Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
1. the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David--They were
nearly of an age. The prince had taken little interest in David as a
minstrel; but his heroism and modest, manly bearing, his piety and high
endowments, kindled the flame not of admiration only, but of affection,
in the congenial mind of Jonathan.
2. Saul would let him go no more home--He was established as a
permanent resident at court.
3. Then Jonathan and David made a covenant--Such covenants of
brotherhood are frequent in the East. They are ratified by certain
ceremonies, and in presence of witnesses, that the persons covenanting
will be sworn brothers for life.
4. Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave
it to David--To receive any part of the dress which had been worn by a sovereign, or his eldest son and heir, is deemed, in the East, the
highest honor which can be conferred on a subject
The girdle, being connected with the sword and the bow, may be
considered as being part of the military dress, and great value is
attached to it in the East.
6. the women came out of all cities of Israel--in the homeward march
from the pursuit of the Philistines. This is a characteristic trait of
Oriental manners. On the return of friends long absent, and
particularly on the return of a victorious army, bands of women and
children issue from the towns and villages, to form a triumphal
procession, to celebrate the victory, and, as they go along, to gratify
the soldiers with dancing, instrumental music, and extempore songs, in
honor of the generals who have earned the highest distinction by feats
of gallantry. The Hebrew women, therefore, were merely paying the
customary gratulations to David as the deliverer of their country, but
they committed a great indiscretion by praising a subject at the
expense of their sovereign.
9. Saul eyed David--that is, invidiously, with secret and malignant
10. on the morrow, that the evil spirit from God came upon Saul--This
rankling thought brought on a sudden paroxysm of his mental malady.
he prophesied--The term denotes one under the influence either of a
good or a bad spirit. In the present it is used to express that Saul
was in a frenzy. David, perceiving the symptoms, hastened, by the
soothing strains of his harp, to allay the stormy agitation of the
royal mind. But before its mollifying influence could be felt, Saul
hurled a javelin at the head of the young musician.
there was a javelin in Saul's hand--Had it been followed by a fatal
result, the deed would have been considered the act of an irresponsible
maniac. It was repeated more than once ineffectually, and Saul became
impressed with a dread of David as under the special protection of
13. Therefore Saul removed him from him--sent him away from the
court, where the principal persons, including his own son, were
spellbound with admiration of the young and pious warrior.
made him captain over a thousand--gave him a military commission,
which was intended to be an honorable exile. But this post of duty
served only to draw out before the public the extraordinary and varied
qualities of his character, and to give him a stronger hold of the
DAUGHTER FOR A
17. Saul said to David, Behold my elder daughter Merab, her will I
give thee to wife--Though bound to this already
he had found it convenient to forget his former promise. He now holds
it out as a new offer, which would tempt David to give additional
proofs of his valor. But the fickle and perfidious monarch broke his
pledge at the time when the marriage was on the eve of being
celebrated, and bestowed Merab on another man (see on
an indignity as well as a wrong, which was calculated deeply to wound
the feelings and provoke the resentment of David. Perhaps it was
intended to do so, that advantage might be taken of his indiscretion.
But David was preserved from this snare.
20. Michal Saul's daughter loved David--This must have happened some
they told Saul, and the thing pleased him--Not from any favor to
David, but he saw that it would be turned to the advancement of his
malicious purposes, and the more so when, by the artful intrigues and
flattery of his spies, the loyal sentiments of David were discovered.
25. The king desireth not any dowry--In Eastern countries the husband
purchases his wife either by gifts or services. As neither David nor
his family were in circumstances to give a suitable dowry for a
princess, the king intimated that he would be graciously pleased to
accept some gallant deed in the public service.
a hundred foreskins of the Philistines--Such mutilations on the bodies
of their slain enemies were commonly practised in ancient war, and the
number told indicated the glory of the victory. Saul's willingness to
accept a public service had an air of liberality, while his choice of
so difficult and hazardous a service seemed only putting a proper value
on gaining the hand of a king's daughter. But he covered unprincipled
malice against David under this proposal, which exhibited a zeal for
God and the covenant of circumcision.
26. the days were not expired--The period within which this exploit was
to be achieved was not exhausted.
27. David . . . slew of the Philistines two hundred men--The number was
doubled, partly to show his respect and attachment to the princess, and
partly to oblige Saul to the fulfilment of his pledge.
29. Saul was yet the more afraid of David--because Providence had
visibly favored him, by not only defeating the conspiracy against his
life, but through his royal alliance paving his way to the throne.