1 Samuel 27:7
And the time that David dwelt in the country of the Philistines was a full year and four months.
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(7) A full year and four months.—Keil calls attention to the exact statement of time here as a proof of the historical character of the whole narrative. The Hebrew expression, translated “a year,” is a singular one: yamim—literally, days—a collective term, used in Leviticus 25:29, 1Samuel 1:3; 1Samuel 2:19, &c., to signify a term or period of days which amounted to a full year. This year and four months were among the darkest days of David’s life. He was sorely tried, it is true; but he had adopted the very course his bitterest foes would have wished him to select. In open arms, apparently leagued with the deadliest foes of Israel, like an Italian condottiere or captain of free lances of the Middle Ages, he had taken service and accepted the wages of that very Philistine city whose champion he once had slain in the morning of his career. At last his enemies at the court of Saul had reason when they spoke of him as a traitor. From the curt recital in this chapter, which deals with the saddest portion of David’s career, we shall see that while he apparently continued to make common cause with the enemies of his race, he still used his power to help, and not to injure, his countrymen; but the price he paid for his patriotism was a life of falsehood, stained, too, with deeds of fierce cruelty, shocking even in these rough, half-barbarous times.

27:1-7 Unbelief is a sin that easily besets even good men, when without are fightings, and within are fears; and it is a hard matter to get over them. Lord, increase our faith! We may blush to think that the word of a Philistine should go further than the word of an Israelite, and that the city of Gath should be a place of refuge for a good man, when the cities of Israel refuse him a safe abode. David gained a comfortable settlement, not only at a distance from Gath, but bordering upon Israel, where he might keep up a correspondence with his own countrymen.Ziklag - This was properly one of the cities of Simeon within the tribe of Judah (marginal references), but it had been taken possession of by the Philistines. The exact situation of it is uncertain.

Unto this day - This phrase, coupled with the title the kings of Judah, implies that this was written after the revolt of Jeroboam, and before the Babylonian captivity.

6. Ziklag—Though originally assigned to Judah (Jos 15:31), and subsequently to Simeon (Jos 19:5), this town had never been possessed by the Israelites. It belonged to the Philistines, who gave it to David. Heb. days and four months; days being put for a year; as Leviticus 25:29. Or, some days and four months, i.e. some days above four months. Or, some days and (for even, or that is, the conjunction and being oft so used, as hath been proved above) four months.

And the time that David dwelt in the country of the Philistines,.... At Gath and Ziklag:

was a full year and four months; or "days and four months"; days being sometimes put for a year, Judges 17:10; though some interpret it not of a year, but of some few days out of the fifth month, besides the four months; so Jarchi and Kimchi; and Josephus (h) makes his abode to be four months and twenty days; but, according to the Septuagint and Vulgate Latin versions, it was only four months; and so it may be rendered, "days, that is, four months"; for according to the Jewish chronology (i) Samuel died four months before Saul, and this flight of David was after the death of Samuel, and when Saul died he left the land of the Philistines, and took the throne of Judah; See Gill on 1 Samuel 25:1.

(h) Antiqu. l. 6. c. 13. sect. 10. (i) Sepher Olam Rabba c. 13. p. 37.

And the time that David dwelt in the country of the Philistines was a full year and four months.
7. a full year and four months] The Sept. reading “four months” is improbable, though the Heb. might be rendered “a space of time, even four months.” Ch. 1 Samuel 29:3 implies a much longer residence. “In this city David laid the foundation of his kingdom. Here he could already rule with greater freedom and independence, collect fugitives and deserters around him in larger and larger numbers, send or receive embassies like a prince (1 Samuel 30:26-31), and as a ruler over soldiers and peaceable citizens rehearse, on a small scale, those arts by which he afterwards acquired and maintained his great kingdom.” Ewald, Hist. of Israel, III. 101. Here a band of archers and slingers from Saul’s own tribe joined him, together with men from the southern towns of Judah, and from Manasseh (1 Chronicles 12:1-7; 1 Chronicles 12:20-22).

Verse 7. - A full year. Hebrew, "days." Rashi argues in favour of its meaning some days, and Josephus says the time of David's stay in Philistia was "four months and twenty days;" but already in 1 Samuel 1:3; 1 Samuel 2:19, we have had the phrase "from days day-ward in the sense of yearly, and comp. Leviticus 25:29; Judges 17:10; also Judges 19:2, where the A.V. translates the Hebrew days four months as meaning "four months" only. Probably, as here, it is a year and four months, though the omission of the conjunction is a difficulty. So too for "after a time" (Judges 14:8) it should be "after a year" - Hebrew, after days. EXPEDITIONS OF DAVID FROM ZIKLAG (vers. 8-12). 1 Samuel 27:7The statement that David remained a year and four months in the land of the Philistines, is a proof of the historical character of the whole narrative. The ימים before the "four months" signifies a year; strictly speaking, a term of days which amounted to a full year (as in Leviticus 25:29 : see also 1 Samuel 1:3, 1 Samuel 1:20; 1 Samuel 2:19).
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