The Meaning of 1 Samuel 18:17 Explained

1 Samuel 18:17

KJV: And Saul said to David, Behold my elder daughter Merab, her will I give thee to wife: only be thou valiant for me, and fight the LORD'S battles. For Saul said, Let not mine hand be upon him, but let the hand of the Philistines be upon him.

YLT: And Saul saith unto David, 'Lo, my elder daughter Merab -- her I give to thee for a wife; only, be to me for a son of valour, and fight the battles of Jehovah;' and Saul said, 'Let not my hand be on him, but let the hand of the Philistines be upon him.'

Darby: And Saul said to David, Behold my eldest daughter Merab, her will I give thee to wife; only be thou valiant for me, and fight Jehovah's battles. But Saul thought, My hand shall not be upon him, but the hand of the Philistines shall be upon him.

ASV: And Saul said to David, Behold, my elder daughter Merab, her will I give thee to wife: only be thou valiant for me, and fight Jehovah's battles. For Saul said, Let not my hand be upon him, but let the hand of the Philistines be upon him.

What does 1 Samuel 18:17 Mean?

Context Summary

1 Samuel 18:10-21 - Protected From Dastardly Assaults
The Lord was evidently with David. Mark how the sacred chronicle keeps this fact in view, 1 Samuel 18:12; 1 Samuel 18:14; 1 Samuel 18:28. And David behaved himself wisely, 1 Samuel 18:5; 1 Samuel 18:14-15; 1 Samuel 18:30. How judicious it would have been for Saul to bind David to himself! Instead of this he cherished his mad passion until it broke out in irresistible fury. Oh, beware of jealousy! It opens the soul's door to the devil. The best way of meeting it, apart from prayer, is to compel yourself to take an interest in your rival, and to put yourself loyally in his place. Overcome your mean and wicked soul, in the power of the Lord Jesus. "Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh," Romans 13:14.
The evil spirit that possessed Saul is said to have come from God; that is, God permitted it to come. It came according to the ordered rule of the universe. "God," says one, "must be something to us; what He shall be depends on ourselves and on what we are to Him." See Psalms 18:25-26. The king, having failed to murder David, encouraged him in dangerous undertakings. But if David had fallen in battle, his death would still have been justly laid at Saul's door. [source]

Chapter Summary: 1 Samuel 18

1  Jonathan befriends David
5  Saul envies his praise
10  seeks to kill him in his fury
12  fears him for his good success
17  offers him his daughters for snare
23  David persuaded to be the king's son-in-law,
25  gives two hundred foreskins of the Philistines for Michal's dowry
28  Saul's hatred and David's glory increase

What do the individual words in 1 Samuel 18:17 mean?

And said Saul to David Here is my daughter older Merab her I will give to you as a wife only be for me man valiant and fight battles Of Yahweh for Saul thought not let be my hand against him but let be against him the hand of the Philistines -
וַיֹּ֨אמֶר שָׁא֜וּל אֶל־ דָּוִ֗ד הִנֵּה֩ בִתִּ֨י הַגְּדוֹלָ֤ה מֵרַב֙ אֹתָהּ֙ אֶתֶּן־ לְךָ֣ לְאִשָּׁ֔ה אַ֚ךְ הֱיֵה־ לִּ֣י לְבֶן־ חַ֔יִל וְהִלָּחֵ֖ם מִלְחֲמ֣וֹת יְהוָ֑ה וְשָׁא֣וּל אָמַ֗ר אַל־ תְּהִ֤י יָדִי֙ בּ֔וֹ וּתְהִי־ ב֖וֹ יַד־ פְּלִשְׁתִּֽים ס

וַיֹּ֨אמֶר  And  said 
Parse: Conjunctive waw, Verb, Qal, Consecutive imperfect, third person masculine singular
Root: אָמַר 
Sense: to say, speak, utter.
שָׁא֜וּל  Saul 
Parse: Proper Noun, masculine singular
Root: שָׁאוּל  
Sense: a Benjamite, son of Kish, and the st king of Israel.
דָּוִ֗ד  David 
Parse: Proper Noun, masculine singular
Root: דָּוִד  
Sense: youngest son of Jesse and second king of Israel.
הִנֵּה֩  Here  is 
Parse: Interjection
Root: הִנֵּה  
Sense: behold, lo, see, if.
בִתִּ֨י  my  daughter 
Parse: Noun, feminine singular construct, first person common singular
Root: בַּת  
Sense: daughter.
הַגְּדוֹלָ֤ה  older 
Parse: Article, Adjective, feminine singular
Root: גָּבֹול 
Sense: great.
מֵרַב֙  Merab 
Parse: Proper Noun, feminine singular
Root: מֵרַב  
Sense: the eldest daughter of king Saul; promised to David but given instead to Adriel the Meholathite; mother of 5 children.
אֹתָהּ֙  her 
Parse: Direct object marker, third person feminine singular
Root: אֹות 
Sense: sign of the definite direct object, not translated in English but generally preceding and indicating the accusative.
אֶתֶּן־  I  will  give 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Imperfect, first person common singular
Root: יָתַן 
Sense: to give, put, set.
לְךָ֣  to  you 
Parse: Preposition, second person masculine singular
לְאִשָּׁ֔ה  as  a  wife 
Parse: Preposition-l, Noun, feminine singular
Root: אִשָּׁה  
Sense: woman, wife, female.
אַ֚ךְ  only 
Parse: Adverb
Root: אַךְ  
Sense: indeed, surely (emphatic).
לִּ֣י  for  me 
Parse: Preposition, first person common singular
לְבֶן־  man 
Parse: Preposition-l, Noun, masculine singular construct
Root: בֵּן 
Sense: son, grandson, child, member of a group.
חַ֔יִל  valiant 
Parse: Noun, masculine singular
Root: חַיִל 
Sense: strength, might, efficiency, wealth, army.
וְהִלָּחֵ֖ם  and  fight 
Parse: Conjunctive waw, Verb, Nifal, Imperative, masculine singular
Root: לָחַם 
Sense: to fight, do battle, make war.
מִלְחֲמ֣וֹת  battles 
Parse: Noun, feminine plural construct
Root: מִלְחָמָה  
Sense: battle, war.
יְהוָ֑ה  Of  Yahweh 
Parse: Proper Noun, masculine singular
Root: יהוה 
Sense: the proper name of the one true God.
וְשָׁא֣וּל  for  Saul 
Parse: Conjunctive waw, Proper Noun, masculine singular
Root: שָׁאוּל  
Sense: a Benjamite, son of Kish, and the st king of Israel.
אָמַ֗ר  thought 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Perfect, third person masculine singular
Root: אָמַר 
Sense: to say, speak, utter.
תְּהִ֤י  let  be 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Imperfect Jussive, third person feminine singular
Root: אֶהְיֶה 
Sense: to be, become, come to pass, exist, happen, fall out.
יָדִי֙  my  hand 
Parse: Noun, feminine singular construct, first person common singular
Root: יָד  
Sense: hand.
בּ֔וֹ  against  him 
Parse: Preposition, third person masculine singular
וּתְהִי־  but  let  be 
Parse: Conjunctive waw, Verb, Qal, Conjunctive imperfect Jussive, third person feminine singular
Root: אֶהְיֶה 
Sense: to be, become, come to pass, exist, happen, fall out.
ב֖וֹ  against  him 
Parse: Preposition, third person masculine singular
יַד־  the  hand 
Parse: Noun, feminine singular construct
Root: יָד  
Sense: hand.
פְּלִשְׁתִּֽים  of  the  Philistines 
Parse: Proper Noun, masculine plural
Root: פְּלִשְׁתִּי  
Sense: an inhabitant of Philistia; descendants of Mizraim who immigrated from Caphtor (Crete?) to the western seacoast of Canaan.
ס  - 
Parse: Punctuation