Matthew Poole's Commentary
Now the Philistines gathered together all their armies to Aphek: and the Israelites pitched by a fountain which is in Jezreel.David marching with the Philistines, is disallowed by their princes: Achish pleadeth for him and against his will dismisseth him, 1 Samuel 29:1-7. He expostulateth with Achish, 1 Samuel 29:8, his answer, 1 Samuel 29:9,10. David departeth, 1 Samuel 29:11.
Aphek; either, that in the tribe of Asher, Joshua 19:30, or rather another town of that name in Issachar, though not mentioned elsewhere in Scripture; this being the case of many places, to be but once named.
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.i.e. As the life-guard of Achish, as he had promised, 1 Samuel 28:2, Achish being, as it seems, the general of the army.
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?The princes of the Philistines; the lords of the other eminent cities and territories, who were confederate with him in this expedition.
These days, or these years: q.d. Did I say days? I might have said years; either because he hath now been with me a full year and four months, 1 Samuel 27:7, or because he was with me some years ago, 1 Samuel 21:10, and since that time hath been known to me. And it is not improbable but David, after his escape from thence, might hold some correspondence with Achish, as finding him to be a man of more generous temper than the rest of the Philistines, and supposing that he might have need of him for a refuge in case Saul continued to seek his life. Since he fell into me, i. e. since he revolted or left his own king to turn to me; for that sense Achish put upon this escape of David, (as it is called 1 Samuel 27:1) and so is the phrase of falling to a party elsewhere used, Jeremiah 37:13,14.
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?Were wroth with him; were unsatisfied and offended with Achish for this intention and declaration.
Make this fellow return: herein the wise and gracious providence of God appeared, both in helping him out of those snares and difficulties, out of which no human wit could have extricated him, but he must either have been, or have been thought, to be a traitor, and an ungrateful, unworthy person either to the one or to the other side; and moreover in giving him the happy opportunity of recovering his own and his all from the Amalekites, which had been irrecoverably lost if he had gone into this battle. And the kindness of God to David was the greater, because it had been most just for God to have left David in all those distresses into which his own sinful counsel and course had brought him.
Of these men, i.e. of these our soldiers: they speak according to the rules of reason and true policy, for by this very course great enemies have sometimes been reconciled together.
Is not this David, of whom they sang one to another in dances, saying, Saul slew his thousands, and David his ten thousands?No text from Poole on this verse.
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; he swears by Jehovah; either because he did acknowledge their Jehovah to be a God, being, it may be, convinced and instructed therein by David, though he did worship Dagon with him, and above him: or because this was David’s God, and therefore he swore by him; partly out of complaisance with David, that he might receive his unwelcome message to him with less offence; and partly that this oath might gain more credit to his words with David.
Thy going out and thy coming in with me, i.e. thy whole conversation with me. See 1 Samuel 18:13, and many other places where that phrase is used.
Since the day of thy coming unto me; though before that time there was evil in thee towards me and my people.
Wherefore now return, and go in peace, that thou displease not the lords of the Philistines.No text from Poole on this verse.
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?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 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.As an angel of God, in whom nothing is blameworthy. Or it may be used to express David’s great wisdom (as well as integrity); as 2 Samuel 14:17 19:27. The heathens acknowledged good spirits, which also they worshipped as an inferior sort of deities, who were messengers and ministers to the supreme God; only Achish had learned the title of angels from the Israelites his neighbours, and especially from David’s conversation.
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; he intimates the ground of the Philistines’ jealousy concerning David and his men, that they were all servants of Saul, and therefore had an obligation, and were suspected to have an affection, to their old lord and master, against whom even David himself could not make them fight, especially with and for the Philistines.
As soon as ye have light, depart; before the battle begin, lest, if you delay, the lords of the Philistines fall upon you, and destroy you.
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.No text from Poole on this verse.