David coming to Nob, takes the shew - bread, and Goliath's sword,
ver. 1 - 9.
Goes to Achish, and feigns himself mad, ver. 10 - 13.
Is dismissed by Achish, ver. 14, 15.
1: Nob - A city of priests, where the tabernacle now was. Hither
David resorted, for a supply of his necessities, which he supposed he
might receive here, without danger of being betrayed into Saul's hands:
and principally, that in this great distress, he might receive comfort and
counsel from the Lord. Ahimelech - The chief priest, brother to that
Ahiah, (1Sa 14:3), and he being now dead, his successor in the
priesthood, for they were both sons of Ahitub. Was afraid - Suspecting
some extraordinary cause of his coming in such a manner. Alone - For
though David had some servants as is manifest from (1Sa 21:4,5), whom
Jonathan probably had sent to a place appointed, yet they were left at
another place: as David himself affirmeth, ver.(2).
And David was now alone, as also he was when he fled to Achish.
He who had been suddenly advanced to the highest honour, is as soon reduced
to the desolate conditions of an exile. Such changes are there in this
world, and so uncertain are its smiles.
2: The king, &c. - This seems to be a plain lie extorted from him,
by fear. But it was pernicious to all the priests there. Whence David
afterwards declares his repentance for this sin of lying, (Ps 119:29).
To such a place - To a certain place which it not convenient now to
mention; because the whole business requires concealment.
4: There is, &c. - Here in the tabernacle: though doubtless he had
other provisions is his house; but David was in great haste, and in fear
of Doeg whom he saw, and knew and therefore would not stay 'till any
thing could be fetched thence. There was a double impediment to the giving
this bread to them;
Its sacredness in itself; which the priest implies, and David
answers ver.(5), and the priest was satisfied therein by
David's great necessities.
The abstinence from all women, which he supposed should be in
those that use it; concerning which he now enquires.
And though he mentions this only concerning David's young men,
and out of reverence forbears to name him; yet he is also included
in the number, as David's answer shews.
5: Three days - As long as the law required, (Ex 19:15).
And so long David, and his men hid, it seems, hid themselves for fear of
Saul, whereby they were kept both from women: and from food convenient
for them. Vessels - That is, Either,
Their garments, or other utensils for their journey. Or
The bread - Heb. and this bread; is in a manner common: that is,
considering the time, and our necessity, this maybe used in a manner, like
common bread. For though for a season while it is to stand before the Lord,
it be so holy, that the priest himself might not eat it; yet afterwards it
is eaten by the priest, and his whole family, and so it may be by us, in our
circumstances. Tho' it were - But newly put into the vessel, it must give
place to the great law of necessity, and charity; because God will have
mercy preferred before sacrifice.
7: Detained - Not by force but by his choice; he fixed his abode
there for that day; either because it was the sabbath - day; on which he
might not proceed in his journey, or for the discharge of some vow.
Before the Lord - That is, at the tabernacle. An Edomite - By birth,
but he was proselyted to the Jewish religion.
9: Ephod - That is, behind that holy place allotted for the keeping
of the sacred, or priestly garments; all which are here comprehended under
the ephod; which, as the chief is put for all the rest. Here it was
laid up as a sacred monument of God's power and goodness.
None like it - Because it not only served him for his use, for he was a
strong and tall man, and one that could wield that sword, but was also a
pledge of God's favour to him. Whenever be looked upon it, it would be a
support to his faith, by reminding him of what God had already done.
10: To Achish - A strange action; but it must be considered, that
Saul's rage was so great, his power also, and diligence in hunting after
him that he despaired of escaping any other way: and a desperate disease,
produceth a desperate remedy. The king elect is here an exile: anointed
to the crown, and yet forced to run his country. So do God's providences
sometimes run counter to his promises, for the trial of our faith, and the
glorifying his name in accomplishing his counsels, notwithstanding the
difficulties that lie in the way.
11: King of the land - Of Canaan. They call him king, either
more generally for the governor, the most eminent captain and commander, or,
as the king elect, the person designed to be king: for, by this time, the
fame of Saul's rejection, and David's destination to the kingdom,
was got abroad among the Israelites, and from them, probably to the
Philistines. Did they not sing, &c. - And therefore consider what to
do; and now our great enemy is in thy hand, be sure thou never let him go
12: Was afraid - Lest either their revenge or policy should prompt
them to kill him. Perhaps he was the more apprehensive, because he wore
Goliath's sword, which was probably well known at Gath. He now
learned by experience what he afterward taught us, (Ps 118:9).
It is better to trust in the Lord, than to put any confidence in princes.
15: Mad men - It is highly probable, Achish was aware, that this
madness was counterfeit. But being desirous to preserve David, he
speaks as if he thought it real.