After reading those verses from 1 sam 20:1-30, it seems like Saul is actually Screaming: You "SON of a *****?"?... but the Bible writers or translators seems to polish that verse with seemingly "Polite" words... by saying things like son of a rebellious woman etc...

  • There is a site for these type of questions: hermeneutics.stackexchange.com Mar 27, 2015 at 16:29
  • 2
    After rereading this, I -1 because I feel that the question is more rhetorical in nature. You can read the various translations and see how the translators / transliterators(?) attempted to express the passage in the same meaning as it meant to a first century Jew using more modern vocabulary. You suggest that he is saying, "son of a bitch" however consider this: in a thousand years people will be asking, "what does it mean to be a son of female dog?" Mar 27, 2015 at 16:33
  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's about confirming a speculation about the meaning of an OT passage. Biblical Hermeneutics might be better.
    – curiousdannii
    Mar 27, 2015 at 22:01

2 Answers 2


According to BibleHub.com's "Hebrew Text Analysis Page", the Hebrew text is


and a literal translation is something along the lines of

son of the perverse rebellious [woman]

Thus it appears that this is what Saul in fact did say, although he may have meant, as the New Living Translation has it,

You son of a whore!

or as the New English Translation (NET Bible) says,

You stupid traitor!

The Douay-Rheims Bible seems to be getting at the same thing the NLT wants to say, though in 16th-century language:

Thou son of a woman that is the ravisher of a man!

But though Saul may have meant this, there's no indication that he actually said it.

  • I'm not sure how to take "said to [Jonathan]" other than having it said by Saul. Apr 1, 2015 at 3:42
  • @user2864740 in other words, Saul may have meant to imply that Jonathan was a "son of a bitch" or "of a whore", but he doesn't seem to have actually said that and had it "polished up" by translators. Apr 1, 2015 at 10:19
  • Well for that matter, what kind of impact would calling your mother a "perverse rebellious woman" have? Would it be the same as calling her "whore"? Apr 1, 2015 at 15:00

Not all translations 'polished' 1 sam 20:1-30; These are them:

1.New Living Translation:

Saul boiled with rage at Jonathan. "You stupid son of a whore!" he swore at him. "Do you think I don't know that you want him to be king in your place, shaming yourself and your mother?

2.NET Bible:

Saul became angry with Jonathan and said to him, "You stupid traitor! Don't I realize that to your own disgrace and to the disgrace of your mother's nakedness you have chosen this son of Jesse?

3.Douay-Rheims Bible:

Then Saul being angry against Jonathan said to him: Thou son of a woman that is the ravisher of a man, do I not know that thou lovest the son of Isai to thy own confusion and to the confusion of thy shameless mother?

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