1 Samuel 27

Listen to 1 Samuel 27

David Flees to the Philistines

1 Then David said in his heart, "Now I shall perish one day by the hand of Saul. There is nothing better for me than that I should escape to the land of the Philistines. Then Saul will despair of seeking me any longer within the borders of Israel, and I shall escape out of his hand."
2 So David arose and went over, he and 1the six hundred men who were with him, 2to Achish the son of Maoch, king of Gath.
3 And David lived with Achish at Gath, he and his men, every man with his household, and David with 3his two wives, Ahinoam of Jezreel, and Abigail of Carmel, Nabal's widow.
4 And when it was told Saul that David had fled to Gath, he no longer sought him.
5 Then David said to Achish, "If 4I have found favor in your eyes, let a place be given me in one of the country towns, that I may dwell there. For why should your servant dwell in the royal city with you?"
6 So that day Achish gave him 5Ziklag. Therefore Ziklag has belonged to the kings of Judah to this day.
7 6And the number of the days that David lived in the country of the Philistines was a year and four months.
8 Now David 7and his men went up and made raids against 8the Geshurites, 9the Girzites, and 10the Amalekites, for these were the inhabitants of the land from of old, 11as far as Shur, to the land of Egypt.
9 And David would strike the land and would leave neither man nor woman alive, but would take away the sheep, the oxen, the donkeys, the camels, and the garments, and come back to Achish.
10 When Achish asked, "Where have you 12made a raid today?" David would say, "Against the Negeb of Judah," or, "Against the Negeb of 13the Jerahmeelites," or, "Against the Negeb of 14the Kenites."
11 And David would leave neither man nor woman alive to bring news to Gath, thinking, "lest they should tell about us and say, 'So David has done.'" Such was his custom all the while he lived in the country of the Philistines.
12 And Achish trusted David, thinking, "He has made himself an utter stench to his people Israel; therefore he shall always be my servant."

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 23:13; [2 Samuel 15:18]
  • 2. 1 Samuel 21:10; [1 Kings 2:39]
  • 3. See 1 Samuel 25:43
  • 4. See Genesis 33:15
  • 5. Joshua 15:31
  • 6. [1 Samuel 29:3]
  • 7. See 1 Chronicles 12
  • 8. Joshua 13:2
  • 9. [Joshua 16:10; Judges 1:29]
  • 10. [1 Samuel 15:7, 8]
  • 11. See 1 Samuel 15:7
  • 12. [1 Samuel 23:27]
  • 13. 1 Samuel 30:29
  • 14. See Judges 1:16

Chapter Summary


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