Now the Philistines gathered together all their armies to Aphek: and the Israelites pitched by a fountain which is in Jezreel.A fountain - Probably, the fine spring Ain-Jalud. It is impossible to say what the special circumstances were which led to the struggle between Israel and the Philistines taking place so far north as the plain of Jezreel. Possibly it was connected with some movements of the Aramaic tribes to the north of Palestine. See 2 Samuel 8.
And the lords of the Philistines passed on by hundreds, and by thousands: but David and his men passed on in the rereward with Achish.The lords - See Judges 3:3 note, as distinguished from ordinary "princes" 1 Samuel 29:3. The military divisions of the Philistine army were by hundreds and by thousands, like those of the Israelites 1 Samuel 8:12. David and his men formed a body-guard to Achish 1 Samuel 28:2.
Then said the princes of the Philistines, What do these Hebrews here? And Achish said unto the princes of the Philistines, Is not this David, the servant of Saul the king of Israel, which hath been with me these days, or these years, and I have found no fault in him since he fell unto me unto this day?He fell unto me - The regular word for deserting and going over to the other side. See Jeremiah 37:13; Jeremiah 38:19.
And the princes of the Philistines were wroth with him; and the princes of the Philistines said unto him, Make this fellow return, that he may go again to his place which thou hast appointed him, and let him not go down with us to battle, lest in the battle he be an adversary to us: for wherewith should he reconcile himself unto his master? should it not be with the heads of these men?
Is not this David, of whom they sang one to another in dances, saying, Saul slew his thousands, and David his ten thousands?
Then Achish called David, and said unto him, Surely, as the LORD liveth, thou hast been upright, and thy going out and thy coming in with me in the host is good in my sight: for I have not found evil in thee since the day of thy coming unto me unto this day: nevertheless the lords favour thee not.As the Lord liveth - The swearing by Yahweh seems strange in the mouth of a Philistine. But probably not the very words, but only the sense of this and such like speeches, is preserved.
Wherefore now return, and go in peace, that thou displease not the lords of the Philistines.
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?See 1 Samuel 29:10 note.
And Achish answered and said to David, I know that thou art good in my sight, as an angel of God: notwithstanding the princes of the Philistines have said, He shall not go up with us to the battle.
Wherefore now rise up early in the morning with thy master's servants that are come with thee: and as soon as ye be up early in the morning, and have light, depart.With thy master's servants - The clue to this may be found in 1 Chronicles 12:19-21, where it appears that a considerable number of Manassites "fell" to David just at this time, and went back with him to Ziklag. It is therefore to these new comers that Achish applies the expression. It is impossible not to recognize here a merciful interposition of Providence, by which David was not only saved from fighting against his king and country, but sent home just in time to recover his wives and property from the Amalekites 1 Samuel 30. That David maintained his position by subtlety and falsehood, which were the invariable characteristics of his age and nation, is not in the least to be wondered at. No sanction is given by this narrative to the use of falsehood.
So David and his men rose up early to depart in the morning, to return into the land of the Philistines. And the Philistines went up to Jezreel.