Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary
Engaddi, below Jericho, on the west side of the Dead Sea. It was famous for rocks and caverns. (Calmet)
Goats; an hyperbole. (Menochius) --- Hebrew, "upon the rocks of the wild goats." (Haydock)
Cotes. These were probably no other than the caverns, in which shepherds there secure themselves and their flocks, in the night, and from storms. (Tirinus) --- Some of them, in Syria, are so capacious as to contain 4,000 men, (Strabo xvi.) so that David might well remain unperceived by Saul, who did not enter so far. Polyphemus and Cacus dwelt in caverns, with their flocks. (Virgil, Æneid viii.) --- Nature. Hebrew, "to cover his feet," which has the same import. Syriac and Arabic, "to rest, or sleep."
Eyes. This might have been spoken by Gad, or Samuel; (Menochius) or they only mean that this is a most favourable opportunity. Some think that David ought to have embraced it, and put an end to these troubles, by the death of the usurper. But this was not the opinion of David; and God, who had promised him the throne, had not authorized him to lay violent hands on Saul. He might act on the defensive, but not be the aggressor. (Tirinus) --- Arose, with an intention to kill his unjust persecutor, ver. 11. --- Robe, to convince him how easily he might have taken away his life. (St. Augustine, de C. [City of God?] xii. 6.) --- The noise of Saul's attendants hindered him from being perceived. Perhaps Saul might have put off his robe. (Menochius) --- St. Chrysostom observes, the David obtained more glory by sparing Saul than by killing Goliath. (Tirinus) --- Clemency makes a man like God. (Cicero)
Heart struck him; viz., with remorse, as fearing he had done amiss. (Challoner) --- A tender conscience is uneasy about things which are not sinful, while some stick at nothing. (Worthington) --- The action of David seemed disrespectful. (Calmet) --- "The subjects of kings adore the royal name as a divinity." (Curtius vii.) Regium nomen....pro deo colunt.
Anointed. He was chosen by God, and to be judge by him. (Calmet) --- Reges in ipsos imperium est Jovis. (Horace) --- David was not to mount the throne, till Saul was removed, by God's ordinance. (Worthington)
A thought to kill thee. That is, a suggestion, to which I did not consent. (Challoner) --- Hebrew, "and he spoke to kill thee, and he has pardoned thee; and he said, I will not," &c. (Calmet) --- Protestants, "and some bade me kill thee, but mine eye spared thee, and I said." Septuagint, "and I would not kill thee, and I spared thee, and said," &c. (Haydock)
Father. He had married Saul's daughter; (Menochius) and the king ought to be the common father of his people. (Haydock)
Revenge me of thee; or, as it is in the Hebrew, will revenge me. The meaning is, that he refers his whole cause to God, to judge and punish according to his justice; yet so as to keep himself, in the mean time, from all personal hatred to Saul, or desire of gratifying his own passion, by seeking revenge. So far from it, that when Saul was afterwards slain, we find that, instead of rejoicing at his death, he mourned most bitterly for him. (Challoner) --- If it be lawful to seek redress from a magistrate, much more may we appeal to the Sovereign Judge! (Menochius)
Thee: the tree is known by its fruit. If therefore I have behaved in this manner, no longer trust the reports of others against me. (Calmet) --- The wicked, if left to themselves, will be their own tormentors. He may thus indirectly threaten Saul, as iniquity is often put for punishment. (Menochius) --- The wicked shall at last open thier eyes, and be reclaimed. (Rabbins ap. Munster.) --- David entertained hopes that even Saul would now be convinced of his innocence. (Haydock)
Dog. This expression is still used to denote a contemptible person, 2 Kings xvi. 9. What honour can so great a king derive, from gaining the victory over a man unarmed? &c. (Calmet)
Voice. He was at such a distance, as not to be able to distinguish his features. --- Wept. The greatest reprobates may sometimes feel sentiments of compunction, so that we need not here doubt of Saul's sincerity. (Calmet) --- He might otherwise have turned upon David with his 3,000, and easily have seized his prey. (Haydock)
Father. David complied with this request as far as he was able: but, as God was resolved to punish the posterity of Saul, for the injury done to the Gabaonites, he was forced to give them all up, except Miphiboseth, the son of Jonathan. (Calmet) --- He could not promise to defend them, if they proved guilty.