And the first slaughter which Jonathan and his armourbearer
made was about twenty men
Or the first blow they struck, as the Targum, they killed about twenty men; that is, they did not stop smiting, but followed their blows so quickly, that in a very little time, as well as in a very small space of ground, so many were killed:
even within as it were an half acre of land,
which a "yoke" of oxen might plough; that is, in one day; the word is used for a furrow, ( Psalms 129:3 ) and is supposed by some F16 to be the length of one furrow; but if so, it must be a circular furrow; so much ground was given to Horatius Cocles as could be ploughed round about in one day, for his brave opposition to Porsena, king of the Etruscans, when he endeavoured to restore the family of the Tarquins F17. This was a space of ground which the Romans call "actus", a measure of land one hundred and twenty feet square, which being doubled made an acre, called by them "jugerum", being as much as a yoke of oxen could plough in one day, as Pliny says F18; so that an acre was two hundred and forty feet long, and one hundred and twenty broad, and contained an area of 28,800 four square Roman feet; and this space here mentioned, which was half an acre, contained 14,400 Roman feet F19; and within this space of ground, without going any further, twenty men were killed, which struck a panic into the whole garrison and host, supposing there was a large army of men behind them coming on, as follows. The Septuagint version renders these words as representing the slaughter made "with darts, and the casts of stones, and flints of the field" F20.
F16 Vid. David. de Pomis Lexic. fol. 129. 1.
F17 Aurel. Victor. de vir. illustr. c. 14. Liv. Hist. l. 2. c. 10.
F18 Nat. Hist. l. 18. c. 3. Vid. Alex. ab Alex. Genial. Dier. l. 2. c. 20.
F19 Vid. Scheuchzer. Physic. Sacr. p. 487.
F20 See Dr. Kennicett's Dissertat. 1. p. 453.