Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

1 Samuel 28:1

Now it came about in those days that the Philistines gathered their armed camps for war, to fight against Israel. And Achish said to David, "Know assuredly that you will go out with me in the camp, you and your men."
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Achish;   David;   Philistines;   Thompson Chain Reference - Achish;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Philistines, the;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Endor;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Prayer;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Achish;   Ancestors;   Samuel;   Samuel, Books of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Death;   En-Dor;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Achish;   Saul;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - War;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Hebrew Monarchy, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Achish;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - War;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

The Philistines gathered their armies together - Sir Isaac Newton conjectures that the Philistines had got a great increase to their armies by vast numbers of men which Amasis had driven out of Egypt. This, with Samuel's death, and David's disgrace, were no inconsiderable motives to a new war, front which the Philistines had now every thing to hope.

Thou shalt go out with me to battle - This he said, being deceived by what David had told him.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 28:1". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/1-samuel-28.html. 1832.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

SAUL SOUGHT GUIDANCE FROM THE WITCH OF ENDOR; DAVID WAS CALLED TO GO TO WAR AGAINST ISRAEL

"In those days the Philistines gathered their forces for war, to fight against Israel. And Achish said to David, "Understand that you and your men are to go out with me in the army." David said to Achish, "Very well, you shall know what your servant can do." And Achish said to David, "Very well, I will make you my bodyguard for life."

"Philistines gathered their forces ... to fight against Israel" (1 Samuel 28:1). This was far more than an ordinary mobilization for war, because, "On this occasion they sent to all their confederates that they would go along with them to the war."[1]

"Understand that you and your men are to go out with me in the army" (1 Samuel 28:1). This order from the king of Gath was addressed to David, whose duplicity and deception finally caught up with him; and he found himself in the position of being ordered to go to war against Israel. It was the providential help of God himself, and that only, which got David out of the dilemma that confronted him.

We cannot presume to justify David's actions during those years he was with Achish; but, "He was living in highly perilous circumstances; the Bible gives the record but pronounces no judgment."[2]

"Very well, you shall know what your servant can do" (1 Samuel 28:2). This was David's reply to the king's order; but, "This reply was ambiguous. There was no promise that David would assist in the war against Israel ... Judging from his previous actions, it would have been against his conscience to fight against his own people."[3] It was a special providence that caused Achish to accept David's words here as a pledge of loyalty to the Philistine king. The second special providence was in the fact that the contemporaries of Achish overruled his order for David to accompany them (1 Samuel 29:3-5).

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 28:1". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/1-samuel-28.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And it came to pass in those days,.... That David was in the country of the Philistines:

that the Philistines gathered their armies together: out of their five principalities or lordships:

for warfare to fight with Israel; with whom they were continually at war, and though sometimes there was a cessation of arms, yet never any settled peace; and the Philistines took every opportunity and advantage against them, as they now did; when David was among them, and so had nothing to fear from him, but rather expected his assistance; and Samuel was dead, and Saul in a frenzy:

and Achish said unto David: who seems to have been at the head of the combined armies of the Philistines:

know thou assuredly that thou shall go with me to battle, thou and thy men; against Israel; which was a trying thing to David, and whereby he was like to be drawn into a dilemma; either to fight against his country, which he could not do conscientiously; or be guilty of ingratitude to Achish, and incur his displeasure, and be liable to be turned out of his country, or treated in a worse manner, even he and his men, to be seized on and cut to pieces by the forces of the Philistines, should he refuse.

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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 28:1". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/1-samuel-28.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And it came to pass in those days, that the Philistines gathered their armies together for warfare, to fight with Israel. And Achish said unto David, a Know thou assuredly, that thou shalt go out with me to battle, thou and thy men.

(a) Though it was a great grief to David to fight against the people of God, yet such was his infirmity, he did not dare deny him.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 28:1". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/1-samuel-28.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

1 Samuel 28:1-6. Achish‘s confidence in David.

The Philistines gathered their armies together for warfare, to fight with Israel — The death of Samuel, the general dissatisfaction with Saul, and the absence of David, instigated the cupidity of those restless enemies of Israel.

Achish said to David, Know thou assuredly, that thou shalt go out with me to battle — This was evidently to try him. Achish, however, seems to have thought he had gained the confidence of David and had a claim on his services.

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 28:1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/1-samuel-28.html. 1871-8.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

CONTENTS

We are hastening to the close of the reign and life of Saul. The Philistines are preparing for a battle fatal to Saul. He is dispirited and dismayed; and instead of looking to the Lord, he betakes himself to familiar spirits; the sad consequence which follows, and the alarms of Saul, are rehearsed in the close of this chapter.

1 Samuel 28:1

(1) ¶ And it came to pass in those days, that the Philistines gathered their armies together for warfare, to fight with Israel. And Achish said unto David, Know thou assuredly, that thou shalt go out with me to battle, thou and thy men.

See Reader, in this preparation of the Philistines for battle against Israel, the sad effects of Israel departing from the Lord. The Lord had promised when he settled his people in their kingdom, to drive out all nations from before them, and that there should not be a man to stand before them. But, when Israel deserted the Lord, the Lord raised up enemies to Israel, as his instruments to correct them. See Joshua 1:3-5. But Reader! when you have duly pondered this subject, as it concerns Israel of old, look at it again, as it concerns Israel now. Are not our unsubdued corruptions, our unhumbled lusts, and the remains of inbred sin in our mortal bodies, like those Philistines waging war with the soul? Did you and I live wholly to Jesus, would those enemies dare rise up against us? How important is that exhortation of Peter, when he said, Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul. 1 Peter 2:11.

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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 28:1". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/1-samuel-28.html. 1828.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

1 Samuel 28:1 And it came to pass in those days, that the Philistines gathered their armies together for warfare, to fight with Israel. And Achish said unto David, Know thou assuredly, that thou shalt go out with me to battle, thou and thy men.

Ver. 1. And it came to pass in those days.] When Saul’s sin was now grown ripe and ready for the sickle, and David as a weaned child was now fitted for the kingdom.

Thou shalt go out with me to battle.] This struck cold to David’s good heart, who now began to repent him, doubtless, of gadding about Gath; but all too late.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 28:1". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/1-samuel-28.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

1 SAMUEL CHAPTER 28

Achish intending war against Israel, relieth on David, 1 Samuel 28:1,2. Saul having destroyed the witches, yet, Samuel being dead, in his fear, forsaken of God, seeketh to a witch, 1 Samuel 28:3-8. She, encouraged by Saul, raiseth Samuel; of whom hearing his approaching ruin, he fainteth, 1 Samuel 28:9-20. The woman, with his servants, refresh him with meat, 1 Samuel 28:21-25.

The Philistines were encouraged by Samuel’s death, and Saul’s degeneration, and David’s presence with Achish.

Thou shalt go out with me to battle: this he saith, partly to try his sincerity; and partly in confidence of David’s fidelity.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 1 Samuel 28:1". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/1-samuel-28.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

THE PHILISTINES PREPARE TO FIGHT WITH ISRAEL, 1 Samuel 28:1-2.

1.The Philistines gathered their armies — These inveterate enemies of Israel had hitherto been unable to regain the dominion which they lost in the time of Samuel’s rule, (see note on 1 Samuel 7:13,) though they made repeated efforts to do so all the days of Saul. Now, however, they are about to enjoy a momentary triumph.

Thou shall go out with me to battle — This demand was placing David and his men in a difficult position, for how could they take up arms against their own nation and kindred?

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 28:1". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/1-samuel-28.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

1 Samuel 28:1. The Philistines gathered their armies together — Sir Isaac Newton judges that they were recruited about this time by vast numbers of men driven out of Egypt by Amasis. This probably was one reason why they resolved on a new war with Israel, to which, however, Samuel’s death and David’s disgrace were doubtless additional motives. Achish said to David, Thou shalt go out with me to battle — Achish formed this resolution in consequence of his knowledge of David’s merit, and the thorough confidence he had in his fidelity.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 28:1". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/1-samuel-28.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Israel. God made use of the ill-will of the Philistines to punish Saul, and to make way for David to the throne. (Salien) --- Each of the five lords brought their armies into the field, where they were united. Achis, placing the greatest confidence in David, requires his attendance. (Calmet)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 28:1". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/1-samuel-28.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

men. Hebrew. ". enosh. App-14.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 28:1". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/1-samuel-28.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And it came to pass in those days, that the Philistines gathered their armies together for warfare, to fight with Israel. And Achish said unto David, Know thou assuredly, that thou shalt go out with me to battle, thou and thy men.

The Philistines gathered their armies together for warfare, to fight with Israel. The death of Samuel, the general dissatisfaction with Saul, and the absence of David, instigated the cupidity of these restless enemies of Israel, and they prepared to invade the kingdom.

Know thou assuredly, that thou shalt go out with me to battle. This was evidently to try him. Achish, however, seems to have thought he had gained the confidence of David, and had a claim on his services.

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 28:1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/1-samuel-28.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(1) The Philistines gathered their armies together for warfare.—This was evidently, as Jose-phus remarks, a great effort on the part of the Philistines. It was no ordinary raid or border incursion, such as seems to have been so frequent all through the reign of Saul. Since their defeat in the Valley of Elah, which followed the single combat between Goliath and David, no such Philistine army had been gathered together. We are struck at once with the presence of the enemy in the heart of the land, no longer choosing the well-known and often-contested “Marches,” or border districts. The Philistines are now strong enough to strike a blow at the centre of the kingdom, and to challenge a battle on the plain of Jezreel. or Esdraelon, north of Ephraim and Issachar. They probably marched along the sea-border of Canaan, collecting their forces as they advanced from each of their well-known military centres, and then, turning eastward, invaded the land by the Valley of Jezreel, or Esdraelon. They marched still eastward, and took up a strong position on the slopes of one of the groups of mountains that enclosed the broad plain of Jezreel toward the east, near the town of Shunem. King Saul, quickly assembling the fighting men of Israel, marched in pursuit, and coming up with them in the Esdraelon plain, took up his position opposite the Philistines—only a few miles parting the two hosts—on the slopes of another group of mountains, known as Mount Gilboa, lying to the south of the Philistine frontier. (There is a map of the Plain of Esdraelon in Stanley’s Jewish Church, vol. ii., Lecture 21, illustrative of this closing scene in Saul’s career, well worth consulting.)

And Achish said.—David soon found into what a grievous error he had fallen by taking refuge with the hereditary foes of his people. Want of faith and patience had urged him to take this unhappy step. The sixteen months he had spent in Phihstia had been certainly successful, inasmuch as they had strengthened his position as a “free lance” captain, but nothing more. They had been stained by bloodshed and cruelty. His life, too, was a life of duplicity and falsehood. The results of his unhappy course of action were soon manifest. His nation sustained a crushing and most humiliating defeat, which he narrowly escaped being obliged to witness, if not to contribute to. His own general recognition as king was put off for nearly seven years, during which period a civil war hindered the development of national prosperity; besides which, during this time of internal divisions the seeds were too surely laid of the future disastrous separation of Judah and the south from the northern tribes—a division which eventually took place in his grandson’s time, when his strong arm and Solomon’s wisdom and power were things of the past.

The summons of Achish to his great military vassal was perfectly natural: indeed, Achish had no reason to suspect that such a campaign as the one the Philistines were about to undertake against King Saul would be in any way distasteful to the wronged and insulted David. Not improbably the presence of David and his trained force—including, as the wily Philistine well knew, some of the bravest souls in Israel—encouraged Achish and the other Philistine lords to this great and, as it turned out, supreme effort against Israel. The King of Gath and his colleagues in Philistia saw that, in the divided state of Israel, their chances of success were very great, and it is highly probable that they looked forward to establishing their friend and follower David on the throne of Saul as a Philistine vassal king.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 28:1". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/1-samuel-28.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And it came to pass in those days, that the Philistines gathered their armies together for warfare, to fight with Israel. And Achish said unto David, Know thou assuredly, that thou shalt go out with me to battle, thou and thy men.
that the
7:7; 13:5; 17:1; 29:1
Philistines
Judges 3:1-4
thou shalt go
27:12; 29:2,3
Reciprocal: 1 Samuel 31:1 - the Philistines;  1 Chronicles 10:1 - the Philistines fought

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 28:1". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/1-samuel-28.html.

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible

1 Samuel 27:1 to 1 Samuel 28:2. David at Gath (J).—Sequel to 1 Samuel 26:25 (cf. 1 Samuel 21:10-15).

1 Samuel 27:1-6. As a last resource David takes refuge at Gath.

1 Samuel 27:6. Ziklag: Joshua 15:31.

1 Samuel 27:7-12. This paragraph does not simply give an account of a single episode, but describes David's habitual occupation during this period. He made raids upon the heathen tribes to the S. of Judah, the inhabitants of the land from Telam (so Driver and others, with some LXX MSS., for "of old") to the borders of Egypt. These were hostile to Israel, so that David was fighting for his own people. But in order to ingratiate himself with Achish, David said that he had raided the districts of the Negeb (p. 32) or extreme S. division of Palestine, which were inhabited by the allied and kindred tribes of the Judahites, Jerahmeelites, and Kenites. In order that Achish should not learn the truth, David massacred those whom he plundered, both men and women. The primitive documents do not seem to attach much importance to veracity, especially to foreigners (cf. the stories of the Patriarchs). When the Philistines are preparing for another campaign against Israel, Achish notifies David that he and his men will be expected to fight on the side of the Philistines. David gives an ambiguous answer, "Thou shalt see what thy servant will do," which Achish would take to mean, "You shall see the great things I will do to help you." Achish proposes to make him the captain of his bodyguard.

1 Samuel 27:10. Jerahmeelites: a tribe in the Negeb, probably not originally Israelite, but later on reckoned to Israel.

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Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 28:1". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/1-samuel-28.html. 1919.