1 Kings xxii.
Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Odollam, about two days’ journey from Geth, (Salien) nine miles east of Eleutheropolis, in the tribe of Juda. (Eusebius) (Calmet) — Josue xii. 15., and 2 Machabees xii. 38. (Menochius) — Thither, to avoid the fury of Saul, which fell so heavy upon the priests, ver. 16. The most warlike sons of Gad came hither also, to join David, 1 Paralipomenon xii. 8. (Abulensis) (Salien, the year of the world 2973.)
Ver. 2. Men. His title to the crown was incontestable, so that he might justly make war, particularly in his own defence, and receive those who flocked to him to screen themselves from the persecution of Saul, and from their debtors, whom they would thus enable themselves to repay in time, by the plunder which they would take from the enemy. David maintained the strictest discipline, and withheld his men from making any disturbance, always manifesting the greatest respect for the person of the king. (Calmet) — The soldiers of Jephte were of the same description as these of David, Judges xi. 3. (Haydock)
Ver. 3. Of Moab, to distinguish it from the city of Benjamin, where Samuel had assembled the people; (Menochius) and perhaps also from the birth-place of Jephte, unless the Moabites had taken possession again of that part of Galaad. (Calmet) — Saul had made war upon this king, so that he was more ready to protect David, who departing soon after, by the admonition of Gad, (ver. 5.; Calmet) left those who could not follow him under his care. In the mean time he lived on plunder, taken from the surrounding enemies, (Tostat) and was joined by 200 men from the tribes of Benjamin and of Juda, (1 Paralipomenon xii. 16,) with Amasai, his nephew, by his sister Abigail, at their head. (Salien, the year before Christ 1079.)
Ver. 4. The hold. The strong hold, or fortress of Maspha. (Challoner) — It signifies “a watch-tower.” (Haydock) — In this place the parents of David probably finished their days, as we find no farther mention of them. (Salien)
Ver. 5. Haret, west of Jerusalem. Septuagint read “the town of Haret,” (Eusebius) or “Sarec.” (Menochius) — Rama, “the height,” in Gabaa. (Calmet) — God would not suffer David and his followers to continue long among the infidels, for fear of danger. (Menochius) — The hero shews his ready obedience to the word of the unknown prophet, and is willing again to expose himself in the midst of Saul’s dominions. (Salien)
Ver. 7. Jemini. Benjamites, my countrymen. Saul approaches them with being too little concerned about his interests, and falsely accuses his own son, who, it seems, had retired from court, after his father had attempted to kill him. But he shewed no signs of disloyalty. (Calmet) — The king mentions the league between Jonathan and David, on suspicion, chap. xx. 23. (Menochius)
Ver. 9. Servants, or herdsmen, chap. xxi. 7. Septuagint, “the Syrian, who was set over the mules of Saul.” (Haydock) — Informers are a set of men destructive to the public,” says Tacitius, Hist. i. 4.
Ver. 10. Consulted. Some think this was a falsehood, as it is not mentioned before. (Hugo) — but Achimelech does not deny the fact, ver. 15. (Calmet)
Ver. 12. Achitob. He gives him no honourable title, no more than David, (ver. 7, &c.) out of disrespect. (Menochius)
Ver. 14. Faithful….and honourable, are titles given to people of great distinction at court, chap. ix. 6., Numbers xii. 7., and Genesis xxxiv. 19.
Ver. 15. For him? We might read without an interrogation, “I have to-day begun….” (Chaldean) never suspecting that it would be disagreeable to the king. (Calmet) — His character and his declarations, led me to conclude quite the contrary, so that I cannot lawfully be accused of any conspiracy. (Haydock)
Ver. 17. Messengers. Hebrew, “runners.” These officers remained at court and were people of great account, (Calmet) like the king’s guards, 2 Kings xv. 1., and 3 Kings i. 5. (Haydock) — Lord, out of reverence, and being convinced of their innocence. (Menochius) — The obedience which we owe to superiors is subordinate to that which we must always shew towards God and justice. (Calmet) — Saul unjustly condemned them as the abettors of his competitor. (Worthington)
Ver. 18. Five. Josephus read “385.” Septuagint, “305.” — Ephod. They all appeared in this dress, as they were priests. (Calmet) — It was different from the sacred ephod. (Abulensis) — Thus the posterity of Heli was almost entirely cut off, as God had threatened, chap. ii. (Du Hamel; Tirinus)
Ver. 19. Sword. Saul, now abandoned God, acts against all law. He probably, on this occasion, destroyed the inhabitants of Gabaon, to make place for the tabernacle, which was removed hither. (Calmet) See chap. xxvii. 12. — He might also appoint Achitob high priest, the father of Sadoc, who supplanted Abiathar, 1 Paralipomenon xii., and xvi. 29. (Tirinus)
Ver. 20. Escaped. He had perhaps remained at Nobe, to do duty. (Menochius) — God was pleased to reserve him, (Calmet) to convey the sacred ornaments of the high priest to David. (Haydock) — St. Bachiarius looks upon the slaughtered priests as martyrs. (Tirinus)
Ver. 22. House. Literally, “I am guilty,” &c. (Haydock) — “Good people acknowledge a fault, where there is none.” (St. Gregory) — David was aware of the malicious temper of Doeg, but he could not prevent its evil effects, as he had applied to the high priest without perceiving that he was there. (Haydock) — He received Abiathar at Ceila, which he had protected against the Philistines, chap. xxiii.
Ver. 23. Saved. We will be as one soul. On this occasion David composed the 51st Psalm, Quid gloriaris, to reprobate the conduct of Doeg. (Salien) — We may consider David as the fourth in order of the sacred writers, as he appears after Moses, Josue, and Samuel. (Haydock)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
Many resort to David. Doeg accuseth Achimelech to Saul. He ordereth him and all the other priests of Nobe to be slain. Abiathar escapeth.
1 David *therefore went from thence, and fled to the cave of Odollam. And when his brethren, and all his father’s house, had heard of it, they went down to him thither.
2 And all that were in distress, and oppressed with debt, and under affliction of mind, gathered themselves unto him: and he became their prince, and there were with him about four hundred men.
3 And David departed from thence into Maspha of Moab: and he said to the king of Moab: Let my father and my mother tarry with you, I beseech thee, till I know what God will do for me.
4 And he left them under the eyes of the king of Moab, and they abode with him all the days that David was in the hold.
5 And Gad, the prophet, said to David: Abide not in the hold, depart, and go into the land of Juda. And David departed, and came into the forest of Haret.
6 And Saul heard that David was seen, and the men that were with him. Now whilst Saul abode in Gabaa, and was in the wood, which is by Rama, having his spear in his hand, and all his servants were standing about him,
7 He said to his servants that stood about him: Hear me now, ye sons of Jemini: will the son of Isai give every one of you fields, and vineyards, and make you all tribunes, and centurions:
8 That all of you have conspired against me, and there is no one to inform me, especially when even my son hath entered into league with the son of Isai? There is not one of you that pitieth my case, nor that giveth me any information: because my son hath raised up my servant against me, plotting against me to this day.
9 And Doeg, the Edomite, who stood by, and was the chief among the servants of Saul, answering, said: I saw the son of Isai, in Nobe, with Achimelech, the son of Achitob, the priest.
10 And he consulted the Lord for him, and gave him victuals, and gave him the sword of Goliath, the Philistine.
11 Then the king sent to call for Achimelech, the priest, the son of Achitob, and all his father’s house, the priests that were in Nobe, and they came all of them to the king.
12 And Saul said to Achimelech: Hear, thou son of Achitob. He answered: Here I am, my lord.
13 And Saul said to him: Why have you conspired against me, thou, and the son of Isai, and thou hast given him bread and a sword, and hast consulted the Lord for him, that he should rise up against me, continuing a traitor to this day.
14 And Achimelech answering the king, said: And who amongst all thy servants is so faithful as David, who is the king’s son-in-law, and goeth forth at thy bidding, and is honourable in thy house?
15 Did I begin to-day to consult the Lord for him? far be this from me: let not the king suspect such a thing against his servant, or any one in all my father’s house: for thy servant knew nothing of this matter, either little or great.
16 And the king said: Dying thou shalt die, Achimelech, thou and all thy father’s house.
17 And the king said to the messengers that stood about him: Turn, and kill the priests of the Lord, for their hand is with David, because they knew that he was fled, and they told it not to me. And the king’s servants would not put forth their hands against the priests of the Lord.
18 And the king said to Doeg: Turn thou, and fall upon the priests. And Doeg, the Edomite, turned, and fell upon the priests, and slew in that day eighty-five men that wore the linen ephod.
19 And Nobe, the city of the priests, he smote with the edge of the sword, both men and women, children and sucklings, and ox, and ass, and sheep, with the edge of the sword.
20 But one of the sons of Achimelech, the son of Achitob, whose name was Abiathar, escaped, and fled to David,
21 And told him that Saul had slain the priests of the Lord.
22 And David said to Abiathar: I knew that day when Doeg, the Edomite, was there, that without doubt he would tell Saul: I have been the occasion of the death of all the souls of thy father’s house.
23 Abide thou with me, fear not: for he that seeketh my life, seeketh thy life also, and with me thou shalt be saved.
1: Year of the World 2944.