1 Samuel 27

David Among the Philistines

1 But David thought to himself, “One of these days I will be destroyed by the hand of Saul. The best thing I can do is to escape to the land of the Philistines. Then Saul will give up searching for me anywhere in Israel, and I will slip out of his hand.”
2 So David and the six hundred men with him left and went over to Achish son of Maok king of Gath.
3 David and his men settled in Gath with Achish. Each man had his family with him, and David had his two wives: Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail of Carmel, the widow of Nabal.
4 When Saul was told that David had fled to Gath, he no longer searched for him.
5 Then David said to Achish, “If I have found favor in your eyes, let a place be assigned to me in one of the country towns, that I may live there. Why should your servant live in the royal city with you?”
6 So on that day Achish gave him Ziklag, and it has belonged to the kings of Judah ever since.
7 David lived in Philistine territory a year and four months.
8 Now David and his men went up and raided the Geshurites, the Girzites and the Amalekites. (From ancient times these peoples had lived in the land extending to Shur and Egypt.)
9 Whenever David attacked an area, he did not leave a man or woman alive, but took sheep and cattle, donkeys and camels, and clothes. Then he returned to Achish.
10 When Achish asked, “Where did you go raiding today?” David would say, “Against the Negev of Judah” or “Against the Negev of Jerahmeel” or “Against the Negev of the Kenites.”
11 He did not leave a man or woman alive to be brought to Gath, for he thought, “They might inform on us and say, ‘This is what David did.’ ” And such was his practice as long as he lived in Philistine territory.
12 Achish trusted David and said to himself, “He has become so obnoxious to his people, the Israelites, that he will be my servant for life.”

1 Samuel 27 Commentary

Chapter 27

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.

Cross References 14

  • 1. 1 Samuel 30:9; 2 Samuel 2:3; 1 Samuel 25:13
  • 2. S 1 Samuel 21:10
  • 3. 1 Kings 2:39
  • 4. S 1 Samuel 25:43; 1 Samuel 30:3
  • 5. Joshua 15:31; Joshua 19:5; 1 Samuel 30:1; 1 Chronicles 12:20; Nehemiah 11:28
  • 6. 1 Samuel 29:3
  • 7. S Joshua 12:5; Joshua 13:2,13
  • 8. S Exodus 17:14; S 1 Samuel 14:48; 1 Samuel 30:1; 2 Samuel 1:8; 2 Samuel 8:12; Exodus 17:8; 1 Samuel 15:7-8
  • 9. S Genesis 16:7; Exodus 15:22
  • 10. S 1 Samuel 15:3
  • 11. 1 Samuel 30:29; 1 Chronicles 2:9,25
  • 12. Judges 1:16
  • 13. S Genesis 34:30
  • 14. 1 Samuel 29:6

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO FIRST SAMUEL 27

David, fearing he should perish by the hand of Saul at one time or another, went into the land of the Philistines, which Saul hearing of, sought no more after him, 1Sa 27:1-4; and finding favour in the eyes of the king of Gath, desired a place in his country might be given him to reside in; and accordingly Ziklag was given him, 1Sa 27:5-7; from whence he made excursions into the land of the Amalekites, and others, and utterly destroyed them; but imposed on the king of Gath, pretending he had made his road into the southern parts of Judah, 1Sa 27:8-12.

1 Samuel 27 Commentaries