1 Samuel 25:22
So and more also do God to the enemies of David, if I leave of all that pertain to him by the morning light any that urinates against the wall.
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(22) So and more also.—This is an unusual variation of the common form of imprecation, “God do so to me and more also, if, &c, &c.” The Syriac and Arabic Versions, followed by some commentators, instead of “enemies of David,” read “his servant David.” The LXX., as usual, boldly cuts the knot by leaving out the word of difficulty, and reads “David” simply, omitting “enemies.” But there is no doubt that the Hebrew text here is correct. The words signify David himself. If God’s anger for the broken vow visited even David’s enemies, as distantly connected with him, how much more the guilty oath breaker himself? (This was Raschi’s explanation for a similar expression in Jonathan’s oath, 1Samuel 20:16.) “A superstitious feeling probably lay at the root of this substitution of David’s enemies for himself, when thus invoking a curse” (Dean Payne Smith, in the Pulpit Commentary). Bishop Wordsworth here draws a good lesson on the non-obligation to keep a solemn oath, taken perhaps in a moment of undue excitement, and instances the evil example of Herod Antipas, who considered himself bound to carry out to the bitter end his rash oath to the daughter of Herodias, though it involved the death of John the Baptist, his former friend.

1 Samuel 25:22. So and more also do God unto the enemies of David — That is, unto David himself. But because it might seem ominous to curse himself, therefore, instead of David, he mentions David’s enemies: see 1 Samuel 20:16. The meaning seems to be, that he wishes God might bless his enemies, and pour evil upon himself, if he did not destroy Nabal and all the males of his family before the morning. But is this the voice of David? Can he speak so unadvisedly with his lips? Has he been so long in the school of affliction, and learned no more patience therein? Lord, what is man? And what need have we to pray, Lead us not into temptation! David’s wrath, though perhaps justly moved, here carried him to a pitch that, if executed, would have filled him with remorse, sorrow, and shame, as it could by no means have been reconciled to the laws of that God who was his defender, and whom alone he confided in for support under, and deliverance out of, his troubles. In which laws, too, he was well instructed, and therefore ought to have been governed by them, and not by his furious resentment.25:18-31 By a present Abigail atoned for Nabal's denial of David's request. Her behaviour was very submissive. Yielding pacifies great offences. She puts herself in the place of a penitent, and of a petitioner. She could not excuse her husband's conduct. She depends not upon her own reasonings, but on God's grace, to soften David, and expects that grace would work powerfully. She says that it was below him to take vengeance on so weak and despicable an enemy as Nabal, who, as he would do him no kindness, so he could do him no hurt. She foretells the glorious end of David's present troubles. God will preserve thy life; therefore it becomes not thee unjustly and unnecessarily to take away the lives of any, especially of the people of thy God and Saviour. Abigail keeps this argument for the last, as very powerful with so good a man; that the less he indulged his passion, the more he consulted his peace and the repose of his own conscience. Many have done that in a heat, which they have a thousand times wished undone again. The sweetness of revenge is soon turned into bitterness. When tempted to sin, we should consider how it will appear when we think upon it afterwards.The concluding phrase denotes the utter destruction of a family, and is rightly explained to mean "every male," perhaps with the idea, "down to the very meanest member of the household." 19. she said unto her servants, Go on before me; behold, I come after you—People in the East always try to produce an effect by their presents, loading on several beasts what might be easily carried by one, and bringing them forward, article by article, in succession. Abigail not only sent her servants in this way, but resolved to go in person, following her present, as is commonly done, to watch the impression which her munificence would produce. Unto the enemies of David, i. e. Unto David himself. But because it might seem ominous and unnatural to curse himself, therefore by a figure called euphemismus, instead of David, he mentions David’s enemies. See 1 Samuel 20:16. The words may be thus rendered:

So and more also let God do for (the Hebrew lamed being very oft so used) the enemies of David, i.e. let God work for them, and give them as much prosperity and success as Nabal hath hitherto had. Or, let God utterly destroy their enemies; and especially myself, the chief of them, if I do not destroy this man.

Any that pisseth against the wall, i.e. any of the males, for they only do so; and of them this phrase is manifestly understood, 1 Kings 14:10 21:21 2 Kings 9:8; and men not wholly barbarous have generally spared women in such cases.

Quest. Why then was Abigail so much concerned and afraid?

Answ. Partly from humanity, and the horror of so general and dreadful a slaughter of her family and nearest relations; and partly because when the sword was once drawn, she knew not where it would rest, nor whether she should escape; for she knew nothing of this limitation of David’s threatening till she came to him. So and more also do God unto the enemies of David,.... Give them as much health and prosperity, as much wealth and riches, as Nabal has, and much more:

if I leave of all that pertain to him, by the morning light, any that pisseth against the wall; which is generally understood of a dog, that he, would not leave him so much as a dog: but it is better, with Ben Gersom, to interpret it of the males in his house, himself, his sons, and servants; and so the Targum paraphrases it of reasonable creatures, of such"that know knowledge,''or are knowing and understanding creatures; it seems to have been towards the evening; of the day when David was marching towards Nabal's house, designing to fall upon him and his, amidst their jollity that night, and cut them all off before morning. This must be imputed to the sudden and violent passion David was thrown into when off his guard, through the necessity he was in, the disappointment he met with, and the opprobrious language he was treated with; but in this his conduct was not as it used to be, and as it was towards Saul his enemy. Nor is his rage and passion to be vindicated, or the rash vow he made to destroy Nabal and his family; his crime, though great, yet not to be published with death; his ingratitude and insolence deserved resentment, but were not capital crimes worthy of death, and especially of the destruction of his whole family; the Jews indeed make him to be guilty of treason, in that he knew that David was anointed king, and yet both abused him, and disobeyed his commands, and therefore being guilty of overt acts of treason, he and his were deserving of death; but David was not yet king.

So and more also do God unto the enemies of David, if I leave of all that pertain to him by the morning light any that {h} pisseth against the wall.

(h) Meaning by this proverb that he would destroy both small and great.

22. unto the enemies of David] In the usual oath-formula the swearer invokes divine vengeance upon himself (1 Samuel 20:13), or upon the person adjured (1 Samuel 3:17). And so the Sept. here; “So God do to David.” “The enemies of David” may possibly be an euphemism, introduced by a corrector who was unwilling to let David invoke vengeance upon himself for an oath which he afterwards broke. Comp. the note on 1 Samuel 20:16.

if I leave … any, &c.] David vows that he will exterminate the family and not leave a single man alive. Cp. Deuteronomy 20:13.However intelligible David's wrath may appear in the situation in which he was placed, it was not right before God, but a sudden burst of sinful passion, which was unseemly in a servant of God. By carrying out his intention, he would have sinned against the Lord and against His people. But the Lord preserved him from this sin by the fact that, just at the right time, Abigail, the intelligent and pious wife of Nabal, heard of the affair, and was able to appease the wrath of David by her immediate and kindly interposition.

1 Samuel 25:14-16

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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