1 Samuel
Chapter 23

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1 Then they told Dauid, saying, Beholde, the Philistines fight against Keilah, and they rob the threshing floores.

2 Therefore Dauid enquired of the Lord, saying, Shall I go and smite these Philistines? And the Lord said vnto Dauid, Goe, and smite the Philistines, and saue Keilah.

3 And Dauids men said vnto him, Behold, we be afraid here in Iudah: how much more then if wee come to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines?

4 Then Dauid enquired of the Lord yet againe: And the Lord answered him, and said, Arise, go down to Keilah: for I will deliuer the Philistines into thine hand.

5 So Dauid and his men went to Keilah, and fought with the Philistins, and brought away their cattell, and smote them with a great slaughter: so Dauid saued the inhabitants of Keilah.

6 And it came to passe when Abiathar the sonne of Ahimelech fled to Dauid to Keilah, that hee came downe with an Ephod in his hand.

7 And it was told Saul that Dauid was come to Keilah: and Saul said, God hath deliuered him into mine hand: for he is shut in, by entring into a towne that hath gates and barres.

8 And Saul called all the people together to warre, to goe downe to Keilah, to besiege Dauid, and his men.

9 And Dauid knewe that Saul secretly practised mischiefe against him, and hee said to Abiathar the Priest, Bring hither the Ephod.

10 Then saide Dauid, O Lord God of Israel, thy seruant hath certainly heard that Saul seeketh to come to Keilah, to destroy the citie for my sake.

11 Will the men of Keilah deliuer me vp into his hande? will Saul come downe, as thy seruant hath heard, O Lord God of Israel? I beseech thee tell thy seruant. And the Lord said, He will come downe.

12 Then said Dauid, Will the men of Keilah deliuer me, and my men, into the hand of Saul? And the Lord said, They will deliuer thee vp.

13 Then Dauid and his men, which were about sixe hundred, arose, and departed out of Keilah, and went whithersoeuer they could goe: and it was told Saul that Dauid was escaped from Keilah, and hee forbare to goe foorth.

14 And Dauid abode in the wildernesse in strong holds, and remained in a mountaine in the wildernes of Ziph: and Saul sought him euery day, but God deliuered him not into his hand.

15 And Dauid saw that Saul was come out to seeke his life: and Dauid was in the wildernes of Ziph in a wood.

16 And Ionathan Sauls sonne arose, & went to Dauid into the wood, and strengthened his hand in God.

17 And he said vnto him, Feare not; for the hand of Saul my father shall not finde thee, and thou shalt be king ouer Israel, and I shall be next vnto thee: and that also Saul my father knoweth.

18 And they two made a couenant before the Lord: and Dauid abode in the wood, and Ionathan went to his house.

19 Then came vp the Ziphites to Saul to Gibeah, saying, Doth not Dauid hide himselfe with vs in strong holds in the wood, in the hill of Hachilah, which is on the South of Ieshimon?

20 Now therefore, O king, come downe according to all the desire of thy soule to come downe, and our part shall be to deliuer him into the kings hand.

21 And Saul said, Blessed be yee of the Lord, for yee haue compassion on me.

22 Goe, I pray you, prepare yet, and know, and see his place where his haunt is, and who hath seene him there: for it is told mee that he dealeth very subtilly.

23 See therefore, and take knowledge of all the lurking places where he hideth himselfe, and come ye againe to me with the certainty, and I will goe with you: and it shall come to passe, if he be in the land, that I will search him out throughout all the thousands of Iudah.

24 And they arose, & went to Ziph before Saul: but Dauid and his men were in the wildernesse of Maon, in the plaine on the South of Ieshimon.

25 Saul also and his men went to seeke him, and they told Dauid: wherefore he came downe into a rocke, and abode in the wildernesse of Maon: and when Saul heard that, he pursued after Dauid in the wildernes of Maon.

26 And Saul went on this side of the mountaine, and Dauid and his men on that side of the mountaine: and Dauid made haste to get away for feare of Saul: for Saul and his men compassed Dauid and his men round about to take them.

27 But there came a messenger vnto Saul, saying, Haste thee, and come: for the Philistines haue inuaded the land.

28 Wherefore Saul returned from pursuing after Dauid, & went against the Philistines; therefore they called that place Sela-Hammahlekoth.

29 And Dauid went vp from thence, and dwelt in strong holds at En-gedi.

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Commentary for 1 Samuel 23

David rescues Keilah. (1-6) God warns him to escape from Keilah. (7-13) Jonathan comforts David. (14-18) He is rescued from Saul by an invasion of the Philistines. (19-29)1-6 When princes persecute God's people, let them expect vexation on all sides. The way for any country to be quiet, is to let God's church be quiet in it: if Saul fight against David, the Philistines fight against his country. David considered himself the protector of the land. Thus did the Saviour Jesus, and left us an example. Those are unlike David, who sullenly decline to do good, if they are not rewarded for services.

7-13 Well might David complain of his enemies, that they rewarded him evil for good, and that for his love they were his adversaries. Christ was used thus basely. David applied to his great Protector for direction. No sooner was the ephod brought him than he made use of it. We have the Scriptures in our hands, let us take advice from them in doubtful cases. Say, Bring hither the Bible. David's address to God is very solemn, also very particular. God allows us to be so in our addresses to him; Lord, direct me in this matter, about which I am now at a loss. God knows not only what will be, but what would be, if it were not hindered; therefore he knows how to deliver the godly out of temptation, and how to render to every man according to his works.

14-18 David made no attempt against Saul; he kept God's way, waited God's time, and was content to secure himself in woods and wildernesses. Let it make us think the worse of this world, which often gives such bad treatment to its best men: let it make us long for that kingdom where goodness shall for ever be in glory, and holiness in honour. We find Jonathan comforting David. As a pious friend, he directed him to God, the Foundation of his comfort. As a self-denying friend, he takes pleasure in the prospect of David's advancement to the throne. As a constant friend, he renewed his friendship with him. Our covenant with God should be often renewed, and therein our communion with him kept up. If the converse of one friend, at one meeting, gives comfort and strengthens our hearts, what may not be expected from the continual supports and powerful love of the Saviour of sinners, the covenanted Friend of believers!

19-29 In the midst of his wickedness, Saul affected to speak the language of piety. Such expressions, without suitable effects, can only amuse or deceive those who hear, and those who use them. This mountain was an emblem of the Divine Providence coming between David and the destroyer. Let us not be dismayed at the prospect of future difficulties, but stay ourselves upon Him who is wonderful in counsel and excellent in working. Sooner than his promise shall fail, he will commission Philistines to effect our escape, at the very moment when our case appears most desperate. God requires entire dependence on him, If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established, #Isa 7:9|.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

Discussion for 1 Samuel 23

  • BSP
    Verse 2~David had the admirable quality of inquiring of Jehovah God. We should also do so before we make decisions.
  • BSP
    Verse 17: Jonathan was so encouraging to David. He reassured him and he supported David in him being the next king. Jonathan didn't let loyalty to family trump his love for David who had Jehovah God's backing.
  • A disciple
    Peter; I love the story of David and Jonathan; and I have to believe that Jonathan will absolutely be next to David when Jesus comes, and David is made king of Israel for ever. This is something that really teaches us about God's long plans for eternity; and gives us such happiness to know that for all our loved ones, and those who had their torment in this life, Jesus is the Saviour of the world.
  • Peter A. Okebukola
    Jonathan has gone more than the call of duty to help David because that is what God has willed from the beginning of time. As direct heir to the throne, he defiled his father Saul and showed love and compassion to David who was their servant. God's plans are well laid out and He will bring things to fulfilment. He has ordered that David will be king. There is no stopping God's plan.
    Yes, thinking the same things as one of the comments, who told King Saul where David was hiding those times?? Also, yes, even though King Saul's men had surrounded David and his men, God intervened and caused Saul to leave. So lesson learned is even though situations look impossible, keep trusting Jesus because He can turn all situations around for your good, and I have seen this happened.
  • Ira
    In the time of trouble it 's best to seek advice from the LORD as David did when he ran from Saul.

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