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2 Samuel 23:11-12

Context

23:11 Next in command 1  was Shammah son of Agee the Hararite. When the Philistines assembled at Lehi, 2  where there happened to be an area of a field that was full of lentils, the army retreated before the Philistines. 23:12 But he made a stand in the middle of that area. He defended 3  it and defeated the Philistines; the Lord gave them a great victory.

1 tn Heb “after him.”

2 tn The Hebrew text is difficult here. The MT reads לַחַיָּה (lachayyah), which implies a rare use of the word חַיָּה (chayyah). The word normally refers to an animal, but if the MT is accepted it would here have the sense of a troop or community of people. BDB 312 s.v. II. חַיָּה, for example, understands the similar reference in v. 13 to be to “a group of allied families, making a raid together.” But this works better in v. 13 than it does in v. 11, where the context seems to suggest a particular staging location for a military operation. (See 1 Chr 11:15.) It therefore seems best to understand the word in v. 11 as a place name with ה (he) directive. In that case the Masoretes mistook the word for the common term for an animal and then tried to make sense of it in this context.

3 tn Heb “delivered.”



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