unequally divided by grief into longer and shorter breaks, as nature could pour them forth from a mind interrupted by the alternate recurrence of the most lively images of love and greatness.
His reverence for Saul and his love for Jonathan have their strongest colourings; but their greatness and bravery come full upon him, and are expressed with peculiar energy.
Being himself a warrior, it is in that character he sees their greatest excellence; and though his imagination hurries from one point of recollection to another, yet we hear him-at first, at last, everywhere-lamenting, How are the mighty fallen! It is almost impossible to read the noble original without finding every word swollen with a sigh or broken with a sob. A heart pregnant with distress, and striving to utter expressions descriptive of its feelings, which are repeatedly interrupted by an excess of grief, is most sensibly painted throughout the whole. Even an English reader may be convinced of this, from the following specimen in European characters:- 19. Hatstsebi Yishrael al bamotheycha chalal; Eych naphelu gibborim; 20. Al taggidu begath, Al tebasseru bechutsoth Ashkelon; Pen tismachnah benoth Pelishtim, Pen taalozenah benoth haarelim.
21. Harey baggilboa al tal, Veal matar aleychem usedey terumoth; Ki sham nigal magen Gibborim. Magen Shaul keley Mashiach bashshamen! 22. Middam chalalim, mecheleb gibborim, Kesheth Yehonathan lo nashog achor; Vechereb Shaul lo thashub reykam.
23. Shaul Vihonathan, Hannee habim vehanneimim bechaiyeyhem, Ubemotham lo niphradu. Minnesharim kallu, mearayoth gaberu! 24. Benoth Yishrael el Shaul becheynah; Hammalbishchem shani im adanim, Hammaaleh adi zahab al lebushechen.
25. Eych naphelu gibborim bethoch hammilchamah! Yehonathan al bamotheycha chalal! 26. Tsar li aleycha achi Yehonathan, naamta li meod Niphleathah ahabathecha li meahabath nashim! 27. Eych naphelu gibborim, Vaiyobedu keley milchamah! The three last verses in this sublime lamentation have sense and sound so connected as to strike every reader.
Dr. Kennicott, from whom I have taken several of the preceding remarks, gives a fine Latin version of this song, which I here subjoin:- O decus Israelis, super excelsa tua MILES! Quomodo ceciderunt FORTES! Nolite indicare in Gatho, Nolite indicare in plateis Ascalonis: Neh. laetentur filiae Philistaeorum, Nehemiah exultent filiae incircumcisorum.
Montes Gilboani super vos Nec ros, nec pluvia, neque agri primitiarum; Ibi enim abjectus fuit clypeus fortium.
Clypeus Saulis, arma inuncti olec! Sine sanguine MILITUM, Sine adipe FORTIUM.
Arcus Jonathanis non retrocesserat; Gladiusque Saulis non redierat incassum.
Saul et Jonathan Amabiles erant et jucundi in vitis suis, Et in morte sua non separati. Prae aquilis veloces! Prae leonibus fortes! Filiae Israelis deflete Saulem; Qui coccino cum deliciis vos vestivit, Qui vestibus vestris ornamenta imposuit aurea! Quomodo ceciderunt FORTES, in medio belli! O Jonathan, super excelsa tua MILES! Versor in angustiis, tui causa, Frater mi, Jonathan! Mihi fuisti admodum jucundus! Mihi tuus amor admodum mirabilis, Mulierum exuperans amorem! Quomodo ceciderunt fortes, Et perierunt arma belli! DISSERTATION I., p. 122.
In verse 21 I have inserted ylk keley for ylb beli. Dr. Delaney rightly observes that the particle ylb beli is not used in any part of the Bible in the sense of quasi non, as though not, in which sense it must be used here if it be retained as a genuine reading: The shield of Saul as though it had not been anointed with oil.
In a MS. written about the year 1200, numbered 30 in Kennicott's Bible, ylk keley is found; and also in the first edition of the whole Hebrew Bible, printed Soncini 1488. Neither the Syriac nor Arabic versions, nor the Chaldee paraphrase, acknowledge the negative particle ylb beli, which they would have done had it been in the copies from which they translated. It was easy to make the mistake, as there is such a similarity between b beth and k caph; the line therefore should be read thus: The shield of Saul, weapons anointed with oil.
In verse 22 gwn nashog, to obtain, attain, seems to have been written for gwsn nasog, to recede, return. The former destroys the sense, the latter, which our translation has followed, and which is supported by the authority of 30 MSS., makes it not only intelligible but beautiful.
In verses 19, 22, and 25, llj and µyllj chalal and chalalim occur, which we translate the SLAIN, but which Dr. Kennicott, I think from good authority, renders soldier and soldiers; and thus the version is made more consistent and beautiful.
llj chalal signifies to bore or pierce through; and this epithet might be well given to a soldier, q.d., the PIERCER, because his business is to transfix or pierce his enemies with sword, spear, and arrows.
If it be translated soldiers in the several places of the Old Testament, where we translate it SLAIN or WOUNDED, the sense will be much mended; see Judg. xx. 31, 39; Psa. lxxxix. 11; Prov. vii. 26; Jer. li. 4, 47, 49; Ezek. xi. 6, 7; xxi. 14. In several others it retains its radical signification of piercing, wounding, &c.
AFTER these general observations I leave the particular beauties of this inimitable song to be sought out by the intelligent reader. Much has been written upon this, which cannot, consistently with the plan of these notes, be admitted here. See Delaney, Kennicott, Lowth, &c.; and, above all, let the reader examine the Hebrew text.
John Gill's Bible Commentary Ver. 21. Ye mountains of Gilboa , etc.] On which fell Saul and his sons, and many of the people of Israel, ( 2 Samuel 1:6 1 Samuel 31:1); [let there be] no dew, neither [let there be] rain upon you ; which is not to understood as a real imprecation; for David would never curse any part of the land of Israel, for which he had so great a regard; but only as a poetical figure, expressing his concern for, and abhorrence of what happened on those mountains; much less did this in reality take place, as some have feigned, as if never dew nor rain descended on them afterwards; which has been refuted by travellers, particularly Borchard f20 , who, speaking of this mountain, says, that as he was upon it, there was such a violent shower fell, that he was wet through his clothes; and in the year 1273, laying all night upon this hill, there was a great dew fell upon him: nor fields of offerings ; of heave offerings; the meaning is, that he could wish almost that those hills were not fruitful, and that they brought no fruit to perfection, so much as that heave offerings for the service of the sanctuary might be taken; which is expressive of great sterility and scarcity, (see Joel 1:13,16); for there the shield of the mighty is vilely cast away ; mighty men were obliged to cast away their shields and flee, which were greatly to their reproach and scandal, and to that of the whole nation: it was always reckoned very scandalous, and a great crime, even punishable with death, to cast away a shield, both with the Greeks and others f21 : yea, also the shield of Saul, [as though he had] not [been] anointed with oil ; as if he was not the anointed king of Israel, but a common soldier: or else this respects his shield, as if that was not anointed, as shields used to be, that they might be smooth and glib, and missile weapons, as arrows and others, might not pass through them, but slide off, (see Isaiah 21:5); though Gersom gives a different turn, that Sauls shield being in continual use, needed not to be anointed, as those did which for a time had been laid aside. Abarbinel interprets these words thus, that he, who was the shield of the mighty, even Saul himself, was vilely cast away, or become loathsome; and that his shield was anointed, not with oil, but with the blood of the slain, and the fat of the mighty, connecting them with the words following.
Matthew Henry Commentary Verses 17-27 - Kasheth, or "the bow," probably was the title of this mournful, funera song. David does not commend Saul for what he was not; and says nothin of his piety or goodness. Jonathan was a dutiful son, Saul a affectionate father, therefore dear to each other. David had reason to say, that Jonathan's love to him was wonderful. Next to the love between Christ and his people, that affection which springs form it produces the strongest friendship. The trouble of the Lord's people and triumphs of his enemies, will always grieve true believers whatever advantages they may obtain by them __________________________________________________________________
Original Hebrew הרי 2022 בגלבע 1533 אל 408 טל 2919 ואל 408 מטר 4306 עליכם 5921 ושׂדי 7704 תרומת 8641 כי 3588 שׁם 8033 נגעל 1602 מגן 4043 גבורים 1368 מגן 4043 שׁאול 7586 בלי 1097 משׁיח 4899 בשׁמן׃ 8081