A military attendant who carried the armor and weapons of a king or other leader, stood by him in danger, and did his bidding. “Armor-bearer” translates the Hebrew expression no·seʼʹ ke·limʹ, literally meaning “one carrying armor or weapons.” (1Sa 14:6; compare 1Sa 14:1.) Foes wounded by a prominent warrior might be given the final deathblow by his armor-bearer. (1Sa 14:13) These attendants were selected from among valiant soldiers, and some were evidently very devoted to their commanders.—1Sa 14:6, 7; 31:5.
Mortally wounded Abimelech had the attendant bearing his weapons put him to death so that it might not be said, “It was a woman that killed him.” (Jg 9:52-54) David once served as King Saul’s armor-bearer (1Sa 16:21); while a later armor-bearer, who refused to put the dying ruler to death, followed Saul in the course of suicide. (1Sa 31:3-6) Armor-bearers also attended Jonathan and Joab (1Sa 14:6-14; 2Sa 18:15; 23:37; 1Ch 11:39) and chief warriors of various ancient nations, such as the Philistine giant Goliath.—1Sa 17:7, 41.