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Bible Commentaries
1 Samuel 27

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

Verse 1

And David said in his heart, I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul: there is nothing better for me than that I should speedily escape into the land of the Philistines; and Saul shall despair of me, to seek me any more in any coast of Israel: so shall I escape out of his hand.

There is nothing better for me than that I should speedily escape into the land of the Philistines. This resolution of David's was in every respect wrong-1. Because it was removing from the place where the divine oracle intimated to him to remain (1 Samuel 22:5); 2. It was rushing into the idolatrous land, for driving him into which he had denounced an imprecation on his enemies (1 Samuel 26:19); and it was a withdrawal of his counsel and aid from God's people. It was a movement, however, overruled by Providence to detach him from his country, and to let the disasters impending over Saul and his followers be brought on by the Philistines.

Verse 2

And David arose, and he passed over with the six hundred men that were with him unto Achish, the son of Maoch, king of Gath.

Achish, the son of Maoch, king of Gath. The particular description of this king's family creates a presumption that he was a different king from the reigning sovereign on David's first visit to Gath. Whether David had received a special invitation from him, or a mere permission to enter his territories, cannot be determined. It is probable that the former was the case; as, from the universal notoriety given to the feud between Saul and David, which had now become irreconcileable, it might appear to Achish good policy to harbour him as a guest, and so the better pave the way for the hostile measures against Israel which the Philistines were at this time meditating.

Verse 3

And David dwelt with Achish at Gath, he and his men, every man with his household, even David with his two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the Carmelitess, Nabal's wife.

David dwelt ... he and his men. He was now in very different circumstances from those of his first arrival in the Philistine country. Then he was a lonely fugitive; now he had the prestige of a great name, and was the head of an organized band, all the soldiers of which, as well as their leader, transported their families along with them. In numbers they were sufficient to form a little colony.

Verse 4

And it was told Saul that David was fled to Gath: and he sought no more again for him.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 5

And David said unto Achish, If I have now found grace in thine eyes, let them give me a place in some town in the country, that I may dwell there: for why should thy servant dwell in the royal city with thee?

Let them give me a place in some town in the country. It was a prudent arrangement on the part of David: for it would prevent him being an object of jealous suspicion or of mischievous plots among the Philistines. It would place his followers more beyond the risk of contamination by the idolatries of the court and capital; and it would give him an opportunity of making reprisals on the freebooting tribes that infested the common border of Israel and the Philistines.

Verse 6

Then Achish gave him Ziklag that day: wherefore Ziklag pertaineth unto the kings of Judah unto this day.

Ziklag. Though originally assigned to Judah (Joshua 15:31), and subsequently to Simeon (Joshua 19:5: cf. 1 Chronicles 4:30), this town had never been possessed by the Israelites. It belonged to the Philistines, who gave it to David. It remained ever after a private possession of the kings of Judah. Ziklag was a border fortress. 'From its neighbourhood (Joshua 19:5) to Beth-marcaboth (the house of chariots) and Hazar-susah (the village of horses), it appears to have been a kind of fortress for protection from the Bedouin marauders of the caravans, such as Nukhl and Akabah, on the Haj route at the present day' (Drew's 'Scripture Lands,' p. 124).

Verse 7

And the time that David dwelt in the country of the Philistines was a full year and four months.

And the time that David dwelt in the country of the Philistines, [ sadeh (H7704)] - field of the Philistines, so called from its beauty and productiveness (cf. Judges 15:5: see Robinson's 'Biblical Researches,'

i., p. 291).

Was a full year and four months. [The Septuagint has tessaras meenas, four months; but see the note at 1 Samuel 29:3, Septuagint.] Josephus ('Antiquities,' b. 6:, ch. 13:, sec. 10) states it to have been four months and twenty days.

Verse 8

And David and his men went up, and invaded the Geshurites, and the Gezrites, and the Amalekites: for those nations were of old the inhabitants of the land, as thou goest to Shur, even unto the land of Egypt.

David ... went up, and invaded the Geshurites (see Joshua 13:2 ), and the Gezerites - or the Gerizi (Gesenius: Joshua 12:12), some Arab horde which had once encamped there.

And the Amalekites. Part of the district occupied by them lay on the south of the land of Israel (Judges 5:14; Judges 12:15); but after the overthrow of their national strength by Saul (1 Samuel 15:1-35) they dispersed and became a horde of desert marauders.

As thou goest to Shur, [Septuagint, Gelampsour] - (see the note at Genesis 13:10; Genesis 16:7; Genesis 20:1; Genesis 25:18.)

Verse 9

And David smote the land, and left neither man nor woman alive, and took away the sheep, and the oxen, and the asses, and the camels, and the apparel, and returned, and came to Achish.

David smote the land, and left neither man nor woman alive. 'Occupying the high plateau (er-Kakhmah) which overhangs the Philistine plain to the west, and Wady Murreh to the south; while the mention of oxen among the spoil shows that the predatory hordes that David chastised on this occasion must have penetrated far into the interior; because south and east of the Judean mountains the country is not adapted to the sustenance of cattle' ('Negeb,' p. 206: cf. Drew's 'Scripture Lands', p. 6; Stewart's 'Tent and Khan,' p. 222; Wilson's 'Lands of the Bible,' 1:, pp. 346, 347).

Verse 10

And Achish said, Whither have ye made a road to day? And David said, Against the south of Judah, and against the south of the Jerahmeelites, and against the south of the Kenites.

Achish said, Whither have ye made a road today? [ 'ee (H335) pªshaTtem (H6584)] - Whither have you spread yourselves out today? Against whom have you made a hostile raid today?

David said, Against the south of Judah (i:e., Negeb of Judah),

And against the south of the Jerahmeelites. Jerahmeel was the great-grandson of Judah, and his posterity occupied the southern portion of that tribal domain. 'The Negeb of the Jerahmeelites' answered to that of the Sa'idiyeh, which extends southwestwards until it meets the Negeb of the Cherethites, or Philistines, near Wady er-Ruheibeh.'

And against the south of the Kenites - the possession of Jethro, who occupied a portion in the Negeb of Judah, the smallest of the three districts into which that region was divided, and comprised the region immediately adjacent to 'Arad. 'It now answers to the country of the Dhullam Arabs, including the southern extremity of the Jehalin territory' (Wilton's 'Negeb,' pp. 22-24). It will be observed that, in his reply to Achish, David misleads the king as to the scene of his adventure, and names a different set of people from those whom he had actually attacked. [The Septuagint has for Jerahmeelites, Iesmega, and for Kenites, Kenezi.]

Verse 11

And David saved neither man nor woman alive, to bring tidings to Gath, saying, Lest they should tell on us, saying, So did David, and so will be his manner all the while he dwelleth in the country of the Philistines.

David saved neither man nor woman alive, [the Septuagint has correctly rendered this clause, kai ouk ezooogonei andra ee gunaika],

To bring tidings to Gath, saying. [The Septuagint represents this as a part of David's answer to Achish, kai andra kai gunaika ouk exooogoneesa tou eisagagein eis Geth, and I have not saved man or wench alive, saying, etc.] But Josephus ('Antiquities,' b. 6:, ch. 13:, sec. 10), in his concern for the reputation of David, glosses over the cruel massacre, and merely says, as if nothing more had been done than carrying off booty, 'he took much prey of their beasts and camels, and then returned home; but David abstained from the men, as fearing they should discover him to king Achish.'

Verse 12

And Achish believed David, saying, He hath made his people Israel utterly to abhor him; therefore he shall be my servant for ever.

Achish believed David. Achish was deceived by the tale, and considered that, as so great an outrage upon his countrymen would alienate all Israel from David, he might now employ him as a useful auxiliary in the expeditionary enterprise he had been meditating against the kingdom of Saul. The gross deception practiced upon his royal host, and the indiscriminate slaughter which David had committed, lest any one should escape to tell the real truth, exhibit an unfavourable view of his integrity and uprightness at this period.

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 27". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/1-samuel-27.html. 1871-8.
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