1 Samuel 24:1
And it came to pass, when Saul was returned from following the Philistines, that it was told him, saying, Behold, David is in the wilderness of Engedi.
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(1) When Saul was returned.—How intent Saul was on his bloody purpose with regard to his supposed rival is clear, for no sooner was the Philistine raid repulsed than with sleepless animosity he at once set forth with a force, as the next verse relates, of considerable magnitude to hunt down his foe. Saul was encouraged in this fresh enterprise by the offer of the Ziphites (see preceding 1Sam 1Samuel 24:19-22). These bitter enemies of David, in the interval of the Philistine war—accustomed to the passes and mountains of the barren region of the south of Canaan—complying with the king’s request (1Samuel 23:23), had taken careful knowledge of the lurking-places where David was hiding, and were now prepared to act as guides to the well-equipped and disciplined forces under Saul in its marches and counter-marches in the deserts bordering on the south of Judah.

En-gedi.—David and his band were now wandering along a lofty plateau, upon the tops of cliffs some 2,000 feet above the Dead Sea. En-gedi—still known as Ain-jedy, the Fountain of the Kid—is a beautiful oasis, in the barren wilderness to the south of Judah. Its original name was Hazazon Tamar—“The Palm Wood” (see 2Chronicles 20:2)—and was once an ancient settlement of the Amorites (see Genesis 14:7). It has in all ages been a favourite spot with the possessors of the land. King Solomon appears to have paid peculiar attention to this garden of the wilderness. He planted the hills round it with vines; from the fountain flows a warm limpid stream, delicious to the taste. The remains of ancient gardens tell us that in the golden days of the kings En-gedi was probably a favourite resort of the wealthy citizen of Jerusalem. Solpmon, in his “Song of Songs,” writes of it in a strain which shows how he loved it, when he compares his beloved “to a cluster of camphire in the vineyards of En-gedi.”—Song of Solomon 1:14. Its present condition, as described by modern travellers, more nearly resembles the En-gedi when Saul hunted David among the rocks and caverns than the En-gedi the resort of the Jerusalem citizens, beautiful with gardens and vines of Solomon.—Conder: Tent Life. Dean Stanley and others have described the spot with great care, and left us a vivid picture of the scene. They tell us of the long and weary journey-across the desolate valleys and precipitous barren heights, and of the enchanting scene which lay before them when once Ain-jedy was reached. They describe in flowing language the plentiful and rich vegetation, the trees and fruits, the ruins of the ancient gardens, and remains of the beautiful groves, still inhabited by a multitude of singing birds. In the limestone cliffs are numerous caves, some of them very large and deep, well calculated to be the temporary shelter of large bodies of men.

24:1-7 God delivered Saul into David's hand. It was an opportunity given to David to exercise faith and patience. He had a promise of the kingdom, but no command to slay the king. He reasons strongly, both with himself and with his men, against doing Saul any hurt. Sin is a thing which it becomes us to startle at, and to resist temptations thereto. He not only would not do this bad thing himself, but he would not suffer those about him to do it. Thus he rendered good for evil, to him from whom he received evil for good; and was herein an example to all who are called Christians, not to be overcome of evil, but to overcome evil with good.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. CHAPTER 24

1Sa 24:1-7. David in a Cave at Engedi Cuts Off Saul's Skirt, but Spares His Life.Saul pursueth David to En-gedi; cometh into a cave in which was David with his men; who cutteth off the skirt of Saul’ s mantle, but will not kill him, 1 Samuel 24:1-7. He communeth with Saul, and hereby evidenceth his innocency towards him, 1 Samuel 24:8-15. Saul acknowledgeth his fault, taketh an oath of David, and departeth, 1 Samuel 24:16-22.

No text from Poole on this verse.

And it came to pass, when Saul was returned from following the Philistines,.... Having, as it should seem, got the victory over them, and driven them out of his country, and pursued them to their own:

that it was told him, saying, behold, David is in the wilderness of Engedi; in the strong holds of it, the high rocks and mountains in it, 1 Samuel 23:29.

And it came to pass, when Saul was returned from following the Philistines, that it was told him, saying, Behold, David is in the wilderness of {b} Engedi.

(b) A city of Judah, Jos 15:62.

Ch. 1 Samuel 24:2. upon the rocks of the wild goats] On precipitous cliffs scarcely accessible except to the ibex and chamois. Wild goats and antelopes still abound on the heights above Ain-Jidy.

Verse 1. - The wilderness of En-gedi. Finding no safety on the western side of the desert of Judah, where the Ziphites were ever watching his movements, David now boldly crossed this arid waste, and sought shelter in the remarkable oasis of En-gedi, on the shore of the Dead Sea. The word may signify either the Fountain of Luck or the Kid's Spring, the latter being the meaning of the name Ain-Jadi, which it still bears. In 2 Chronicles 20:2 it is identified with Hazazon-Tamar, the Palm Wood, an ancient seat of the Amorites, and evidently famous from of old for its fertility (Genesis 14:7). Conder ('Tent Work,' 2:126) describes the country over which David would have to travel as almost impassable, so that in four and a half hours of hard riding be and his party advanced only six miles, so deep were the valleys which they were obliged to cross. From a lofty peak on their way the view was most extraordinary. On every side were other ridges, equally white, steep, and narrow; their sides seamed by innumerable torrent beds, their summits sharp and rugged in outline. Not a tree was visible, and the whole region was like the dry basin of a former sea, scoured by the rains, and washed down in places to the hard foundation of metamorphic limestone which underlies the whole district. But the desert once crossed, "there is no scene," he says, "more vividly impressed on my memory than that of this magnificently rocky and savage pass, and the view from the spring below." He had encamped on a plateau upon the top of the cliffs, which rise to a height of 2000 feet above the Dead Sea; and 1340 feet below him the warm spring of En-gedi, 83° F., rises from under a great boulder, and dashing down the rest of the descent, flows across the plate at the foot of the cliffs, which is about half a mile square. All around are the ruins of ancient gardens and thickets, among which he saw the beautiful black grackles with gold-tipped wings, bulbuls, and thrushes. Solomon seems to have delighted in the spot, and to have covered the hills with vines; for he compares his beloved to a "cluster of camphire in the vineyards of En-gedi" (Song of Solomon 1:14). Neither palm nor vine is to be found there now, but there is still a rich vegetation, and groves of trees. According to Thomson ('The Land and the Book,' p. 602) the sides of the ravines leading to En-gedi are full of natural and artificial caves and sepulchres. 1 Samuel 24:1When Saul had returned from his march against the Philistines, and was informed of this, he set out thither with three thousand picked men to search for David and his men in the wild-goat rocks. The expression "rocks of the wild goats" is probably not a proper name for some particular rocks, but a general term applied to the rocks of that locality on account of the number of wild goats and chamois that were to be found in all that region, as mountain goats are still (Rob. Pal. ii. p. 204).
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