1 Samuel 25:7
And now I have heard that you have shearers: now your shepherds which were with us, we hurt them not, neither was there ought missing to them, all the while they were in Carmel.
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(7) Neither was there ought missing unto them.—These words doubtless refer to the protection which David’s armed band had afforded to the herdsmen against the frequent raids of the neighbouring people—the Philistines and other more savage and unscrupulous tribes who dwelt on the borders of Palestine. The request was certainly a fair one, for, as Lange and Ewald remark, “apart from the Eastern custom of giving largely at such great merry-makings, according to which such a request would seem in no way strange, David had a certain right to ask a gift from Nabal’s wealth. He had indirectly no small share in the festal joy of Nabal and his house. Without some part of the superfluity of the inhabitants whom he protected, he could not have maintained himself and his army.”

1 Samuel 25:7-8. We hurt them not, &c. — This, considering the licentiousness of soldiers, and the necessities David and his men were exposed to, was no small favour, which Nabal was bound both in justice and gratitude, and prudence, to requite. We come in a good day — That is, in a day of feasting and rejoicing; when men are most cheerful and liberal; when thou mayest relieve us out of thy abundance without damage to thyself; when thou art receiving the mercies of God, and therefore obliged to pity and relieve distressed and indigent persons. Give, I pray thee, whatsoever cometh to thy hand — Most obliging words, and full of respect, mixed with strong arguments; and they did not desire delicacies, but any thing that was at hand which he could spare.25:2-11 We should not have heard of Nabal, if nothing had passed between him and David. Observe his name, Nabal, A fool; so it signifies. Riches make men look great in the eye of the world; but to one that takes right views, Nabal looked very mean. He had no honour or honesty; he was churlish, cross, and ill-humoured; evil in his doings, hard and oppressive; a man that cared not what fraud and violence he used in getting and saving. What little reason have we to value the wealth of this world, when so great a churl as Nabal abounds, and so good a man as David suffers want!, David pleaded the kindness Nabal's shepherds had received. Considering that David's men were in distress and debt, and discontented, and the scarcity of provisions, it was by good management that they were kept from plundering. Nabal went into a passion, as covetous men are apt to do, when asked for any thing, thinking thus to cover one sin with another; and, by abusing the poor, to excuse themselves from relieving them. But God will not thus be mocked. Let this help us to bear reproaches and misrepresentations with patience and cheerfulness, and make us easy under them; it has often been the lot of the excellent ones of the earth. Nabal insists much on the property he had in the provisions of his table. May he not do what he will with his own? We mistake, if we think we are absolute lords of what we have, and may do what we please with it. No; we are but stewards, and must use it as we are directed, remembering it is not our own, but His who intrusted us with it.That liveth in prosperity - The Hebrew is obscure, and is variously interpreted. The simplest rendering is, "And ye shall say thus about (his) life," i. e., with reference to his life, health, circumstances, etc. 4-9. Nabal did shear his sheep, and David sent out ten young men, &c.—David and his men lurked in these deserts, associating with the herdsmen and shepherds of Nabal and others and doing them good offices, probably in return for information and supplies obtained through them. Hence when Nabal held his annual sheep-shearing in Carmel, David felt himself entitled to share in the festival and sent a message, recounting his own services and asking for a present. "In all these particulars we were deeply struck with the truth and strength of the biblical description of manners and customs almost identically the same as they exist at the present day. On such a festive occasion, near a town or village, even in our own time, an Arab sheik of the neighboring desert would hardly fail to put in a word either in person or by message; and his message, both in form and substance, would be only a transcript of that of David" [Robinson]. Which, considering the licentiousness of soldiers, and the necessities which David and his men were oft exposed to, was no small favour and privilege, which Nabal was bound both ill justice, and gratitude, and prudence to requite. And now I have heard that thou hast shearers,.... Men employed in shearing his sheep, which was a time of feasting and gladness, and therefore David sent his young men to him at this time with his compliments upon it; and in order to obtain what he intended by this message to him, he observes the favours he and his men had done to his servants, and the advantages which they had received from them:

now thy shepherds which were with us; feeding their sheep near the wilderness of Paran, which was not far from Carmel and Maon:

we hurt them not; by taking any of their sheep and lambs from them, or by abusing, beating them, or giving them ill language; or "did not put them to shame" (x), by denying them anything they asked of them, which was in their power to grant, nor mocked and scoffed at them, and jeered them on account of their occupation:

neither was there ought missing unto them; they did not steal a sheep or lamb from them, as was common for soldiers to do; nor did they suffer any of the Arabs, that dwelt in the wilderness of Paran, to rob them, who lived upon plunder, or any of the wild beasts to hurt them, as much as in them lay; so careful were they of them, and were a wall unto them by night and day, as Nabal's servants owned, 1 Samuel 25:16; and this was the case:

all the while they were in Carmel; or in the fields, 1 Samuel 25:15; which were joining to the wilderness of Paran.

(x) "non affecimus verccundia eos", Montanus; so some in Vatablus.

And now I have heard that thou hast shearers: now thy shepherds which were with us, we hurt them not, neither was there ought missing unto them, all the while they were in Carmel.
7. that thou hast shearers] Sheep-shearing was and still is an occasion of festivity. See 2 Samuel 13:23-24. David’s message was not a demand for black-mail. He had done Nabal real service, by protecting his flocks from roving marauders, and he was entitled to recompence. “On such a festive occasion near a town or village, even in our own time, an Arab Sheikh of the neighbouring desert would hardly fail to put in a word, either in person or by message; and his message, both in form and substance, would be only the transcript of that of David.” Robinson, Bibl. Res. 1. 498.The death of Samuel is inserted here, because it occurred at that time. The fact that all Israel assembled together to his burial, and lamented him, i.e., mourned for him, was a sign that his labours as a prophet were recognised by the whole nation as a blessing for Israel. Since the days of Moses and Joshua, no man had arisen to whom the covenant nation owed so much as to Samuel, who has been justly called the reformer and restorer of the theocracy. They buried him "in his house at Ramah." The expression "his house" does not mean his burial-place or family tomb, nor his native place, but the house in which he lived, with the court belonging to it, where Samuel was placed in a tomb erected especially for him. After the death of Samuel, David went down into the desert of Paran, i.e., into the northern portion of the desert of Arabia, which stretches up to the mountains of Judah (see at Numbers 10:12); most likely for no other reason than because he could no longer find sufficient means of subsistence for himself and his six hundred men in the desert of Judah.
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