Then said Achish to his servants, See, you see the man is mad: why then have you brought him to me?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Then said Achish . . . the man is mad.—The Philistine king would look with peculiar sorrow and repulsion on a madman if, as according to Jewish tradition (see Philippson), his own wife and daughter were insane.
The device, however, succeeded, as David hoped it would, and he was suffered to depart in safety—nay, was even hurried out of the Philistine country. In old times, as now, in many parts of the East, the insane are looked upon as persons in some peculiar way possessed by, and therefore under the more immediate protection of, Deity. The life then of the hunted fugitive was perfectly safe from the moment the Philistines considered him mad.
There is a curious legend in the Talmud in which several events recorded in the Biblical account are confused. Part of it apparently refers to this strange choice of his of Phillstia as a place of refuge. “One day Satan appeared to him (David) in the shape of a gazelle, which, eluding his pursuit, decoyed him into the land of the Philistines. ‘Ah!’ said Ishbi-benob, when he caught sight of him, ‘art thou the man that slew my brother, Goliath?’ So saying, he seized and bound him.”—Treatise Sanhedrin, fol. 95, cols 1, 2. The wild legend goes on to explain how, partly by miracle, partly with the aid of Abishai, David slew Ishbi-benob and escaped.Ezekiel 9:4.)
let his spittle fall down upon his beard—No wonder that Achish supposed him insane, as such an indignity, whether done by another, or one's self, to the beard, is considered in the East an intolerable insult.Ye see the man is mad; and so were Achish and his men too, to be so soon cheated. But this must be ascribed to the wise and powerful providence of God, who, in answer to David’s prayer now made, which is recorded Psa 34 Psa 61, did infatuate them, as he hath done many others in like cases.
Wherefore then have ye brought him to me? what service can I expect from him? or what cause have I to fear him?
wherefore then have ye brought him to me? for if he was brought to be employed in his service, he seemed very unfit for it, whether in the camp, or in the court; and if to be tried and condemned as an enemy, since he was a madman, he was rather to be pitied.Then said Achish unto his servants, Lo, ye see the man is mad: wherefore then have ye brought him to me?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verses 14, 15. - The man is mad. Achish supposes that David's madness was real, and "drove him away" (Psalm 34, title). Here we have only his contemptuous words, declaring that he had madmen enough of his own, and needed no more. As madmen were looked upon in old time as possessed by the Deity, and therefore as persons who must not be interfered with, they probably presumed upon the liberty granted them, and gave much annoyance. In my presence. Rather, "against me." Achish feared personal injury. Shall this fellow come into my house? A strong negative taking the form of a question. It means, David shall not enter into my service (comp. Psalm 34, title). The whole psalm bears witness to the deep perturbation of David's spirit, and helps to explain his strange conduct.
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