1 Samuel 22


David flees to the cave of Adullam, where he is joined by four

hundred men of various descriptions, 1, 2.

He goes afterwards to Moab; and by the advice of the prophet

Gad, to the forest of Hareth, 3-5.

Saul, suspecting his servants of infidelity, upbraids them, 6-8.

Doeg informs him of David's coming to Nob; of his being

entertained by Ahimelech; on which Saul slays Ahimelech and

all the priests, to the number of eighty-five, and destroys

the city of Nob, 9-19.

Abiathar, the son of Ahimelech, only escapes; he joins with

David, by whom he is assured of protection, 20-23.


Verse 1. The cave Adullam] This was in the tribe of Judah, and,

according to Eusebius and Jerome, ten miles eastward of what they

call Eleutheropolis.

Verse 2. And every one that was in distress-debt-discontented]

It is very possible that these several disaffected and

exceptionable characters might at first have supposed that David,

unjustly persecuted, would be glad to avail himself of their

assistance that he might revenge himself upon Saul, and so they in

the mean time might profit by plunder, &c. But if this were their

design they were greatly disappointed, for David never made any

improper use of them. They are never found plundering or

murdering; on the contrary, they always appear under good

discipline, and are only employed in services of a beneficent

nature, and in defence of their country. Whatever they were before

they came to David, we find that he succeeded in civilizing them,

and making profitable to the state those who were before

unprofitable. It is not necessary to strain the words of the

original in order to prove that these were oppressed people, and

not exceptionable characters, as some have done.

Verse 3. He said unto the king of Moab] David could not trust

his parents within the reach of Saul, and he found it very

inconvenient to them to be obliged to go through all the fatigues

of a military life, and therefore begs the king of Moab to give

them shelter. The king of Moab, being one of Saul's enemies, would

be the more ready to oblige a person from whom he might at least

expect friendship, if not considerable services.

Verse 5. Get thee into the land of Judah] Gad saw that in this

place alone he could find safety.

Verse 6. Saul abode in Gibeah] Saul and his men were in pursuit

of David, and had here, as is the general custom in the East,

encamped on a height, for so Ramah should be translated, as in the

margin. His spear, the ensign of power (see on 1Sa 18:11,) was at

hand, that is stuck in the ground where he rested, which was the

mark to the soldiers that there was their general's tent.

And all his servants were standing about him] That is, they were

encamped around him, or perhaps here there is a reference to a

sort of council of war called by Saul for the purpose of

delivering the speech recorded in the following verses.

Verse 8. There is none that showeth me] He conjectured that

Jonathan had made a league with David to dethrone him, and he

accuses them of disloyalty for not making the discovery of this

unnatural treason. Now it was impossible for any of them to show

what did not exist, no such league having ever been made between

David and Jonathan.

Verse 9. Doeg the Edomite, which was set over the servants of

Saul] In 1Sa 21:7 he is said to be

the chiefest of the herdmen that belonged to Saul, and the

Septuagint intimate that he was over the mules of Saul. Probably

he was what we call the king's equery or groom.

Verse 10. And he inquired of the Lord for him] This circumstance

is not related in history; but it is probably true, as David would

most naturally wish to know where to direct his steps in this very

important crisis.

Verse 14. And who is so faithful] The word neeman, which

we here translate faithful, is probably the name of an officer.

See Clarke on Nu 12:7.

Verse 15. Did I then begin to inquire of God] He probably means

that his inquiring now for David was no new thing, having often

done so before, and without ever being informed it was either

wrong in itself, or displeasing to the king. Nor is it likely that

Ahimelech knew of any disagreement between Saul and David. He knew

him to be the king's son-in-law, and he treated him as such.

Verse 17. But the servants of the king would not] They dared to

disobey the commands of the king in a case of such injustice,

inhumanity, and irreligion.

Verse 18. And Doeg-fell upon the priests] A ruthless Edomite,

capable of any species of iniquity.

Fourscore and five persons] The Septuagint read τριακοσιουςκαι

πεντεανδρας, three hundred and five men; and Josephus has three

hundred and eighty-five men. Probably the eighty-five were

priests; the three hundred, the families of the priests; three

hundred and eighty-five being the whole population of Nob.

That did wear a linen ephod.] That is, persons who did actually

administer, or had a right to administer, in sacred things. The

linen ephod was the ordinary clothing of the priests.

Verse 19. And Nob-smote he with the edge of the sword] This is

one of the worst acts in the life of Saul; his malice was

implacable, and his wrath was cruel, and there is no motive of

justice or policy by which such a barbarous act can be justified.

Verse 20. Abiathar, escaped] This man carried with him his

sacerdotal garments, as we find from 1Sa 23:6, 9.

Verse 22. I knew it that day] When I saw Doeg there, I suspected

he would make the matter known to Saul.

I have occasioned the death of all the persons] I have been the

innocent cause of their destruction.

Verse 23. He that seeketh my life seeketh thy life] The enmity

of Saul is directed against thee as well as against me, and thou

canst have no safety but in being closely attached to me; and I

will defend thee even at the risk of my own life. This he was

bound in duty and conscience to do.

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