1 Samuel 21:13

1 Samuel 21:13

And he changed his behaviour before them
Behaved like a fool, or a madman: or changed his "taste" F19; which some understand of his reason, acted as if he was deprived of it; and others of his speech, his words and the accent of them, drawled them out, as such persons do:

and feigned himself mad in their hands;
for in their hands he was, being taken by them, as the title of the fifty sixth psalm shows, ( Psalms 56:1 ) ; and this stratagem he used to get himself out of their hands, acting the part of a madman, delirious, and out of his senses:

and scrabbled on the doors of the gate;
as if he was writing something there, and making marks upon them:

and let his spittle fall down upon his beard;
slavered, as idiots and madmen do; and however mean this may seem in David to act such a part, it cannot be condemned as wicked, since it was only a stratagem to deliver himself, out of an enemy's hand, and stratagems are always allowed to be used against an enemy; and such a method as this has been taken by men of the greatest sense and wit, as by Brutus F20 and Solon {u}; and yet, according to the Vulgate Latin and Septuagint versions, this case of his was real and not feigned; that through the surprise of being known in the court of Achish, he was seized with an epilepsy; that his countenance was changed, and his mouth distorted, as persons in such fits are; that he fell among them as one convulsed, and fell at, and dashed against the doors of the gates, and foamed at the mouth, as such persons do; see ( Luke 9:39 ) ; and so in the following words the Greek version is, ye see the man is an epileptic; I do not want epileptics; but the thirty fourth and fifty sixth psalms, composed by him at this time, show that as he was of a sound mind, so in good health of body, and not subject to such fits as here represented, see ( Psalms 34:1-22 ) ( 56:1-13 ) ; which would have rendered him unfit for such composures.


F19 (wmej) "sensum suum", Montanus, Vatablus; "sermonem suum", Pagninus.
F20 Liv. Hist. l. 1. c. 56. Aurel. Victor. de Vir. Illustr. c. 13.
F21 Justin e Trogo, l. 2. c. 7.