1 Samuel 23:29
And David went up from thence, and dwelt in strong holds at Engedi.
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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.En-gedi (the fountain of the kid), anciently called Hazezon-Tamar Genesis 14:7 from the palm-trees which used to grow there, still preserves its name in Ain-Djedy. It is about 200 yards from the Dead Sea, about the center of its western shore. It is marked by great luxuriance of vegetation, though the approach to it is through most dangerous and precipitous passes. The country is full of caverns, which serve as lurking places for outlaws at the present day. One of these, a spacious one called Bir-el-Mauquouchieh, with a well in it suitable for watering sheep, close to the Wady Hasasa, may have been the identical cavern in which David cut off Saul's skirt. 29. David went up from thence, and dwelt in strong holds at En-gedi—that is, "the spring of the wild goats or gazelles"—a name given to it from the vast number of ibexes or Syrian chamois which inhabit these cliffs on the western shore of the Dead Sea (Jos 15:62). It is now called Ain Jiddy. On all sides the country is full of caverns, which might then serve as lurking places for David and his men, as they do for outlaws at the present day [Robinson]. No text from Poole on this verse.

And David went up from thence,.... From the wilderness of Maon, having had a narrow escape for his life:

and dwelt in strong holds in Engedi; another place in the tribe of Judah, and which lay in the wilderness of Judah, and from whence that is called the wilderness of Engedi; and here Dr. Lightfoot (w) thinks he penned the sixty third psalm, Psalm 63:1, the wilderness about Engedi being the most desert of all other places, that being upon the borders of the dead sea; of this place; see Gill on Joshua 15:62.

(w) Works, vol. 1. p. 58.

And David went up from thence, and dwelt in {a} strong holds at Engedi.

(a) That is, in strong places, which were defended by nature.

29. at En-gedi] En-gedi (= fountain of the kid), now Ain-Jidy, is situated about half way along the western shore of the Dead Sea. The precipitous cliffs recede from the water’s edge, and enclose a sloping plain watered by the stream which gushes copiously from the limestone rock. Here in the days of Abraham stood the Amorite city of Hazazon-tamar (= pruning of the palm). See Genesis 14:7; 2 Chronicles 20:2. It is still an oasis in the limestone desert, and though palm-trees and vineyards (Song of Solomon 1:14) have vanished, the petrified leaves of the one and the terraces cut on the hills for the other attest its ancient fertility. On all sides the country is full of caverns which might serve as lurking places for David and his men, as they do for outlaws at the present day. See Robinson, Bibl. Res. 1. 508 ff.; Tristram, Land of Israel, p. 277 ff.; Stanley, Sin. and Pal. p. 295 ff., for descriptions of this remarkable spot.

29–24:8. David spares Saul’s life in the cave at En-gedi

This narrative and that in ch. 26 are regarded by some commentators as different accounts of the same event. See Note VII. p. 243, and the notes on ch. 26.

Psalms 57, 142 are referred by their titles to the time when David fled from Saul in the cave; but whether this occasion or his sojourn in the cave of Adullam is meant, must remain uncertain.

1 Samuel 23:29From this occurrence the place received the name of Sela-hammahlekoth, "rock of smoothnesses," i.e., of slipping away or escaping, from חלק, in the sense of being smooth. This explanation is at any rate better supported than "rock of divisions, i.e., the rock at which Saul and David were separated" (Clericus), since חלק does not mean to separate.
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