1 Samuel 23:23
See therefore, and take knowledge of all the lurking places where he hides himself, and come you again to me with the certainty, and I will go with you: and it shall come to pass, if he be in the land, that I will search him out throughout all the thousands of Judah.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(23) Throughout all the thousands of Judah.—The “thousands” (Heb., alaphim), as we learn from Numbers 1:16; Numbers 10:4, were the greater tribal divisions. Judah was especially mentioned by Saul as being “the tribe of David,” and where he found probably the larger number of his adherents. It was too, from its importance, the typical tribe, certainly in the southern part of Canaan.

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].

i.e. Through all the parts of that tribe. Every tribe was divided into thousands, as counties are now with us into hundreds. See Judges 6:15. Or, with all the thousands of Judah, i. e. I will raise against him all the forces of that tribe in which he trusteth and hideth himself. This he saith to animate them to the more vigorous prosecution of him. See therefore, and take knowledge of all the lurking places where he hideth himself,.... Which he most frequents, that ye may be able to describe them, and the way to them, and easily find them when necessary:

and come ye again to me with the certainty; of time and place, when and where he may be certainly found:

and I will go with you; upon such certain intelligence: it is very much he did not seize this opportunity, and go directly with them; for by this delay, David being informed of the Ziphites coming to Saul to betray him, had time to depart elsewhere:

and it shall come to pass, if he be in the land; in the land of Israel, or rather in the land that is in the tribe of Judah:

that I will search him out throughout all the thousands of Judah; through all the divisions of that tribe, which, as others, were divided into thousands, see Micah 5:2.

See therefore, and take knowledge of all the lurking places where he hideth himself, and come ye again to me with the certainty, and I will go with you: and it shall come to pass, if he be in the {h} land, that I will search him out throughout all the thousands of Judah.

(h) In your country of Ziph, which is in Judah.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
23. the thousands of Judah] i.e. the families. See on 1 Samuel 10:19.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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