1 Samuel 18:30
Then the princes of the Philistines went forth: and it came to pass, after they went forth, that David behaved himself more wisely than all the servants of Saul; so that his name was much set by.
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(30) Went forth.—Probably to avenge the last raid of David (recounted in 1Samuel 18:27). Wordsworth, quoting from the Rabbis, suggests that they were emboldened to make this attack, supposing that their successful foe would, according to the Hebrew Law, claim exemption from warfare for a year after marriage (Deuteronomy 24:5).

1 Samuel 18:30. The princes of the Philistines went forth — To fight with the Israelites: who had highly incensed them by David’s late action, as well as by former losses. David behaved himself more wisely than all the servants of Saul, &c. — By discovering, it is likely, the designs of the Philistines, and preventing them. For we do not read that they came to a battle. 18:12-30 For a long time David was kept in continual apprehension of falling by the hand of Saul, yet he persevered in meek and respectful behaviour towards his persecutor. How uncommon is such prudence and discretion, especially under insults and provocations! Let us inquire if we imitate this part of the exemplary character before us. Are we behaving wisely in all our ways? Is there no sinful omission, no rashness of spirit, nothing wrong in our conduct? Opposition and perverseness in others, will not excuse wrong tempers in us, but should increase our care, and attention to the duties of our station. Consider Him that endured contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be weary and faint in your minds, Heb 12:3. If David magnified the honour of being son-in-law to king Saul, how should we magnify the honour of being sons to the King of kings!The days were not expired - David was so rapid in his attack upon the Philistines that he was able to bring the required dowry within the time, and to receive his wife (Michal), before the time had expired within which he was to receive Merab. 29. Saul was yet the more afraid of David—because Providence had visibly favored him, by not only defeating the conspiracy against his life, but through his royal alliance paving his way to the throne. Went forth, to wit, to war against the Israelites, being provoked both by their former losses, and especially by that act of David’s, related above, 1 Samuel 18:27. Then the princes of the Philistines went forth,.... Out of their cities in troops, to revenge and spoil the land of Israel, being enraged at their defeat when Goliath their champion was slain, and at the injury and dishonour done them by David very lately in slaying two hundred of them, and taking off their foreskins; and, as the Jews say (b), having heard of the marriage of David, and understanding the Israelites had a law, that a newly married man might not go to the war the first year, took this opportunity of invading and spoiling them; whereas David understood that law better than they, and knew it referred not to a voluntary war, but to that which was the command of God against the seven nations; and even in that case, as some think, it did not oblige such persons to remain at home, but left it to their choice to do as they pleased:

and it came to pass after they went forth; and were met and opposed by the Israelites, by the troops of Saul, under different commanders:

that David behaved himself more wisely than all the servants of Saul; showed himself to be more expert in the art of war, and formed designs with great wisdom and prudence, and which he as wisely executed, as well as with great courage and valour, to the annoyance and defeat of the enemy, and to the advantage, defence, and safety of the people of Israel; or he was more "prosperous" than they, as the Targum, and so others interpret it; he was more successful in his attacks on the Philistines, and in his skirmishes with them:

so that his name was much set by; he was in high esteem with the people; his name was "precious" (c) to them, as the word signifies; they made mention of it, as, Ben Gersom interprets it, with great honour and glory; so that Saul failed much, and was greatly disappointed in the scheme he had formed against him,

(b) Midrash Schemuel apud Abarbinel. in loc. (c) "et in pretio esset vel erat", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.

Then the princes of the Philistines went forth: and it came to pass, after they went forth, that {o} David behaved himself more wisely than all the servants of Saul; so that his name was much set by.

(o) That is, David had better success against the Philistines than Saul's men.

30. Then the princes, &c.] “And the princes, &c., and it came to pass as often as they went forth, &c.” This notice of David’s continual success and growing popularity gives the ground of Saul’s increasing enmity, and prepares the way for the narrative of the next chapter.

set by] i.e. esteemed. Cp. Psalm 15:4 in the P. B. V. “He that setteth not by himself.”Verse 30. - The princes of the Philistines went forth. See on ver. 5. This new war was the result of David's raid, but it only led to an increase of his fame and popularity. For he behaved himself more wisely. I.e. was more successful and skilful than any of Saul's other officers.

When this answer was reported to the king, he sent word through his courtiers what the price was for which he would give him his daughter. He required no dowry (see at Genesis 34:12), but only a hundred foreskins of the Philistines, i.e., the slaughter of a hundred Philistines, and the proof that this had been done, to avenge himself upon the enemies of the king; whereas, as the writer observes, Saul supposed that he should thus cause David to fall, i.e., bring about his death by the hand of the Philistines.
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