Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

1 Samuel 18:14

David was prospering in all his ways for the Lord was with him.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Nave's Topical Bible - David;   Jealousy;   Malice;   Obedience;   Prudence;  
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Philistia, philistines;   Saul, king of israel;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Disease;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Prayer;   Easton Bible Dictionary - David;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Saul;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Samuel, Books of;  
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Merab;   Samuel, Books of;   Way;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Genesis, the Book of;  

The Biblical Illustrator

1 Samuel 18:14

And David behaved himself wisely in all his ways.

Wise conduct

I. The wisdom of days. The wisdom of David was shown by his conduct in extraordinary prosperity. Suddenly David found himself the popular idol; he was set above the king; but his head was not turned.

1. When Robert Burns was introduced into the brilliant society of Edinburgh--of literary men and gifted women, of peers and noble ladies, the titled of the lend--when all Scotland was at his feet he bore himself as to the manner born. He was as gallant a gentleman as any in the salons of the northern capital. But his head, alas! was turned. His heart was seduced. The praise of men, the flattery of beautiful women, corrupted his simplicity, ruined him. He had poetic inspiration unsurpassed since Shakespeare; but he lacked the inspiration of wisdom. Under temptations far greater, David bore himself undazzled. The excuse has been made for Burns that he was a poet; he had a poet’s exquisite sensibility; the exposure was greater for him than for common mortals. The palliation is admitted. He was more tempted than other men. But David, too, was a poet; he was a musician beside; he had the sensibility which attends both these Divine gifts; he had also the impassioned enthusiasm of a youthful hero. Yet his wisdom did not fail; because it was his mastering inspiration.

2. It increases our admiration of David to remember that he had no preparation for prosperity. Trial is a discipline for success. It has been usual to ascribe the wisdom of Queen Elizabeth, in the extraordinary elevation of her great reign, to the discipline of her exile in youth, at Hatfield, beset by scheming friends and enemies, dreaded and hated by Mary and the Catholic nobles, and only secure of her life by incessant and extreme circumspection. Such wisdom as she displayed in the long struggle through which England safely passed to such a pitch of glory was truly admirable. But this wisdom she might not have sustained if she had been taken to her sister’s court and made a favourite there; if she had been put, with all her youthful charms and accomplishments, in contrast with the sickly, suspicious, bigoted Mary. Yet, even for this trial, Elizabeth had had a partial preparation, in being born a princess. But David was a farmer’s boy. Suddenly, without preparation of any kind, save the native correctness of his judgment and the simple rectitude of his heart he was lifted to the pinnacle of earthly glory. His trials came afterward. His success was his first experience. How few public men who have ever lived have shown such marvellous modesty and self-restraint! The example is a noble one for all young men.

II. The wisdom of David was shown by his conduct under sudden and great reverses.

III. The wisdom of David was shown in his purpose to have the favour of God. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” (Monday Club Sermons.)

The reward of religious obedience.

These words, “he behaved himself wisely,” might be also translated, “he prospered;” and this version the margin affords; either interpretation would be strictly true, as applied to this period of David’s life; and even afterwards, he may truly be said to have prospered, even although his apparent circumstances were adverse; for he was preserved in dangers and calamities to an extent clearly proving that “God was with him” in an especial sense, sheltering him by the presence of his Providence; and, in the midst of his deepest misfortunes and bitterest persecutions, his language is that of a mind absorbed in happiness beyond the control of earthly circumstances. In whichever sense therefore we take the words of the text, either that “he behaved himself wisely,” or that “he prospered in all his ways,” the observation will allow of being extended over that whole portion of David’s life in which he was subject to the persecutions of Saul, and before he was settled in his kingdom.

1. Perhaps in no instance is the truth of the Apostolic observation, “the wisdom of the world is foolishness with God,” more clearly exemplified than in this. God says, “David behaved himself wisely;” the world would say, he behaved himself foolishly, and discovered a defect of spirit. But of what spirit? Of the spirit of him who was a murderer from the beginning. There was no deficiency of courage in the character of David; this his bitterest foes muss allow him. He did not conceive revenge at all necessary to his military reputation. He was totally unaware of that meanness which it is now the fashion to attribute to those who have the fortitude and high-mindedness to forgive. Even a wise and virtuous heathen has justly retorted this charge of meanness, and pronounced revenge to be the passion of a low, weak, and little mind. And if such be the words of Nature and the works of the Law, how shall resentment be tolerated beneath the Gospel?

2. David had sustained deliberate and premeditated injury; but frequently resentment is at groundless as it is guilty; your brother may haw offended unintentionally and inadvertently; you may yourself, also inadvertently, have given him a provocation no less than that which is operating within your own bosoms; or, perhaps, he is even now stung with remorse and sorrow for his fault, and only wants the opportunity of repairing it. Do not forget that others have their passions, prejudices, propensities, and habitual feelings, as well as yourselves.

3. David, during his persecution, was once placed in a dangerous situation. He had his most inveterate enemy within his grasp, and could at once have gratified revenge and shown his own security foreverse But he had no revenge to gratify: and security he sought from another quarter. Had the opportunity been offered to him again and again, it would never have occurred to him to embrace it; but treacherous counsellors are at hand, who would persuade him to sin and destruction. They knew that David was only assailable by religious motives: they therefore urge him with “Behold the day of which the Lord said unto thee: Behold, I will deliver thine enemy into thy hand, that thou mayest do to him as it shall seem good unto thee.” But David knows that what may seem good to him may not seem good to God; and therefore he takes not the advantage which circumstances had placed in his power.

4. We may also observe that the passage of David’s life to which the text may be especially applied, when “he behaved himself wisely in all his ways,” and when “the Lord was with him,” was the time of his outward humiliation and adversity: and this may serve to show us that, although such a state as this is not good or to be sought after for itself, it has its securities: it teaches us to seek protection and comfort where we can only seek them with confidence, and in the same proportion it renders our actions safe. (H. Thompson, M. A.)

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "1 Samuel 18:14". The Biblical Illustrator. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And David behaved himself wisely in all his ways,.... Both in the court and in the camp, in whatsoever service he was employed; or "prospered"F21משכיל "prospere admodum res gerebat", Vatablus; "secundabatur", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; so the Targum and Jarchi. , as the word also signifies; for, generally speaking, those that behave wisely succeed well; in this he was a type of Christ, Isaiah 52:13; the reason of it follows:

and the Lord was with him; from whom he had his wisdom and success; the Targum is,"the Word of the Lord was for his help.'

Copyright Statement
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 18:14". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". 1999.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

1 Samuel 18:14 And David behaved himself wisely in all his ways; and the LORD [was] with him.

Ver. 14. And David behaved himself wisely.] Or, Prospered, as 1 Samuel 18:5, having no more deadly enemies - as was said once of Germanicus - than his own ornaments: neither had his enemies anything to complain of him, more than his greatness.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 18:14". John Trapp Complete Commentary. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

So that he had great prudence in his conduct, and prosperous success following his designs; which are two principal qualifications of a general and of a prince. Thus God turned all Saul’s devices upon himself, and to David’s advantage.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 1 Samuel 18:14". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. 1685.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And David behaved himself wisely in all his ways; and the LORD was with him.
or, prospered.
the Lord
10:7; 16:18; Genesis 39:2,3,23; Joshua 6:27; Matthew 1:23; 28:20; Acts 18:10
Reciprocal: 1 Samuel 3:19 - the Lord;  1 Samuel 22:7 - the son of Jesse;  2 Samuel 7:9 - And I was;  1 Kings 2:3 - prosper;  2 Kings 18:7 - And the Lord;  1 Chronicles 17:8 - I have been;  Psalm 101:2 - behave;  Psalm 119:98 - through;  Proverbs 13:15 - Good;  Ecclesiastes 4:4 - every;  Daniel 6:4 - but;  1 John 3:12 - And

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 18:14". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge".