Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
When they were given the Ark back, they accepted him as their king and went out with him to fight. (And when Saul set out) went forth (with the army) through a wasteland and became very thirsty, they asked him to provide them with water, (he) i.e. Saul (said: Lo! Allah will try you by a river) Allah will test you by a flowing river. (Whosoever therefore drinketh thereof) from the river (he is not of me) he is not going to be with me in the fight against my enemy and will not go further, (and whoever tasteth it not he is of me) against my enemy, but then he made an exception, (save him who taketh (thereof) in the hollow of his hand) and this was enough for them, their beasts and transportation. (But they drank thereof) when they reached the river however they drank as much as they wanted to, (all save a few of them) 313 men who did not drink except as they had been directed. (And after he had crossed) the river, (he) i.e. Saul (and those who believed with him, they said) to each other: (We have no power this day against Goliath and his hosts. But those who knew) and were convinced (that they would meet Allah) in person after they died (exclaimed: How many a little company) of believers (hath overcome a mighty host) of unbelievers (by Allah's leave!) by the help of Allah. (And Allah is with the steadfast) He assists the steadfast in war by giving them victory.
Tafsir Ibn 'Abbas, trans. Mokrane Guezzou
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