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Go to Bible: 1 Samuel 29
“to Aphek.” According to 1 Samuel 28:4, the Philistines were already at Shunem in the Valley of Jezreel, which was more than 40 miles to the northeast of Aphek. The city of Aphek was in the coastal plain just north of the Plain of Philistia and much closer to the main Philistine cities than Shunem was, so why does 1 Samuel 29 have the Philistines back at Aphek when 1 Samuel 28 has them already in Shunem? Scholars have suggested different ways of resolving this apparent discrepancy and why the Bible places the gathering at Aphek after the gathering in the north at Shunem. One proposed solution is that there is another city named Aphek that was close to Shunem, but no such Aphek is mentioned elsewhere or has ever been found. A second solution that has been proposed is that this gathering at Aphek was a later contingent of the Philistine army that gathered at Aphek and then would head north to join the other Philistines who had gone north to Shunem earlier. However, that seems to be unlikely given the fact that in 1 Samuel 29 the ruling lords of the Philistines are mentioned (1 Sam. 29:2) and the commanders of the Philistines are mentioned (1 Sam. 29:4), and David and Achish are there with them (1 Sam. 29:2). It seems the only reasonable way that all the lords and the commanders and King Achish and David could have been together would have been before they marched off as a group to the north to fight against Israel. So the third, and most likely solution as to why 1 Samuel 29 has the Philistines southwest of where they were in 1 Samuel 28 is that the records are out of chronological order, and that the events recorded in 1 Samuel 29 occurred earlier than the troop movements recorded in 1 Samuel 28. But why reverse the chronological order of the chapters? To understand that, we must remember that in the original text there were no chapters or verses, and the focus of this part of Samuel is not on the Philistines, but on David. By moving the events in 1 Samuel 29 next to 1 Samuel 30, the Bible gives us a continuous narrative of events in the life of David. Thus, we see David not being allowed to fight alongside of the Philistines and being sent home to Ziklag in 1 Samuel 29, and then finding Ziklag burned down and the people there taken captive, pursuing and destroying the Amalakites, and then returning to Ziklag in 1 Samuel 30, at which point he was well-positioned to approach the elders of the tribe of Judah and be crowned king once it was known that King Saul had been killed in battle (1 Sam. 31:1-6; 2 Sam. 2:4).
“the spring that is in Jezreel.” There is a spring about 500 yards northeast of Tel Jezreel.(top)
|1Sa 29:2||- (top)|
“who has been with me now.” This phrase refers to David, not Saul, even though “Saul” is the person referred to closest to the phrase. So this is one example showing that the reader must pay attention to the context and that strict rules of grammar do not always apply (cp. 1 John 5:20).(top)
“adversary.” The Hebrew is satan, the “adversary.”(top)
“sang to each other.” The Hebrew is literally, “answering,” so some versions add “to one another, because the singing was meant to memorialize something but also to remind and encourage one another about the event or person.(top)
“As Yahweh lives.” Achish uses the name of Yahweh, likely in recognition that the Hebrew God Yahweh had given David great success.
“Philistine lords.” The word translated “lords” here refers to the Philistine lords.(top)
|1Sa 29:7||- (top)|
“of my lord the king.” David is being ambiguous. His lord the king is still actually Saul.(top)
“like an angel of God.” What could David have done to make Achish feel that David was so good for him? One possibility is that David could have kept the Amalakites from attacking Philistine villages by his constant and successful raids against them.(top)
“the servants of your lord.” Achish refers to himself as David’s lord.(top)
|1Sa 29:11||- (top)|