|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
1:1-4 We have David sinking under infirmities. He was chastised for his recent sins, and felt the effects of his former toils and hardships.
Verse 1. - Now [Hebrews and, but "now" more nearly expresses the import of the original, for ו has here little or no connecting force. It is commonly found at the beginning of a book (as in Exodus, Leviticus, Joshua, Judges, 2 Samuel, Ruth, etc.), and that where there is no connection whatever with any earlier writing (as in Esther, Ezekiel, Jonah, etc.) It can hardly imply, therefore, "that the historian regards his work as a continuation of a preceding history" (Rawlinson), nor is there any need to suppose that it has been taken from a writing containing the earlier history of David." Keil] King [Hebrews the king. The frequent use of this title, "King David," "King Solomon," "King Asa," etc., is characteristic of our author. The expression is not unknown in 2 Samuel, but it occurs so rarely as to constitute a distinction (not a link, as Wordsworth) between that book and the Kings.] David was old [yet 2 Samuel 5:4, 5, shows that he cannot have been more than seventy. (He was thirty at his accession; his reign at Hebron lasted seven years and a half; at Jerusalem thirty-three years.) Rawlinson says, "the Jews at this time were not long lived." Certainly, the Jewish kings were not. Only David, Solomon, and Manasses exceeded threescore] and stricken [Hebrews gone, i.e., advanced] in years. [A common expression, only found with זָקֵןas in Genesis 18:11; Genesis 24:1; Joshua 13:1, etc.] And they covered him with clothes [lit. coverings. בֶּגֶד is used of any covering, whether of the person (Genesis 39:12; 1 Kings 22:10), or the bed (1 Samuel 19:13), or even a table (Numbers 4:6). Indeed, the outer garment was used, at least by the poor, for a covering at night (Exodus 22:27). The context (ver. 47) shows that bedclothes are intended here] but he gat no heat. [A common experience of the aged. David's early hardships and later sorrows and anxieties appear to have aged him prematurely. Possibly he was also afflicted with disease.]
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Now King David was old, and stricken in years,.... Was seventy years of age; for he was thirty years of age when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years, 2 Samuel 5:4; this was just the age of man, Psalm 90:10;
and they covered him with clothes; not wearing apparel, but bed clothes; he seems to have been bedridden and paralytic:
but he got no heat; by them; having no natural heat in him, clothes could not communicate any to him, only keep the cold from him, see Haggai 1:6; there are many persons at the age he was, that are lively, healthful, and robust, comparatively speaking at least; but David's strength was impaired, and his natural force abated by his many wars, fatigues by night and day in campaigns, and the many sorrows and afflictions he met with from his family and his friends, as well as enemies; which exhausted his natural moisture, weakened his nerves, and drank up his spirits, and brought upon him the infirmities of a decrepit old age very soon.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
THE FIRST BOOK OF THE KINGS, COMMONLY CALLED THE THIRD BOOK OF THE KINGS. Commentary by Robert Jamieson
1Ki 1:1-4. Abishag Cherishes David in His Extreme Age.
1, 2. Now king David was old—He was in the seventieth year of his age (2Sa 5:4, 5). But the wear and tear of a military life, bodily fatigue, and mental care, had prematurely, if we may say it, exhausted the energies of David's strong constitution (1Sa 16:12). In modern Palestine and Egypt the people, owing to the heat of the climate, sleep each in a "separate" bed. They only depart from this practice for medical reasons (Ec 4:11). The expedient recommended by David's physicians is the regimen still prescribed in similar cases in the East, particularly among the Arab population, not simply to give heat, but "to cherish," as they are aware that the inhalation of young breath will give new life and vigor to the worn-out frame. The fact of the health of the young and healthier person being, as it were, stolen to support that of the more aged and sickly is well established among the medical faculty. And hence the prescription for the aged king was made in a hygienic point of view for the prolongation of his valuable life, and not merely for the comfort to be derived from the natural warmth imparted to his withered frame [Porter, Tent and Khan]. The polygamy of the age and country may account for the introduction of this practice; and it is evident that Abishag was made a concubine or secondary wife to David (see on 1Ki 2:22).
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