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1 Samuel 15:31--16:2

Context
15:31 So Samuel followed Saul back, and Saul worshiped the Lord.

Samuel Puts Agag to Death

15:32 Then Samuel said, “Bring me King Agag of the Amalekites.” So Agag came to him trembling, 1  thinking to himself, 2  “Surely death is bitter!” 3  15:33 Samuel said, “Just as your sword left women childless, so your mother will be the most bereaved among women!” Then Samuel hacked Agag to pieces there in Gilgal before the Lord.

15:34 Then Samuel went to Ramah, while Saul went up to his home in Gibeah of Saul. 15:35 Until the day he 4  died Samuel did not see Saul again. Samuel did, however, mourn for Saul, but the Lord regretted that he had made Saul king over Israel.

Samuel Anoints David as King

16:1 The Lord said to Samuel, “How long do you intend to mourn for Saul? I have rejected him as king over Israel. 5  Fill your horn with olive oil and go! I am sending you to Jesse in Bethlehem, 6  for I have selected a king for myself from among his sons.” 7 

16:2 Samuel replied, “How can I go? Saul will hear about it and kill me!” But the Lord said, “Take a heifer with you 8  and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’

1 tn The MT reading מַעֲדַנֹּת (maadannot, literally, “bonds,” used here adverbially, “in bonds”) is difficult. The word is found only here and in Job 38:31. Part of the problem lies in determining the root of the word. Some scholars have taken it to be from the root ענד (’nd, “to bind around”), but this assumes a metathesis of two of the letters of the root. Others take it from the root עדן (’dn) with the meaning “voluptuously,” but this does not seem to fit the context. It seems better to understand the word to be from the root מעד (md, “to totter” or “shake”). In that case it describes the fear that Agag experienced in realizing the mortal danger that he faced as he approached Samuel. This is the way that the LXX translators understood the word, rendering it by the Greek participle τρέμον (tremon, “trembling”).

2 tn Heb “and Agag said.”

3 tc The text is difficult here. With the LXX, two Old Latin mss, and the Syriac Peshitta it is probably preferable to delete סָר (sar, “is past”) of the MT; it looks suspiciously like a dittograph of the following word מַר (mar, “bitter”). This further affects the interpretation of Agag’s comment. In the MT he comes to Samuel confidently assured that the danger is over (cf. KJV, NASB, NIV “Surely the bitterness of death is past,” along with NLT, CEV). However, it seems more likely that Agag realized that his fortunes had suddenly taken a turn for the worse and that the clemency he had enjoyed from Saul would not be his lot from Samuel. The present translation thus understands Agag to approach not confidently but in the stark realization that his death is imminent (“Surely death is bitter!”). Cf. NAB “So it is bitter death!”; NRSV “Surely this is the bitterness of death”; TEV “What a bitter thing it is to die!”

4 tn That is, Samuel.

5 tc The Lucianic recension of the Old Greek translation includes the following words: “And the Lord said to Samuel.”

6 map For location see Map5 B1; Map7 E2; Map8 E2; Map10 B4.

7 tn Heb “for I have seen among his sons for me a king.”

8 tn Heb “in your hand.”



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