April 10, 2001

Notice: The following combines two files, so it may be a little messed up.

1 Samuel 23

In chapter 22, Saul was determined to destroy David, and even destroyed Nop, a city of priests. Abiathar escaped, and came to David, bringing the Ephod with him.

Vv. 1-6

This chapter opens with the Philistines fighting against Keilah, and robing the threshingfloors. David heard of the Philistines' activity against Keilah, and desired to go deliver the people from the oppression of the Philistines. Before going, however, he asked the Lord if he should go, and the Lord told him to go. However, David's men were cautious, saying that if they had reason to fear in Judah, how much more reason to fear attacking the Philistines. David checked again with the Lord, and the Lord confirmed the command to go fight the Philistines, and the Lord would deliver them into David's hand. So they went, killed the Philistines with a great slaughter, took away their live stock, and delivered Keilah from the oppression of the Philistines.

V. 1, the Philistines fight...

God had told (through Gad, 22:5) David to go into Judah, and here is why. God knew the Philistines were coming against them, and they would need someone to protect them. God knows the future now, and if we will let Him lead us, hHe will prepare us, and have us at the right place at the right time.

V. 2, David enquired of the Lord before the ephod came to him.
We don't need any special "equipment" to enquire of the Lord. Through the Son of David, we have free access to the Father, and we are told to enquire with him about everything.

Though David had had great success in the past against the Philistines under Saul, this was his first effort against them on his own.

NOTE the importance of not taking anything for granted. Though we may have been able to do something in the
past, that does not mean that God is for it in the present.

The Lord said "Do it." Notice this is David's first battle on his own against the Philistines. 1 Samuel 11:6 was Saul's first battle, and the first time he went against the enemy (Amminites), note what motivated him — and his anger was kindled greatly. Saul called the nation together out of anger and did not check with the Lord. They came, and there was a victory over Ammon, but defeat for Saul. Pride was exalted, and Saul was cast down.

David checked with the Lord, v. 3, 23:3, yet even then, his men said, "We have enough problems with our own people here in Judah, so why stir up the Philistines for even more problems?"

V. 3, the men expressed their fear to David, so David enquired of the Lord yet again.

NOTE there is nothing wrong with fear as long as it draws us closer to the Lord, and does not hinder our obedience to the Lord. It simply caused them to enquire further of the Lord to make sure. Certainly, a one time command from God should be sufficient, but the Lord also realizes we are nothing but dust. It is better to check twice than not to check at all.

V. 4, David checked again with the Lord, and He again said, "Go."

Where Saul was motivated by anger, David was motivated by the word of God. It looks like it is better to fear something and then move because God directs in it, than to have so much confidence that we move withoiut God's direction, although BOTH have the same results – victory over God's enemies.

Saul had victory, motivated by anger. Personal motives.
David had victory, motivated by obedience to the word of God.

Both had victory, but David ended up with the everlasting covenant, while Saul ended up with a troubling spirit, an evil spirit from the Lord.

Vv. 5, 6. Of course, God gave a great victory, and David's army gained much spoil. Even though David was cut off from the house of the Lord, the Lord came to him, as he obeyed God.

Notice: If David had been able to go to the house of the Lord, Abiathar would not have come to him. We cannot lay out of church and expect to have the same direction from God as we can in church,. But if we are physically prevented from the house of the Lord, He will make provision. God will provide the needed grace as we do what we can.

This section has a simple statement in it that is a key in God turning the kingdom over to David.

6 And it came to pass, when Abiathar the son of Ahimelech fled to David to Keilah, that he came down with an ephod in his hand.


Something girt, a sacred vestment worn originally by the high priest #Ex 28:4 afterwards by the ordinary priest #1Sa 22:18 and characteristic of his office #1Sa 2:18,28 14:3 It was worn by Samuel, and also by David #2Sa 6:14 It was made of fine linen, and consisted of two pieces, which hung from the neck, and covered both the back and front, above the tunic and outer garment #Ex 28:31 That of the high priest was embroidered with divers colours. The two pieces were joined together over the shoulders (hence in Latin called superhumerale) by clasps or buckles of gold or precious stones, and fastened round the waist by a "curious girdle of gold, blue, purple, and fine twined linen" #Ex 28:6-12 The breastplate, with the Urim and Thummim, was attached to the ephod.

The ephod had attached to it the Urim and Thummim.

Urim = Lights [Vulg. "doctrina;" LXX. "revelation"].


Perfection (LXX., "truth;" Vulg., "veritas"), #Ex 28:30 De 33:8 #Jud 1:1 20:18 1Sa 14:3,18 23:9 2Sa 21:1 What the "Urim and Thummim" were cannot be determined with any certainty. All we certainly know is that they were a certain divinely-given means by which God imparted, through the high priest, direction and counsel to Israel when these were needed. The method by which this was done can be only a matter of mere conjecture. They were apparently material objects, quite distinct from the breastplate, but something added to it after all the stones had been set in it, something in addition to the breastplate and its jewels. They may have been, as some suppose, two small images, like the teraphim (comp.) #Jud 17:5 18:14,17,20 Ho 3:4 which were kept in the bag of the breastplate, by which, in some unknown way, the high priest could give forth his divinely imparted decision when consulted. They were probably lost at the destruction of the temple by Nebuchadnezzar. They were never seen after the return from captivity.

Thus, the Urim and Thummim, which were attached to the ephod were divinely-given by God as a means of determining God's will in particular situations.


The important point here is that with the few simple words of v. 6, God transferred His presence from the house of Saul to the house of David. Divine Providence brought the ephod to David.

But Providence did not bring the ephod to David until Saul drove the Lord away from him by killing the high priest and all of his family, and destroying the city.

Also notice who brought the ephod, Abiathar. Abiathar was under the curse placed against Eli and his descendants. Abiathar was appointed high priest later by David, yet when David died, Abiathar sided with Adonijah against Solomon, and the priesthood passed from Eli's line, in fulfillment of prophecy, to Zadok.

Question: Though the curse was against Abiathar, did he have a choice as to who he would support after David's death?

Note how easy it is to pass over a key thing in Scripture. Sometimes God says things many times to emphasize their importance, but other times, He just mentions an important and key event in passing.

V. 6, as a result of Saul destroying the city of the priests, Abiathar fled for his life. In fleeing, he picked up the ephod, and thus Divine Providence delivered the ephod to David.

In the midst of the worse turmoil possible, the destruction of one's home and all his family, the Lord worked His Diving purpose – that is, He delivered an important sign of His presence and guidance to David.

We should also note that Saul seemingly had no concern about the loss of the ephod, for his attention was on killing David.

Vv. 7-14.

V. 7, Saul no doubt heard of David's victory, but Saul was more interested in advancing his own cause and securing his own purpose.

Psalms 35:12 They rewarded me evil for good to the spoiling of my soul.
Psalms 109:5 5 And they have rewarded me evil for good, and hatred for my love.

Note what has happened: When David first went to Saul, when he went out to fight and God gae the victory, the people sang his praises. Now he goes into the same battle and God again gives the victory, but the people now seek to kill him, even going as far as (v. 7) claiming it is God's will to kill David. Think of how confusing this is to the unsaved. One man claims to be in Gods' will (David), and the other man (Saul) seeking to kill him while also claiming to be in God's will. ]

We see this all around us today – to completely different doctrines claiming to be "straight from God," and from outward appearances, Saul seems to be the one in God's will: 1) he is king. 2) the people follow him. 3) Saul fights the enemies (28, 29). 4) he keeps David on the run.

But he is not of God. What is the difference? How can the heathen (and God's people, for that matter) tell the difference between Saul and David.

This is hard, but there is a difference, which is found in 23:2, 4, 10, 11-15. David enquires of the Lord, but Saul does not. 23:7, 21.

David operates upon the FINAL authority of the word of God.
Saul operates upon circumstances and personal feellings.

Only an honest examination of the Word of God will establish the difference. Of course, this is exactly what is taught in Hebrews 4;12. But the problem is that such a large persentage of people lay aside the word of God for circumstances and feelings, as Saul did, that they think nothing of the spiritual leaders laying aside the word of God.

Saul claims it is of God to kill David because circumstances line up, and it makes him feel good. It seems to be the right thing to do — God hath delivered him, v. 7.

David is afraid to move unless he can get a clear directive from God's word. This is really made clear in chapter 24, where David had the circumstances line up to kill Saul. Saul would have said, "This is of God; the Lord had delivered David to me to kill. But David said, "Regardless of the circumstances, it is not according to God's word." (24:6)

Both claim to be in the will of God: David, vv. 2, 4, &c., and Saul, vv. 7, 21, &c. Saul uses circumstances and feelings to determine what is the will of God.

While David must see and hear God speak before he will accept it as the will of God. The person who cannot will not accept the word of God as the final authority is in for serious trouble. Saul fell on his own sword. That person will seek to destroy the one who does use the word of God as the final authority because "David" will expose that the relationship with God is built on experience and circumstances.

April 26, 2001

V. 9, Saul hears that David is at Keilah, and Saul sees that as God's deliverance of David into his hand. So Saul gathers his army to go besiege Keilah to get David. David knew of Saul's mischief against him, so he asked of the Lord what will take place, and if he should leave. The Lord told David that Saul would come, and that the men of the city would deliver him to Saul, so David left town, telling all his men that it was "every man for himself." They all scattered, and David escaped from Saul, to Saul's great disappointment.

As Saul desired to do David in, David sought the Lord. The majority of the people were on Saul's side. (V. 12.) Danger of Democratic rule, rule by the majority. The majority will not want a man who walks according to the word of God. It will always chose feelings and experience over the word of God. Reason we must have rule by law – Republic. Anything less will persecute David. We, in our lives, must have rule by law – The written law of God. Do we have the clear, plane teaching of God's word before making decisions.

V. 10, two questions put to God:
1) Will Saul come to Keilah looking for me.
Yes. And no one could answer this but the Lord.

2) V. 11, will the men of Keilah deliver me and my men to Saul.
Yes. If David had asked the men of the city, they maybe would have denied this, and maybe even have meant it in their hearts. They may well have had good intentions of protecting David, but God knew that when the pressure was on and they faced their own destruction over David, they would turn David in.

The Lord alone knows the heart of men. This is the reason we must seek God's face and his word in working with people and when making decisions. Again, this is Hebrews 4:12. The word of God reveals the thoughts and intents of the heart, and David knew what he was talking about in Psalms 119:98, when he said the word of God makes me wiser than my enemies (or friends, instructors, &c.)

V. 13, they scattered from the area based upon the word of God, and Saul gives up. Only God knows what the enemy will do.


1) David heard that the Philistines were robing the threshingfloors, so he went to help. Obviously, Saul heard the same news, but he took no action against the Philistines.

2) David's men were fearful, but followed David anyway, knowing that he followed the Lord.

3) Saul was motivated by the thought of catching a man who was not his enemy, David. He did not gather his army against the Philistines, but against David.

4) Saul heard that David went to relieve Keilah from Philistine oppression, and he moved to catch David. Saul was intent on destroying David because of his envy and jealousy. And thus he probably saw David's move in defense of Keilah as a further threat to his power and authority.

5) Saul called together his army. I wonder if the call went out under pretense of defending Keilah? V. 9, implies that Saul's plans were secret, telling the people one thing with the intent of doing another. Though Saul's motives were secret from others, they were not hidden from God.

Amos 3:7 Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.

6) But David knew Saul's secret plans?

[V. 14.] (e) No power nor policy can prevail against God's children, but when he appoints the time. (Geneva)

Isaiah 54:17 No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.

God's providential care of David from the all-out efforts of Saul prove the above statement. And what a wonderful promise to those who love the Lord.

7) Knowing of Saul's intentions, David called for the ephod to be brought to him, so he could check find God's direction for him.

Matthew Henry rightly comments:

We have the scriptures, those lively oracles, in our hands; let us take advice from them in doubtful cases.

"Bring hither the Bible."

1. David's address to God upon this occasion is,

(1.) Very solemn and reverent. Twice he calls God the Lord God of Israel, and thrice calls himself his servant, # 1Sa 23:10,11. Those that address God must know their distance, and who they are speaking to.

(2.) Very particular and express. His representation of the case is so (#1Sa 23:10):

"Thy servant has certainly heard on good authority" (for he would not call for the ephod upon every idle rumour) "that Saul has a design upon Keilah;" he does not say, "to destroy me," but, "to destroy the city" (as he had lately done the city of Nob) "for my sake."

He seems more solicitous for their safety than for his own, and will expose himself any where rather than they shall be brought into trouble by his being among them. Generous souls are thus minded. His queries upon the case are likewise very particular. God allows us to be so in our addresses to him:

"Lord, direct me in this matter, about which I am now at a loss."

He does indeed invert the due order of his queries, but God in his answer puts him into method. That question should have been put first, and was first answered,

"Will Saul come down, as thy servant has heard?" "Yea," says the oracle, "he will come down; he has resolved it, is preparing for it, and will do it, unless he hear that thou hast quitted the town." "Well, but if he do come down will the men of Keilah stand by me in holding the city against him, or will they open to him the gates, and deliver me into his hand?"

If he had asked the men (the magistrates or elders) of Keilah themselves what they would do in that case, they could not have told him, not knowing their own minds, nor what they should do when it came to the trial, much less which way the superior vote of their council would carry it; or they might have told him they would protect him, and yet afterwards have betrayed him; but God could tell him infallibly:

"When Saul besieges their city, and demands of them that they surrender thee into his hands, how fond soever they now seem of thee, as their saviour, they will deliver thee up rather than stand the shock of Saul's fury."


[1.] God knows all men better than they know themselves, knows their length, their strength, what is in them, and what they will do if they come into such and such circumstances.

[2.] He therefore knows not only what will be, but what would be if it were not prevented; and therefore knows how to deliver the godly out of temptation, and how to render to every man according to his works.

2. David, having thus far notice given him of his danger, quitted Keilah, #1Sa 23:13. His followers had now increased in number to 600; with these he went out, not knowing whither he went, but resolving to follow Providence and put himself under its protection. This broke Saul's measures. He thought God had delivered David into his hand, but it proved that God delivered him out of his hand, as a bird out of the snare of the fowler. When Saul heard that David had escaped from Keilah, he forbore to go forth with the body of the army, as he intended (#1Sa 23:8), and resolved to take only his own guards, and go in quest of his people's enemies and turn their counsels head-long.

8) Saul called together his army under the pretense of obeying God (defend Keilah against the Philistines), though his purpose was to pursue his personal goal of destroying David.

How many wars have been fought and men killed under the guise of a just cause, yet the cause was simply to support those in power, a tyrant, or to pursue a personal goal?

MH points out that Saul greatly abused the God of Israel. In other words, he used the pretext of serving God to cover his own evil designs. How many today do that very thing? Only the Lord knows the heart, but knowing human nature, for I have one, a vast majority of religious works are done out of self-promotion or obtaining what the individual wants. I'm afraid that abusing the God of Israel to obtain personal goals is far more prevalent than we would like to admit, but only the Lord knows the inner most motives of people.

9) Saul connects God with his cause. (MH.) Again, how like the fallen nature. When our cause is strong enough, we will find a way to justify it; we will find a way to put God approval upon it.

So how do we separate God's causes in our lives from our own personal causes? The two causes are easily confused, for both bring with them, among other things, strong motivations.

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Only the word of God as used by the Spirit of God can separate the two, for it alone can discern, judge, the thoughts and intent of the heart.

Thus those who fail to study Scripture are easy prey for getting pursuing wrong causes, regardless of how pure one's intentions might be.

How many have I met who are clearly on the wrong path, yet they are convienced they are doing as God would have them do.

April 28, 2001

Note: I went to Bettie's church last Sunday, where they had a "reception" for us that evening. As we spoke a short time that evening, the pastor asked me about the morning service, commenting that their "worship" services were different. I agreed, for they had over an hour of announcements and "worship" songs, and then he spoke for about 15 minutes. He commented that it took some time to change the services. In other words, he said (this is my impression, anyway) that he intentionally changed the services to emphasize "worship" songs. MY POINT is this – it seemed that his cause now is to have a good number in church, which he did. And it appears he intentionally relegated the Word of God to a back seat to have that good number. Yet when we had spoken earlier about Bettie and me, he spoke about how much their group of Churches in VA were working to get back to the word of God. Their definition of returning to the word of God and mine are quite different.

10) God hath delivered him into my hand. "as if he who was rejected of God were in this instance owned and favoured by him, and David infatuated." (MH)

How many look at circumstances that line up with their personal desires, and see those circumstances line up, and thus assume that God is in it?

How I remember the young man from Merrywoods who went to Hyles Anderson College. He told Carol and I that he was taking a church because the circumstances had lined up and he wanted to do it. However, when I confronted him with the Scripture (show me the Scripture upon which you are acting), he could not do it.

Circumstances lined up here for Saul, or so it seemed, and he took it for the hand of God. It wasn't God's hand. It was simply Saul's consuming desire for this sin that caused him to see God's hand in it.

Of course, it is not uncommon at all to desire something so badly that we will see God's hand in it regardless of what the word of God says.

He impiously connects God with his cause, because he thought he had gained one point. (MH)

11) David was told to fight against the Philistines, but told to flee from Saul, thought he probably could have defeated Saul. Good advice. It is better to suffer wrongly than to fight against a "brother."

12) V. 13, David now has about 600 men, having only about 400 men at the cave of Adullam, 1 Samuel 22:12. And thus as David both evades a fellow "Christian" and fights battles with the Philistines, God gives him a good increase. And thus rather than godly conflicts decreasing the size of true Church, they increase it, and God gives the increase.

13) V. 13, David escapes Saul's efforts, and Saul loses interest in the city of Keilah; his enemy is no longer there.

14) It is sad that even after David delivered Keilah from the Philistines, a feat Saul would not attempt, they were still willing to turn David over to Saul. They were more interested in their own hides than in what was right.

I have met more than a few ungrateful people over the years. Even after I have gone greatly out of my way to help them, they turn and go another way.

Conclusion of this section:

I have found that there are those who seem to get more "pleasure" from pursuing other of God's people than they do pursuing the enemies of the cross. It is not unusual to receive better treatment at the hands of the unsaved than the treatment I receive from God's people. What a terrible commentary against Christians.

Psalms 135:1 ¶ <<A Song of degrees of David.>> Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! 2 It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; 3 As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.


A) Unity in opinion, judgment – common doctrine and system of truth.
B) Unity in affection – one heart and one love, and that being for the Lord and His work and people.
C) Unity in duty – doing that which is the good and perfect will of God.

1 Corinthians 3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.
2 Corinthians 6:1 We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.

However, our problem is that few will unite on the common ground of truth—that is, God's total word. The divisions come over the idea of what is truth. Only the Spirit of God, and the day is coming, can work in hearts to unite at the common ground of truth. In other words, He must teach His people the truth, and when He teaches it, it will be a common teaching. Men are inclined, and we all do it, to understand truth according to their own notions, which differ wildly.

We must note that only the Spirit can reveal the truth to individuals, and the day is coming when He will unite "Christendom" around a common understanding of the truth.

Personal Note, April 26, 2001

Bettie and I united first of all in our common understanding of the truth. Thus, our common agreement concerning doctrine was established before any other area was considered.

Vv. 14-18

David hid from Saul as Saul searched everywhere for him, every day. Though Saul searched, God hid David. David knew he was being pursued by Saul, and took the proper precautions. Saul's son, Jonathan, came to David in hiding, and spoke encouraging words to David, even saying that he father would not find him. In fact, Jonathan knew and confessed that God's hand was upon David, and that David would have the throne. He also told David that Saul knew that David would have the throne. Jonathan continually assured David of his support, and was confident that he would be at David's side in the kingdom. V. 18, they renewed the covenant they had made previously.

V. 14, David does not seek Saul or even desire vengeance on him in any way. He would rather hide in the caves in the wilderness than go against the word of God. Saul searches the caves rather than follow the word of God, and leave well enough alone.

Saul rejected God (15:23.), so now the only thing he has to operate on is his feelings, emotions, experiences and circumstances. Because in rejecting God and His word as the final authority, God rejected him. God no longer speaks to him nor guides him.

Saul sought David
David hides in the wilderness
David learns to depend upon the Lord for his protection, not on the 600 men or even the men in the cities.

V. 16, Jonathan came to encourage him.

Strengthened his hand in the Lord.

Remember, David is being prepared to lead Israel to the heights of her glory.

David could not learn this utter dependance upon the Lord in the palace or with Saul's army around him, him being the captain. So Saul ran him off.
Nor with 600 men around him, willing to protect him, so they were scattered, 23:13.
Nor inside a walled city with the men committed to defend him, so they were going to deliver him.

We learn to trust God in the wilderness where we are forced to trust the Lord to protect us even while we sleep. The Lord delivered him not into Saul's hands, v. 14. Safety is of the Lord,

The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD. (Pro. 21:31.)

We grow in the wilderness where it seems we must run from one hiding place to another.

We form our habit of trusting the Lord when times are hard, not in the good times. God builds us in the wilderness; God prepares us for His service in the wilderness.

Jonathan was a true friend, vv. 16-18.

A) He hazarded his life to see David
His dad would have killed him if he had found him with David.

B) He encouraged David in the Lord.
A true friend will draw us closer to the Lord.

C) He reminded David of the promise of God
Encouraged David to claim those promises.

D) He exalted David above himself. He wanted God's will for his friend above his own welfare, at great personal expense.
He new the promise of God, and that was that he would not be king, but his friend, David would be king. He willingly submitted himself to God's will, even when it cost him the kingdom. David's friendship was more important to him than the kingdom.

E) He and David renewed their love for each other and for the Lord.

This is true friendship. It will override even family ties and personal desires in a godly manner. It revolves around encouraging each other in the Lord, not around drinking or other worldly pursuits

Kids, you need to make up your mind that those who reject the Lord will reject you if you are right with God. Chose your friends based on their needs and desires for God's help through you. No matter how needy they may be, if they do not desire to be more for the Lord, STAY AWAY FROM THEM.

Friends encourage one another in the Lord; they draw one another closer to the Lord. They do not draw each other down and away from the Lord.


1) Note that though safety is of the Lord, we must take proper precautions. The Lord is the one who kept David safe, but David did not stand still and say, "The Lord will take care of me." Rather, he did as the Lord directed in providing for his safety, and then the Lord protected him from his enemy (who pursued him without a cause).

2) David had someone in the very house of his enemy telling him what was going on. The Lord uses even the house of His enemies to accomplish His purpose.

Philippians 4:22 All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar's household.


3) During this time, David wrote many psalms. These psalms have come down through the generations as inspirations to those who are distressed without a cause.

Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain. (Ps. 76:10.)

Saul's wrath against David is a good illustration of the above. The enemy is not in control of the situation; God is. The wrath of even the most wicked men only accomplishes God's purpose.

Saul could only do so much against David, and then God put a stop to it. Saul's wrath was motivation for David to write many psalms, as well as a tremendous training for being the leader of God's people. Saul obviously felt he was acting on his own, but he was simply accomplishing God's purpose in preparing David for what He had David to do.

Moreover, David is the one who received the promise of the Messiah to come through his posterity. It was this training which resulted from Saul's wrath that made David into the man who could receive that promise.

Also notice that it is distress that forces us to mature.

Finally, God is the one who drove David into the wilderness, and there protected him, just as God is the one who placed Job in his situation. Both cases resulted in writings that have encouraged many generations down through the ages.

Spurgeon has some tremendous comments on this verse. Most of them follow:


Ver. 10. Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee. It shall not only be overcome but rendered subservient to thy glory. Man with his breath of threatening is but blowing the trumpet of the Lord's eternal fame. Furious winds often drive vessels the more swiftly into port. The devil blows the fire and melts the iron, and then the Lord fashions it for his own purposes. Let men and devils rage as they may, they cannot do otherwise than subserve the divine purposes.

The remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain. Malice is tethered and cannot break its bounds. The fire which cannot be utilised shall be damped. Some read it "thou shalt gird," as if the Lord girded on the wrath of man as a sword to be used for his own designs, and certainly men of the world are often a sword in the hand of God, to scourge others. The verse clearly teaches that even the most rampant evil is under the control of the Lord, and will in the end be overruled for his praise.


Ver. 10. Surly the wrath of man shall praise thee. Persecutions tend to correct the failings of good men, and to exercise and illustrate their several graces and virtues. By these, good men are usually made much better and more approved, while they tend to exercise our patience, to quicken our devotion, to evidence out zeal and Christian fortitude, and to show to the whole world what love we bear to the truth, and how much we are willing to undergo for the honour of God. Till they have suffered something for it, truth is too apt to grow cheap and be less prized many times, even by those that are good men in the main; whereas we are apt on the contrary, never to value it at a higher rate, or to be more zealous for it, or to make better use of it, than when it is opposed and persecuted. What more truly beneficial therefore, or tending to the divine glory, than for God, who useth to bring good out of evil, to make use also of the opposers of his truth, to rouse up his servants whom he sees growing more remiss and negligent than they should be, and to suffer such temptations to assault them, by which their drowsy minds may be spurred on into a greater love and zeal for the truth, and a deeper sense of the divine benefit in it, and in general, excited to the more diligent performance of their duty. Richard Pearson. 1684.

Ver. 10. The wrath of man shall praise thee. In the Septuagint it is, The wrath of man shall keep holy day to thee, shall increase a festival for thee. God many times gets up in the world on Satan's shoulders. When matters are ravelled and disordered, he can find out the right end of the thread, and how to disentangle us again; and when we have spoiled a business, he can dispose it for good, and make an advantage of those things which seem to obscure the glory of his name. Thomas Manton.

Ver. 10. The wrath of man shall praise thee. The wrath of wicked men against the people of God is very tributary to his praise.

1. It puts them upon many subtle devices and cunning stratagems, in frustrating of which the wisdom of God and his care of his Church is very much illustrated.

2. The wrath of wicked men impels them to many violent and forcible attempts upon the people of God to destroy them, and so gives him occasion to manifest his power in their defence.

3. It makes them sometimes fit to be his instruments in correcting his people, and so he vindicates himself from the suspicion of being a patron to sin in them that are nearest to him, and makes them that hate holiness promote it in his people, and them that intend them the greatest hurt, to do them the greatest good.

4. It administers occasion to him for the manifestation of the power of his grace in upholding the spirits of his people and the being of his church in despite of all that enemies can do against them.

5. It serves very much to adorn God's most signal undertakings for his people in the world.

6. It serves to manifest the glory of God's justice upon his people's enemies in the day when he rises up to avenge himself upon them, when he shall stand over them, lashing them with scorpions, and at every blow mind their former cruelties. Here, take that for your inhuman rage against my people at such a place, and that for your barbarous usage of them at such a time. Now see how good it is to be imprisoned, beaten, tortured, burnt, and sawn asunder. Thus the enemies themselves are often constrained to acknowledge with Adoni Bezek the righteous hand of God upon them in the day of inquisition.

Condensed from John Warren's Sermon before Parliament. 1656.

Ver. 10. The wrath of man. Wrath is anger accented unto the highest pitch, or blown up into a flame. The wrath of man, ( in the original it is The wrath of Adam, or the wrath of clay, weak, impotent man) shall praise thee, i.e., it shall turn to the praise and glory of God through his overruling providence, though quite otherwise intended. God will bring honour to himself, and serve his own holy and wise designs out of it... This expression, the wrath of man, imports the weakness and impotence of it; it is but the wrath of Adam, or of red clay. How contemptibly doth the Spirit of God speak of man, and of the power of man, in Scripture? "Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils; for wherein is he to be accounted of?" The wrath of man, when it is lengthened out to its utmost boundaries, can only go to the length of killing the body, or in the breaking the sheath of clay in which the soul lodges, and then it can do no more. Ebenezer Erskine.

Ver. 10. Shall praise thee. God turns the wrath of man to the praise of his adorable sovereignty. Never have the Lord's people had such awful impressions of the sovereignty of God, as when they have been in the furnace of man's wrath, then they become dumb with silence. When the Chaldean and Sabean robbers are let loose to plunder and spoil the substance of Job, he is made to view adorable sovereignty in it, saying, "The Lord gave, the Lord hath taken away: blessed be the name of the Lord." It is in such a case as this that God says to his own people, "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the heathen." What work of God about the church is advanced by the wrath of men?

1. His discovering work; for by the wind of man's wrath he separates between the precious and the vile, betwixt the chaff and the wheat. In the day of the church's prosperity and quiet, hypocrites and true believers are mingled together, like the chaff and the wheat in the barn floor: but the Lord, like the husbandman, opens the door of his barn, and puts the wind of man's wrath through it, that the world may know which is which. O, sirs, much chaff is cast up already, both among ministers and professors; but it is like the wind and sieve may cast up much more yet ere all be done.

2. God's purging work is advanced among his own children by the wrath of men: there is much of the dross of corruption cleaves to the Lord's people while in the wilderness. Now, the Lord heats the furnace of man's wrath, and casts his people into it, that when he has tried them, he may bring them forth as gold.

3. God's uniting work is hereby advanced. In a time of peace and external tranquillity the sheep of Christ scatter and divide among themselves; but God lets loose the dogs upon them, and then the flock runs together; or like pieces of metal cast into the fire, they run together in a lump.

4. God's enlarging work, or his work of spreading the gospel, is sometimes advanced by the wrath of man. #Ac 8:1-5. The gospel, like the chamomile, the more it is trodden upon, the more it spreads.
Ebenezer Erskine.

Ver. 10. The remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain. The remainder of wrath, i.e. what is left behind of the wrath of men, when God has glorified himself thereby. Even after God has defeated the purposes of wicked men, and made them contribute to his glory, yet there is abundance of wrath remaining. But what becomes of that wrath that is left? God shall restrain it. The word signifies to gird up. However God may see fit to slacken the bridle of his providence, and suffer wicked men to vent their wrath and enmity, as far as it shall contribute to his glory; yet the super abounding and the remainder of his wrath that is not for his glory and his people's profit, God will gird it up, that they shall not get it vented... If any wrath of man remain beyond what shall bring in a revenue of praise unto God, he will restrain it, and bind it up like the waters of a mill: he will suffer as much of the current of water to run upon the wheel, as serves to carry it about and grind his corn, but the remainder of the water he sets it off another way: so God will let out as much of the current of man's wrath as shall serve the ends of his glory and our good, but the remainder of the stream and current he will restrain, and turn another way. In Isaiah 28 we are told that God will not be aye "threshing his corn, nor break it with the wheel of his cart, nor bruise it with his horsemen. This cometh forth from the Lord of hosts, which is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working." All this comfort is sure and certain, there is not the least peradventure about it, that the flame of man's wrath shall praise the Lord, and the superfluous fire shall be quenched, or hemmed in; for here we have God's parole of honour for it: Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain. Ebenezer Erskine.

Ver. 10. The remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain. twmh Chemoth, " wrath," in the plural number, seems to be put in opposition to chamoth, the single wrath of man in the former part of the verse; to shew there is more wrath which God is to restrain, than merely that of man. There is also more pride which needs a like restraint; namely, that of the first Lucifer, who sinned, and, as is thought, fell by aspiring to ascend, and to be like the Most High. There are finally, other counsels also, as well as other wrath and pride, besides human, which God confounds. There is a wisdom that descendeth not from above (no, nor grows on earth) but is devilish, #Jas 3:15. And both wrath, pride, and wisdom, of devils as well as men, shall God restrain, when he pleases not to turn them to his praise. Let there be hellish plots, yet our God shall confound them.

From "A Sermon preached"... before the Queen... By Edward (Wetenhall) Lord Bishop of Corke and Rosse. 1691.

Ver. 10. Thou shalt restrain. This, in the Hebrew, is expressed in one word, rygxt, which imports the girding or binding of it on every side, that it shall by no means break out, but shall be kept in, as a dog in a chain, as a lion in his den, how violent soever. Cornelius Burges, in "Another Sermon preached to the Honourable House of Commons... November the fifth, 1641."

Vv. 19-29.

The Ziphites were of David's own tribe. (Pool) Yet they turned on him, and reported his whereabouts to Saul. Saul blessed them in the name of the Lord, and laid everything aside in order to pursue David. He found David, but was separated from him by a mountain, Selahammahlekoth, or Cliff of Divisions. Saul pursued David, and David avoided his efforts. The pursuit continued until the word came to Saul that the Philistines were invading the land. He left off his pursuit, and returned to fight the Philistines.

V. 19, Ziphities to Saul... Ziphites, land or wilderness of Ziph. This was the land of the tribe of Judah (Josh. 15:20-24. Of all people, David should have been able to find safety in his own people, but evidently, he was putting more confidence in his people for his protection than he was in the Lord, and the Lord has ways of removing whatever we have between us and him. David writes Psalms 54 as a result of the Ziphites reporting him to Saul.

This is sad — you would think that if anyone would side with us and defend us, our family would, especially if our family is part of God's people. But here we see that it was David's family that initiated turning him over to those out to destroy him.

What is it we put our confidence in more than in the Lord. Family, home, friends, job, kids, retirement plan.

V. 21

Saul sure had a warped since of God's will. Blessed be the Lord. Is this not distressing — Saul thanked the Lord for letting him kill the Lord's anointed, David.

How like many of God's people today, that is, professed Christians. They think the Lord, see the Lord's hand in things that the Lord has nothing to do with. It is the height of craziness.

We might keep in mind there thought that the Spirit of God did not indwell His people as He does not in the church, convicting them of sin and pointing them to the truth, John 167-19.

Also, Saul had a troubling spirit from the Lord because ofr his unconfessed sin.

James 1;22, But be ye doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
2 Peter 1:9, But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was pruged from his old sins.
1 Peter 5:5, For God resisth the proud, and giveth grace tot he humble.

And many others.

Note the illustration here in Saul:

1) he rejected truth.
2) he is now deceived into believing he is right, even to the point of thanking God he has a chance to kill or capture one of the Lord's anointed.

I have met men who feel they are right with God, even to the point of rebuking God's man.

3) he even believes the one who had protected and served him is out to kill him.
4) he sees everyone who is not on his side, desiring to kill David, as an enemy.
5) he is so convinced he is right that he kills the priest, the entire family and the city of the priests, 22:17.
6) Saul is in such a state of mind that the loses control with his son and even tries to kill him, 20:30, then Saul's anger was kindled against Jonathan...

All of this is traced back to where Saul rejected the ytruth, 15:24.

He did not reject it completely, for he said back there, "What you say is true, Samuel, but not for me, because my problem is only a result of the people's sin."

Saul rejected the truth. Pride prevented him from going back and making it right. Now Saul, or from that point on, Saul is blind to the truth. He cannot see principles of God, though he is God's child.

A person who rejects truth opens himself wide for the destruction of Satan. He is fare game to him, and Saul is living proof. For 38 years, Satan nibbled away at him to where Saul finally took his own life, 1 Samuel 31:5.

A man can only resist the truth so long.

A man can only resist the troubleing Spirit from God (16:15) for so long.
A man can only ignore that still, small voice fore so long. God will not strive (trouble) with man for ever. He will leave him alone, and he will become complacent with the lie (rejected truth), whether saved or unsaved.


1) God places a great cliff of division between His people and their enemies. The enemies cannot reach His people unless He permits.

2) God sent the Philistines to get Saul off of David.

3) It is a shame that Saul would not spend as much time pursuing the enemies of God as he did pursuing his own ends.

How many people have I met — if they would spend as much time doing what they should be doing for the Lord as they spent pursuing useless things, they would have accomplished great things for God.

Wrong priorities are a great problem for everyone.