1 Samuel 23:21
And Saul said, Blessed be you of the LORD; for you have compassion on me.
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23:19-29 In the midst of his wickedness, Saul affected to speak the language of piety. Such expressions, without suitable effects, can only amuse or deceive those who hear, and those who use them. This mountain was an emblem of the Divine Providence coming between David and the destroyer. Let us not be dismayed at the prospect of future difficulties, but stay ourselves upon Him who is wonderful in counsel and excellent in working. Sooner than his promise shall fail, he will commission Philistines to effect our escape, at the very moment when our case appears most desperate. God requires entire dependence on him, If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established, Isa 7:9.(Hachilah is thought by Conder to be the long ridge called El Kolah). For Jeshimon, see the margin and Numbers 21:20. 1Sa 23:19-29. Saul Pursues Him.

19-23. Then came up the Ziphites to Saul to Gibeah, saying, Doth not David hide himself with us?—From the tell of Ziph a panorama of the whole surrounding district is to be seen. No wonder, then, that the Ziphites saw David and his men passing to and fro in the mountains of the wilderness. Spying him at a distance when he ventured to show himself on the hill of Hachilah, "on the right hand of the wilderness," that is, the south side of Ziph, they sent in haste to Saul, to tell him of the lurking place of his enemy [Van De Velde].

Whilst others harden their hearts against me, and join with David in his treasonable conspiracy, you show your pity to me by your readiness to help me. And Saul said, blessed be ye of the Lord,.... He highly commends them for the offer they made to him, blesses God for them, and desires the blessing of God upon them for it:

for ye have compassion on me; pitied him on account of the troubles he met with from his son-in-law, were sorry for him, and sympathized with him, which others did not, of which he complained, 1 Samuel 22:8.

And Saul said, {g} Blessed be ye of the LORD; for ye have compassion on me.

(g) the Lord recompense this friendship.

Verses 21-23. - Ye have compassion on me. There is something pitiable in Saul's answer. He had brooded over his rejection from being king, and the many indications that David was to be his successor, till he had become the prey of abject melancholy. He evidently regarded himself as a wronged and injured man, while David to his diseased imagination was ever conspiring against him and plotting his murder. With much prolixity he encourages them still to keep a close watch upon all David's movements, so as to know his place where his haunt is. Literally, "his place where his foot will be," the place whither he goes for rest and refuge. The reason he gives for this long and close observation of David's doings is that it is told him that he dealeth very subtilly. That is, according to Saul's information, he behaved with the utmost prudence, ever keeping a careful look out against surprise, and using much skill to conceal his movements and to provide for his escape from danger. Finally, they are to return with the certainty - with trustworthy and accurate information, and then Saul will gather his forces and search David out throughout all the thousands of Judah. These are the larger divisions of the territory of the tribe (Numbers 1:16; Numbers 10:4), throughout which Saul will hunt for him till he has got him into his power. David in the Deserts of Ziph and Maon. - The history of David's persecution by Saul is introduced in 1 Samuel 23:15-18, with the account of an attempt made by the noble-minded prince Jonathan, in a private interview with his friend David, to renew his bond of friendship with him, and strengthen David by his friendly words for the sufferings that yet awaited him. 1 Samuel 23:15, 1 Samuel 23:16 are to be connected together so as to form one period: "When David saw that Saul was come out ... and David was in the desert of Ziph, Jonathan rose up and went to David into the wood." חרשׁה, from חרשׁ, with ה paragogic, signifies a wood or thicket; here, however, it is probably a proper name for a district in the desert of Ziph that was overgrown with wood or bushes, and where David was stopping at that time. "There is no trace of this wood now. The land lost its ornament of trees centuries ago through the desolating hand of man" (v. de Velde). "And strengthened his hand in God," i.e., strengthened his heart, not by supplies, or by money, or any subsidy of that kind, but by consolation drawn from his innocence, and the promises of God (vid., Judges 9:24; Jeremiah 23:14). "Fear not," said Jonathan to him, "for the hand of Saul my father will not reach thee; and thou wilt become king over Israel, and I will be the second to thee; and Saul my father also knows that it is so." Even though Jonathan had heard nothing from David about his anointing, he could learn from David's course thus far, and from his own father's conduct, that David would not be overcome, but would possess the sovereignty after the death of Saul. Jonathan expresses here, as his firm conviction, what he has intimated once before, in 1 Samuel 20:13.; and with the most loving self-denial entreats David, when he shall be king, to let him occupy the second place in the kingdom. It by no means follows from the last words ("Saul my father knoweth"), that Saul had received distinct information concerning the anointing of David, and his divine calling to be king. The words merely contain the thought, he also sees that it will come. The assurance of this must have forced itself involuntarily upon the mind of Saul, both from his own rejection, as foretold by Samuel, and also from the marvellous success of David in all his undertakings.
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