1 Chronicles 12:17
And David went out to meet them, and answered and said unto them, If ye be come peaceably unto me to help me, mine heart shall be knit unto you: but if ye be come to betray me to mine enemies, seeing there is no wrong in mine hands, the God of our fathers look thereon, and rebuke it.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(17) And David went out to meet them.—From his fastness or hiding-place in the hill or wood. Literally, before them, i.e., confronted them. (Comp, same phrase, 1Chronicles 14:8.)

And answered and said unto them.—The familiar New Testament phrase, καὶ ὰποκριθϵὶς ϵἰπϵν αύτοῖς. David’s speech and the answer of Amasai have all the marks of a genuine survival of antiquity. “If for peace ye have come unto me to help me.” For peace, i.e., with friendly intent. (Comp. Psalm 120:7.)

To help me.—Comp, 1Chronicles 12:1, where David’s comrades are called “helpers of the war,” ξύμμαχοι.

Mine heart shall be knit unto you.—Lite- rally, I shall have (fiet mihi) towards you a heart for union, or at unity: that is, a heart at one with and true to you. (Comp, “one heart,” 1Chronicles 12:38, and Psalm 133:1, and terms like unanimis, δμόφρων.)

If ye be come to betray me.—Literally, and if to beguile me for my foes, that is, to betray me to them, as Authorised Version. The false part of Sextus Tarquinius at Gabii, or of Zopyrus at Babylon. (Comp. Psalm 120:2.)

Seeing there is no wrong in mine hands.—Although (there be) no violence in my palms. (Comp. Job 16:17; Psalm 7:4; Isaiah 53:9.)

The God of our fathers . . . behold and punish.—The verbs are jussive or optative. (Comp. 2Chronicles 24:22.). The psalms of David breathe a confidence that Jehovah is a righteous judge, who never fails to vindicate innocence, and punish highhanded violence and treacherous cunning. (Comp. Psalm 9:12, Psa_10:14, Psa_18:20.)

1 Chronicles 12:17. David went out to meet them, and answered — That is, spake, for that word is often used in the Scriptures, even of him that speaks first. My heart shall be knit unto you — I shall ever esteem and love you, and show this by my actions to you hereafter. But if ye be come to betray me, &c. — Which your number, and quality, and near relation to Saul, give me some cause to suspect. Seeing there is no wrong in my hands — I have done no injury to Saul nor to you; but have spared him and you when it was in my power to have destroyed you. The God of our fathers look thereon, and rebuke it — Namely, by his power, manifested for me, and against you, for your perfidiousness. In saying, the God of our fathers, meaning both his fathers and theirs, he suggests a reason why they should not deal ill with him: namely, because they were both descendants from the same patriarchs, and servants of the same God. And thus he encourages himself to believe, that God would right him if he were injured. For he was the God of his fathers, therefore a blessing was entailed upon him: and a God to all Israel in particular, as well as a Judge to all the earth.

12:1-22 Here is an account of those who appeared and acted as David's friends, while he was persecuted. No difficulties or dangers should keep the sinner from coming to the Savior, nor drive the believer from the path of duty. Those who break through, and overcome in these attempts, will find abundant recompence. From the words of Amasai we may learn how to testify our affection and allegiance to the Lord Jesus; his we must be throughly; on his side we must be forward to appear and act. If we are under the influence of the Spirit, we shall desire to have our lot among them, and to declare ourselves on their side; if in faith and love we embrace the cause of Christ, he will receive, employ, and advance us.On the danger of the exploit, see the marginal reference note.

This passage 1 Chronicles 12:8-15 seems to be taken verbatim from an ancient source, the poetical expressions in 1 Chronicles 12:8, 1 Chronicles 12:14, being especially unlike the usual style of our author.

16. the children of Benjamin and Judah—It is probable that the Benjamites invited the Judahites to accompany them, in order to prevent David being suspicious of them. Their anticipations, as the result showed, were well founded. He did suspect them, but the doubts of David as to their object in repairing to him, were promptly dispelled by Amasai or Amasa, who, by the secret impulse of the Spirit, assured him of their strong attachment and their zealous service from a unanimous conviction that his cause was owned and blessed of God (1Sa 18:12-14). And answered, i. e. spake, as that word is oft used in Scripture, even of him that speaketh first.

Mine heart shall be knit unto you; I shall ever esteem and love you, and show this by my actions to you hereafter.

If ye be come to betray me to mine enemies; which your number, and quality, and near relation to Saul gives me some cause to suspect.

There is no wrong in mine hands; I have done no injury to Saul, nor to you; but have spared him and you when it was in my power to have destroyed you.

The God of our fathers look thereon, and rebuke it, to wit, by his hand and power manifested for me and against you for your perfidiousness.

And David went out to meet them,.... Out of the hold where he was; either out of respect and deference to them, some of them being persons of eminence; or it may be out of suspicion, fearing they were not his friends, being, it may be, chiefly of the tribe of Benjamin, and therefore was desirous of sounding them before he admitted them:

and said unto them, if ye be come peaceably unto me to help me; if they were come with a good will to him, and intention to help him against his enemy, and protect him:

mine heart shall be knit unto you; they should have such a share in his affections, that their hearts would be as one, as his and Jonathan's were, 1 Samuel 18:1,

but if ye be come to betray me to mine enemies; into the hands of Saul, and his courtiers, that sought his life:

seeing there is no wrong in mine hands; no injury done by him to Saul, or to them, or to any other:

the God of our fathers look thereon, and rebuke it; he that sees all things, let him revenge it; and it is not only a wish that he would, but a prayer of faith that so it would be.

And David went out to meet them, and answered and said unto them, If ye be come peaceably unto me to help me, mine heart shall be knit unto you: but if ye be come to betray me to mine enemies, seeing there is no wrong in mine hands, the God of our fathers look thereon, and rebuke it.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
17. David went out to meet them] Instead of letting himself be surprised he took up a favourable position in advance from which he could hold parley with them. The south of Judah with its ravines and cliffs affords many such positions.

Verse 17. - The solemn tone of David's language recorded here, and the beautiful pathos and religious appeal of the last two sentences of the verse, bespeak sufferings and disappointments experienced by David heretofore through deception. It is, however, noticeable that there is no direct testimony of anything of this kind, least of all of any flagrant instance of it, on the part of such detachments of friends as had come to him; and that, though they had occasionally been contributed from sources not the most desirable (1 Samuel 22:2). 1 Chronicles 12:17There came to David in the mountain-fastness also men of Benjamin and Judah (cf. 1 Chronicles 12:8). Their names are not in the lists, possibly because they were not handed down in the historical works made use of by the chronicler. At their head, as we learn from 1 Chronicles 12:18, stood Amasai, chief of the thirty, i.e., of the corps formed of the thirty heroes (see 1 Chronicles 11:11), although his name does not occur in the catalogue, 1 Chronicles 11. According to this, Amasai must have occupied a very important position under David; but since the name עמשׂי is not elsewhere mentioned in the history of David, the older commentators have conjectured that עמשׂי may have been the same person as עמשׂא, son of Abigail (1 Chronicles 2:17), whom Absalom made captain in Joab's place, and whom David, after the victory over the rebels, wished to make commander-in-chief in the room of Joab, and whom for that reason Joab afterwards murdered (2 Samuel 17:25; 2 Samuel 19:14; 2 Samuel 20:4, 2 Samuel 20:8.); or identical with אבשׁי the son of Zeruiah, 1 Chronicles 2:16 and 1 Chronicles 11:20. Of these conjectures the first is much more probable than the second. To meet these men, David went forth from his fastness, and asked them with what purpose they came to him. "If for peace," to stand by him, "then shall there be to me towards you a heart for union," i.e., I will be with you of one heart, be true to you. ליחד לבב is plainer than אחד לב, 1 Chronicles 12:38. "But if לרמּותני, to practise deceit against me (to be guilty of a מרמה) for mine enemies (to deliver me to them), although there be no wrong in my hands, the God of our fathers look thereon and punish;" cf. 2 Chronicles 24:22. The God of our fathers, i.e., of the patriarchs (cf. Ezra 7:27; 2 Chronicles 20:6, and Exodus 3:13.), who rules in and over Israel, who shields the innocent and punishes the guilty.
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