|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
19:11-24 Michal's stratagem to gain time till David got to a distance was allowable, but her falsehood had not even the plea of necessity to excuse it, and manifests that she was not influenced by the same spirit of piety which had dictated Jonathan's language to Saul. In flying to Samuel, David made God his refuge. Samuel, as a prophet, was best able to advise him what to do in this day of distress. He met with little rest or satisfaction in Saul's court, therefore went to seek it in Samuel's church. What little pleasure is to be had in this world, those have who live a life of communion with God; to that David returned in the time of trouble. So impatient was Saul after David's blood, so restless against him, that although baffled by one providence after another, he could not see that David was under the special protection of God. And when God will take this way to protect David, even Saul prophesies. Many have great gifts, yet no grace; they may prophesy in Christ's name, yet are disowned by him. Let us daily seek for renewing grace, which shall be in us as a well of water springing up into everlasting life. Let us cleave to truth and holiness with full purpose of heart. In every danger and trouble, let us seek protection, comfort, and direction in God's ordinances.
Verse 18. - David...came to Samuel. We have seen that there is every reason to believe that David had been taught and trained by Samuel among the sons of the prophets, and now, conscious of his innocence, he flees for refuge to his old master, trusting that Saul would reverence God's prophet, and give credence to his intercession and his pledge that David was guiltless. He and Samuel went and dwelt in Naioth. Rather in Nevayoth, as in the written text. This is not the name of a place, but signifies "dwellings," "lodgings," and is always translated in the Chaldee "house of study," i.e. student's lodgings. Somewhere near to Ramah Samuel had erected buildings to receive his young men, who were called "sons of the prophets," not because their fathers were prophets, but because they were under prophetic training, with prophets for their teachers, though not necessarily intended to be prophets themselves. At first Samuel, we may suppose, built one nevath, one simple hospice for his students, and then, as their numbers grew, another, and yet another, and so the plural, nevayoth, came into voile as the name of the students' quarters.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
So David fled and escaped,.... Fled from his own house, and escaped falling into the hands of the messengers of Saul, and so of Saul himself:
and came to Samuel to Ramah; the place where Samuel dwelt: to him David chose to come, by whom he had been anointed king, that his faith might be strengthened by him with respect to the kingdom, which might be weakened by what had happened to him; and that he might have some advice and direction from him what he should do, and what course he should take in his present circumstances, and that he might receive some comfort from him under his present troubles:
and told him all that Saul had done to him; how he had spoken to his servants to kill him, had cast a javelin at him himself, and had sent messengers to his house to slay him:
and he and Samuel went and dwelt in Naioth; which was in or near to Ramah, as appears by 1 Samuel 19:19; which perhaps was a more retired place, and so chosen for the sake of conversation between them, or reckoned a more safe place. Here being a school or college of the prophets, might be a kind of an asylum, and where it might be thought Saul would not attempt to lay hands on David, should he know where he was; for if the Philistines gave no disturbance to the hill of God, and the prophets in it, 1 Samuel 10:5; it might be reasonably concluded Saul would not; so the Targum paraphrases it, "he and Samuel went and dwelt in the house of doctrine", or in the school, the school of the prophets. R. Abimi the Nothite, or Naiothite, mentioned in the Talmud (i), is supposed (k) to be of this place; it is said (l) to be six miles from Jerusalem to the north.
(i) T. Bab. Sabbat, c. 1. fol. 17. 2. Avodah Zarah, c. 2. fol. 36. 1.((k) Aruch in voce fol. 98. 4. Juchasin, fol. 74. 2.((l) Adrichom, Theatrum T. S. fol. 28. 2.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
1Sa 19:18-23. David Flees to Samuel.
18-23. David fled, … and came to Samuel to Ramah—Samuel was living in great retirement, superintending the school of the prophets, established in the little hamlet of Naioth, in the neighborhood of Ramah. It was a retreat congenial to the mind of David; but Saul, having found out his asylum, sent three successive bodies of men to apprehend him. The character of the place and the influence of the sacred exercises produced such an effect on them that they were incapable of discharging their commission, and were led, by a resistless impulse, to join in singing the praises of God. Saul, in a fit of rage and disappointment, determined to go himself. But, before reaching the spot, his mental susceptibilities were roused even more than his messengers, and he was found, before long, swelling the ranks of the young prophets. This singular change can be ascribed only to the power of Him who can turn the hearts of men even as the rivers of water.
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