And David said in his heart, I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul: there is nothing better for me than that I should speedily escape into the land of the Philistines; and Saul shall despair of me, to seek me any more in any coast of Israel: so shall I escape out of his hand.
A. M. 2946. B.C. 1058. An. Ex. Is. 433. And David
This was a rash conclusion: God had caused him to be anointed king of Israel, and promised his accession to the throne, and had so often interposed in his behalf, that he was authorised to believe the very reverse.
Heb. be consumed. there is nothing.
into the land
And David arose, and he passed over with the six hundred men that were with him unto Achish, the son of Maoch, king of Gath.
This measure of David's, in uniting himself to the enemies of his God and people, was highly blameable; was calculated to alienate the affections of the Israelites; and led to equivocation, if not downright falsehood.
And David dwelt with Achish at Gath, he and his men, every man with his household, even David with his two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the Carmelitess, Nabal's wife.
with his two
And it was told Saul that David was fled to Gath: and he sought no more again for him.
And David said unto Achish, If I have now found grace in thine eyes, let them give me a place in some town in the country, that I may dwell there: for why should thy servant dwell in the royal city with thee?
Then Achish gave him Ziklag that day: wherefore Ziklag pertaineth unto the kings of Judah unto this day.
Ziklag was at first given to the tribe of Judah, but was afterwards ceded to that of Simeon; but as it bordered on the Philistines, if they had ever been expelled, they had retaken it. Eusebius simply says it was situated in the south of Canaan.
And the time that David dwelt in the country of the Philistines was a full year and four months.
Heb. the number of days. a full year. Heb. a year of days.
And David and his men went up, and invaded the Geshurites, and the Gezrites, and the Amalekites: for those nations were of old the inhabitants of the land, as thou goest to Shur, even unto the land of Egypt.
A. M. 2948. B.C. 1056. An. Ex. Is. 435. the Geshurites
or, Gerzites. These people seem to be the Gerrhenians, (2 Mac 13:24) whose chief city, Gerrha, is mentioned by Strabo as lying between Gaza and Pelusium in Egypt.
as thou goest
And David smote 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 Achish.
and the camels
And Achish said, Whither have ye made a road to day? And David said, Against the south of Judah, and against the south of the Jerahmeelites, and against the south of the Kenites.
or, Did you not make a road. And David.
David here meant the Geshurites, and Gezrites, and Amalekites, which people occupied that part of the country which lies to the south of Judah. But Achish, as was intended, understood him in a different sense, and believed that he had attacked his own countrymen. David's answer, therefore, though not an absolute falsehood, was certainly an equivocation intended to deceive, and therefore incompatible with that sense of truth and honour which became him as a prince, and a professor of true religion. From these, and similar passages, we may observe the strict impartiality of the Sacred Scriptures. They present us with the most faithful delineation of human nature; they exhibit the frailties of kings, priests, and prophets, with equal truth; and examples of vice and frailty, as well as of piety and virtue, are held up, that we may guard against the errors to which the best men are exposed.
And David saved neither man nor woman alive, to bring tidings to Gath, saying, Lest they should tell on us, saying, So did David, and so will be his manner all the while he dwelleth in the country of the Philistines.
And Achish believed David, saying, He hath made his people Israel utterly to abhor him; therefore he shall be my servant for ever.
utterly to abhor
Heb. to stink.