Bible Commentary

1 Samuel 26

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

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(Read all of 1 Samuel 26)

Verse 5

[5] And David arose, and came to the place where Saul had pitched: and David beheld the place where Saul lay, and Abner the son of Ner, the captain of his host: and Saul lay in the trench, and the people pitched round about him.

The Ziphites - Probably Saul would have pursued David no more, had not these wretches set him on.

Verse 6

[6] Then answered David and said to Ahimelech the Hittite, and to Abishai the son of Zeruiah, brother to Joab, saying, Who will go down with me to Saul to the camp? And Abishai said, I will go down with thee.

Zerujah — David's sister. His father is not named either because he was now dead; or because he was an obscure person.

Verse 7

[7] So David and Abishai came to the people by night: and, behold, Saul lay sleeping within the trench, and his spear stuck in the ground at his bolster: but Abner and the people lay round about him.

Came — That is, to Saul's host. It might seem a bold and strange attempt; but it may be considered: 1. That David had a particular assurance that God would preserve him to the kingdom. 2. That he had a special instinct from God, to this work; and possibly God might inform him, that he had cast them into a deep sleep, that he might have this second opportunity of manifesting his innocency towards Saul.

Verse 9

[9] And David said to Abishai, Destroy him not: for who can stretch forth his hand against the LORD's anointed, and be guiltless?

Destroy him not, … — Though Saul be a tyrant, yet he is our Lord and king; and I, though designed king, as yet am his subject; and therefore cannot kill him without sin, nor will I consent that thou shouldst do it.

Verse 11

[11] The LORD forbid that I should stretch forth mine hand against the LORD's anointed: but, I pray thee, take thou now the spear that is at his bolster, and the cruse of water, and let us go.

Take the spear — Which will shew where we have been, and what we could have done.

Verse 13

[13] Then David went over to the other side, and stood on the top of an hill afar off; a great space being between them:

Afar off — That his person might be out of their reach, and yet his voice might be heard; which in a clear air, and in the silence of the night might be heard at a great distance.

Verse 14

[14] And David cried to the people, and to Abner the son of Ner, saying, Answerest thou not, Abner? Then Abner answered and said, Who art thou that criest to the king?

Cried to the people — It is probable this was early in the morning.

Verse 19

[19] Now therefore, I pray thee, let my lord the king hear the words of his servant. If the LORD have stirred thee up against me, let him accept an offering: but if they be the children of men, cursed be they before the LORD; for they have driven me out this day from abiding in the inheritance of the LORD, saying, Go, serve other gods.

The Lord — If the Lord hath by the evil spirit which he hath sent, or by his secret providence, directed thy rage against me for the punishment of thine, or my sins.

An offering — Let us offer up a sacrifice to God to appease his wrath against us.

Driven me — From the land which God hath given to his people for their inheritance, and where he hath established his presence and worship.

Go serve — This was the language of their actions. For by driving him from God's land, and the place of his worship, into foreign and idolatrous lands, they exposed him to the peril of being either ensnared by their counsels, or examples; or forced by their power to worship idols.

Verse 20

[20] Now therefore, let not my blood fall to the earth before the face of the LORD: for the king of Israel is come out to seek a flea, as when one doth hunt a partridge in the mountains.

Before the Lord — Remember, if thou dost it, God the judge of all men seeth it, and will avenge it; though I will not avenge myself.

Verse 21

[21] Then said Saul, I have sinned: return, my son David: for I will no more do thee harm, because my soul was precious in thine eyes this day: behold, I have played the fool, and have erred exceedingly.

My soul, … — This second instance of David's tenderness wrought more upon Saul than the former. He owns himself melted and quite overcome by David's kindness to him. My soul was precious in thine eyes, which I thought had been odious. He acknowledges he had done very ill to persecute him: I have acted against God's law, I have sinned: and against my own interest, I have played the fool, in pursuing him as an enemy, who was indeed one of my best friends. And herein I have erred exceedingly, have wronged both thee and myself. Nothing can be more full and ingenuous than this confession: God surely now touched his heart. And he promises to persecute him no more: nor does it appear that he ever attempted it.

Verse 25

[25] Then Saul said to David, Blessed be thou, my son David: thou shalt both do great things, and also shalt still prevail. So David went on his way, and Saul returned to his place.

Blessed, … — So strong was his conviction now, that he could not forbear blessing him, foretelling his success, applauding David, and condemning himself, even in the hearing of his own soldiers. And this, it seems, was their last interview. After this they saw each other no more.

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