1 Samuel 30:7
And David said to Abiathar the priest, Ahimelech's son, I pray thee, bring me hither the ephod. And Abiathar brought thither the ephod to David.
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(7) Abiathar.—Abiathar had doubtless been with David, and he had joined him at Keilah. Through all his wanderings we hear, however, nothing of prayer and of consultation of the Urim. As regards the unfortunate Philistine sojourn, David seems to have determined upon that step entirely of himself; distrustful and despairing, he had fled the country, and taken refuge with the enemies of his people. One unbroken series of sin and calamity was the result ha sees of his fatal error.

And Abiathar brought thither the ephod.—Modern commentators, as a rule, prefer to disbelieve in any response coming through the medium of the Urim in the ephod. They either pass over the whole transaction in silence, or assume that some Divine inspiration came to the high priest when vested with the sacred garment. The plain meaning, however, of the frequent references tells us in some way or other the Divine will was made known through the agency of the mysterious Urim and Thummim. See, for instance, in the case of Saul, where definitely it is stated that the Lord answered him not “by Urim” (1Samuel 28:6), where this peculiar Divine response is carefully distinguished from the manifestation of the will of God in a dream or a vision, or through the Divine instrumentality of the prophet or seer. The ancient Hebrews had no hesitation in attributing to the sacred precious stones an occasional special power of declaring the oracles of God. The Talmudical traditions are clear and decisive here. Now, without attaching anything like an implicit credence to these most ancient Hebrew traditions—many of them fanciful and wild, many of them written in a cryptograph, or secret cypher, to which Christians in most cases do not possess the key—it does seem in the highest degree arbitrary to reject the ancient traditional belief of the Hebrew race contained in the Talmud with respect to this most mysterious ephod and its sacred gems, and to adopt another interpretation, which fits in very lamely with the plain text. The whole question respecting the traditions of the Urim and Thummim is discussed at some length in the short Excursus M on the Urini, at the end of this Commentary on the First Book of Samuel.

1 Samuel 30:7. Bring hither the ephod — And put it on thyself, that thou mayest inquire of God according to his ordinance. David was sensible of his former error, in neglecting to ask counsel of God by the ephod, when he came to Achish, and when he went out with Achish to the battle; and his necessity now brings him to his duty, and his duty meets with success.

30:7-15 If in all our ways, even when, as in this case, there can be no doubt they are just, we acknowledge God, we may expect that he will direct our steps, as he did those of David. David, in tenderness to his men, would by no means urge them beyond their strength. The Son of David thus considers the frames of his followers, who are not all alike strong and vigorous in their spiritual pursuits and conflicts; but, where we are weak, there he is kind; nay more, there he is strong, 2Co 12:9,10. A poor Egyptian lad, scarcely alive, is made the means of a great deal of good to David. Justly did Providence make this poor servant, who was basely used by his master, an instrument in the destruction of the Amalekites; for God hears the cry of the oppressed. Those are unworthy the name of true Israelites, who shut up their compassion from persons in distress. We should neither do an injury nor deny a kindness to any man; some time or other it may be in the power of the lowest to return a kindness or an injury.Abiathar had continued to abide with David, ever since he joined him at Keilah 1 Samuel 23:6. On inquiry of the Lord by the ephod, see Judges 1:1 note. The answers were evidently given by the Word of the Lord in the mouth of the high priest (compare John 11:51). 1Sa 30:6-15. But David, Encouraged by God, Pursues Them.

6. David was greatly distressed—He had reason, not only on his own personal account (1Sa 30:5), but on account of the vehement outcry and insurrectionary threats against him for having left the place so defenseless that the families of his men fell an unresisting prey to the enemy. Under the pressure of so unexpected and widespread a calamity, of which he was upbraided as the indirect occasion, the spirit of any other leader guided by ordinary motives would have sunk;

but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God—His faith supplied him with inward resources of comfort and energy, and through the seasonable inquiries he made by Urim, he inspired confidence by ordering an immediate pursuit of the plunderers.

Bring me hither the ephod, and put it upon thyself, that thou mayst inquire of God according to his ordinance, Numbers 27:21. See above, 1 Samuel 23:9. David was sensible of his former error in neglecting to ask counsel of God by the ephod when he came to Achish, and when he went out with Achish to the battle; and his necessity now brings him to his duty, and his duty meets with success.

And David said to Abiathar the priest, Ahimelech's son,.... The son of Ahimelech, who was slain at Nob by the order of Saul, 1 Samuel 22:19; and Abiathar his son, who fled to David with the ephod, on the death of his father, 1 Samuel 22:20, was now high priest in his room; and who it seems was with David when he went with Achish, and returned with him; for had he been left at Ziklag, he and his ephod, in all probability, had been carried off by the Amalekites, unless we can suppose him under the protection of a special providence: it is much David had not inquired of the Lord by him about his going with Achish; perhaps the present disaster brought to mind that neglect, and made him the more diligent now:

I pray thee, bring me hither the ephod; not to put it on himself, but that the high priest might put it on, and inquire by it before him of the Lord:

and Abiathar brought thither the ephod to David; for the sake of David, that inquiry might be made before him of the Lord by Urim and Thummim.

And David said to Abiathar the priest, Ahimelech's son, I pray thee, bring me hither the ephod. And Abiathar brought thither the ephod to David.
7–20. The pursuit

7. bring me hither the ephod] He desired to consult God by means of the Urim and Thummim, as before at Keilah (1 Samuel 23:9).

Verses 7, 8. - Looking only to Jehovah for aid, David sends for Abiathar, who seems to have remained constantly with him, and bids him consult Jehovah by the Urim. In strong contrast to the silence which surrounds Saul (1 Samuel 28:6), the answer is most encouraging. Literally it is, "Pursue; for overtaking thou shalt overtake, and delivering thou shalt deliver." 1 Samuel 30:7David was greatly distressed in consequence; "for the people thought ('said,' sc., in their hearts) to stone him," because they sought the occasion of their calamity in his connection with Achish, with which many of his adherents may very probably have been dissatisfied. "For the soul of the whole people was embittered (i.e., all the people were embittered in their souls) because of their sons and daughters," who had been carried away into slavery. "But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God," i.e., sought consolation and strength in prayer and believing confidence in the Lord (1 Samuel 30:7.). This strength he manifested in the resolution to follow the foes and rescue their booty from them. To this end he had the ephod brought by the high priest Abiathar (cf. 1 Samuel 23:9), and inquired by means of the Urim of the Lord, "Shall I pursue this troop? Shall I overtake it?" These questions were answered in the affirmative; and the promise was added, "and thou wilt rescue." So David pursued the enemy with his six hundred men as far as the brook Besor, where the rest, i.e., two hundred, remained standing (stayed behind). The words עמדוּ והנּותרים, which are appended in the form of a circumstantial clause, are to be connected, so far as the facts are concerned, with what follows: whilst the others remained behind, David pursued the enemy still farther with four hundred men. By the word הנּותרים the historian has somewhat anticipated the matter, and therefore regards it as necessary to define the expression still further in 1 Samuel 30:10. We are precluded from changing the text, as Thenius suggests, by the circumstance that all the early translators read it in this manner, and have endeavoured to make the expression intelligible by paraphrasing it. These two hundred men were too tired to cross the brook and go any farther. (פּגר, which only occurs here and in 1 Samuel 30:21, signifies, in Syriac, to be weary or exhausted.) As Ziklag was burnt down, of course they found no provisions there, and were consequently obliged to set out in pursuit of the foe without being able to provide themselves with the necessary supplies. The brook Besor is supposed to be the Wady Sheriah, which enters the sea below Ashkelon (see v. Raumer, Pal. p. 52).
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