David's Kindred and Others Resort to Him at
1. David … escaped to the cave
Adullam—supposed to be that now called Deir-Dubban, a number
of pits or underground vaults, some nearly square, and all about
fifteen or twenty feet deep, with perpendicular sides, in the soft
limestone or chalky rocks. They are on the borders of the Philistine
plain at the base of the Judea mountains, six miles southwest from
Beth-lehem, and well adapted for concealing a number of refugees.
his brethren and all his father's house …
went down—to escape the effects of Saul's rage, which seems
to have extended to all David's family. From Beth-lehem to Deir-Dubban
it is, indeed, a descent all the way.
2. every one that was in distress—(See
on Jud 11:3).
3. David went thence to Mizpeh of
Moab—"Mizpeh" signifies a watchtower, and it is evident that
it must be taken in this sense here, for it is called "the hold" or
22:4). The king of Moab was
an enemy of Saul (1Sa 14:47),
and the great-grandson of Ruth, of course, was related to the family of
Jesse. David, therefore, had less anxiety in seeking an asylum within
the dominions of this prince than those of Achish, because the Moabites
had no grounds for entertaining vindictive feelings against him, and
their enmity, to Saul rendered them the more willing to receive so
illustrious a refugee from his court.
5. the prophet Gad said unto David, Abide not in
the hold—This sound advice, no doubt, came from a higher
source than Gad's own sagacity. It was right to appear publicly among
the people of his own tribe, as one conscious of innocence and trusting
in God; and it was expedient that, on the death of Saul, his friends
might be encouraged to support his interest.
forest of Hareth—southwest of
6. Saul abode … under a tree in
Ramah—literally, "under a grove on a hill." Oriental princes
frequently sit with their court under some shady canopy in the open
air. A spear was the early scepter.
7, 8. Hear now, ye Benjamites—This was
an appeal to stimulate the patriotism or jealousy of his own tribe,
from which he insinuated it was the design of David to transfer the
kingdom to another. This address seems to have been made on hearing of
David's return with his four hundred men to Judah. A dark suspicion had
risen in the jealous mind of the king that Jonathan was aware of this
movement, which he dreaded as a conspiracy against the crown.
1Sa 22:9-16. Doeg Accuses
9. Doeg … set over the
servants—Septuagint, "the mules of Saul."
10. he inquired of the Lord for him—Some
suppose that this was a malicious fiction of Doeg to curry favor with
the king, but Ahimelech seems to acknowledge the fact. The poor
simple-minded high priest knew nothing of the existing family feud
between Saul and David. The informer, if he knew it, said nothing of
the cunning artifice by which David obtained the aid of Ahimelech. The
facts looked against him, and the whole priesthood along with
him were declared abettors of conspiracy [1Sa 22:16, 17].
1Sa 22:17-19. Saul Commands
to Kill the Priests.
17, 18. the footmen that stood about
him—his bodyguard, or his runners (1Sa 8:11; 2Sa 15:1; 1Ki 1:5; 1Ki 14:28), who held an important place at court
12:10). But they chose rather
to disobey the king than to offend God by imbruing their hands in the
blood of his ministering servants. A foreigner alone (Ps 52:1-3) could be found willing to be the
executioner of this bloody and sacrilegious sentence. Thus was the doom
of the house of Eli fulfilled [1Sa 2:30-36].
19. Nob, the city of the priests, smote he with
the edge of the sword—The barbarous atrocities perpetrated
against this city seem to have been designed to terrify all the
subjects of Saul from affording either aid or an asylum to David. But
they proved ruinous to Saul's own interest, as they alienated the
priesthood and disgusted all good men in the kingdom.
1Sa 22:20-23. Abiathar
Escapes and Flees after David.
20-23. one of the sons of Ahimelech …
escaped—This was Abiathar, who repaired to David in the
forest of Hareth, rescuing, with his own life, the high priest's
vestments (1Sa 23:6, 9). On hearing his sad tale, David
declared that he had dreaded such a fatal result from the malice and
intriguing ambition of Doeg; and, accusing himself as having been the
occasion of all the disaster to Abiathar's family, David invited him to
remain, because, firmly trusting himself in the accomplishment of the
divine promise, David could guarantee protection to him.