Moreover, my father, see, yes, see the skirt of your robe in my hand: for in that I cut off the skirt of your robe, and killed you not, know you and see that there is neither evil nor transgression in my hand, and I have not sinned against you; yet you hunt my soul to take it.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)My father.—Not in the sense of “my father-in-law.” The Princess Michal before this time probably had been given to Phalti. The time when this wicked act was carried out by Saul is left quite indefinite in the notice of 1Samuel 25:44; but the relations of David and Saul were evidently far more bitter before than after the En-gedi incident, hence the probability of Michal’s being given to Phalti before this meeting is great. The expression “my father” is simply the reverence (pietas) of the young to the old—of the loyal subject to the sovereign. It is so used in the beautiful lines of Browning already quoted.
See the skirt of thy robe.—Doubtless at this juncture holding up the piece of the royal m’il he had so carefully cut off when the king was sleeping in fancied security. “See this, how near thou wast to death had I been pleased to take thy life when I cut this off.”2 Kings 5:13, and compare 1 Samuel 24:16; 1 Samuel 25:8).
8-15. David also arose … and went out of the cave, and cried after Saul—The closeness of the precipitous cliffs, though divided by deep wadies, and the transparent purity of the air enable a person standing on one rock to hear distinctly the words uttered by a speaker standing on another (Jud 9:7). The expostulation of David, followed by the visible tokens he furnished of his cherishing no evil design against either the person or the government of the king, even when he had the monarch in his power, smote the heart of Saul in a moment and disarmed him of his fell purpose of revenge. He owned the justice of what David said, acknowledged his own guilt, and begged kindness to his house. He seems to have been naturally susceptible of strong, and, as in this instance, of good and grateful impressions. The improvement of his temper, indeed, was but transient—his language that of a man overwhelmed by the force of impetuous emotions and constrained to admire the conduct, and esteem the character, of one whom he hated and dreaded. But God overruled it for ensuring the present escape of David. Consider his language and behavior. This language—"a dead dog," "a flea," terms by which, like Eastern people, he strongly expressed a sense of his lowliness and the entire committal of his cause to Him who alone is the judge of human actions, and to whom vengeance belongs, his steady repulse of the vindictive counsels of his followers; the relentings of heart which he felt even for the apparent indignity he had done to the person of the Lord's anointed; and the respectful homage he paid the jealous tyrant who had set a price on his head—evince the magnanimity of a great and good man, and strikingly illustrate the spirit and energy of his prayer "when he was in the cave" (Ps 142:1).My father; so he calls him; partly, because he was his father-in-law; partly, in testimony of his respect and subjection to him as to a father; and partly, that by so amiable a compellation he might both insinuate himself into his favour, and mind him of that duty which as a father he owed to David.
There is neither evil nor transgression in mine hand; I neither design mischief against thee with my heart, nor will I execute it with my hand, which my false accusers told thee I would do, if thou didst at any time fall into my hand.
see, yea see, the skirt of thy robe in my hand; look on it again and again; view it with the eyes of thy body intently, that thou mayest be satisfied of it, and behold with the eyes of thy mind and understanding, and consider that I could as easily have had thine head in my hand as the skirt of thy robe; and here see an instance and proof of the integrity and sincerity of my heart, and cordial affections to thee, and an evidence against all the charges and accusations of my enemies, and that I have no ill design upon thy person and life, and am far from seeking thy hurt, as they say:
for in that I cut off the skirt of thy robe, and killed thee not; not only did that to show that he was in his power, but did not cut off his head, as he could:
know thou, and see, that there is neither evil nor transgression in mine hand; this might be a full conviction to him that he had no ill, neither in his heart nor hand, to do unto him:
and I have not sinned against thee; done nothing to offend him, never acted against his will, nor disobeyed any of his commands, or had been guilty of one overt act of treason or rebellion, but all the reverse:
yet thou huntest my soul to take it; pursued him from place to place, hunted him in the wildernesses of Ziph and Maon, and upon the rocks of Engedi, as a partridge on the mountains, 1 Samuel 26:20; and lay in wait for him to kill him, as the Targum: he may be thought to have penned the "seventh" psalm at this time, or on this occasion; at least there are some passages in it, which seem to refer to his present circumstances, Psalm 7:1.Moreover, my father, see, yea, see the skirt of thy robe in my hand: for in that I cut off the skirt of thy robe, and killed thee not, know thou and see that there is neither evil nor transgression in mine hand, and I have not sinned against thee; yet thou huntest my soul to take it.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)11. my father] The address of respect and affection. Cp. 2 Kings 5:13; 2 Kings 6:21.
evil] The same word as that rendered “thy hurt” in 1 Samuel 24:9.
my soul] i.e. my life.Verses 11-13. - My father. David thus salutes Saul not because he was actually his father-in-law, but as a title indicative of the respect due from an inferior to his superior (2 Kings 5:13). So David calls himself Nabal's son (1 Samuel 25:8). In the rest of the verse he contrasts his refusal to slay Saul, when it might have seemed as if it were Providence that had put him into his power, with Saul's determined pursuit of him. Thou huntest my soul to take it. Thou perpetually usest every artifice and stratagem against me for the confessed purpose of killing me, and pursuest me as eagerly as the hunter pursues his game. Hence David commits his cause to Jehovah, in the sure confidence that he will avenge him, and with the firm determination never himself to raise his hand against one who, though his enemy, was also the king. In proof of the impossibility of his ever seeking the king's hurt, he quotes an ancient proverb, "From the wicked goeth out wickedness." Had David harboured evil intentions he would have executed them when so fair an opportunity offered, but as he has no such purposes "his hand will never be" upon Saul.
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