Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, July 23rd, 2024
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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Bible Commentaries
1 Samuel 29

Hawker's Poor Man's CommentaryPoor Man's Commentary

Verse 1


This Chapter makes a digression from the prosecution of Saul's history, to relate an event in the life of David. While Saul was distressed in the approach of the Philistines, and Achish was proposing to take David with him to the battle; the lords of the Philistines objecting to it, David is dismissed with kind marks of respect by Achish.

Verses 1-2

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

It is to be supposed, though it be not said so in the history, that David must have felt himself most awkwardly situated in the army of the Philistines. To have declined going to the battle would have betrayed him to the Philistines: and to have been found fighting against his country, how was this possible to a generous patriot like David? Had David's want of faith been less, and he had remained in Judah, this could not have happened. See Reader! how even good men when going, out of the path of duty, expose themselves to temptation. Now if the Lord doth not interpose for him, we cannot see any way by which he may escape. Blessed be God! there is a promise to this purport, and though we deserve it not, yet not our merit but divine grace, becomes the source of our deliverance. See the promise; 1 Corinthians 10:13 .

Verses 3-5

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

Reader! do not fail to observe, how God opened a door of escape for David. Surely it was God's superintendance over him; that prompted the minds of the Philistine princes thus to reason, and thus to insist upon his departure. The Lord hath the hearts of all men at his disposal, and like rivers of waters, turneth them whithersoever he pleaseth; Proverbs 21:1 . It is very sweet and precious to eye God's hand in all our concerns.

Verses 6-7

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

The Reader may perhaps be rather surprised, that Achish should have so little weight in his kingdom as not to be able to retain David in his service. But he should be told, that the Philistines were governed by five lords, and Gath was but one of their kingdoms. Ekron, Gaza, Ashdod, and Askelon, were the other four parts which these lords of the Philistines governed.

Verses 8-11

(8) And David said unto Achish, But what have I done? and what hast thou found in thy servant so long as I have been with thee unto this day, that I may not go fight against the enemies of my lord the king? (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. (10) Wherefore now rise up early in the morning with thy master's servants that are come with thee: and as soon as ye be up early in the morning, and have light, depart. (11) So David and his men rose up early to depart in the morning, to return into the land of the Philistines. And the Philistines went up to Jezreel.

Beside the motives here assigned for removing David from the army of the Philistines, it appears by the following chapter, that the Lord had services for him at that time elsewhere. Thus the Lord ordereth all our ways, and the whole disposing of his people is of the Lord. Though David seemed hurt at the not being permitted to go up to the battle, yet no doubt, as he had no direction for this purpose from the Lord, he could not be very forward to it. Indeed David was conscious that he was out of the path of duty. And perhaps this had made a shyness in his visits to a throne of grace. Reader! what is related in this chapter, and indeed the whole of David's conduct, from the moment he took up the unbecoming thought, that he should one day perish by the hand of Saul, is not to David's credit. We see in him what we feel in ourselves, and what the best of men do but too fully manifest, that there is a great deal of the old stock of nature, as well as the new springs of grace in God's faithful servants. Much corruption mingled with much faith. Oh! how needful then is it, that the great author of faith should keep up his precious communications, to keep alive his grace in the soul! Sweetly David sung to this point, when he said: Hold thou me up and I shall be safe: and I will have respect unto thy statutes continually. Psalms 119:117 .

Verse 11


I HOPE the Reader will feel his soul drawn out with mine, both to admire and adore the faithfulness of God, in his deliverance of poor David from the snare into which his want of faithfulness in his God had brought him. Surely none but a wise God could have found the means to have brought him out of the double danger into which his folly and sin had brought him. Apparently there was no way to escape, but either he must have proved a traitor to his country, or a traitor to his friend. And surely none but a faithful God would have given grace to have brought him out, when his own unfaithfulness had so justly forfeited the Lord's favour. But oh, thou dearest Lord! how plainly are we taught by this and every other instance, of thy passing by the worthlessness of thy people, that thou dust this not for our own sake, but for thine own great name's sake and thy glory. Hence, blessed Lord, thou dost manifest thy faithfulness in sending the trial upon the heels of our unfaithfulness. And thou dost manifest thy faithfulness in guiding us through the trial. And thou displayest the riches of thy grace and faith fulness, in making the termination of it minister to thy glory and our welfare. Oh precious Jesus! in every instance of my poor wanderings and unbelief, and fear, and the like, do thou so mercifully and so tenderly deal by me. And while thou dost compassionate my unworthiness, let thy grace be sufficient for me, and let thy strength be made perfect in my weakness. I lament, dearest Lord, that like David, I have too often thought and feared, that notwithstanding all thy past mercies and manifestations, I should one day be left to perish by the hand of the enemy. But in thy after grace in sending difficulties and hedging up my way with thorns, I have proved thy mercy. I can and do therefore set up my Ebenezer in all the proofs of thy love, and find cause to say with David, I know, O Lord, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in very faithfulness hast caused me to be troubled.

Bibliographical Information
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 29". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/pmc/1-samuel-29.html. 1828.
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