Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary
Odollam, about two days' journey from Geth, (Salien) nine miles east of Eleutheropolis, in the tribe of Juda. (Eusebius) (Calmet) --- Josue xii. 15., and 2 Machabees xii. 38. (Menochius) --- Thither, to avoid the fury of Saul, which fell so heavy upon the priests, ver. 16. The most warlike sons of Gad came hither also, to join David, 1 Paralipomenon xii. 8. (Abulensis) (Salien, the year of the world 2973.)
Men. His title to the crown was incontestable, so that he might justly make war, particularly in his own defence, and receive those who flocked to him to screen themselves from the persecution of Saul, and from their debtors, whom they would thus enable themselves to repay in time, by the plunder which they would take from the enemy. David maintained the strictest discipline, and withheld his men from making any disturbance, always manifesting the greatest respect for the person of the king. (Calmet) --- The soldiers of Jephte were of the same description as these of David, Judges xi. 3. (Haydock)
Of Moab, to distinguish it from the city of Benjamin, where Samuel had assembled the people; (Menochius) and perhaps also from the birth-place of Jephte, unless the Moabites had taken possession again of that part of Galaad. (Calmet) --- Saul had made war upon this king, so that he was more ready to protect David, who departing soon after, by the admonition of Gad, (ver. 5.; Calmet) left those who could not follow him under his care. In the mean time he lived on plunder, taken from the surrounding enemies, (Tostat) and was joined by 200 men from the tribes of Benjamin and of Juda, (1 Paralipomenon xii. 16,) with Amasai, his nephew, by his sister Abigail, at their head. (Salien, the year before Christ 1079.)
The hold. The strong hold, or fortress of Maspha. (Challoner) --- It signifies "a watch-tower." (Haydock) --- In this place the parents of David probably finished their days, as we find no farther mention of them. (Salien)
Haret, west of Jerusalem. Septuagint read "the town of Haret," (Eusebius) or "Sarec." (Menochius) --- Rama, "the height," in Gabaa. (Calmet) --- God would not suffer David and his followers to continue long among the infidels, for fear of danger. (Menochius) --- The hero shews his ready obedience to the word of the unknown prophet, and is willing again to expose himself in the midst of Saul's dominions. (Salien)
Jemini. Benjamites, my countrymen. Saul approaches them with being too little concerned about his interests, and falsely accuses his own son, who, it seems, had retired from court, after his father had attempted to kill him. But he shewed no signs of disloyalty. (Calmet) --- The king mentions the league between Jonathan and David, on suspicion, chap. xx. 23. (Menochius)
Servants, or herdsmen, chap. xxi. 7. Septuagint, "the Syrian, who was set over the mules of Saul." (Haydock) --- Informers are a set of men destructive to the public," says Tacitius, Hist. i. 4.
Consulted. Some think this was a falsehood, as it is not mentioned before. (Hugo) --- but Achimelech does not deny the fact, ver. 15. (Calmet)
Achitob. He gives him no honourable title, no more than David, (ver. 7, &c.) out of disrespect. (Menochius)
Faithful....and honourable, are titles given to people of great distinction at court, chap. ix. 6., Numbers xii. 7., and Genesis xxxiv. 19.
For him? We might read without an interrogation, "I have to-day begun...." (Chaldean) never suspecting that it would be disagreeable to the king. (Calmet) --- His character and his declarations, led me to conclude quite the contrary, so that I cannot lawfully be accused of any conspiracy. (Haydock)
Messengers. Hebrew, "runners." These officers remained at court and were people of great account, (Calmet) like the king's guards, 2 Kings xv. 1., and 3 Kings i. 5. (Haydock) --- Lord, out of reverence, and being convinced of their innocence. (Menochius) --- The obedience which we owe to superiors is subordinate to that which we must always shew towards God and justice. (Calmet) --- Saul unjustly condemned them as the abettors of his competitor. (Worthington)
Five. Josephus read "385." Septuagint, "305." --- Ephod. They all appeared in this dress, as they were priests. (Calmet) --- It was different from the sacred ephod. (Abulensis) --- Thus the posterity of Heli was almost entirely cut off, as God had threatened, chap. ii. (Du Hamel; Tirinus)
Sword. Saul, now abandoned God, acts against all law. He probably, on this occasion, destroyed the inhabitants of Gabaon, to make place for the tabernacle, which was removed hither. (Calmet) See chap. xxvii. 12. --- He might also appoint Achitob high priest, the father of Sadoc, who supplanted Abiathar, 1 Paralipomenon xii., and xvi. 29. (Tirinus)
Escaped. He had perhaps remained at Nobe, to do duty. (Menochius) --- God was pleased to reserve him, (Calmet) to convey the sacred ornaments of the high priest to David. (Haydock) --- St. Bachiarius looks upon the slaughtered priests as martyrs. (Tirinus)
House. Literally, "I am guilty," &c. (Haydock) --- "Good people acknowledge a fault, where there is none." (St. Gregory) --- David was aware of the malicious temper of Doeg, but he could not prevent its evil effects, as he had applied to the high priest without perceiving that he was there. (Haydock) --- He received Abiathar at Ceila, which he had protected against the Philistines, chap. xxii.
Saved. We will be as one soul. On this occasion David composed the 51st Psalm, Quid gloriaris, to reprobate the conduct of Doeg. (Salien) --- We may consider David as the fourth in order of the sacred writers, as he appears after Moses, Josue, and Samuel. (Haydock)