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The move to Philistia (26:1-27:12)
Although he had every intention of killing Nabal, David still refused to harm Saul; but Saul remained determined to harm David (26:1-5). When another opportunity arose to kill Saul, David refused to act. He was content to leave the matter with God, who would remove Saul when he saw fit (6-12).
Once again David produced proof that he had no evil intentions towards Saul (13-17). But clearly David was becoming tired of this continual flight from the mad king. Not only was it wearying, but it was driving him from God through cutting him off from the public worship places of his people (18-20). Saul confessed his wrongdoing and promised not to harm David, but David still thought it wise to remain in the south and keep away from Saul (21-25).
Worse was to follow when David left his own territory for the safety of enemy Philistia. This time Achish, the Philistine ruler, welcomed him, because he now knew that David was Saul’s enemy and not one of his army commanders. (For David’s previous meeting with Achish see 21:10-15.) Also, David’s army, strengthened by the addition of a number of Benjaminites skilled in long-range warfare (1 Chronicles 12:1-7), would be useful to the Philistines. Wisely, David obtained a separate town, Ziklag, for his people. This enabled him to avoid trouble with the Philistines and to hold his followers together. He stayed there sixteen months (27:1-7).
This was not a time of great spiritual profit for David. His previous experiences, when he was hunted by Saul in the Judean wilderness, spiritually enriched him and produced many of his psalms. By contrast, his time in Philistia was often characterized by shameful behaviour and, so far as we know, produced no psalms.
David pleased Achish and enriched his people by carrying out successful raids that Achish thought were against the Israelites or peoples friendly to the Israelites. But David lied to Achish, for the raids were against other peoples, usually those hostile to the Israelites. To his shame David directed his men to slaughter all the inhabitants of the towns he raided. In this way he made sure that no one was left to tell Achish the true story about which people David had plundered (8-12).
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Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 27". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Sunday after Epiphany