Commentary on the Bible, by Adam Clarke, , at sacred-texts.com
1 Kings (1 Samuel)
David flies to Achish, king of Gath, who receives him kindly, and gives him Ziklag to dwell in, where he continues a year and four months, Sa1 27:1-7. David invades the Geshurites and Amalekites, and leaves neither man nor woman alive, Sa1 27:8, Sa1 27:9. He returns to Achish, and pretends that he had been making inroads on the Israelites, and Achish believes it, Sa1 27:10-12.
1 Kings (1 Samuel) 27:1
I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul - This was a very hasty conclusion: God had so often interposed in behalf of his life, that he was authorized to believe the reverse. God had hitherto confounded all Saul's stratagems, and it was not at all likely that he would now abandon him: there was now no additional reason why he should withdraw from David his helping hand.
1 Kings (1 Samuel) 27:2
David arose, and he passed over - unto Achish - There is not one circumstance in this transaction that is not blameable. David joins the enemies of his God and of his country, acts a most inhuman part against the Geshurites and Amalekites, without even the pretense of a Divine authority; tells a most deliberate falsehood to Achish, his protector, relative to the people against whom he had perpetrated this cruel act; giving him to understand that he had been destroying the Israelites, his enemies. I undertake no defense of this conduct of David; it is all bad, all defenceless; God vindicates him not. The inspired penman tells what he did, but passes no eulogium upon his conduct; and it is false to say that, because these things are recorded, therefore they are approved. In all these transactions David was in no sense a man after God's own heart. Chandler attempts to vindicate all this conduct: those who can receive his saying, let them receive it.
1 Kings (1 Samuel) 27:3
Every man with his household - So it appears that the men who consorted with David had wives and families. David and his company resembled a tribe of the wandering Arabs.
1 Kings (1 Samuel) 27:5
Why should thy servant dwell in the royal city - He seemed to intimate that two princely establishments in the same city were too many. Achish appears to have felt the propriety of his proposal, and therefore appoints him Ziklag.
1 Kings (1 Samuel) 27:6
Achish gave him Ziklag - Ziklag was at first given to the tribe of Judah, but afterwards it was ceded to that of Simeon, Jos 15:31; Jos 19:5. The Philistines had, however, made themselves masters of it, and held it to the time here mentioned; it then fell into the tribe of Judah again, and continued to be the property of the kings of Judah. This verse is a proof that this book was written long after the days of Samuel, and that it was formed by a later hand, out of materials which had been collected by a contemporary author. See the preface.
1 Kings (1 Samuel) 27:9
David smote the land - Here was a complete extirpation of all these people, not one being left alive, lest he should carry tidings of the disasters of his country! The spoil which David took consisted of sheep, oxen, asses, camels, and apparel.
1 Kings (1 Samuel) 27:10
Whither have ye made a road today? - He had probably been in the habit of making predatory excursions. This seems to be implied in the question of Achish.
1 Kings (1 Samuel) 27:12
He hath made his people - utterly to abhor him - This deception, which Dr. Delaney says "did harm to nobody, and to the account of which he is at an utter loss what degree of guilt to charge," imposed upon Achish, had the most direct tendency to make him imagine himself secure, while in the utmost danger; and to have a faithful friend and able ally in David, while he was the veriest enemy he could possibly have. Shame on him who becomes the apologist of such conduct! As to Dr. Chandler, he should know that no lie is of the truth, and that all falsity is an abomination to the Lord.