1 Samuel 23:15
And David saw that Saul was come out to seek his life: and David was in the wilderness of Ziph in a wood.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(15) In a wood.—Some have understood this as a proper name, Horesh. There is no trace of the wood now. The land lost its ornament of trees centuries ago, through the desolating hand of man.—Van der Velde.

23:14-18 David made no attempt against Saul; he kept God's way, waited God's time, and was content to secure himself in woods and wildernesses. Let it make us think the worse of this world, which often gives such bad treatment to its best men: let it make us long for that kingdom where goodness shall for ever be in glory, and holiness in honour. We find Jonathan comforting David. As a pious friend, he directed him to God, the Foundation of his comfort. As a self-denying friend, he takes pleasure in the prospect of David's advancement to the throne. As a constant friend, he renewed his friendship with him. Our covenant with God should be often renewed, and therein our communion with him kept up. If the converse of one friend, at one meeting, gives comfort and strengthens our hearts, what may not be expected from the continual supports and powerful love of the Saviour of sinners, the covenanted Friend of believers!Ziph is placed between Hebron and En-gedi (marginal references). (The "wood" 1 Samuel 23:15 is by Conder taken as a proper name, "Cheresh," and identified with Khoreisa.) 1Sa 23:14-18. David Escapes to Ziph.

14, 15. David abode in the wilderness … of Ziph—A mountainous and sequestered region was generally called a wilderness, and took its name from some large town in the district. Two miles southeast of Hebron, and in the midst of a level plain, is Tell-ziph, an isolated and conical hillock, about a hundred feet high, probably the acropolis [Van De Velde], or the ruins [Robinson] of the ancient city of Ziph, from which the surrounding wilderness was called. It seems, anciently, to have been covered by an extensive woods. The country has for centuries lost its woods and forests, owing to the devastations caused by man.

David saw; either by information from his spies, or by prospect from the top of the mountain where he was. And David saw that Saul was come out to seek his life,.... Either he saw him with his bodily eyes from the top of the mountain where he was, 1 Samuel 23:14; or he perceived, he understood by information given him by his friends, it may be by Jonathan, or by spies he sent to observe his motions:

and David was in the wilderness of Ziph in a wood; where he and his men could hide themselves among the trees in it; sometimes he was in a mountain in this wilderness, and sometimes in a wood, where he thought himself the safest; thus was this great man obliged to shift about for his safety.

And David saw that Saul was come out to seek his life: and David was in the wilderness of Ziph in a wood.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
15. in a wood] The word chôresh translated “wood” in 1 Samuel 23:15-16; 1 Samuel 23:18-19 does not occur again in Samuel. Lieut. Conder argues from the dry unwatered character of the district that no wood of trees can ever have flourished there, and conjectures that Chôresh was a proper name with a different signification. He found the ruin of Khoreisa and the Valley of Hiresh in the neighbourhood of Ziph. It is perhaps too bold to assert that no wood can ever have existed, and it seems best to understand Chôresh as a quasi-proper name for a district overgrown with brushwood.But David heard that Saul was preparing mischief against him (lit. forging, החרישׁ, from הרשׁ; Proverbs 3:29; Proverbs 6:14, etc.), and he inquired through the oracle of the high priest whether the inhabitants of Keilah would deliver him up to Saul, and whether Saul would come down; and as both questions were answered in the affirmative, he departed from the city with his six hundred men, before Saul carried out his plan. It is evident from 1 Samuel 23:9-12, that when the will of God was sought through the Urim and Thummim, the person making the inquiry placed the matter before God in prayer, and received an answer; but always to one particular question. For when David had asked the two questions given in 1 Samuel 23:11, he received the answer to the second question only, and had to ask the first again (1 Samuel 23:12).
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