1 Samuel 27:5
And David said to Achish, If I have now found grace in your eyes, let them give me a place in some town in the country, that I may dwell there: for why should your servant dwell in the royal city with you?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(5) Why should thy servant dwell in the royal city with thee?—The real reason why David wished a separate residence was that he might conduct his forays and other affairs apart from the supervision of his Philistine friends. They had one purpose in welcoming him and his band, he had quite another. Achish trusted that through David’s assistance powerful military demonstrations in the southern districts of Saul’s kingdom might be made. At this time the Philistine nation were preparing for that grand national effort against Saul which culminated in the battle of Mount Gilboa. David, on the other hand, intended, from a comparatively secure centre of operations somewhere in Philistia, to harry those nomad foes of Israel whose home was in the deserts to the south of Canaan.

1 Samuel 27:5. Let them give me a place — This was a prudent request of David, who hereby intended to preserve his people, both from the vices to which conversation with the Philistines would have exposed them, and from that envy and malice which a different religion, and his appearing like a prince with so many men under his command, might have caused. For in a private town he might more freely worship the true God, and use the rites of his own religion without offence to the Philistines, who worshipped other gods, and might, with less notice and interruption, exercise his authority over his soldiers, and also more conveniently make incursions against the enemies of Israel. Why should thy servant dwell in the royal city? — Which is too great an honour for me, too burdensome to thee, and may be an occasion of offence to thy people.27:1-7 Unbelief is a sin that easily besets even good men, when without are fightings, and within are fears; and it is a hard matter to get over them. Lord, increase our faith! We may blush to think that the word of a Philistine should go further than the word of an Israelite, and that the city of Gath should be a place of refuge for a good man, when the cities of Israel refuse him a safe abode. David gained a comfortable settlement, not only at a distance from Gath, but bordering upon Israel, where he might keep up a correspondence with his own countrymen.David, with characteristic Oriental subtlety (compare 1 Samuel 21:2), suggests as a reason for leaving Gath that his presence was burdensome and expensive to the king. His real motive was to be more out of the way of observation and control, so as to act the part of an enemy of Saul, without really lifting up his hand against him and his own countrymen of Israel. 1Sa 27:5-12. David Begs Ziklag of Achish.

5. let them give me a place in some town in the country—It was a prudent arrangement on the part of David; for it would prevent him being an object of jealous suspicion, or of mischievous plots among the Philistines. It would place his followers more beyond the risk of contamination by the idolatries of the court and capital; and it would give him an opportunity of making reprisals on the freebooting tribes that infested the common border of Israel and the Philistines.

A prudent desire. Hereby David designed,

1. To preserve his people, both from the idolatry and other vices which conversation with the Philistines would have exposed them to; and from that envy, and malice, and mischief, which diversity of religion, or other prejudices, might have caused.

2. That he might have opportunity of enterprising something against God’s enemies, without the knowledge or observation of the Philistines.

Why should thy servant dwell in the royal city with thee? which is too great an honour for me, and too burdensome to thee, and may be an occasion of suspicion and offence to thy people, and of many other inconveniences. And David said unto Achish,.... After he had been some time with him:

if I have now found grace in thine eyes; or was in favour, as he thought himself to be, by various instances of respect shown him:

let them give me a place in some town in the country, that I may dwell there: he does not ask for a city or town, but a place in one of them, though one was given him; but of whom he asks it, it is not easy to say; though it is certain that Achish gave it him, 1 Samuel 27:6. Perhaps he might desire it might be given him by Achish, with the consent of his princes and nobles, or at least of his privy council; that so it might be to general satisfaction, and the grant more authentic; though it may be impersonally read, as in the Vulgate Latin version, "let there be given me", &c. David's view in this might be partly to prevent the envy of the courtiers of Achish, who might think that David was too near the king, and might have too great an interest in him, and receive too many of his favours, and become his chief confidant and prime minister; and partly to preserve himself and people from all temptations to idolatry, and corruptions in religion; as also that ho might have an opportunity, without the knowledge of Achish, to fall upon the enemies of Israel; though the excuse he made was as follows:

for why should thy servant dwell in the royal city with thee? for so Gath was; and six hundred men and their families might seem to crowd the city; and this reasoning of his might suggest, that he and his men were a straitening of him, and a burden on him; and it might seem as if he was a rival with him in state and dignity, when he was no other than a servant of his.

And David said unto Achish, If I have now found grace in thine eyes, {c} let them give me a place in some town in the country, that I may dwell there: for why should thy servant dwell in the royal city with thee?

(c) Let your officers appoint me a place.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
5. in some town in the country] In one of the provincial cities as distinguished from the metropolis Gath.

why should thy servant dwell, &c.] He wished for a more independent position, where he might be less exposed to the jealousy of the Philistine lords, and have free opportunity for ruling and organizing his followers.Verses 5, 6. - If l have now found grace in thine eyes. Now is not an adverb of time, but means "I pray," i.e. If verily I have found favour with thee. David's position was one of difficulty. The fame of his exploits, and of Saul's vain pursuit of him, made Achish no doubt regard him as a bitter foe of the Israelite king, and expect valuable assistance from him; whereas David was unwilling to take up arms even against Saul, and much less against his own countrymen. He is anxious, therefore, to get away from a too close observation of his acts, and requests Achish to give him a place in some town in the country. Hebrew, "a place in one of the cities in the field." Why should thy servant, etc. David's presence with so large a following must in many ways have been inconvenient as well as expensive to Achish. In some small country town David and his men would maintain themselves. Achish accordingly gives him Ziklag, a small place assigned first of all to Judah (Joshua 15:31), but subsequently to Simeon (ibid. 19:5). Its exact position is not known. It seems to have been valued by David's successors, as it is noted that it still belonged unto the kings of Judah. This phrase proves that the Book of Samuel must have been compiled at a date subsequent to the revolt of Jeroboam, while the concluding words, unto this day, equally plainly indicate a date prior to the Babylonian exile. "Behold, as thy soul has been greatly esteemed in my eyes to-day, so will my soul be greatly esteemed in the eyes of Jehovah, that He will save me out of all tribulation." These words do not contain any "sounding of his own praises" (Thenius), but are merely the testimony of a good conscience before God in the presence of an enemy, who is indeed obliged to confess his wrong-doing, but who no longer feels or acknowledges his need of forgiveness. For even Saul's reply to these words in 1 Samuel 26:25 ("Blessed art thou, my son David: thou wilt undertake, and also prevail:" תּוּכל יכל, lit. to vanquish, i.e., to carry out what one undertakes) does not express any genuine goodwill towards David, but only an acknowledgment, forced upon him by this fresh experience of David's magnanimity, that God was blessing all his undertakings, so that he would prevail. Saul had no more thoughts of any real reconciliation with David. "David went his way, and Saul turned to his place" (cf. Numbers 24:25). Thus they parted, and never saw each other again. There is nothing said about Saul returning to his house, as there was when his life was first spared (1 Samuel 24:22). On the contrary, he does not seem to have given up pursuing David; for, according to 1 Samuel 27:1-12, David was obliged to take refuge in a foreign land, and carry out what he had described in 1 Samuel 26:19 as his greatest calamity.
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