1 Samuel 23
Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary
Barns. The floors were composed of earth and the dregs of oil, made into a sort of mortar, so that rain, mice, &c., could not hurt them. (Cato 91 and 129.) --- Hither the people of Ceila had gathered their corn, and the enemy came to plunder, or to spoil, according to custom, Judges v. 4., and xv. 5. (Calmet) --- Ceila was about seven miles from Hebron, and as many from Eleutheropolis. (St. Jerome)

Lord, by the prophet Gad, (Salien; ver. 6.; Menochius) or by Abiathar, who brought the ephod along with him. David undertakes nothing without his advice.

Judea, in the midst of the country, remote from the Philistines; and in a forest, where Saul cannot so easily attack us, as in a city.

Again, in the presence of his soldiers. (Calmet) --- Thus Gedeon requested a double miracle of the Lord, to encourage his men. (Menochius)

An ephod, or the ephod. That is, the vestment of the high priest, with the Urim and Thummim, by which the Lord gave his oracles.

Bars. This was what David's men apprehended. Saul thinks this is a fit opportunity for taking them all prisoners; and he supposes that God was on his side, though, after his repeated crimes, he had little reason to flatter himself with hopes of this nature. The wicked, however, easily delude themselves. (Haydock)

People, in the neighbourhood. It is hardly probable that all Israel should be put in motion to take a few men. (Calmet)

Secretly. He might have pretended that the armament was against the Philistines. (Menochius) --- Ephod. Some say that David put it on. But this was the privilege of the high priest, who gave the answer to David's consultation, which he might perhaps repeat after him. (Calmet) --- He put on the rational to consult God, Exodus xxviii., and Leviticus viii. (Worthington)

Up. God had only answered the first question before. He now informs David, that it is the intention of the men of Ceila to deliver him into the hands of Saul, who was preparing to attack their city, and that he would inevitably fall into his hands, (Calmet) if he did not retire. (Worthington) --- God sees contingent events with the same certainty as those which will really take place. (Haydock) --- The people of Ceila could not have justly delivered up the innocent David, but they might have insisted that he should quit their city, to save it from destruction; or they might have forced him. (Scholastic) (Tirinus)

Ziph, eight miles east of Hebron, (St. Jerome) towards the southern Carmel. (Eusebius) --- Abdias (ver. 3) takes notice of the clefts of the rocks of Edom. St. Jerome says, this mountain was "dark and cloudy." (Menochius)

In God exceedingly, reminding him of God's promises. (Calmet) --- He hoped to see David king, and himself next to him in power. (Haydock)

Next, in dignity; thy helper and associate. See Ecclesiastes iv. 8, 11. --- This, our league, (Calmet) or the decree appointing David to be king. (Menochius)

Lord, Gad or Abiathar being present. (St. Jerome) --- This is the third time they had confirmed their alliance, to satisfy their love. (Menochius)

Hand, to the south. (Du Hamel)

Him, and therefore will be upon his guard. (Haydock) --- Syriac, "because I am told he is crafty." (Calmet) --- Septuagint, "because Saul said, lest this crafty man should exert all his art;" or, "lest he should be very cunning." (Haydock) --- Saul foreboded that he would again elude his pursuit. (Vatable)


And if. Hebrew, "if he be in the land, I will." --- Thousands; the cities, or with all the troops. (Du Hamel)

Maon, in Arabia Petrea, not far from Bersabee. (Calmet)

Other side, to the south. --- Despaired, without the divine assistance. (Salien) --- Hebrew nechpaz, "feared, or (Du Hamel) made haste to flee." Septuagint, "David was screened to depart." He used all possible precautions not to fall into Saul's hands, though he knew he should succeed him. He might still experience some fear of ill treatment. (Haydock)

Division, as it alone had been between the two rivals. Saul was obliged to leave the place, though he and his men were in suspense what to do. (Calmet)

Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary

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