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Go to Bible: 1 Samuel 19
“servants.” In the context of killing David, Saul’s “servants” are his chief military men (see commentary on 2 Sam. 11:1).
“they should kill David.” The Hebrew text does not use the common word for “kill,” it is more like “put David to death,” which might involve a plan or scheme.(top)
|1Sm 19:2||- (top)|
“whatever I find out.” The Hebrew is more idiomatic: “whatever I see.”(top)
|1Sm 19:4||- (top)|
“So why would you sin against innocent blood to kill David without a cause.” This is a Messianic theme and a parallel between David and Jesus Christ.(top)
|1Sm 19:6||- (top)|
“as before.” The Hebrew is idiomatic: “as yesterday and three days ago.”(top)
“from before him.” Or, “from his face,” or, “from his presence.” The idea is that they know David is there and they flee.(top)
“came upon Saul.” The literal is more like the evil spirit was “to Saul.” It came to him.
“in his house.” That is, in the palace. The “house” of the king was the palace.
“playing the harp with his hand.” Cp. 1 Samuel 16:16, 23; 18:10.(top)
“And Saul sought to pin David to the wall with the spear.” This event is similar to 1 Samuel 18:10-12. The Hebrew is more literally that Saul “sought to strike David and the wall,” that is that Saul wanted to throw the spear through David and into the wall, but that is not very clear in English. Saul wanted to pin David to the wall.(top)
|1Sm 19:11||- (top)|
“And he went, fled, and got away.” Likely David “went” out the window, and then fled and got away.(top)
“the teraphim.” “Teraphim” were household gods. It seems out of character for Michal, David’s wife to have teraphim in the house. The fact it, or they, were there is simply stated in the text, it is never explained. It is certainly possible that Michal was not a wholehearted follower of Yahweh, after all, her father Saul certainly was not. When David married Michal there is no indication that he loved her, but rather he married her to be part of Saul’s extended family. Michal loved David, but there is no indication he loved her, it seems like a marriage of convenience, which was very common in the biblical culture (cp. 1 Sam. 18:20-29).
[For more on teraphim see commentary on Genesis 31:19.]
“tangle of goats hair.” The Hebrew word kebyr (#03523 כְּבִיר), translated “tangle” in the REV only occurs here and in verse 16 in the Bible and what it referred to is not known. It is possible that Michal had some goat hair around because it was used in making tents and perhaps some clothing (cp. NAB, “tangle”). It is also possible, as some translations suggest, that kebyr referred to a kind of blanket or quilt of goat’s hair. It was common in the biblical culture to cover your head when you slept, and so it would have been possible for Michal to take a kind of blanket and cover the teraphim such that no one could tell it was not David.(top)
“she said, “He is sick.” Michal lied to the men who came from King Saul, and in so doing may well have saved David’s life. God allows people to act in self-defense and in the defense of others, and sometimes that requires telling untruths to evil people.
[For more on lying and civil disobedience, see commentary Exod. 1:19.](top)
|1Sm 19:15||- (top)|
|1Sm 19:16||- (top)|
|1Sm 19:17||- (top)|
“And David fled and escaped and came to Samuel to Ramah.” This escape from Gibeah of Saul begins a long and arduous journey for David as he runs from Saul from place to place. The Bible chronicles his travels, which lead him further and further south in his attempt to be safe from Saul.
David’s journey: David flees Gibeah of Saul and goes a few miles north to Ramah, the home of Samuel the prophet (1 Sam. 19:18). David sneaks back to Gibeah and meets with Jonathan (1 Sam. 20:1). David goes to Nob to Ahimelech the priest. The location of Nob is unknown, but it might be near the Mount of Olives (1 Sam. 21:1). David flees west to the Philistine capital city of Gath to seek shelter from Achish the king there (1 Sam. 21:10). David flees from Gath to the cave of Adullam, southeast of Gath (1 Sam. 22:1). David went to Keilah, which is about 8 ½ miles northwest of Hebron, to protect their harvest from the Philistines (1 Sam. 23:1-5). David flees from Keilah and travels about southeast of there looking for a safe place to be (1 Sam. 23:13). He then goes to the wilderness close to the Dead Sea (1 Sam. 23:19). David and his men then go to the wilderness of Maon. Maon is likely a town some 9 miles southeast of Hebron, and the “wilderness of Maon” is the Judean wilderness associated with it and to the southeast of it (1 Sam. 23:24). David travels east through the Judean wilderness to the strongholds of En-gedi, which is in the east of the tribal area of Judah and just west of the Dead Sea (1 Sam. 23:29). Samuel dies, and without his spiritual leader, David travels very far south out of Judah to the wilderness of Paran, to be sure to be away from Saul (1 Sam. 25:1). David goes back to the wilderness close to the Dead Sea, where he had been earlier (1 Sam. 26:3; cp. 1 Sam. 23:19). David returns, now with his army and family, to Achish, king of Gath (1 Sam. 27:1-2). Achish gave him the city of Ziklag, where David and his men lived for a year and four months (1 Sam. 27:6-7). David was in Ziklag when Saul and Jonathan were killed in battle (2 Sam. 1:1). He asked God where he should go, and God said “to Hebron,” so David went to Hebron where he was crowned king of Judah and he reigned from Hebron for seven years and six months before he conquered Jerusalem and made that his capital (2 Sam. 2:1, 7, 11).(top)
|1Sm 19:19||- (top)|
|1Sm 19:20||- (top)|
|1Sm 19:21||- (top)|
|1Sm 19:22||- (top)|
|1Sm 19:23||- (top)|
“he also stripped off his clothes.” Under the power of the spirit of God, Saul removes his royal robes. It is unclear how much of his clothing he would take off, but he probably would not have become totally naked.(top)