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the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
1 Samuel 29

Benson's Commentary of the Old and New TestamentsBenson's Commentary


A.M. 2948. B.C. 1056.

The princes of the Philistines object against David’s going with them to the battle, 1 Samuel 29:1-5 . He is dismissed by Achish, 1 Samuel 29:6-11 .

Verses 1-2

1 Samuel 29:1-2. The Philistines gathered, the Israelites pitched Or rather, had gathered, had pitched; for we are informed in the foregoing chapter that the Philistines were come to Shunen, and it is probable David’s departure from their army was prior to Saul’s consulting the woman at Endor. The lords of the Philistines passed on by hundreds, &c. When they took a view of their army, the great men appeared, some at the head of a hundred, some of a thousand soldiers. David and his men passed on with Achish Who seems to have been the general of the army, and to have made David and his men his life-guard, according to his resolution, chap. 1 Samuel 28:2. From this we may learn how dangerous a thing it is to deviate from truth, and what inconveniences it often brings us into. The pretences which David made to Achish (as related chap. 28.) of his inveteracy to the Israelites, and of the damage he had done them in making incursions upon them, were the inducements that prompted Achish to make David and his men his life-guard; whereby David was brought into the grievous strait of either fighting against his own countrymen, or betraying his benefactor.

Verse 3

1 Samuel 29:3. Then said the princes The lords of the other eminent cities, who were confederate with Achish in this expedition. These days, or years That is, did I say days? I might have said years. He hath now been with me a full year and four months, 1 Samuel 27:7. Since he fell Revolted, or left his own king to turn to me.

Verse 4

1 Samuel 29:4. Make this fellow return to his place To Ziklag, which they were content he should possess. For wherewith should he reconcile, &c. Should it not be with the heads of these men? That is, of the Philistines. They reasoned wisely, according to the common maxims of prudence and true policy; for by such a course great enemies have sometimes been reconciled together. But the Divine Providence was no doubt concerned in suggesting these prudential considerations to their minds; for by this means David was delivered from that great strait and difficulty into which he had brought himself, and from which no human wisdom could have extricated him; either of being an enemy to, and fighting against his country, (as before observed,) or being false to his friend and to his trust. And, by the same providential incident, he was sent back time enough to recover his wives, and the wives and children of his men, and his all, from the Amalekites, which would have been irrecoverably lost if he had gone to this battle. And the kindness of God to David was the greater, because it would have been most just for God to have left him in those distresses into which his own sinful counsel had brought him.

Verse 6

1 Samuel 29:6. Achish said, Surely, as the Lord liveth He swears by Jehovah, whom David worshipped, that he might be the more believed by him. Or perhaps he had learned something from David of the true God, though he worshipped other gods with him.

Verse 8

1 Samuel 29:8. David said, But what have I done? This was deep dissimulation and flattery in David, no way to be justified. But who, that has not experienced it, can know how strong a temptation they who attend on great men are under to compliment them and dissemble. David, no doubt, heartily rejoiced at this dismission; but as he did not know how much longer he might be obliged to stay in the land of the Philistines, he seems to have yielded to a temptation that prudence required him to carry it fair toward them, and to pretend to have that concern upon this occasion which he certainly did not feel.

Verse 9

1 Samuel 29:9. Achish said, Thou art good in my sight as an angel of God In whom nothing is blame-worthy. The heathen acknowledged good spirits, which also they worshipped as an inferior sort of deities, who were messengers and ministers to the supreme God; Achish had learned the title of angels from the Israelites his neighbours, and especially from David’s conversation.

Verses 10-11

1 Samuel 29:10-11. With thy master’s servants This intimates that the lords of the Philistines would not trust them, because they looked on them still as Saul’s subjects. David and his men rose up early David did not then know how necessary this was for the relief of his own city. But God knew it well, and sent him thither accordingly. On how many occasions may we say, What I do thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter!

Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 29". Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rbc/1-samuel-29.html. 1857.
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