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Bible Commentaries
1 Samuel 29

Kingcomments on the Whole BibleKingcomments

Verses 1-2

David in the Army of the Philistines

Aphek is in Israel. There the Philistines gather together. These are the preparatory actions for decisive moments for both David and Saul. The result is grace for one and destruction for the other. Such a difference we see with Peter and Judas. They have both left the Lord, but Peter is restored while Judas faces his downfall. The difference is the possession of the new life.

David is with the Philistines, and with enemies he stands up against the people of God. This is the result of his life in the lie. David is not only a servant of Achish, but he seems to be his friend. That is how deep he sank.

Verses 3-5

The Philistine Testimony About David

God in His providence will prevent the great folly of David and lead him back to Him. He makes sure that David does not have to come along in a battle of the Philistines against the people over whom He anointed David as king. That deliverance is not due to anything of David. He can only praise the LORD for His grace.

The LORD uses the memories of the other Philistines to put pressure on Achish to send David home. The LORD works in secret for David by turning the hearts of his enemies against him. Thus, the Lord can also work for us in secret by working enmity against us in the hearts of men. That is a way to deliver us from a situation from which we cannot deliver ourselves and in which we may have been landed by our unfaithfulness.

Achish tries to keep David with him by giving a resounding testimony of his full dedication to the cause of the enemy. But the pressure is getting too high. It was not unusual for Israelites to serve in the armies of the Philistines (1 Samuel 14:21). At the decisive moment, however, they left and joined Saul again. David could do the same. They emphasize their distrust in David by reminding Achish of the testimony of David and citing it in full (1 Samuel 18:7). They know that well. On a previous occasion that David has been in their land, they have also referred to it (1 Samuel 21:11).

Verses 6-11

Achish Lets David Go in Peace

Achish got an impression of great loyalty and sincerity from David. The testimony Achish gives is an antigenic testimony to David. David’s reaction is falsehood and hypocrisy. If Achish looked closely, he could find a lot. David is pretending he would like to join in. He continues to lie, to live his life in lies. He pretends to be indignant that he cannot go along to fight against the enemies of “my lord the king”. He calls Israel the enemy and Achish his lord, while the real enemies are the Philistines and he is the servant of Saul.

Achish agrees with what David says. He even sees David as a messenger from God. As an idolater he can only mean that he sees a good spirit in David. David has so much surrendered his true identity and intentions because of his life in the lie, that he has given Achish a false image of what a messenger of God is. David could not in any way disturb the conscience of this Philistine ruler.

Achish gives David the freedom to go wherever he wants. The dividing line is drawn. David returns, not yet to Israel, but “to the land of the Philistines”. While Saul has disappeared forever in the night, the new morning (1 Samuel 29:11) is dawning for David.

Bibliographical Information
de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op 1 Samuel 29". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kng/1-samuel-29.html. 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniël', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.
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