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1 Samuel 26 Study Notes

26:1-5 The Ziphites (see note at 23:19-20) came to Saul at Gibeah with a report that David had returned to his earlier hiding place in Judah. If Saul was on the hill of Hachilah, it would mean he had chosen high ground for his camp, which provided him better protection. David’s place (v. 5) designates a safe vantage point (probably higher—see note at v. 6) from which David could see Saul and Abner inside the inner circle of the camp. Abner was Saul’s uncle, the brother of Saul’s father.

26:6 Ahimelech is described as a Hethite (i.e., foreigner; see note at Gn 15:18-21), but his name is Hebrew or at least related to Hebrew. Joab’s brother Abishai is introduced here; he would play an active role in David’s kingship (2Sm 10:10; 18:2-3; 23:18). On Zeruiah, see note at 2Sm 2:18. Go is literally “go down,” implying David was at a higher point than Saul and thus at an advantage.

26:7-8 Abishai must have whispered to David since he stood with him in the midst of Saul’s army (but see v. 12).

26:9 On lift a hand against the Lord’s anointed, see note at 24:5-7.

26:10 David was content to leave Saul’s life in the Lord’s hands, a lesson that had just been reinforced in his dealings with Nabal (25:39).

26:11 The spear and the water jug would provide evidence that again David had been close enough to kill Saul.

26:12 This deep sleep from the Lord was his specific intervention so he could teach Saul a further lesson about David’s loyalty.

26:13-14 The words on top of the mountain at a distance means this was a safe distance from Saul, but it provided good acoustics so David could call to the king.

26:15 The phrase one of the people came to destroy him may refer to Abishai, who wanted to destroy Saul (v. 8), or hypothetically to David himself, who could have destroyed Saul as he stood over him.

26:16-19 David could identify only two sources of Saul’s desire to kill him—the Lord or the people. If the Lord, David wanted Saul to allow him to sacrifice a freewill offering to restore the broken fellowship between himself, God, and Saul. But if people had falsely accused him, David called on them to be cursed. Their false accusations had the effect of driving David away from the inheritance of the Lord, treating him as if he were not an Israelite.

26:20 David compared himself to a single flea (24:14) or a partridge to suggest Saul’s pursuit of him was a waste of resources.

26:21 Saul’s words sounded repentant, but Saul’s past actions raised serious doubts in David’s mind about their genuineness.

26:22 David’s suggestion that one of the young men of Saul retrieve the king’s spear was a tactful way of saying he was not returning with Saul.

26:23-24 David called on the Lord to repay those involved (especially him and Saul) as God saw their hearts. David did not ask for Saul to consider his life valuable; he asked for the Lord to do so.

26:25 Saul’s words appear to be an admission that God had great things in store for his son-in-law. The two went on their way, having spoken the last words they would ever say to each other.

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