1 Samuel 29 Study Notes


29:1 The text now flashes back to 28:1-2, a time prior to the armies gathering at Shunem and Gilboa (28:4). Aphek was located along the Yarkon River; it marked the site where the Philistines had gathered years earlier to fight Israel during the days of Eli the high priest (4:1). The spring in Jezreel probably refers to a spring in the valley near the town. By camping at Jezreel, Israel gave the Philistines full access to the valley where Philistine chariots would be more effective.

29:2 David and his men joined Achish and the Philistine leaders as they prepared for battle. David’s position behind them meant that if he turned traitor, Philistine forces could be trapped between Saul and David (vv. 4-5).

29:3 In response to the concerns of the Philistine commanders, Achish affirmed David’s loyalty to him during the considerable period of time (sixteen months, 27:7) that David had served him.

29:4-5 The Philistine commanders refused to accept Achish’s explanation. If David should become their adversary during the battle, they could suffer heavy casualties. They also suspected that David, as one of Saul’s former generals, might choose just such a time to ingratiate himself with his master. The words heads of our men may recall the Goliath episode (17:51), as well as 28:2.

29:6 With his words, as the Lord lives, Achish recognized the power of God in David’s life.

29:7 The Philistine leaders were not ready to kill David and his men, but they couldn’t bring themselves to trust him in a battle against his own people.

29:8-9 When David spoke of the enemies of my lord the king it may have been intentionally ambiguous. On the surface his king was Achish, but the double meaning may have referred to Saul. The Philistine commanders were not convinced of David’s loyalty to their cause. Achish affirmed his faith in David, but he felt compelled to follow the counsel of his commanders.

29:10 Achish commanded David to leave early in the morning so he would not hinder the Philistine advance northward. Your masters’ servants designated David’s men who had defected from Saul to David.

29:11 David’s departure providentially prevented him from participating in the battle that would claim Saul’s life. Meanwhile, the Philistines went up to Jezreel (perhaps a reference to the valley rather than the town), where they would soon engage Saul’s army.