The background of 1 Samuel Chapter 29 is on the battle between the Philistines and the Israelites. They encamp in different areas and we learn that the captains of the Philistines refused to allow David to join them in battle. They were worried that he might betray them. Achish, however, showed that he believed David and begged him to return.
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Achish Trusts David
Achish’s words in this chapter focus on the fact that he found nothing wrong with David or his actions. He was willing to trust him. But in this case, David was not being trusted by the majority and thus he was not allowed to fight against the enemies of the Philistines.
Possible Outcomes of the Battle
Had the Philistine lords accepted that David join them in the battle against the Israelites, he would have ended in a difficult situation. If he had fought for the Philistines, he would have been fighting against his own country and God.
However, if he had gone over to the Israelites, he would have looked deceitful to Achish, who had been very hospitable to him. Either way, David would have been disgraced, which helps portray how God’s mercy helped prevent that from happening.
Achish Sends David Away
The leaders of the Philistine army are furious with Achish for bringing David into their camp. Because he has killed so many Philistines, they consider him their enemy. They tell Achish to send him away, which Achish does.
David, however, questions why he cannot stay if, as Achish says, he is guilty of no wrongdoing. Achish simply tells him that the Philistine leaders do not want him there, so he should take his men and go back to the city that Achish gave him. Early the next morning, David heeds those instructions and heads back to the land of the Philistines while the Philistine army moves onward to Jezreel.
1 Samuel 29 (King James Version)
1 Now the Philistines gathered together all their armies to Aphek: and the Israelites pitched by a fountain which is in Jezreel.
2 And the lords of the Philistines passed on by hundreds, and by thousands: but David and his men passed on in the rereward with Achish.
3 Then said the princes of the Philistines, What do these Hebrews here? And Achish said unto the princes of the Philistines, Is not this David, the servant of Saul the king of Israel, which hath been with me these days, or these years, and I have found no fault in him since he fell unto me unto this day?
4 And the princes of the Philistines were wroth with him; and the princes of the Philistines said unto him, Make this fellow return, that he may go again to his place which thou hast appointed him, and let him not go down with us to battle, lest in the battle he be an adversary to us: for wherewith should he reconcile himself unto his master? should it not be with the heads of these men?
5 Is not this David, of whom they sang one to another in dances, saying, Saul slew his thousands, and David his ten thousands?
6 Then Achish called David, and said unto him, Surely, as the LORD liveth, thou hast been upright, and thy going out and thy coming in with me in the host is good in my sight: for I have not found evil in thee since the day of thy coming unto me unto this day: nevertheless the lords favour thee not.
7 Wherefore now return, and go in peace, that thou displease not the lords of the Philistines.
8 And David said unto Achish, But what have I done? and what hast thou found in thy servant so long as I have been with thee unto this day, that I may not go fight against the enemies of my lord the king?
9 And Achish answered and said to David, I know that thou art good in my sight, as an angel of God: notwithstanding the princes of the Philistines have said, He shall not go up with us to the battle.
10 Wherefore now rise up early in the morning with thy master’s servants that are come with thee: and as soon as ye be up early in the morning, and have light, depart.
11 So David and his men rose up early to depart in the morning, to return into the land of the Philistines. And the Philistines went up to Jezreel.