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2 Samuel 22:15-16

Context

22:15 He shot 1  arrows and scattered them, 2 

lightning and routed them. 3 

22:16 The depths 4  of the sea were exposed;

the inner regions 5  of the world were uncovered

by the Lord’s battle cry, 6 

by the powerful breath from his nose. 7 

1 tn Heb “sent.”

2 tn The pronominal suffixes on the verbs “scattered” and “routed” (see the next line) refer to David’s enemies. Some argue that the suffixes refer to the arrows, in which case one might translate “shot them far and wide” and “made them move noisily,” respectively. They argue that the enemies have not been mentioned since v. 4 and are not again mentioned until v. 17. However, usage of the verbs פוּץ (puts, “scatter”) and הָמַם (hamam, “rout”) elsewhere in Holy War accounts suggests the suffixes refer to enemies. Enemies are frequently pictured in such texts as scattered and/or routed (see Exod 14:24; 23:27; Num 10:35; Josh 10:10; Judg 4:15; 1 Sam 7:10; 11:11; Ps 68:1).

3 sn Lightning is a common motif in OT theophanies and in ancient Near Eastern portrayals of the storm god and warring kings. Arrows and lightning bolts are associated in other texts (see Pss 77:17-18; 144:6; Zech 9:14), as well as in ancient Near Eastern art. See R. B. Chisholm, “An Exegetical and Theological Study of Psalm 18/2 Samuel 22” (Th.D. diss., Dallas Theological Seminary, 1983), 187, 190-92.

4 tn Or “channels.”

5 tn Or “foundations.”

6 tn The noun is derived from the verb גָעַר (nagar) which is often understood to mean “rebuke.” In some cases it is apparent that scolding or threatening is in view (see Gen 37:10; Ruth 2:16; Zech 3:2). However, in militaristic contexts this translation is inadequate, for the verb refers in this setting to the warrior’s battle cry, which terrifies and paralyzes the enemy. See A. Caquot, TDOT 3:53, and note the use of the verb in Pss 68:30; 106:9; and Nah 1:4, as well as the related noun in Job 26:11; Pss 9:5; 76:6; 104:7; Isa 50:2; 51:20; 66:15.

7 tn Heb “blast of the breath” (literally, “breath of breath”) employs an appositional genitive. Synonyms are joined in a construct relationship to emphasize the single idea. For a detailed discussion of the grammatical point with numerous examples, see Y. Avishur, “Pairs of Synonymous Words in the Construct State (and in Appositional Hendiadys) in Biblical Hebrew,” Semitics 2 (1971): 17-81.



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