1 Samuel 27:1 MEANING

1 Samuel 27:1
(1) And David said in his heart.--David's position seems to have grown more and more untenable during the latter days of Saul's reign. Probably the paroxysms of the king's fatal malady grew sharper and more frequent, and his chieftains and favourites, whom, as we have already seen (1 Samuel 26), he had chosen mostly out of the one small tribe of Benjamin, feared--and with good reason--the advent of David to the throne, which they saw was imminent in the event of Saul's dying or being permanently disqualified to rule. These men, whose bitter hostility to David is more than hinted at in several places, doubtless taking advantage of the king's state of mind, incited him against David. The words and persuasions of such men as Cush the Benjamite (see Psalms 7), Doeg the Edomite, probably Abner the captain of the host, the men of Ziph, and others, quickly erased from the memory of Saul such scenes as we have witnessed in the En-gedi cave, and, still more recently, in the hill of Hachilah, and more than counterbalanced the devotion and powerful friendship of true warriors like Jonathan, who loved and admired David. In David's words, after he had taken the spear and cruse from the side of the sleeping Saul, we see something of what was passing in his mind--his constant fear of a violent death; his knowledge that powerful and wicked men were constantly plotting against him; and his determination to seek a home in another land, where, however, he expected to find a grave far away from the chosen race, among the idolators and enemies of Jehovah of Israel. He now realises a part of these sorrowful forebodings. But in this determination of the son of Jesse we never hear of prayer, or of consultation with prophet or with priest. A dull despair seems to have at this time deprived David at once of faith and hope.

Into the land of the Philistines.--David chose to seek a refuge among these warlike people, for he believed he would be in greater security there than among his friendly kinsfolk, the Moabites, where, in former days, he had found such a kindly welcome for his family in the first period of Saul's enmity. He probably doubted the power of Moab to protect him.

Ver 1. - David said in his heart. Hebrew, "to his heart," to himself (see 1 Samuel 1:13). l shall perish by the hand. The verb is that used in 1 Samuel 12:25; 1 Samuel 26:10, but instead of by the hand the Hebrew has into the hand. Hence the versions generally render it, "I shall some day fall into the hand." Really it is a proegnans constructio: "I shall perish by failing into the hand of Saul." It was the second treachery of the Ziphites which made David feel that, surrounded as he was by spies, there was no safety for him but in taking that course to which, as he so sorrowfully complained to Saul, his enemies were driving him (1 Samuel 26:19). His words there show that the thought of quitting Judaea was already in his mind, so that this chapter follows naturally on ch. 26, and not, as some have argued, upon ch. 24.

27:1-7 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.And David said in his heart,.... Within himself, and to himself; while he was pondering things in his own mind, and considering the circumstances in which he was, and things appearing, very gloomy to him, he falls into a fit of unbelief and thus addresses himself:

I shall now one day perish by the hand of Saul; for though he was returned to his place, he knew he was restless and uneasy, very inconstant and unstable, and not at all to be depended on; yea, he might conclude that Saul, observing that God was with him in protecting and defending him, and by delivering him into his hands once and again, he would be the more jealous of him, and envious at him, and seek all opportunities and advantages against him; and he feared that one time or another such would offer, and would be taken, and so he should perish by him: this was a strange fit of unbelief he was sunk into, and very unaccountable and unreasonable it was, had he but considered his being anointed king by the Lord, the promise of God to him, which could not fail, and the providence of God that watched over him from time to time:

there is nothing better for me than that I should speedily escape into the land of the Philistines; which may seem strange, when he was advised by the Prophet Gad to depart from the land of Moab, and go into the land of Judah, 1 Samuel 22:5, and where he had been so wonderfully preserved; and when he was in so much danger, when in the land of the Philistines before, insomuch that he was obliged to feign himself mad, 1 Samuel 21:13; and seeing this also was the very thing he lately dreaded, and cursed the men that should be the cause of his going out of his own land into an idolatrous one:

and Saul shall despair of me, to seek me any more in any coast of Israel; hearing that he was gone into a foreign country, would seek for him no more in any part of the land of israel, and so despair of ever getting him into his hands, would lay aside all thoughts about him for the future:

so shall I escape out of his hand; and be for ever safe: these were the carnal reasonings of his mind, under the prevalence of unbelief; and shows what poor weak creatures the best of men are, and how low their graces may sink as to exercise, when left to themselves.

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