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Bible Commentaries
1 Samuel 19

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - UnabridgedCommentary Critical Unabridged

Verse 1

And Saul spake to Jonathan his son, and to all his servants, that they should kill David.

Saul spake to Jonathan his son and to all his servants that they should kill David The murderous Saul spake to Jonathan his son, and to all his servants, that they should kill David. The murderous design he had secretly cherished he now reveals to a few of his intimate friends. Jonathan was among the number. He prudently said nothing at the time, but secretly apprised David of his danger, and waiting until the morning, when his father's excited temper would be cooled, stationed his friend in a place of concealment, where, overhearing the conversation, he might learn how matters really stood, and take immediate flight, if necessary.

Verses 2-3

But Jonathan Saul's son delighted much in David: and Jonathan told David, saying, Saul my father seeketh to kill thee: now therefore, I pray thee, take heed to thyself until the morning, and abide in a secret place, and hide thyself:

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 4

And Jonathan spake good of David unto Saul his father, and said unto him, Let not the king sin against his servant, against David; because he hath not sinned against thee, and because his works have been to thee-ward very good:

Jonathan spake good of David. He told his father he was committing a great sin to plot against the life of a man who had rendered the most invaluable services to his country, and whose loyalty had been uniformly steady and devoted. The strong remonstrances of Jonathan produced an effect on the impulsive mind of his father. Since he was still susceptible of good and honest impressions, he bound himself by an oath to relinquish his hostile purpose, and thus, through the intervention of the noble-minded prince, a temporary reconciliation was effected, in consequence of which David was again employed in the public service.

Verses 5-7

For he did put his life in his hand, and slew the Philistine, and the LORD wrought a great salvation for all Israel: thou sawest it, and didst rejoice: wherefore then wilt thou sin against innocent blood, to slay David without a cause? No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 8

And there was war again: and David went out, and fought with the Philistines, and slew them with a great slaughter; and they fled from him.

David went out and fought with the Philistines. A brilliant victory was gained over the public enemy. But these fresh laurels of David re-awakened in the moody breast of Saul the former spirit of envy and melancholy. On David's return to court, the temper of Saul became more fiendish than ever-the melodious strains of the harp had lost all their power to charm; and, in a paroxysm of uncontrolable frenzy, he aimed a javelin at the person of David, the missile having been thrown with such force that it pierced the chamber wall. David providentially escaped; but the king having now thrown off the mask, and being bent on aggressive measures, made his son-in-law's situation everywhere perilous.

Verses 9-10

And the evil spirit from the LORD was upon Saul, as he sat in his house with his javelin in his hand: and David played with his hand.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 11

Saul also sent messengers unto David's house, to watch him, and to slay him in the morning: and Michal David's wife told him, saying, If thou save not thy life to night, to morrow thou shalt be slain.

Saul also sent messengers unto David's house. The fear of causing a commotion in the town (namely, Gibeah, which was then the capital), or favouring his escape in the darkness, seemed to have influenced the king in ordering them to patrol until the morning. They betrayed their presence and hostile intentions of seizing David as he went out, by loud cries and execrations against the young champion, who had been so recently the idol of public admiration, more like savage dogs than officers of a court, as is most graphically recorded in Psalms 59:1-17, which, as the title in the Hebrew, Septuagint, and Vulgate indicates, was written on that occasion (see Psalms 59:3; Psalms 59:6-7; Psalms 59:12). This infatuation of the king's messengers was overruled by Providence to favour David's escape; because his wife, secretly apprised by Jonathan, who was privy to the design, or spying persons in court livery watching the gate, perceived their purpose to be the clandestine seizure of David's person, and she contrived to let him down through a window (see the note at Joshua 2:15; also Psalms 18:29).

Verse 12

So Michal let David down through a window: and he went, and fled, and escaped.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 13

And Michal took an image, and laid it in the bed, and put a pillow of goats' hair for his bolster, and covered it with a cloth.

Michael took an image, [ hatªraapiym (H8655), the teraphim (see the note at Genesis 31:34); Septuagint, Ta kenotafia],

And laid it in the bed - `the teraphim,' of the figure and size of the human form, used for superstitious purposes by the Israelites in the times of the judges and of Saul (Judges 17:5), until the practice was suppressed by Josiah (2 Kings 23:24). They. were considered the givers and guardians of life and property, or consulted as oracles (Zechariah 10:2; Hosea 3:4). The pretext was that David lay there sick. The first messengers of Saul, keeping at a respectful distance, were deceived; but the imposition was detected on a closer inspection.

And put a pillow or goats' hair, [ kªbiyr (H3523) haa`iziym (H5795). This word kªbiyr is defined (Gesenius, 'Lexicon') as 'something braided or plaited,' from the root kaabar (H3527), to plait; whence also kªbodaah, a sieve; and mikbaar, network]. Accordingly, Dr. Shaw, Parkhurst, Harmer, and Dr. A. Clarke, long before Ewald ('Gesch.,' 3:101), considered it the mosquito net, drawn over an Eastern bed as a defense from the gnats. It is a curtain made of gauze, or fine linen, or, silk thread, but anciently, as it seems, of goats' hair. Michael drew this, if it was used so early as the time of Saul, over the head of the image, as if to protect the sleeper from the stings of the flies, and at the same time covered the rest of the figure [ babaaged (H899)] with the coverlet. [The Septuagint, having probably read kibar, liver, instead of kªbiyr (H3523), network, renders this clause kai eepar toon aigoon etheto pros kefalees autou, and she put the goats' liver at his head] (cf. Josephus, 'Antiquities,' b. 6:, ch. 11:, sec. 4, where it is said, 'she showed the messengers the bed covered, and made them believe, by the leaping of the liver, which caused the bed-clothes to move also, that David breathed like a person labouring under asthma').

Verse 14

And when Saul sent messengers to take David, she said, He is sick.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 15

And Saul sent the messengers again to see David, saying, Bring him up to me in the bed, that I may slay him.

Bring him up to me in the bed - a portable couch, or mattress.

Verses 16-17

And when the messengers were come in, behold, there was an image in the bed, with a pillow of goats' hair for his bolster.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 18

So David fled, and escaped, and came to Samuel to Ramah, and told him all that Saul had done to him. And he and Samuel went and dwelt in Naioth.

David fled ... and came ... to Ramah. Samuel was living in great retirement, superintending the school of the prophets established in the little hamlet of Naioth [i:e., habitations; a small cluster of dwellings reared for the seminary or college. The Septuagint has Nauath, as if this were the proper name of the place] in the neighbourhood of Ramah (Ramathaim-zophim) [Septuagint, Armathaim. This version supplies en Rama after "Naioth," at the end of 1 Samuel 19:18.] It was a retreat congenial to the mind of David; but Saul, having found out his asylum, sent three successive bodies of men to apprehend him. The character of the place and the influence of the sacred exercises produced such an effect on them that they were incapable of discharging their commission, and were led by a resistless impulse to join in singing the praises of God (see the note at 1 Samuel 10:5).

Verses 19-21

And it was told Saul, saying, Behold, David is at Naioth in Ramah.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 22

Then went he also to Ramah, and came to a great well that is in Sechu: and he asked and said, Where are Samuel and David? And one said, Behold, they be at Naioth in Ramah.

Then went be also to Ramah, and came to a great well that is in Sechu, [ bowr (H953) ... ba-Sekuw (H7906)] - a cistern or reservoir, a pit. The Hebrew word, signifying watch-tower, denotes an elevated region in the Benjamin territory. Van de Velde ('Syria and Palestine,' 2:, p. 53) hints at a village called Shuk; and Dr. Robinson ('Biblical Researches,' 2:, p. 185) saw, a quarter of an hour east-northeast of Shuk, an old stone water-tank on a bill called Bir es-Zafaraneh. But Van de Velde thinks this rather too far to the northeast of er-Rameh, and takes the large well mentioned in this verse to be Ain ed-Dirweh. Bonar ('Land of Promise,'

p. 342) places Sechu at ez-Zeeweikeh, within a mile of el-Bireh (the well), in the environs of Jerusalem. Porter ('Handbook of Syria and Palestine') ranks it in his index of places not identified. [The Septuagint renders the clause, erchetai heoos tou freatos tou haloo tou en too Sefi] Saul, in a fit of rage and disappointment, determined to go himself. But, before reaching the spot, his mental susceptibilities were roused even more than those of his messengers, and he was found ere long swelling the ranks of the young prophets. This singular change can be ascribed only to the power of Him who can turn the hearts of men even as the rivers of water.

Verse 23

And he went thither to Naioth in Ramah: and the Spirit of God was upon him also, and he went on, and prophesied, until he came to Naioth in Ramah. No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 24

And he stripped off his clothes also, and prophesied before Samuel in like manner, and lay down naked all that day and all that night. Wherefore they say, Is Saul also among the prophets?

Lay down naked - i:e., divested of his armour and outer robes, as the prophets seem to have stripped themselves of their upper clothing in seasons of extraordinary devotion (cf. Isaiah 1:3; Isaiah 20:2-3; Amos 2:16; Micah 1:8: also John 21:7; Josephus, 'Antiquities,' b. 4:, ch. 3:, sec. 2; b. 8:, ch. 14:, sec. 7; also b. 11:, ch. 5: sec.

8). Thus God, in making the wrath of man to praise Him, preserved the lives of all the prophets, frustrated all the purposes of Saul, and preserved the life of His servant.

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 19". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/1-samuel-19.html. 1871-8.
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