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him. He speaks as one quite overcome with David's kind. ness; " Is this thy voice, my son David ?" And as one that relented at the thought of his own folly and ingratitude, he “ lift up bis voice and wept,” ver. 16. Many mourn for their own sins that do not truly repent of them; weep bitterly for them, and yet continue in love and league with them.
He ingenuously acknowledged David's integrity, and his own iniquity, ver. 17. “ Thou art more righteous than I.” Now God made good to David that word, on which he had caused him to hope, that he would “ bring forth his righteousness as the light,” Psalın xxxvii. 6.
as the light that he wohat, word, on whithan
We have here some intermission of David's troubles by Saul; providence
favoured him with a breathing time, and yet this chapter gives us instances of the troubles of David; if one vexation seem to be over, we must not be secure; a storm may arise from some other point, as here to David. 1. Tidings of the death of Samuel could not but trouble laim, ver. 1. But, 2. The abuse he received from Nabal is more largely recorded in this chapter. (1.) The character of Nabal, ver. 2, 3. (2.) The humble request sent to him, ver, 4-9. (3.) His churlish answer, ver. 10-12. (4.) David's angry resentment of it, ver. 13, 21, 22. (5.) Abigail's prudent care to prevent the mischief it was likely to bring upon her family, ver. 14–20. (6.) Her address to David to pacify him, ver. 23–31. (7.) David's favourable reception of her, ver. 32–35. (8.) The death of Nabal, ver. 36-38.: (9.) Abigail's marriage to David, ver. 39–44.
VER. 1. “ And Samuel died, and all the Israelites were gathered together, and lamented him, and buried bim in his house at Ramah. And David arose, and went down to the wilderness of Paran.”]-The death of Samuel was a great loss to Israel; all Israel lamented him, and they had great reason. His personal merits commanded this honour to be done him at his death. The sons of the prophets had lost the founder and president of their college, and wbatever weakened them was a public loss : but that was not all; Samuel was a constant intercessor for Israel, and prayed daily for them, chap. xii. 23. if he go, they part with tbe best friend they bave. The loss is the more grievous at this juncture, when Saul is grown so outrageous, and David driven his country, never more need of Samuel than now, yet now he is removed. We will hope the Israelites la. mented Samuel's death the more bitterly, because they remembered against themselves their own sin and folly in rejecting him, and desiring a king. Those have hard hearts that can bury their faithful ministers with dry eyes; that are not sensible of the loss of those that have prayed for them, and taught then the way of the Lord.
Ver. 13. " And David said unto his men, Gird you on every man his sword.")- Is this thy voice, O David ?" Can the man after God's own heart speak thus unadvisedly with bis lips? Has he been so long in the school of afflic. tion, where be learned patience, and yet so passionate ? Is this he that used to be dumb and deaf when he was re.. proached ? Psalm xxxviii. 13. that but the other day spared him who sought his life, and yet now will not spare any thing that belongs to him, who had only put an affront upon his messengers ? What are the best of men wben God leaves them to themselves, to try them, that they may know wbat is in their heart? From Saul David expected injuries, and against those he was prepared, and stood upon his guard, and so kept his tempcr; but from Nabal be expected kindness, and therefore the affront he gave him was a sur. prise to him, found him off his guard, and by a sudden and unexpected attack put him for the present into disorder. What need bave we to pray, “ Lord, lead us not into temp. tation !"
Ver. 29. “ But the soul of my Lord shall be bound in the bundle of life with the Lord thy God.”]-Abigail speaks it with assurance, that God would keep David safe; as if she said, God sball - hold thy soul in life,” as the expression is, Psalm lxvi. 9. as we bold those things tight which are bundled up, or which are precious to us, Psalm cxvi. 15. shall be treasured up in the treasure of lives ; which denotes the soul's near and firm union with Christ : so the Chaldee, under lock and key, as our treasure is; thou shalt abide under the special protection of the divine providence. The s bundle of life is with the Lord our God," for in his hand our breath is, and our times. The Jews understand this not only of the “ life that now is,” but of that " which is to come,” even the happiness of separate souls, and therefore use it commonly as an inscription on their grave-stones : here we bave laid the body, but trusting that the soul is bound up in the bundle of life with the Lord our God.”
David's troubles from Sand here begin again; aud the clonds return after the
rain, when one would have hoped the storm had blown over, and the sky had cleared upon that side ; but after Saul had owned his fault in persecuting David, and David's title to the crown, yet lere he revives the persecution, so perfectly lost was he to all sense of honour and virtue. 1. The Ziphites informed him where David was, ver. 1. and thereupon he marches out with a considerable force in quest of him, ver. 2, 3. 2. David gained intelligence of his motions, ver. 4. and took a view of his camp, ver. 5. 3. He and one of his men ventured into his cainp in the night, and found him and all bis guards fast asleep, ver. 6, 7. 4. David, though much urged to it by his companions, would not take away Saul's life; but only carried off his spear and cruse of water, ver. 8- 12. 5. He produceth those as a farther witness for liim, that he did not design any ill to Saul, and reasoned with him upon it, ver. 13-20. 6. Saul was hereby convinced of his error, and once more let fall his persecution, ver. 21-25. The story is much like that which we had chap. xxiv. In both David is delivered out of Saul's hand, and Saul out of David's.
VER. 24. “ So let my life be much set by in the eyes of the Lord, and let him deliver me out of all tribulation." -As David had been repeating, in the most tender manner, bis kindness to Saul, how he bad preserved his life when it was in his power to have taken it away, so in these words he prays for favour in the eyes of the Lord, that his life may be preserved by bim, and his tribulations ended. Thus we see, that though afflictions are covenant mercies, yet they are to the flesh, “ not joyous but grievous.”
Ver. 25. 6. Then Saul said to David, Blessed be thou, my son David : thou shalt both do great things, and also sbalt still prevail.”] –Saul had now a strong conviction of David's bonesty, and he was not ashamed to condemn him. self, and applaud David, even in the hearing of his own soldiers, who could not but blush to think that they were come out so furiously against a man whom their master, when he meets, caressetħ thus. He foretels his victories, and his elevation at last." Thou sbalt do great things." He adds, “ Thou shalt also still prevail," more and more, he means against himself, but was loth to speak that out. The princely qualities which appeared in David, his generosity in sparing Saul, bis military authority in reprimand. ing Åbner for sleeping, his care of the public good, and the signal tokens of God's presence with him, convinced Saul that he would certainly be advanced to the throne at last, according to the prophecies concerning him.
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David was a man after God's own heart, and yet he had his faults, which
are recorded not for our imitation, but our admonition ; witness the story of this chapter, in wbich, though (1.) We find, to his praise, that he prudently took care of his own safety, and his family's, ver. 2-4. aod valiantly fought Israel's battles against the Canaanites, ver. 8, 9. Yet, (2.) We find, to his dishonour, 1. That he began to despair of his deliverance, ver. 1. 2. That he deserted his own country, and went to dwell in the land of the philistines, ver. 1, 5—7. 3. That he imposed upon Achish with an aquivocation, if not a lie, concerning his expedition, ver. 10-12.
VER. 1. “ And David said in his heart, I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul.”]-After many deliverances and appearances of mercy, we see how liable the christian is to fear, and that notwithstanding the Lord's love, faithfulness, and power, are engaged for him. We see how easily upbelief besets us; and that the best men are but weak persons at best; for “ without are fightings, within are fears. Lord, increase our faith."
Preparations are here in making for that war, which will put an end to the
life and reign of Saul, and so make way for David to the throne. In this war, (1.) The philistines are the aggressors, and Achish, their king, makes David his confident, ver. 1, 2. (2.) The Israelites prepare to receive them, and Saul, their king, makes the devil his privycounsellor, and thereby fills the measure of his iniquity. Observe, (i.) The despairing condition which Saul was in, ver. 3-6. (2.) The application he made to a witch, to briug him up Samuel, ver. 14. (3.) His discourse with the apparition, ver. 15–19. (4.) The damp it struck upon him, ver. 21-25.
VER. 6. " And when Saul enquired of the Lord, the Lord answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by propbets.”]-Tbis made Saul's heart to tremble; for there is no distress to the mind like an absent God to the christian, or like a frowning God to the guilty. Very probably he now reflected on his disobedience to the command of God, for not killing the Amalekites, and his cruelly killing the priests of the Lord: his sins are set in order before his eyes, ruffle all his counsels, rob him of all his courage, and possess bim with a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation. In this distress « Saul enquired of the Lord,” ver. 6. Need drives those to God that in the day of their prosperity slighted his oracles and altars: “ Lord, in trouble have ibey visited thee," Isaiah xxvi. 16. Did ever any seek the Lord and miss of finding him? Yes, Saul did; "the Lord answered bim not ;" gave bim no directions what to do, nor any encouragement to hope that he would be with him: “Should be be enquired of at all, by such a one as Saul ?" Ezek. xiv. 3. No, he could not expect an answer of peace, for he enquired in such a manner, that it was as if he had not enquired at all. Therefore it is said, 1 Chron. x. 14. “ He enquired not of the Lord :" he did it with a secret design, if God did not answer him, to consult the devil. He did not enquire of faith, but with a double unstable mind.
Ver. 11. " And he said, Bring me up Samuel.”]Samuel had anointed him king, and had been bis friend and counsellor, and therefore with him be wished to advise. While Samuel was living at Ramah, not far from Gibeab of Saul, and presided there in the school of the prophets, we never read of Saul's going to bim to advise with bim in any of the difficulties he was in; it had been well for him if he had ; then he slighted him, and perhaps bated him, looking upon hiin to be in David's interest; but now be is dead, o for Samuel again! by all means “ bring me up Samuel." Note, many that despise and persecute God's saints and ministers when they are living, would be glad to have them again when they are gone. “ Send Lazarus to me, and send Lazarus to my father's house,” Luke xvi. 24–27.
Ver. 15. “And Samuel said to Saul, Why bast thou disquieted me to bring me up ?”]—This plainly discovers to us that it was an evil spirit that personated Samuel, for, as bishop Patrick obscrves, it is not in the power of witches to disturb the rest of good men, nor would the true Samuel have acknowledged such a power in magical art, but to Saul this is a proper device of Satan's to draw veneration from him, to possess him with an opinion of the power of divination, and so rivet him in the devil's interests.
Saul makes his complaint to the counterfeit Samuel, mistaking bim for the true, and a most doleful complaint it is, “I am sore distressed," and know not what to do, " for the philistines make war against me;" yet I should do well enough with them if I had but the tokens of God's presence with me; but, alas! “God is departed from me."