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Bible Commentaries
1 Samuel 27

Trapp's Complete CommentaryTrapp's Commentary

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.

And David said in his heart — Not well ballasted with grace, but wherried about with unbelief, Hebrews 13:9 whilst he consulted not with God as formerly, but with carnal reason, an evil counsellor, and with the rest of his company, as Josephus telleth us, to the scandal of the weak, and scorn of the wicked, besides his own singular disadvantage. For being now out of God’s precincts - who had commanded him to come out of Moab into Judea 1 Samuel 22:3 ; 1 Samuel 22:5 - how could he look for his protection? and if a man put himself amongst Philistines, as David now did, how can he promise himself to come forth innocent?

There is nothing better for me. — Indeed nothing worse; but his fear befooled and betrayed him to many inconveniences, as the sequel showeth. But it is hard for the best man to say how far he will be tempted.

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.

And David arose, and he passed over with the six hundred men. — Who might have done far better service in fighting against the Philistines in that fatal battle; 1 Samuel 31:1-7 and haply have hindered that great slaughter of God’s people: but there was a providence in it, God fetching good out of evil; as the Athenians fancied that their goddess Minerva ordered their evil counsels to the best events. The Philistines entertained them gladly, as the Persians did Themistocles, the Lacedemonians Alcibiades, and the Volscians Coriolanus. But David and his men may no more be excused herein, say some, than if a captain with a band of men being Christian should flee to the Turk to fight for him. Others think that he did well and wisely; from whom I dissent.

Unto Achish … king of Gath. — But fide publica, it is like; upon better security beforehand given than formerly was had; else he would hardly have ventured.

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.

And David dwelt with Achish. — Where doubtless he was much vexed many times, as Lot was in Sodom, and cried, Oh that I had the wings of a dove! … Woe is me that I sojourn in Gath! a good place to pass through, but an ill place to dwell in, as one once said of Athens.

Verse 4

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

That David was fled to Gath. — Such news would fly amain, and make good sport amongst the courtiers his enemies, but grieve good Jonathan and his party there.

And he sought no more again for him. — As he would have done, if to any purpose; for malice is restless and irreconcilable.

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?

For why should thy servant dwell in the royal city?Exeat aula qui vult esse pius. The court he found to be but an ill air for devotion to breathe in, and therefore beggeth a bene discessit, pretending modesty.

“Vive tibi, quantumqae potes praelustria vita.” - Ovid.

O Vacia, solus scis vivere, said the Romans of one that had retired himself from the court into the country.

Verse 6

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

Then Achish gave him Ziklag that day. — Hungry Ziklag - augustia sextarii, so it signifieth, saith Pagnine - where David and his men were hard put to it for a poor subsistence; but it was fittest for his purpose, being an outter town, that he might forrage, and fetch in spoil undiscovered. And besides, it became a rendezvous for his friends out of Judea to resort unto him, as they did for his better advancement to the kingdom. 1 Chronicles 12:1 ; 1 Chronicles 12:22 But it was impoliticly done of Achish to assign him to such a city as belonged to Judea, Joshua 15:31 and bordered thereon.

Verse 7

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

A full year and four months, — viz., Till Saul’s death, and about two years after Samuel’s death.

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.

And the Gezrites. — Otherwise called Girgashites, as some hold.

And the Amalekites. — Whom Saul should have utterly rooted out, 1 Samuel 15:3 ; 1 Samuel 15:7 ; 1 Samuel 15:9 but did not. Quod defertur, non aufertur.

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.

And left neither man nor woman alive. — To tell tales, or carry tidings. This he might lawfully do, for they were people devoted to utter destruction.

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.

Whither have ye made a road? — Or, Whether have ye made, …

Against the south of Judah. — This was either a flat lie, or a foul equivocation, much misbecoming such a man’s mouth. The infirmities of God’s children never appear but in their tentations. David knew that

Nihil est vigilantius aure tyranni. ” - Juvenal.

But that should not have made him thus to lie and dissemble: as the Priscillianists did of old, and the Jesuits do still, with their detestable equivocations, and mental reservations, which they teach and defend ad consolationem afflictorum Catholicorum (their own words) et omnium piorum instructionem, for the comfort of poor afflicted Catholics, and the instruction of all godly persons. Garnes. Blackwell. That subtle answer of Tarlton, bishop of Winchester, is well known, Edwardum occidere nolito timere bonum est. David had chosen the way of truth, Psalms 119:30 and yet otherwhiles he deviated.

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.

And David saved neither man. — See on 1 Samuel 27:9 .

And so will be his manner.Semel malus semper praesumitur esse malus. God was in it, otherwise it could not have been so concealed, though these nations dwelt remote, and scattered in a solitary wilderness. Humanitus vix fieri id poterat.

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.

And Achish believed David. — Heb., Believed in David, which was much; but so God would have it, for David’s good. Achish, haply, thought that David would not lie; and it was easy, saith Josephus, to persuade him to believe that which he greatly affected and desired.

Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 27". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jtc/1-samuel-27.html. 1865-1868.
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