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AND David said in his heart: I shall gone day or other fall into the hands of Saul: is it not better for me to flee, and to be saved in the land of the Philistines, that Saul may despair of me, and cease to seek me in all the coasts of Israel? I will flee then out of his hands.

Ver. 1.  Hands.  God requires that we should act with prudence.  D.

 

--- David probably consulted the Lord, and sent ambassadors to Achis, before he went into his dominions, (M.) where he had been in such danger before.  D.


2 And David arose and went away, both he and the six hundred men that were with him, to Achis the son of Maoch, king of Geth.

Ver. 2.  Maoch, or Maacha.  3 K. ii. 29.  This king had perhaps seen David, when he counterfeited madness.  But now he was convinced that, by granting him protection, he would greatly annoy Saul, and draw many brave men out of his dominions.



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3 And David dwelt with Achis at Geth, he and his men: every man with his household, and David with his two wives, Achinoam the Jezrahelitess, and Abigail the wife of Nabal of Carmel.

Ver. 3.  Household.  They were aware of the cruelty of Saul.  The names of these valiant men are specified, 1 Par. xii. 1. &c.



Carmel

Carmel. Not where Elias dwelt, but a city and mountain 10 miles east of Eleutheropolis. Nabal rendered it famous by his imprudence, (1 K. xxv.) and Saul by a triumphal arch, 1 K. xv. 12. --- Carmel, so famous for the miracles of Elias, 3 K. xviii. 20. Josephus (Bel. ii. 17,) places it 120 stadia south of Ptolemais. This range of mountains extended northward through the tribes of Issachar and of Zabulon. Pliny (v. 17,) speaks of a promontory and of a town of this name. Here also the god Carmel was adored, having an altar, but no temple or image, as the ancients had decreed. Nec simulacrum Deo aut templum, (sic tradidere majores) ara tantum et reverentia. Tacit. Hist. ii. 78. --- Vespasian consulted the priest Basilides. Carmel means "the vineyard of the Lord," or the excellent vineyard, &c. It was so rich and beautiful as to become proverbial. The spouse compares the head of his beloved to Carmel. C. vii. 5. Isaias (xxxii. 15,) foretels that the deserts shall be equal to Carmel. It was covered with wood and fruit. S. Jerom in Isai. x. 18. Jer. iv. 26. The city, which was built upon this mountain, and which Pliny calls by the same name, was formerly styled Ecbatana. The oracle had denounced to Cambyses that he should die at Ecbatana, and he concluded that the city of Media was meant; but it was "that of Syria," says Herodotus, (iii. 64,) where he died.

4 And it was told Saul that David was fled to Geth, and he sought no more after him.


5 And David said to Achis: If I have found favour in thy sight, let a place be given me in one of the cities of this country, that I may dwell there: for why should thy servant dwell in the royal city with thee?

Ver. 5.  Country, less peopled, and more remote from the sea.

 

--- With thee.  David was attended like a king, so that he wished to avoid giving umbrage to Achis, and, at the same time, keep his own men at a greater distance from the contagious morals of the idolaters.


6 Then Achis gave him Siceleg that day: for which reason Siceleg belongeth to the kings of Juda unto this day.

Ver. 6.  Day.  This was written some time after the death of Samuel.

 

--- Siceleg belonged at first to Juda, and was afterwards given to the tribe of Simeon, till it fell into the hands of the Philistines, and being restored by them to David, was considered afterwards as the property of the kings of Juda.  It lay not far from Horma.  Jos. xix. 4.




7 And the time that David dwelt in the country of the Philistines, was four months.

Ver. 7.  Months.  Heb. "days and four months."  The former expression denotes a year; though some would have it, that David remained "four months and a few days" in the country.  He probably continued so many months at Geth, (v. 9. 11,) and about a year at Siceleg.  C.

 

--- Sept. have "days, four months;" and Salien adopts that term.  H.  See C. xxix. 3.  D.


8 And David and his men went up, and pillaged Gessuri, and Gerzi, and the Amalecites: for these were of old the inhabitants of the countries, as men go to Sur, even to the land of Egypt.

Ver. 8.  Pillaged Gessuri, &c.  These probably were enemies of the people of God; and some, if not all of them, were of the number of those whom God had ordered to be destroyed; which justifies David's proceedings in their regard.  Though it is to be observed here, that we are not under an obligation of justifying every thing that he did: for the Scripture, in relating what was done, doth not say that it was well done.  And even such as are true servants of God, are not to be imitated in all they do.  Ch.

 

--- The nations of Chanaan, who inhabited as far as Egypt, and the Amalecites, who had escaped the arms of Saul, were devoted to destruction.  Ex. xvii. &c.  In such cases, any man might fall upon them, without any other formal declaration of war.  C.

 

--- There was another Gessuri of Syria, in the tribe of Manasses, across the Jordan.  M.

 

--- The country which these people inhabited, to the south of Palestine, was afterwards depopulated by the kings of Egypt and of Syria, in their continual wars, so that many of the cities which are mentioned in Scripture, were never known to profane geographers.  C.

 

--- S. Jerom, (Trad.) Sa, and others, think that David attacked some of the Philistines.  But it is as probable at least that he would abstain from molesting them, whom had so generously afforded him an asylum.  Salien concludes, that he did not attack the other nations, (except the Amalecites, who were sufficiently marked out for destruction, Deut. xxv. 19,) without consulting the Lord, by the high priest, as he was accustomed to do in every difficulty.  A. 2979.  M.

 

--- They all dwelt in part of the land of Chanaan, (W.) which was sufficient.  H.




9 And David wasted all the land, and left neither man nor woman alive: and took away the sheep and the oxen, and the asses, and the camels, and the apparel, and returned and came to Achis.

Ver. 9.  Apparel.  Saul alone had been ordered to destroy all the property of Amalec.  Abulensis.


10 And Achis said to him: Whom hast thou gone against to day? David answered: Against the south of Juda, and against the south of Jerameel, and against the south of Ceni.

Ver. 10.  Jerameel, the son of Esron, inhabited the most southern part of Juda.

 

--- Ceni, or the Cinites, descendants of Jethro, (C.) who dwelt at Arad and the environs.  The words of David might signify that he attacked these people of Israel, as Achis understood him; or that he made inroads upon those who dwelt to the south of them, which was really the case.  H.

 

--- At his return, he passed by Siceleg, where he left the spoil, carrying some of the choicest things, as a present, to Achis.  M.

 

--- But he suffered none of the human race to be carried away captive, lest any of them might disclose the true state of affairs to the king, who might have apprehended that the injured nations would make an attack upon his dominions.  Salien.




11 And David saved neither man nor woman, neither brought he any of them to Geth, saying: Lest they should speak against us. So did David, and such was his proceeding all the days that he dwelt in the country of the Philistines.


12 And Achis believed David, saying: He hath done much harm to his people Israel: therefore he shall be my servant for ever.

Ver. 12.  Harm.  Heb. "he hath made himself stinking (an object of horror) to his people."  A strong expression used, Gen. xxxiv. 30.  Ex. v. 21.  C.

 

--- Sept. "he is quite covered with confusion."  Achis supposed that David had thus forfeited all his pretensions to dwell among, much less, to reign over Israel: so that he might keep him always in his service.  H.

 

--- In the mean time, Saul was exterminating the people of Gabaon, which brought a pestilence on Israel, 40 years later.  Theodoret.

 

--- He perhaps supposed that the oath of Josue had not been yet put in execution, as it ought to be, herein indulging too much his cruel temper.  Salien.


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