King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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1 Samuel 27

David retires to Gath. (1-7) David deceives Achish. (8-12)

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David retires to Gath

1 And David said in his heart, I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul: there is nothing better for me than that I should speedily escape into the land of the Philistines; and Saul shall despair of me, to seek me any more in any coast of Israel: so shall I escape out of his hand.

2 And David arose, and he passed over with the six hundred men that were with him unto Achish, the son of Maoch, king of Gath.

3 And David dwelt with Achish at Gath, he and his men, every man with his household, even David with his two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the Carmelitess, Nabal’s wife.

4 And it was told Saul that David was fled to Gath: and he sought no more again for him.

5 And David said unto Achish, If I have now found grace in thine eyes, let them give me a place in some town in the country, that I may dwell there: for why should thy servant dwell in the royal city with thee?

6 Then Achish gave him Ziklag that day: wherefore Ziklag pertaineth unto the kings of Judah unto this day.

7 And the time that David dwelt in the country of the Philistines was a full year and four months.

David deceives Achish

8 And David and his men went up, and invaded the Geshurites, and the Gezrites, and the Amalekites: for those nations were of old the inhabitants of the land, as thou goest to Shur, even unto the land of Egypt.

9 And David smote the land, and left neither man nor woman alive, and took away the sheep, and the oxen, and the asses, and the camels, and the apparel, and returned, and came to Achish.

10 And Achish said, Whither have ye made a road to day? And David said, Against the south of Judah, and against the south of the Jerahmeelites, and against the south of the Kenites.

11 And David saved neither man nor woman alive, to bring tidings to Gath, saying, Lest they should tell on us, saying, So did David, and so will be his manner all the while he dwelleth in the country of the Philistines.

12 And Achish believed David, saying, He hath made his people Israel utterly to abhor him; therefore he shall be my servant for ever.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Hands. God requires that we should act with prudence. D. — David probably consulted the Lord, and sent ambassadors to Achis, before he went into his dominions, (M.) where he had been in such danger before. D.

Ver. 2. Maoch, or Maacha. 3 K. ii. 29. This king had perhaps seen David, when he counterfeited madness. But now he was convinced that, by granting him protection, he would greatly annoy Saul, and draw many brave men out of his dominions.

Ver. 3. Household. They were aware of the cruelty of Saul. The names of these valiant men are specified, 1 Par. xii. 1. &c.

Ver. 5. Country, less peopled, and more remote from the sea. — With thee. David was attended like a king, so that he wished to avoid giving umbrage to Achis, and, at the same time, keep his own men at a greater distance from the contagious morals of the idolaters.

Ver. 6. Day. This was written some time after the death of Samuel. — Siceleg belonged at first to Juda, and was afterwards given to the tribe of Simeon, till it fell into the hands of the Philistines, and being restored by them to David, was considered afterwards as the property of the kings of Juda. It lay not far from Horma. Jos. xix. 4.

Ver. 7. Months. Heb. “days and four months.” The former expression denotes a year; though some would have it, that David remained “four months and a few days” in the country. He probably continued so many months at Geth, (v. 9. 11,) and about a year at Siceleg. C. — Sept. have “days, four months;” and Salien adopts that term. H. See C. xxix. 3. D.

Ver. 8. Pillaged Gessuri, &c. These probably were enemies of the people of God; and some, if not all of them, were of the number of those whom God had ordered to be destroyed; which justifies David’s proceedings in their regard. Though it is to be observed here, that we are not under an obligation of justifying every thing that he did: for the Scripture, in relating what was done, doth not say that it was well done. And even such as are true servants of God, are not to be imitated in all they do. Ch. — The nations of Chanaan, who inhabited as far as Egypt, and the Amalecites, who had escaped the arms of Saul, were devoted to destruction. Ex. xvii. &c. In such cases, any man might fall upon them, without any other formal declaration of war. C. — There was another Gessuri of Syria, in the tribe of Manasses, across the Jordan. M. — The country which these people inhabited, to the south of Palestine, was afterwards depopulated by the kings of Egypt and of Syria, in their continual wars, so that many of the cities which are mentioned in Scripture, were never known to profane geographers. C. — S. Jerom, (Trad.) Sa, and others, think that David attacked some of the Philistines. But it is as probable at least that he would abstain from molesting them, whom had so generously afforded him an asylum. Salien concludes, that he did not attack the other nations, (except the Amalecites, who were sufficiently marked out for destruction, Deut. xxv. 19,) without consulting the Lord, by the high priest, as he was accustomed to do in every difficulty. A. 2979. M. — They all dwelt in part of the land of Chanaan, (W.) which was sufficient. H.

Ver. 9. Apparel. Saul alone had been ordered to destroy all the property of Amalec. Abulensis.

Ver. 10. Jerameel, the son of Esron, inhabited the most southern part of Juda. — Ceni, or the Cinites, descendants of Jethro, (C.) who dwelt at Arad and the environs. The words of David might signify that he attacked these people of Israel, as Achis understood him; or that he made inroads upon those who dwelt to the south of them, which was really the case. H. — At his return, he passed by Siceleg, where he left the spoil, carrying some of the choicest things, as a present, to Achis. M. — But he suffered none of the human race to be carried away captive, lest any of them might disclose the true state of affairs to the king, who might have apprehended that the injured nations would make an attack upon his dominions. Salien.

Ver. 12. Harm. Heb. “he hath made himself stinking (an object of horror) to his people.” A strong expression used, Gen. xxxiv. 30. Ex. v. 21. C. — Sept. “he is quite covered with confusion.” Achis supposed that David had thus forfeited all his pretensions to dwell among, much less, to reign over Israel: so that he might keep him always in his service. H. — In the mean time, Saul was exterminating the people of Gabaon, which brought a pestilence on Israel, 40 years later. Theodoret. — He perhaps supposed that the oath of Josue had not been yet put in execution, as it ought to be, herein indulging too much his cruel temper. Salien.