|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.
Verse 20. - Let not my blood fall to the earth before the face of Jehovah. Hebrew, "far from the presence of Jehovah." The point of David's appeal is not that his life may be spared, but that he may not thus be driven far away from the land where Jehovah manifests himself; nor does he seem so much to contemplate Saul's putting him to death as the probability that sooner or later the life of an exile will be cut short by one or other of the many dangers by which he is surrounded. A flea. Hebrew, "a single flea," as in 1 Samuel 24:14. A partridge. Many emendations of the text have been proposed on the supposition that partridges are only to be found in plains. But Mr. Condor tells us that partridges are among the few living creatures which still tenant these wilds; and, speaking of the precipitous cliffs which overhang the Dead Sea, he says, Here, among "the rocks of the wild goats, the herds of ibex may be seen bounding, and the partridge is still chased on the mountains, as David was followed by the stealthy hunter Saul" ('Tent Work,' 2:90: see also 1 Samuel 23:19).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Now therefore let not my blood fall to the earth before the face of the Lord,.... For should it be spilled, God, who is omniscient, will see it, and take notice of it; and being righteous, and to whom vengeance belongs, he will avenge it: some render it, "my blood shall not fall to the earth before the face of the Lord" (r); I am continually under his eye and care, and he will protect and defend me; and in vain is it for thee to pursue after me; I shall never fall into thine hands, though I may be obliged to quit my country, and go into an idolatrous nation, against my will:
for the king of Israel is come out to seek a flea; which leaps from place to place and is not easily taken: or this may denote what a mean, poor, weak, insignificant person David was; and how much it was below Saul to come out with an army of chosen men in pursuit of him; so the Targum,"the king of Israel is come out to seek one that is weak or feeble:"
as when one doth hunt a partridge in the mountains; as kings for their delight used to do, as Abarbinel observes; but this being a business of pleasure, and this a bird of worth, some other is thought to be here intended. Indeed the is represented as worth no more than an "obolus", or five farthings, though fifty drachmas or drachms were ordered to be paid for one (s); the Septuagint renders the word an "owl": the word is "kore", and from the etymology of it one would think it was the raven or crow. Jarchi on Jeremiah 17:11 takes it to be the cuckoo, though here the partridge as others; Bochart (t) will have it to be the woodcock, snipe, or snite (u). Some choose to read the words,"as the kore or partridge on the mountains hunts;''which, it is said, hunts and seeks after the nests of other birds, and sits on their eggs (v): see Jeremiah 17:11; so Saul hunted after David, though he could not take him; several naturalists (w) observe, that the partridge is very difficult to be taken by the hunter.
(r) "non effundetur", Martyr. and to this sense are Syr. Ar. vers. (s) Laert. l. 2. in Vita Aristippi. (t) Hierozoic. par. 2. l. 1. c. 12. Colossians 81. (u) (A snite is like a snipe, yet a different species of lark-like bird. Oxford English Dictionary. Editor) (v) T. Bab. Cholin, fol. 140. 2. Jarchi & Abarbinel in loc. (w) Aristot. Hist. Animal. l. 9. c. 8. Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 10. c. 33. Aelian. Hist. Animal. l. 3. c. 16.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
20. as when one doth hunt a partridge—People in the East, in hunting the partridge and other game birds, pursue them, till observing them becoming languid and fatigued after they have been put up two or three times, they rush upon the birds stealthily and knock them down with bludgeons [Shaw, Travels]. It was exactly in this manner that Saul was pursuing David. He drove him from time to time from his hiding-place, hoping to render him weary of his life, or obtain an opportunity of accomplishing his destruction.
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