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Bible Commentaries
1 Samuel 22

Trapp's Complete CommentaryTrapp's Commentary

Verse 1

David therefore departed thence, and escaped to the cave Adullam: and when his brethren and all his father’s house heard [it], they went down thither to him.

David therefore departed thence. — Full glad he was so fairly delivered; and got to a place where he might, to the glory of God, his Sospitator, compose that most elegant and excellent thirty-fourth Psalm.

And escaped to the cave of Adullam. — Which was in the tribe of Judah, saith Lyra: In trib. Jud., Num 201. In this country dwelt that hangby Hiram, Judah’s friend, or rather broker. - Gen. xxxviii. a place fortified by nature, saith Adrichomius, insomuch as that the Christians do there still shelter and secure themselves, - namely, from the force and spoil of the Turks that come to plunder and rob them.

And when his brethren, … — Who had, it is likely, suffered for his sake, by Saul’s cruelty. Christ’s friends shall be sure to be hated of all men, Matthew 10:22 John 15:19-21 and to suffer many things for the name of Jesus: they must be conformed unto him in sufferings, that he may be the firstborn among many brethren. Romans 8:29

They went down thither to him. — For mutual comfort, as Romans 1:11-12 .

Verse 2

And every one [that was] in distress, and every one that [was] in debt, and every one [that was] discontented, gathered themselves unto him; and he became a captain over them: and there were with him about four hundred men.

And every one that was in distress. — Herein David became a type of Christ, the Captain of our salvation, who cried, "Come unto me, all ye that are weary," and who are sensible that ye have Suffered more under Satan’s tyranny, than these had under Saul’s: and yet in his time, as afterwards in Tiberius’s, there was crimen ex silentio, ex voce, Tacit. danger either to speak, or to hold one’s peace, to have done anything, or nothing.

And every one that was in debt. — Heb., That had a creditor or an oppressor, extortioner, usurer, who cruelly handled him.

And every one that was discontented. — Heb., Bitter of soul. Not such ruffians and rakehells as Abimelech, Judges 9:4 and of later time Mohammed, that grand impostor, got together to spoil and do mischief; but these came to David upon a better principle, and for a better purpose, viz., for his and their own just and necessary defence: and for their carriage, see what a testimony Nabal’s servants gave them, though that brute their master had basely reviled them. 1 Samuel 25:15 In the Gospel we read that our Saviour received him that had been born blind, and was now cast out. John 9:35 And in the civil law we find provision made for such as were cast out and exposed to the wide world; some hospitals to entertain them, some liberties to comfort and compensate their troubles.

Verse 3

And David went thence to Mizpeh of Moab: and he said unto the king of Moab, Let my father and my mother, I pray thee, come forth, [and be] with you, till I know what God will do for me.

To Mizpeh of Moab. — Called also Malle, /APC 1 Maccabees 5:26 as Junius after Josephus thinketh - that is, a fort.

And he said unto the king of Moab. — Who might therefore favour him, because Saul, their common enemy, hated and persecuted him: like as Queen Elizabeth respected and aided the king of Portugal, cast out by the Spaniard.

Let my father and my mother, I pray thee. — This care of his for his aged parents’ ease and safety was very commendable, and worthy of imitation. He might haply plead that his father’s grandmother, Ruth, was a Moabitess.

Verse 4

And he brought them before the king of Moab: and they dwelt with him all the while that David was in the hold.

And he brought them before the king of Moab. — To whom Jesse, a grave godly man, might haply be as useful and as dear as Solon was to Croesus, or Croesus afterwards to King Cyrus; by whose good counsel he was more enriched and benefited than by all his wealth.

That David was in the hold. — In the cave of Adullam, or, as others think, in Mizpeh of Moab. See 1 Samuel 22:3 .

Verse 5

And the prophet Gad said unto David, Abide not in the hold; depart, and get thee into the land of Judah. Then David departed, and came into the forest of Hareth.

And the prophet Gad said unto David. — It was no small comfort to distressed David to have about him a prophet, called elsewhere David’s seer, 1 Chronicles 21:9 and afterwards also the high priest with the ephod, by whom he might and did inquire of God upon all occasions. 1 Samuel 23:2 ; 1 Samuel 23:4

Depart, and get thee into the land of Judah. — Where thou mayest be in action, and do some good to thy country. God is a pure act, and he willeth that all his should be active, "and run with patience the race that is set before them." Hebrews 12:2

Verse 6

When Saul heard that David was discovered, and the men that [were] with him, (now Saul abode in Gibeah under a tree in Ramah, having his spear in his hand, and all his servants [were] standing about him;)

When Saul heard that David was discovered, and the men that were with him. — This vexed him at the heart, and rendered all his felicities miserable. Philip Comineus saith that if he should write of all the princes of his time, that in the judgment of men seemed to live in great felicity, and yet to those that knew them familiarly, lived in a miserable estate, that matter alone would require a reasonable volume.

Miser atque infelix eat etiam rex,

Nec quenquam (mihi crede) facit diadema beatum. ”

Under a tree in Ramah. — Or, Under a grove in a high place; which is the better reading.

Having his spear in his hand. — Perhaps for a sceptre, or else quasi paratus ut supplicium sumeret ipse de deprehenso, to show that himself was ready to do execution upon anyone that was found guilty.

Verse 7

Then Saul said unto his servants that stood about him, Hear now, ye Benjamites; will the son of Jesse give every one of you fields and vineyards, [and] make you all captains of thousands, and captains of hundreds;

Hear now, ye Benjamites. — Will ye suffer the kingdom to be translated from your tribe, to David of the tribe of Judah? bestir you, that it may not.

Will the son of Jesse give every one of you. — As I have done, and yet will do. Thus also the Pope tempteth people on his side, as he did Aeneas Sylvius, Luther, and others, by great rewards and preferments; which yet he sometimes but slenderly performeth, as he did to Allin, Sanders, Stapleton, Reynold, Harding, Dr Smith, and other English fugitives, his best champions.

Verse 8

That all of you have conspired against me, and [there is] none that sheweth me that my son hath made a league with the son of Jesse, and [there is] none of you that is sorry for me, or sheweth unto me that my son hath stirred up my servant against me, to lie in wait, as at this day?

That all of you have conspired against me. — And why? but because they were no more eager in pursuing of David, who yet were indeed too much estranged from him, and addicted to Saul. So we read of letters sent from King Philip and Queen Mary to bloody Bonner, complaining that heretics were not so reformed as they should be, and exhorting him to more diligence, …

And there is none of you that is sorry for me. — It may be there were some of them that were sorry for his malice and madness against innocent David, but durst not show it, lest Saul should have used them, as afterwards Cambyses, king of Persia, did some of his servants, whom in his rage he commanded to kill Croesus, who was left as a counseller to him by his father Cyrus, and had now by reproving him for his cruelty, fallen under his displeasure. His servants thinking that he would afterwards repent it, hid Croesus, and slew him not; and when Cambyses shortly after wanted Croesus for his faithful counsel, and wished for him again, his servants expecting a great reward, brought him forth. Cambyses was glad that Croesus was alive: but yet he put his servants to death, for sparing him contrary to his command. Pezel, Mell. Hist.

That my son hath stirred up my servant. — It was neither so nor so: but only his jealous mind made him to think so, because David was come into the land with forces; and Jonathan absented himself from court ever since Saul cast a javelin at him. 1 Samuel 20:33

Verse 9

Then answered Doeg the Edomite, which was set over the servants of Saul, and said, I saw the son of Jesse coming to Nob, to Ahimelech the son of Ahitub.

Then answered Doeg. — So soon as ever the word was out of Saul’s mouth, concerning the preferring of such as should inform him against David, Doeg answered, snapping at that bait, and not sparing maliciously and slanderously to traduce an innocent, and one that so well deserved of the public. Thus was Scipio dealt with by Carbo, Alcibiades by Hyperbolus, Cicero by Clodius, … Habuerunt et suos cuculos omnes docti et heroici quolibet tempore. Every Zopyrus is sure to have his Zoilus, every David his Doeg, that will seek to raise himself upon the ruins of another.

Which was set over the servants of Saul. — That is, Over his herdsmen; but that seemed to him to be too low a place. Ambition, like the crocodile, groweth as long as it liveth.

I saw the son of Jesse. — This language he had learned of his master, Saul, whom he striveth to humour: as princes are never without their Aiones and Negones, that will say as they say, and not stick to lick up their very spittle.

Coming to Nob, to Ahimelech. — With this Ahimelech Doeg had been, in pretence of great piety, not long before, "detained before the Lord." 1 Samuel 21:7 See Trapp on " 1 Samuel 21:7 " Now he impeacheth him of high treason, making the worst of everything he said or did, as done by way of conspiracy with David against Saul; whose false suspicion of David he hereby confirmed, and is therefore rightly reputed a liar, Psalms 52:3 and because, though he told the truth, yet he wrested it to an evil intention. He is no better than a slanderer, who uttereth the truth, not for any love to it, nor for respect to justice, nor for the bettering of the hearer or the delinquent, but only to disgrace the one and to incense the other.

Verse 10

And he enquired of the LORD for him, and gave him victuals, and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine.

And he inquired of the Lord for him. — Herein, saith Lyra, some think he lied; and indeed he did, though he did not in 1 Samuel 22:15 . See Trapp on " 1 Samuel 22:9 " The truth is, God owed a revenge to the house of Eli, and now, by the delation of Doeg, taketh occasion to pay it. But they are very slight arguments that are here brought against the high priest to prove him guilty of treason; not much unlike those brought against the Lady Elizabeth in her sister Queen Mary’s days.

Verse 11

Then the king sent to call Ahimelech the priest, the son of Ahitub, and all his father’s house, the priests that [were] in Nob: and they came all of them to the king.

Then the king sent to call Ahimelech. — Under a pretence of justice, but himself will needs be both his accuser and his judge; and let him make never so good an apology, he must die for it; that is resolved on.

And all his father’s house. — The remnant of Eli’s house, so long since doomed to destruction. 1 Samuel 2:31 If God’s word sleep, it shall not die; but, after long intermissions, breaks forth into those effects which we had forgotten to look for and ceased to fear.

Verse 12

And Saul said, Hear now, thou son of Ahitub. And he answered, Here I [am], my lord.

Here now, thou son of Ahitub. — This is the best title he can now find in his heart to give him whom he meant to condemn to die. And yet this was better language than Stephen Gardiner gave Dr Taylor, martyr, with whom he thus began at his very first appearance before him: Art thou come, thou villain? how darest thou look me in the face for shame? knowest thou not who I am? … Act. and Mon., 1381.

Verse 13

And Saul said unto him, Why have ye conspired against me, thou and the son of Jesse, in that thou hast given him bread, and a sword, and hast enquired of God for him, that he should rise against me, to lie in wait, as at this day?

Why have ye conspired against me? — This was in Tacitus’s days, Unicum crimen eorum qui omni crimine vacabant, the usual charge brought against the most innocent men; and is still. The Protestants of France, after the massacre of Paris, were reported, but falsely, to have conspired against the king, the queen mother, the king’s brethren, the king of Navarre and the princes of the blood; Camden’s Elisab. but the covering proved too short.

Verse 14

Then Ahimelech answered the king, and said, And who [is so] faithful among all thy servants as David, which is the king’s son in law, and goeth at thy bidding, and is honourable in thine house?

And who is so faithful, … — This, some Peter Martyr. think, was not so wisely spoken by Ahimelech - viz., thus highly to commend David, whom he saw to be under so great displeasure now, whatever he had been formerly. Others hold that he did all in the honesty and integrity of his heart; giving David his due, and tacitly taxing Saul of tyranny.

Verse 15

Did I then begin to enquire of God for him? be it far from me: let not the king impute [any] thing unto his servant, [nor] to all the house of my father: for thy servant knew nothing of all this, less or more.

Be it far from me, — viz., To have any band in a treacherous conspiracy against my sovereign. As for sedition, said Latimer, for aught that I know, methinks I should not need Christ, if I may so say: I do so abhor the very thoughts of it.

Verse 16

And the king said, Thou shalt surely die, Ahimelech, thou, and all thy father’s house.

Thou shalt surely die, Ahimelech. — A bloody sentence, harshly pronounced and as rashly executed, without any pause or deliberation, without any remorse or regret. This was the worst act that ever Saul did, saith Theoderet: Serm. iii. and a great cause of his destruction, saith Josephus.

Verse 17

And the king said unto the footmen that stood about him, Turn, and slay the priests of the LORD; because their hand also [is] with David, and because they knew when he fled, and did not shew it to me. But the servants of the king would not put forth their hand to fall upon the priests of the LORD.

And the king said unto the footmen. — Heb., The runners: who had run to fetch the priests from Nob to Saul, saith A. Lapide.

Turn, and slay the priests of the Lord. — His anger was bent against the Lord himself, for taking away his kingdom, and giving it to another: and because he could not come at the Lord, therefore he wreaketh his rage upon his priests; like as the devil smote Job’s servants when he might not meddle with Job’s self. This seemeth to have been the very sin against the Holy Ghost.

Because their hand also is with David. — This he speaketh, that he may not seem to have been mad without reason. In the Vatican hall, at Rome, is pictured the massacre of Paris: under one side of the picture is written, Coligni et sociorum caedes: on the other, Rex Coligni caedem probat. Il Mercurio Italico, p. 42. Money, also, was thereupon coined in France, in the forepart whereof, together with the king’s picture, was this inscription, Virtus in rebelles: and on the other side, Pietas excitavit Iustitiam, Piety hath stirred up justice., Camden’s Elisab.

But the servants of the king would not. — This was well, but not all. Chrysostom In Ps. cxxxiv. blameth them, because they did not positively and effectually plead the cause of the priests before Saul, …

Verse 18

And the king said to Doeg, Turn thou, and fall upon the priests. And Doeg the Edomite turned, and he fell upon the priests, and slew on that day fourscore and five persons that did wear a linen ephod.

And Doeg the Edomite. — Not the Syrian, as the Septuagint, by a mistake of letters, renders it, but the bloody Esavite.

And he fell upon the priests. — Who were privileged persons in all nations, and spared even in battle, as were the bards here.

And slew on that day forescore and five persons, — viz., By the help of his hacksters and assassins. Some say that Armoni and Mephibosheth, the two sons of Saul by his concubine Rizpa, who were afterwards hanged, helped Doeg: but that is uncertain.

That did wear a linen ephod. — And, as some think, Lyra. Osiander. came to Saul now in those clothes, to move him rather to spare them.

Verse 19

And Nob, the city of the priests, smote he with the edge of the sword, both men and women, children and sucklings, and oxen, and asses, and sheep, with the edge of the sword.

And Nob, the city of the priests, smote he. — Josephus saith that he razed it, and burned it, and left the tabernacle of God, as much as lay in him, without a place, or priests to minister.

Both men and women, children and sucklings. — All of them to the number of three hundred and eighty-five, saith Josephus; all whom Beda reckoneth among the martyrs: and Osiander maketh this infanticide a type and figure of our Saviour’s flight into Egypt.

Verse 20

And one of the sons of Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped, and fled after David.

And one of the sons of Ahimelech. — So Merlin the admiral’s chaplain, was by a strange providence preserved in the Parisian massacre, and nourished for serveral days in a hay mow, by a hen that laid her eggs there.

Verse 21

And Abiathar shewed David that Saul had slain the LORD’S priests.

That Saul had slain. — Himself only was escaped, that God’s promise might be accomplished. 1 Samuel 2:33

Verse 22

And David said unto Abiathar, I knew [it] that day, when Doeg the Edomite [was] there, that he would surely tell Saul: I have occasioned [the death] of all the persons of thy father’s house.

I knew it. — His sin therefore was the greater.

I have occasioned. — Though not caused, as Saul did: but I am heartily sorry that I concurred as an occasion.

Verse 23

Abide thou with me, fear not: for he that seeketh my life seeketh thy life: but with me thou [shalt be] in safeguard.

For he that seeketh.Tua causa erit mean causa, Thy cause will be my cause, as Charles V said of Julius Flugius, who for his sake had been much wronged by the Duke of Saxony.

Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 22". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jtc/1-samuel-22.html. 1865-1868.
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