1 Samuel 16:4

4 Samuel did what the Lord directed and went to Bethlehem. When the elders of the town met him, they trembled[a] and asked, "Do[b] you come in peace?"

1 Samuel 16:4 Meaning and Commentary

1 Samuel 16:4

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.

1 Samuel 16:4 In-Context

2 Samuel asked, "How can I go? Saul will hear [about it] and kill me!" The Lord answered, "Take a young cow with you and say, 'I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.'
3 Then invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will let you know what you are to do. You are to anoint for Me the one I indicate to you."
4 Samuel did what the Lord directed and went to Bethlehem. When the elders of the town met him, they trembled and asked, "Do you come in peace?"
5 "In peace," he replied. "I've come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice." Then he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.
6 When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and said, "Certainly the Lord's anointed one is here before Him."

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. LXX reads were astonished
  • [b]. DSS, LXX read Seer, do
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