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Saturday, July 13th, 2024
the Week of Proper 9 / Ordinary 14
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Bible Commentaries
1 Samuel 26

Poole's English Annotations on the Holy BiblePoole's Annotations



Saul, by the discovery of the Ziphites, cometh to Hachilah against David, 1 Samuel 26:1-3; who cometh with Abishai to Saul’s camp; stayeth him from killing Saul, but taketh his spear and cruse, 1 Samuel 26:4-12.

He upbraideth Abner, 1 Samuel 26:16; exhorteth Saul, 1 Samuel 26:17-20, who acknowledgeth his sin, 1 Samuel 26:21-25.

Verse 1

Having once betrayed him before, they thought their case desperate with David; and therefore did more strenuously assist Saul in discovering him, in order to his ruin. Doth not David hide himself? he is returned to his former haunt; of which see 1 Samuel 23:19. This place might be convenient for him, either for its nearness to Abigail’s estate; or because he might think that Saul was mollified, and the Ziphites cautioned by the unsuccessfulness of their former attempt; or because he could from thence make good his retreat into other places, if need were.

Verse 3

i.e. He understood by information, probably from his dear friend Jonathan.

Verse 5

Came to the place where Saul had pitched; came near to the skirts of Saul’s camp; which he might easily discover from some neighboring hill or wood, and yet not be discerned himself. And it is probable he came thither disguised, and towards night.

Saul lay in the trench, encompassed with his carriages for better security. Compare 1 Samuel 17:20.

Verse 6

Ahimelech the Hittite; so called, either because he was one of that nation, but converted to the Jewish religion; compare 2 Samuel 11:3; 2 Samuel 15:18; or from his habitation amongst, or some relation, to some of that people.

Zeriah; David’s sister: see 1 Chronicles 2:16. His father is not named, either because he was now dead, or because he was an obscure person.

Verse 7

To the people, i. e. to Saul’s host and camp. It might seem a bold and strange attempt; but many things are to be considered:

1. That heroical persons have oft attempted things of no less difficulty and danger than this was; as many credible historians relate.

2. That David did and might easily perceive that they were all fast asleep.

3. That David had a particular assurance that God would preserve him to the kingdom.

4. That he had a special instinct from God to this work; and possibly God might inform him that he had cast them into a dead sleep, that he might have this second opportunity of manifesting his innocency towards Saul, and the justice of his cause.

Verse 8

I will nail him to the ground at one blow, that I shall not need a second stroke.

Verse 9

Though Saul be a cruel tyrant, and rejected by God, yet he is our sovereign lord and king; and I, though designed king, as yet am but a private person, and his subject; and therefore cannot kill him without sin, nor will I consent that thou shouldst do it.

Verse 10

The Lord shall smite him, by some sudden and mortal stroke.

Or his day shall come to die, according to the course of nature.

Verse 11

Take thou now the spear, which will show where we have been, and what we could have done.

The cruse of water might be put there, either to wash himself, in case of any accidental pollution, which oft happened in the night; or to refresh him, and quench his thirst in that hot climate and season; or for divers other uses.

Verse 12

Sent upon them by the Lord, for David’s advantage.

Verse 13

That his person might be out of their reach, and yet his voice might be heard; which in a clear air, and in the silence of the night, might be heard at a great distance.

Verse 14


with or beside the king, i.e. so near to him, so as to disturb the king.

Verse 15

Who is like to thee, for courage and conduct? and therefore thy fault herein is the greater.

Verse 16

This thing is not good, i.e. it is very bad, a great crime. A figure called meiosis, as Proverbs 18:5; Proverbs 19:2.

Verse 17

My son David; as thou wast my son by marriage, so thou hast expressed the care and affection of a son to me now a second time.

Verse 19

If the Lord have stirred thee up against me; if the Lord have by the evil spirit which he hath sent, or by his secret providence, directed thy rage against me for the punishment of thine or my sins.

Let him accept an offering; let us offer up a sacrifice to God to appease his wrath against us.

If they be the children of men; who by their crafty insinuations and calumnies have incensed thee against me. He showeth his prudence, and reverence, and meekness; that he accuseth not the king, but translateth the fault wholly upon his evil ministers; as the Israelites do in the like case, Exodus 5:16.

From abiding in the inheritance of the Lord; from the land which God hath given to his people for their inheritance, and where he hath established his presence and worship.

Saying, Go, serve other gods: this was the language of their actions; for by driving him from God’s land, and the place of his worship, into foreign and idolatrous lands, they exposed him to the peril of being either insnared by their counsels or examples, or forced by their threats and power to worship idols.

Verse 20

Let not my blood fall to the earth; do not attempt to spill my innocent blood like water upon the ground.

Before the face of the Lord; remember, if thou dost it, God the judge of all men seeth it, and will avenge it of thee, though I will not avenge myself.

A flea; hard to be taken, and not worth catching; a mean and contemptible person.

In the mountains, where his advantage doth no way compensate his labour.

Verse 21

He not only confesseth, but aggravateth his fault, because his conscience was fully convinced, though his heart was not changed.

Verse 23

I desire that God would deal no otherwise with me than I have dealt with thee.

Verse 25

David went on his way; knowing Saul’s unstable and deceitful heart, he would not trust to any of his professions or promises, but kept out of his reach.

Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 1 Samuel 26". Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/mpc/1-samuel-26.html. 1685.
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