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Bible Commentaries
1 Samuel 19

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

Verses 1-24

1 Samuel 19:11 . Saul sent messengers to slay him. The Vulgate, lictors, executioners. They could not approach the bed of a princess till the morning.

1 Samuel 19:13 . Michal took an image, a statue, or a bust, and put it in the bed. Though the Hebrew be teraphim, it cannot be understood of any image used for devotion. David never lifted up his hand to an idol.

1 Samuel 19:19 . Naioth; that is, the house of doctrine. From this name, it is apparent, that Samuel had established here a little college or school of the prophets; and in this he aimed at the good of his country. It was a school under divine influences; a school in which the young men became prepared to go about the country to pray and prophesy; it was a school which commanded great respect from the nation, having Samuel for the father of the prophets. And how can the sanctuary be honoured, unless the preachers have the spirit of prophesy, the spirit which seizes all that hear them preach? And how can they support their honour, unless they are acquainted with languages, and the elements of knowledge? Assuredly, pious young men so called are worthy of all the aids that science can give to man. See 2 Kings 1:45.


In Jonathan we have a pattern of true friendship, pure and noble, the same towards David in adversity as in prosperity; friendship which nearly cost Jonathan his life, to save the life of his friend and brother. He argued forcibly, for grief is eloquent, that a man who had put his life in his hand should not have it taken away.

The errors of Saul in seeking, under these circumstances, to kill David, though we may make proper allowances for the evil influence under which he fell, place his character in the darkest shades, and number him with those foul and black souls which never calculate on the consequences of crime to assuage a wicked passion.

In Michal we see a woman doing all that she could, and doing it with success, to save the life of her husband. How preferable is that to swooning, fainting, and howling in the crisis of danger. The sublime passion of high female duty should take the lead of all the softer passions of the heart.

David fled to Samuel for counsel, comfort, and prayer. Here is a model for us to carry our troubles to a throne of grace, and to seek the advice and succour of the church of God.

We must next notice the power of religion on the mind. Samuel drew all these lictors in succession, and Saul himself to prayer, to psalmody and devotion. This was a masterly stroke, prompted by the Spirit of God, to engage all those persons in the exercises of devotion, as the best preservation from shedding innocent blood. Let the troubled and the persecuted be comforted. Who is he that shall harm you, if ye are followers of that which is good? Jesus can still force the lictors to say, “Never man spake like this man.”

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 19". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/1-samuel-19.html. 1835.
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