And he stripped off his clothes also
Not all his clothes, but his upper garments, as men in such circumstances used to do, as the prophets sometimes did, and as it seems his messengers had done; according to Jarchi, R. Isaiah, and others F14, he stripped himself of his royal robes, and put on the habit of the scholars, the disciples, and sons of the prophets:
and prophesied before Samuel in like manner,
as the messengers had done, singing such like songs, or foretelling such like things as they did; he and they speaking not of themselves, but as they were moved by the Holy Spirit of prophecy; for such gifts have sometimes been bestowed on men that were destitute of the grace of God, as Balaam, Caiaphas, and others;
and lay down:
or "fell down" F15, as persons in an ecstasy or trance: and lay
naked all that day, and all that night;
not entirely naked, both without his upper garment or royal robes, or else his armour; so an unarmed man is said to be naked, though otherwise he has his clothes on: thus Gelon having conquered the Carthaginians, and made himself master of all Sicily, went into the forum "naked" (i.e. unarmed), and declared he would restore the government to the citizens, wherefore a naked statue for him was erected in the temple of Juno F16; so Quinctius Cincinnatus was found ploughing naked F17, who cannot be supposed to be without any clothes on him. Jarchi, from Menachem, reports, that he had heard from an Arabian, that the word the Targum makes use of for "naked", signifies, in the Arabic language, one that is furious or mad, as persons in an ecstasy, or under a prophetic spirit, sometimes seemed to be; now Saul was kept and held in such circumstances a whole day and night, that David might have an opportunity of making his escape, and getting at such a distance from him that he could not overtake him:
wherefore they say, [is] Saul also among the prophets?
this became a common saying, a proverbial expression, at least was now revived and observed with admiration; that Saul, who had behaved himself in so ill a manner, as an enemy to so good a man, should be found among the prophets of the Lord, and prophesying as they did.
F14 Vid. Hieron. Trad. Heb. in lib. Reg. fol. 76. G.
F15 (lpyw) "et cecidit", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, "et corruit", Vatablus.
F16 Aelian. Var. Hist. l. 6. c. 11.
F17 Aurel. Victor. de Vir. Illustr. c. 20.