(Josh. 19:13). See GATH-HEPHER ¯T0001438.
possession of the wine-press, the birthplace of the prophet
Micah (1:14), who is called the "Morasthite" (Jer. 26:18). This
place was probably a suburb of Gath.
true, the father of Jonah the prophet, a native of Gath-hepher
(2 Kings 14:25; Jonah 1:1).
a native of the Philistine city of Gath (Josh. 13:3). Obed-edom,
in whose house the ark was placed, is so designated (2 Sam.
6:10). Six hundred Gittites came with David from Gath into
Israel (15:18, 19).
compressed, the father of Achish, king of Gath (1 Sam. 27:2).
Called also Maachah (1 Kings 2:39).
press of the pomegranate. (1.) A Levitical city in the tribe of
Dan (Josh. 19:45; 21:24; 1 Chr. 6:69).
(2.) Another city of the same name in Manasseh, west of the
Jordan (Josh. 21:25), called also Bileam (1 Chr. 6:70).
a stringed instrument of music. This word is found in the titles
of Ps. 8, 81, 84. In these places the LXX. render the word by
"on the wine-fats." The Targum explains by "on the harp which
David brought from Gath." It is the only stringed instrument
named in the titles of the Psalms.
bridle of the mother, a figurative name for a chief city, as in
2 Sam. 8:1, "David took Metheg-ammah out of the hand of the
Philistines" (R.V., "took the bridle of the mother-city"); i.e.,
subdued their capital or strongest city, viz., Gath (1 Chr.
or Emerods, bleeding piles known to the ancient Romans as
mariscae, but more probably malignant boils of an infectious and
fatal character. With this loathsome and infectious disease the
men of Ashdod were smitten by the hand of the Lord. This
calamity they attributed to the presence of the ark in their
midst, and therefore they removed it to Gath (1 Sam. 5:6-8). But
the same consequences followed from its presence in Gath, and
therefore they had it removed to Ekron, 11 miles distant. The
Ekronites were afflicted with the same dreadful malady, but more
severely; and a panic seizing the people, they demanded that the
ark should be sent back to the land of Israel (9-12; 6:1-9).
a wine-vat, one of the five royal cities of the Philistines
(Josh. 13:3) on which the ark brought calamity (1 Sam. 5:8, 9;
6:17). It was famous also as being the birthplace or residence
of Goliath (1 Sam. 17:4). David fled from Saul to Achish, king
of Gath (1 Sam. 21:10; 27:2-4; Ps. 56), and his connection with
it will account for the words in 2 Sam. 1:20. It was afterwards
conquered by David (2 Sam. 8:1). It occupied a strong position
on the borders of Judah and Philistia (1 Sam. 21:10; 1 Chr.
18:1). Its site has been identified with the hill called Tell
esSafieh, the Alba Specula of the Middle Ages, which rises 695
feet above the plain on its east edge. It is noticed on
monuments about B.C. 1500. (See METHEGAMMAH ¯T0002516.)
Consisted of two vats or receptacles, (1) a trough (Heb. gath,
Gr. lenos) into which the grapes were thrown and where they were
trodden upon and bruised (Isa. 16:10; Lam. 1:15; Joel 3:13); and
(2) a trough or vat (Heb. yekebh, Gr. hypolenion) into which the
juice ran from the trough above, the gath (Neh. 13:15; Job
24:11; Isa. 63:2, 3; Hag. 2:16; Joel 2:24). Wine-presses are
found in almost every part of Israel. They are "the only sure
relics we have of the old days of Israel before the Captivity.
Between Hebron and Beersheba they are found on all the hill
slopes; they abound in southern Judea; they are no less common
in the many valleys of Carmel; and they are numerous in
Galilee." The "treading of the wine-press" is emblematic of
divine judgment (Isa. 63:2; Lam. 1:15; Rev. 14:19, 20).
wine-press of the well, a town of Lower Galilee, about 5 miles
from Nazareth; the birthplace of Jonah (2 Kings 14:25); the same
as Gittah-hepher (Josh. 19:13). It has been identified with the
modern el-Meshed, a village on the top of a rocky hill. Here the
supposed tomb of Jonah, Neby Yunas, is still pointed out.
This word is used in its proper sense in Deut. 28:34, John
10:20, 1 Cor. 14:23. It also denotes a reckless state of mind
arising from various causes, as over-study (Eccl. 1:17; 2:12),
blind rage (Luke 6:11), or a depraved temper (Eccl. 7:25; 9:3; 2
Pet. 2:16). David feigned madness (1 Sam. 21:13) at Gath because
he "was sore afraid of Achish."
angry, perhaps only a general title of royalty applicable to the
Philistine kings. (1.) The king with whom David sought refuge
when he fled from Saul (1 Sam. 21:10-15). He is called Abimelech
in the superscription of Ps. 34. It was probably this same king
to whom David a second time repaired at the head of a band of
600 warriors, and who assigned him Ziklag, whence he carried on
war against the surrounding tribes (1 Sam. 27:5-12). Achish had
great confidence in the valour and fidelity of David (1 Sam.
28:1,2), but at the instigation of his courtiers did not permit
him to go up to battle along with the Philistine hosts (1 Sam.
29:2-11). David remained with Achish a year and four months.
(2.) Another king of Gath, probably grandson of the foregoing,
to whom the two servants of Shimei fled. This led Shimei to go
to Gath in pursuit of them, and the consequence was that Solomon
put him to death (1 Kings 2:39-46).
firm-rooted, the most northerly of the five towns belonging to
the lords of the Philistines, about 11 miles north of Gath. It
was assigned to Judah (Josh. 13:3), and afterwards to Dan
(19:43), but came again into the full possession of the
Philistines (1 Sam. 5:10). It was the last place to which the
Philistines carried the ark before they sent it back to Israel
(1 Sam. 5:10; 6:1-8). There was here a noted sanctuary of
Baal-zebub (2 Kings 1: 2, 3, 6, 16). Now the small village Akir.
It is mentioned on monuments in B.C. 702, when Sennacherib set
free its king, imprisoned by Hezekiah in Jerusalem, according to
the Assyrian record.
near; timely; or, with the Lord. (1.) A Benjamite, one of
David's thirty heroes (2 Sam. 23:29).
(2.) A native of Gath, a Philistine, who had apparently the
command of the six hundred heroes who formed David's band during
his wanderings (2 Sam. 15:19-22; comp. 1 Sam. 23:13; 27:2; 30:9,
10). He is afterwards with David at Mahanaim, holding in the
army equal rank with Joab and Abishai (2 Sam. 18:2, 5, 12). He
then passes from view.
a dove, the son of Amittai of Gath-hepher. He was a prophet of
Israel, and predicted the restoration of the ancient boundaries
(2 Kings 14:25-27) of the kingdom. He exercised his ministry
very early in the reign of Jeroboam II., and thus was
contemporary with Hosea and Amos; or possibly he preceded them,
and consequently may have been the very oldest of all the
prophets whose writings we possess. His personal history is
mainly to be gathered from the book which bears his name. It is
chiefly interesting from the two-fold character in which he
appears, (1) as a missionary to heathen Nineveh, and (2) as a
type of the "Son of man."
oppression, a small Syrian kingdom near Geshur, east of the
Hauran, the district of Batanea (Josh. 13:13; 2 Sam. 10:6,8; 1
(2.) A daughter of Talmai, king of the old native population
of Geshur. She became one of David's wives, and was the mother
of Absalom (2 Sam. 3:3).
(3.) The father of Hanan, who was one of David's body-guard (1
(4.) The daughter of Abishalom (called Absalom, 2 Chr.
11:20-22), the third wife of Rehoboam, and mother of Abijam (1
Kings 15:2). She is called "Michaiah the daughter of Uriel," who
was the husband of Absalom's daughter Tamar (2 Chr. 13:2). Her
son Abijah or Abijam was heir to the throne.
(5.) The father of Achish, the king of Gath (1 Kings 2:39),
called also Maoch (1 Sam. 27:2).
a shortened form of Micaiah, who is like Jehovah? (1.) A man of
Mount Ephraim, whose history so far is introduced in Judg. 17,
apparently for the purpose of leading to an account of the
settlement of the tribe of Dan in Northern Israel, and for
the purpose also of illustrating the lawlessness of the times in
which he lived (Judg. 18; 19:1-29; 21:25).
(2.) The son of Merib-baal (Mephibosheth), 1 Chr. 8:34, 35.
(3.) The first in rank of the priests of the family of
Kohathites (1 Chr. 23:20).
(4.) A descendant of Joel the Reubenite (1 Chr. 5:5).
(5.) "The Morasthite," so called to distinguish him from
Micaiah, the son of Imlah (1 Kings 22:8). He was a prophet of
Judah, a contemporary of Isaiah (Micah 1:1), a native of
Moresheth of Gath (1:14, 15). Very little is known of the
circumstances of his life (comp. Jer. 26:18, 19).
one of the royal cities of the Canaanites, now 'Aid-el-ma (Josh.
12:15; 15:35). It stood on the old Roman road in the valley of
Elah (q.v.), which was the scene of David's memorable victory
over Goliath (1 Sam. 17:2), and not far from Gath. It was one of
the towns which Rehoboam fortified against Egypt (2 Chr. 11:7).
It was called "the glory of Israel" (Micah 1:15).
The Cave of Adullam has been discovered about 2 miles south of
the scene of David's triumph, and about 13 miles west from
Bethlehem. At this place is a hill some 500 feet high pierced
with numerous caverns, in one of which David gathered together
"every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt,
and every one that was discontented" (1 Sam. 22:2). Some of
these caverns are large enough to hold 200 or 300 men. According
to tradition this cave was at Wady Khureitun, between Bethlehem
and the Dead Sea, but this view cannot be well maintained.
the descendants of Anak (Josh. 11:21; Num. 13:33; Deut. 9:2).
They dwelt in the south of Israel, in the neighbourhood of
Hebron (Gen. 23:2; Josh. 15:13). In the days of Abraham (Gen.
14:5, 6) they inhabited the region afterwards known as Edom and
Moab, east of the Jordan. They were probably a remnant of the
original inhabitants of Israel before the Canaanites, a
Cushite tribe from Babel, and of the same race as the
Phoenicians and the Egyptian shepherd kings. Their formidable
warlike appearance, as described by the spies sent to search the
land, filled the Israelites with terror. They seem to have
identified them with the Nephilim, the "giants" (Gen. 6:4; Num.
13:33) of the antediluvian age. There were various tribes of
Anakim (Josh. 15:14). Joshua finally expelled them from the
land, except a remnant that found a refuge in the cities of
Gaza, Gath, and Ashdod (Josh. 11:22). The Philistine giants whom
David encountered (2 Sam. 21:15-22) were descendants of the
Anakim. (See GIANTS ¯T0001474.)
great. (1.) A famous giant of Gath, who for forty days openly
defied the armies of Israel, but was at length slain by David
with a stone from a sling (1 Sam. 17:4). He was probably
descended from the Rephaim who found refuge among the
Philistines after they were dispersed by the Ammonites (Deut.
2:20, 21). His height was "six cubits and a span," which, taking
the cubit at 21 inches, is equal to 10 1/2 feet. David cut off
his head (1 Sam. 17:51) and brought it to Jerusalem, while he
hung the armour which he took from him in his tent. His sword
was preserved at Nob as a religious trophy (21:9). David's
victory over Goliath was the turning point in his life. He came
into public notice now as the deliverer of Israel and the chief
among Saul's men of war (18:5), and the devoted friend of
(2.) In 2 Sam. 21:19 there is another giant of the same name
mentioned as slain by Elhanan. The staff of his apear "was like
a weaver's beam." The Authorized Version interpolates the words
"the brother of" from 1 Chr. 20:5, where this giant is called
high place, a city of the priests, first mentioned in the
history of David's wanderings (1 Sam. 21:1). Here the tabernacle
was then standing, and here Ahimelech the priest resided. (See
AHIMELECH ¯T0000143.) From Isa. 10:28-32 it seems to have been
near Jerusalem. It has been identified by some with el-Isawiyeh,
one mile and a half to the north-east of Jerusalem. But
according to Isa. 10:28-32 it was on the south of Geba, on the
road to Jerusalem, and within sight of the city. This
identification does not meet these conditions, and hence others
(as Dean Stanley) think that it was the northern summit of Mount
Olivet, the place where David "worshipped God" when fleeing from
Absalom (2 Sam. 15:32), or more probably (Conder) that it was
the same as Mizpeh (q.v.), Judg. 20:1; Josh. 18:26; 1 Sam. 7:16,
at Nebi Samwil, about 5 miles north-west of Jerusalem.
After being supplied with the sacred loaves of showbread, and
girding on the sword of Goliath, which was brought forth from
behind the ephod, David fled from Nob and sought refuge at the
court of Achish, the king of Gath, where he was cast into
prison. (Comp. titles of Ps. 34 and 56.)
servant of Edom. (1.) "The Gittite" (probably so called because
he was a native of Gath-rimmon), a Levite of the family of the
Korhites (1 Chr. 26:1, 4-8), to whom was specially intrusted the
custody of the ark (1 Chr. 15:18). When David was bringing up
the ark "from the house of Abinadab, that was in Gibeah"
(probably some hill or eminence near Kirjath-jearim), and had
reached Nachon's threshing-floor, he became afraid because of
the "breach upon Uzzah," and carried it aside into the house of
Obededom (2 Sam. 6:1-12). There it remained for six months, and
was to him and his house the occasion of great blessing. David
then removed it with great rejoicing to Jerusalem, and set it in
the midst of the tabernacle he had pitched for it.
(2.) A Merarite Levite, a temple porter, who with his eight
sons guarded the southern gate (1 Chr. 15:18, 21; 26:4, 8, 15).
(3.) One who had charge of the temple treasures (2 Chr.
a town in the Negeb, or south country of Judah (Josh. 15:31), in
the possession of the Philistines when David fled to Gath from
Ziph with all his followers. Achish, the king, assigned him
Ziklag as his place of residence. There he dwelt for over a year
and four months. From this time it pertained to the kings of
Judah (1 Sam. 27:6). During his absence with his army to join
the Philistine expedition against the Israelites (29:11), it was
destroyed by the Amalekites (30:1, 2), whom David, however,
pursued and utterly routed, returning all the captives (1 Sam.
30:26-31). Two days after his return from this expedition, David
received tidings of the disastrous battle of Gilboa and of the
death of Saul (2 Sam. 1:1-16). He now left Ziklag and returned
to Hebron, along with his two wives, Ahinoam and Abigail, and
his band of 600 men. It has been identified with 'Asluj, a heap
of ruins south of Beersheba. Conder, however, identifies it with
Khirbet Zuheilikah, ruins found on three hills half a mile
apart, some seventeen miles north-west of Beersheba, on the
confines of Philistia, Judah, and Amalek.
whom Jehovah gave, the name of fifteen or more persons that are
mentioned in Scripture. The chief of these are, (1.) A Levite
descended from Gershom (Judg. 18:30). His history is recorded in
17:7-13 and 18:30. The Rabbins changed this name into Manasseh
"to screen the memory of the great lawgiver from the stain of
having so unworthy an apostate among his near descendants." He
became priest of the idol image at Dan, and this office
continued in his family till the Captivity.
(2.) The eldest son of king Saul, and the bosom friend of
David. He is first mentioned when he was about thirty years of
age, some time after his father's accession to the throne (1
Sam. 13:2). Like his father, he was a man of great strength and
activity (2 Sam. 1:23), and excelled in archery and slinging (1
Chr. 12:2;2 Sam. 1:22). The affection that evidently subsisted
between him and his father was interrupted by the growth of
Saul's insanity. At length, "in fierce anger," he left his
father's presence and cast in his lot with the cause of David (1
Sam. 20:34). After an eventful career, interwoven to a great
extent with that of David, he fell, along with his father and
his two brothers, on the fatal field of Gilboa (1 Sam. 31:2, 8).
He was first buried at Jabesh-gilead, but his remains were
afterwards removed with those of his father to Zelah, in
Benjamin (2 Sam. 21:12-14). His death was the occasion of
David's famous elegy of "the Song of the Bow" (2 Sam. 1:17-27).
He left one son five years old, Merib-baal, or Mephibosheth (2
Sam. 4:4; comp. 1 Chr. 8:34).
(3.) Son of the high priest Abiathar, and one who adhered to
David at the time of Absalom's rebellion (2 Sam. 15:27, 36). He
is the last descendant of Eli of whom there is any record.
(4.) Son of Shammah, and David's nephew, and also one of his
chief warriors (2 Sam. 21:21). He slew a giant in Gath.
There are various Hebrew and Greek words so rendered.
(1.) Heb. Jehovah, has been rendered in the English Bible
LORD, printed in small capitals. This is the proper name of the
God of the Hebrews. The form "Jehovah" is retained only in Ex.
6:3; Ps. 83:18; Isa. 12:2; 26:4, both in the Authorized and the
(2.) Heb. 'adon, means one possessed of absolute control. It
denotes a master, as of slaves (Gen. 24:14, 27), or a ruler of
his subjects (45:8), or a husband, as lord of his wife (18:12).
The old plural form of this Hebrew word is _'adonai_. From a
superstitious reverence for the name "Jehovah," the Jews, in
reading their Scriptures, whenever that name occurred, always
pronounced it _'Adonai_.
(3.) Greek kurios, a supreme master, etc. In the LXX. this is
invariably used for "Jehovah" and "'Adonai."
(4.) Heb. ba'al, a master, as having domination. This word is
applied to human relations, as that of husband, to persons
skilled in some art or profession, and to heathen deities. "The
men of Shechem," literally "the baals of Shechem" (Judg. 9:2,
3). These were the Israelite inhabitants who had reduced the
Canaanites to a condition of vassalage (Josh. 16:10; 17:13).
(5.) Heb. seren, applied exclusively to the "lords of the
Philistines" (Judg. 3:3). The LXX. render it by satrapies. At
this period the Philistines were not, as at a later period (1
Sam. 21:10), under a kingly government. (See Josh. 13:3; 1 Sam.
6:18.) There were five such lordships, viz., Gath, Ashdod, Gaza,
Ashkelon, and Ekron.
famous. (1.) A son of Gershon, and grandson of Levi (Num. 3:18;
1 Chr. 6:17, 29); called Shimi in Ex. 6:17.
(2.) A Benjamite of the house of Saul, who stoned and cursed
David when he reached Bahurim in his flight from Jerusalem on
the occasion of the rebellion of Absalom (2 Sam. 16:5-13). After
the defeat of Absalom he "came cringing to the king, humbly
suing for pardon, bringing with him a thousand of his Benjamite
tribesmen, and representing that he was heartily sorry for his
crime, and had hurried the first of all the house of Israel to
offer homage to the king" (19:16-23). David forgave him; but on
his death-bed he gave Solomon special instructions regarding
Shimei, of whose fidelity he seems to have been in doubt (1
Kings 2:8,9). He was put to death at the command of Solomon,
because he had violated his word by leaving Jerusalem and going
to Gath to recover two of his servants who had escaped (36-46).
(3.) One of David's mighty men who refused to acknowledge
Adonijah as David's successor (1 Kings 1:8). He is probably the
same person who is called elsewhere (4:18) "the son of Elah."
(4.) A son of Pedaiah, the brother of Zerubbabel (1 Chr.
(5.) A Simeonite (1 Chr. 4:26, 27).
(6.) A Reubenite (1 Chr. 5:4).
(7.) A Levite of the family of Gershon (1 Chr. 6:42).
(8.) A Ramathite who was "over the vineyards" of David (1 Chr.
(9.) One of the sons of Heman, who assisted in the
purification of the temple (2 Chr. 29:14).
(10.) A Levite (2 Chr. 31:12, 13).
(11.) Another Levite (Ezra 10:23). "The family of Shimei"
(Zech. 12:13; R.V., "the family of the Shimeites") were the
descendants of Shimei (1).
circuit. Solomon rewarded Hiram for certain services rendered
him by the gift of an upland plain among the mountains of
Naphtali. Hiram was dissatisfied with the gift, and called it
"the land of Cabul" (q.v.). The Jews called it Galil. It
continued long to be occupied by the original inhabitants, and
hence came to be called "Galilee of the Gentiles" (Matt. 4:15),
and also "Upper Galilee," to distinguish it from the extensive
addition afterwards made to it toward the south, which was
usually called "Lower Galilee." In the time of our Lord, Galilee
embraced more than one-third of Western Israel, extending
"from Dan on the north, at the base of Mount Hermon, to the
ridges of Carmel and Gilboa on the south, and from the Jordan
valley on the east away across the splendid plains of Jezreel
and Acre to the shores of the Mediterranean on the west."
Israel was divided into three provinces, Judea, Samaria, and
Galilee, which comprehended the whole northern section of the
country (Acts 9:31), and was the largest of the three.
It was the scene of some of the most memorable events of
Jewish history. Galilee also was the home of our Lord during at
least thirty years of his life. The first three Gospels are
chiefly taken up with our Lord's public ministry in this
province. "The entire province is encircled with a halo of holy
associations connected with the life, works, and teachings of
Jesus of Nazareth." "It is noteworthy that of his thirty-two
beautiful parables, no less than ninteen were spoken in Galilee.
And it is no less remarkable that of his entire thirty-three
great miracles, twenty-five were wrought in this province. His
first miracle was wrought at the wedding in Cana of Galilee, and
his last, after his resurrection, on the shore of Galilee's sea.
In Galilee our Lord delivered the Sermon on The Mount, and the
discourses on 'The Bread of Life,' on 'Purity,' on
'Forgiveness,' and on 'Humility.' In Galilee he called his first
disciples; and there occurred the sublime scene of the
Transfiguration" (Porter's Through Samaria).
When the Sanhedrin were about to proceed with some plan for
the condemnation of our Lord (John 7:45-52), Nicodemus
interposed in his behalf. (Comp. Deut. 1:16,17; 17:8.) They
replied, "Art thou also of Galilee?.... Out of Galilee ariseth
no prophet." This saying of theirs was "not historically true,
for two prophets at least had arisen from Galilee, Jonah of
Gath-hepher, and the greatest of all the prophets, Elijah of
Thisbe, and perhaps also Nahum and Hosea. Their contempt for
Galilee made them lose sight of historical accuracy" (Alford,
The Galilean accent differed from that of Jerusalem in being
broader and more guttural (Mark 14:70).
(Gen. 10:14, R.V.; but in A.V., "Philistim"), a tribe allied to
the Phoenicians. They were a branch of the primitive race which
spread over the whole district of the Lebanon and the valley of
the Jordan, and Crete and other Mediterranean islands. Some
suppose them to have been a branch of the Rephaim (2 Sam.
21:16-22). In the time of Abraham they inhabited the south-west
of Judea, Abimelech of Gerar being their king (Gen. 21:32, 34;
26:1). They are, however, not noticed among the Canaanitish
tribes mentioned in the Pentateuch. They are spoken of by Amos
(9:7) and Jeremiah (47:4) as from Caphtor, i.e., probably Crete,
or, as some think, the Delta of Egypt. In the whole record from
Exodus to Samuel they are represented as inhabiting the tract of
country which lay between Judea and Egypt (Ex. 13:17; 15:14, 15;
Josh. 13:3; 1 Sam. 4).
This powerful tribe made frequent incursions against the
Hebrews. There was almost perpetual war between them. They
sometimes held the tribes, especially the southern tribes, in
degrading servitude (Judg. 15:11; 1 Sam. 13:19-22); at other
times they were defeated with great slaughter (1 Sam. 14:1-47;
17). These hostilities did not cease till the time of Hezekiah
(2 Kings 18:8), when they were entirely subdued. They still,
however, occupied their territory, and always showed their old
hatred to Israel (Ezek. 25:15-17). They were finally conquered
by the Romans.
The Philistines are called Pulsata or Pulista on the Egyptian
monuments; the land of the Philistines (Philistia) being termed
Palastu and Pilista in the Assyrian inscriptions. They occupied
the five cities of Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Ekron, and Gath, in
the south-western corner of Canaan, which belonged to Egypt up
to the closing days of the Nineteenth Dynasty. The occupation
took place during the reign of Rameses III. of the Twentieth
Dynasty. The Philistines had formed part of the great naval
confederacy which attacked Egypt, but were eventually repulsed
by that Pharaoh, who, however, could not dislodge them from
their settlements in Israel. As they did not enter Israel
till the time of the Exodus, the use of the name Philistines in
Gen. 26:1 must be proleptic. Indeed the country was properly
Gerar, as in ch. 20.
They are called Allophyli, "foreigners," in the Septuagint,
and in the Books of Samuel they are spoken of as uncircumcised.
It would therefore appear that they were not of the Semitic
race, though after their establishment in Canaan they adopted
the Semitic language of the country. We learn from the Old
Testament that they came from Caphtor, usually supposed to be
Crete. From Philistia the name of the land of the Philistines
came to be extended to the whole of "Israel." Many scholars
identify the Philistines with the Pelethites of 2 Sam. 8:18.
my father a king, or father of a king, a common name of the
Philistine kings, as "Pharaoh" was of the Egyptian kings. (1.)
The Philistine king of Gerar in the time of Abraham (Gen.
20:1-18). By an interposition of Providence, Sarah was delivered
from his harem, and was restored to her husband Abraham. As a
mark of respect he gave to Abraham valuable gifts, and offered
him a settlement in any part of his country; while at the same
time he delicately and yet severely rebuked him for having
practised a deception upon him in pretending that Sarah was only
his sister. Among the gifts presented by the king were a
thousand pieces of silver as a "covering of the eyes" for Sarah;
i.e., either as an atoning gift and a testimony of her innocence
in the sight of all, or rather for the purpose of procuring a
veil for Sarah to conceal her beauty, and thus as a reproof to
her for not having worn a veil which, as a married woman, she
ought to have done. A few years after this Abimelech visited
Abraham, who had removed southward beyond his territory, and
there entered into a league of peace and friendship with him.
This league was the first of which we have any record. It was
confirmed by a mutual oath at Beer-sheba (Gen. 21:22-34).
(2.) A king of Gerar in the time of Isaac, probably the son of
the preceeding (Gen. 26:1-22). Isaac sought refuge in his
territory during a famine, and there he acted a part with
reference to his wife Rebekah similar to that of his father
Abraham with reference to Sarah. Abimelech rebuked him for the
deception, which he accidentally discovered. Isaac settled for a
while here, and prospered. Abimelech desired him, however, to
leave his territory, which Isaac did. Abimelech afterwards
visited him when he was encamped at Beer-sheba, and expressed a
desire to renew the covenant which had been entered into between
their fathers (Gen. 26:26-31).
(3.) A son of Gideon (Judg. 9:1), who was proclaimed king
after the death of his father (Judg. 8:33-9:6). One of his first
acts was to murder his brothers, seventy in number, "on one
stone," at Ophrah. Only one named Jotham escaped. He was an
unprincipled, ambitious ruler, often engaged in war with his own
subjects. When engaged in reducing the town of Thebez, which had
revolted, he was struck mortally on his head by a mill-stone,
thrown by the hand of a woman from the wall above. Perceiving
that the wound was mortal, he desired his armour-bearer to
thrust him through with his sword, that it might not be said he
had perished by the hand of a woman (Judg. 9:50-57).
(4.) The son of Abiathar, and high priest in the time of David
(1 Chr. 18:16). In the parallel passage, 2 Sam. 8:17, we have
the name Ahimelech, and Abiathar, the son of Ahimelech. This
most authorities consider the more correct reading. (5.) Achish,
king of Gath, in the title of Ps. 34. (Comp. 1 Sam. 21:10-15.)
Noah's ark, a building of gopher-wood, and covered with pitch,
300 cubits long, 50 cubits broad, and 30 cubits high (Gen.
6:14-16); an oblong floating house of three stories, with a door
in the side and a window in the roof. It was 100 years in
building (Gen. 5:32; 7:6). It was intended to preserve certain
persons and animals from the deluge which God was about to bring
over the earth. It contained eight persons (Gen. 7:13; 2 Pet.
2:5), and of all "clean" animals seven pairs, and of "unclean"
one pair, and of birds seven pairs of each sort (Gen. 7:2, 3).
It was in the form of an oblong square, with flat bottom and
sloping roof. Traditions of the Deluge, by which the race of man
was swept from the earth, and of the ark of Noah have been found
existing among all nations.
The ark of bulrushes in which the infant Moses was laid (Ex.
2:3) is called in the Hebrew _teebah_, a word derived from the
Egyptian _teb_, meaning "a chest." It was daubed with slime and
with pitch. The bulrushes of which it was made were the papyrus
The sacred ark is designated by a different Hebrew word,
_'aron'_, which is the common name for a chest or coffer used
for any purpose (Gen. 50:26; 2 Kings 12:9, 10). It is
distinguished from all others by such titles as the "ark of God"
(1 Sam. 3:3), "ark of the covenant" (Josh. 3:6; Heb. 9:4), "ark
of the testimony" (Ex. 25:22). It was made of acacia or shittim
wood, a cubit and a half broad and high and two cubits long, and
covered all over with the purest gold. Its upper surface or lid,
the mercy-seat, was surrounded with a rim of gold; and on each
of the two sides were two gold rings, in which were placed two
gold-covered poles by which the ark could be carried (Num. 7:9;
10:21; 4:5,19, 20; 1 Kings 8:3, 6). Over the ark, at the two
extremities, were two cherubim, with their faces turned toward
each other (Lev. 16:2; Num. 7:89). Their outspread wings over
the top of the ark formed the throne of God, while the ark
itself was his footstool (Ex. 25:10-22; 37:1-9). The ark was
deposited in the "holy of holies," and was so placed that one
end of the poles by which it was carried touched the veil which
separated the two apartments of the tabernacle (1 Kings 8:8).
The two tables of stone which constituted the "testimony" or
evidence of God's covenant with the people (Deut. 31:26), the
"pot of manna" (Ex. 16:33), and "Aaron's rod that budded" (Num.
17:10), were laid up in the ark (Heb. 9:4). (See TABERNACLE
¯T0003559) The ark and the sanctuary were "the beauty of Israel"
(Lam. 2:1). During the journeys of the Israelites the ark was
carried by the priests in advance of the host (Num. 4:5, 6;
10:33-36; Ps. 68:1; 132:8). It was borne by the priests into the
bed of the Jordan, which separated, opening a pathway for the
whole of the host to pass over (Josh. 3:15, 16; 4:7, 10, 11, 17,
18). It was borne in the procession round Jericho (Josh. 6:4, 6,
8, 11, 12). When carried it was always wrapped in the veil, the
badgers' skins, and blue cloth, and carefully concealed even
from the eyes of the Levites who carried it. After the
settlement of Israel in Israel the ark remained in the
tabernacle at Gilgal for a season, and was then removed to
Shiloh till the time of Eli, between 300 and 400 years (Jer.
7:12), when it was carried into the field of battle so as to
secure, as they supposed, victory to the Hebrews, and was taken
by the Philistines (1 Sam. 4:3-11), who sent it back after
retaining it seven months (1 Sam. 5:7, 8). It remained then at
Kirjath-jearim (7:1,2) till the time of David (twenty years),
who wished to remove it to Jerusalem; but the proper mode of
removing it having been neglected, Uzzah was smitten with death
for putting "forth his hand to the ark of God," and in
consequence of this it was left in the house of Obed-edom in
Gath-rimmon for three months (2 Sam. 6:1-11), at the end of
which time David removed it in a grand procession to Jerusalem,
where it was kept till a place was prepared for it (12-19). It
was afterwards deposited by Solomon in the temple (1 Kings
8:6-9). When the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem and plundered
the temple, the ark was probably taken away by Nebuchadnezzar
and destroyed, as no trace of it is afterwards to be found. The
absence of the ark from the second temple was one of the points
in which it was inferior to the first temple.
beloved, the eighth and youngest son of Jesse, a citizen of
Bethlehem. His father seems to have been a man in humble life.
His mother's name is not recorded. Some think she was the Nahash
of 2 Sam. 17:25. As to his personal appearance, we only know
that he was red-haired, with beautiful eyes and a fair face (1
Sam. 16:12; 17:42).
His early occupation was that of tending his father's sheep on
the uplands of Judah. From what we know of his after history,
doubtless he frequently beguiled his time, when thus engaged,
with his shepherd's flute, while he drank in the many lessons
taught him by the varied scenes spread around him. His first
recorded exploits were his encounters with the wild beasts of
the field. He mentions that with his own unaided hand he slew a
lion and also a bear, when they came out against his flock,
beating them to death in open conflict with his club (1 Sam.
While David, in the freshness of ruddy youth, was thus engaged
with his flocks, Samuel paid an unexpected visit to Bethlehem,
having been guided thither by divine direction (1 Sam. 16:1-13).
There he offered up sacrifice, and called the elders of Israel
and Jesse's family to the sacrificial meal. Among all who
appeared before him he failed to discover the one he sought.
David was sent for, and the prophet immediately recognized him
as the chosen of God, chosen to succeed Saul, who was now
departing from the ways of God, on the throne of the kingdom. He
accordingly, in anticipation, poured on his head the anointing
oil. David went back again to his shepherd life, but "the Spirit
of the Lord came upon David from that day forward," and "the
Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul" (1 Sam. 16:13, 14).
Not long after this David was sent for to soothe with his harp
the troubled spirit of Saul, who suffered from a strange
melancholy dejection. He played before the king so skilfully
that Saul was greatly cheered, and began to entertain great
affection for the young shepherd. After this he went home to
Bethlehem. But he soon again came into prominence. The armies of
the Philistines and of Israel were in battle array in the valley
of Elah, some 16 miles south-west of Bethlehem; and David was
sent by his father with provisions for his three brothers, who
were then fighting on the side of the king. On his arrival in
the camp of Israel, David (now about twenty years of age) was
made aware of the state of matters when the champion of the
Philistines, Goliath of Gath, came forth to defy Israel. David
took his sling, and with a well-trained aim threw a stone "out
of the brook," which struck the giant's forehead, so that he
fell senseless to the ground. David then ran and slew him, and
cut off his head with his own sword (1 Sam. 17). The result was
a great victory to the Israelites, who pursued the Philistines
to the gates of Gath and Ekron.
David's popularity consequent on this heroic exploit awakened
Saul's jealousy (1 Sam. 18:6-16), which he showed in various
ways. He conceived a bitter hatred toward him, and by various
stratagems sought his death (1 Sam. 18-30). The deep-laid plots
of the enraged king, who could not fail to observe that David
"prospered exceedingly," all proved futile, and only endeared
the young hero the more to the people, and very specially to
Jonathan, Saul's son, between whom and David a life-long warm
friendship was formed.
A fugitive. To escape from the vengeance of Saul, David fled
to Ramah (1 Sam. 19:12-18) to Samuel, who received him, and he
dwelt among the sons of the prophets, who were there under
Samuel's training. It is supposed by some that the sixth,
seventh, and eleventh Psalms were composed by him at this time.
This place was only 3 miles from the residence of Saul, who soon
discovered whither the fugitive had gone, and tried
ineffectually to bring him back. Jonathan made a fruitless
effort to bring his father to a better state of mind toward
David (1 Sam. 20), who, being made aware of the fact, saw no
hope of safety but in flight to a distance. We accordingly find
him first at Nob (21:1-9) and then at Gath, the chief city of
the Philistines. The king of the Philistines would not admit him
into his service, as he expected that he would, and David
accordingly now betook himself to the stronghold of Adullam
(22:1-4; 1 Chr. 12:8-18). Here in a short time 400 men gathered
around him and acknowledged him as their leader. It was at this
time that David, amid the harassment and perils of his position,
cried, "Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well
of Bethlehem;" when three of his heroes broke through the lines
of the Philistines and brought him the water for which he longed
(2 Sam. 23:13-17), but which he would not drink.
In his rage at the failure of all his efforts to seize David,
Saul gave orders for the massacre of the entire priestly family
at Nob, "persons who wore a linen ephod", to the number of
eighty-five persons, who were put to death by Doeg the Edomite.
The sad tidings of the massacre were brought to David by
Abiathar, a son of Ahimelech, the only one who escaped. Comp.
Hearing that Keilah, a town on the western frontier, was
harassed by the Philistines, David with his men relieved it (1
Sam. 23:1-14); and then, for fear of Saul, he fled to the
strongholds in the "hill country" of Judah. Comp. Ps. 31. While
encamped there, in the forest in the district of Ziph, he was
visited by Jonathan, who spoke to him words of encouragement
(23:16-18). The two now parted never to meet again. Saul
continued his pursuit of David, who narrowly escaped from him at
this time, and fled to the crags and ravines of Engedi, on the
western shore of the Dead Sea (1 Sam. 23:29). Here Saul, who
still pursued him with his army, narrowly escaped, through the
generous forbearance of David, and was greatly affected by what
David had done for him. He returned home from pursuing him, and
David betook himself to Maon, where, with his 600 men, he
maintained himself by contributions gathered from the district.
Here occurred the incident connected with Nabal and his wife
Abigail (1 Sam. 25), whom David married after Nabal's death.
Saul again went forth (1 Sam. 26) in pursuit of David, who had
hid himself "in the hill Hachilah, which is before Jeshimon," in
the wilderness of Ziph, and was a second time spared through his
forbearance. He returned home, professing shame and penitence
for the way in which he had treated David, and predicting his
elevation to the throne.
Fighting against Israel. Harassed by the necessity of moving
from place to place through fear of Saul, David once more sought
refuge among the Philistines (1 Sam. 27). He was welcomed by the
king, who assigned him Ziklag as his residence. Here David lived
among his followers for some time as an independent chief
engaged in frequent war with the Amalekites and other tribes on
the south of Judah.
Achish summoned David with his men to join his army against
Saul; but the lords of the Philistines were suspicious of
David's loyalty, and therefore he was sent back to Ziklag, which
he found to his dismay may had been pillaged and burnt during
his brief absence. David pursued after the raiders, the
Amalekites, and completely routed them. On his return to Ziklag
tidings reached him of Saul's death (2 Sam. 1). An Amalekite
brought Saul's crown and bracelet and laid them at his feet.
David and his men rent their clothes and mourned for Saul, who
had been defeated in battle near Mount Gilboa. David composed a
beautiful elegy, the most beautiful of all extant Hebrew odes, a
"lamentation over Saul and over Jonathan his son" (2 Sam.
1:18-27). It bore the title of "The Bow," and was to be taught
to the children, that the memory of Saul and Jonathan might be
preserved among them. "Behold, it is written in the book of
David king over Judah. David and his men now set out for
Hebron under divine direction (2 Sam. 2:1-4). There they were
cordially welcomed, and he was at once anointed as king. He was
now about thirty years of age.
But his title to the throne was not undisputed. Abner took
Ish-bosheth, Saul's only remaining son, over the Jordan to
Mahanaim, and there crowned him as king. Then began a civil war
in Israel. The first encounter between the two opposing armies,
led on the one side by Abner, and on the other by Joab, took
place at the pool of Gibeon. It resulted in the defeat of Abner.
Other encounters, however, between Israel and Judah followed (2
Sam. 3:1, 5), but still success was on the side of David. For
the space of seven and a half years David reigned in Hebron.
Abner now sided with David, and sought to promote his
advancement; but was treacherously put to death by Joab in
revenge for his having slain his brother Asahel at Gibeon
(3:22-39). This was greatly to David's regret. He mourned for
the death of Abner. Shortly after this Ish-bosheth was also
treacherously put to death by two Canaanites of Beeroth; and
there being now no rival, David was anointed king over all
David king over all Israel (2 Sam. 5:1-5; 1 Chr. 11:1-3). The
elders of Israel now repaired to Hebron and offered allegiance
to David in name of all the people, among whom the greatest
enthusiasm prevailed. He was anointed king over all Israel, and
sought out a new seat of government, more suitable than Hebron,
as the capital of his empire. At this time there was a Jebusite
fortress, "the stronghold", on the hill of Zion, called also
Jebus. This David took from the Jebusites, and made it Israel's
capital, and established here his residence, and afterwards
built for himself a palace by the aid of Tyrian tradesmen. The
Philistines, who had for some time observed a kind of truce, now
made war against David; but were defeated in battle at a place
afterwards called, in remembrance of the victory, Baal-perazim.
Again they invaded the land, and were a second time routed by
him. He thus delivered Israel from their enemies.
David now resolved to bring up the ark of the covenant to his
new capital (2 Sam. 6). It was in the house of Abinadab at
Kirjath-jearim, about 7 miles from Jerusalem, where it had been
for many years, from the time when the Philistines had sent it
home (1 Sam. 6; 7). In consequence of the death of Uzzah (for it
was a divine ordinance that only the Levites should handle the
ark, Num. 4), who had put forth his hand to steady the ark when
the cart in which it was being conveyed shook by reason of the
roughness of the road, David stayed the procession, and conveyed
the ark into the house of Obed-edom, a Philistine from Gath.
After three months David brought the ark from the house of
Obed-edom up to Jerusalem. Comp. Ps. 24. Here it was placed in a
new tent or tabernacle which David erected for the purpose.
About seventy years had passed since it had stood in the
tabernacle at Shiloh. The old tabernacle was now at Gibeah, at
which Zadok ministered. David now (1 Chr. 16) carefully set in
order all the ritual of divine worship at Jerusalem, along with
Abiathar the high priest. A new religious era began. The service
of praise was for the first time introduced into public worship.
Zion became henceforth "God's holy hill."
David's wars. David now entered on a series of conquests which
greatly extended and strengthened his kingdom (2 Sam. 8). In a
few years the whole territory from the Euphrates to the river of
Egypt, and from Gaza on the west to Thapsacus on the east, was
under his sway (2 Sam. 8:3-13; 10).
David's fall. He had now reached the height of his glory. He
ruled over a vast empire, and his capital was enriched with the
spoils of many lands. But in the midst of all this success he
fell, and his character became stained with the sin of adultery
(2 Sam. 11:2-27). It has been noted as characteristic of the
Bible that while his military triumphs are recorded in a few
verses, the sad story of his fall is given in detail, a story
full of warning, and therefore recorded. This crime, in the
attempt to conceal it, led to anoter. He was guilty of murder.
Uriah, whom he had foully wronged, an officer of the Gibborim,
the corps of heros (23:39), was, by his order, "set in the front
of the hottest battle" at the siege of Rabbah, in order that he
might be put to death. Nathan the prophet (2 Sam. 7:1-17;
12:1-23) was sent by God to bring home his crimes to the
conscience of the guilty monarch. He became a true penitent. He
bitterly bewailed his sins before God. The thirty-second and
fifty-first Psalms reveal the deep struggles of his soul, and
his spiritual recovery.
Bathsheba became his wife after Uriah's death. Her first-born
son died, according to the word of the prophet. She gave birth
to a second son, whom David called Solomon, and who ultimately
succeeded him on the throne (2 Sam. 12:24, 25).
Peace. After the successful termination of all his wars, David
formed the idea of building a temple for the ark of God. This he
was not permitted to carry into execution, because he had been a
man of war. God, however, sent Nathan to him with a gracious
message (2 Sam. 7:1-16). On receiving it he went into the
sanctuary, the tent where the ark was, and sat before the Lord,
and poured out his heart in words of devout thanksgiving
(18-29). The building of the temple was reserved for his son
Solomon, who would be a man of peace (1 Chr. 22:9; 28:3).
A cloudy evening. Hitherto David's carrer had been one of
great prosperity and success. Now cloudy and dark days came. His
eldest son Amnon, whose mother was Ahinoam of Jezreel, was
guilty of a great and shameful crime (2 Sam. 13). This was the
beginning of the disasters of his later years. After two years
Absalom terribly avenged the crime against Tamar, and put Amnon
to death. This brought sore trouble to David's heart. Absalom,
afraid of the consequences of his guilt, fled to Geshur beyond
Jordan, where he remained for three years, when he was brought
back through the intrigue of Joab (2 Sam. 14).
After this there fell upon the land the calamity of three
years' famine (2 Sam. 21:1-14). This was soon after followed by
a pestilence, brought upon the land as a punishment for David's
sinful pride in numbering the people (2 Sam. 24), in which no
fewer than 70,000 perished in the space of three days.
Rebellion of Absalom. The personal respect for David was sadly
lowered by the incident of Bathsheba. There was a strong popular
sentiment against the taking of the census, and the outburst of
the plague in connection with it deepened the feeling of
jealously that had begun to manifest itself among some of the
tribes against David. Absalom, taking full advantage of this
state of things, gradually gained over the people, and at length
openly rebelled against his father, and usurped the throne.
Ahithophel was Absalom's chief counsellor. The revolt began in
Hebron, the capital of Judah. Absalom was there proclaimed king.
David was now in imminent danger, and he left Jerusalem (2 Sam.
15:13-20), and once more became a fugitive. It was a momentous
day in Israel. The incidents of it are recorded with a fulness
of detail greater than of any other day in Old Testament
history. David fled with his followers to Mahanarm, on the east
of Jordan. An unnatural civil war broke out. After a few weeks
the rival armies were mustered and organized. They met in
hostile array at the wood of Ephraim (2 Sam. 18:1-8). Absalom's
army was defeated, and himself put to death by the hand of Joab
(9-18). The tidings of the death of his rebellious son filled
the heart of David with the most poignant grief. He "went up to
the chamber over the gate, and wept" (33), giving utterance to
the heart-broken cry, "Would God I had died for thee, O Absalom,
my son, my son!" Peace was now restored, and David returned to
Jerusalem and resumed the direction of affairs. An unhappy
dispute arose between the men of Judah and the men of Israel
(19:41-43). Sheba, a Benjamite, headed a revolt of the men of
Israel. He was pursued to Abelbeth-maachah, and was there put to
death, and so the revolt came to an end.
The end. After the suppression of the rebellion of Absalom and
that of Sheba, ten comparatively peaceful years of David's life
passed away. During those years he seems to have been
principally engaged in accumulating treasures of every kind for
the great temple at Jerusalem, which it was reserved to his
successor to build (1 Chr. 22; 28; 29), a house which was to be
"exceeding magnifical, of fame and of glory throughout all
countries" (22:5). The exciting and laborious life he had spent,
and the dangers and trials through which he had passed, had left
him an enfeebled man, prematurely old. It became apparent that
his life was now drawing to its close. A new palace conspiracy
broke out as to who should be his successor. Joab favoured
Adonijah. The chiefs of his party met at the "Fuller's spring,"
in the valley of Kidron, to proclaim him king; but Nathan
hastened on a decision on the part of David in favour of
Solomon, and so the aim of Adonijah's party failed. Solomon was
brought to Jerusalem, and was anointed king and seated on his
father's throne (1 Kings 1:11-53). David's last words are a
grand utterance, revealing his unfailing faith in God, and his
joyful confidence in his gracious covenant promises (2 Sam.
After a reign of forty years and six months (2 Sam. 5:5; 1
Chr. 3:4) David died (B.C. 1015) at the age of seventy years,
"and was buried in the city of David." His tomb is still pointed
out on Mount Zion.
Both in his prophetical and in his regal character David was a
type of the Messiah (1 Sam. 16:13). The book of Psalms commonly
bears the title of the "Psalms of David," from the circumstance
that he was the largest contributor (about eighty psalms) to the
collection. (See PSALMS ¯T0003013.)
"The greatness of David was felt when he was gone. He had
lived in harmony with both the priesthood and the prophets; a
sure sign that the spirit of his government had been throughly
loyal to the higher aims of the theocracy. The nation had not
been oppressed by him, but had been left in the free enjoyment
of its ancient liberties. As far as his power went he had
striven to act justly to all (2 Sam. 8:15). His weak indulgence
to his sons, and his own great sin besides, had been bitterly
atoned, and were forgotten at his death in the remembrance of
his long-tried worth. He had reigned thirty-three years in
Jerusalem and seven and a half at Hebron (2 Sam. 5:5). Israel at
his accession had reached the lowest point of national
depression; its new-born unity rudely dissolved; its territory
assailed by the Philistines. But he had left it an imperial
power, with dominions like those of Egypt or Assyria. The
sceptre of Solomon was already, before his father's death, owned
from the Mediterranean to the Euphrates, and from the Orontes to
the Red Sea.", Geikie's Hours etc., iii.
asked for. (1.) A king of Edom (Gen. 36:37, 38); called Shaul in
1 Chr. 1:48.
(2.) The son of Kish (probably his only son, and a child of
prayer, "asked for"), of the tribe of Benjamin, the first king
of the Jewish nation. The singular providential circumstances
connected with his election as king are recorded in 1 Sam. 8-10.
His father's she-asses had strayed, and Saul was sent with a
servant to seek for them. Leaving his home at Gibeah (10:5, "the
hill of God," A.V.; lit., as in R.V. marg., "Gibeah of God"),
Saul and his servant went toward the north-west over Mount
Ephraim, and then turning north-east they came to "the land of
Shalisha," and thence eastward to the land of Shalim, and at
length came to the district of Zuph, near Samuel's home at Ramah
(9:5-10). At this point Saul proposed to return from the three
days' fruitless search, but his servant suggested that they
should first consult the "seer." Hearing that he was about to
offer sacrifice, the two hastened into Ramah, and "behold,
Samuel came out against them," on his way to the "bamah", i.e.,
the "height", where sacrifice was to be offered; and in answer
to Saul's question, "Tell me, I pray thee, where the seer's
house is," Samuel made himself known to him. Samuel had been
divinely prepared for his coming (9:15-17), and received Saul as
his guest. He took him with him to the sacrifice, and then after
the feast "communed with Saul upon the top of the house" of all
that was in his heart. On the morrow Samuel "took a vial of oil
and poured it on his head," and anointed Saul as king over
Israel (9:25-10:8), giving him three signs in confirmation of
his call to be king. When Saul reached his home in Gibeah the
last of these signs was fulfilled, and the Sprit of God came
upon him, and "he was turned into another man." The simple
countryman was transformed into the king of Israel, a remarkable
change suddenly took place in his whole demeanour, and the
people said in their astonishment, as they looked on the
stalwart son of Kish, "Is Saul also among the prophets?", a
saying which passed into a "proverb." (Comp. 19:24.)
The intercourse between Saul and Samuel was as yet unknown to
the people. The "anointing" had been in secret. But now the time
had come when the transaction must be confirmed by the nation.
Samuel accordingly summoned the people to a solemn assembly
"before the Lord" at Mizpeh. Here the lot was drawn (10:17-27),
and it fell upon Saul, and when he was presented before them,
the stateliest man in all Israel, the air was rent for the first
time in Israel by the loud cry, "God save the king!" He now
returned to his home in Gibeah, attended by a kind of bodyguard,
"a band of men whose hearts God had touched." On reaching his
home he dismissed them, and resumed the quiet toils of his
Soon after this, on hearing of the conduct of Nahash the
Ammonite at Jabeshgilead (q.v.), an army out of all the tribes
of Israel rallied at his summons to the trysting-place at Bezek,
and he led them forth a great army to battle, gaining a complete
victory over the Ammonite invaders at Jabesh (11:1-11). Amid the
universal joy occasioned by this victory he was now fully
recognized as the king of Israel. At the invitation of Samuel
"all the people went to Gilgal, and there they made Saul king
before the Lord in Gilgal." Samuel now officially anointed him
as king (11:15). Although Samuel never ceased to be a judge in
Israel, yet now his work in that capacity practically came to an
Saul now undertook the great and difficult enterprise of
freeing the land from its hereditary enemies the Philistines,
and for this end he gathered together an army of 3,000 men (1
Sam. 13:1, 2). The Philistines were encamped at Geba. Saul, with
2,000 men, occupied Michmash and Mount Bethel; while his son
Jonathan, with 1,000 men, occupied Gibeah, to the south of Geba,
and seemingly without any direction from his father "smote" the
Philistines in Geba. Thus roused, the Philistines, who gathered
an army of 30,000 chariots and 6,000 horsemen, and "people as
the sand which is on the sea-shore in multitude," encamped in
Michmash, which Saul had evacuated for Gilgal. Saul now tarried
for seven days in Gilgal before making any movement, as Samuel
had appointed (10:8); but becoming impatient on the seventh day,
as it was drawing to a close, when he had made an end of
offering the burnt offering, Samuel appeared and warned him of
the fatal consequences of his act of disobedience, for he had
not waited long enough (13:13, 14).
When Saul, after Samuel's departure, went out from Gilgal with
his 600 men, his followers having decreased to that number
(13:15), against the Philistines at Michmash (q.v.), he had his
head-quarters under a pomegrante tree at Migron, over against
Michmash, the Wady esSuweinit alone intervening. Here at
Gibeah-Geba Saul and his army rested, uncertain what to do.
Jonathan became impatient, and with his armour-bearer planned an
assault against the Philistines, unknown to Saul and the army
(14:1-15). Jonathan and his armour-bearer went down into the
wady, and on their hands and knees climbed to the top of the
narrow rocky ridge called Bozez, where was the outpost of the
Philistine army. They surprised and then slew twenty of the
Philistines, and immediately the whole host of the Philistines
was thrown into disorder and fled in great terror. "It was a
very great trembling;" a supernatural panic seized the host.
Saul and his 600 men, a band which speedily increased to 10,000,
perceiving the confusion, pursued the army of the Philistines,
and the tide of battle rolled on as far as to Bethaven, halfway
between Michmash and Bethel. The Philistines were totally
routed. "So the Lord saved Israel that day." While pursuing the
Philistines, Saul rashly adjured the people, saying, "Cursed be
the man that eateth any food until evening." But though faint
and weary, the Israelites "smote the Philistines that day from
Michmash to Aijalon" (a distance of from 15 to 20 miles).
Jonathan had, while passing through the wood in pursuit of the
Philistines, tasted a little of the honeycomb which was abundant
there (14:27). This was afterwards discovered by Saul (ver. 42),
and he threatened to put his son to death. The people, however,
interposed, saying, "There shall not one hair of his head fall
to the ground." He whom God had so signally owned, who had
"wrought this great salvation in Israel," must not die. "Then
Saul went up from following the Philistines: and the Philistines
went to their own place" (1 Sam. 14:24-46); and thus the
campaign against the Philistines came to an end. This was Saul's
second great military success.
Saul's reign, however, continued to be one of almost constant
war against his enemies round about (14:47, 48), in all of which
he proved victorious. The war against the Amalekites is the only
one which is recorded at length (1 Sam. 15). These oldest and
hereditary (Ex. 17:8; Num. 14:43-45) enemies of Israel occupied
the territory to the south and south-west of Israel. Samuel
summoned Saul to execute the "ban" which God had pronounced
(Deut. 25:17-19) on this cruel and relentless foe of Israel. The
cup of their iniquity was now full. This command was "the test
of his moral qualification for being king." Saul proceeded to
execute the divine command; and gathering the people together,
marched from Telaim (1 Sam. 15:4) against the Amalekites, whom
he smote "from Havilah until thou comest to Shur," utterly
destroying "all the people with the edge of the sword", i.e.,
all that fell into his hands. He was, however, guilty of
rebellion and disobedience in sparing Agag their king, and in
conniving at his soldiers' sparing the best of the sheep and
cattle; and Samuel, following Saul to Gilgal, in the Jordan
valley, said unto him, "Because thou hast rejected the word of
the Lord, he also hath rejected thee from being king" (15:23).
The kingdom was rent from Saul and was given to another, even to
David, whom the Lord chose to be Saul's successor, and whom
Samuel anointed (16:1-13). From that day "the spirit of the Lord
departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled
him." He and Samuel parted only to meet once again at one of the
schools of the prophets.
David was now sent for as a "cunning player on an harp" (1
Sam. 16:16, 18), to play before Saul when the evil spirit
troubled him, and thus was introduced to the court of Saul. He
became a great favourite with the king. At length David returned
to his father's house and to his wonted avocation as a shepherd
for perhaps some three years. The Philistines once more invaded
the land, and gathered their army between Shochoh and Azekah, in
Ephes-dammim, on the southern slope of the valley of Elah. Saul
and the men of Israel went forth to meet them, and encamped on
the northern slope of the same valley which lay between the two
armies. It was here that David slew Goliath of Gath, the
champion of the Philistines (17:4-54), an exploit which led to
the flight and utter defeat of the Philistine army. Saul now
took David permanently into his service (18:2); but he became
jealous of him (ver. 9), and on many occasions showed his enmity
toward him (ver. 10, 11), his enmity ripening into a purpose of
murder which at different times he tried in vain to carry out.
After some time the Philistines "gathered themselves together"
in the plain of Esdraelon, and pitched their camp at Shunem, on
the slope of Little Hermon; and Saul "gathered all Israel
together," and "pitched in Gilboa" (1 Sam. 28:3-14). Being
unable to discover the mind of the Lord, Saul, accompanied by
two of his retinue, betook himself to the "witch of Endor," some
7 or 8 miles distant. Here he was overwhelmed by the startling
communication that was mysteriously made to him by Samuel (ver.
16-19), who appeared to him. "He fell straightway all along on
the earth, and was sore afraid, because of the words of Samuel"
(ver. 20). The Philistine host "fought against Israel: and the
men of Israel fled before the Philistines, and fell down slain
in Mount Gilboa" (31:1). In his despair at the disaster that had
befallen his army, Saul "took a sword and fell upon it." And the
Philistines on the morrow "found Saul and his three sons fallen
in Mount Gilboa." Having cut off his head, they sent it with his
weapons to Philistia, and hung up the skull in the temple of
Dagon at Ashdod. They suspended his headless body, with that of
Jonathan, from the walls of Bethshan. The men of Jabesh-gilead
afterwards removed the bodies from this position; and having
burnt the flesh, they buried the bodies under a tree at Jabesh.
The remains were, however, afterwards removed to the family
sepulchre at Zelah (2 Sam. 21:13, 14). (See DAVID ¯T0000982.)
(3.) "Who is also called Paul" (q.v.), the circumcision name
of the apostle, given to him, perhaps, in memory of King Saul
(Acts 7:58; 8:1; 9:1).