And Samuel said, as thy sword hath made women childless
Or, "bereaved F19" them, not of their children only, but of their husbands also, and so made them both childless and widows; by which it appears that he was a cruel prince, and justly died for his own barbarity and wickedness, as well as for the sins of his ancestors four hundred years ago:
so shall thy mother be childless among women;
which was according to the law of retaliation, and what the Jews call measure for measure:
and Samuel hewed Agag in pieces before the Lord in Gilgal;
either before the ark of the Lord, the symbol of the divine Presence; or before the altar, where Saul and the people had been sacrificing; this he did either himself, though an old man, or by others to whom he gave the orders; and which he did not as being the chief magistrate, and by virtue of his office, but acting as on a special occasion, at the command of God, and to show his zeal for him, and indignation at such a breach of his command. In what manner this was done, is not easy to say; he was not torn to pieces by the hand, without an instrument, as Baebius by the Romans F20; or sawn asunder, as some by Caligula F21; and as Isaiah the prophet is said to be by Manasseh, king of Judah, to which it is thought the apostle alludes, ( Hebrews 11:37 ) . According to Ben Gersom, the word signifies he cleaved him, as wood is cleaved; or divided him into four parts, as Jarchi; perhaps he slew him with the sword, and then quartered him; that is, ordered it to be done.
F19 (hlkv) "orbavit", Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus
F20 Flori Hist. l. 3. c. 21.
F21 Sueton. in Vita ejus, c. 27.