And now I have heard that you have shearers: now your shepherds which were with us, we hurt them not, neither was there ought missing to them, all the while they were in Carmel.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Neither was there ought missing unto them.—These words doubtless refer to the protection which David’s armed band had afforded to the herdsmen against the frequent raids of the neighbouring people—the Philistines and other more savage and unscrupulous tribes who dwelt on the borders of Palestine. The request was certainly a fair one, for, as Lange and Ewald remark, “apart from the Eastern custom of giving largely at such great merry-makings, according to which such a request would seem in no way strange, David had a certain right to ask a gift from Nabal’s wealth. He had indirectly no small share in the festal joy of Nabal and his house. Without some part of the superfluity of the inhabitants whom he protected, he could not have maintained himself and his army.”1 Samuel 25:7-8. We hurt them not, &c. — This, considering the licentiousness of soldiers, and the necessities David and his men were exposed to, was no small favour, which Nabal was bound both in justice and gratitude, and prudence, to requite. We come in a good day — That is, in a day of feasting and rejoicing; when men are most cheerful and liberal; when thou mayest relieve us out of thy abundance without damage to thyself; when thou art receiving the mercies of God, and therefore obliged to pity and relieve distressed and indigent persons. Give, I pray thee, whatsoever cometh to thy hand — Most obliging words, and full of respect, mixed with strong arguments; and they did not desire delicacies, but any thing that was at hand which he could spare.
now thy shepherds which were with us; feeding their sheep near the wilderness of Paran, which was not far from Carmel and Maon:
we hurt them not; by taking any of their sheep and lambs from them, or by abusing, beating them, or giving them ill language; or "did not put them to shame" (x), by denying them anything they asked of them, which was in their power to grant, nor mocked and scoffed at them, and jeered them on account of their occupation:
neither was there ought missing unto them; they did not steal a sheep or lamb from them, as was common for soldiers to do; nor did they suffer any of the Arabs, that dwelt in the wilderness of Paran, to rob them, who lived upon plunder, or any of the wild beasts to hurt them, as much as in them lay; so careful were they of them, and were a wall unto them by night and day, as Nabal's servants owned, 1 Samuel 25:16; and this was the case:
all the while they were in Carmel; or in the fields, 1 Samuel 25:15; which were joining to the wilderness of Paran.And now I have heard that thou hast shearers: now thy shepherds which were with us, we hurt them not, neither was there ought missing unto them, all the while they were in Carmel.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)7. that thou hast shearers] Sheep-shearing was and still is an occasion of festivity. See 2 Samuel 13:23-24. David’s message was not a demand for black-mail. He had done Nabal real service, by protecting his flocks from roving marauders, and he was entitled to recompence. “On such a festive occasion near a town or village, even in our own time, an Arab Sheikh of the neighbouring desert would hardly fail to put in a word, either in person or by message; and his message, both in form and substance, would be only the transcript of that of David.” Robinson, Bibl. Res. 1. 498.Numbers 10:12); most likely for no other reason than because he could no longer find sufficient means of subsistence for himself and his six hundred men in the desert of Judah.
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