1 Samuel 17:52 MEANING

1 Samuel 17:52
(52) To the valley.--More accurately, to a valley; there is no article in the Hebrew. This want of the article at once suggests that the "valley" here spoken of so indefinitely was not that well-known valley or ravine which divided the two armies; besides which, it is nowhere suggested that the Philistines had ever crossed the valley or ravine.

Keil remarks that it is strange that no further mention is made of this "valley of the pursuit. The LXX. render, instead of "to a valley," "to Gath." These Greek translators probably then had before them the true text: Gath, instead of gai, a valley. Gath is mentioned in the next sentence.

The way to Shaaraim.--This was a town in the lowlands of Judah (see Joshua 15:36); the name has probably been preserved in the modern Kefr Zakariya. The LXX., however," do not understand Shaaraim as a city at all, but render, instead of "by the way to Shaaraim," "in the way of the gates." The "gates" of Ekron are mentioned as one of the notable places of the flight in the preceding sentence.

If the LXX. interpretation be adopted, we must understand by this expression the space between the outer and the inner gates of Ekron.

Verses 52, 53. - To the valley. Hebrew, gai. As we have seen, there was a gai or ravine between the two armies, but in the Hebrew there is no article, and the Israelites must also cross this before any fighting began. The panic which struck the Philistines when they saw their champion fall enabled the Israelites to do so, but the pursuit only then commenced. The Septuagint reads Gath, a very probable emendation, for, as we saw in the passage quoted from Condor on ver. 2, Gath was situated at the mouth of the terebinth valley. The Syriac and Vulgate retain valley, but the former understands it of the mouth of the valley of Elah. Shaaraim was a town assigned to Judah (Joshua 15:36) in the Shephelah (see on ver. 1), but was now held by the Philistines. They spoiled their tents. More correctly, "their camp."

17:48-58 See how frail and uncertain life is, even when a man thinks himself best fortified; how quickly, how easily, and by how small a matter, the passage may be opened for life to go out, and death to enter! Let not the strong man glory in his strength, nor the armed man in his armour. God resists the proud, and pours contempt on those who defy him and his people. No one ever hardened his heart against God and prospered. The history is recorded, that all may exert themselves for the honour of God, and the support of his cause, with bold and unshaken reliance on him. There is one conflict in which all the followers of the Lamb are, and must be engaged; one enemy, more formidable than Goliath, still challenges the armies of Israel. But resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Go forth to battle with the faith of David, and the powers of darkness shall not stand against you. But how often is the Christian foiled through an evil heart of unbelief!And the men of Israel and of Judah arose,.... From their encampment and entrenchment, or they prepared for a pursuit:

and shouted, and pursued the Philistines; shouted when they first set out, and continued shouting as they pursued, to animate their own troops, and terrify the enemy:

until thou come to the valley, and to the gates of Ekron; which was one of the five principalities of the Philistines; so that they pursued them to their own cities, and to the very gates of them:

and the wounded of the Philistines fell down by the way to Shaaraim; a city in the tribe of Judah, and seems to be the same with Sharaim; see Gill on Joshua 15:36. Josephus says (n), there were killed of the Philistines thirty thousand, and twice as many wounded:

even unto Gath, and unto Ekron; Josephus (o) has it, to the borders of Gath, and to the gates of Ashkelon, which were two other principalities of the Philistines; according to Bunting (p), the whole chase was this, to the valley and river Sorek four miles; from thence to Ekron eight miles; to Ashkelon twenty miles, and to Gath twenty four miles; that is, from the place where Goliath was killed.

(n) Antiqu. l. 6. c. 9. sect. 5. (o) Ibid. (p) Travels of the Patriarchs, &c. p. 128.

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