Bible Commentary

1 Samuel 19

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

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(Read all of 1 Samuel 19)

Verse 4

[4] And Jonathan spake good of David unto Saul his father, and said unto him, Let not the king sin against his servant, against David; because he hath not sinned against thee, and because his works have been to thee-ward very good:

Spake good — Which he could not do without hazard to himself. Herein therefore he performed the duty of a true friend, and of a valiant man.

Verse 6

[6] And Saul hearkened unto the voice of Jonathan: and Saul sware, As the LORD liveth, he shall not be slain.

As the Lord, … — And without all doubt, he intended what he said, feeling a real change in himself for the present. "God," says Mr. Henry, "inclined the heart of Saul to hearken to the voice of Jonathan."

Verse 8

[8] And there was war again: and David went out, and fought with the Philistines, and slew them with a great slaughter; and they fled from him.

And David, … — So David continues his good service, tho' it was ill requited. They who are ill paid for doing good, yet must not be weary of well doing, remembering how bountiful a benefactor God is, even to the evil and unthankful.

Verse 9

[9] And the evil spirit from the LORD was upon Saul, as he sat in his house with his javelin in his hand: and David played with his hand.

The evil spirit — David's successes against the Philistines revived his envy, and the devil watched the opportunity, as he had done before.

Verse 13

[13] And Michal took an image, and laid it in the bed, and put a pillow of goats' hair for his bolster, and covered it with a cloth.

Goats hair — Or, put great goats hair upon his bolster; upon the head and face of the image, which lay upon his bolster, that it might have some kind of resemblance of David's head and hair, at least in a sick man's bed, where there useth to be but a glimmering light.

Covered it — Upon pretence of his being sick, and needing some such covering.

Verse 18

[18] So David fled, and escaped, and came to Samuel to Ramah, and told him all that Saul had done to him. And he and Samuel went and dwelt in Naioth.

To Samuel — Both for comfort and direction in his distress; and for safety, supposing that Saul would be ashamed to execute his bloody designs in the presence of so venerable a person as Samuel.

Verse 20

[20] And Saul sent messengers to take David: and when they saw the company of the prophets prophesying, and Samuel standing as appointed over them, the Spirit of God was upon the messengers of Saul, and they also prophesied.

Over them — To instruct and direct them in those holy exercises. For though they prophesied by Divine inspiration, yet they were both to prepare themselves for it before hand, and to make good improvement of it afterwards, in both which they needed Samuel's counsel and assistance. And whereas some might falsely pretend to those raptures; or the devil might transform himself into an angel of light, Samuel's presence and judgment was necessary to prevent and to detect such impostures. Besides, Samuel would by his present conjunction with them in those holy exercises, encourage them, and stir up others to the coveting of those gifts, and to the performance of such religious duties.

Prophesied — Being inspired by God as Balaam was; that being wrapt up into such an extasy, their minds might be wholly taken off from their design of seizing David.

Verse 23

[23] And he went thither to Naioth in Ramah: and the Spirit of God was upon him also, and he went on, and prophesied, until he came to Naioth in Ramah.

The spirit — It came upon him in the way; whereas it came not upon his messengers 'till they came to the place. Hereby God would convince Saul of the vanity of his designs against David, and that in them he fought against God himself.

Verse 24

[24] And he stripped off his clothes also, and prophesied before Samuel in like manner, and lay down naked all that day and all that night. Wherefore they say, Is Saul also among the prophets?

Lay down — Heb. fell, down upon the earth; for his mind being in an extasy, he had not the use of his senses. God so ordering it, that David might have an opportunity to escape.

Naked — That is, stript of his upper garments, as the word naked is often used; and it is here repeated to signify how long he lay in that posture.

Day and night — So God kept him as it were in chains, 'till David was got out of his reach.

Is Saul — The same proverb which was used before, is here revived, as an evidence of God's wonderful care over David; he made Saul in some sort a prophet, that he mightst make David a king.

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