Useful Bible Studies > 1 Samuel Commentary > chapter 21

Gath in Philistia

1 Samuel 21:10

David went from Nob, the chief priestís town, to Gath in Philistia. He was looking for a place where he could live safely. He had to leave Israel because King Saul had made plans to kill him.

However, it may surprise us to read that he went at once to Gath. Goliath, whom David killed, was from Gath (17:4). Gath was one of the five main towns in Philistia. As a commander in Israelís army, David had fought several battles against Philistiaís men (18:27; 18:30; 19:8).

Clearly, Saul would be unable to attack David in Gath. During Saulís life, there was constant war between his army and Philistiaís army (14:52). However, David clearly had many other enemies in Gath.

It seems likely, therefore, that God sent David to Gath. Ahimelech, the chief priest, had inquired of God on Davidís behalf (22:10). So probably, God told David that he would be safe in Gath.

Perhaps the explanation of these things is the character of Achish, king of Gath. We will read more about him when David returned to Gath in 1 Samuel chapters 27 and 29.

Achish very much wanted people to be loyal to him. It did not matter to him whether those people were foreigners or from his own nation. If people were loyal to him, he would support them. He would speak on their behalf and he would do anything necessary to defend them. When he supported someone, nobody else in Gath would dare to attack that person.

It seems that the people in Gath learned the importance of those loyal attitudes. When David returned to Gath, he made many friends there. When he became Israelís king, men from Gath were among his most loyal soldiers (2 Samuel 15:18-22).

Next part: David pretends that his mind is ill (1 Samuel 21:11-15)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.