1 Samuel 19
Clarke's Commentary
Jonathan pleads for David before Saul, who is for the present reconciled, 1 Samuel 19:1-7. David defeats the Philistines; and Saul becomes again envious, and endeavors to slay him, but he escapes, 1 Samuel 19:8-10. Saul sends men to David's house, to lie in wait for him; but Michal saves him by a stratagem, 1 Samuel 19:11-17. David flees to Samuel, at Ramah, 1 Samuel 19:18. Saul, hearing of it, sends messengers three several times to take him; but the Spirit of coming upon them, they prophesy, 1 Samuel 19:19-21. Saul, hearing of this, goes after David himself, and falls under the same influence, 1 Samuel 19:22-24.

And Saul spake to Jonathan his son, and to all his servants, that they should kill David.
That they should kill David - Nothing less than the especial interposition of God could have saved David's life, when every officer about the king's person, and every soldier, had got positive orders to despatch him.

But Jonathan Saul's son delighted much in David: and Jonathan told David, saying, Saul my father seeketh to kill thee: now therefore, I pray thee, take heed to thyself until the morning, and abide in a secret place, and hide thyself:
Take heed to thyself until the morning - Perhaps the order was given to slay him the next day; and therefore Jonathan charges him to be particularly on his guard at that time, and to hide himself.

And I will go out and stand beside my father in the field where thou art, and I will commune with my father of thee; and what I see, that I will tell thee.
And Jonathan spake good of David unto Saul his father, and said unto him, Let not the king sin against his servant, against David; because he hath not sinned against thee, and because his works have been to theeward very good:
Jonathan spake good of David - It is evident that Jonathan was satisfied that David was an innocent man; and that his father was most unjustly incensed against him.

For he did put his life in his hand, and slew the Philistine, and the LORD wrought a great salvation for all Israel: thou sawest it, and didst rejoice: wherefore then wilt thou sin against innocent blood, to slay David without a cause?
For he did put his life in his hand - The pleadings in this verse, though short, are exceedingly cogent; and the argument is such as could not be resisted.

And Saul hearkened unto the voice of Jonathan: and Saul sware, As the LORD liveth, he shall not be slain.
He shall not be slain - In consequence of this oath, we may suppose he issued orders contrary to those which he had given the preceding day.

And Jonathan called David, and Jonathan shewed him all those things. And Jonathan brought David to Saul, and he was in his presence, as in times past.
He was in his presence, as in times past - By Jonathan's advice he had secreted himself on that day on which he was to have been assassinated: the king having sworn that he should not be slain, David resumes his place in the palace of Saul.

And there was war again: and David went out, and fought with the Philistines, and slew them with a great slaughter; and they fled from him.
And the evil spirit from the LORD was upon Saul, as he sat in his house with his javelin in his hand: and David played with his hand.
And the evil spirit from the Lord - His envy and jealousy again returned, producing distraction of mind, which was exacerbated by diabolic influence. See on 1 Samuel 16:14 (note).

And Saul sought to smite David even to the wall with the javelin; but he slipped away out of Saul's presence, and he smote the javelin into the wall: and David fled, and escaped that night.
But he slipped away - He found he could not trust Saul; and therefore was continually on his watch. His agility of body was the means of his preservation at this time.

Saul also sent messengers unto David's house, to watch him, and to slay him in the morning: and Michal David's wife told him, saying, If thou save not thy life to night, to morrow thou shalt be slain.
To slay him in the morning - When they might be able to distinguish between him and Michal his wife; for, had they attempted his life in the night season, there would have been some danger to Michal's life. Besides, Saul wished to represent him as a traitor; and consequently an attack upon him was justifiable at any time, even in the fullest daylight.

So Michal let David down through a window: and he went, and fled, and escaped.
Let David down through a window - As Saul's messengers were sent to David's house to watch him, they would naturally guard the gate, or lie in wait in that place by which David would come out. Michal, seeing this let him down to the ground through a window probably at the back part of the house; and there being neither entrance nor issue that way, the liers in wait were easily eluded.

And Michal took an image, and laid it in the bed, and put a pillow of goats' hair for his bolster, and covered it with a cloth.
Michal took an image - את התרפים eth hatteraphim, the teraphim. The Hebrew word appears to mean any kind of image, in any kind of form, as a representative of some reality. Here it must have been something in the human form; because it was intended to represent a man lying in bed indisposed.

A pillow of goats' hair - Perhaps she formed the appearance of a sick man's head muffled up by this pillow or bag of goats' hair. So I think the original might be understood. The goats' hair was merely accidental; unless we could suppose that it was designed to represent the hair of David's head, which is not improbable.

And when Saul sent messengers to take David, she said, He is sick.
And Saul sent the messengers again to see David, saying, Bring him up to me in the bed, that I may slay him.
And when the messengers were come in, behold, there was an image in the bed, with a pillow of goats' hair for his bolster.
And Saul said unto Michal, Why hast thou deceived me so, and sent away mine enemy, that he is escaped? And Michal answered Saul, He said unto me, Let me go; why should I kill thee?
Let me go; why should I kill thee? - That is, If thou do not let me go, I will kill thee. This she said to excuse herself to her father: as a wife she could do not less than favor the escape of her husband, being perfectly satisfied that there was no guilt in him. It is supposed that it was on this occasion that David wrote the fifty-ninth Psalm, Deliver me from mine enemies, etc.

So David fled, and escaped, and came to Samuel to Ramah, and told him all that Saul had done to him. And he and Samuel went and dwelt in Naioth.
David fled, and escaped - to Samuel - He, no doubt, came to this holy man to ask advice; and Samuel thought it best to retain him for the present, with himself at Naioth, where it is supposed he had a school of prophets.

And it was told Saul, saying, Behold, David is at Naioth in Ramah.
And Saul sent messengers to take David: and when they saw the company of the prophets prophesying, and Samuel standing as appointed over them, the Spirit of God was upon the messengers of Saul, and they also prophesied.
The company of the prophets prophesying - Employed in religious exercises.

Samuel - appointed over them - Being head or president of the school at this place.

The Spirit of God was upon the messengers - They partook of the same influence, and joined in the same exercise; and thus were prevented from seizing David.

And when it was told Saul, he sent other messengers, and they prophesied likewise. And Saul sent messengers again the third time, and they prophesied also.
Then went he also to Ramah, and came to a great well that is in Sechu: and he asked and said, Where are Samuel and David? And one said, Behold, they be at Naioth in Ramah.
And he went thither to Naioth in Ramah: and the Spirit of God was upon him also, and he went on, and prophesied, until he came to Naioth in Ramah.
He went on, and prophesied - The Divine Spirit seemed to have seized him at the well of Sechu; and he went on from that prophesying - praying, singing praises, etc.; till he came to Naioth.

And he stripped off his clothes also, and prophesied before Samuel in like manner, and lay down naked all that day and all that night. Wherefore they say, Is Saul also among the prophets?
He stripped off his clothes - Threw off his royal robes or military dress, retaining only his tunic; and continued so all that day and all that night, uniting with the sons of the prophets in prayers, singing praises, and other religious exercises, which were unusual to kings and warriors; and this gave rise to the saying, Is Saul also among the prophets? By bringing both him and his men thus under a Divine influence, God prevented them from injuring the person of David. See the notes on 1 Samuel 10:6 (note), etc.; and see my sermon on The Christian Prophet and his Work.

Commentary on the Bible, by Adam Clarke [1831].
Text Courtesy of Internet Sacred Texts Archive.

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