David retires to Gath. (1-7) David deceives Achish. (8-12)
Verses 1-7 Unbelief is a sin that easily besets even good men, when without are fightings, and within are fears; and it is a hard matter to get over them. Lord, increase our faith! We may blush to think that the word of a Philistine should go further than the word of an Israelite, and that the city of Gath should be a place of refuge for a good man, when the cities of Israel refuse him a safe abode. David gained a comfortable settlement, not only at a distance from Gath, but bordering upon Israel, where he might keep up a correspondence with his own countrymen.
Verses 8-12 While David was in the land of the Philistines, he attacked some remains of the devoted nations. The people whom he cut off were long before doomed to destruction. It is often wisdom to shun public notice, but we must in no situation be idle. We must always try to do somewhat in the cause of God. This expedition David hid from Achish. But an equivocation which serves the purpose of a lie, is as like to it as a hypocrite is to a profane person, it is only better in appearance, therefore more dangerous. Yet, though believers often manifest imperfections, they can never be prevailed upon to renounce the service of God, and to unite interests with his enemies, or finally to become the servants of sin and Satan. But what a train of evils follow from unbelief! When we forget the Lord's past mercies, and his gracious assurances, we shall be overwhelmed with desponding fears, and probably be led to adopt some dishonourable method to get rid of our troubles. Nothing can so effectually establish us in holy tempers and practices, and preserve us from perplexities, as firm, unshaken dependence upon the promises of God in Christ Jesus.
1 Samuel 27:1-4 . SAUL HEARING THAT DAVID WAS FLED TO GATH, SEEKS NO MORE FOR HIM.
1. David said in his heart, . . . there is nothing better for me than that I should speedily escape into the land of the Philistines--This resolution of David's was, in every respect, wrong: (1) It was removing him from the place where the divine oracle intimated him to remain ( 1 Samuel 22:5 ); (2) It was rushing into the idolatrous land, for driving him into which he had denounced an imprecation on his enemies ( 1 Samuel 26:19 ); (3) It was a withdrawal of his counsel and aid from God's people. It was a movement, however, overruled by Providence to detach him from his country and to let the disasters impending over Saul and his followers be brought on by the Philistines.
2, 3. Achish, the son of Maoch, king of Gath--The popular description of this king's family creates a presumption that he was a different king from the reigning sovereign on David's first visit to Gath. Whether David had received a special invitation from him or a mere permission to enter his territories, cannot be determined. It is probable that the former was the case. From the universal notoriety given to the feud between Saul and David, which had now become irreconcilable, it might appear to Achish good policy to harbor him as a guest, and so the better pave the way for the hostile measures against Israel which the Philistines were at this time meditating.
1 Samuel 27:5-12 . DAVID BEGS ZIKLAG OF ACHISH.
5. let them give me a place in some town in the country--It was a prudent arrangement on the part of David; for it would prevent him being an object of jealous suspicion, or of mischievous plots among the Philistines. It would place his followers more beyond the risk of contamination by the idolatries of the court and capital; and it would give him an opportunity of making reprisals on the freebooting tribes that infested the common border of Israel and the Philistines.
6. Ziklag--Though originally assigned to Judah ( Joshua 15:31 ), and subsequently to Simeon ( Joshua 19:5 ), this town had never been possessed by the Israelites. It belonged to the Philistines, who gave it to David.
8. David . . . went up, and invaded the Geshurites--(See Joshua 13:2 ).
and the Gizrites--or the Gerizi [GESENIUS], ( Joshua 12:12 ), some Arab horde which had once encamped there.
and the Amalekites--Part of the district occupied by them lay on the south of the land of Israel ( Judges 5:14 , 12:15 ).
10. Achish said, Whither have ye made a road to-day?--that is, raid, a hostile excursion for seizing cattle and other booty.
David said, Against the south of Judah, and against the south of the Jerahmeelites--Jerahmeel was the great-grandson of Judah, and his posterity occupied the southern portion of that tribal domain.
the south of the Kenites--the posterity of Jethro, who occupied the south of Judah ( Judges 1:16 , Numbers 24:21 ). The deceit practised upon his royal host and the indiscriminate slaughter committed, lest any one should escape to tell the tale, exhibit an unfavorable view of this part of David's history.