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Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible, by John Wesley, [1754-65], at

1 Kings (1 Samuel) Chapter 26

1 Kings (1 Samuel) 26:5

sa1 26:5

The Ziphites - Probably Saul would have pursued David no more, had not these wretches set him on.

1 Kings (1 Samuel) 26:6

sa1 26:6

Zerujah - David's sister. His father is not named either because he was now dead; or because he was an obscure person.

1 Kings (1 Samuel) 26:7

sa1 26:7

Came - That is, to Saul's host. It might seem a bold and strange attempt; but it may be considered: That David had a particular assurance that God would preserve him to the kingdom. That he had a special instinct from God, to this work; and possibly God might inform him, that he had cast them into a deep sleep, that he might have this second opportunity of manifesting his innocency towards Saul.

1 Kings (1 Samuel) 26:9

sa1 26:9

Destroy him not, &c. - Though Saul be a tyrant, yet he is our Lord and king; and I, though designed king, as yet am his subject; and therefore cannot kill him without sin, nor will I consent that thou shouldst do it.

1 Kings (1 Samuel) 26:11

sa1 26:11

Take the spear - Which will shew where we have been, and what we could have done.

1 Kings (1 Samuel) 26:13

sa1 26:13

Afar off - That his person might be out of their reach, and yet his voice might be heard; which in a clear air, and in the silence of the night might be heard at a great distance.

1 Kings (1 Samuel) 26:14

sa1 26:14

Cried to the people - It is probable this was early in the morning.

1 Kings (1 Samuel) 26:19

sa1 26:19

The Lord - If the Lord hath by the evil spirit which he hath sent, or by his secret providence, directed thy rage against me for the punishment of thine, or my sins. An offering - Let us offer up a sacrifice to God to appease his wrath against us. Driven me - From the land which God hath given to his people for their inheritance, and where he hath established his presence and worship. Go serve - This was the language of their actions. For by driving him from God's land, and the place of his worship, into foreign and idolatrous lands, they exposed him to the peril of being either ensnared by their counsels, or examples; or forced by their power to worship idols.

1 Kings (1 Samuel) 26:20

sa1 26:20

Before the Lord - Remember, if thou dost it, God the judge of all men seeth it, and will avenge it; though I will not avenge myself.

1 Kings (1 Samuel) 26:21

sa1 26:21

My soul, &c. - This second instance of David's tenderness wrought more upon Saul than the former. He owns himself melted and quite overcome by David's kindness to him. My soul was precious in thine eyes, which I thought had been odious. He acknowledges he had done very ill to persecute him: I have acted against God's law, I have sinned: and against my own interest, I have played the fool, in pursuing him as an enemy, who was indeed one of my best friends. And herein I have erred exceedingly, have wronged both thee and myself. Nothing can be more full and ingenuous than this confession: God surely now touched his heart. And he promises to persecute him no more: nor does it appear that he ever attempted it.

1 Kings (1 Samuel) 26:25

sa1 26:25

Blessed, &c. - So strong was his conviction now, that he could not forbear blessing him, foretelling his success, applauding David, and condemning himself, even in the hearing of his own soldiers. And this, it seems, was their last interview. After this they saw each other no more.

Next: 1 Kings (1 Samuel) Chapter 27