And Samuel did that which the Lord spake
He filled a horn of oil, and took an heifer with him:
and came to Bethlehem;
where Jesse and his family lived, which, according to Bunting F25, was sixteen miles from Ramah; though it could hardly be so much, since Ramah was six miles from Jerusalem on one side, as Bethlehem lay six miles from it on the other F26;
and the elders of the town trembled at his coming;
for he being now an old man, and seldom went abroad, they concluded it must be something very extraordinary that brought him thither; and they might fear that as he was a prophet of the Lord, that he was come to reprove them, or denounce some judgment upon them for their sins. The Targum is,
``the elders of the city gathered together to meet him;''out of respect and in honour to him, and to the same sense Jarchi's note is,
``they hasted to go out to meet him'';see ( Hosea 11:11 )
and, said comest thou peaceably?
the word "said" is singular; one of the elders put this question, the chiefest of them, perhaps Jesse; and the meaning of it is, whether he came with ill news and bad tidings, or as displeased with them himself on some account or another; or with a message from God, as displeased with them; or whether he came there for his own peace and safety, to be sheltered from Saul; and which, if that was the case, might not be for their peace and good; but would draw upon them the wrath and vengeance of Saul; for they doubtless knew that there was a variance, at least a shyness, between Saul and Samuel.
F25 Travels of the Patriarchs p. 125.
F26 Vid. Hieron. de loc. Heb. fol. 89. F. & 94. B.