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1 Samuel 24:3

    1 Samuel 24:3 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    And he came to the sheepcotes by the way, where was a cave; and Saul went in to cover his feet: and David and his men remained in the sides of the cave.

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    And he came to the sheepcotes by the way, where was a cave; and Saul went in to cover his feet: and David and his men remained in the sides of the cave.

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    And he came to the sheepcotes by the way, where was a cave; and Saul went in to cover his feet. Now David and his men were abiding in the innermost parts of the cave.

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    And on the way he came to a place where sheep were kept, where there was a hollow in the rock; and Saul went in for a private purpose. Now David and his men were in the deepest part of the hollow.

    Webster's Revision

    And he came to the sheepcotes by the way, where was a cave; and Saul went in to cover his feet. Now David and his men were abiding in the innermost parts of the cave.

    World English Bible

    He came to the sheep pens by the way, where there was a cave; and Saul went in to relieve himself. Now David and his men were abiding in the innermost parts of the cave.

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    And he came to the sheepcotes by the way, where was a cave; and Saul went in to cover his feet. Now David and his men were abiding in the innermost parts of the cave.

    Clarke's Commentary on 1 Samuel 24:3

    The sheep-cotes - Caves in the rocks, in which it is common, even to the present time, for shepherds and their flocks to lodge. According to Strabo there are caverns in Syria, one of which is capable of containing four thousand men: Ὡν ἑν και τετρακισχιλιους ανθρωπους δεξασθαι δυναμενον; lib. xvi. p. 1096. Edit. 1707.

    Saul went in to cover his feet - Perhaps this phrase signifies exactly what the Vulgate has rendered it, ut purparet ventrem. The Septuagint, the Targum, and the Arabic understand it in the same way. It is likely that, when he had performed this act of necessity, he lay down to repose himself, and it was while he was asleep that David cut off the skirt of his robe. It is strange that Saul was not aware that there might be men lying in wait in such a place; and the rabbins have invented a most curious conceit to account for Saul's security: "God, foreseeing that Saul would come to this cave, caused a spider to weave her web over the mouth of it, which, when Saul perceived, he took for granted that no person had lately been there, and consequently he entered it without suspicion." This may be literally true; and we know that even a spider in the hand of God may be the instrument of a great salvation. This is a Jewish tradition, and one of the most elegant and instructive in their whole collection.

    David and his men remained in the sides of the cave - This is no hyperbole; we have not only the authority of Strabo as above mentioned, but we have the authority of the most accurate travelers, to attest the fact of the vast capacity of caves in the East.

    Dr. Pococke observes: "Beyond the valley (of Tekoa) there is a very large grotto, which the Arabs call El Maamah, a hiding place; the high rocks on each side of the valley are almost perpendicular, and the way to the grotto is by a terrace formed in the rock, which is very narrow. There are two entrances into it; we went by the farthest, which leads by a narrow passage into a large grotto, the rock being supported by great natural pillars; the top of it rises in several parts like domes; the grotto is perfectly dry. There is a tradition that the people of the country, to the number of thirty thousand, retired into this grotto to avoid a bad air. This place is so strong that one would imagine it to be one of the strong holds of En-gedi, to which David and his men fled from Saul; and possibly it may be that very cave in which he cut off Saul's skirt, for David and his men might with great ease lie hid there and not be seen by him." - Pococke's Travels, vol. ii., part 1, p. 41.

    Barnes' Notes on 1 Samuel 24:3

    Remained in the sides - Rather, "were in the sides of the cave dwelling or abiding there." Some of these caverns are very deep and spacious. Any one near the mouth of the cave would be visible, but those in the recesses would be quite in the dark and invisible, especially if the incident occurred at night. Psalm 67:1-7, according to the title, was composed on this occasion.

    Wesley's Notes on 1 Samuel 24:3

    24:3 Went in - To sleep there: Saul being a military man, used to sleep with his soldiers upon the ground. And it is not improbable, that being weary with his eager and almost incessant pursuit, first of David, then of the Philistines, and now of David again, he both needed and desired some sleep, God also disposing him thereto, that David might have this eminent occasion to demonstrate his integrity to Saul, and to all Israel. Of the cave - For that there were vast caves in those parts is affirmed, not only by Josephus, but also by Heathen authors; Strabo writes of one which could receive four thousand men.