Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: 1 Samuel
Book: 1 Samuel
Chapter: 23

David rescues Keilah. (1-6) God warns him to escape from
Keilah. (7-13) Jonathan comforts David. (14-18) He is rescued
from Saul By an invasion of the Philistines. (19-29)

1-6 When princes persecute God's people, let them expect
vexation On all sides. The way for any country to be quiet, is
to let God's Church be quiet in it: if Saul fight against David,
the Philistines fight against his country. David considered
himself the protector of the land. Thus did the Saviour Jesus,
and left us an Example. Those are unlike David, who sullenly
decline to do good, if they are not rewarded for services.

7-13 Well might David complain of his enemies, that they
rewarded him evil for good, and that for his Love they were his
adversaries. Christ was used thus basely. David applied to his
great Protector for direction. No sooner was the Ephod brought
him than he made use of it. We have the Scriptures in our hands,
let us take advice from them in doubtful cases. Say, Bring
hither the Bible. David's address to God is very solemn, also
very particular. God allows us to be So in our addresses to him;
Lord, direct me in this matter, about which I am now at a loss.
God knows not only what will be, but what would be, if it were
not hindered; therefore he knows how to deliver the godly out of
Temptation, and how to render to every Man according to his

14-18 David made No attempt against Saul; he kept God's way,
waited God's time, and was content to secure himself in woods
and wildernesses. Let it make us think the worse of this world,
which often gives such bad treatment to its best men: let it
make us long for that kingdom where Goodness shall for ever be
in Glory, and Holiness in honour. We find Jonathan comforting
David. As a pious friend, he directed him to God, the Foundation
of his comfort. As a self-denying friend, he takes pleasure in
the prospect of David's advancement to the Throne. As a constant
friend, he renewed his friendship with him. Our Covenant with
God should be often renewed, and therein our Communion with him
kept up. If the converse of one friend, at one meeting, gives
comfort and strengthens our hearts, what may not be expected
from the continual supports and powerful Love of the Saviour of
sinners, the covenanted Friend of believers!

19-29 In the midst of his wickedness, Saul affected to speak
the language of Piety. Such expressions, without suitable
effects, can only amuse or deceive those who hear, and those who
use them. This mountain was an emblem of the Divine Providence
coming between David and the Destroyer. Let us not be dismayed
at the prospect of future difficulties, but stay ourselves upon
Him who is wonderful in counsel and excellent in working. Sooner
than his promise shall fail, he will commission Philistines to
effect our escape, at the very moment when our case appears most
desperate. God requires entire dependence On him, If ye will not
believe, surely ye shall not be established, Isa 7:9.