1-Samuel - 23:1-29

Their Adventures

      1 David was told, "Behold, the Philistines are fighting against Keilah, and are robbing the threshing floors." 2 Therefore David inquired of Yahweh, saying, "Shall I go and strike these Philistines?" Yahweh said to David, "Go strike the Philistines, and save Keilah." 3 David's men said to him, "Behold, we are afraid here in Judah: how much more then if we go to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines?" 4 Then David inquired of Yahweh yet again. Yahweh answered him, and said, "Arise, go down to Keilah; for I will deliver the Philistines into your hand." 5 David and his men went to Keilah, and fought with the Philistines, and brought away their livestock, and killed them with a great slaughter. So David saved the inhabitants of Keilah. 6 It happened, when Abiathar the son of Ahimelech fled to David to Keilah, that he came down with an ephod in his hand. 7 It was told Saul that David had come to Keilah. Saul said, "God has delivered him into my hand; for he is shut in, by entering into a town that has gates and bars." 8 Saul summoned all the people to war, to go down to Keilah, to besiege David and his men. 9 David knew that Saul was devising mischief against him; and he said to Abiathar the priest, "Bring the ephod here." 10 Then David said, "O Yahweh, the God of Israel, your servant has surely heard that Saul seeks to come to Keilah, to destroy the city for my sake. 11 Will the men of Keilah deliver me up into his hand? Will Saul come down, as your servant has heard? Yahweh, the God of Israel, I beg you, tell your servant." Yahweh said, "He will come down." 12 Then David said, "Will the men of Keilah deliver me and my men into the hand of Saul?" Yahweh said, "They will deliver you up." 13 Then David and his men, who were about six hundred, arose and departed out of Keilah, and went wherever they could go. It was told Saul that David was escaped from Keilah; and he gave up going there. 14 David stayed in the wilderness in the strongholds, and remained in the hill country in the wilderness of Ziph. Saul sought him every day, but God didn't deliver him into his hand. 15 David saw that Saul had come out to seek his life. David was in the wilderness of Ziph in the wood. 16 Jonathan, Saul's son, arose, and went to David into the woods, and strengthened his hand in God. 17 He said to him, "Don't be afraid; for the hand of Saul my father shall not find you; and you shall be king over Israel, and I shall be next to you; and that also Saul my father knows." 18 They both made a covenant before Yahweh: and David stayed in the woods, and Jonathan went to his house. 19 Then the Ziphites came up to Saul to Gibeah, saying, "Doesn't David hide himself with us in the strongholds in the wood, in the hill of Hachilah, which is on the south of the desert? 20 Now therefore, O king, come down, according to all the desire of your soul to come down; and our part shall be to deliver him up into the king's hand." 21 Saul said, "You are blessed by Yahweh; for you have had compassion on me. 22 Please go make yet more sure, and know and see his place where his haunt is, (and) who has seen him there; for it is told me that he deals very subtly. 23 See therefore, and take knowledge of all the lurking places where he hides himself, and come again to me with certainty, and I will go with you: and it shall happen, if he is in the land, that I will search him out among all the thousands of Judah." 24 They arose, and went to Ziph before Saul: but David and his men were in the wilderness of Maon, in the Arabah on the south of the desert. 25 Saul and his men went to seek him. When David was told, he went down to the rock, and stayed in the wilderness of Maon. When Saul heard (that), he pursued after David in the wilderness of Maon. 26 Saul went on this side of the mountain, and David and his men on that side of the mountain: and David made haste to get away for fear of Saul; for Saul and his men surrounded David and his men to take them. 27 But a messenger came to Saul, saying, "Hurry and come; for the Philistines have made a raid on the land!" 28 So Saul returned from pursuing after David, and went against the Philistines: therefore they called that place Sela Hammahlekoth. 29 David went up from there, and lived in the strongholds of En Gedi.

Chapter In-Depth

Explanation and meaning of 1-Samuel 23.

Historical Commentaries

Scholarly Analysis and Interpretation.

David succours Keilah, besieged by the Philistines; defeats them, and delivers the city, 1-Samuel 23:1-6. Saul, hearing that David was at Keilah, determines to come and seize him, 1-Samuel 23:7, 1-Samuel 23:8. David inquires of the Lord concerning the fidelity of the men of Keilah towards him; is informed that if he stays in the city, the men of Keilah will betray him to Saul, 1-Samuel 23:9-12. David and his men escape from the city, and come to the wilderness of Ziph, 1-Samuel 23:13-15. Jonathan meets David in the wood of Ziph, strengthens his hand in God, and they renew their covenant, 1-Samuel 23:16-18. The Ziphites endeavor to betray David to Saul, but he and his men escape to Maon, 1-Samuel 23:19-22. Saul comes to Maon; and having surrounded the mountain on which David and his men were, they must inevitably have fallen into his hands, had not a messenger come to call Saul to the succor of Judah, then invaded by the Philistines, 1-Samuel 23:25-27. Saul leaves the pursuit of David, and goes to succor the land; and David escapes to En-gedi, 1-Samuel 23:28, 1-Samuel 23:29.

This chapter gives an account of David's relieving Keilah, when it had like to have fallen into the hands of the Philistines, 1-Samuel 23:1; and of Saul's design to surprise him there, which David having notice of, and inquiring of the Lord, departed from thence; which when Saul heard of, he forbore to come forth, 1-Samuel 23:7; and of David's being in the wilderness of Ziph, where, in a wood there, he had an interview with Jonathan, 1-Samuel 23:14; and of the Ziphites offering to deliver him up to Saul, for which he commends them, and gives them instructions how they should behave to him in that affair, 1-Samuel 23:19; and of his seeking him in the wilderness of Maon, where David and his men were in great danger of being taken; which was prevented by the news of the Philistines invading the land coming to Saul just at the nick of time, 1-Samuel 23:24.

(1-Samuel 23:1-6) David rescues Keilah.
(1-Samuel 23:7-13) God warns him to escape from Keilah.
(1-Samuel 23:14-18) Jonathan comforts David.
(1-Samuel 23:19-29) He is rescued from Saul by an invasion of the Philistines.

David Delivers Keilah. He Is Betrayed by the Ziphites, and Marvellously Saved from Saul in the Desert of Maon - 1 Samuel 23
The following events show how, on the one hand, the Lord gave pledges to His servant David that he would eventually become king, but yet on the other hand plunged him into deeper and deeper trouble, that He might refine him and train him to be a king after His own heart. Saul's rage against the priests at Nob not only drove the high priest into David's camp, but procured for David the help of the "light and right" of the high priest in all his undertakings. Moreover, after the prophet Gad had called David back to Judah, an attack of the Philistines upon Keilah furnished him with the opportunity to show himself to the people as their deliverer. And although this enterprise of his exposed him to fresh persecutions on the part of Saul, who was thirsting for revenge, he experienced in connection therewith not only the renewal of Jonathan's friendship on this occasion, but a marvellous interposition on the part of the faithful covenant God.

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