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1 Samuel 13:17-23

Context
13:17 Raiding bands went out from the camp of the Philistines in three groups. One band turned toward the road leading to Ophrah by the land of Shual; 13:18 another band turned toward the road leading to Beth Horon; and yet another band turned toward the road leading to the border that overlooks the valley of Zeboim in the direction of the desert.

13:19 A blacksmith could not be found in all the land of Israel, for the Philistines had said, “This will prevent the Hebrews from making swords and spears.” 13:20 So all Israel had to go down to the Philistines in order to get their plowshares, cutting instruments, axes, and sickles 1  sharpened. 13:21 They charged 2  two-thirds of a shekel 3  to sharpen plowshares and cutting instruments, and a third of a shekel 4  to sharpen picks and axes, and to set ox goads. 13:22 So on the day of the battle no sword or spear was to be found in the hand of anyone in the army that was with Saul and Jonathan. No one but Saul and his son Jonathan had them.

Jonathan Ignites a Battle

13:23 A garrison of the Philistines had gone out to the pass at Micmash.

1 tc The translation follows the LXX (“their sickle”) here, rather than the MT “plowshares,” which is due to dittography from the word earlier in the verse.

2 tn Heb “the price was.” The meaning of the Hebrew word פְּצִירָה (pÿtsirah) is uncertain. This is the only place it occurs in the OT. Some propose the meaning “sharpening,” but “price” is a more likely meaning if the following term refers to a weight (see the following note on the word “shekel”). See P. K. McCarter, I Samuel (AB), 238.

3 tn This word, which appears only here in the OT, probably refers to a stone weight. Stones marked פִּים (pim) have been found in excavations of Palestinian sites. The average weight of such stones is 0.268 ounces, which is equivalent to about two-thirds of a shekel. This probably refers to the price charged by the Philistines for the services listed. See P. K. McCarter, I Samuel (AB), 238; DNWSI 2:910; and G. I. Davies, Ancient Hebrew Inscriptions, 259.

4 tc Heb “and for a third, a pick.” The Hebrew text suffers from haplography at this point. The translation follows the textual reconstruction offered by P. K. McCarter, I Samuel (AB), 235.



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