Then Ahimelech answered the king, and said, And who is so faithful among all your servants as David, which is the king's son in law, and goes at your bidding, and is honorable in your house?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Who is so faithful among all thy servants?—The words of the high priest were quiet and dignified, and no doubt spoke the general sentiments of the people respecting David. What he—the guardian of the sanctuary—had done, he had done as a matter of course for one so closely related to the king—for one, too, ever loyal and devoted as David had ever proved himself.1 Samuel 22:14. Ahimelech said, Who is so faithful, &c. — Or, rather, Who was so faithful, &c.; for it cannot be supposed, after Saul had just accused David of a conspiracy against him, that the high-priest would say he was then faithful. His apology, which sufficiently shows his innocence as to the things of which Saul accuses him, is, that since David had been held by all to be a most loyal subject, as well as a person of great honour, and in high favour with the king, having married his daughter, what could he think but that David was sent by the king, as he said he was, upon some business of public concern? Thus he does not take upon him to determine the difference between Saul and David, nor affirm what David now was; but only declares what David had formerly been, and what he was still, for any thing he knew to the contrary.2 Samuel 23:23, margin).
and who is so faithful amongst thy servants as David; I considered him, as if he should say, as a servant of thine, upon an errand of thine, and doing thy business; and as a faithful one, none more so, and as such I valued and regarded him, not as a rebel to thee, having no such thought of him:
which is the king's son in law; who has behaved himself so well, and thou hast entertained such an opinion of him, as to take him into thy family, and marry thy daughter to him; wherefore showing him favour, and doing him honour, was doing honour to thee and thy family, and surely there can be no blame in that:
and goeth at thy bidding; has always been ready to execute thy commands, and obey thine orders, let them be what they will; as to go out against an enemy, and fight Saul's battles for him:
and is honourable in thine house? behaved honourably there, and highly esteemed by all, as well as had the honour bestowed upon him to be the king's son-in-law, and made captain of a thousand; and therefore who could think that showing respect to such a man could be deemed treason and conspiracy, or he be thought to be a traitor to the king? and then with respect to himself he answers,Then Ahimelech answered the king, and said, And who is so faithful among all thy servants as David, which is the king's son in law, and goeth at thy bidding, and is honorable in thine house?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)14. goeth at thy bidding] Probably, “has access to thy audience,” i.e. is a trusted privy-councillor. Cp. 2 Samuel 23:23, marg.Verses 14-16. - Ahimelech's answers are those of an innocent man who had supposed that what he did was a matter of course. But his enumeration of David's privileges of rank and station probably only embittered the king. In his eyes David was of all Saul s officers the most faithful, both trusty and trusted (see on 1 Samuel 2:35). He was, moreover, the king's son-in-law; but the next words, he goeth at thy bidding, more probably mean, "has admission to thy audience," i.e. is thy privy councillor, with the right of entering unbidden the royal presence (comp. 2 Samuel 23:23, margin; 1 Chronicles 11:25). Did I then begin to enquire of God for him? Though the meaning of these words is disputed, yet there seems no sufficient reason for taking them in any other than their natural sense. It was probably usual to consult God by the Urim and Thummim on all matters of importance, and David, as a high officer of Saul's court, must often have done so before starting on such expeditions as are referred to in 1 Samuel 18:13. But the Bible is singularly reticent in such matters, and it is only incidentally that we learn how fully the Mosaic law entered into the daily life of the people. But for this frightful crime we should not even have known that Saul had brought the ark into his own neighbourhood, and restored the services of the sanctuary. But just as he took care to have Ahiah in attendance upon him in war, so we cannot doubt but that his main object in placing the priests at Nob was to have the benefit of the Divine counsel in his wars. It would be quite unreasonable to suppose that such consultations required the king's personal attendance. Thy servant knew nothing of all this, less or more. Whatever Ahimelech had done had been in perfect good faith, and though David's conduct must have seemed to him suspicious, yet there was nothing that would have justified him in acting differently. Nevertheless, in spite of his transparent innocence, Saul orders the slaughter not only of God's high priest, but of the whole body of the priesthood whom he had placed at Nob, and now had summoned for this ferocious purpose into his presence. 1 Samuel 20:12-17; at the same time, his words may merely refer to Jonathan's friendship with David, which was well known to him. ואין־חלה, "and no one of you is grieved on my account ... that my son has set my servant (David) as a lier in wait against me," i.e., to plot against my life, and wrest the throne to himself. We may see from this, that Saul was carried by his suspicions very far beyond the actual facts. "As at this day:" cf. Deuteronomy 8:18, etc.
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