|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
26:13-20 David reasoned seriously and affectionately with Saul. Those who forbid our attendance on God's ordinances, do what they can to estrange us from God, and to make us heathens. We are to reckon that which exposes us to sin the greatest injury that can be done us. If the Lord stirred thee up against me, either in displeasure to me, taking this way to punish me for my sins against him, or in displeasure to thee, if it be the effect of that evil spirit from the Lord which troubles thee; let Him accept an offering from us both. Let us join in seeking peace, and to be reconciled with God by sacrifice.
Verses 13-16. - The top of a hill. Hebrew, "the top of the hill," the particular mountain from which David had reconnoitred Saul's camp (ver. 5). A great space being between them. At En-gedi Saul was alone, and had placed himself in David's power; he therefore had followed him closely. Here Saul had his army round him, and David had entered his camp by stealth. It is not, therefore, till he had placed an ample interval between them that he calls to Abner, and asks in derision, Art thou not a man? The irony is enfeebled by the insertion of the word valiant (comp. 1 Samuel 4:9). No special valour was needed;any one worthy of the name of man ought to have guarded his master better. Who is like to thee - Hebrew, "who is as thou" - in Israel? Among all Saul's subjects there was no one so powerful and highly placed as the commander-in-chief, and he ought to have shown himself worthy of his pre-eminence. Justly, therefore, for neglecting his duty and exposing the king to danger, he and his people were worthy to die. Hebrew, "sons of death" (see on 1 Samuel 20:31). Finally David bids him search for the king's spear and water bottle, that he may understand how completely Saul had been in his power. It has been suggested that Abner was probably a personal enemy of David, with whom he could never have held the high position which he occupied with his near relative Saul. Possibly instead of dissuading Saul from persecuting David, he stirred up his ill feelings. Still absolutely there is nothing in this banter which was not justified by Abner's official position.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Then David went over to the other side,.... To a hill on the other side, opposite to Hachilah, where Saul lay encamped; or "passed over the passage" (q), the valley that lay between the two hills, and perhaps passed over a brook that ran in the valley, which is not unusual; so Josephus (r) says, that he went over a brook and came to the top of a mountain:
and stood on the top of an hill afar off; he chose the top of an hill, that his voice might be heard at a distance, as it might in a clear air, and still night; and to be afar off, that he might the better make his escape, should an attempt be made to pursue him:
a great space being between them; a large valley lying between the two hills.
(q) "et transivit transitum", Montanus. (r) Antiqu. l. 6. c. 13. sect. 9.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
13-20. Then David … stood on the top of an hill afar off … and cried to the people—(See on Jud 9:7). The extraordinary purity and elasticity of the air in Palestine enable words to be distinctly heard that are addressed by a speaker from the top of one hill to people on that of another, from which it is separated by a deep intervening ravine. Hostile parties can thus speak to each other, while completely beyond the reach of each other's attack. It results from the peculiar features of the country in many of the mountain districts.
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