Bible Commentaries
1 Samuel 27

Poole's English Annotations on the Holy BiblePoole's Annotations



David with his six hundred men, and all his faith, goeth to king Achish, and abideth there a while; Saul pursueth no more after him, 1 Samuel 27:1-4.

He obtaineth Ziklag of Achish to dwell in, 1 Samuel 27:5-7.

He invadeth neighbor nations; leaves no man alive to complain; persuadeth Achish he fought against Judah, 1 Samuel 27:8-12.

Verse 1

I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul; I see by this late experience his restless and implacable hatred against me, and how little heed is to be given to all his pretences of repentance or friendship.

There is nothing better for me than that I should speedily escape into the land of the Philistines: but this was certainly a very great mistake and fault in David; for,

1. This proceeded from gross distrust of God’s promise and providence; and that after such repeated demonstrations of God’s peculiar care over him, which gave hint cause to conclude quite contrary to what is here said.

2. He forsakes the place where God had settled him, 1 Samuel 22:5, and given him both assurance and experience of his protection there.

3. He voluntarily runs upon that rock which he cursed his enemies for throwing him upon, 1 Samuel 26:19, and upon many other snares and dangers, as the following history will show; and withal, deprives the people of the Lord of those succours which he might have given them, in case of a battle. But it pleased God to leave David to himself in this, as well as in other particulars, that these might be sensible demonstrations of the infirmities of the best men; and of the necessity of God’s grace, and daily direction and assistance; and of the freeness and richness of God’s mercy, in passing by such great offences. And besides, God hereby designed to accomplish his own counsel, to withdraw David from the Israelites, that Saul and they might fall by the hand of the Philistines, without any reproach or inconvenience to David, whom God had put into a safe place.

Verse 2

It might seem a bold adventure; but,

1. He thought himself forced to it by Saul’s inveterate rage, and continued resolutions to persecute him.

2. It is probable he had sent some persons to treat with him, and had agreed upon conditions, and received assurance of his safe and peaceable abode with him.

3. David reasonably thought that Achish would gladly receive him, as indeed he did; partly, because he saw Saul’s implacable enmity against him; partly, because by this means he should be freed from the most formidable enemy which he had in all Israel, who might do him most mischief in the battle; which it seems at this time he designed; and partly, because he came not now alone, as he did before, but brought with him sufficient pledges of his fidelity to Achish; namely, all his soldiers, and his and their wives, 1 Samuel 27:3.

Verse 4

By which it is implied that he would have gone on in persecuting David, if he had continued in his dominions.

Verse 5

A prudent desire. Hereby David designed,

1. To preserve his people, both from the idolatry and other vices which conversation with the Philistines would have exposed them to; and from that envy, and malice, and mischief, which diversity of religion, or other prejudices, might have caused.

2. That he might have opportunity of enterprising something against God’s enemies, without the knowledge or observation of the Philistines.

Why should thy servant dwell in the royal city with thee? which is too great an honour for me, and too burdensome to thee, and may be an occasion of suspicion and offence to thy people, and of many other inconveniences.

Verse 6

Gave him Ziklag; not only to inhabit, but to possess it as his own; which he did, to lay the greater obligations upon David, whom he knew so able to serve him.

Pertaineth unto the kings of Judah: it was given to the tribe of Judah before, Joshua 15:31, and afterwards to the tribe of Simeon, Joshua 19:5, whose inheritance was given them within the inheritance of the children of Judah, Joshua 19:0.

1. But the Philistines kept the possession of it till this time, and were hitherto permitted to do so. And being now given by them to David, it now belonged not to the people of the tribe of Judah, to whom it was allotted before; but to the king of Judah, David and his heirs for ever.

Unto this day: this and some such clauses seem to have been added by some sacred writers after the main substance of the several books was written.

Verse 7

Heb. days and four months; days being put for a year; as Leviticus 25:29. Or, some days and four months, i.e. some days above four months. Or, some days and (for even, or that is, the conjunction and being oft so used, as hath been proved above) four months.

Verse 8

The Gezrites were anciently seated in other places, Joshua 12:12; Joshua 16:3, but for some reasons not now known they changed their seats, as was then very usual, and seated themselves, and had for some considerable time lived, near the Amalekites.

The Amalekites; the remnant of those whom Saul destroyed, 1 Samuel 15:0, who fled from his sword, and retired into remote and desert places.

Verse 9

Left neither man nor woman alive, to wit, in that part where he came; but there were more of the Amalekites yet left in another part of that land, 1 Samuel 30:1.

Verse 10

Against the south of Judah: these and the following words are ambiguous; for they may be understood, either of the southern parts from Judah, &c., which he would have Achish understand; or of another country lying southward from Judah, &c., which David meant, and which was the truth. So though it was not a downright lie; yet it was an equivocation, with an intention to deceive, which is the formality of a lie, and was contrary to that simplicity which became David, both as a prince, and as an eminent professor of the true religion.

And against, for that is against; for in the following words he particularly expresseth what part of the south of Judah he went against, even that which was inhabited by the Jerahmeelites, and by the Kenites.

The Jerahmeelites; the posterity of Hezron, a family of Judah, 1 Chronicles 2:9,1 Chronicles 2:25. The

Kenites; the posterity of Jethro, which chose to dwell in the south of Judah, Judges 1:16. See Numbers 24:21.

Verse 11

Lest they should tell on us; that the tidings of this action against this people (who were, it seems, either tributaries to or confederates with Achish) might neither come quickly nor certainly to Achish’s court; which he might the rather promise himself, because Achish and all his men were now busily employed in their warlike preparations against the Israelites; and if any flying rumour came thither, he thought by his interest and artifices he could easily discredit and dash it. Besides, the consideration of God’s curse denounced against the people whom he had now destroyed, and of God’s particular promises made to him, and of his special providence which he constantly experienced watching over him, made him more secure and confident in this and in many other hazardous attempts.

Verse 12

Achish believed David; partly, because of his confidence in David’s authority and fidelity; partly, because most men easily believe what they heartily wish to be true; and partly, from God’s providence, which blinded him in this and in divers other particulars relating to David’s coming hither, and abiding here.

Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 1 Samuel 27". Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. 1685.