David Aligns Himself with the Philistines
1 David thought to himself,#tn Heb “said to his heart.” “One of these days I’m going to be swept away by the hand of Saul! There is nothing better for me than to escape to the land of the Philistines. Then Saul will despair of searching for me through all the territory of Israel and I will escape from his hand.”
2 So David left and crossed over to King Achish son of Maoch of Gath accompanied by his six hundred men. 3 David settled with Achish in Gath, along with his men and their families.#tn Heb “a man and his house.” David had with him his two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelite and Abigail the Carmelite, Nabal’s widow. 4 When Saul learned that David had fled to Gath, he did not mount a new search for him.
5 David said to Achish, “If I have found favor with you, let me be given a place in one of the country towns so that I can live there. Why should your servant settle in the royal city with you?” 6 So Achish gave him Ziklag on that day. (For that reason Ziklag has belonged to the kings of Judah until this very day.) 7 The length of time#tn Heb “the number of the days.” that David lived in the Philistine countryside was a year#tn Heb “days.” The plural of the word “day” is sometimes used idiomatically to refer specifically to a year. In addition to this occurrence in v. 7 see also 1 Sam 1:3, 21; 2:19; 20:6; Lev 25:29; Judg 17:10. and four months.
8 Then David and his men went up and raided the Geshurites, the Girzites, and the Amalekites. (They had been living in that land for a long time, from the approach#tn Heb “from where you come.” to Shur as far as the land of Egypt.) 9 When David would attack a district,#tn Heb “the land.” he would leave neither man nor woman alive. He would take sheep, cattle, donkeys, camels, and clothing and would then go back to Achish. 10 When Achish would ask, “Where#tc The translation follows the LXX (ἐπι τίνα, epi tina) and Vulgate (in quem) which assume אֶל מִי (’el mi, “to whom”) rather than the MT אַל (’al, “not”). The MT makes no sense here. Another possibility is that the text originally had אַן (’an, “where”), which has been distorted in the MT to אַל. Cf. the Syriac Peshitta and the Targum, which have “where.” did you raid today?” David would say, “The Negev of Judah” or “The Negev of Jeharmeel” or “The Negev of the Kenites.” 11 Neither man nor woman would David leave alive so as to bring them back to Gath. He was thinking, “This way they can’t tell on us, saying, ‘This is what David did.’” Such was his practice the entire time#tn Heb “all the days.” that he lived in the country of the Philistines. 12 So Achish trusted David, thinking to himself,#tn Heb “saying.” “He is really hated#tn Heb “he really stinks.” The expression is used figuratively here to describe the rejection and ostracism that David had experienced as a result of Saul’s hatred of him. among his own people in#tc Many medieval Hebrew mss lack the preposition “in.” Israel! From now on#tn Heb “permanently.” he will be my servant.”