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Bible Commentaries

Layman's Bible Commentary

1 Samuel 23

Verses 1-13

The Deliverance of Keilah (23:1-13)

The Philistine raids continued. David’s military prestige was such that men turned confidently to him for help, even though he was an outlaw. One occasion was a Philistine raid on the threshing floors at Keilah. Having twice consulted the oracle, presumably Abiathar’s ephod, and having received each time an affirmative answer, David followed the divine instructions and delivered Keilah by routing the Philistine invaders.

With David in Keilah and away from the stronghold of Adullam, Saul saw his opportunity for open battle. Once more David consulted Abiathar’s oracle, asking in succession two questions. Since the oracle could only deal with one question at a time, we must presume that the first part of verse 11 is comprehensive and that the detailed asking is described in the latter part of verse 11 and in verse 12. The oracle indicated that Saul would descend on Keilah and that the men of Keilah would surrender David to Saul. Acting on the divine response to his consultation, David and his band departed from Keilah.

Verses 14-29

The Attempted Betrayal by the Ziphites (23:14-29)

The Ziphites, according to our records, twice attempted to betray David. It is probable that the story here and the one in chapter 26 are two versions of the same event. The version here is more formal and probably the later of the two.

David fled to the hill country, pursued by Saul, and sought refuge in the Wilderness of Ziph, to the south of Hebron. The Ziphites reported his presence in their area, but meantime David had been reassured by Jonathan, who continued loyal to his covenant. The Ziphites went on ahead of Saul to spy out David’s hiding places, but David managed to elude Saul, being finally delivered when Saul received news of a new Philistine invasion and had to leave for home. David took refuge in the strongholds of Engedi.

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Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on 1 Samuel 23". "Layman's Bible Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lbc/1-samuel-23.html.