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NOW all the troops of the Philistines were gathered together to Aphec: and Israel also camped by the fountain which is in Jezrahel.

Ver. 1.  Aphec.  Hence they proceeded to Sunam, and attacked Saul, near the fountain, which were all places in the vale of Jezrahel.  The sacred writer thus leaves the two armies ready to engage, being intent on giving the particulars of David's history, and only relating the affairs of Saul, &c. in as much as they may refer to him.  C.

 

--- David had retired from the army of the Philistines before Saul went to Endor, and some of the tribe of Manasses went after him, and were present in the battle, in which the Amalecites were slain and plundered.  1 Par. xii. 19.  Salien.



Aphec

Aphec 1- (Josh 12:18; N.W. Juda): poss. Merj-Fikieh (Conder). 2- (Josh 19:30, etc.; Aser). 3- (1Sam 4:1; Benjamin): perhaps Qastûl. 4- (1 Sam 29:1; Issachar): El-'Afûleh, N.W. of Zerâ 'în. 5- (1Ki 20:26, etc.) Assyr.: Apqu: prob. Fîq, E. of the Lake of Tiberias. --- Aphec. A place of this name was in the tribe of Aser, another in that of Juda. --- Aphec, beyond Antilibanus, from which city the Israelites could not drive the Chanaanites. Judg. i. 31. Here the kings of Syria assembled their forces to attack the people of God, 1 K. xx. 26. Profane authors speak of the temple of Venus Aphachitis, who appeared in the eyes of the superstitious to shed tears. The city lay between Biblus and Heliopolis. Zozimus, i. 58. Euseb. (laud. Const.) Macrobius i. 21. --- Aphec, belonging to the tribe of Aser, though it does not appear that they ever obtained possession of it. Jos. xix. 30. A subterraneous fire and earthquake have caused the city to sink; and a lake, nine miles in circumference, now occupies its place. The ruins may still be discerned in its waters. It is about two hours walk from the plains of Balbec, (Paul Lucas. Levant i. 20.) at the foot of Libanus. The waters must be very thick and bituminous, if what is related by the ancients be true; namely, that the presents, offered to the Aphacite goddess, were tried by them, and deemed agreeable to her, if they sunk; as wool would do, while tiles, and often metals, would swim. C. --- Adrichomius places this Aphec on the great plain of Esdrelon, not far from Jezrahel. M

2 And the lords of the Philistines marched with their hundreds and their thousands: but David and his men were in the rear with Achis.

Ver. 2.  Thousands, making the troops pass in review, as the Hebrew insinuates.  Their army seems to have been divided, in the same manner as that of the Israelites, each company of 10, 50, &c. having its respective officer, under the five lords.

 

--- Were.  Heb. "passed."  David's band was connected with the troops of Achis, yet so that they might be easily distinguished by their dress, &c.  C.

 

--- The Roman Triarii, who were esteemed the bravest soldiers, occupied the rear.  M.

 

--- Josephus gives us to understand that Achis was the commander in chief.  Ant. vi. 14.  T.


3 And the princes of the Philistines said to Achis: What mean these Hebrews? And Achis said to the princes of the Philistines: Do you not know David, who was the servant of Saul the king of Israel, and hath been with me many days, or years, and I have found no fault in him, since the day that he fled over to me until this day?

Ver. 3.  Know David.  It seems they were not unacquainted with him, since they knew that Achis had given him a place, (v. 4,) or city.  H.

 

--- But they prudently judged that it would be very hazardous to employ him on this occasion.  Providence thus brought him honourably out of the scrape, as he could not have remained even inactive, among the troops of the Philistines, without rendering himself suspected both to them and to his own people.  C.

 

--- Years.  Abulensis thinks that Achis told an untruth, to persuade the lords that he had been long witness of David's fidelity.  He might also allude to the first time, when he came to his court, or the four months specified C. xxvii. 9, might fall into different years.  Sept. "he has been with us days, this is the second year."  M. 

 

--- Syr. "two years (Arab. "one year,") and some months."  C.

 

--- The true term was only four months.  W.


4 But the princes of the Philistines were angry with him, and they said to him: Let this man return, and abide in his place, which thou hast appointed him, and let him not go down with us to battle, lest he be an adversary to us, when we shall begin to fight: for how can he otherwise appease his master, but with our heads?

Ver. 4.  Adversary.  Heb. Satan, "a calumniator, enemy," &c.  C.

 

--- Tacitus (Hist. iv.) speaking of the Batavian corps, says, "which, being bribed, pretended to be faithful, that it might flee, and become more acceptable after it had betrayed the Romans in the heat of the engagement."



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5 Is not this David, to whom they sung in their dances, saying: Saul slew his thousands, and David his ten thousands? 6 Then Achis called David, and said to him: As the Lord liveth, thou art upright and good in my sight: and so is thy going out, and thy coming in with me in the army: and I have not found my evil in thee, since the day that thou camest to me unto this day: but thou pleasest not the lords.

Ver. 6.  Lord.  Heb. Jehova.  H.

 

--- Achis speaks of the true God, as David was accustomed to do.  Salien.

 

--- Perhaps he adored him, like his other gods; as the Israelites are accused of swearing by the Lord and by Melchom.  Soph. i. 5.

 

--- The pagans often appealed to the gods of those with whom they were treating.  C.


7 Return therefore, and go in peace, and offend not the eyes of the princes of the Philistines. 8 And David said to Achis: But what have I done, and what hast thou found in me thy servant, from the day that I have been in thy sight until this day, that I may not go and fight against the enemies of my lord the king?

Ver. 8.  King.  He speaks thus that he might not increase the suspicions of the Philistines.  M.

 

--- In the mean time, God called him to fight against Amalec, and to defend his own property, which was actually, or the next day, taken from Siceleg; (H.) so that nothing could have been more desirable to him, than to be thus dismissed with applause.  Salien.


9 And Achis answering said to David: I know that thou art good in my sight, as an angel of God: but the princes of the Philistines have said: He shall not go up with us to the battle.

Ver. 9.  Angel of God, equally incapable of any meanness.  The pagans admitted the existence of good and of evil spirits.  Sanctius.  This exaggerated compliment occurs, Gen. xxxiii. 10.  2 K. xiv. 17. and xix. 27.



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10 Therefore arise in the morning, thou, and the servants of thy lord, who came with thee: and when you are up before day, and it shall begin to be light, go on your way.

Ver. 10.  Thy Lord.  He may allude to Saul, (v. 3,) or to himself, (C. v. 8,) or to God, as David was under obligations to all three.  H.

 

--- Light, that none might know or be dejected, in the rest of the army.  M.


11 So David and his men arose in the night, that they might set forward in the morning, and returned to the land of the Philistines: and the Philistines went up to Jezrahel.
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