Then David went over to the other side, and stood on the top of an hill afar off; a great space being between them:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)David went over to the other side.—That is to say, after taking the royal spear and cruse of water from beside the sleeping king, David with Abishai left the camp of Saul, then, crossing the deep ravine, re-ascended the opposite hill or mountain—there was then a deep gorge between him and the camp—and uttered his shrill cry, which awoke the sleeping sentinel, who seems at once to have roused Abner. Keil calls attention here to the special notice in the text that the mountain whence David spoke was afar off, not, as we should say, “as the crow flies,” but afar, because a deep steep ravine lay between the camp of Saul and the hill on which David and Abishai stood. “On the previous occasion when, in the cave of En-gedi, the son of Jesse cut off the skirt of the royal garment, David fearlessly cried to Saul when the king was still evidently quite close to the cave. Now, however, he seems to have reckoned far less upon any change in the state of Saul’s mind than he had done before . . . in fact, he rather feared lest Saul should endeavour to get him into his power as soon as he woke from his sleep.”1 Samuel 26:13-14. And stood on the top of a hill — On such a rock or precipice that there was no coming to him but by taking a circuit round. So that it might be said, in respect of the way whereby only they could come to him, that he stood afar off, and that there was a great distance between them; and yet, though his person might thus be out of their reach, his voice might be distinctly heard, which in a clear air, and in the silence of the night, it might be at a considerable distance. David cried to the people — It is probable this was early in the morning.
Abishai - He was son of Zeruiah, David's sister, but probably about the same age as David. He because very famous as a warrior 2 Samuel 23:18, but was implicated with his brother Joab in the murder of Abner in retaliation for the death of their brother Asahel 2 Samuel 3:30.
and stood on the top of an hill afar off; he chose the top of an hill, that his voice might be heard at a distance, as it might in a clear air, and still night; and to be afar off, that he might the better make his escape, should an attempt be made to pursue him:
a great space being between them; a large valley lying between the two hills.Then David went over to the other side, and stood on the top of an hill afar off; a great space being between them:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
13. a great space being between them] This precaution indicates that David trusted Saul less now than upon the former occasion. Cp. 1 Samuel 26:22.Verses 13-16. - The top of a hill. Hebrew, "the top of the hill," the particular mountain from which David had reconnoitred Saul's camp (ver. 5). A great space being between them. At En-gedi Saul was alone, and had placed himself in David's power; he therefore had followed him closely. Here Saul had his army round him, and David had entered his camp by stealth. It is not, therefore, till he had placed an ample interval between them that he calls to Abner, and asks in derision, Art thou not a man? The irony is enfeebled by the insertion of the word valiant (comp. 1 Samuel 4:9). No special valour was needed;any one worthy of the name of man ought to have guarded his master better. Who is like to thee - Hebrew, "who is as thou" - in Israel? Among all Saul's subjects there was no one so powerful and highly placed as the commander-in-chief, and he ought to have shown himself worthy of his pre-eminence. Justly, therefore, for neglecting his duty and exposing the king to danger, he and his people were worthy to die. Hebrew, "sons of death" (see on 1 Samuel 20:31). Finally David bids him search for the king's spear and water bottle, that he may understand how completely Saul had been in his power. It has been suggested that Abner was probably a personal enemy of David, with whom he could never have held the high position which he occupied with his near relative Saul. Possibly instead of dissuading Saul from persecuting David, he stirred up his ill feelings. Still absolutely there is nothing in this banter which was not justified by Abner's official position. 1 Samuel 26:6) to reconnoitre the camp of Saul. When he saw the place where Saul and his general Abner were lying - Saul was lying by the waggon rampart, and the fighting men were encamped round about him - he said to Ahimelech and Abishai, "Who will go down with me into the camp to Saul?" Whereupon Abishai declared himself ready to do so; and they both went by night, and found Saul sleeping with all the people. Ahimelech the Hittite is never mentioned again; but Abishai the son of Zeruiah, David's sister (1 Chronicles 2:16), and a brother of Joab, was afterwards a celebrated general of David, as was also his brother Joab (2 Samuel 16:9; 2 Samuel 18:2; 2 Samuel 21:17). Saul's spear was pressed (stuck) into the ground at his head, as a sign that the king was sleeping there, for the spear served Saul as a sceptre (cf. 1 Samuel 18:10).
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