For if a man find his enemy, will he let him go well away? why the LORD reward you good for that you have done to me this day.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
8-15. David also arose … and went out of the cave, and cried after Saul—The closeness of the precipitous cliffs, though divided by deep wadies, and the transparent purity of the air enable a person standing on one rock to hear distinctly the words uttered by a speaker standing on another (Jud 9:7). The expostulation of David, followed by the visible tokens he furnished of his cherishing no evil design against either the person or the government of the king, even when he had the monarch in his power, smote the heart of Saul in a moment and disarmed him of his fell purpose of revenge. He owned the justice of what David said, acknowledged his own guilt, and begged kindness to his house. He seems to have been naturally susceptible of strong, and, as in this instance, of good and grateful impressions. The improvement of his temper, indeed, was but transient—his language that of a man overwhelmed by the force of impetuous emotions and constrained to admire the conduct, and esteem the character, of one whom he hated and dreaded. But God overruled it for ensuring the present escape of David. Consider his language and behavior. This language—"a dead dog," "a flea," terms by which, like Eastern people, he strongly expressed a sense of his lowliness and the entire committal of his cause to Him who alone is the judge of human actions, and to whom vengeance belongs, his steady repulse of the vindictive counsels of his followers; the relentings of heart which he felt even for the apparent indignity he had done to the person of the Lord's anointed; and the respectful homage he paid the jealous tyrant who had set a price on his head—evince the magnanimity of a great and good man, and strikingly illustrate the spirit and energy of his prayer "when he was in the cave" (Ps 142:1).Will he let him go well away? i. e. he will certainly destroy him. And therefore thou hast not dealt with me after the manner of men, but hast imitated the clemency of God in this act.
wherefore the Lord reward thee good for that thou hast done unto me this day; he does not promise to reward him himself, but prays the Lord to reward him; and had he been sincere in it, he could not have done better for him. Some connect the former clause with this, after this manner, "if a man find his enemy, and let him go away, the Lord will reward him, the Lord reward thee", &c. so the Syriac and Arabic versions.For if a man find his enemy, will he let him go well away? wherefore the LORD reward thee good for that thou hast done unto me this day.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)19. find his enemy] Get him into his power. Cp. 1 Samuel 23:17; Psalm 21:8.
will he let him go well away] A negative answer is of course to be supplied. “No: yet thou hast done so to me: wherefore, &c.”Verse 19. - Will he let him go well away? Hebrew, "will he let him go on a good way?" i.e. will he let him go on his way in peace, unhurt? As David, nevertheless, had let his enemy go unharmed, Saul, touched momentarily by his generosity, prays that Jehovah will reward him for what he had done.
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