|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
22:1-5 See what weak instruments God sometimes uses, to bring about his own purposes. The Son of David is ready to receive distressed souls, who will be commanded by him. He receives all who come unto Him, however vile and miserable; he changes them into a holy people, and employs them in his service: those who would reign with him must be contented first to suffer with and for him. Observe with what tender concern David provided for his aged parents. The first thing he does is to find them a quiet habitation, whatever became of himself. Let children learn to honour their parents, in every thing consulting their ease and satisfaction. Though highly preferred, and much employed, let them not forget their aged parents. The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord. And the Lord will preserve his people for their appointed work, however they may be hated and exposed.
Verse 5. - The prophet Gad. This sudden appearance of the prophet suggests Stahelin's question, How came he among such people? But, in the first place, David's followers were not all of the sort described in ver. 2; and, next, this must be regarded as a declaration of the prophetic order in his favour. As we have a summary of David's proceedings in ver. 4, extending over some time, during which the massacre of the priests at Nob took place, we may well suppose that Saul had alienated from him the minds of all religious people, and that Gad, probably by Samuel's command, came to be David's counsellor. The advice he gives is most important - Abide not in the hold. I.e. do not remain in the land of Moab. Had David done so he probably would never have become king. By remaining in Judah, and protecting the people from the Philistines, which Saul could no longer do, David grew in reputation and power, and from the list of those who joined him at Ziklag (1 Chronicles 12:1-22) it is evident not only that such was the case, but that there was a strong enthusiasm for him throughout not merely Judah, but all Israel. In the happier times which followed Gad became David's seer (2 Samuel 24:11), was God's messenger to punish David for numbering the people (ibid. ver. 13), and finally wrote a history of his life (1 Chronicles 29:29). As he thus survived David, he must have been a young man when he joined him, and possibly had been a companion of David in the prophetic schools at Naioth in Ramah. The forest of Hareth. Or, rather, Hereth. "This lay on the edge of the mountain chain (of Hebron), where Kharas now stands, surrounded by the thickets which properly represent the Hebrew yar, a word wrongly supposed to mean a woodland of timber trees" (Conder, 'Tent Work,' 2:88). Yar is translated forest here. Hereth was about three miles from Adullam (see on ver. 1). MASSACRE OF THE PRIESTS AT NOB (vers. 6-19).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the prophet Gad said unto David,.... Who either accompanied him in his exile, or was sent unto him on this account, being one of the company of the prophets, over whom Samuel was president, 1 Samuel 19:20,
abide not in the hold, depart, and get thee into the land of Judah; this seems to confirm it that the hold David was in was not the cave of Adullam, because that was in the tribe of Judah; but rather some hold in the land of Moab, which he is directed by the prophet to leave, and go into the country of Judah, his own tribe, where Saul would not be so forward to pursue him, and where he would be among his friends, and in the way, upon Saul's death, to be anointed king over Judah; besides, appearing more openly would show the innocence of his cause, and his confidence in the Lord, more than to lurk about in a foreign land:
then David departed; from "Mizpeh" in "Moab"; or, however, from the hold in which he was:
and came into the forest of Hareth; where he would have places and opportunity enough to hide himself as he saw fit. Jerom (a) speaks of a village called Arath, where David abode, to the west of Jerusalem. Kimchi says this was a dry barren place, but for the sake of David it was made by the Lord a well watered and fruitful one.
(a) De loc. Heb. fol. 88. L.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
5. the prophet Gad said unto David, Abide not in the hold—This sound advice, no doubt, came from a higher source than Gad's own sagacity. It was right to appear publicly among the people of his own tribe, as one conscious of innocence and trusting in God; and it was expedient that, on the death of Saul, his friends might be encouraged to support his interest.
forest of Hareth—southwest of Jerusalem.
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