1 Samuel 23:11
Will the men of Keilah deliver me up into his hand? will Saul come down, as your servant has heard? O LORD God of Israel, I beseech you, tell your servant. And the LORD said, He will come down.
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(11) Will the men of Keilah deliver me up into his hand? will Saul come down, as thy servant hath heard?—There is a curious inversion of David’s questions here. In their logical sequence, of course the second, respecting Saul’s coming down, should have been put first, for the men of Keilah could not have delivered him into Saul’s hands if Saul had not come down. Dean Payne Smith suggests that in David’s earnest prayer “his two questions are put inversely to the logical order, but in accordance with the relative importance in his mind.” The Dean thinks “that when the ephod was brought forward, the questions were of course put, and replied to in their logical sequence.

“And the Lord said, He will come down.”

“ And the Lord said, They will deliver thee up.”

Thus the answer of the Urim and Thummin was given to the questions in their logical order. The Talmud has an interesting comment here. In consulting the Urim and Thummim, the enquirer is not to ask about two things at a time, for if he does, he will be answered about one only, and only about the one he first uttered, as it is said (1Samuel 23:11-12). David asked first “Will the men of Keilah deliver me into his hands?” and then he asked also “Will Saul come down?” The answer was to the second query. “And the Lord said He will come down.” But it has just been asserted that the enquirer will be answered only about the one thing he first uttered. To this it is replied, David framed his enquiry not in good order, but the reply of the Urim and Thummim was as though the enquiry had been in proper order. Hence when David became aware that his question had not been put properly, he repeated it again in better order, as it has been said, “Then said David, Will the men of Keilah deliver me and my men into the hand of Saul? And the Lord said, They will deliver thee up.”—Treatise Yoma, fol. 73, Colossians 1.

23:7-13 Well might David complain of his enemies, that they rewarded him evil for good, and that for his love they were his adversaries. Christ was used thus basely. David applied to his great Protector for direction. No sooner was the ephod brought him than he made use of it. We have the Scriptures in our hands, let us take advice from them in doubtful cases. Say, Bring hither the Bible. David's address to God is very solemn, also very particular. God allows us to be so in our addresses to him; Lord, direct me in this matter, about which I am now at a loss. God knows not only what will be, but what would be, if it were not hindered; therefore he knows how to deliver the godly out of temptation, and how to render to every man according to his works.If Gad was with David at the forest of Hareth 1 Samuel 22:5, and there inquired for him of the Lord 1 Samuel 23:2,1 Samuel 23:4, but did not accompany him to Keilah, and if Abiathar's flight occurred at the time of David's being at Keilah, we have an additional striking instance of God's watchful providential care of David in thus sending Abiathar to supply the place of Gad at so critical a moment. 9. he said to Abiathar the priest, Bring hither the ephod—The consultation was made, and the prayer uttered, by means of the priest. The alternative conditions here described have often been referred to as illustrating the doctrine of God's foreknowledge and preordination of events. Will the men of Keilah deliver me up, to wit, if I continue in their city, and if Saul come down?

The Lord said. From this place it may appear that God’s answer by Urim and Thummim was not by any change in the colour or situation of the precious stones in the breastplate of the ephod, but by a voice or suggestion from God to the high priest.

He will come down, i.e. he purposeth to come, if thou continuest here; for still, as David’s question, so God’s answer, is upon supposition, as is here sufficiently implied. Will the men of Keilah deliver me up into his hands? will Saul come down, as thy servant hath heard?.... That is, if David continued there, which is the supposition all proceeds upon. The questions are not orderly put, as may easily be observed, the last should have been first; which shows some perturbation of mind David was in upon hearing the design of Saul against him:

O Lord God of Israel, I beseech thee, tell thy servant; give an answer by Urim and Thummim, as he did:

and the Lord said, he will come down; if David abode there; that was in his thoughts, in his purpose and design, which the Lord, being omniscient, full well knew, who knows all future contingencies: hence the Jews (n) gather, that two things are not to be asked together; and if they are asked, only answer is made to one, and the answer is only made to that which it was proper to ask first; and that which is asked out of order should be asked again, which was the case here, as follows.

(n) T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 73. 1, 2.

Will the men of Keilah deliver me up into his hand? will Saul come down, as thy servant hath heard? O LORD God of Israel, I beseech thee, tell thy servant. And the LORD said, He will come down.
11. the men of Keilah] Lit. “the lords,” or “masters,” i.e. the governing body of citizens, as distinguished from the mass of inhabitants (1 Samuel 23:5). The same word is used in Joshua 24:11; Jdg 9:2 ff; Jdg 20:5; 2 Samuel 21:12.

will Saul come down] The logical order of the questions is inverted, and the most important put first, indicating the anxiety of the questioner.But his men said to him, "Behold, here in Judah we are in fear (i.e., are not safe from Saul's pursuit); how shall we go to Keilah against the ranks of the Philistines?" In order, therefore, to infuse courage into them, he inquired of the Lord again, and received the assurance from God, "I will give the Philistines into thy hand." He then proceeded with his men, fought against the Philistines, drove off their cattle, inflicted a severe defeat upon them, and thus delivered the inhabitants of Keilah. In 1 Samuel 23:6 a supplementary remark is added in explanation of the expression "inquired of the Lord," to the effect that, when Abiathar fled to David to Keilah, the ephod had come to him. The words "to David to Keilah" are not to be understood as signifying that Abiathar did not come to David till he was in Keilah, but that when he fled after David (1 Samuel 22:20), he met with him as he was already preparing for the march of Keilah, and immediately proceeded with him thither. For whilst it is not stated in 1 Samuel 22:20 that Abiathar came to David in the wood of Hareth, but the place of meeting is left indefinite, the fact that David had already inquired of Jehovah (i.e., through the oracle of the high priest) with reference to the march to Keilah, compels us to assume that Abiathar had come to him before he left the mountains for Keilah. So that the brief expression "to David to Keilah," which is left indefinite because of its brevity, must be interpreted in accordance with this fact.
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