What Does David Mean by “I am Weak”?

In 2 Samuel 3, in the story of Joab killing Abner, the narrator makes a point of relating that David was not involved with this assassination. David further exculpates himself saying:

  • 3:39 “And today I am weak, even though  anointed king; those men, the sons of Zeruiah, are too savage for me.” (JPS classic 1917 translation). The Hebrew word in this verse for “weak” is רך.

In our study session on October 17, we pondered over what David was saying about himself.

  • As an adjective, according to the classic Hebrew dictionary by Brown-Driver-Briggs, the word means tender, delicate, soft. In some usages it may imply “weakness of undeveloped character,” or “of tender age” or “delicately nurtured.” Also in some contexts “weak of heart.”

It’s interesting that רך is used also in Gen 29:1

  • “Leah had weak eyes; Rachel was shapely and beautiful.” BDB defines רך here as “delicate, weak.”

As a noun, BDB translates רך as “tenderness, delicacy.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *