2Samuel 1

 

וַיְהִי אַחֲרֵי מוֹת שָׁאוּל וְדָוִד שָׁב מֵהַכּוֹת אֶת־הָעֲמָלֵק וַיֵּשֶׁב דָּוִד בְּצִקְלָג יָמִים שְׁנָיִם׃   1:1

2Sam. 1:1   And it was after the death of Saul that David returned from slaughtering the Amalekites and stayed in Ziklag two days.

וַיְהִי בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁלִישִׁי וְהִנֵּה אִישׁ בָּא מִן־הַמַּחֲנֶה מֵעִם שָׁאוּל וּבְגָדָיו קְרֻעִים וַאֲדָמָה עַל־רֹאשׁוֹ וַיְהִי   1:2 בְּבֹאוֹ אֶל־דָּוִד וַיִּפֹּל אַרְצָה וַיִּשְׁתָּחוּ׃

2Sam. 1:2   And it was on the third day that behold, a man came from the battle, from being with Saul, and his clothes were rent and earth was on his head.  And it was on his coming to David that he fell to the ground and prostrated himself.

וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ דָּוִד אֵי מִזֶּה תָּבוֹא וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו מִמַּחֲנֵה יִשְׂרָאֵל נִמְלָטְתִּי׃   1:3

2Sam. 1:3   And David said to him, “From where might you have come here?”  And he said to him, “I have escaped from the company of Israel.”

וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו דָּוִד מֶה־הָיָה הַדָּבָר הַגֶּד־נָא לִי וַיֹּאמֶר אֲשֶׁר־נָס הָעָם מִן־הַמִּלְחָמָה וְגַם־הַרְבֵּה נָפַל   1:4 מִן־הָעָם וַיָּמֻתוּ וְגַם שָׁאוּל וִיהוֹנָתָן בְּנוֹ מֵתוּ׃

2Sam. 1:4   Then David said to him, “How went the matter?  Tell me, I pray you.”  And he said that the people had fled from the battle and that many from the people had fallen and had died, and that Saul and his son, Jonathan, were dead.

וַיֹּאמֶר דָּוִד אֶל־הַנַּעַר הַמַּגִּיד לוֹ אֵיךְ יָדַעְתָּ כִּי־מֵת שָׁאוּל וִיהוֹנָתָן בְּנוֹ׃   1:5

2Sam. 1:5   And David said to the young man who was telling to him, ”How do you know that Saul died, and his son, Jonathan?”

וַיֹּאמֶר הַנַּעַר הַמַּגִּיד לוֹ נִקְרֹא נִקְרֵיתִי בְּהַר הַגִּלְבֹּעַ וְהִנֵּה שָׁאוּל נִשְׁעָן עַל־חֲנִיתוֹ וְהִנֵּה הָרֶכֶב וּבַעֲלֵי   1:6 הַפָּרָשִׁים הִדְבִּקֻהוּ׃

2Sam. 1:6   And the young man who was telling to him said, “By chance I happened on the mount of Gilboa and behold, Saul was leaning on his spear and behold, the chariots and the captains of the horsemen had overtaken him.”

וַיִּפֶן אַחֲרָיו וַיִּרְאֵנִי וַיִּקְרָא אֵלָי וָאֹמַר הִנֵּנִי׃   1:7

2Sam. 1:7   And he looked behind him and saw me; then he called to me.  And I had to say, ”Here I am.”

וַיֹּאמֶר לִי מִי־אָתָּה (וַיֹּאמֶר) [וָאֹמַר] אֵלָיו עֲמָלֵקִי אָנֹכִי׃   1:8

2Sam. 1:8   And he said to me, “Who are you?”  And I had to say to him, “I am an Amalekite.”

Verse 1:7 has a first-person imperfect verb with a non-inverting vav prefix.  It’s the next-to-last word in that verse, translated by me as And I had to say.  All other translations of which I am aware consider the vav to be inverting, making the imperfect verb perfect, and they have And I said.  I believe my translation conveys something missing from the traditional translation, that is, reluctance on the part of the young man, or a feigned reluctance before David.  Something I consider quite natural, given the circumstances.

The same possible mistranslation appears in this verse as well, but only because of a correction to an obvious scribe error.  The word in parentheses, because of the yad it contains, would have to be translated as And he said, which is patently incorrect.  The correction in the brackets duplicates the word found in the previous verse.  And so my remarks relating to v. 1:7 also apply to that word in this verse.

וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלַי עֲמָד־נָא עָלַי וּמֹתְתֵנִי כִּי אֲחָזַנִי הַשָּׁבָץ כִּי־כָל־עוֹד נַפְשִׁי בִּי׃   1:9

2Sam. 1:9   Then he said to me, “I pray you, rise up over me and slay me, for the anguish has taken hold of me while my soul is yet whole in me.”

וָאֶעֱמֹד עָלָיו וַאֲמֹתְתֵהוּ כִּי יָדַעְתִּי כִּי לֹא יִחְיֶה אַחֲרֵי נִפְלוֹ וָאֶקַּח הַנֵּזֶר אֲשֶׁר עַל־רֹאשׁוֹ וְאֶצְעָדָה   1:10 אֲשֶׁר עַל־זְרֹעוֹ וָאֲבִיאֵם אֶל־אֲדֹנִי הֵנָּה׃

2Sam. 1:10   “So I had to rise up over him and slay him, for I knew that he could not have lived after his having fallen. Then I could take the crown that was on his head and a bracelet that was on his arm and bring them to my lord here.”

This verse contains no less than four first-person imperfect verbs with non-inverting vav prefixes.  They are the first word, dmo[/a,w, translated by me as So I had to rise up, the third word, Whtet.moa]w, translated by me as and slay him, the sixth word form the end of the top line, xQ;a,w, translated by me as Then I could take, and finally, the fourth word from last, ~aeybia]w, translated by me as and bring them.  All of these continue to convey a reluctance on the part of the young man.  He must have been exceedingly nervous and fearful.

וַיַּחֲזֵק דָּוִד (בִּבְגָדוֹ) [בִּבְגָדָיו] וַיִּקְרָעֵם וְגַם כָּל־הָאֲנָשִׁים אֲשֶׁר אִתּוֹ׃   1:11

2Sam. 1:11   Then David took hold of his clothes and tore them, and also all the men who were with him.

This verse has a misspelled word, the third, which is in the parentheses.  It has a missing yad, making the noun singular when is should be plural, his clothes as opposed to his clothe.  The word might have been correct if translated as his garment, but the pronoun, them, referring back to the noun would have been singular, but it’s plural.

וַיִּסְפְּדוּ וַיִּבְכּוּ וַיָּצֻמוּ עַד־הָעָרֶב עַל־שָׁאוּל וְעַל־יְהוֹנָתָן בְּנוֹ וְעַל־עַם יְהוָה וְעַל־בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל כִּי נָפְלוּ   1:12 בֶּחָרֶב׃

2Sam. 1:12   And they wailed and they wept and they fasted until the evening for Saul and for his son, Jonathan, and for the people of the Lord and for the house of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword.

וַיֹּאמֶר דָּוִד אֶל־הַנַּעַר הַמַּגִּיד לוֹ אֵי מִזֶּה אָתָּה וַיֹּאמֶר בֶּן־אִישׁ גֵּר עֲמָלֵקִי אָנֹכִי׃   1:13

2Sam. 1:13   And David said to the young man who was telling to him, “From where are you here?”  And he said, “I am the son of some stranger, an Amalekite.”

וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו דָּוִד אֵיךְ לֹא יָרֵאתָ לִשְׁלֹחַ יָדְךָ לְשַׁחֵת אֶת־מְשִׁיחַ יְהוָה׃   1:14

2Sam. 1:14   And David said to him, “How were you not afraid to put forth your hand to destroy the anointed of the Lord?”

וַיִּקְרָא דָוִד לְאַחַד מֵהַנְּעָרִים וַיֹּאמֶר גַּשׁ פְּגַע־בּוֹ וַיַּכֵּהוּ וַיָּמֹת׃   1:15

2Sam. 1:15   Then David called to one of the young men and said, “Approach, fall on him.”  And he smote him and he died.                                                                           [Return to Isai. 49:20]

וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו דָּוִד (דָּמֵיךָ) [דָּמְךָ] עַל־רֹאשֶׁךָ כִּי פִיךָ עָנָה בְךָ לֵאמֹר אָנֹכִי מֹתַתִּי אֶת־מְשִׁיחַ יְהוָה׃   1:16

2Sam. 1:16   And David said to him, “Your blood is on your head, for your mouth has testified against you saying, ‘I have slain the anointed of the Lord.’”

The word for your blood in the parentheses is misspelled.  It should have no yad.  It is corrected in the brackets.

וַיְקֹנֵן דָּוִד אֶת־הַקִּינָה הַזֹּאת עַל־שָׁאוּל וְעַל־יְהוֹנָתָן בְּנוֹ׃   1:17

2Sam. 1:17   And David chanted this lamentation over Saul and over his son, Jonathan,

וַיֹּאמֶר לְלַמֵּד בְּנֵי־יְהוּדָה קָשֶׁת הִנֵּה כְתוּבָה עַל־סֵפֶר הַיָּשָׁר׃   1:18

2Sam. 1:18   and said, “To teach the sons of Judah the bow; behold, it is written on the scroll of Jashar.”

Strange words to find here!  What did David mean by the apparent interjection of these words unrelated to anything else here:  “To teach the sons of Judah the bow?”  The sages and scholars have speculated much, but no one knows.  In my mind the two most likely possibilities are (1) David had vengeance in his heart and wanted the men of Israel to best the Philistines at their own game, archery, and (2) David was already thinking of uniting the kingdom and imagined the men of Israel should learn archery because it was written on the scroll of Jashar.

הַצְּבִי יִשְׂרָאֵל עַל־בָּמוֹתֶיךָ חָלָל אֵיךְ נָפְלוּ גִבּוֹרִים׃   1:19

2Sam. 1:19   “The beautiful one, O Israel, has been slain on your high places. 

                              How the mighty have fallen!”

אַל־תַּגִּידוּ בְגַת אַל־תְּבַשְּׂרוּ בְּחוּצֹת אַשְׁקְלוֹן פֶּן־תִּשְׂמַחְנָה בְּנוֹת פְּלִשְׁתִּים פֶּן־תַּעֲלֹזְנָה בְּנוֹת   1:20 הָעֲרֵלִים׃

2Sam. 1:20   “Do not tell in Gath,

                              do not announce in the streets of Ashkelon,

                        lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice,

                              lest the daughters of the uncircumcised leap for joy.”

הָרֵי בַגִּלְבֹּעַ אַל־טַל וְאַל־מָטָר עֲלֵיכֶם וּשְׂדֵי תְרוּמֹת כִּי שָׁם נִגְעַל מָגֵן גִּבֹּורִים מָגֵן שָׁאוּל בְּלִי מָשִׁיחַ   1:21

בַּשָּׁמֶן׃

2Sam. 1:21   “O mountains of Gilboa,

                              Let there be no dew and no rain upon you, or fields of offerings,

                        for the shield of the mighty, the shield of Saul,

                              was vilely cast away there without being anointed with oil.”

Scholars seem to think that the last two lines in this verse refer either to Saul’s shield, which was now rusting away without having been oiled, or to Saul himself as if he had not been anointed.  I personally believe the lines refer to Jonathan, in that David viewed him as Saul’s shield, the shield of the mighty, and he was cast away before he could be anointed king.  The next verse seems to support my belief.

מִדַּם חֲלָלִים מֵחֵלֶב גִּבּוֹרִים קֶשֶׁת יְהוֹנָתָן לֹא נָשׂוֹג אָחוֹר וְחֶרֶב שָׁאוּל לֹא תָשׁוּב רֵיקָם׃   1:22

2Sam. 1:22   “From the blood of the slain,

                              from the fat of the mighty,

                        the bow of Jonathan did not retreat back,

                              and the sword of Saul did not return empty.”

שָׁאוּל וִיהוֹנָתָן הַנֶּאֱהָבִים וְהַנְּעִימִם בְּחַיֵּיהֶם וּבְמוֹתָם לֹא נִפְרָדוּ מִנְּשָׁרִים קַלּוּ מֵאֲרָיוֹת גָּבֵרוּ׃   1:23

2Sam. 1:23   “Saul and Jonathan,

                              the lovely ones and the delightful ones,

                         in their lives and in their deaths they were not separated. 

                             They were swifter than eagles,

                         they were stronger than lions.”

בְּנוֹת יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶל־שָׁאוּל בְּכֶינָה הַמַּלְבִּשְׁכֶם שָׁנִי עִם־עֲדָנִים הַמַּעֲלֶה עֲדִי זָהָב עַל לְבוּשְׁכֶן׃   1:24

2Sam. 1:24   “Daughters of Israel,

                              weep for Saul,

                        he who put clothes of scarlet on you with delights,

                              he who put ornaments of gold on your garments.”

אֵיךְ נָפְלוּ גִבֹּרִים בְּתוֹךְ הַמִּלְחָמָה יְהוֹנָתָן עַל־בָּמוֹתֶיךָ חָלָל׃   1:25

2Sam. 1:25   “How the mighty are fallen in the midst of the battle! 

                              Jonathan, on the high places, slain!”

צַר־לִי עָלֶיךָ אָחִי יְהוֹנָתָן נָעַמְתָּ לִּי מְאֹד נִפְלְאַתָה אַהֲבָתְךָ לִי מֵאַהֲבַת נָשִׁים׃   1:26

2Sam. 1:26   “Distress is mine over you,

                              my brother, Jonathan. 

                        You were very pleasant for me,

                               your love was more wonderful to me

                         than the love of women.”

אֵיךְ נָפְלוּ גִבּוֹרִים וַיֹּאבְדוּ כְּלֵי מִלְחָמָה׃   1:27

2Sam. 1:27   “How the mighty have fallen,

                               and the weapons of war perished!”

 

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