|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
18:12-30 For a long time David was kept in continual apprehension of falling by the hand of Saul, yet he persevered in meek and respectful behaviour towards his persecutor. How uncommon is such prudence and discretion, especially under insults and provocations! Let us inquire if we imitate this part of the exemplary character before us. Are we behaving wisely in all our ways? Is there no sinful omission, no rashness of spirit, nothing wrong in our conduct? Opposition and perverseness in others, will not excuse wrong tempers in us, but should increase our care, and attention to the duties of our station. Consider Him that endured contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be weary and faint in your minds, Heb 12:3. If David magnified the honour of being son-in-law to king Saul, how should we magnify the honour of being sons to the King of kings!
Verses 12-16. - Saul was afraid of David. new feeling. To his jealousy succeeded a sense of powerlessness, as knowing that a higher power was with David, while he had lost the Divine protection. This miserable feeling grew upon the unhappy king, till before the battle of Gilboa we find him with all his old heroic spirit gone, a miserable wreck, seeking for comfort at the hands of a woman of the most worthless kind (1 Samuel 28:5, 7, 20). In this despondent state of mind he dismisses David from attendance upon him, but in an honourable manner, giving him the command of a thousand men, at the head of whom he went out and came in before the people, i.e. in a public capacity, as an officer of state. As Saul seems entirely to have neglected the internal administration of the kingdom, this would refer to military expeditions (see on ver. 5); and in these David behaved himself wisely. Rather, "prospered" (see on ver. 5). His great success only increased Saul's fears; but both Israel and Judah loved David, now that in this higher command they had full opportunities for judging of his high qualities. Thus again his removal from his place in Saul's bodyguard only served to make him better known. The separate mention of Israel and Judah is an indication of the Books of Samuel having been written at a post-Solomonic date, though the distinction was a very old one (see on 1 Samuel 11:8). SAUL, UNDER PRETENCE OF A MARRIAGE WITH HIS DAUGHTER, PLOTS DAVID'S DEATH (vers. 17-30).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with him,.... Protecting and preserving him, prospering and succeeding him, giving him victory over his enemies, and favour among the people; the Targum is,"the Word of the Lord was for his help.''Procopius Gazaeus interprets it of the Holy Ghost, whose grace was vouchsafed unto him: he might be afraid in his melancholy fits, that as he had attempted to take away the life of David, that David would contrive and seek an opportunity, and take away his life, and seize the kingdom which God had given him, and his being with him strengthened these fears:
and was departed from Saul; so that he was destitute of courage, and greatness of mind, and of wisdom and prudence, and became mean and abject, and exposed himself to the contempt of his subjects.
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