1 Samuel 16:19 Therefore Saul sent messengers to Jesse and said, “Send me David your son, who is with the sheep.” 20And Jesse took a donkey laden with bread and a skin of wine and a young goat and sent them by David his son to Saul. 21And David came to Saul and entered his service. And Saul loved him greatly, and he became his armor-bearer. 22And Saul sent to Jesse, saying, “Let David remain in my service, for he has found favor in my sight.”

Saul had interacted with Jesse twice and was impressed with David.

1 Samuel 17:58 "Whose son are you, young man?" Saul asked him. David said, "I am the son of your servant Jesse of Bethlehem."

After David killed Goliath, Saul wanted to know David's father' name. Why did he ask at that particular time?


Why did Saul ask David for the name of his father in [1 Samuel 17:58]?

King Shaul allowed David to distinguish his family as warriors in the presence of Yisrael's army. David states his father Yishay (יִשַׁ֖י) belonging to the House ( בֵּ֥ית ) of The-Wars / "Ha-Lachemi" ( הַלַּחְמִֽי ) --- not bread "Lechem" ( לֶ֙חֶם֙ ).

1 Samuel 17:58 [MT]

"And Shaul said to him, "Whose son are you, young man?" And David said, "The son of your bondsman, Yishay of House-[of] The-Wars." (וַיֹּ֚אמֶר אֵלָיו֙ שָׁא֔וּל בֶּן־מִ֥י אַתָּ֖ה הַנָּ֑עַר וַיֹּ֣אמֶר דָּוִ֔ד בֶּֽן־עַבְדְּךָ֥ יִשַׁ֖י בֵּ֥ית הַלַּחְמִֽי)

  • "YiShaY" ( יִשַׁ֖י ) = Jesse.
  • "Beyt-Ha-Lachemi" ( בֵּ֥ית הַלַּחְמִֽי ) = "House-[of] The-Wars"

Shaul then wanted to adopt David as a warrior son [1 Samuel 18:2] so that Shaul's name would be remembered / associated with David's victory over Goliath / Galeyat (גָּלְיָ֥ת).

1 Samuel 18:2 [MT]

"And Shaul took him on that day, and did not allow him to return to his father's house." (וַיִּקָּחֵ֥הוּ שָׁא֖וּל בַּיּ֣וֹם הַה֑וּא וְלֹ֣א נְתָנ֔וֹ לָשׁ֖וּב בֵּ֥ית אָבִֽיו)

  • I am fascinated that you believe בֵּית הלּחְמִי means "House of the wars" when all the lexicons (eg, BDB) say: בֵּית הַלַּחְמִי adjective, of a people the Bethlehemite as per 1 Sam 16:1, 18, 17:58, 2 Sam 21:19. Could you expand on that a bit?
    – Dottard
    Oct 7 '20 at 21:17
  • Lachem (לָחֶ֣ם) means 'war', found also in Shoftim (שֹֽׁפְטִ֑ים) - Chapter 5 : verse 8 [MT]. -- The Patah (פַּתַח‎) which accompanied the hei (הַ) and lamed (לַּ) in "Ha"-"Lachemi" (הַלַּחְמִי֒) reveals two distinct words "The"-"War[s]". If the Segol (סֶגּוֹל‎) accompanied the lamed (לֶ֙), then 'war' would be transformed into 'bread' Lechem (לֶ֙חֶם֙) found in 1 Shemuel (שְׁמוּאֵ֜ל) - Chapter 16 : verse 20. Oct 7 '20 at 22:34

By the time we arrive at 1 Sam 16, we note the following background

  • 1 Sam 13 - Samuel had to severely rebuke Saul over the unauthorized sacrifice
  • 1 Sam 14 - Saul acted very foolishly (narcissistically?) in making an oath to prevent the soldiers eating
  • 1 Sam 15 - The incident with the Amalekites and Saul's selfish hording of plunder (rather than destruction) results in God finally rejecting Saul as king of Israel.
  • 1 Sam 16:1-13 - Samuel anoints David as the next king of Israel
  • 1 Sam 16:14-23 - Saul's mental instability has now advanced to the place where he cannot function without a court musician, who become David.

Thus, we see Saul's condition is so poor that his courtiers are beginning to protect him from public gaze. Saul begins to develop paranoia about imagined threats.

Thus, I find unsurprising that while this very minor court employee, David as court musician, is introduced to Saul (1 Sam 16:19, 20), Saul does not really know him and has to be reintroduced to him in 1 Sam 17 over the Goliath incident (assuming they are in chronological order).

By 1 Sam 18, Saul's condition is so poor that he now begins to suspect his most trusted officials of treachery and threats. Unfortunately, Saul eventually looses all hope, consults with witches (1 Sam 28) and ends his own life (1 Sam 31). A very sad story of a man who initially showed such promise in God's service.

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