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1. Aphek Supposed by some to be the modern el Afuleh, a little to the northwest of Shunem, but it has not been identified with certainty. More likely it is the same as the Aphek of chap. 41, somewhere northwest of Jerusalem, and this gathering of the Philistines is to be understood as occurring before they “came and pitched in Shunem.” 1 Samuel 28:4. The historian goes back in this chapter to narrate events that took place before the two armies approached very near to each other. This is the more likely, since the Philistine lords would have objected to David’s presence before he had gone with them as far as Shunem.
A fountain which is in Jezreel The modern Ain Jalud, situated about six miles south of Shunem, at the base of the mountains of Gilboa. It is “a very large fountain, flowing out from under a sort of cavern in the conglomerate rock which here forms the base of Gilboa. The water is excellent, and, issuing from crevices in the rocks, it spreads out at once into a fine limpid pool, forty or fifty feet in diameter, in which great numbers of small fish were sporting. From the reservoir, a stream sufficient to turn a mill flows off eastward down the valley. There is every reason to regard this as the ancient fountain of Jezreel, where Saul and Jonathan pitched before their last fatal battle.” Robinson.
DAVID’S REMOVAL FROM THE PHILISTINE ARMY, 1 Samuel 29:1-9.29.11.
In this chapter we are informed how David was providentially delivered from the embarrassing position in which Achish’s demand had placed him. See 1 Samuel 28:1-9.28.2. This removal of David from the Philistine camp probably took place before Saul’s interview with the witch of Endor, and is introduced here as being preliminary to that which is recorded in the next chapter.
3. These days, or these years That is, a time sufficiently long to convince him of David’s loyalty.
4. With the heads of these men When the princes uttered these words they meant, and probably pointed towards, the Philistine soldiers that stood around them.
5. Is not this David Could the Philistines ever forget the disgraceful fall of their proud chief Goliath? Yet they never dared lay violent hands on David, or, at least, they preferred that he would quietly depart from them. They had a sort of reverence for him, yet they dreaded his presence among them.
8. David said unto Achish Whether David was really anxious to go into battle with the Philistines we have no means of clearly deciding. It is possible that, as the Philistine lords conjectured, he designed to reconcile himself unto Saul by treacherously fighting against Achish and his compeers, and so was much disappointed when he found this opportunity cut off by the suspicions of the lords. In this case, by my lord the king David would have meant Saul, though he knew that Achish would understand him differently. He who had so deliberately lied to the king of Gath on a former occasion (1 Samuel 27:10) was none too good to betray his hospitality and kindness. But Divine Providence arranged for him a more excellent way.
11. The Philistines went up to Jezreel The village of Jezreel, the modern Zerin, (see on Joshua 19:18,) was about three miles south of Shunem, so that in this movement the Philistines advanced towards the Israelites. The modern village stands “upon the brow of a very steep rocky descent of one hundred feet or more towards the northeast.” Robinson.
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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 29". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week of Advent