Bible Commentary

1 Samuel 27

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

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(Read all of 1 Samuel 27)

Verse 1

[1] 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.

I shall perish — But this was certainly a very great fault in David: for 1. This proceeded from gross distrust of God's promise and providence; and that after such repeated demonstrations of God's peculiar care over him. 2. He forsakes the place where god had settled him, chap. 22:5, and given him both assurance and experience of his protection there. 3. He voluntarily runs upon that rock, which he cursed his enemies for throwing him upon, chap. 26:19, and upon many other snares and dangers, as the following history will shew; and withal, deprives the people of the Lord of those succours which he might have given them, in case of a battle. But God hereby designed to withdraw David from the Israelites, that they might fall by the hand of the Philistines, without any reproach or inconvenience to David.

Verse 4

[4] And it was told Saul that David was fled to Gath: and he sought no more again for him.

Sought no more for him — At their meeting Saul's heart was deeply wounded, and he had said, "Return, my son David, Be with me as in time past." Nor have we the least proof, that he would have sought for him again, with any other design.

Verse 5

[5] 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?

Give me a place — A prudent desire. Hereby David designed to preserve his people, both from the vices, which conversation with the Philistines would have exposed them to; and from that envy, and malice, which diversity of religion might have caused.

With thee — Which is too great an honour for me, and too burdensome to thee, and may be an occasion of offence to thy people.

Verse 6

[6] Then Achish gave him Ziklag that day: wherefore Ziklag pertaineth unto the kings of Judah unto this day.

Gave Ziklag — Not only to inhabit, but to possess it as his own. Which he did, to lay the greater obligations upon David, whom he knew so able to serve him. It was given to the tribe of Judah before, Joshua 15:31, but the Philistines kept the possession of it 'till this time. And being given by them to David, it now belonged not to the tribe of Judah; but to the king of Judah, David and his heirs forever.

To this day — This, and some such clauses seem to have been added, after the main substance of the several books was written.

Verse 8

[8] 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.

Amalekites — The remnant of those whom Saul destroyed, chap. 15:3-9, who retired into remote and desert places.

Verse 9

[9] 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.

Let neither man, … — In that part where he came: but there were more of the Amalekites yet left in another part of that land.

Verse 10

[10] 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.

David — These and the following words are ambiguous, and contrary to that simplicity which became David, both as a prince, and as an eminent professor of the true religion. The fidelity of Achish to him, and the confidence he put in him, aggravates his sin in thus deceiving him, which David seems penitently to reflect on, when he prays, Remove from me the way of lying.

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