1 Samuel 29

Next 1 Samuel 29 follows up the more public course of things which had been interrupted by the melancholy episode of the forlorn, and one may say apostate, king Saul. Here the Philistines are seen mustering in thousands, while the Israelites pitch by a fountain in Jezreel. Now it becomes a question of David. What was he about? “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. 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?” But God overruled the matter, and solved the difficulty into which David's unbelief had plunged him. Nor was it a dilemma only, but indeed a horrible sin. What must have been the result to his own spirit, had it not been completely cut short by that grace which held him in by bit and bridle, and, one might almost say, expelled him by the spears of the Philistines. In deep distrust and jealousy they say to Achish, “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?” Powerless before his princes, Achish could only beg David to go in peace, that he might not to his own peril displease the Philistine lords past all power of healing. David sinks to the degradation of entreaty, indeed with somewhat of upbraiding in his tone addressed to Achish, because they did not allow him to go forth against Israel and the king he had so often spared. But Achish stands firm. “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.”