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Fausset's Bible Dictionary
("beloved".) His outer life is narrated in the histories of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles; his inner life is unfolded by himself in the Psalms. The verbal coincidences in Psalms and the allusions incidentally to facts which the histories detail are evidently undesigned, and therefore confirm the genuineness of both. The youngest of the eight sons of Jesse of Bethlehem (1 Samuel 16:11); great grandson of Ruth and Boaz, "a mighty man of wealth" (Ruth 2:1; Ruth 4:21;Ruth 4:22). Born, according to the common chronology, 1085 B.C. Began to reign when 30 years of age. but over Judah alone, 1055 B.C. (2 Samuel 5:4; 1 Kings 2:11; 1 Chronicles 29:27); over all Israel, seven years and six months later, 1048 B.C. He died in 1015 B.C., 70 years old. In early life he tended Jesse's flocks, thereby being trained for his subsequent career, for he had ample scope for quiet and prayerful meditations such as Moses had in his 40 years retirement in Midian before his call to public life, and as Paul had in the Arabian sojourn (Galatians 1:17) before his worldwide ministry.
Those who are to be great public men often need first to be men of privacy. His intimate acquaintance with the beauties of nature, alike water, field, hill, and forest below, and the sun, moon, and glorious heavens above, gives coloring to many of his psalms (Psalm 29; Psalm 8; Psalm 19, etc.). His shepherd life, exposed to wild beasts, yet preserved by God amidst green pastures and still waters, furnishes imagery to Psalms 22:20-21; Psalm 23; Psalms 7:2. His active energies were at the same time exercised in adventures amidst the hills and dales of Judah, in one of which his courage was tested by a close encounter with a lion, and in another with a bear, both of which he slew, grasping the beast by the beard and rescuing a lamb out of his mouth. These encounters nerved him for his first great victory, the turning point of his life, the slaying of Goliath of Gath (1 Samuel 17:35). Moreover, his accurate acquaintance with all the hiding places in the cavern-pierced hills, e.g. the cave of Adullam, proved of great service to him afterwards in his pursuit by Saul.
The Bible authorities for his biography are the Davidic psalms and poetic fragments in the histories (2 Samuel 1:19-27; 2 Samuel 3:33-34; 2 Samuel 3:22; 2 Samuel 23:1-7); next the chronicles or state annals of David (1 Chronicles 27:24); the book (history) of Samuel the seer, that of Nathan the prophet, and that of Gad the seer (1 Chronicles 29:29). Jesse had a brother, Jonathan, whom David made one of his counselors (1 Chronicles 27:32). Jesse's wife, David's mother, is not named; but Nahash her former husband is the one by whom she had two daughters, David's half-sisters: Zeruiah, mother of Abishai, Joab and Asahel; and Abigail, mother of Amasa by Jether or Ithra (1 Chronicles 2:13-17; 2 Samuel 17:25). Jesse was an old man when David was a mere youth (1 Chronicles 17:12). His sisters were much older than David, so that their children, David's nephews, were his contemporaries and companions more than his own brothers. David shared some of their war-like determined characteristics, but shrank from their stern recklessness of bloodshed in whatever object they sought (2 Samuel 3:39; 2 Samuel 19:7).
His oldest brother, Eliab, behaved unkindly and imperiously toward him when he went like a second Joseph, sent by his father to seek his brethren's welfare (1 Samuel 17:17-18; 1 Samuel 17:28-29). Eliab's "command," as head of Jesse's sons, was regarded by the rest as authoritative (1 Samuel 20:29), and the youngest, David, was thought scarcely worth bringing before the prophet Samuel (1 Samuel 16:11). Hence, he had assigned to him the charge of the flock, ordinarily assigned to the least esteemed of the family, women, and servants, as was the case with Moses, Zipporah, Jacob, Rachel. When David became king, instead of returning evil for evil he made Eliab head of the tribe of Judah (1 Chronicles 27:18), Elihu = Eliab. His brother Shimeah had two sons connected with his subsequent history, Jonadab, the subtle, bad, selfish adviser of incestuous Amnon (2 Samuel 13:3; 2 Samuel 13:32-33), and Jonathan who killed a giant of Gath (2 Samuel 21:21). Nahash was probably one of the royal family of Ammon, which will account for David's friendship with the king of the same name, as also with Shobi, son of Nahash, from both of whom he received "kindness" in distress (2 Samuel 10:2; 2 Samuel 17:27).
Ammon and David had a common enemy, Saul (1 Samuel 11); besides David's Moabite great grandmother, Ruth, connected him with Moab, Ammon's kinsmen. Hence, it was most natural to him to repair to Moab and Ammon when pursued by Saul. At first sight, we wonder at his leaving his father and mother for safe-keeping with the king of Moab (1 Samuel 22); but the Book of Ruth shows how coincident with probability this is, and yet how little like the harmony contrived by a forger! His Gentile connection gave him somewhat enlarged views of the coming kingdom of Messiah, whose type and ancestor he was privileged to be (Psalms 2:8; Matthew 1:5). His birthplace was Bethlehem (as it was of his Antitype, Messiah: Luke 2:4, etc.); and of his patrimony there he gave to Chimham a property which long retained Chimham's name, in reward for the father Barzillai's loyalty and help in Absalom's rebellion (2 Samuel 19:37-38; Jeremiah 41:17). His early associations with Bethlehem made him when in a hold desire a drink of water from its well while the Philistines held it.
Three of his 30 captains broke through and brought it; but David, with the tender conscientiousness which characterized him (compare 1 Samuel 24:5; 2 Samuel 24:10), and which appreciated the deep spirituality of the sixth commandment, would not drink it but poured it out to the Lord, saying, "My God forbid it me: shall I drink the blood of these men that have put their lives in jeopardy?" (1 Chronicles 10:15-19). Saul, the people's choice, having been rejected from being king for disobedience, God manifested His sovereignty by choosing one, the very last thought of by his own family or even by the prophet; not the oldest, but the youngest; not like Saul, taller than the people by head and shoulders, but of moderate stature. (See .) A yearly sacrificial feast used to be held at Bethlehem, whereat Jesse, as chief landowner, presided with the elders (1 Samuel 16; 1 Samuel 20:6; compare at Saul's selection, 1 Samuel 9:12). But now suddenly at God's command, Samuel, though fearful of Saul's deadly enmity, appears there driving a heifer before him, to offer an extraordinary sacrifice.
The elders trembling, lest his visit should be for judicial punishment of some sin, inquired, "Comest thou peaceably?" He answered, "Peaceably." Then inviting them and Jesse's sons he caused the latter to pass successively before him. Seven sons passed by but were rejected, notwithstanding Samuel's pre-possession in favor of Eliab's countenance and stature, since Jehovah, unlike man, "looks not on the outward appearance but on the heart." David, seemingly the least likely and the youngest, was fetched from the sheep; and his unction with oil by the prophet previous to the feast was accompanied with the unction of the Spirit of the Lord from that day forward. Simultaneously, the Spirit of Jehovah left Saul and an evil spirit from Jehovah troubled him. David was "a man after the Lord's own heart" (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22). Moreover, he did not lack those outward graces which were looked for in a king; "ruddy," i.e. with auburn hair, esteemed to be a beauty in the South and East, where black hair is usual; with "bright eyes" (margin, 1 Samuel 16:12; 1 Samuel 16:18); goodly in countenance, and comely in person (1 Samuel 17:42); besides being "mighty, valiant, a man of war," and altogether "prudent."
Like his nephew, Asahel, his feet were by his God made "like hinds' feet." David adds (Psalms 18:33-34): "He teacheth my hands to war, so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms." Nothing could be more homely than his outward attire, with a staff or wand in hand used for dogs, and a pouch around his neck for carrying a shepherd's necessaries (1 Samuel 17:40-43). But God gave him "integrity of heart and skillfulness of hands," qualifying him for "feeding and guiding Israel," after that he was "taken from the sheepfolds" (Psalms 78:70-72), and "from the sheepcote" (2 Samuel 7:8). Nor was he ashamed of his early life, but he delighted gratefully to acknowledge before God that he was "the man raised up on high" (2 Samuel 23:1; compare Psalm 89). The first glimpse we have of David's taste in music and sacred poetry, which afterward appears so preeminent in his psalms, is in his having been chosen as the best minstrel to charm away the evil spirit when it came upon Saul (1 Samuel 16:15-23).
Thus, the evil spirit departed, but the good Spirit did not come to Saul; and the result was, when David was driven away, the evil returned worse than ever. (Compare 1 Samuel 28 with Matthew 12:43-45). David doubtless received further training in the schools of the prophets, who connected their prophesying with the soothing and elevating music of psaltery, tabret, pipe, and harp (1 Samuel 10:5); for he and Samuel (who also feared Saul's wrath for his having anointed David: 1 Samuel 16:2) dwelt together in Naioth near Ramah, i.e. in the "habitations" of the prophets there, connected together by a wall or hedge round; a school over which Samuel presided, as Elisha did over those at Gilgal and Jericho; schools not for monastic separation from life's duties, but for mental and spiritual training with a view to greater usefulness in the world. (See .) Thus, he became "the sweet singer of Israel" (2 Samuel 23:1), "the inventor of instruments of music" (Amos 6:5). Compare 1 Chronicles 23:5; 1 Chronicles 15:16; 1 Chronicles 15:19-21; 1 Chronicles 15:24; 1 Chronicles 25:1; 2 Chronicles 29:25-26.
The use of cymbals, psalteries, and harps, in a form suitable for the temple worship, was by his command; the kinnor (the lyre) and the nebel (the psaltery, a stringed instrument played by the hand) being improved by him and added to the cymbals, as distinguished from the "trumpets." The portion 1 Samuel 17 - 18:2 has been thought a parenthesis explaining how David became first introduced to Saul. But 1 Samuel 17:12; 1 Samuel 17:15 show that Saul already had David in attendance upon him, for Jesse his father is called "that Ephrathite" (namely, that one spoken of above), and it is said before David's going forth to meet Goliath that "David went and returned from Saul to feed his father's sheep at Bethlehem." How then shall we account for Saul's question just before the encounter, "Abner, whose son is this youth?" and after it," Whose son art thou, young man?" (1 Samuel 17:55-58.) Also, is this question consistent with his being already "Saul's armor-bearer and loved greatly" by him (1 Samuel 16:20-21.)
The title "armor-bearer" was honorary, like our aide-de-camp, e.g. Joab had ten (2 Samuel 18:15). David merely attended Saul for a time, and returned to tend his father's sheep, where he was when the war broke out in which Goliath was the Philistine champion. Saul's question (1 Samuel 17:55-58), "Whose son art thou?" must therefore imply more than asking the name of David's father. Evidently, he entered into a full inquiry about him, having lost sight of him since the time David had been in attendance. The words (1 Samuel 18:1) "when David made an end of speaking unto Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit unto the soul of David," imply a lengthened detail of all concerning his father and himself. The sacred writer of 1 Samuel probably embodied in his narrative some fragments of the authoritative documents mentioned above, stamping them with divine sanction; hence arises a variation between the different documents which would be cleared up if we knew more fully the circumstances. Both are true, though the explanation of how they harmonize can only be conjectured with more or less probability.
The battle was at Ephes-Dammim in the boundary hills of Judah; Saul's army on one side of the valley, the Philistines on the other, the brook Elah (i.e. the Terebinth) running between. Goliath's complete armor contrasted with the ill-armed state of Israel, whose king alone was well armed (1 Samuel 17:38). (See -DAMMIM.) For, as Porsena imposed on the Romans the stipulation that they should use no iron except in farm work (Pliny, 34:14), so the Philistines forced the Israelites to have "no smith throughout all their land, lest the Hebrew make them swords or spears" (1 Samuel 13:19-20). David at this moment, when all the Israelites were dismayed, came to bring supplies for his brethren and to get from them a "pledge" that they were alive and well. Arriving at the wagon rampart (not "the trench" as KJV) round Israel's camp, he heard their well-known war shout (Numbers 23:21, compare Numbers 10:35). Leaving his Carriage (the vessels of supplies which he carried) in the hand of the baggage-master, he ran to greet his brethren in the midst of the lines, and there heard Goliath's challenge repeated on the 40th day for the 40th time. (See .)
The meekness with which David conquered his own spirit, when Eliab charged him with pride, the very sin which prompted Eliab's own angry and uncharitable imputation, was a fit prelude to his conquest of Goliath; self must be overcome before we can overcome others (Proverbs 16:32; Proverbs 13:10). The same principle," judge not according to the appearance" (John 7:24), as. at his anointing (1 Samuel 16:7), is set forth in the victory of this "youth" over "a man of war from his youth." Physical strength and size, severed from God; is mere beast strength, and must fall before the seemingly feeblest whose God is the Lord. This is the force of his words: "thy servant slew both the lion and the bear, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God." Man becomes beastlike when severed from God, and is only manly when he is godly. (See ; DANIEL.) Confidence in God, not self, grounded on past deliverance, and on God's honor being at stake before the assembled people of God and the enemies of God (1 Samuel 17:45-48), filled him with such alacrity that he "ran" toward the enemy, and with his simple sling and stone smote him to the ground.
His armor David took first to his tent, and afterward to the tabernacle at Nob; his head David brought to Jerusalem (the city, not the citadel, which was then a Jebusite possession). At this point begins the second era of David's life, his persecution by Saul. A word is enough to rouse the jealous spirit, especially in a king towards a subject. That word was spoken by the women, unconscious of the effect of their words while they sang in responsive strains before the king and his champion, "Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands." "They have ascribed unto David ten thousands, and to me but thousands, and what can he have more but the kingdom?" Conscience told him he had forfeited his throne; and remembering Samuel's word after his disobedience as to the Amalekites (1 Samuel 15:28), "the Lord hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbor of thine that is better than thou," he "eyed David" as possibly the "neighbor" meant. Envy moved Saul under the evil spirit to cast his javelin at him, but twice he eluded it.
His already noted (1 Samuel 16:18) prudence, whereby "he behaved himself wisely in all his ways," was now brought into play; a quality which in dependence upon Jehovah, its Giver (Psalms 5:8), he in Psalms 101:1, by an undesigned coincidence, professes in the same words his determination to exercise, and which as it was the characteristic of Jacob, Israel's forefather, so it has been prominent in his descendants in all ages, modern as well as ancient, especially in times of persecution; analogous to the instinctive sagacity of hunted animals. So wisely did he behave, and so manifestly was the Lord with him, that Saul the king was afraid of David his subject; "therefore Saul removed him from him and made him captain over a thousand" (1 Samuel 18:13). Subsequently, he was captain of the king's bodyguard, next to Abner the captain of the host and Jonathan the heir apparent, and sat with the king at table daily (1 Samuel 20:25; 1 Samuel 22:14). Next, after Saul broke his promise of giving Merab his older daughter to be David's wife, by giving her to Adriel instead, Michal, Saul's second daughter, became attached to David.
Saul used her as a "snare" that David might fall by the Philistines. The dowry Saul required was 100 foreskins of the Philistines. David brought him 200, which, so far from abating his malice, seeing that the Lord was so manifestly, with David, made him only the more bitter "enemy." But God can raise up friends to His people in their enemy's house; and as Pharaoh's daughter saved Moses, so Saul's son Jonathan and daughter Michal saved David. After having promised in the living Jehovah's name David's safety to Jonathan, and after David had "slain the Philistines with a great slaughter" from which they did not recover until the battle in which Saul fell, Saul hurled his javelin at David with such force that it entered into the wall and then would have killed David in his own house, but that by Michal's help he escaped through a window. Jonathan, his bosom friend, he saw once again and never after. Michal was given to Phaltiel, and was not restored to him until he made her restoration a condition of peace with Abner (1 Samuel 19; 2 Samuel 3:13-16).
How striking a retribution by the righteous God it was, that Saul himself fell by the very enemy by whom he hoped to kill David! How evidently this and kindred cases must have been in David's mind when he wrote of the sinner, "he made a pit and digged it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made" (Psalms 7:15-16); the title of this psalm probably refers to Saul, the black-hearted son of Kish the Benjamite, enigmatically glanced at as "Cush (Ethiopia; compare Jeremiah 13:23; Amos 9:7) the Benjamite." This first act in his long wanderings forms the subject of Psalm 59. The title states the occasion: "when Saul sent and they watched the house to kill him." The "bloody men" are Saul and his minions (Psalms 59:2). "The mighty are gathered against me, not for my transgression; ... they run and prepare themselves without my fault" (Psalms 59:3-4); herein he appeals to the all-knowing Jehovah, since the earthly king will not believe his protestations of innocence of the treason laid to his charge.
This psalm harmonizes with the independent history, 1 Samuel 18:8-30; 1 Samuel 20:30-31; 1 Samuel 22:8; 1 Samuel 24:9. This is the "lying" alluded to (Psalms 59:12). Saul's "pride" would not brook that David's exploits should be extolled above his; hence flowed the "lying" and malice. His minions, "like a dog returning at evening," thirsting for prey which they had in vain sought throughout the day, came tumultuously besieging David's house "that night" after Saul's vain attempt to destroy him in the day. His doom answered to his sin. Greatly trembling at the Philistine hosts, war-like though he was, but cowed by a guilty conscience, he who had made David to "wander up and down" now in his turn wanders hither and there for that spiritual guidance which Jehovah withheld and at last by night in disguise was a suppliant before the witch of Endor, which sealed his destruction (1 Samuel 28; 1 Chronicles 10:13). As David was "watched" by Saul's messengers (1 Samuel 19:11) so David's remedy was, "because of his (Saul's) strength will I wait upon (watch unto, Hebrew) Thee."
David, seeing no hope of safety while within Saul's reach, fled to Samuel and dwelt with him at the prophet's school in Naioth. Saul sent messengers to apprehend him; but they and even Saul himself, when he followed, were filled with the spirit of prophecy; and they who came to seize the servant of God joined David in Spirit-taught praises of God; so, God can turn the hearts of His people's foes (Proverbs 16:7; Proverbs 21:1); compare Acts 18:17 with 1 Corinthians 1:1, especially Saul's namesake (Acts 7:58 with Acts 9). After taking affectionate leave of Jonathan, David fled to Nob, where the tabernacle was, in order to inquire God's will concerning his future course, as was David's custom. Herein Psalms 16:7 undesignedly coincides with 1 Samuel 22:10; 1 Samuel 22:15. Ahimelech, alarmed at David's sudden appearance alone, lest he should be charged with some unwelcome commission, asked, "Why art thou alone?" (1 Samuel 21.) (See .) David, whom neither beast nor giant had shaken from his trust in the Lord, now through temporary unbelief told a lie, which involved the unsuspecting high priest and all his subordinates in one indiscriminate massacre, through Doeg's information to Saul.
Too late David acknowledged to the only survivor, Abiathar, that he had thereby occasioned their death (1 Samuel 22); so liable are even believers to vacillation and to consequent punishment. (See Psalms 16:7, in undesigned coincidence with 1 Samuel 23:2; 1 Samuel 23:4; 1 Samuel 23:6; 1 Samuel 23:9; 1 Samuel 30:7-8). Saul on the contrary had bereft himself of those through whom he might have consulted the Lord. So at last, "when the Lord answered him, neither by dreams, by Urim, nor by prophets," he filled up the measure of his guilt by repairing to the witch of Endor..) By the lie he gained his immediate object, the 12 shewbread loaves just removed from the table to make place for the new bread on the sabbath, and also Goliath's sword wrapped up in cloth behind the high priest's own ephod (shoulder dress), so precious a dedicatory offering was it deemed. One gain David derived and Saul lost by his slaughter of the priests; Abiathar, the sole survivor of the line of Ithamar, henceforth attended David, and through him David could always inquire of God, in God's appointed way (
Surely men's "sin will find them out" (1 Samuel 28:6-7; Numbers 32:23). The title of Psalm 52 informs us that it was composed in reference to Saul's cruel act on Doeg's officious tale-telling information. The "boaster in mischief, the mighty man" (the very term used of Saul, 2 Samuel 1:19), is not the herdsman Doeg, the ready tool of evil, but the master of hero might in animal courage, Saul. True hero might belongs to the godly alone, as Psalms 18:25 saith, "with an upright hero (Hebrew for 'man') Thou wilt show Thyself upright." Saul's "lying and all devouring words" (Psalms 5:3) are, with undesigned coincidence, illustrated by the independent history (1 Samuel 24:9), "wherefore hearest thou men's words, ... Behold, David seeketh thy hurt?" Saul's courtiers knew the road to his favor was to malign David. Saul was thus the prime mover of the lying charge. Doeg, for mischief and to curry favor, told the fact; it was Saul who put on it the false construction of treason against David and the innocent priests; compare David's similar language, Psalms 17:3-4.
Saul was "the man that made not God his strength, but trusted in the abundance of his riches and strengthened himself in his wickedness" (Psalms 52:7). For in undesigned coincidence with this the history (1 Samuel 22:7-9) represents him saying, "Will the son of Jesse give every one of you fields and vineyards?" etc., implying that he had all these (as Samuel foretold would be "the manner of the king," 1 Samuel 8:14) to give, which David had not. Singularly prophetic of Saul's own doom are the Words (Psalms 52:5) hinting at his having rooted out Ahimelech's family, "God shall likewise ... pluck thee out of try dwelling-place, and root thee out of the land of the living." Not only Saul, but all his bloody house save Mephibosheth, died by a violent death, by a righteous retribution in kind (1 Samuel 31:6; 2 Samuel 21:1-14; Psalms 18:25-26). Unbelieving calculation of probabilities, instead of doing the right thing in prayerful faith, led David to flee to Israel's enemies, the Philistines and Achish of Gath.
(See Psalms 56:5), he silently left his cause with God (Psalms 38:13-14). "Dove" represents his defenseless innocence, while pursued as a bird. He longed to have "wings like a dove to fly away and be at rest" (Psalms 55:6-7; 1 Samuel 26:20). The "strangers" are the Philistines, among whom he was sojourning in his "wanderings" (Psalms 56:8). The title of Psalm 34 says "he changed his behavior" or "concealed his intellect" (Hengstenberg), i.e. feigned madness," scrabbling on the doors and letting his spittle fall on his heard" (1 Samuel 21:10-15): so that Achish "(See ", (literally, father of a king, hereditary not elective monarch) drove him away, and he departed..) As Psalm 56 represents him praying for deliverance at this crisis, so Psalm 34 (in alphabetical acrostic arrangement in Hebrew), which by its tranquil tone shows it was composed in a season of quiet, is his permanent memorial of thanksgiving for the deliverance granted to his prayers. The title of Psalm 56, Jonath-elem-rechokim, means "the dumb dove among strangers." David was "dumb," inasmuch as, feeling words useless to enemies who "wrested" all he said (
"Goliath's sword" perhaps betrayed him, for Achish's servants immediately said, "Is not this David the king of the land? Did they not sing, ... David hath slain his ten thousands?" The sword which he had dishonestly got from Ahimelech now cuts the ground from under him, before Abimelech (Numbers 32:23), and the song of his former triumph is the very occasion of their interpreting it to mean his kingship. The title of Psalm 56 implies he was "taken" prisoner, and only escaped by feigning madness. He now became an independent outlaw (1 Samuel 22:1), and gathered a band of fugitives through debt or distress, in the cave some miles S.W. of Bethlehem, the largest in the land, (See . "His father's house (probably including Zeruiah's sons, certainly Abishai: 2 Samuel 23:13; 2 Samuel 23:18) went down there to him," an appropriate expression, for the path goes down from Bethlehem to it toward the Dead Sea. As formerly a shepherd he knew every winding of the cavern, as the Arabs now do.
Some of Canaanite origin joined him, as Ahimelech the Hittite (1 Samuel 26:6). Long after we read of "600 men coming after him from Gath" (2 Samuel 15:18). As Psalm 56 refers to his stay with the Philistine king, so Psalm 57 title, "when he fled from Saul in the cave," refers to his subsequent stay in the cave of Adullam. The "cave" symbolizes a gloomy position (Hebrews 11:38); and perhaps never did David's position seem darker than at that time, as he subsequently sets forth in the maschil (spiritual instruction) Psalm 142, for the edification and comfort of God's people when in similar cavelike positions of gloom and trial. From Adullam he went to Mizpeh ("watchtower, mountain height") of Moab, the Moabite royal residence on Mount Pisgah, and there, on the ground of kindred through Ruth the Moabitess, committed his aged parents to the charge of the king to secure them from Saul's enmity. This was the time probably when Nahash the Ammonite king showed him kindness (2 Samuel 10:2). Here too his future biographer, the prophet Gad, whose acquaintance he may have made when among the prophets at Naioth, joined him.
His name makes it possible he was a Gadite, the forerunner of the 11 Gadite chieftains who crossed the then overflowing Jordan to reach David shortly afterward. But now he was on the E. side of Jordan in Mizpeh-hold. Gad's warning, "Abide not in the hold, depart into Judah" (1 Samuel 22:5), implies that he was not to seek refuge outside the Holy Land, but trust in the Lord as his refuge. Tradition reports that the Moabites murdered his parents; if true, it must have been subsequently, since here it is implied David's parents left the hold when David left it. One thing is certain, that many years afterward David treated the subjugated Moabites with extraordinary severity," making them lie down upon the ground, and then with two lines measuring to put to death, and with one full line to keep alive," i.e. killing two-thirds of their fighting men, and sparing only one third. If in the interim, in violation of the rights of hospitality and kindred, they treacherously murdered his parents, his exceptional severity is accounted for. In Psalms 60:8, "Moab is my washpot," he marks their ignominious subjection to the slave's office of washing the feet of the master.
Annually they had to pay 10,000 lambs and as many rams (2 Kings 3:4; Isaiah 16:1). In Psalm 27 he alludes to this severance from his parents, who possibly (such is man's selfishness in calamity) blamed him for their exile: "when my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up" (yaaspheeni ), as a child disowned by its parents, and taken up by the adoptive father from the streets; compare Ezekiel 16:5-6. The "sorrow multiplying" idolatries surrounding him, while among the Philistines and in Moab, and his prayer for preservation amidst all, suggested the related pair of psalms, Ps 16 and Psalm 17 "Preserve me, O God, for in Thee do I put my trust" (Psalms 16:1); "their sorrows shall be multiplied that hasten after another God"; in contrast to which his blessed experience is, "the Lord is the portion of mine inheritance," "the lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places, yea I have a goodly heritage." The names for idol gods and sorrows are almost identical; 'alztseboth , 'atsabbim; a bad augury for those who "hasten after" (as one buying a wife at the price of a costly dowry, Hebrew) them.
In undesigned coincidence with this, David at Hachilah, in his appeal to Saul, fixes on this as the chief hardship of his exile from the Holy Land; they who stirred thee up against me" have driven me out from abiding in the inheritance of the Lord, saying, Go serve other gods:" The Moabite stone of Dibon strikingly confirms the Scripture representation of the free contact carried on between Israelites and Moabites, not being impeded by difference of language; Moab, if sprung from Lot as the Bible states, would use a language not widely different from that of Lot's uncle Abraham's descendants; so the Dibon stone is inscribed (about 900 B.C.) with a language almost identical with the Hebrew of the Bible histories, Samuel and Kings. Next, David by Gad's warning fled to Hareth forest. (See.) But hearing that the Philistines were robbing the threshing floors of Keilah (in the lowland of Judah toward Philistia), love of country prevailed over every thought of his own safety. (See .) But first he inquired of the Lord, "Shall I go, ... and save Keilah?"
Upon receiving a favorable response twice, probably through Gad, he went in spite of the remonstrance of his men, whose faith yielded to fears. He saved the city, killed many Philistines, and carried away their cattle. His self-devotion in behalf of Keilah was rewarded by treacherous ingratitude on the part of the citizens so saved. For, on Saul's secretly plotting mischief against him while shut up in Keilah, he learned by inquiry of the Lord, through Abiathar with the ephod, that the men of Keilah would betray him if he stayed, a type of Him who was betrayed by those whom He came to save (1 Samuel 23). From Keilah David and his 600 men (to which number they had increased from 400 in Adullam, 1 Samuel 22:2,) going to a mountain in the wilderness of Ziph, dispersed in the fastnesses "wheresoever they could go." It is to this occasion that Psalm 11 refers: "in the Lord put I my trust, how say ye to my soul, flee as a bird to your mountain." Literally he did flee; but the flight from which his spiritual instincts recoiled (compare Nehemiah 6:11) was that from trust in Jehovah; though his followers' faith was giving way, especially when even Saul was claiming God as on his side against David (1 Samuel 23:3; 1 Samuel 23:7.)
The image of a "bird" is the very one the independent history represents him using while in the same neighborhood (1 Samuel 26:20): "the king of Israel is come out as when one doth hunt a partridge in the mountains." At an alarm birds flee from the open plain to the covert of a hill. "The wicked bending their bow ... that they may privily shoot at the upright" (Psalms 11:2), points to the treacherous Ziphites tracking "his foot" (the margin of 1 Samuel 23:22), and guiding Saul and his Benjamite bowmen toward David. They "compassed" him (as Psalms 17:9 expresses it, in agreement with the history) so closely at the wilderness of Maon, they on the one side while he was on the other, that David only by "making haste got away." God's providence interposed, for just as Saul was on the verge of overtaking him the Philistines unintentionally saved David by invading Judah and so requiring Saul in haste to meet them, the very enemies by whom Saul had hoped to kill David (1 Samuel 18:21)!
The name Sela-hammah-lekoth, "the rock of divisions," marked the spot where David climbed down one side while Saul was surrounding the mountain on the other side. Psalm 54 was written "when the Ziphims came and said to Saul, Doth not David hide himself with us?" Twice they informed Saul (1 Samuel 23; 1 Samuel 26). The exact words corresponding in both show that 1 Samuel 23:19 is the occasion meant in Psalm 54 "Strangers are risen up against me" (Psalms 54:3); i.e., the Ziphites, who by the ties of country ought to have been friends, are behaving as hostile "strangers"; compare Isaiah 25:5; Psalms 120:5. So in Psalms 54:5 the" enemies" are shoreray , "those who watch me," liers in wait. Next, David dwelt in the strongholds of Engedi ("the fountain of the goat or kid"), "the rocks of the wild goats" (1 Samuel 24). This was in the neighborhood of the Dead Sea, the scene of the destruction by fire of the guilty cities of the plain. How naturally here the idea would suggest itself (Psalms 11:6), "upon the wicked Jehovah shall rain fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest" ("the wrath wind," zil'aphot; compare" the breath of the Lord," Isaiah 30:33).
See last paragraph for the undesigned coincidence between Psalms 11:1-2 and 1 Samuel 26:20-25. Here Providence put Saul the persecutor in his victim David's power. For Saul went into one of the caves with which the chalk and limestone conical hills W. of the Dead Sea abound, "to cover his feet" (to perform nature's necessities, Judges 3:24; i.e. to defecate) while David's men were lurking in the sides. David silently cut off Saul's skirt on his spreading out his long robe before and behind. But though his men regarded it as an opportunity for killing him, appointed by Jehovah, David said," Jehovah forbid that I should ... stretch forth mine hand against ... Jehovah's anointed." Nay, his conscience even "smote him because he had cut off Saul's skirt." After Saul had left the cave David cried after him, "wherefore hearest thou men's words, ... Behold, David seeketh thy hurt?" So in Psalms 7:3 he says, "if I have done this," namely, what my calumniators allege, "if there be iniquity in my hands." How undesignedly and naturally his words in the history coincide: "My father, see the skirt of try robe in my hand, for in that I killed thee not, know there is neither evil nor transgression in mine hand, yet thou huntest my soul."
The same favorite expressions occur in the psalm, "lest he tear my soul" (Psalms 7:2; Psalms 7:5), and "persecute me" (Psalms 7:1), as in 1 Samuel 24:14, "whom dost thou persecute?" (Hebrew) Saul was astonished at David's magnanimity as something above the mere natural man:" if a man find his enemy, will he let him go well away? Wherefore the Lord reward thee good for that thou hast done unto me this day." How natural that the charge which Saul had alleged against David as his plea for persecuting him, but which really lay at Saul's own door, should be uppermost in David's mind: Psalms 7:4, "if I have rewarded evil unto him that was at peace with me." Moreover, the same phrases occur in 1 Samuel 26, describing the similar magnanimity of David toward Saul (1 Samuel 26:18), and the same allusion to men's calumnies against David to gain Saul's favor. In Psalms 7:3-5 he defends himself against these calumnies; and the title, "concerning the words," refers to them, for the real calumniator was Saul himself, and his flatterers uttered the calumnies to please him, therefore the title attributes "the words" to "Cush the Benjamite," i.e. the Ethiopian (black) hearted son of Kish of Benjamin = Saul.
As in 1 Samuel 24:12; 1 Samuel 26:15, David says, "The Lord judge between me and thee ... but mine hand shall not be upon thee; the Lord render to every man his righteousness"; so in Psalms 7:8; Psalms 7:11 "Judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness ... God judgeth the righteous." In both alike appears the same committing of his righteous cause to the righteous God (compare Psalms 18:20). Jehovah's "whetted sword" and "arrows ordained against the persecutors" literally smote Saul, in accordance with David's prophecy in Psalms 7:13, for he was smitten by the arrows of the very Philistines by whom he had hoped to smite David, and he fell by his own sword (1 Samuel 18:17; 1 Samuel 18:21; compare 1 Samuel 31:3-4). David, of whom Saul had said, Let the hand of the Philistines be upon him, was actually saved by them (1 Samuel 27:1-3), it was Saul who was slain by them. So accurately was the retributive law fulfilled; "he made a pit and digged, and is fallen into the ditch which he made.
His mischief shall return upon his own head, and his violent dealing shall come upon his own pate" (Psalms 7:15-16). The last interview between Saul and David was further S. in the same region, at the hill of Hachilah before Jeshimon, where Saul lay in the camp with the usual fortification of wagons and baggage around (1 Samuel 26:5 margin). David abode in the wilderness, and having ascertained by spies Saul's presence, sallied forth with Ablshai, and found Saul asleep, with his spear stuck in the ground beside him. Abishai would have smitten him with the spear, but David interposed: "Destroy him not, for who can stretch forth his hand against the Lord's anointed and be guiltless?" adding prophetically, "the Lord shall smite him ... or he shall descend into battle and perish" (compare 1 Samuel 31:6). This phrase became a motto to him, "Destroy not," Altaschith, prefixed to Psalm 57; 58; 59, and copied by Asaph, Psalm 75 He could say "Destroy not" to God, when he "destroyed not" his enemy (Matthew 18:32-35; Matthew 26:52).
Contenting himself with taking Saul's cruse, and the spear which had so nearly transfixed him, David appealed to the persecutor, whose heart was touched, and so David overcame evil with good. While in Maon David sought contributions from Nabal of Carmel (1 Samuel 25), of the house of Caleb but sadly degenerate from his wholehearted ancestor; David's men had been "very good" to Nabal's shepherds, neither hurting men nor taking property though in their power, yea "being a wall unto them both by night and day." But Nabal churlishly replied, "Shall I take my bread, my water, and my flesh (the repeated "my" marks his covetous God-forgetting selfishness, Hosea 2:5), and give it to men whom I know not from whence they be? There be many servants (glancing at David) nowadays that break away every man from his master." David here was strongly tempted to that which he had abstained from in the case of Saul, personal revenge. Abigail, Nabal's wife, by her timely present of bread, wine, sheep, and fruit, saved herself and her house when David was bent on vengeance for having been requited evil for good.
With wise unselfishness she said, "Upon me let this iniquity be ... let not my lord regard this man of Belial, for as his name is so is he; Nabal ("fool") is his name, and folly is with him." At the same time she salved over the dishonor Nabal had done to David personally:" my lord fighteth the battles of the Lord (compare 1 Samuel 18:17); yet a man is risen ... to seek thy soul; but the soul of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of life, ... and the souls of thine enemies shall the Lord sling out as out of the middle of a sling," with feminine tact alluding to the great achievement of David, his slaying Goliath with a sling. In ten days after Nabal's unreasonable and drunken feast, from which he awoke only to hear of his imminent danger, the Lord struck Nabal down in such a way that he died. Then David blessed Jehovah for having" "pleaded his cause" (the phrase in the history coinciding undesignedly with that in Psalms 35:1) against Nabal, and having kept David from self-revenge; compare Romans 12:19.
Another coincidence between David's language in the independent history and that in his sacred poetry appears from comparing 1 Samuel 25:39, "the Lord hath returned the wickedness of Nabal upon his own head," with Psalms 7:16, "his mischief shall return upon his own head." Scripture, which calls things by their right names, designates the unbelieving sinner a "fool," however wise in his own eyes and those of the world because gilded by worldly success. David could not fail to be deeply impressed with this in Nabal's case, whose name expressed his self-indulging, unbelieving folly. Having taken Abigail as his wife, David must have often thought of the remarkable providence under which he met her. How naturally then in the psalm which was indited for private devotion in the form of Psalm 53, and for public use in the sanctuary in the form of Psalm 14, does he stigmatize godlessness as the secret spring of the FOLLY of worldlings: "the fool (Nabal) hath said in his heart, No God!" How suddenly "great fear" came upon him in the midst of his godless feasting, "when no fear was" (Psalms 53:5).
For when told, in the morning after his revel, of his danger, "his heart died within him, and he became as a stone"; the same heart which just before had been so "merry within him"; like the rich man who in the midst of his self-aggrandizing and indulging plans received the awful summons," Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee" (Luke 12:16-20). The death of Saul, after he had "played the fool and erred exceedingly" (1 Samuel 26:21), and the utter "perishing" of Aamlek's "memorial with them," because their "hand was against the throne of the Lord" (Exodus 17:16 margin), illustrate the same principle as set forth in David's Psalm 9, with the title Muth-Labben, i.e. an anagram for Nabal," concerning the dying of the fool," the phrase of David again in 2 Samuel 3:33. (See .) Unbelieving fear ("I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul") and human calculations (such is the vacillation even in believers) induced David again to seek refuge among the Philistines; but now no longer a fugitive, but captain of an organized band, 600 men with their wives and families.
Achish of Gath (son of the former Achish says tradition), according to the usage of eastern monarchs, gave him Ziklag for his maintenance, which thenceforth appertained to Judah (1 Samuel 27). So did his power grow that a band of Benjamites, of Saul's brethren, right-handed and left-handed slingers and archers, with their captains, including Ismaiah the Gibeonite, a mighty man over the 30, joined him here (1 Chronicles 12:1-7), and he stayed "a full year and four months." David during his stay smote the Geshurites, Gezrites, and Amalekites, the very people the sparing of whom in disobedience to God was the cause of Saul's rejection; but he was guilty of a deception to Achish, saying his inroad was upon the Jerahmeelites and Kenites, nomadic races on the S. of Judah, allied to Israel. But for God's providential interposition his putting himself in this false position would have been fatal to his peace of conscience, for he would have had to join with the pagan Philistines in the battle of Gilboa against his own countrymen.
He narrowly escaped by the protest of the Philistine nobles (1 Samuel 28-29). Psalm 34, referring probably to both his stays in Philistia (see title), celebrates how "the angel of the Lord encamped around" him because he "feared" God, and "delivered" him; and how "the Lord redeemeth the soul of His servants," besides "keeping all his bones" so that "not one of them is broken." On the march toward Gilboa, and as he turned back to Ziklag, several captains of the thousands of Manasseh joined him, "all mighty men of valor," so that his army increased "day by day until it was a great host, like the host of God" (1 Chronicles 12:19-22). Upon returning, he discovered that the Amalekites had burned Ziklag with fire (1 Samuel 30), and they carried away all its inhabitants - women and children - as captives. "David was greatly distressed," for besides his own deep grief, his two wives Ahinoam and Abigail being among those carried off, the people with characteristic fickleness "bade stone him." But distress now brought out into strong relief his faith which had vacillated in his coming to Philistia, so "he encouraged himself in the Lord his God."
In undesigned coincidence with this representation, in the history of his fears silenced by his faith, in Psalm 56, which commemorates his two stays in Philistia, he says (Psalms 56:3), "what time I am afraid I will trust in Thee." Consulting, as was his custom, God through Abiathar and the ephod, and receiving a favorable response, he pursued with 400 men (probably including some of the recently joined Manassites, 1 Chronicles 12:21), leaving 200 who were faint at the brook Besor. By an Egyptian's information he came upon the Amalekites and killed all except 400 who escaped on camels, and recovered all the captives and spoil. Besides, he took large spoil belonging to Amalek, and of it distributed "presents to all the places where David and his men were wont to haunt." This suggested his language Psalms 68:18, "Thou hast received gifts for men," as explained in relation to the Antitype (Ephesians 4:8). The law of division of plunder equally, among those engaged in the field and those guarding the baggage, was established (1 Samuel 25:13; 1 Samuel 30:25).
David's generosity to his fallen enemy appears in his punishment of the Amalekite, who, bringing news of Saul's death, and carrying to David the crown and bracelet stripped from him, confessed that he had put an end to Saul. David composed the beautiful elegy on Saul and Jonathan (2 Samuel 1:17-27), which he bade the children of Judah to be "taught" (compare title Psalm 60) in, designated "the bow" song, not as KJV "he bade them teach the children of Judah (the use of) the bow." Having first consulted the Lord, as always, David by His direction went up to Hebron, the sacred city where the patriarchs were buried and Caleb had his inheritance, and was there anointed king over Judah, which he continued to be 7 1/2 years. His noble-heartedness appears in his thanks to the men of Jabesh Gilead for burying Saul: "Blessed be ye of the Lord, that ye have showed this kindness ... now the Lord show kindness and truth unto you... I also will requite you this kindness." What a contrast to Saul's thanks to the Ziphites for betraying David: "Blessed be ye of the Lord (thus claiming God's sanction to treachery, malice, and bloodthirsty persecution of the innocent), for ye have compassion of me." Ishbosheth was not made king at Mahanaim until after David had reigned five years.
Probably all the country, except Judah in the S. and part of the transjordanic tribes on the E., were under the Philistine dominion after the fatal battle of Gilboa. Gradually, Israel recovered its land, and Abner at the close of the five years made Ishbosheth king. David however "waxed stronger and stronger," while "Saul's house waxed weaker and weaker" (2 Samuel 2-3). After a skirmish, disastrous to Ishbosheth's cause, that weak king offended Abner by charging him with an intrigue with Rizpah, Saul's concubine. Abner embraced David's side and procured David's wife Michal for him, severing her from her second husband Phaltiel. Then followed Joab's murder of Abner, which David felt himself politically unable to punish; but left the avenging of his blood to God, "these men the sons of Zeruiah be too hard for me, the Lord shall reward the doer of evil according to his wickedness" (2 Samuel 3:39), in coincidence with David's Psalms 28:4. David paid every honor to his memory, following the bier, and composing a dirge on his death. (See .)
Next followed Ishbosheth's murder and David's punishment of the murderers, Rechab and Baanah, who thought to gratify David by bringing his enemy's head. The coincidence between 2 Samuel 4:9, "as the Lord liveth who hath redeemed my soul out of all adversity," and Psalms 31:5; Psalms 31:7, is obvious. His sense of justice, even in the case of adversaries, his dependence continually on Jehovah, and humble ascription of all that he was to Him alone, kept him from behaving proudly in prosperity. Then he was anointed for the third time king, namely, over Israel (his reign lasting 33 years besides the previous 7 1/2 years over Judah
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Fausset, Andrew R. Entry for 'David'. Fausset's Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/fbd/d/david.html. 1949.