Go, I pray you, prepare yet, and know and see his place where his haunt is, and who has seen him there: for it is told me that he deals very subtly.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Numbers 21:20.
19-23. Then came up the Ziphites to Saul to Gibeah, saying, Doth not David hide himself with us?—From the tell of Ziph a panorama of the whole surrounding district is to be seen. No wonder, then, that the Ziphites saw David and his men passing to and fro in the mountains of the wilderness. Spying him at a distance when he ventured to show himself on the hill of Hachilah, "on the right hand of the wilderness," that is, the south side of Ziph, they sent in haste to Saul, to tell him of the lurking place of his enemy [Van De Velde].Prepare yet, to wit, the matter; inform yourselves certainly of things, and dispose them so that we may not be frustrated in our attempt.
Where his haunt is; in what cave, or wood, or mountain he is most frequently.
and know and see his place where his haunt is; or "foot" (s) is, where that steps and walks most frequently, not only get knowledge of it by information, but if they could get sight of it with their own eyes, that they might describe it more exactly:
and who hath seen him there; not only seen the place, but him in the place, and that often, that it may be certain it is the place he usually resorts to:
for it is told me that he dealeth very subtilly; sometimes he is seen in one place, and sometimes in another; he is here today, and elsewhere tomorrow; and by such crafty methods it is not easy to know where the place is, and where to be found; this Saul had information of from some, who knew the methods David took to keep it unknown where it was; or "it says to me"; my heart says so to me, as R. Isaiah interprets it; my mind suggests this to me, knowing the man, that he uses such wiles as these: or "he said to me", so Kimchi; when he was with me, and we were intimate, when I used to ask him how he smote the Philistines, so and so, and preserved himself from them; his answer was, "that he dealt very subtilly", he used a good deal of craftiness; and so I imagine he does now.Go, I pray you, prepare yet, and know and see his place where his haunt is, and who hath seen him there: for it is told me that he dealeth very subtilly.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)22. where his haunt is] Lit. “where his foot is.” Observe his tracks as you would those of a wild beast.1 Samuel 23:15-18, with the account of an attempt made by the noble-minded prince Jonathan, in a private interview with his friend David, to renew his bond of friendship with him, and strengthen David by his friendly words for the sufferings that yet awaited him. 1 Samuel 23:15, 1 Samuel 23:16 are to be connected together so as to form one period: "When David saw that Saul was come out ... and David was in the desert of Ziph, Jonathan rose up and went to David into the wood." חרשׁה, from חרשׁ, with ה paragogic, signifies a wood or thicket; here, however, it is probably a proper name for a district in the desert of Ziph that was overgrown with wood or bushes, and where David was stopping at that time. "There is no trace of this wood now. The land lost its ornament of trees centuries ago through the desolating hand of man" (v. de Velde). "And strengthened his hand in God," i.e., strengthened his heart, not by supplies, or by money, or any subsidy of that kind, but by consolation drawn from his innocence, and the promises of God (vid., Judges 9:24; Jeremiah 23:14). "Fear not," said Jonathan to him, "for the hand of Saul my father will not reach thee; and thou wilt become king over Israel, and I will be the second to thee; and Saul my father also knows that it is so." Even though Jonathan had heard nothing from David about his anointing, he could learn from David's course thus far, and from his own father's conduct, that David would not be overcome, but would possess the sovereignty after the death of Saul. Jonathan expresses here, as his firm conviction, what he has intimated once before, in 1 Samuel 20:13.; and with the most loving self-denial entreats David, when he shall be king, to let him occupy the second place in the kingdom. It by no means follows from the last words ("Saul my father knoweth"), that Saul had received distinct information concerning the anointing of David, and his divine calling to be king. The words merely contain the thought, he also sees that it will come. The assurance of this must have forced itself involuntarily upon the mind of Saul, both from his own rejection, as foretold by Samuel, and also from the marvellous success of David in all his undertakings.
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