XXIV Saul pursues David to Engedi, ver. 1, 2. David cuts off his skirt, ver. 3-7. He reasons with Saul, ver. 8-15. Saul owns his fault, and returns home, ver. 16-22
Verse 2. Rocks - Which the wild goats used to delight in and climb over. These very rocks are exceeding steep, and full of precipices, and dangerous to travelers, as an eye-witness hath left upon record. And yet Saul was so transported with rage, as to venture himself and his army here, that he might take David, who, as he thought, would judge himself safe, and therefore be secure in such inaccessible places.
Verse 3. Went in - To sleep there: Saul being a military man, used to sleep with his soldiers upon the ground. And it is not improbable, that being weary with his eager and almost incessant pursuit, first of David, then of the Philistines, and now of David again, he both needed and desired some sleep, God also disposing him thereto, that David might have this eminent occasion to demonstrate his integrity to Saul, and to all Israel. Of the cave - For that there were vast caves in those parts is affirmed, not only by Josephus, but also by Heathen authors; Strabo writes of one which could receive four thousand men.
Verse 4. Behold, &c. - Not that God had said these words, or made any such promise; but they put this construction upon those promises which God had made to him, of delivering him from all his enemies, and carrying him through all difficulties to the throne. This promise they conceived put him under an obligation of taking all opportunities which God put into his hand for their accomplishment.
Verse 10. Mine eye - The eye is said to spare, because it affects the heart with pity, and moves a man to spare.
Verse 12. Will avenge - If thou persistest in thy injuries and cruel designs against me.
Verse 13. Wickedness, &c. - That is, wicked men will do wicked actions, among which this is one, to kill their sovereign Lord and king; and therefore if I were so wicked a person as thy courtiers represent me, I should make no conscience of laying violent hands upon thee.
Verse 16. Thy voice - He knew his voice, though being at a great distance from him, he could not discern his face. Wept - From the sense of his sin against God, and his base carriage to David. He speaks as one quite overcome with David's kindness, and as one that relents at the sight of his own folly and ingratitude.
Verse 17. More righteous than I - He ingenuously acknowledges David's integrity, and his own iniquity.
Verse 19. The Lord reward thee - Because he thought himself not able to recompense so great a favour, he prays God to recompense it.
Verse 22. Unto the hold - Of En-gedi, ver. 1, for having had by frequent experience of Saul's inconstancy, he would trust him no more.