1 SAMUEL CHAPTER 27.
David in the Land of the Philistines.
DAVID IN GATH AND ZIKLAG. ó V. 1. And David said in his heart, taking counsel with himself, expressing the inmost conviction of his heart, I shall now perish, be cut down, snatched away, swept off, one day by the hand of Saul; there is nothing better for me, literally, ďThere is nothing good for me,Ē there was no advantage, no sense in his staying in the territory of Israel, than that I should speedily escape into the land of the Philistines, that was his one place of refuge; and Saul shall despair of me to seek me any more in any coast of Israel, desist from the pursuit as a hopeless undertaking; so shall I escape out of his hand. V. 2. And David arose, and he passed over with the six hundred men that were with him, whose number had remained unchanged in recent years, unto Achish, the son of Maoch, king of Gath, evidently the same man with whom he sought refuge a number of years before, chap. 21, 10, who by this time, however, must have been convinced that David was no longer an ally of Saul. V. 3. And David dwelt with Achish at Gath, he and his men, every man with his household, with his family, even David with his two wives, Ahinoam, the Jezreelitess, and Abigail, the Carmelitess, Nabalís wife, chap. 25, 42. 43. V. 4. And it was told Saul that David was fled to Gath, where the latter had some leisure to devote to music and poetry, Ps. 8; and he sought no more again for him, David thus gaining his object. V. 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, one of the suburbs or country-cities, that I may dwell there; for why should thy servant dwell in the royal city with thee? Davidís plea and suggestion was that his men were overcrowding the city and that their expenses were very large, but his real motive undoubtedly was to get away from the idolatrous customs of the Philistines, which surely must have brought him, as the guest of the king, into unpleasant situations at times. V. 6. Then Achish gave him Ziklag that day, a city which had been apportioned to the tribe of Simeon, Josh. 19, 5, but had evidently been taken by the Philistines only recently and was still deserted; wherefore Ziklag pertaineth unto the kings of Judah unto this day, having been given to David as an outright present. V. 7. And the time that David dwelt in the country of the Philistines was a full year and four months. It was undoubtedly weakness of faith which caused David to leave the territory of Judah, for he had expressly been told by the Prophet Gad to remain there. It happens time and again that even staunch servants of the Lord become weak under continued suffering, forgetting entirely that Godís merciful power is able to keep them in all dangers. But the Lord has compassion with the weakness of His children.
DAVIDíS CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE HEATHEN. ó V. 8. And David and his men, no longer under the direct observation of the Philistines, went up and invaded the Geshurites and the Gezrites, small nations living south of the Philistine territory, and the Amalekites, the nomadic tribes whom Saul had almost destroyed, chap. 15, 7; for those nations were of old the inhabitants of the land, as thou goest to Shur, even unto the land of Egypt, on the Egyptian border. V. 9. And David smote the land, and left neither man nor woman alive, since they would naturally inform against him, and took away the sheep, and the oxen, and the asses, and the camels, and the apparel, and returned and came to Achish, bringing this rich booty along. V. 10. And Achish said, it was his custom to ask, Whither have ye made a road today? referring to their latest raid. And David said, Against the south of Judah and against the south of the Jerahmeelites and against the south of the Kenites, his geographical references being purposely vague and indefinite, in order to make Achish think that his expeditions were directed against some tribe of Israel or against their allies on the southern border. V. 11. And David saved neither man nor woman alive to bring tidings to Gath, saying, Lest they should tell on us, David and his men, saying, So did David, and so will be his manner all the while he dwelleth in the country of the Philistines, that is, such was Davidís custom while nominally under the jurisdiction of the Philistine king. V. 12. And Achish believed David, saying, He hath made his people Israel utterly to abhor him, making himself a stench, a loathing, completely alienating himself from the Israelites; therefore he shall be my servant forever. Thus Achish was deceived, while David continued to harass and destroy the desert tribes which were a menace to Israel. Thus he, while receiving evil at the hand of Saul, rewarded good to the entire people of Israel, a fine example of love toward oneís enemies.