1 Kings 22:34 New International Version

But someone drew his bow at random and hit the king of Israel between the sections of his armor. The king told his chariot driver, "Wheel around and get me out of the fighting. I've been wounded."

Berean Study Bible

However, a certain man drew his bow without taking special aim, and he struck the king of Israel between the joints of his armor. So the king said to his charioteer, “Turn around and take me out of the battle, for I am badly wounded!”

without taking special aim,
לְתֻמּ֔וֹ (lə·ṯum·mōw)
Preposition-l | Noun - masculine singular construct | third person masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 8537: Completeness, integrity, also part of the high priest's breastplate

What is the meaning of לְתֻמּ֔וֹ? How is this word being translated as "at random" or "without taking special aim"? What is its primary meaning?

  • In modern Hebrew it means to complete.
    – Lucian
    Oct 14, 2020 at 15:23
  • Modern Hebrew is very much an artificial, modern language. Oct 14, 2020 at 21:45

1 Answer 1


For completeness I have listed the BDB entry for תֹּם which is the operative word translated "at random" in 1 Kings 22:34. It occurs 24 times in the OT. BDB suggests that "without definite aim" is the meaning here; ie, #2 below.

That is, the meaning in 1 Kings 22:34 has to do with innocence and simplicity as per 2 Sam 15:11.

APPENDIX - BDB entry for תֹּם

תֹּם noun [masculine] completeness, integrity ; — תֹּם absolute Proverbs 10:20 +; construct Job 4:6; Psalm 78:72, construct also תָּםֿ Proverbs 13:6 4t.; suffix תֻּמִּי Psalm 26:1 11t. suffix; plural תֻּמִּים Exodus 28:30 3t.; suffix תֻּמֶּיךָ Deuteronomy 33:8 ; —

1 completeness, fullness : כְּתֻמָּם Isaiah 47:9 according to their full measure; בְּעֶצֶם תֻּמּוֺ Job 21:23 in his very completeness.

2 innocence, simplicity: הלכים לתמם 2 Samuel 15:11; מֶשַׁךְ בַּקֶּשֶׁת לְתֻמּוֺ 1 Kings 22:34 2Chronicles 18:33, i.e. without definite aim.

3 integrity: תֹּם לֵבָב integrity of mind Genesis 20:5,6 (E), 1 Kings 9:4; Psalm 78:72; Psalm 101:2; תָּםדֶּֿרֶךְ Proverbs 13:6; Job 4:6; (הת)הלך בַּתֹּם Proverbs 10:9, בְּתֻמּוֺ Proverbs 19:1; Proverbs 20:7; Proverbs 28:6, בְּתֻמִּי Psalm 26:1; Psalm 26:11; הֹלְכֵי תֹם Proverbs 2:7; תֹּם וָישֶׁר Psalm 25:21; בְּתֻמִּי Psalm 41:13; כְּתֻמִּי Psalm 7:9; מָעוֺז לַתֹּם Proverbs 10:29.

4 תֻּמִּים in אוּרִים וְתֻמִּים (meaning dubious, see, אורים) Deuteronomy 33:8; Exodus 28:30 (P) Leviticus 8:8 (P), Ezra 2:63 = Nehemiah 7:65; + 1 Samuel 14:41 (for תָּמִים) We Dr Bu HPS; also Hosea 3:4 (for תרפים CheJQ. July 1899, 564 and Hosea 4:5 (תֻּמֶּ֑יךָ for אִמֶּ֑ךָ) RubenJQ. April 1899, 44 Chel.c.

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