1 Samuel 9:4 MEANING

1 Samuel 9:4
(4) And he passed through mount Ephraim. The chain of the mountains of Ephraim ran southward into the territory of Benjamin, where were situated the patrimonial possessions of Saul's house.

And passed through the land of Shalisha.--Or land "of the Three;" so called because three valleys there united in one, or one divided into three. It is believed to be the region in which Baal-shalisha lay (2 Kings 4:42), fifteen miles north of Diospolis, or Lydda.

The land of Shalim.--Probably a very deep valley, derived from a Hebrew word, signifying "the hollow of the hand."

Verse 4. - Mount Ephraim. Though Gibeah, Saul's home, was in Benjamin, it was situated on this long mountain range (1 Samuel 1:1). The land of Shalisha. I.e. Three-land, and probably, therefore, the region round Baal-shalisha. It takes its name from the three valleys which there converge in the great Wady Kurawa, The land of Shalim. I.e. of jackals; probably the same as the land of Shual, also = jackal-land (1 Samuel 13:17). The very name shows that it was a wild, uninhabited region. The derivation hollow-land is untenable.

9:1-10 Saul readily went to seek his father's asses. His obedience to his father was praise-worthy. His servant proposed, that since they were now at Ramah, they should call on Samuel, and take his advice. Wherever we are, we should use our opportunities of acquainting ourselves with those who are wise and good. Many will consult a man of God, if he comes in their way, that would not go a step out of their way to get wisdom. We sensibly feel worldly losses, and bestow much pains to make them up; but how little do we attempt, and how soon are we weary, in seeking the salvation of our souls! If ministers could tell men how to secure their property, or to get wealth, they would be more consulted and honoured than they now are, though employed in teaching them how to escape eternal misery, and to obtain eternal life. Most people would rather be told their fortune than their duty. Samuel needed not their money, nor would he have denied his advice, if they had not brought it; but they gave it to him as a token of respect, and of the value they put upon his office, and according to the general usage of those times, always to bring a present to those in authority.And they passed through Mount Ephraim,.... The mountainous part of that tribe, which lay contiguous to the tribe of Benjamin, where it might be supposed the asses had strayed to:

and passed through the land of Shalisha; a tract in the tribe of Benjamin, so called from some illustrious person, prince, and duke of it; in it very probably was the place called Baalshalisha; 2 Kings 4:42 and which perhaps is the same Jerom calls (x) Bethshalisha; and says there was a village of this name in the borders of Diospolis, almost fifteen miles distance from it to the north, in the Tamnitic country; though Bunting (y) says it was situated in Mount Ephraim, eight miles from Jerusalem to the northwest:

but they found them not; the asses, neither in Mount Ephraim, nor in the land of Shalisha:

then they passed through the land of Shalim which some take to be the same with Salim, where John was baptizing, John 3:23 but Jerom says (z) it was a village on the borders of Eleutheropolis, to the west, seven miles distant from it:

and there they were not; the asses could not be found there:

and he passed through the land of the Benjamites; or rather of Jemini, which was in Benjamin, so called from a famous man of that name; for it cannot be thought they should pass through the whole tribe of Benjamin in one day. And, according to Bunting (a), from Gibeah, the native place of Saul, through the mountain of Ephraim, and the land of Shalisha, to the borders of Shalim, were sixteen miles; and from thence to Jemini, in the tribe of Benjamin, sixteen more:

but they found them not; the asses.

(x) De loc. Heb. fol. 89. K. (y) Travels of the Patriarchs, &c. p. 129. (z) De loc. Heb. fol. 94. L. (a) Travels of the Patriarchs, &c. p. 126.

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