1 Samuel 26:6
Then answered David and said to Ahimelech the Hittite, and to Abishai the son of Zeruiah, brother to Joab, saying, Who will go down with me to Saul to the camp? And Abishai said, I will go down with thee.
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(6) Ahimelech the Hittite.—The Hittites were one of the old Canaanitish peoples; we hear of them round Hebron in the time of Abraham (Genesis 15:20). The conquering Israelites subdued, but did not exterminate them; and gradually, in the days of the weakness and divisions which succeeded the first conquest, the Hittites, in common with many other of the old tribes, seeem to have enjoyed the Land of Promise with the children of Israel in a kind of joint occupation. We find the Hittites ranking here among David’s trusted faithful men; and later we hear of another Hittite, Uriah, the husband of Bathsheba, filling an important post in the royal army, and possessing a house and an establishment in the capital city of Jerusalem. We do not hear again of this Ahimelech in the sacred record.

Abishai the son of Zeruiah.—Zeruiah was David’s sister. Abishai, later one of the famous generals of David, was brother to Joab, afterwards the captain of the royal host. Abishai was apparently nearly of the same age as David. There was a third younger brother also high in the favour of his kinsman David—Asahel, celebrated especially for his speed in running. Between these three sons of Zeruiah and Abner a blood feud seems to have existed. Abner, the near relative, and captain of the host of Saul throughout that monarch’s reign, is closely associated with the fortunes of Saul. It has been supposed, and with some probability, that he was among the determined foes of David. Dreading the advent of the son of Jesse to the throne, he saw in his elevation the signal of the downfall of all Saul’s family and friends. He, Abner, surely would no longer be captain of the host of Israel. The words of David to Abner in this chapter (1Samuel 26:14-16) seem to point to the fierce hatred which existed between them. The bloody sequel to the feud between the great kinsman of Saul and the three brothers, the famous sons of David’s sister, is strictly in accordance with what we should expect in these fierce, wild days. Some time after Saul’s death Abner slew the young Asahel, who seems to have been passionately loved by his elder brother. Abner became reconciled to David, but the reconciliation saved not the friend of Saul and the slayer of Asahel from the vengeance of Joab and Abishai, who murdered the illustrious Abner in cold blood.

And Abishai said, I will go down with thee.—Ahimelech seems to have backed out of the perilous night enterprise, but Abishai, the son of Zeruiah, with the reckless gallantry and the intense devotion to David which, with all their pride and self will, ever characterised these famous warrior kinsmen of the king, at once volunteered to go with his loved chief.

1 Samuel 26:6-7. Ahimelech the Hittite — A valiant man of that nation, who was a proselyte to the Jewish religion; and not only followed David, but was always near to his person. Abishai — Brother to Joab, the son of Zeruiah, David’s sister. His father is not named, either because he was now dead, or because he was an obscure person. Abishai said, I will go — Either Ahimelech declined it, as too hazardous an enterprise; or Abishai, being a forward young man, offered himself while the other stood deliberating. David and Abishai came to the people by night — A bold attempt for two men to come into the midst of an army of three thousand chosen men. But it should be considered, 1st, That David had a particular assurance that God would preserve him to the kingdom; and, 2d, That he probably had a particular impression from God, exciting him to this work, and, possibly, God might reveal to him that he had cast them into this deep sleep, in order that David might have this second opportunity of manifesting his innocence toward Saul.

26:1-12 How soon do unholy hearts lose the good impressions convictions have made upon them! How helpless were Saul and all his men! All as though disarmed and chained, yet nothing is done to them; they are only asleep. How easily can God weaken the strongest, befool the wisest, and baffle the most watchful! David still resolved to wait till God thought fit to avenge him on Saul. He will by no means force his way to the promised crown by any wrong methods. The temptation was very strong; but if he yielded, he would sin against God, therefore he resisted the temptation, and trusted God with the event.Ahimelech the Hittite - Only mentioned here. Uriah was also a Hittite.

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.

1Sa 26:5-25. David Stays Abishai from Killing Saul, but Takes His Spear and Cruse.

5. Saul lay in the trench, and the people pitched round about him—Among the nomad people of the East, the encampments are usually made in a circular form. The circumference is lined by the baggage and the men, while the chief's station is in the center, whether he occupy a tent or not. His spear, stuck in the ground, indicates his position. Similar was the disposition of Saul's camp—in this hasty expedition he seems to have carried no tent, but to have slept on the ground. The whole troop was sunk in sleep around him.

Ahimelech the Hittite; so called, either because he was one of that nation, but converted to the Jewish religion; compare 2 Samuel 11:3 15:18; or from his habitation amongst, or some relation, to some of that people.

Zeriah; David’s sister: see 1 Chronicles 2:16. His father is not named, either because he was now dead, or because he was an obscure person.

Then answered David,.... Or addressed himself to the two following persons:

and said to Ahimelech the Hittite; who was either an Hittite by birth, but was become a proselyte, or he was an Israelite that had dwelt among the Hittites, and so had this name given him; the former seems most probable; some say (k) this was Uriah the Hittite:

and to Abishai the son of Zeruiah, brother to Joab; Zeruiah was the sister of David, 1 Chronicles 2:15; and these were two sons of hers, who very probably joined David at the cave of Adullam, 1 Samuel 22:1,

saying, who will go down with me to Saul to the camp? that is, which of you two?

and Abishai said, I will go down with thee; the other being timorous, or Abishai being most forward spoke first.

(k) Hieron. Trad. Heb. in lib. Reg. fol. 76. M.

Then answered David and said to Ahimelech the {b} Hittite, and to Abishai the son of Zeruiah, brother to {c} Joab, saying, Who will go down with me to Saul to the camp? And Abishai said, I will go down with thee.

(b) Who was a stranger, and not an Israelite.

(c) Who afterward was David's chief captain.

6. Ahimelech the Hittite] Not mentioned elsewhere. Uriah was also a Hittite. The Hittites, or descendants of Heth, the second son of Canaan, occupied Kirjath-Arba, afterwards called Hebron, in the days of Abraham (Genesis 23:2 ff.). Esau married Hittite wives (Genesis 26:34). The Hittites are repeatedly mentioned as one of the nations inhabiting the land of Canaan, which were to be driven out by the Israelites (Joshua 3:10). It is now known that a branch of the Hittites established an extremely powerful empire to the north of Syria, the chief centres of which were Carchemish on the Euphrates, and Kadesh on the Orontes. It was strong enough to threaten Assyria on the one hand and Egypt on the other, and lasted from the sixteenth century b.c. until it was destroyed by the Assyrians in the eighth century. Allusions to the “kings of the Hittites” are found in 1 Kings 10:29; 2 Kings 7:6. Our chief information about them is derived from Assyrian and Egyptian inscriptions.

Abishai the son of Zeruiah, brother to Joab] The first mention of David’s valiant but hard-hearted nephews, the sons of his sister Zeruiah, who play such an important part in his history. Abishai distinguished himself by saving David’s life in one of his Philistine wars (2 Samuel 21:17); shared the command of the army with his brother Joab (2 Samuel 10:10), and with him was implicated in the murder of Abner (2 Samuel 3:30); in Absalom’s rebellion both of them remained faithful to David (2 Samuel 16:9; 2 Samuel 18:2), but Joab, like Abiathar, supported Adonijah, and was put to death by Solomon’s order (1 Kings 1:7; 1 Kings 2:28-34).

Verse 6. - Ahimelech the Hittite. Though a portion of this once powerful people (Genesis 15:20; Judges 1:26) was reduced to the position of bondmen (1 Kings 9:20), yet others had retained their independence, and their kings even are spoken of (ibid. 10:29; 2 Kings 7:6). As Ahimelech is mentioned before Abishai, he must have held an honourable place with. David, as did subsequently another Hittite, Uriah (2 Samuel 11:3). Abishai the son of Zeruiah. Zeruiah is described in 1 Chronicles 2:16 as sister to Jesse's sons, but apparently only by adoption, as both she and Abigail seem to have been daughters of the king of Ammon (2 Samuel 17:25), whence probably the absence of any direct reference to their father. Abishai, who was probably about David's age, and his two brothers were high in rank among David's heroes (1 Chronicles 11:6, 20, 26), and apparently he was one of the three captains who, when David was in the cave of Adullam, broke through the host of the Philistines to fetch him water from the well of Bethlehem. Who will go down? It is evident that David and his men remained upon the mountains, which extend from Maon far to the southwest. Saul's camp, being "by the way," i.e. near the road, would be on the lower ground. David having personally examined it, and seen that the watches were ill kept, asks which of the two will accompany him for the more hazardous enterprise of penetrating into it. Ahimelech seems prudently to have declined, but Abishai at once offers his services. 1 Samuel 26:6Upon the receipt of this information, David rose up with two attendants (mentioned in 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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