1 Samuel 24:2 MEANING

1 Samuel 24:2
(2) Three thousand chosen men.--This large and carefully selected force is an indication how thoroughly impressed Saul was with the power of David at this juncture. He, indeed, evidently looked on him as a rival king, who must be met by a numerous and disciplined force.

Upon the rocks of the wild goats.--"Ibex rocks," so called because probably only these ibexes, the chamois of Syria, would find pasturage on them. Some have suggested that this was a proper name. The ibex is still found among the precipitous cliffs in the neighbourhood of Ain-jedy.

Verse 2. - Chosen. See on this word 1 Samuel 9:2. The rocks of the wild goats. Apparently this was the proper name of some cliffs near En-gedi, so called from their being frequented by the ibex, or Syrian chamois, an animal which, according to Thomson (p. 603) is still found there. It shows Saul's pertinacious hatred of David, that no sooner was the war with the Philistines over, than he pursues him with 3000 picked warriors into these lonely fastnesses. Comp. Psalm 57:4, written, according to the title, upon the occasion recorded in this chapter.

24:1-7 God delivered Saul into David's hand. It was an opportunity given to David to exercise faith and patience. He had a promise of the kingdom, but no command to slay the king. He reasons strongly, both with himself and with his men, against doing Saul any hurt. Sin is a thing which it becomes us to startle at, and to resist temptations thereto. He not only would not do this bad thing himself, but he would not suffer those about him to do it. Thus he rendered good for evil, to him from whom he received evil for good; and was herein an example to all who are called Christians, not to be overcome of evil, but to overcome evil with good.Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel,.... Out of his army, with which he had been pursuing the Philistines:

and went to seek David, and his men, upon the rocks of the wild goats; which were in the wilderness of Engedi; those rocks were exceeding high and terrible to look at, full of precipices, and so prominent, that to travellers they seemed as if they would fall into the adjacent valleys, that it even struck terror into them to look at them (x); called the rocks of wild goats, because these creatures, called from hence "rupicaprae", or rock goats, see Job 39:1; delighted to be there; and are, as Pliny (y) says, of such prodigious swiftness, that they will leap from mountain to mountain, and back again at pleasure; these mountains David and his men chose for safety, and the height and craggedness of them did not deter Saul and his men from seeking him there.

(x) Adrichom Theatrum Terrae Sanct. p. 47. & Brocard. in ib. (y) Nat. Hist. l. 8. c. 53.

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