The Agora
Bible Commentary
1 Samuel

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1 Samuel 29

1Sa 29:2

This is surely a possibility to consider: did David really hope to go into battle alongside the Philistines, and then turn against them -- making another show of loyalty to Saul (TMD 78)? The Philistine commanders certainly thought so (v 4)!

If this were the case, then -- providentially -- God did not allow this, because He knew that Saul and his army were to be defeated, and it would not be good if David were to be associated with them in that day.

If Achish had allowed David to remain, can we suppose he would have been faithful to Achish (and the Philistines) and fight against Israel? Or would he have done -- as the lords of the Philistines said -- and joined with Saul against the Philistines in battle? I would guess that he would have used the occasion to turn against the Philistines and fight for Saul and Israel. But, either way, God prevented him from being in such a situation... in fact, He sees that David is sent far away from the battle, because either alternative was not the best for David: (1) Fighting against Saul was unacceptable; the sort of thing David had never done before, and which he had gone to great lengths to avoid, even when Saul sought his life -- Saul was after all the LORD's Anointed. (2) Switching sides to fight for Saul and against the Philistines would have placed him on the "wrong side" too, in that God seems to have determined that Saul and his house would fall in battle; this was His plan, to open the way for David to assume the throne for which he was intended. And David, being there personally, would only cause problems.

When you think about it, it seems to me this is a lot like the political quandary that Christadelphians face all the time: i.e., "So why DON'T you vote in such-and-such elections? Surely you can see that Party X and its candidates are better/more righteous/more suitable in God's sight than Party Y and its candidates." And the answer -- at least, AN answer -- would be: "Even if Party X -- like Saul -- is 'better' than Party Y -- the Philistines -- that doesn't necessarily mean that God wants Party X -- or Saul -- to win out this time! So I take no position on this matter, and leave it to God to work out in His own way."

1Sa 29:6

AS SURELY AS THE LORD LIVES: The name of David's God is prob used only as a courtesy.

Ct the honesty of Achish with David's answer (v 8).

1Sa 29:8

David plays a part to the last. Another deception, as in 1Sa 27:10-12.

1Sa 29:10

ALONG WITH YOUR MASTER'S SERVANTS WHO HAVE COME WITH YOU: Day by day, more of Saul's men are falling away to David (cp 1Ch 12:19-22). Knowledge of this would arouse Philistine suspicions.

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