Now David had said, Surely in vain have I kept all that this fellow has in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that pertained to him: and he has requited me evil for good.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Now David had said.—This verse and the following (22nd) must be understood as a kind of parenthesis in the narrative. They express what David felt, and, as it were, his justification in his own mind for the violent and vengeful act he was about to carry out. The argument was, Nabal had returned indeed evil for good. For a long time David’s band had guarded faithfully his vast scattered flocks, and had preserved them safely, and now, when he asked a small favour in return, the churl repaid him by throwing in his teeth the taunt that he was a rebel and a runaway slave.1 Samuel 25:21. Surely in vain have I kept all that this fellow hath — Though David justly thought he had no right to take any part of the flock of Nabal by way of plunder; yet, when he and his men had taken the trouble of defending them for some time from all damage, which, probably, they otherwise could not have escaped, he concluded, with much reason, that he and his men, when reduced to necessity, had cause to expect something by way of gratuity from Nabal, for the services they had done him.
This fellow; whom he thought unworthy to be named, for his barbarous ingratitude and churlishness.
surely in vain have I kept all that this fellow hath in the wilderness; which shows that lie was in a violent passion, and had Nabal in the utmost contempt and indignation, in that he mentions not his name, only says "this", this man or follow; leaving a blank to be filled up with the most ignominious name and character that could be thought of; and repents that he had taken so much care of his flocks when they were feeding by him in the wilderness:
so that nothing was missed of all that pertained unto him; and seems to have wished he had suffered his flocks to have been robbed by the Arabs, or worried by wild beasts, since he had been such an ungrateful wretch to him:
and he hath requited me evil for good; he had requited evil to him by denying to send him any of his provisions, and by abusing him and his men with opprobrious language; and this was done in return for the good deeds he had done in protecting his servants and his flocks in the wilderness, and for the good words and respectful message he had sent unto him.Now David had said, Surely in vain have I kept all that this fellow hath in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that pertained unto him: and he hath requited me evil for good.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)21. Surely in vain] Only to be deceived and disappointed. The same word is used in Jeremiah 3:23.
pertained] i.e. belonged. “Pertain” is derived from Lat. pertineo, through O. Fr. partenir. Cp. “appertain” from appartenir.Verses 21, 22. - David justifies his fierce anger by referring to the services he had rendered Nabal, and which had been requited so shabbily. For the phrase so do God unto the enemies of David see on 1 Samuel 20:16. A superstitious feeling probably lay at the root of this substitution of David's enemies for himself when thus invoking a curse.
Abigail heard from one of (Nabal's) servants what had taken place (בּרך, to wish any one prosperity and health, i.e., to salute, as in 1 Samuel 13:10; and יעט, from עיט, to speak wrathfully: on the form, see at 1 Samuel 15:19 and 1 Samuel 14:32), and also what had been praiseworthy in the behaviour of David's men towards Nabal's shepherds; how they had not only done them no injury, had not robbed them of anything, but had defended them all the while. "They were a wall (i.e., a firm protection) round us by night and by day, as long as we were with them feeding the sheep," i.e., a wall of defence against attacks from the Bedouins living in the desert.
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