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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

1 Samuel 29

Verse 1

Now the Philistines gathered together all their armies to Aphek: and the Israelites pitched by a fountain which is in Jezreel.

Aphek (Joshua 12:8) - in the tribe of Issachar, and in the plain of Esdraelon. A person who compares the Bible account of Saul's last battle with the Philistines with the region around Gilboa, has the same sort of evidence that the account relates what is true, that a person would have that such a battle as Waterloo really took place. Gilboa, Jezreel, Shunem, En-dor, are all found still bearing the same name. They lie within sight of each other. Aphek is the only one of the cluster not yet identified. Jezreel is on the northern slope of Gilboa; and at the distance of twenty minutes to the east is a large fountain, and a smaller one still nearer-just the position which a chieftain would select, both on account of its elevation and the supply of water needed for his troops (Hackett's 'Scripture Illustrations').

Verse 2

And the lords of the Philistines passed on by hundreds, and by thousands: but David and his men passed on in the rereward with Achish.

David and his men passed on in the rereward with Achish - as the commander of the life-guards of Achish, who was general of this invading army of the Philistines.

Verse 3

Then said the princes of the Philistines, What do these Hebrews here? And Achish said unto the princes of the Philistines, Is not this David, the servant of Saul the king of Israel, which hath been with me these days, or these years, and I have found no fault in him since he fell unto me unto this day?

These days, or these years. He had now been a full year and four months (1 Samuel 27:7), and also some years before. It has been thought that David kept up a private correspondence with this Philistine prince, either on account of his native generosity or in the anticipation that an asylum in his territories would sooner or later be needed.

Verse 4

And the princes of the Philistines were wroth with him; and the princes of the Philistines said unto him, Make this fellow return, that he may go again to his place which thou hast appointed him, and let him not go down with us to battle, lest in the battle he be an adversary to us: for wherewith should he reconcile himself unto his master? should it not be with the heads of these men?

The princes of the Philistines were wroth with him. It must be considered a happy circumstance in the overruling providence of God to rescue David out of the dangerous dilemma in which he was now placed. But David is not free from censure in his professions to Achish (1 Samuel 29:8) to do what is most probable he had not the smallest purpose of doing-of fighting with Achish against his enemies. It is just an instance of the unhappy consequences into which a false step-a departure from the straight course of duty-will betray everyone who commits it.

Verse 5

Is not this David, of whom they sang one to another in dances, saying, Saul slew his thousands, and David his ten thousands?

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 6

Then Achish called David, and said unto him, Surely, as the LORD liveth, thou hast been upright, and thy going out and thy coming in with me in the host is good in my sight: for I have not found evil in thee since the day of thy coming unto me unto this day: nevertheless the lords favour thee not.

Achish called David, and said unto him, Surely, as the Lord liveth - (cf. 1 Samuel 29:9, "as an angel of God.") Were these phrases actually used by Achish, or are they to be considered as translations from the Philistine dialect? These questions are more easily asked than answered. It has been suggested that Achish might, in speaking to David, use the former, just as many an Englishman has, in imitation of the French, interlarded his conversation with the interjection of 'mon Dieu.'

Verses 7-8

Wherefore now return, and go in peace, that thou displease not the lords of the Philistines.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 9

And Achish answered and said to David, I know that thou art good in my sight, as an angel of God: notwithstanding the princes of the Philistines have said, He shall not go up with us to the battle.

Achish answered ... I know that thou art good in my sight, as an angel of God. This phrase, which occurs several times in the books of Samuel (2 Samuel 14:17; 2 Samuel 14:20; 2 Samuel 19:27), seems apparently common among the Hebrews as a standard of comparison in the estimate of great wisdom; but it seems strange in the mouth of Achish. Perhaps it arose from the contact of the early Philistines with Abraham and Isaac.

Notwithstanding, the princes of the Philistines have said. The Philistine government had constitutional checks, or at least the king was not an absolute sovereign, but his authority was limited, his proceedings liable to be controlled by 'the powerful barons of that rude and early period-much as the kings of Europe in the middle ages were, by the proud, and lawless aristocracy which surrounded them' (Chalmers).

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 29". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/1-samuel-29.html. 1871-8.