And it came to pass, as they came
The armies of Israel, with their commanders at the head of them:
when David was returned from the slaughter of the Philistine;
either from the slaughter of Goliath, with his head in his hand, going to Jerusalem, and Saul accompanying him; or rather from the slaughter of the Philistines at some other time, the singular being put for the plural; since, according to the order of the history, this seems to be done after David was brought to court, and had been made a captain, and had been sent out on military expeditions, and had been successful therein, and from one of which he now returned:
that the women came out of all the cities of Israel;
through which they passed:
singing and dancing;
as were usual after great victories obtained, and deliverances wrought, the female sex being generally greatly affected with such things; since when things go otherwise they suffer much, and their fears rise high in time of battle; and when victory goes on their side, it gives them great joy, and which they used to express in this way:
to meet King Saul;
the commander-in-chief, with his other officers, and David among the rest:
with tabrets, with joy, and with instruments of music;
with pipes or flutes, which they both blew with their mouths, and played on with their hands, and other musical instruments exciting joy; the last word is, by the Targum, rendered,
``with cymbals;''and so the Septuagint version; it signifies a musical instrument of three cords, according to Kimchi; and others, as Ben Gersom, understand it of principal songs, in which things wonderful, excellent, and honourable, were spoken of: see ( Exodus 15:20 ) ( Judges 11:34 ) . Such sort of women were among the Romans called Cymballatriae and Tympanistriae F20, who shook the cymbals, and beat upon tabrets and drums at times of rejoicing.
F20 Vid. Pignorium de Servis, p. 166, 174.