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1 Samuel 14:15-20

Context

14:15 Then fear overwhelmed 1  those who were in the camp, those who were in the field, all the army in the garrison, and the raiding bands. They trembled and the ground shook. This fear was caused by God. 2 

14:16 Saul’s watchmen at Gibeah in the territory of Benjamin 3  looked on 4  as the crowd of soldiers seemed to melt away first in one direction and then in another. 5  14:17 So Saul said to the army that was with him, “Muster the troops and see who is no longer with us.” When they mustered the troops, 6  Jonathan and his armor bearer were not there. 14:18 So Saul said to Ahijah, “Bring near the ephod,” 7  for he was at that time wearing the ephod. 8  14:19 While 9  Saul spoke to the priest, the panic in the Philistines’ camp was becoming greater and greater. So Saul said to the priest, “Withdraw your hand!”

14:20 Saul and all the army that was with him assembled and marched into battle, where they found 10  the Philistines in total panic killing one another with their swords. 11 

1 tn Heb “fell upon.”

2 tn Heb “and it was by the fear of God.” The translation understands this to mean that God was the source or cause of the fear experienced by the Philistines. This seems to be the most straightforward reading of the sentence. It is possible, however, that the word “God” functions here simply to intensify the accompanying word “fear,” in which one might translate “a very great fear” (cf. NAB, NRSV). It is clear that on some occasions that the divine name carries such a superlative nuance. For examples see Joüon 2:525 §141.n.

3 tn Heb “at Gibeah of Benjamin.” The words “in the territory” are supplied in the translation for clarity.

4 tn Heb “saw, and look!”

5 tn Heb “the crowd melted and went, even here.”

6 tn Heb “and they mustered the troops, and look!”

7 tc Heb “the ark of God.” It seems unlikely that Saul would call for the ark, which was several miles away in Kiriath-jearim (see 1 Sam 7:2). The LXX and an Old Latin ms have “ephod” here, a reading which harmonizes better with v. 3 and fits better with the verb “bring near” (see 1 Sam 23:9; 30:7) and with the expression “withdraw your hand” in v.19. This reading is followed in the present translation (cf. NAB, TEV, NLT).

8 tc Heb “for the ark of God was in that day, and the sons of Israel.” The translation follows the text of some Greek manuscripts. See the previous note.

9 tn Or perhaps “until.”

10 tn Heb “and look, there was”

11 tn Heb “the sword of a man against his companion, a very great panic.”



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