And when it was told Saul, he sent other messengers, and they prophesied likewise. And Saul sent messengers again the third time, and they prophesied also.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)And they prophesied likewise.—Bishop Wordsworth calls attention here to the fact of “this portion of Scripture, from 1Samuel 19:18 to end of the chapter, which relates the illapse of the Spirit on Saul’s messengers, and even on Saul himself, the persecutor of David, being appointed by the Church to be read on Whitsun Tuesday (Old Lect.), in order to show the existence and working of the Holy Spirit before the times of the Gospel, and the freedom and power of His Divine agency.” (Comp. here Numbers 11:26-31 : the history of Eldad and Medad, which we read on Whitsun Monday, New Lect.)1 Samuel 19:21-23. He sent other messengers — Strange obstinacy, to contend so long with the Spirit of God. And they prophesied likewise — That is, they joined with the rest in praising God. “Instead,” says Henry, “of seizing David, they were themselves seized.” Thus God again secured David, put an honour on the sons and school of the prophets, and manifested his power over the spirits of men. The Spirit of God was upon him also — It came upon him in the way; whereas it came not upon his messengers till they came to the place. Hereby God would convince Saul of the vanity of his designs against David, and that in them he fought against God himself.
18-23. David fled, … and came to Samuel to Ramah—Samuel was living in great retirement, superintending the school of the prophets, established in the little hamlet of Naioth, in the neighborhood of Ramah. It was a retreat congenial to the mind of David; but Saul, having found out his asylum, sent three successive bodies of men to apprehend him. The character of the place and the influence of the sacred exercises produced such an effect on them that they were incapable of discharging their commission, and were led, by a resistless impulse, to join in singing the praises of God. Saul, in a fit of rage and disappointment, determined to go himself. But, before reaching the spot, his mental susceptibilities were roused even more than his messengers, and he was found, before long, swelling the ranks of the young prophets. This singular change can be ascribed only to the power of Him who can turn the hearts of men even as the rivers of water.
he sent other messengers, and they prophesied likewise; when they came to the same place:And when it was told Saul, he sent other messengers, and they prophesied likewise. And Saul sent messengers again the third time, and they prophesied also.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)21. they prophesied also] Carried away by the religious excitement they forgot their errand, and joined the chant of the prophets.Verses 21-24. - Saul sends messengers a second and even a third time with the same result, and finally determines to go in person. Having set out, he came to a - more correctly the - great well that is in Sechu - more probably the cistern or tank there. From the value of water it was no doubt a well known spot at the time, but in the present ruined state of the country all such works have perished. Sechu, according to Conder ('Handbook'), was probably on the site of the present ruin of Suweikeh, immediately south of Beeroth. Having there made inquiries whether Samuel and David were still at Ramah, courageously awaiting his craning, he proceeds on his way. But even before arriving in Samuel's presence, with that extraordinary susceptibility to external impressions which is so marked a feature in his character, he begins singing psalms, and no sooner had he entered the Nevavoth than he stripped off his clothes - his beged and meil - and lay down naked - i.e. with only his tunic upon him - all that day and all that night. His excitement had evidently been intense, and probably to the chanting he had added violent gesticulation. But it was not this so much as the tempest of his emotions which had exhausted him, and made him thus throw himself down as one dead. And once again the people wondered at so strange an occurrence, and called back to mind the proverb, Is Saul also among the prophets? When first used (1 Samuel 10:11) Saul's enthusiasm was an outburst of piety, genuine but evanescent, and which had long since passed away. What was it now? The Chaldee, as explained by Rashi, says he was mad. More probably, in the violent state of excitement under which Saul had for some time been labouring, the thought of seeing Samuel, from whom he had been so long separated, brought back to his mind the old days when the prophet had loved and counselled him, and made him king, and been his true and faithful friend. And the remembrance overpowered him. What would he not have given to have continued such as he then was! And for a time he became once again the old Saul of Ramah; but the change was transient and fitful; and after these twenty-four hours of agony Saul rose up, full perhaps of good intentions, but with a heart unchanged, and certain, therefore, very quickly to disappoint all hopes of real amendment, and to become a still more moody and relentless tyrant.
1 Samuel 19:13. In the words "Why should I kill thee?" Michael intimates that she did not mean to let David escape, but was obliged to yield to his threat that he would kill her if she continued to refuse. This prevarication she seems to have considered perfectly justifiable.
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