And, behold, as your life was much set by this day in my eyes, so let my life be much set by in the eyes of the LORD, and let him deliver me out of all tribulation.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)1 Samuel 16:1, 1 Samuel 16:14. If the continued persecution was merely the consequence of this evil spirit continuing to vex Saul, David advises Saul to seek God's pardon, and, as a consequence, the removal of the evil spirit, by offering a sacrifice. But if the persecution was the consequence of the false accusations of slanderers, then "cursed" be his enemies who, by their actions, drove David out from the only land where Yahweh was worshipped, and forced him to take refuge in the country of pagan and idolaters (compare Deuteronomy 4:27; Deuteronomy 28:36).
so let my life be much set by in the eyes of the Lord; he does not say in the eyes of Saul, as it should have been by way of retaliation, and as it might have been expected he would have said; but he had no dependence on Saul, nor expected justice to be done him by him; but he prays that his life might be precious in the sight of Lord, and taken care of, and protected by him, as he believed it would:
and let him deliver me out of all tribulation; for as yet he did not think himself quite out of it, notwithstanding all that Saul had said, but believed the Lord would deliver him in due time; from him alone he looked for it, and on him he depended.And, behold, as thy life was much set by this day in mine eyes, so let my life be much set by in the eyes of the LORD, and let him deliver me out of all tribulation.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)24. was much set by] For the expression cp. 1 Samuel 18:30, though a different Heb. word is used here: lit. “was great.”
deliver me out of all tribulation] Cp. Psalm 34:17; Psalm 54:7.Genesis 8:21). The meaning of the words, "let Jehovah smell sacrifice," is therefore, "let Saul appease the wrath of God by the presentation of acceptable sacrifices." What sacrifices they are which please God, is shown in Psalm 51:18-19; and it is certainly not by accident merely that David uses the word minchah, the technical expression in the law for the bloodless sacrifice, which sets forth the sanctification of life in good works. The thought to which David gives utterance here, namely, that God instigates a man to evil actions, is met with in other passages of the Old Testament. It not only lies at the foundation of the words of David in Psalm 51:6 (cf. Hengstenberg on Psalms), but is also clearly expressed in 2 Samuel 24:1, where Jehovah instigates David to number the people, and where this instigation is described as a manifestation of the anger of God against Israel; and in 2 Samuel 16:10., where David says, with regard to Shimei, that God had bade him curse him. These passages also show that God only instigates those who have sinned against Him to evil deeds; and therefore that the instigation consists in the fact that God impels sinners to manifest the wickedness of their hearts in deeds, or furnishes the opportunity and occasion for the unfolding and practical manifestation of the evil desire of the heart, that the sinner may either be brought to the knowledge of his more evil ways and also to repentance, through the evil deed and its consequences, or, if the heart should be hardened still more by the evil deed, that it may become ripe for the judgment of death. The instigation of a sinner to evil is simply one peculiar way in which God, as a general rule, punishes sins through sinners; for God only instigates to evil actions such as have drawn down the wrath of God upon themselves in consequence of their sin. When David supposes the fact that Jehovah has instigated Saul against him, he acknowledges, implicitly at least, that he himself is a sinner, whom the Lord may be intending to punish, though without lessening Saul's wrong by this indirect confession.
The second supposition is: "if, however, children of men" (sc., have instigated thee against me); in which case "let them be cursed before the Lord; for they drive me now (this day) that I dare not attach myself to the inheritance of Jehovah (i.e., the people of God), saying, Go, serve other gods." The meaning is this: They have carried it so far now, that I am obliged to separate from the people of God, to fly from the land of the Lord, and, because far away from His sanctuary, to serve other gods. The idea implied in the closing words was, that Jehovah could only be worshipped in Canaan, at the sanctuary consecrated to Him, because it was only there that He manifested himself to His people, and revealed His face or gracious presence (vid., Psalm 42:2-3; Psalm 84:11; Psalm 143:6.). "We are not to understand that the enemies of David were actually accustomed to use these very words, but David was thinking of deeds rather than words" (Calvin).
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