1 Samuel 19Went forth - To war against the Israelites, being provoked by their former losses, and especially by that act of David's. Spake good - Which he could not do without hazard to himself. Herein therefore he performed the duty of a true friend, and of a valiant man. As the Lord, &c. - And without all doubt, he intended what he said, feeling a real change in himself for the present. "God," says Mr. Henry, "inclined the heart of Saul to hearken to the voice of Jonathan." And David, &c. - So David continues his good service, tho' it was ill requited. They who are ill paid for doing good, yet must not be weary of well doing, remembering how bountiful a benefactor God is, even to the evil and unthankful. The evil spirit - David's successes against the Philistines revived his envy, and the devil watched the opportunity, as he had done before. Goats hair - Or, put great goats hair upon his bolster; 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. Covered it - Upon pretence of his being sick, and needing some such covering. To Samuel - Both for comfort and direction in his distress; and for safety, supposing that Saul would be ashamed to execute his bloody designs in the presence of so venerable a person as Samuel. Over them - To instruct and direct them in those holy exercises. For though they prophesied by Divine inspiration, yet they were both to prepare themselves for it before hand, 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, 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 to the performance of such religious duties. Prophesied - Being inspired by God as Balaam was; that being wrapt up into such an extasy, their minds might be wholly taken off from their design of seizing David. The spirit - It came upon him in the way; whereas it came not upon his messengers 'till they came to the place. Hereby God would convince Saul of the vanity of his designs against David, and that in them he fought against God himself. Lay down - Heb. fell, down upon the earth; for his mind being in an extasy, he had not the use of his senses. God so ordering it, that David might have an opportunity to escape. Naked - That is, stript of his upper garments, as the word naked is often used; and it is here repeated to signify how long he lay in that posture. Day and night - So God kept him as it were in chains, 'till David was got out of his reach. Is Saul - The same proverb which was used before, is here revived, as an evidence of God's wonderful care over David; he made Saul in some sort a prophet, that he mightst make David a king.
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