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The Philistines Send David Back

29 The Philistines had brought their whole army to Aphek,[a] while Israel’s army was camping near Jezreel Spring. 2-3 The Philistine rulers and their troops were marching past the Philistine army commanders in groups of a hundred and a thousand. When David and his men marched by at the end with Achish, the commanders said, “What are these worthless Israelites doing here?”

“They are David’s men,” Achish answered. “David used to be one of Saul’s officers, but he left Saul and joined my army a long time ago. I’ve never had even one complaint about him.”

The Philistine army commanders were angry and shouted:

Send David back to the town you gave him. We won’t have him going into the battle with us. He could turn and fight against us! Saul would take David back as an officer if David brought him the heads of our soldiers. The Israelites even dance and sing,

“Saul has killed
    a thousand enemies;
David has killed
    ten thousand enemies!”

Achish called David over and said:

I swear by the living Lord that you’ve been honest with me, and I want you to fight by my side. I don’t think you’ve done anything wrong from the day you joined me until this very moment. But the other Philistine rulers don’t want you to come along. Go on back home and try not to upset them.

“But what have I done?” David asked. “Do you know of anything I’ve ever done that would keep me from fighting the enemies of my king?”[b]

Achish said:

I believe that you’re as good as an angel of God, but our army commanders have decided that you can’t fight in this battle. 10 You and your troops will have to go back to the town I gave you.[c] Get up and leave tomorrow morning as soon as it’s light. I am pleased with you, so don’t let any of this bother you.[d]

11 David and his men got up early in the morning and headed back toward Philistia, while the Philistines left for Jezreel.

Footnotes

  1. 29.1 Aphek: The events of chapter 29 probably took place as the Philistine army was on its way to Shunem, which they reached in 28.4.
  2. 29.8 my king: David may be referring to either Saul or Achish.
  3. 29.10 go. . . you: One ancient translation; these words are not in the Hebrew text.
  4. 29.10 I am. . . bother you: One ancient translation; these words are not in the Hebrew text.

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