Bible Commentary

1 Samuel 23

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

<< 1 Samuel 22 | 1 Samuel 23 | 1 Samuel 24 >>
(Read all of 1 Samuel 23)

Verse 1

[1] Then they told David, saying, Behold, the Philistines fight against Keilah, and they rob the threshingfloors.

The Philistines, … — Probably it was the departure of God and David from Saul, that encouraged the Philistines to make this inroad. When princes begin to persecute God's people and ministers, let them expect nothing but vexation on all sides.

Verse 4

[4] 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.

Enquired again — Not for his own, but for his soldiers satisfaction.

Verse 6

[6] 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.

Ephod — With the Ephod, the high-priest's Ephod, wherein were the Urim and the Thummim, which when Ahimelech and the rest of the priests went to Saul, were probably left in his hand. This gave him the opportunity both of escaping, whilst Doeg the butcher was killing his brethren, and of bringing away the Ephod, which Saul now was justly deprived of.

Verse 11

[11] 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.

The Lord said — From this place it may appear that God's answer by Urim and Thummim, was not by any change in the colour or situation of the precious stones in the breast-plate of the Ephod, but by a voice or suggestion from God to the high-priest.

He will — He purposeth to come, if thou continuest here. For still as David's question, so God's answer, is upon supposition.

Verse 16

[16] And Jonathan Saul's son arose, and went to David into the wood, and strengthened his hand in God.

And strengthened — He comforted and supported him against all his fears, by minding him of God's infallible promises made to him, and his singular providence which hitherto had and still would be with him.

Verse 17

[17] 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.

Next to thee — Which he gathered either from David's generosity, and friendship to him; or from some promise made to him by David concerning it. So that the whole imports thus much; I do not look to be king myself (as by my birth I might expect,) but that thou shalt be king (God having so appointed) and I but in a secondary place inferior to thee.

Verse 18

[18] And they two made a covenant before the LORD: and David abode in the wood, and Jonathan went to his house.

Made a covenant — They then parted, and never came together again, that we find, in this world.

Verse 19

[19] 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?

Ziphites — Who were of David's own tribe tho' for this their unnatural carriage to him, he calls them strangers, Psalms 54:3.

Verse 25

[25] 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.

A rock — That is, into a cave which was in the rock; where at first he might think to hide himself, but upon farther consideration he removed from thence upon Saul's approach.

Verse 27

[27] But there came a messenger unto Saul, saying, Haste thee, and come; for the Philistines have invaded the land.

A messenger, … — The wisdom of God is never at a loss for ways, and means to preserve his people.

Verse 28

[28] Wherefore Saul returned from pursuing after David, and went against the Philistines: therefore they called that place Selahammahlekoth.

Called, … — That is, The rock of divisions, because there Saul was separated, and in a manner pulled asunder from David, who was now almost within his reach.

<< 1 Samuel 22 | 1 Samuel 23 | 1 Samuel 24 >>