1 Samuel 22:6
When Saul heard that David was discovered, and the men that were with him, (now Saul abode in Gibeah under a tree in Ramah, having his spear in his hand, and all his servants were standing about him;)
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(6) When Saul heard.—No note of time is here given. Probably the return of David with a disciplined force to the land, and the pitching of an armed camp in the “forest of Hareth,” excited anew Saul’s jealous fears.

Now Saul abode in Gibeah.—In Gibeah of Saul, his own royal city. The LXX. wrongly render, instead of Gibeah, “on the hills.” The margin of the English Version, “under a grove in a high place,” is correct as regards the later words, baramah signifying here upon the height. “Under a tree” is, however, nearer the original than “under a grove.” The literal rendering would be “under a tamarisk tree.” The sentence then should run, “Now Saul abode in Gibeah, under the tamarisk tree on the height.” The tamarisk, which grows so abundantly on the sea-shore of England and in warmer climates, develops into a very graceful tree, with long feathery branches and tufts. Saul’s love for trees has been noticed before. This solemn council of his, when the darkest deed of his reign was decided upon, was held in the spot Saul loved so well, under the spreading tamarisk branches. There we see him, leaning, as was his wont in peace as in war, upon his tall spear, surrounded by his valiant captains, chosen apparently, with one exception, from his own tribe of Benjamin—the exception being his wicked counsellor, the Edomite Doeg, who was over the royal herds. This is one of the earliest councils we have any definite account of in the world’s history. The king, surrounded by his chosen “fideles,” complaining of the treason of one of them lately exiled from their midst, bewailing the want of fidelity of his son, the heir to the throne—then the stepping forward of one of these “fideles,” one invested with high office, and publicly denouncing the chief religious official of the kingdom—forms a striking and vivid picture.

1 Samuel 22:6-8. Having his spear in his hand — It seems, as an ensign of majesty, for in old times kings carried a spear instead of a sceptre. Ye Benjamites — You that are of my own tribe and kindred, from whom David designs to translate the kingdom to another tribe. Will he distribute profits and preferments among you Benjamites, as I have done? Will he not rather prefer those of his own tribe before you? That all of you have conspired against me — To conceal David’s designs from me, if not to assist him in them. See the nature of jealousy, and its arts of flattering and wheedling to extort discoveries of things which have no existence! That my son hath made a league with the son of Jesse — He suspects Jonathan had made a league with David, but did not certainly know it, much less what the league was. His jealousy even carried him so far as to make him suspect that Jonathan not only sided with David, but had encouraged him to take up arms, and to appear openly, as having many friends and supporters. For since Saul threw the javelin at Jonathan, it is likely the latter had absented himself from court, or did not appear so frequently, or looked discontented when he came into his father’s presence.

22:6-19 See the nature of jealous malice and its pitiful arts. Saul looks upon all about him as his enemies, because they do not just say as he says. In Ahimelech's answer to Saul we have the language of conscious innocence. But what wickedness will not the evil spirit hurry men to when he gets the dominion! Saul alleges that which was utterly false and unproved. But the most bloody tyrants have found instruments of their cruelty as barbarous as themselves. Doeg, having murdered the priests, went to the city, Nob, and put all to the sword there. Nothing so vile but those may do it, who have provoked God to give them up to their hearts' lusts. Yet this was the accomplishment of the threatenings against the house of Eli. Though Saul was unrighteous in doing this, yet God was righteous in permitting it. No word of God shall fall to the ground.Under a tree in Ramah - Rather, "under the tamarisk-tree on the high place," where he always held such meetings. It was a kind of parliament in the open air, and all his tribesmen gathered round him. (Compare Judges 4:5.) 6. Saul abode … under a tree in Ramah—literally, "under a grove on a hill." Oriental princes frequently sit with their court under some shady canopy in the open air. A spear was the early scepter. In Ramah, i.e. in the territory of Gibeah, in or near (for so the Hebrew particle is oft used, as hath been showed) Ramah. Or, in the town of Gibeah—in a high place; for so the word Ramah unquestionably signifies; and so it is here rendered by some, both ancient and modern, interpreters.

Having his spear in his hand; either as an ensign of majesty, for in old times kings carried a spear instead of a sceptre; as Justin and others note; or as an instrument of self-defence or cruelty, as occasion required.

When Saul heard that David was discovered, and the men that were with him,.... That it was known where David was, and what number of men were gathered to him, and that they now openly appeared in the tribe of Judah; for some time Saul had heard nothing of him, but now a report had reached his ears that David was in arms, and at the head of a number of men; which now greatly alarmed Saul, and possessed him with fears and jealousies of his people, and all about him:

now Saul abode in Gibeah, under a tree in Ramah; this was Gibeah of Saul, and in or near which was a place called Ramah, or an high place, as the word signifies, on which was a remarkable tree, and under that Saul abode, being a proper shelter for him from any inclemency of the weather; for this was not Ramah where Samuel dwelt, though the Jews in the Talmud (b) so think, and metaphorically understand the tree in it of Samuel in Ramah praying for him, by means of which he continued two years in the height of his kingdom; but this was a tree in a literal sense. R. Jonah (c) says it is possible it might be the same which in Arabia is called Ethel, and is like to a tamarisk tree:

having his spear in his hand: ready to defend himself, and revenge his enemies; or rather which he held as a sceptre in his hand; See Gill on 1 Samuel 20:33,

and all his servants were standing about him; in reverence of him, and honour to him, waiting upon him, and ready to obey his orders: these were his courtiers, or his guards, or both.

(b) T. Bab. Taanith, fol. 5. 2.((c) Apud Ben Melech in loc.

When Saul heard that David was {e} discovered, and the men that were with him, (now Saul abode in Gibeah under a tree in Ramah, having his spear in his hand, and all his servants were standing about him;)

(e) That a great brute came on him.

6–19. Saul’s vengeance on the priests of Nob

6. that David was discovered] Lit. “was known.” Saul found out that some of his courtiers knew of David’s hiding-place in the forest of Hareth.

now Saul abode, &c.] Render, Now saul was sitting at Gibeah under the tamarisk tree on the height. We have here a vivid picture of a solemn conclave met to deliberate on affairs of state or to administer justice. The king sits in state under some venerable tamarisk (cp. 1 Samuel 14:2; Jdg 4:5); his spear, the emblem of royalty (see on 1 Samuel 18:10), is in his hand; his servants, still chiefly the men of his own tribe (1 Samuel 22:7), stand round him.

Verse 6. - When Saul heard that David was discovered. Hebrew, "was known." The meaning is easy enough, though rendered obscure by the involved translation of the A.V., and is as follows: When Saul heard that there was information concerning David and his men, he held a solemn council, in which we see how simple was the dignity of his court, but how great the ferocity to which he was now a prey. There is no parenthesis, but the account of Saul taking his seat, surrounded by his officers, follows directly upon the narration of the fact that news of David had reached him, and should be translated thus: "And Saul takes his seat in Gibeah under the tamarisk tree on the height, holding his javelin (as a sceptre) in his hand, and all his officers stand in order by him." For Saul's fondness for trees see ch. 14:2; but at a time when there were no large buildings a branching tree formed a fit place for a numerous meeting. A tree. Really a tamarisk tree, which "sometimes reaches such a size as to afford dense shade .... It is a very graceful tree, with long feathery branches and tufts, closely clad with the minutest of leaves, and surmounted in spring with spikes of beautiful pink blossom" (Tristram, 'Nat. Hist. of Bible,' p. 357). It grows abundantly on the seashore of England, but requires a warmer climate to develope into a tree. In Spain beautiful specimens may be seen, as for instance at Pampeluna. In Ramah. Conder (Handbook) thinks that Gibeah was the name of a district, which included Ramah; others take the word in its original signification, and render "on the height." Standing. The word means that they took each their proper posts around him (See on 1 Samuel 10:23; 12:7, 16; 17:16). Saul was holding a formal court, to decide what steps should be taken now that David had openly revolted from him. 1 Samuel 22:6Murder of the Priests by Saul. - 1 Samuel 22:6. When Saul heard that David and the men with him were known, i.e., that information had been received as to their abode or hiding-place, he said to his servants when they were gathered round him, "Hear," etc. The words, "and Saul was sitting at Gibeah under the tamarisk upon the height," etc., show that what follows took place in a solemn conclave of all the servants of Saul, who were gathered round their king to deliberate upon the more important affairs of the kingdom. This sitting took place at Gibeah, the residence of Saul, and in the open air "under the tamarisk." בּרמה, upon the height, not "under a grove at Ramah" (Luther); for Ramah is an appellative, and בּרמה, which belongs to האשׁל תּחת, is a more minute definition of the locality, which is indicated by the definite article (the tamarisk upon the height) as the well-known place where Saul's deliberative assemblies were held. From the king's address ("hear, ye Benjaminites; will the son of Jesse also give you all fields and vineyards?") we perceive that Saul had chosen his immediate attendants form the members of his own tribe, and had rewarded their services right royally. גּם־לכלּכם is placed first for the sake of emphasis, "You Benjaminites also," and not rather to Judahites, the members of his own tribe. The second לכלּכם (before ישׂים) is not a dative; but ל tub merely serves to give greater prominence to the object which is placed at the head of the clause: As for all of you, will he make (you: see Ewald, 310, a.).
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