Then they told David, saying, Behold, the Philistines fight against Keilah, and they rob the threshingfloors.
Keilah was a city of Judah, situated, according to Eusebius, eight miles from Eleutheropolis, towards Hebron. Sozomen says that the prophet Habakkuk's tomb was shewn there.
Therefore David inquired of the LORD, saying, Shall I go and smite these Philistines? And the LORD said unto David, Go, and smite the Philistines, and save Keilah.
In what way David made this enquiry we are not told; but it was probably by means of Abiathar; and therefore it would seem, that with Houbigant, we should read the sixth verse immediately after the first.--This adventure was truly noble and patriotic. Had not David loved his country, and been above all motives of private and personal revenge, he would have rejoiced in this invasion of Judea, as producing a strong diversion in his favour, and embroiling his inveterate enemy. In most cases, a man with David's wrongs would have joined with the enemies of his country, and avenged himself on the author of his calamities; but he thinks of nothing but succouring Keilah, and using his power and influence in behalf of his brethren.
And David's men said unto him, Behold, we be afraid here in Judah: how much more then if we come to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines?
Then David enquired of the LORD yet again. And the LORD answered him and said, Arise, go down to Keilah; for I will deliver the Philistines into thine hand.
for I will
And it came to pass, when Abiathar the son of Ahimelech fled to David to Keilah, that he came down with an ephod in his hand.
And it was told Saul that David was come to Keilah. And Saul said, God hath delivered him into mine hand; for he is shut in, by entering into a town that hath gates and bars.
A. M. 2943. B.C. 1061. An. Ex. Is. 430. God hath
he is shut
And David knew that Saul secretly practised mischief against him; and he said to Abiathar the priest, Bring hither the ephod.
Then said David, O LORD God of Israel, thy servant hath certainly heard that Saul seeketh to come to Keilah, to destroy the city for my sake.
destroy the city
Will the men of Keilah deliver me up into his hand? will Saul come down, as thy servant hath heard? O LORD God of Israel, I beseech thee, tell thy servant. And the LORD said, He will come down.
And the Lord
Then said David, Will the men of Keilah deliver me and my men into the hand of Saul? And the LORD said, They will deliver thee up.
Heb. shut up.
Then David and his men, which were about six hundred, arose and departed out of Keilah, and went whithersoever they could go. And it was told Saul that David was escaped from Keilah; and he forbare to go forth.
And David abode in the wilderness in strong holds, and remained in a mountain in the wilderness of Ziph. And Saul sought him every day, but God delivered him not into his hand.
Ziph is mentioned in Joshua with Carmel and Maon, near which it seems to have been situated; and as we have mention of Carmel and Maon in the history of David, as adjoining to Ziph, it cannot be doubted that by the Ziph, in the wilderness of which David now lay, and where was the hill of Hachilah, is to be understood Ziph near Carmel and Maon.
And Jonathan Saul's son arose, and went to David into the wood, and strengthened his hand in God.
And he said unto him, Fear not: for the hand of Saul my father shall not find thee; and thou shalt be king over Israel, and I shall be next unto thee; and that also Saul my father knoweth.
thou shalt be
I shall be
that also Saul
And they two made a covenant before the LORD: and David abode in the wood, and Jonathan went to his house.
Then came up the Ziphites to Saul to Gibeah, saying, Doth not David hide himself with us in strong holds in the wood, in the hill of Hachilah, which is on the south of Jeshimon?
Calmet states, that Hachilah was a mountain about ten miles south of Jericho, where Jonathan MaccabÊus built the castle of Massada, west of the Dead Sea, and not far from En-gedi.
on the south
Heb. on the right hand. Jeshimon. or, the wilderness. Eusebius places Jeshimon ten miles south of Jericho, near the Dead Sea; which agrees extremely well with the position of Hachilah, as stated by Calmet.
Now therefore, O king, come down according to all the desire of thy soul to come down; and our part shall be to deliver him into the king's hand.
all the desire
And Saul said, Blessed be ye of the LORD; for ye have compassion on me.
Go, I pray you, prepare yet, and know and see his place where his haunt is, and who hath seen him there: for it is told me that he dealeth very subtilly.
Heb. foot shall be.
See therefore, and take knowledge of all the lurking places where he hideth himself, and come ye again to me with the certainty, and I will go with you: and it shall come to pass, if he be in the land, that I will search him out throughout all the thousands of Judah.
I will search
And they arose, and went to Ziph before Saul: but David and his men were in the wilderness of Maon, in the plain on the south of Jeshimon.
Maon, from which the adjoining mountainous district derived its name, was city in the most southern parts of the tribe of Judah, and a neighbouring town to Carmel. Hence Nabal (ch. 25:2) is described as a man of Maon, whose possessions were in Carmel; and though he might dwell generally in Maon, yet he is styled Nabal the Carmelite, from the place where his estate lay. Calmet supposes it to be the city MinoÔs, which Eusebius places in the vicinity of Gaza; and the Moenoemi Castrum, which the Theodosian code places near Beersheba.
Saul also and his men went to seek him. And they told David: wherefore he came down into a rock, and abode in the wilderness of Maon. And when Saul heard that, he pursued after David in the wilderness of Maon.
into a rock
or, from the rock.
And Saul went on this side of the mountain, and David and his men on that side of the mountain: and David made haste to get away for fear of Saul; for Saul and his men compassed David and his men round about to take them.
David made haste
But there came a messenger unto Saul, saying, Haste thee, and come; for the Philistines have invaded the land.
Heb. spread themselves upon.
Wherefore Saul returned from pursuing after David, and went against the Philistines: therefore they called that place Selahammahlekoth.
that is, the rock of divisions. Because, says the Targum, "the heart of the king was divided to go hither and thither." Here Saul was obliged to separate himself from David, in order to go and oppose the invading Philistines; which deliverance of David was of such a nature as made the Divine interposition fully visible.
And David went up from thence, and dwelt in strong holds at Engedi.