2 Samuel 23:11
23:11 Next in command14 was Shammah son of Agee the Hararite. When the Philistines assembled at Lehi,15 where there happened to be an area of a field that was full of lentils, the army retreated before the Philistines.
tn Heb “after him.”
tn The Hebrew text is difficult here. The MT reads לַחַיָּה (lachayyah), which implies a rare use of the word חַיָּה (chayyah). The word normally refers to an animal, but if the MT is accepted it would here have the sense of a troop or community of people. BDB 312 s.v. II. חַיָּה, for example, understands the similar reference in v. 13 to be to “a group of allied families, making a raid together.” But this works better in v. 13 than it does in v. 11, where the context seems to suggest a particular staging location for a military operation. (See 1 Chr 11:15.) It therefore seems best to understand the word in v. 11 as a place name with ה (he) directive. In that case the Masoretes mistook the word for the common term for an animal and then tried to make sense of it in this context.