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Barnes' Notes on the Bible
1And Saul spake to Jonathan his son, and to all his servants, that they should kill David.
2But Jonathan Saul's son delighted much in David: and Jonathan told David, saying, Saul my father seeketh to kill thee: now therefore, I pray thee, take heed to thyself until the morning, and abide in a secret place, and hide thyself:
3And I will go out and stand beside my father in the field where thou art, and I will commune with my father of thee; and what I see, that I will tell thee.
4And Jonathan spake good of David unto Saul his father, and said unto him, Let not the king sin against his servant, against David; because he hath not sinned against thee, and because his works have been to theeward very good:
5For he did put his life in his hand, and slew the Philistine, and the LORD wrought a great salvation for all Israel: thou sawest it, and didst rejoice: wherefore then wilt thou sin against innocent blood, to slay David without a cause?
6And Saul hearkened unto the voice of Jonathan: and Saul sware, As the LORD liveth, he shall not be slain.
7And Jonathan called David, and Jonathan shewed him all those things. And Jonathan brought David to Saul, and he was in his presence, as in times past.
8And there was war again: and David went out, and fought with the Philistines, and slew them with a great slaughter; and they fled from him.
9And the evil spirit from the LORD was upon Saul, as he sat in his house with his javelin in his hand: and David played with his hand.
10And Saul sought to smite David even to the wall with the javelin; but he slipped away out of Saul's presence, and he smote the javelin into the wall: and David fled, and escaped that night.
David fled - This was the beginning of David's life as a fugitive and outcast, though for no "offence or fauIt" of his (Psalm 59:3, Prayer Book Version).
11Saul also sent messengers unto David's house, to watch him, and to slay him in the morning: and Michal David's wife told him, saying, If thou save not thy life to night, to morrow thou shalt be slain.
Saul's plan was to surround the house at night, and to have David killed as soon as he came abroad unsuspectingly in the morning.
12So Michal let David down through a window: and he went, and fled, and escaped.
13And Michal took an image, and laid it in the bed, and put a pillow of goats' hair for his bolster, and covered it with a cloth.
An image - "Teraphim" (see the margin), an image, or bust in human form, and as large as life, of a kind of household god, to the worship of which the Israelites, and especially women, were much addicted.
A pillow - It was probably a quilt or blanket of goats' hair and of common use as a bed-covering. Whether Michal drew it over the head of the teraphim, as if for warmth, and so covered it, or whether she disposed it about the head so as to look like hair, is not clear.
14And when Saul sent messengers to take David, she said, He is sick.
15And Saul sent the messengers again to see David, saying, Bring him up to me in the bed, that I may slay him.
16And when the messengers were come in, behold, there was an image in the bed, with a pillow of goats' hair for his bolster.
17And Saul said unto Michal, Why hast thou deceived me so, and sent away mine enemy, that he is escaped? And Michal answered Saul, He said unto me, Let me go; why should I kill thee?
Why should I kill thee? - To avert Saul's anger from herself, she pretended that David had threatened her life unless she facilitated his escape.
18So David fled, and escaped, and came to Samuel to Ramah, and told him all that Saul had done to him. And he and Samuel went and dwelt in Naioth.
No such place as Naioth (or Nevaioth) is known, but the word means "dwellings." Hence, it is considered that Naioth was the name of the collegiate residence of the prophets, in, or just outside, Ramah, to which Samuel removed with David from his own house, for greater safety, owing to the sanctity of the place and company.
19And it was told Saul, saying, Behold, David is at Naioth in Ramah.
20And Saul sent messengers to take David: and when they saw the company of the prophets prophesying, and Samuel standing as appointed over them, the Spirit of God was upon the messengers of Saul, and they also prophesied.
Samuel standing as appointed - Rather, "as Overseer, or leader."
21And when it was told Saul, he sent other messengers, and they prophesied likewise. And Saul sent messengers again the third time, and they prophesied also.
22Then went he also to Ramah, and came to a great well that is in Sechu: and he asked and said, Where are Samuel and David? And one said, Behold, they be at Naioth in Ramah.
To a great well - Some large well-known cistern at Sechu, the site of which is uncertain, which Saul passed on his way from Gibeah to Ramah.
23And he went thither to Naioth in Ramah: and the Spirit of God was upon him also, and he went on, and prophesied, until he came to Naioth in Ramah.
24And he stripped off his clothes also, and prophesied before Samuel in like manner, and lay down naked all that day and all that night. Wherefore they say, Is Saul also among the prophets?
Naked - i. e., without his robe and other outer garments, but only the shirt. Compare the marginal references.
The whole history affords another instance of the protection of God vouchsafed to His servants, which forms so frequent a topic of the Psalms of David.