|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
5:17-25 The Philistines considered not that David had the presence of God with him, which Saul had forfeited and lost. The kingdom of the Messiah, as soon as it was set up in the world, was thus attacked by the powers of darkness. The heathen raged, and the kings of the earth set themselves to oppose it; but all in vain, Ps 2:1, &c. The destruction will turn, as this did, upon Satan's own kingdom. David owns dependence on God for victory; and refers himself to the good pleasure of God, Wilt thou do it? The assurance God has given us of victory over our spiritual enemies, should encourage us in our spiritual conflicts. David waited till God moved; he stirred then, but not till then. He was trained up in dependence on God and his providence. God performed his promise, and David failed not to improve his advantages. When the kingdom of the Messiah was to be set up, the apostles, who were to beat down the devil's kingdom, must not attempt any thing till they received the promise of the Spirit; who came with a sound from heaven, as of a rushing, mighty wind, Ac 2:2.
Verse 25. - From Geba until thou some to Gazer. In 1 Chronicles 14:16 "Gibson" is substituted for "Geba," and it is one of those corrections which a commentator is inclined to adopt, because it makes all things easy. For Gibeon lay directly on the road from the Rephaim valley towards Gazer, and the armies must have passed it in the fight. But if "Geba" be the right reading here, then the battle must have been most sternly contested. For it is the "Gibeah of Benjamin," Hebrew, "Geba of Benjamin," described in 1 Samuel 13:16. The Philistines had a garrison there in Saul's time (1 Samuel 13:3), and had probably again occupied it as a military post after their victory at Gilboa. To reach it the line of retreat would go nine miles northward over difficult ground; but this was not disadvantageous to a retreating army as long as it remained unbroken, and the Philistines would expect to be able to make a successful defense at a strong citadel like Geba, held by a garrison of their own troops. But when driven by David's "mighty men" from this fortified hill, being hemmed in by the defile of Michmash on the east, they would have no choice but to hurry down the valleys to the west, and, still passing by Gibson, so flee to Gazer. Thus the reading "Geba" implies a stout and long resistance ending in a most complete victory. And confessedly this was a decisive battle, fought with larger forces, and causing far larger loss to the Philistines than that at Baal-Perazim, where, attacked by only a few men, they were seized with panic, and saved themselves by a headlong flight. Gazer lay upon the border of Ephraim, and was one of the royal cities of the Canaanites, and so strong that it was left in the hands of its old possessors (Joshua 16:3, 10; Judges 1:19). Subsequently Solomon fortified it (1 Kings 9:17), as being the key of the defiles which led from Ekron and the plain of Philistia up to Jerusalem. We also find it mentioned as an important military post in the days of the Maccabees (1 Macc. 9:52). The pursuit would naturally stop here, as the fugitives would now be in their own country, and succour would be close at hand. Probably, too, the Canaanites who held the fortress were friendly to them, and gave them shelter.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And David did so as the Lord commanded him,.... In all things he was obedient to the command of God; Saul was not: he got behind the army of the Philistines, as he was directed; and when he heard the sound in the mulberry trees, he arose and fell upon his enemies:
and smote the Philistines from Geba until thou come to Gazer; or from Gibeon, as in 1 Chronicles 14:16; a city in the tribe of Benjamin, near to which this battle was fought, and where the pursuit began, which was carried as far as Gazer, a city that lay on the borders of the Philistines, as Josephus says (b); and so far they were pursued, and were smitten as they fled; and, according to Bunting (c), it was a space of eighteen miles.
(b) Antiqu. l. 7. c. 4. sect. 1.((c) Travels, &c. p. 138.
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