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[196] But David had God going along with him whithersoever he went, and accordingly he greatly prospered in his undertakings, and it was visible that he had mighty success, insomuch that Saul's daughter, who was still a virgin, fell in love with him; and her affection so far prevailed over her, that it could not be concealed, and her father became acquainted with it. Now Saul heard this gladly, as intending to make use of it for a snare against David, and he hoped that it would prove the cause of destruction and of hazard to him; so he told those that informed him of his daughter's affection, that he would willingly give David the virgin in marriage, and said, "I engage myself to marry my daughter to him if he will bring me six hundred heads of my enemies 1 supposing that when a reward so ample was proposed to him, and when he should aim to get him great glory, by undertaking a thing so dangerous and incredible, he would immediately set about it, and so perish by the Philistines; and my designs about him will succeed finely to my mind, for I shall be freed from him, and get him slain, not by myself, but by another man." So he gave order to his servants to try how David would relish this proposal of marrying the damsel. Accordingly, they began to speak thus to him: That king Saul loved him, as well as did all the people, and that he was desirous of his affinity by the marriage of this damsel. To which he gave this answer: - "Seemeth it to you a light thing to be made the king's son-in-law? It does not seem so to me, especially when I am one of a family that is low, and without any glory or honor." Now when Saul was informed by his servants what answer David had made, he said, - "Tell him that I do not want any money nor dowry from him, which would be rather to set my daughter to sale than to give her in marriage; but I desire only such a son-in-law as hath in him fortitude, and all other kinds of virtue," of which he saw David was possessed, and that his desire was to receive of him, on account of his marrying his daughter, neither gold nor silver, nor that he should bring such wealth out of his father's house, but only some revenge on the Philistines, and indeed six hundred of their heads, than which a more desirable or a more glorious present could not be brought him, and that he had much rather obtain this, than any of the accustomed dowries for his daughter, viz. that she should be married to a man of that character, and to one who had a testimony as having conquered his enemies.

1 Josephus says thrice in this chapter, and twice afterwards, ch. 11. sect. 2, and B. VII. ch. 1. sect. 4, i.e. five times in all, that Saul required not a bare hundred of the foreskins of the Philistines, but six hundred of their heads. The Septuagint have 100 foreskins, but the Syriac and Arabic 200. Now that these were not foreskins, with our other copies, but heads, with Josephus's copy, seems somewhat probable, from 1 Samuel 29:4, where all copies say that it was with the heads of such Philistines that David might reconcile himself to his master, Saul.

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