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When David had crossed a little beyond the summit, behold, Ziba the servant of Mephibosheth met him with a team of loaded-up donkeys, and on them were 200 loaves of bread and 100 clusters of raisins and 100 summer fruits, and a skin-bottle of wine. Bible

“had crossed a little beyond the summit.” That is, a little beyond the summit of the Mount of Olives on his way east.

“loaded.” The Hebrew word means “bound up; tied up, or tied on.” The word does not mean “saddle,” and there were no saddles at this time in history; any “saddle” was simply a blanket that was tied on. They were a couple of donkeys that were bound up, and tied on them was all the food and wine, and once that was unloaded the donkeys had blankets on them which were tied on them.

“200 loaves of bread.” In the biblical culture, a “loaf” of bread was flat bread much like a modern pancake, but the Hebrew text simply says, “200 bread,” where “bread” is a collective plural.

“100 summer fruits. The Hebrew omits the word “fruit” and just has “100 summer,” so the text does not tell us what Ziba brought other than that it grew in the summer, but the text does not tell us if the summer produce was fresh or, like the raisins, was dried. If it was dried, then what Ziba likely brought was 100 cakes of pressed fruit.

“skin-bottle.” A “bottle” or container made from animal skin. Ziba had enough food for quite a few people, and the skin-bottle could have been quite large in keeping with the rest of the food. [For more on skin-bottles, which were usually made from the skins of goats, see commentary on 1 Sam. 10:3].


Commentary for: 2 Samuel 16:1