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Bible Commentaries

Matthew Poole's English Annotations
on the Holy Bible

1 Samuel 19

 

 

Verse 1

1 SAMUEL CHAPTER 19

Saul purposeth to kill David; Jonathan discloseth it; speaketh in his behalf to Saul, who sweareth not to kill him; he returneth to court, 1 Samuel 19:1-7. By reason of his success in a new war, Saul again seeketh to kill him; Michal acquainteth him with it; he flieth; she deceiveth her father, 1 Samuel 19:8-17. David cometh to Samuel at Ramah; Saul sendeth messengers twice to apprehend him; they both prophesy, 1 Samuel 19:18-21. He goeth himself thither, and prophesieth likewise, 1 Samuel 19:22-24.

Saul spake to Jonathan; whom, though lately engaged in a league of friendship with David, he thought to oblige to it by sense of his own interest, as being the next heir of the crown, and likely to suffer most by David’s advancement. And to all his servants: what before he secretly designed, now he openly and impudently avowed.


Verse 2

Lest he kill thee before I discourse with him, and endeavour to reconcile him to thee; which I think not fit to attempt as yet, whilst he is in the fit of rage against thee; but I intend to do in the morning, when I may hope to find him in a better temper.


Verse 3

In the field where thou art; in the field where my father useth to walk, where also I would have thee to hide thyself, that I may know where to find thee at hand, to acquaint thee with the success of my endeavours, that thou mayst accordingly either return to court, or speedily depart.


Verse 4

Jonathan spake good of David, which he could not do without hazard to himself. Herein therefore he performed the duty of a true friend, and of a valiant man.


Verse 5

He did put his life in his hand, i.e. he exposed his life to eminent hazard. See Poole "Jude 12:3".


Verse 6

This great change is not to be ascribed to any true repentance for his sin against David, or any better affection which he now had to him; but merely to his own worldly interest, because he was convinced by Jonathan’s discourse that he could not kill him without great inconvenience and shame to himself.


Verse 9

David’s successes against the Philistines, which should have cheered his heart, made him sad, and the devil watched the opportunity to improve his melancholy, as before he bad done.


Verse 11

To slay him in the morning: why not in the night?

Answ. Partly, because it would have been barbarous, and most dishonourable to Saul, to break into David’s house by night, and kill him in his own house and bed; and it seemed more expedient to kill him as he came out of his house in the morning; partly, because the night might give David some opportunity of escaping, which the day-light would prevent; and principally, by God’s singular providence, infatuating Saul’s mind to take the worst course, that David might be delivered from him. Tomorrow thou shalt be slain; which she might learn, either by information from Jonathan, or some other courtier that was privy to rite design; or from her own observation of some suspicious or dangerous persons hovering about the house.


Verse 12

Michal let David down through a window; because they lay in wait for him at the doors of the house, whensoever he should come forth there.


Verse 13

An image, Heb. teraphim, which was an image made in human shape; which she might keep secretly, either out of a superstitious regard to it, or out of mere curiosity. This stratagem she used, because knowing her father’s unquiet, and jealous, and furious temper, she suspected he might come or send to see whether David was there or no.

Put a pillow of goats’ hair for his bolster, or, put great goats’ hair upon his bolster, i.e. upon the head and face of the image, which lay upon his bolster, that it might have some kind of resemblance of David’s head and hair, at least in a sick man’s bed, where there useth to be but a glimmering light. Goats is here put for goats’ hair, as it manifestly is Exodus 25:4 26:7 35:26. It is acknowledged by learned writers, that in those eastern countries goats had much longer hair than ours have, and were shorn like sheep, and that their hair was not unlike to a man’s or woman’s hair; as may also be gathered from Song of Solomon 4:1, Thy hair is as a flock of goats, i.e. as the hair of a flock of goats. And as there was goats’ hair of several colours, (as the wool of sheep in divers parts is of very differing colours, as white, or black, or yellow, &c.) so it is most probable she took that colour which was likest the colour of David’s hair. And she took this rather than the hair of another man, because the procuring and ordering of that would have taken up some time; whereas she had goats’ hair of all sorts at hand, as being used in spinning or weaving, &c. Or the sense may be this, according to our translation, that she put a pillow of the softest part of goats’ hair under the head of the image, as they used to put under the heads of sick men; whereby also the head of the image sinking into the pillow might be less discerned, especially when it was either wholly or in part covered with a cloth. And all this art was used, that David being supposed, and, some persons who were sent to inquire, perceived, as thought, to be in the bed, Saul might be hindered from pursuing and overtaking him before he had got into some place.

Covered it with a cloth, upon pretence of being sick, and needing some such covering, but really to prevent the discovery of her deceit.


Verse 14

Messengers, to wit, other messengers in the morning, supposing the former to be either slow or perfidious.


Verse 15

Again to see David, or only, to see David, which they did not before, but went away satisfied (as it was fit they should) with her report and testimony of his sickness.


Verse 17

If thou dost not permit me to escape without discovery, I shall be forced for my own defence to kill thee. Though it is most likely this was a lie and a fiction of her own.


Verse 18

Came to Samuel to Ramah; partly for comfort and direction in his great distress; and partly for safety, supposing that Saul would be ashamed to execute his bloody designs in the presence of so venerable a person as Samuel, who had laid so great obligations upon Saul, and had such great and just reputation with the people.


Verse 19

Or, near Ramah; the Hebrew preposition beth, in, being oft put for near, as it is apparently used, Numbers 33:37,38 Jos 5:13 Jeremiah 20:2 32:7.

Naioth was either a house or college in the town of Ramah, or a village in the territory of Ramah, or near to the town of Ramah; in which there was a college of the prophets, amongst whom Samuel thought David might be secure.


Verse 20

Saul sent messengers to take David: thus Saul’s wickedness and fury increased; and he that at first used only secret practices against David, now breaks forth into open and impudent hostilities; plainly declaring that he neither feared God nor reverenced man. He would have punished Samuel, as afterwards he did Abimelech, for giving David entertainment, but that he feared the people, who had so great and unanimous a veneration for him.

Prophesying, i.e. speaking of God, or of the things of God, by Divine inspiration; either praising God, or instructing men. Compare Numbers 11:25 1 Samuel 10:5.

Appointed over them, to instruct, moderate, and direct them in those holy exercises. For though they prophesied by Divine inspiration, which Samuel could not govern; yet they were both to prepare and dispose themselves for it beforehand, and to make good improvement of it afterwards, in both which they needed Samuel’s counsel and assistance. And whereas some might falsely pretend to those raptures, or the devil might transform himself into an angel of light, and convey some evil or false suggestions into some of their minds, Samuel’s presence and judgment was necessary to prevent and to detect such impostures. Besides, Samuel would by his present conjunction with them in those holy exercises encourage them, and stir up others to the coveting of those gifts, and the performance of such religious duties.

They also prophesied; being inspired by God to do so, as wicked Balaam also was; that, being rapt up into such an ecstasy, their minds might be wholly taken up with those matters, and quite taken off from their design of seizing David.


Verse 22

Where are Samuel and David? for, his messengers not returning, he knew not exactly where they were.


Verse 23

The Spirit of God was upon him also; it came upon him in the way; whereas it came not upon his messengers till they came to the place; whereby God would convince Saul of the vanity of all his designs against David, and that in them he fought against God himself.


Verse 24

His clothes, to wit, his military or royal garments; which he did, either that he might suit himself and his habit to the rest of the company; or because his mind being altogether taken up with Divine things, he did not understand or heed what he did.

Also: this implies that the messengers which he sent, who probably were military persons, had done so before him.

Prophesied before Samuel: this doth not contradict 1 Samuel 15:35, where it is said that Samuel came no more to see Saul; for here Saul goes to Samuel, and that not with design to see him, but to surprise David.

In like manner; as the rest of the prophets there did.

Lay down, Heb. fell, to wit, down upon the earth; for his mind being in an ecstasy, he had not the use of his senses or motion, as he Numbers 24:4; God so ordering it, that David might have an opportunity to escape.

Naked, i.e. stripped of his upper garments, as was said before, and as the word naked is oft used, as Isaiah 20:2 Micah 1:8. See also 2 Samuel 6:20 John 21:7. And it is here repeated to signify how long he lay in that posture.

All that day and all that night; so God kept him as it were in chains, till David was got out of. his reach.

Is Saul also among the prophets? The same proverb which was taken up upon a like occasion, 1 Samuel 10:12, is here remembered and revived upon this new occasion, as an evidence of God’s wonderful care over David; he made Saul in some sort a prophet, that he might make David a king.

 


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Bibliography Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 1 Samuel 19:4". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/1-samuel-19.html. 1685.

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