Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

1 Samuel 28:2

David said to Achish, "Very well, you shall know what your servant can do." So Achish said to David, "Very well, I will make you my bodyguard for life."
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Achish;   David;   Philistines;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Head;   Philistines, the;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Endor;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Prayer;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Achish;   Bodyguard;   Head;   Samuel, Books of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Death;   En-Dor;   Head;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Achish ;   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;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Surely thou shalt know what thy servant can do - This was another equivocal answer; and could only be understood by his succeeding conduct. It might imply what he could do in favor of the Philistines against Israel; or in favor of Israel against the Philistines. Achish understood it in the former sense; and therefore he said to David, I will make thee keeper of my head for ever; i.e., Thou shalt be captain of my life-guards.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 28:2". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/1-samuel-28.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Thou shalt know … - David dissembled (compare also 1 Samuel 29:8), hoping, no doubt, that something would happen to prevent his fighting against his king and country.

Keeper of mine head - Captain of his bodyguard.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 28:2". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/1-samuel-28.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And David said to Achish, surely thou shalt know what thy servant can do,.... By which he would have Achish understand, and so he did, that he would exert himself in favour of the Philistines, and against Israel, and do great and brave things, of which Achish would be, made sensible, through his heroic courage and valour; though he meant rather what he could and should do for Israel against the Philistines, if he had an opportunity: but it seems best of all to consider David as quite undetermined, and at a loss what to do, hoping that God in his providence would extricate him out of this difficulty, and direct him what he should do, which then Achish would know; and accordingly he was delivered out of it:

and Achish said to David: putting confidence in him on account of his answer, and believing he was hearty in engaging in the war with the Philistines against Israel:

therefore will I make thee keeper of mine head for ever; the captain of his bodyguard, which post he should hold for life; or he proposed to put him into this post, that he might be with him, near his person, and under his eye, that he might observe how he behaved himself; which may show some suspicion of him.

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 28:2". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/1-samuel-28.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Surely thou shalt know what thy servant can do — This answer, while it seemed to express an apparent cheerfulness in agreeing to the proposal, contained a studied ambiguity - a wary and politic generality.

Therefore will I make thee keeper of mine head for ever — or, “my life”; that is, “captain of my bodyguard,” an office of great trust and high honor.

Copyright Statement
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 28:2". "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

(2) And David said to Achish, Surely thou shalt know what thy servant can do. And Achish said to David, Therefore will I make thee keeper of mine head forever.

The situation of David was critical. How could he fight against his own people? And on the other hand, how could he continue in safety with Achish?

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 28:2". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/1-samuel-28.html. 1828.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And David said to Achish, Surely thou shalt know what thy servant can do. And Achish said to David, Therefore will I make thee keeper of mine head for ever.

Can do — He speaks ambiguously, as he did before.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 28:2". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/1-samuel-28.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

1 Samuel 28:2 And David said to Achish, Surely thou shalt know what thy servant can do. And Achish said to David, Therefore will I make thee keeper of mine head for ever.

Ver. 2. Surely thou shalt know what thy servant can do.] But whether for Achish or against him, he saith not. Indeed, he could do neither with any honesty, and therefore he maketh a double answer; equivocating, as he had done before. [1 Samuel 27:9] Josephus is out when he saith that David did readily promise Achish his help; for what show soever he made, he meant nothing less, but prayed and hoped that God would extricate him out of this labyrinth, as also he did, [1 Samuel 29:3-7] so that he neither fought against Israel, nor was false to Achish.

Thee keeper of mine head.] Captain of my bodyguard. Wicked men will sooner trust the saints, than those that are graceless. Natural conscience cannot but stoop to the image of God stamped upon the hearts and lives of the religious.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 28:2". 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

David speaks ambitiously, as he did before, that Achish might understand him, as he did, of his acting for him against the Israelites; whereas he meant it of his acting for the Israelites against the Philistines, to which he was obliged both by God’s express command, and by his indelible and manifold obligations to God, and to God’s people, and by his own manifest interest. Though it is likely he would have managed his affairs with all possible regard and care of Achish’s person, to whom alone, upon the matter, David stood obliged, and not to the rest of the Philistines, who had an ill opinion of him, as we shall see.

Therefore; for that valour which I doubt not thou wilt show on my behalf.

Of mine head, i.e. of my body and life, the captain of my life-guard.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 1 Samuel 28:2". 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

2.Surely thou shalt know what thy servant can do — This was an ambiguous reply, and capable of being construed for or against Achish. The king, however, understood it in a favourable sense.

Keeper of mine head — Guard of my person; chief of my life-guards. How David was providentially delivered from his difficult position we learn in chap. 29.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 28:2". "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 28:2. David said, Surely thou shalt know what thy servant can do — He answered ambiguously, as he did before. Achish said, Therefore will I make thee keeper of my head — That is, he promised to make him captain of his life-guard, which, we find by the sequel, he accordingly did. Achish evidently understood David as promising that he would do his best to serve him. Delaney thinks that David gave Achish a doubtful answer, because he would not resolve upon so extraordinary a step without consulting God, either by his priest or his prophet. And that, as he proceeded so far as to attend Achish to Aphek, the place appointed for the assembling of the Philistine forces, there is no reason to doubt that he went thither with honest intentions toward his protector, and that he did it by the divine permission.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 28:2". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/1-samuel-28.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Do; or "can do." Thou wilt be convinced of my valour and fidelity. (Haydock) --- But could David lawfully fight against his brethren? or could he desert Achis in the heat of the engagement? His answer is ambiguous. (Calmet) --- He prudently committed his cause into the hands of Providence, resolved to do nothing contrary to his duty, and to abide by God's decision, in this critical juncture, so that Cajetan blames him unjustly. (Salien; Menochius; Tirinus) --- Guard. Septuagint, "captain of my body guard."

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 28:2". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/1-samuel-28.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Surely = Therefore; which Achish repeats in his reply.

keeper of mine head: i.e. captain of my body-guard.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 28:2". "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 David said to Achish, Surely thou shalt know what thy servant can do. And Achish said to David, Therefore will I make thee keeper of mine head for ever.

Surely thou shalt know what thy servant can do. This answer, while it seemed to express an apparent cheerfulness in agreeing to the proposal, contained a studied ambiguity, a wary and politic generality.

Therefore will I make thee keeper of mine head - or my life; i:e., captain of my body-guard-an office of great trust and high honour.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 28:2". "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

(2) And David said to Achish.—Sorely perplexed, David temporises. He dares not refuse; and yet, the idea of commanding a Philistine division in a war with Israel was to him a terrible alternative.

And Achish said to David, Therefore will I make thee keeper of mine head for ever.—The King of Gath, like so many others with whom the winning son of Jesse came in contact in his career, seems to have been completely won by his loveable, generous character, and would not see any ambiguity in David’s reply, but at once offers him in the coming campaign a most distinguished appointment in the army of Gath—the command of the body-guard: for this is what Ewald understands the offer of King Achish to signify.

But, as we shall see, the blind confidence of the king was not fully shared in by the Philistine chieftains; jealousy of the distinguished stranger captain opened their eyes to David’s real feelings. (See 1 Samuel 29:3; 1 Samuel 29:11.) It is also quite conceivable, too, that whispers respecting David s expeditions during the past year were current in some Philistine quarters. The eyes of the king, thought these more far-seeing nobles, were blinded by his partiality for his military vassal. (See Note on 1 Samuel 29:3.)

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 28:2". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/1-samuel-28.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And David said to Achish, Surely thou shalt know what thy servant can do. And Achish said to David, Therefore will I make thee keeper of mine head for ever.
Surely
27:10; 2 Samuel 16:16-19; Romans 12:9
Reciprocal: Exodus 21:6 - for ever;  1 Samuel 29:1 - the Philistines;  1 Samuel 29:2 - but David;  1 Samuel 29:8 - that I may not;  2 Samuel 16:19 - should I not serve;  Psalm 60:7 - strength;  Song of Solomon 3:7 - threescore

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 28:2". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/1-samuel-28.html.