1 Samuel 24:4 MEANING

1 Samuel 24:4
(4) Behold the day of which the Lord said unto thee.--This was the version by David's men of such predictions as 1 Samuel 15:28; 1 Samuel 16:1; 1 Samuel 16:12. Jonathan's words (1 Samuel 20:15; 1 Samuel 23:17) show clearly that these predictions were known; and the version of them here given was a very natural one in the mouth of David's men (Speaker's Commentary). It is, however, quite possible that a prophet such as Gad had predicted publicly, in the hearing of David's band of followers, that the days would come when their now outlawed captain, the son of Jesse, the "Anointed of Jehovah"--all his enemies being overthrown--would reign in peace and glory over all the land.

Then David arose.--For a moment the "king to be" listened to the seductive voice of the tempter; and we may imagine him, with the sword of Goliath naked in his hand, advancing towards his unconscious adversary, sleeping in the cave's mouth, resolved with one good blow to end the long, cruel war, and then, his great rival being gone, to seat himself at once on the empty throne which he knew the Eternal meant him one day to occupy--but only for a moment; for through the soul of David rapidly passed the thought that the helpless sleeping one was, after all, the "Anointed of Jehovah." How could he, himself "an anointed king," touch another of the same order to do him harm? So with a matchless generosity, unequalled, indeed, in those rough days, he spared the man who so ruthlessly and so often had sought his life, and even at that moment, with all the power of the land, was trying to do him to death; and David the outlaw bent over the sleeping king who hated him with so deep a hate, and deftly cut off the skirt, perhaps some of the golden fringe which edged the royal m'il, and as he bent over him, and saw once more the face of Saul--from whose brow so often his minstrelsy had chased the dark clouds of madness--we can fancy the son of Jesse once more loving the great hero of his boyhood: loving him as he did in the old days when he played in the king's dark hours.

There is no doubt but that one of the most beautiful characteristics of David's many-sided nature, was this enduring loyalty to Saul and to Saul's house. No jealousy, or even bitter injuries done in after years could affect the old love, the old feeling of loyal reverence, the more than filial affection; it was even proof against time. Years after Saul was in his grave. David gave the most conspicuous proof of his faithful memory of his old, devoted friendship for Saul and his house, when he pardoned Mephibosheth, the grandson of Saul, for his more than suspected treason, in the matter of the revolt of Absalom, and restored to him a large portion of his forfeited lands (2 Samuel 19:24-29).

Verses 4, 5. - Behold the day of which Jehovah said unto thee, etc. David's men regard this deliverance of Saul into their band as providential, and the fulfilment of the promises made in David's favour, with which, no doubt, they were well acquainted. But with a noble self-control he refuses to take the matter into his own hand, and leaves unto God in trusting faith the execution of his purposes. To prove, nevertheless, to Saul his innocence, to soften his bitterness, and refute the suspicion that he was lying in wait to murder him, he cuts off the corner - Hebrew, wing - of his meil (see 1 Samuel 2:19). Even for this his heart smote him. So tender was his conscience that he condemned himself for even deviating so slightly from the respect due to the anointed king.

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.And the men of David said unto him,.... Some of his principal men, who were about him, and near him, such as Joab and Abishai:

behold the day of which the Lord said unto thee: now the time was come that he spoke of to him by Samuel, or Gad, or to himself directly:

behold, I will deliver thine enemy into thine hand; and such was Saul, as appeared by his seeking to take away his life; and now he was in the hand of David to take away his life, if he pleased:

that thou mayest do to him as it shall seem good unto thee; an opportunity of this kind now offered:

then David arose; from that part of the cave in which he was, the further part of it:

and cut off the skirt of Saul's robe privily; unawares to him, and unobserved by him, which might be easily done, if Saul was asleep, and it is probable he was; and by the same way it may be accounted for that he did not hear the discourse that passed between David and his men.

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