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David Serves King Achish of Gath


David said in his heart, “I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul; there is nothing better for me than to 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.” 2So David set out and went over, he and the six hundred men who were with him, to King Achish son of Maoch of Gath. 3David stayed with Achish at Gath, he and his troops, every man with his household, and David with his two wives, Ahinoam of Jezreel, and Abigail of Carmel, Nabal’s widow. 4When Saul was told that David had fled to Gath, he no longer sought for him.

5 Then David said to Achish, “If I have found favor in your sight, let a place be given me in one of the country towns, so that I may live there; for why should your servant live in the royal city with you?” 6So that day Achish gave him Ziklag; therefore Ziklag has belonged to the kings of Judah to this day. 7The length of time that David lived in the country of the Philistines was one year and four months.

8 Now David and his men went up and made raids on the Geshurites, the Girzites, and the Amalekites; for these were the landed settlements from Telam on the way to Shur and on to the land of Egypt. 9David struck the land, leaving neither man nor woman alive, but took away the sheep, the oxen, the donkeys, the camels, and the clothing, and came back to Achish. 10When Achish asked, “Against whom have you made a raid today?” David would say, “Against the Negeb of Judah,” or “Against the Negeb of the Jerahmeelites,” or, “Against the Negeb of the Kenites.” 11David left neither man nor woman alive to be brought back to Gath, thinking, “They might tell about us, and say, ‘David has done so and so.’ ” Such was his practice all the time he lived in the country of the Philistines. 12Achish trusted David, thinking, “He has made himself utterly abhorrent to his people Israel; therefore he shall always be my servant.”

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1Sa 27:1-4. Saul Hearing That David Was Fled to Gath, Seeks No More for Him.

1. David said in his heart, … there is nothing better for me than that I should speedily escape into the land of the Philistines—This resolution of David's was, in every respect, wrong: (1) It was removing him from the place where the divine oracle intimated him to remain (1Sa 22:5); (2) It was rushing into the idolatrous land, for driving him into which he had denounced an imprecation on his enemies (1Sa 26:19); (3) It was a withdrawal of his counsel and aid from God's people. It was a movement, however, overruled by Providence to detach him from his country and to let the disasters impending over Saul and his followers be brought on by the Philistines.

2, 3. Achish, the son of Maoch, king of Gath—The popular description of this king's family creates a presumption that he was a different king from the reigning sovereign on David's first visit to Gath. Whether David had received a special invitation from him or a mere permission to enter his territories, cannot be determined. It is probable that the former was the case. From the universal notoriety given to the feud between Saul and David, which had now become irreconcilable, it might appear to Achish good policy to harbor him as a guest, and so the better pave the way for the hostile measures against Israel which the Philistines were at this time meditating.

1Sa 27:5-12. David Begs Ziklag of Achish.

5. let them give me a place in some town in the country—It was a prudent arrangement on the part of David; for it would prevent him being an object of jealous suspicion, or of mischievous plots among the Philistines. It would place his followers more beyond the risk of contamination by the idolatries of the court and capital; and it would give him an opportunity of making reprisals on the freebooting tribes that infested the common border of Israel and the Philistines.

6. Ziklag—Though originally assigned to Judah (Jos 15:31), and subsequently to Simeon (Jos 19:5), this town had never been possessed by the Israelites. It belonged to the Philistines, who gave it to David.

8. David … went up, and invaded the Geshurites—(See Jos 13:2).

and the Gezrites—or the Gerizi [Gesenius], (Jos 12:12), some Arab horde which had once encamped there.

and the Amalekites—Part of the district occupied by them lay on the south of the land of Israel (Jud 5:14; 12:15).

10. Achish said, Whither have ye made a road to-day?—that is, raid, a hostile excursion for seizing cattle and other booty.

David said, Against the south of Judah, and against the south of the Jerahmeelites—Jerahmeel was the great-grandson of Judah, and his posterity occupied the southern portion of that tribal domain.

the south of the Kenites—the posterity of Jethro, who occupied the south of Judah (Jud 1:16; Nu 24:21). The deceit practised upon his royal host and the indiscriminate slaughter committed, lest any one should escape to tell the tale, exhibit an unfavorable view of this part of David's history.