And the watchmen of Saul in Gibeah of Benjamin looked and saw the multitude melt away, going back and forth. Bible other translations

“Gibeah of Benjamin.” Situated on a high point, the watchmen in Gibeah could see Michmash and the Philistines running away.

“multitude.” The Hebrew word translated “multitude” is hamon (#01995 הָמוֹן, sometimes spelled הָמֹן cp. Ezek. 5:7(, and it can refer to a crowd or abundance as it does in 1 Samuel 14:16, or what happens in a crowd such as tumult, confusion, or it can refer to a sound made from a crowd, an uproar, sound, or murmur, as it does three verses later in 1 Samuel 14:19, where many versions translate it “uproar,” “tumult,” or “noise.”

Just like in other languages, Hebrew words often have several meanings, so although when a word appears more than once in a context it usually has the same meaning, it is not uncommon that the meaning would be different. There are many other examples: “regret” and “repent” (see commentary on 1 Sam. 15:11).

“going back and forth.” The Philistines were so confused and panicked that they ran back and forth, not sure of which way to go.

Commentary for: 1 Samuel 14:16