1 Samuel 29:8
And David said unto Achish, But what have I done? and what hast thou found in thy servant so long as I have been with thee unto this day, that I may not go fight against the enemies of my lord the king?
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(8) And David said unto Achish, But what have I done?—David’s words have a ring of falseness in them; he never contemplated fighting in the ranks against Israel, and yet he speaks thus. The generous confidence of the chivalrous Achish is here in painful contrast with the dissimulation of the Israelite chieftain, David.

It has been suggested that these suspicions of his loyalty on the part of the Philistine leaders had been aroused by David deliberately, in order to bring about his dismissal from the army in the field. This is possible, for the situation in which David now finds himself was most embarrassing from every point of view.

1 Samuel 29:8. David said, But what have I done? — This was deep dissimulation and flattery in David, no way to be justified. But who, that has not experienced it, can know how strong a temptation they who attend on great men are under to compliment them and dissemble. David, no doubt, heartily rejoiced at this dismission; but as he did not know how much longer he might be obliged to stay in the land of the Philistines, he seems to have yielded to a temptation that prudence required him to carry it fair toward them, and to pretend to have that concern upon this occasion which he certainly did not feel.

29:6-11 David scarcely ever had a greater deliverance than when dismissed from such insnaring service. God's people should always behave themselves so, as, if possible, to get the good word of all they have dealings with: and it is due to those who have acted well, to speak well of them.See 1 Samuel 29:10 note. 4. the princes of the Philistines were wroth with him—It must be considered a happy circumstance in the overruling providence of God to rescue David out of the dangerous dilemma in which he was now placed. But David is not free from censure in his professions to Achish (1Sa 29:8), to do what he probably had not the smallest purpose of doing—of fighting with Achish against his enemies. It is just an instance of the unhappy consequences into which a false step—a departure from the straight course of duty—will betray everyone who commits it. This was deep dissimulation and flattery; but he apprehended it necessary, lest he should tacitly confess himself guilty of that whereof they accused him, and thereby expose himself to the utmost hazards. These perplexities he brought himself into by his irregular course, in forsaking the land of Judah, where God had placed him, 1 Samuel 22:5, and promised him protection, and putting himself into the hands of the Philistines.

And David said unto Achish, what have I done?.... This question is anticipated by the speech of Achish, who had declared he had found no evil in him; but David must say something to put on an appearance of concern for being dismissed, when he was heartily glad of it:

and what hast thou found in thy servant, so long as I have been with thee unto this day, that I may not go fight against the enemies of my lord the king? which cannot be excused of great dissimulation, since nothing was more foreign from his heart, and against his will, than fighting against the Israelites, and which he determined to avoid if possible; and glad at heart he was to be thus excused, and freed from the straits and difficulties he was involved in; but that the Philistines might have no cause of suspicion of him, and that he was warmly attached to their interest among whom he was still to continue, he put on these airs. Abarbinel is of opinion that the lords of the Philistines were only afraid of David, but not of his men, and therefore were not solicitous about their going, but his, which gave David a concern; and since he was particularly singled out, he desired to know what special evil had been found in him; but when he understood, by the following answer of Achish, that his servants were to go with him, he was content, and said no more; but the princes asked, "what do these Hebrews here?" 1 Samuel 29:3.

And David said unto Achish, But what have I done? and what hast thou found in thy servant so long as I have been with thee unto this day, that I may {e} not go fight against the enemies of my lord the king?

(e) This deception cannot be excused, for it grieved him to go against the people of God.

8. And David said, &c.] A hypocritical answer, designed to confirm Achish in the belief of his fidelity. Compare David’s previous conduct (ch. 1 Samuel 27:10-12). But David can scarcely have intended to fight against his countrymen, and must have inwardly rejoiced that God had delivered him out of so perplexing a dilemma.

Verse 8. - David's answer is subtle and prevaricating; he pretends that his honour has been attacked, when really he had tricked the unsuspecting Achish. But truth is a modern virtue, and though David extols it in the Psalms (Psalm 15:2; Psalm 51:6), we too often find him practising falsehood. 1 Samuel 29:8Partly for the sake of vindicating himself against this suspicion, and partly to put the sincerity of Achish's words to the test, David replied, "What have I done, and what hast thou found in thy servant, since I was with thee till this day, that I am not to come and fight against the enemies of my lord the king?" These last words are also ambiguous, since the king whom David calls his lord might be understood as meaning either Achish or Saul. Achish, in his goodness of heart, applies them without suspicion to himself; for he assures David still more earnestly (1 Samuel 29:9), that he is firmly convinced of his uprightness. "I know that thou art good in my eyes as an angel of God," i.e., I have the strongest conviction that thou hast behaved as well towards me as an angel could; but the princes have desired thy removal.
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