1 Samuel 27:9
And David smote the land, and left neither man nor woman alive, and took away the sheep, and the oxen, and the asses, and the camels, and the apparel, and returned, and came to Achish.
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(9) And left neither man nor woman alive.—These acts of ferocious barbarity are simply without excuse; the reason for them is told us in 1Samuel 27:11. No captive was to be left alive to tell the tale to King Achish, who was under the delusion that David’s feats of arms were carried out at the expense of his own countrymen, whose lands he was harrying. At this the Philistine rejoiced when he heard David was thus burning his only bridge of retreat: by alienating by these cruelties the affection of the people of Israel, by means of which, at some future time, he might have been recalled to his native land. There were a few occasions in the history of the chosen race when a war of extermination was commended. Then Israel was simply the stern instrument of wrath, used—as a pestilence is at times—to carry out the will of the earth’s Master; but David had no such charge. Was it not these acts of ruthless cruelty which left on this king’s hands the stain of blood which rendered them unfit in after days to build the House of the Lord he longed so passionately to erect? (1Chronicles 28:3).

And took away the sheep, and the oxen, and the asses, and the camels, and the apparel.—To fight under David’s banner now promised to be a lucrative service as well as an adventurous and wild career. Here at Ziklag, and for some time previously, we hear of brave discontented spirits from all parts of Israel joining him. In 1 Chronicles 12 we have a long and accurate list of heroes who formed that Ziklag band. Amongst these gallant soldiers who now, to use the chronicler’s term, “day by day came to David to help him,” were a troop of Benjamites who had joined him some time before: their leader Amasai, on being questioned as to their reason for joining him, answered, “We are on thy side, thou son of Jesse . . . for thy God helpeth thee” (1Chronicles 12:18). The words of Amasai express the feeling which seems to have pervaded Israel at that time in reference to David. The people throughout the land were coming to feel that Jehovah had indeed chosen David. The chronicler even speaks of David’s band at Ziklag, after the recruits from all parts of Israel had poured in, “as a great host, like the host of God” (1Chronicles 12:22).

1 Samuel 27:9. And left neither man nor woman alive — In that part where he came; but there were many of the Amalekites yet left in another part of that land.27:8-12 While David was in the land of the Philistines, he attacked some remains of the devoted nations. The people whom he cut off were long before doomed to destruction. It is often wisdom to shun public notice, but we must in no situation be idle. We must always try to do somewhat in the cause of God. This expedition David hid from Achish. But an equivocation which serves the purpose of a lie, is as like to it as a hypocrite is to a profane person, it is only better in appearance, therefore more dangerous. Yet, though believers often manifest imperfections, they can never be prevailed upon to renounce the service of God, and to unite interests with his enemies, or finally to become the servants of sin and Satan. But what a train of evils follow from unbelief! When we forget the Lord's past mercies, and his gracious assurances, we shall be overwhelmed with desponding fears, and probably be led to adopt some dishonourable method to get rid of our troubles. Nothing can so effectually establish us in holy tempers and practices, and preserve us from perplexities, as firm, unshaken dependence upon the promises of God in Christ Jesus.The Geshurites bordered upon the Philistines, and lived in the mountainous district which terminates the desert on the northeast (marginal reference). They were a different tribe, or, at least, a different branch of it, from the Geshurites who lived on the northeast border of Bashan, and were Arameans 2 Samuel 15:8. The Gezrites, or Gerzites, may be connected with those who gave their name to Mount Gerizim. 8. David … went up, and invaded the Geshurites—(See Jos 13:2).

and the Gezrites—or the Gerizi [Gesenius], (Jos 12:12), some Arab horde which had once encamped there.

and the Amalekites—Part of the district occupied by them lay on the south of the land of Israel (Jud 5:14; 12:15).

Left neither man nor woman alive, to wit, in that part where he came; but there were more of the Amalekites yet left in another part of that land, 1 Samuel 30:1. And David smote the land,.... In which the above mentioned people dwelt, that is, the inhabitants of it:

and left neither man nor woman alive; for these being the old Canaanites and Amalekites, according to the law of God were not to be spared, but utterly destroyed; which may be observed to remove the charge of cruelty that might be brought against David on this account, Deuteronomy 7:2; though this must be understood of such that came within his reach; for it is certain there were people of these several names after this; see 1 Samuel 30:1,

and took away the sheep, and the oxen, and the asses, and the camels,

and the apparel, and returned, and came to Achish; at Gath, to make a report of what he had been about and done; and what he brought was a good booty for the support of his men and their families.

And David smote the land, and left neither man nor woman alive, and took away the sheep, and the oxen, and the asses, and the camels, and the apparel, and returned, and came to Achish.
9. the sheep, &c.] In which the wealth of nomad tribes consists. Cp. 1 Samuel 15:3, &c.; Job 1:3. “We rode through five large Arab camps, and every hill-side and valley was filled with thousands of sheep, goats, oxen, asses, and camels.” Tristram, Land of Israel, p. 532.

returned and came to Achish] After these expeditions he reported himself to Achish at Gath, and handed over to him the covenanted share of the plunder. It is to be inferred that Achish expected David to pay a kind of tribute, as well as to render personal service in war (1 Samuel 28:1).Verses 9, 10. - David smote the land. These expeditions were made partly to occupy his men, but chiefly to obtain the means of subsistence. They also seem to have brought David great renown, for in 1 Chronicles 12:1-22 we read of warriors from far distant tribes coming to him to swell his forces, and the enthusiasm for him was even such that a band of men swam across the Jordan to join him (ibid. ver. 15); while others from Manasseh deserted to him from Saul's army before the battle of Mount Gilboa, so that at last he had with him "a great host, like the host of God" (ibid. vers. 19-21). He came to Achish. To give him a portion of the spoil. And Achish said. Like the verb went up in ver. 8, the word indicates repeated action. David made many expeditions against these wild tribes, and on each occasion, when presenting himself at Gath, Achish would inquire, Whither have ye made a road - i.e. an inroad, or a raid - today? As it stands the Hebrew means, "Do not make an inroad today;" but the cor. rection of the text given in the A.V. has considerable authority from the versions. The Jerahmeelites, mentioned again in ch. 30:29, were the descendants of Hezron, the firstborn of Pharez, the son of Judah (1 Chronicles 2:9), and so were one of the great families into which the tribe of Judah was divided. Apparently they occupied the most southerly position of its territory. The Kenites (see on ch. 15:6) are here described as being in close alliance with the men of Judah. Probably they lived under their protection, and paid them tribute. The south is literally "the Negeb," the dry land, so called from the absence of streams (comp. Psalm 126:4), which formed not only the southernmost part of the territory of Judah, but extended far into the Arabian desert. Achish naturally understood it as the proper name for that part of the Negeb which belonged to Judah, whereas David meant it as it is translated in the A.V., where there is no obscurity as to its meaning. Achish allotted dwelling-places in his capital, Gath, for David and his wives, and for all his retinue; and Saul desisted from any further pursuit of David when he was informed of his flight to Gath. The Chethibh יוסף is apparently only a copyist's error for יסף.
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