1 Kings xix.
Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Jonathan. He was most interested, as David might be feared as a competitor; (Menochius) and, under the cloak of friendship, he might more easily destroy him. Saul was a stranger to the generous sentiments of his son, or he would never have made the proposal. (Haydock) — Grotius compares him with Germanicus. (Calmet)
Ver. 2. Morning. Septuagint add, “to-morrow.” (Menochius)
Ver. 3. Field. Saul would come thither, or Jonathan would sound his father’s disposition, and give David information in the place appointed. (Calmet)
Ver. 3. Hand, in danger. (Menochius)
Ver. 6. Slain. His inconstant temper might cause him to be moved with the expostulation of his son; but he presently relapsed, if he were ever sincere. (Calmet) — The Scripture seems to insinuate that he was. (Menochius)
Ver. 9. Saul. His jealousy was again enkindled by the success of David. (Calmet) — Hand, on music, to assuage the paroxysms of the king’s fury. (Haydock)
Ver. 11. Morning, fearing lest they might miss him in the night, (Salien) and perhaps desiring to see his execution, after he had been tried. (Josephus) — The Philistines would not attack Samson at night. See Judges xvi. 2., and Exodus xiv. 20. The Parthians and Mahometans will do nothing at that time; moved perhaps by some superstitious notion. (Calmet)
Ver. 13. Image. Hebrew Teraphim. Aquila, “figures.” Symmachus, “idols.” Some believe that David had idols in his house, as ornaments, or to treat them with ignominy. (Mercer.) — But others cannot persuade themselves that he would keep such dangerous things. What Michol took, might therefore be some sacred representation, or a statue of some great man. (Genebrad.) (Kimchi; Maimonides) Or it might be some piece of wood, or clothes folded up, so as to make the guards believe that David was in bed. (Bochart, Anim. i. 2. 51.) See Genesis xxxi. 19. (Calmet) — They would not examine very narrowly. (Haydock) — The Taraphim denote both idolatrous and sacred things, Osee iii. 4. (Menochius) — Skin. Vatican and Alexandrian Septuagint, “liver,” still warm and in motion. (Tirinus) — But they have followed a false reading, as well as Josephus and Aquila. (Calmet) — Some have inferred that the hair of goats in that country is reddish, because it was designed to resemble David’s hair, of the same colour. (Tirinus) — This is, however, uncertain. The skin might form his pillow or coverlet. (Calmet)
Ver. 14. Sick. This is an officious lie. She tells another to excuse herself, ver. 17. The children of Saul strive to prevent their father’s cruelty, by taking part with the innocent David. (Haydock) — It is thought that David composed the 68th Psalm, Eripe, &c., on this occasion. (Calmet)
Ver. 19. Najoth. It was probably a school or college of prophets, in or near Ramatha, under the direction of Samuel. (Challoner) — Chaldean, “in the house of doctrine.” See chap. x. 5. (Menochius)
Ver. 20. Prophesying. That is, singing praises to God by a divine impulse. God was pleased on this occasion that both Saul’s messengers and himself should experience the like impulse, that he might understand, by this instance of the divine power, how vain are the designs of man against him whom God protects. (Challoner) — The messengers did not return. (Menochius) — They were seized by the spirit only when they arrived at Najoth. But Saul felt the impression even at Socho, threw aside his garments, and began to act and to speak as one inspired. (Calmet)
Ver. 24. Naked. Divested of his regal ornaments, (Tirinus) though not in an indecent posture. People are said to be undressed, when they have not such clothes on as might be expected. Hesiod and Virgil say, Nudus ara, sere nudus; hiems ignava colono. “Plough and sow naked; choose a fine season for work, and rest in winter.” (Haydock) See Micheas i. 8., and 2 Kings vi. 20. — Yet some assert (Calmet) that Saul was entirely undressed, as some pretended prophets and slaves go in the hot countries, Isaias xx. 1. We are not to judge of the indecency of such behaviour from our own manners. Some copies read cecinit, (Calmet) and the Douay Bible has “and sang naked.” (Haydock) — Saul had not the gift of prophecy, like holy men, but only like Balaam’s ass, for a time. (St. Augustine ad Simp. ii. 1.) (Worthington) — Prophets. This is something wonderful. (Menochius) — The proverb was now confirmed, chap. x. 11. (Calmet)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
Other attempts of Saul upon David’s life. He cometh to Samuel. Saul’s messengers, and Saul himself, prophesy.
1 And Saul spoke to Jonathan, his son, and to all his servants, that they should kill David. But Jonathan, the son of Saul, loved David exceedingly.
2 And Jonathan told David, saying: Saul, my father, seeketh to kill thee: wherefore look to thyself, I beseech thee, in the morning, and thou shalt abide in a secret place, and shalt be hid.
3 And I will go out and stand beside my father in the field where thou art: and I will speak of thee to my father, and whatsoever I shall see, I will tell thee.
4 And Jonathan spoke good things of David to Saul, his father: and said to him: Sin not, O king, against thy servant, David, because he hath not sinned against thee, and his works are very good towards thee.
5 And he put his life in his hand, and slew the Philistine, and the Lord wrought great salvation for all Israel. Thou sawest it and didst rejoice. Why therefore wilt thou sin against innocent blood, by killing David, who is without fault?
6 And when Saul heard this, he was appeased with the words of Jonathan, and swore: As the Lord liveth, he shall not be slain.
7 Then Jonathan called David, and told him all these words: and Jonathan brought in David to Saul, and he was before him, as he had been yesterday and the day before.
8 *And the war began again, and David went out, and fought against the Philistines, and defeated them with a great slaughter, and they fled from his face.
9 And the evil spirit from the Lord came upon Saul; and he sat in his house, and held a spear in his hand: and David played with his hand.
10 And Saul endeavoured to nail David to the wall with his spear. And David slipt away out of the presence of Saul: and the spear missed him, and was fastened in the wall, and David fled, and escaped that night.
11 Saul therefore sent his guards to David’s house to watch him, that he might be killed in the morning. And when Michol, David’s wife, had told him this, saying: Unless thou save thyself this night, to-morrow thou wilt die:
12 She let him down through a window. And he went and fled away, and escaped.
13 And Michol took an image, and laid it on the bed, and put a goat’s skin, with the hair at the head of it, and covered it with clothes.
14 And Saul sent officers to seize David; and it was answered that he was sick.
15 And again Saul sent to see David, saying: Bring him to me in the bed, that he may be slain.
16 And when the messengers were come in, they found an image upon the bed, and a goat’s skin at his head.
17 And Saul said to Michol: Why hast thou deceived me so, and let my enemy go and flee away? And Michol answered Saul: Because he said to me: Let me go, or else I will kill thee.
18 But David fled and escaped, and came to Samuel in Ramatha, and told him all that Saul had done to him: and he and Samuel went and dwelt in Najoth.
19 And it was told Saul by some, saying: Behold David is in Najoth, in Ramatha.
20 So Saul sent officers to take David: and when they saw a company of prophets prophesying, and Samuel presiding over them, the Spirit of the Lord came also upon them, and they likewise began to prophesy.
21 And when this was told Saul, he sent other messengers: but they also prophesied. And again Saul sent messengers the third time: and they prophesied also. And Saul being exceeding angry,
22 Went also himself to Ramatha, and came as far as the great cistern, which is in Socho, and he asked, and said: In what place are Samuel and David? And it was told him: Behold they are in Najoth, in Ramatha.
23 And he went to Najoth, in Ramatha, and the Spirit of the Lord came upon him also, and he went on, and prophesied till he came to Najoth, in Ramatha.
24 And he stripped himself also of his garments, and prophesied with the rest before Samuel, and lay down naked all that day and night. This gave occasion to a proverb: *What! is Saul too among the prophets?
8: Year of the World 2944.
24: 1 Kings x. 12.