The pronounciation guides in this article follow the Hebrew; they frequently differ from the familiar English pronounciation.


Almost everything in this article is based upon The Crossing Fates (Assen, Netherlands: van Gorcum, 1986), vol. 2 of my Narrative Art and Poetry in the Books of Samuel, a full interpretation based on stylistic and structural analyses; the second volume covers 1 Samuel 13–31 and 2 Samuel 1.


AT (author’s translation) indicates a rendering that is improved (see especially David’s dirge) on the basis of the author’s Samuel studies or (once) the Greek version.


The Amalekites are an especially despised enemy of the Israelites because, without provocation, the Amalekites attacked the Israelites from the rear on their trek to the Promised Land after the Exodus from Egypt (Exodus 17:8–16; compare Deuteronomy 25:17–19).


“Saul recognized David’s voice, and he asked, ‘Is that your voice, my son David?’ And David replied, ‘It is, my lord king.’ And he went on, ‘But why does my lord continue to pursue his servant? What have I done, and what wrong am I guilty of? Now let my lord the king hear his servant out. If the lord has incited you against me, let Him be appeased by an offering; but if it is men, may they be accursed of the Lord! For they have driven me out today, so that I cannot have a share in the Lord’s possession, but am told, “Go and worship other gods.” Oh, let my blood not fall to the ground, away from the presence of the Lord! For the king of Israel has come out to seek a single flea—as if he were hunting a partridge in the hills.’

“And Saul answered, ‘I am in the wrong. Come back, my son David, for I will never harm you again, seeing how you have held my life precious this day. Yes, I have been a fool, and I have erred so very much.’ David replied, ‘Here is Your Majesty’s spear. Let one of the young men come over and get it. And the Lord will requite every man for his right conduct and loyalty—for this day the Lord delivered you into my hands and I would not raise a hand against the Lord’s anointed. And just as I valued your life highly this day, so may the Lord value my life and may He rescue me from all trouble.’ Saul answered David, ‘May you be blessed, my son David. You shall achieve, and you shall prevail’ ” (1 Samuel 26:17–25).


A full technical analysis may be found in The Crossing Fates, chap. 15, sec. 4.