Verse 1: David therefore departed thence, and (Ps. 57 title; 142 title) escaped (2 Sam. 23:13) to the cave Adullam: and when his brethren and all his father’s house heard it, they went down thither to him.
[Unto the cave Adullam] It was a town in the lot of Judah; mention of this cave is also extant in 2 Samuel 23:13; 1 Chronicles 11:15. This appears to have been fortified by nature and art (Malvenda).
The cave Adullam; a place of considerable strength, 2 Samuel 23:13; 1 Chronicles 11:15, in the land of Judah, Joshua 15:21, 35, which being his own tribe, and the tribe to which God had first promised the kingdom, Genesis 49:10, he hoped for some protection and assistance there. They went down thither to him; partly, to comfort and assist him; partly, to secure themselves at the present from Saul’s rage, which they knew to be fierce and cruel, and thought he might extend it to David’s friends; especially, because they had so lately entertained him, 1 Samuel 20:6, 29; and partly, that they might share with David in his honour and advancement; which they now concluded certain and near, though it was interrupted with some difficulties.
Verse 2: (Judg. 11:3) And every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt (Heb. had a creditor), and every one that was discontented (Heb. bitter of soul), gathered themselves unto him; and he became a captain over them: and there were with him about four hundred men.
[All that were in a strait (thus Pagnine), כָּל־אִ֙ישׁ מָצ֜וֹק] Every distressed man (Montanus, similarly Junius and Tremellius, Syriac). In necessity (Septuagint); afflicted in spirit (Jonathan). For whom at home things were constricted, who were not able to stay at home, either through the hatred of the powerful, or the envy of equals, or injury of their own; all these were eager for new circumstances (Menochius).
Every one that was in distress, through want, or oppression, or otherwise.
[And oppressed with debt (thus the Arabic, similarly Munster, Tigurinus), וְכָל־אִ֙ישׁ אֲשֶׁר־ל֤וֹ נֹשֶׁא֙] And to whomever there was a creditor (Pagnine, Syriac, Vatablus), or exactor (Junius and Tremellius); or a manager of usury (Jonathan), every debtor (Septuagint). Question: By what right did he admit these unto the prejudice of their creditors? In this manner he was appearing to open a refuge for thieves (Martyr). Responses: 1. They were not solvent (Vatablus, Cajetan in Tirinus). They had hard exactors, and were forced to yield their possessions (Munster). 2. He did not defend them from their creditors, but helped them in his emergency, 2 Samuel 2; 15 (Serarius). David most thoroughly instructed all his men in justice and honesty, as it is evident out of Psalm 34, which he composed at that time. 3. Their lands, if they had any, were falling to their creditors: if they had nothing, their very poverty was sufficiently excusing them (Martyr). In this also was David a type of Christ (Lapide, Martyr). נֹשֶׁא is here put instead of נֹשֶׁה (Munster). See what things we have said on Judges 11:3 (Grotius).
[He was made their captain] Rightly does David, pursued unto death, seek safety in the aid of others, and makes use of those at hand for this just and necessary end (Menochius). By right does the King designated by God have attendants (Martyr).
Every one that was in debt. How could David receive and countenance such persons to the wrong of their creditors? Answers: 1. David might be ignorant of their debts; and it is most likely they concealed that, and pretended other causes of their coming to him, as the protection of the innocent, and the defence of his just rights, etc. 2. They might be, and probably were, poor debtors, whom their creditors were obliged to spare and favour, Exodus 22:25. And though their persons were with David, yet their land and goods were liable to their creditors. Every one that was discontented, or, bitter in soul, that is, in an afflicted and calamitous condition. He became a captain over them; he did not justify nor maintain any injustice or wickedness, which some of them possibly might be guilty of; but, on the contrary, he instructed and obliged them to the practice of all justice and honesty; as appears from 1 Samuel 25:15; and he only used them for his just defence.
Verse 3: And David went thence to Mizpeh of Moab: and he said unto the king of Moab, Let my father and my mother, I pray thee, come forth, and be with you, till I know what God will do for me.
[To Mizpeh of Moab] So called, that it might be distinguished from the Israelite Mizpeh, where Samuel was holding assemblies, 1 Samuel 7 (Lapide, Menochius).
Mizpeh of Moab; so called, to distinguish it from that Mizpeh, 1 Samuel 7:5.
[To the king of Moab] Why to him? Responses: 1. Because he was an enemy to Saul, as it appears from 1 Samuel 14:47 (Piscator). 2. Because of the blood relation of David with that people, through Ruth. See Ruth 4:10 (Martyr).
He said unto the king of Moab; partly because he was related to and descended from one of his people, Ruth 4:10; and partly because he was Saul’s enemy, 1 Samuel 14:47, and therefore more likely to be David’s friend.
[Allow to remain my father, etc., יֵֽצֵא־נָ֞א אָבִ֤י וְאִמִּי֙ אִתְּכֶ֔ם] Let, I pray, my father and my mother go forth with you (Jonathan, Montanus). Let him go forth, understanding, either from his country (Vatablus), or from the cave (Mariana), with you, in the place of, so that they might be with you (Mariana). Let them be (dwell [Arabic], abide [Syriac]) before thee (Septuagint); let him go forth and dwell with you (Junius and Tremellius).
My father and my mother, who being very aged, were not able to endure those journeys and hardships which David foresaw that he was likely to be exposed to.
[What God may do for me] That is, in what state and place my affairs are going to be (Menochius). What He is going to do לִּי, concerning me (Vatablus). See the modesty of David. He does not say, What I myself am going to do by my own strength and stratagems; but what the Lord, etc. And what he so eagerly anticipated, he received. For God sent a Prophet (Martyr). God shows great care for David, instructing him sometimes through Prophets, sometimes by the Urim and Thummim (Grotius).
Till I know what God will do for me; till I see the accomplishment of God’s promise made to me.
Verse 4: And he brought them before the king of Moab: and they dwelt with him all the while that David was in the hold.
[And he left them before the face of the king of Moab, וַיַּנְחֵ֕ם אֶת־פְּנֵ֖י מֶ֣לֶךְ מוֹאָ֑ב] And he led them unto or before the sight (with the faces [Menochius]) of the king of Moab (Junius and Tremellius, Munster, Tigurinus). Others: and he left (or caused to remain [Jonathan]) before the King of Moab (Syriac, Arabic) [as if they had read וַיִנָחֵם from הִנִיחַ, to leave]. And he entreated the face, etc. (Septuagint).
Before the king of Moab; into his presence, that he might see them, and give them leave to dwell in his dominion.
[In the hold (thus the Septuagint), בַּמְּצוּדָה] In that bulwark (Junius and Tremellius). In that stronghold (Pagnine), that is, in Mizpeh, which was an incredibly strong citadel (Vatablus). In the hold, in which he had been placed by the King of Moab (Menochius). Others maintain that this stronghold was in a hollow, or near the hollow of Adullam, etc. (thus Osiander).
In the hold; either, 1. In Mizpeh of Moab, which was a very strong hold. But it is apparent he speaks of some hold where his father and mother were exposed to fear and danger from Saul, which they were not in the king of Moab’s royal city. Or, 2. In the cave of Adullam, mentioned above, verse 1. Or, 3. In holes; the singular number being put for the plural, as is frequent; that is, as long as David was forced to go from place to place, and from hold to hold, to secure himself; for it concerned David to secure his father, and he did doubtless secure him for all that time; and not only whilst he was in the hold of Mizpeh, or of Adullam, which was but a little while.
Verse 5: And the prophet (2 Sam. 24:11; 1 Chron. 21:9; 2 Chron. 29:25) Gad said unto David, Abide not in the hold; depart, and get thee into the land of Judah. Then David departed, and came into the forest of Hareth.
[Do not abide] God commands him to depart from the borders of Moab; either, because the credit of those, whom an impious religion imbues, is not very constant and secure (Sanchez): or, because the king or his nobles might contrive some evil against David: or, because He was willing that he should be exercised by various hardships: or, because from the Israelites following him He willed to take the occasion of declining to idols (Menochius, Tirinus).
[Go into the land of Judah] For, 1. The tribe and family of David would not permit Saul to act tyrannically with him (Munster). 2. Thus God willed to draw the malice of Saul into the light: so that all might see that he deserved to be cast away. 3. Thus He procured authority for David. 4. This matter was good for the Israelites: for thos soldiers repelled enemies from their borders (Martyr).
Abide not in the hold; do not shut up thyself in holes and holds. Get thee into the land of Judah; go and show thyself in the land of Judah, that thou mayst publicly put in thy claim to the kingdom after Saul’s death, and that thy friends may be invited and encouraged to appear on thy behalf. Hereby also God would exercise David’s faith, and wisdom, and courage; and so prepare him for the kingdom, and uphold and increase his reputation among the people.
[Into the pass of Hareth] Because there were many hiding places there; and because those places were not far distant from the borders of Philistia (Menochius).
In the forest of Hareth there were many caves and lurking-places.
 Hebrew: וַיֵּ֤לֶךְ דָּוִד֙ מִשָּׁ֔ם וַיִּמָּלֵ֖ט אֶל־מְעָרַ֣ת עֲדֻלָּ֑ם וַיִּשְׁמְע֤וּ אֶחָיו֙ וְכָל־בֵּ֣ית אָבִ֔יו וַיֵּרְד֥וּ אֵלָ֖יו שָֽׁמָּה׃  Hebrew: וַיִּֽתְקַבְּצ֣וּ אֵ֠לָיו כָּל־אִ֙ישׁ מָצ֜וֹק וְכָל־אִ֙ישׁ אֲשֶׁר־ל֤וֹ נֹשֶׁא֙ וְכָל־אִ֣ישׁ מַר־נֶ֔פֶשׁ וַיְהִ֥י עֲלֵיהֶ֖ם לְשָׂ֑ר וַיִּהְי֣וּ עִמּ֔וֹ כְּאַרְבַּ֥ע מֵא֖וֹת אִֽישׁ׃  Hebrew: אֲשֶׁר־ל֤וֹ נֹשֶׁא֙.  Hebrew: מַר־נֶפֶשׁ. נָשָׁא signifies to lend on interest, or to be a creditor.  נָשָׁה signifies to lend, or to become a creditor.  Hebrew: וַיֵּ֧לֶךְ דָּוִ֛ד מִשָּׁ֖ם מִצְפֵּ֣ה מוֹאָ֑ב וַיֹּ֣אמֶר׀ אֶל־מֶ֣לֶךְ מוֹאָ֗ב יֵֽצֵא־נָ֞א אָבִ֤י וְאִמִּי֙ אִתְּכֶ֔ם עַ֚ד אֲשֶׁ֣ר אֵדַ֔ע מַה־יַּֽעֲשֶׂה־לִּ֖י אֱלֹהִֽים׃  In the tribe of Benjamin.  Hebrew: וַיַּנְחֵ֕ם אֶת־פְּנֵ֖י מֶ֣לֶךְ מוֹאָ֑ב וַיֵּשְׁב֣וּ עִמּ֔וֹ כָּל־יְמֵ֥י הֱיוֹת־דָּוִ֖ד בַּמְּצוּדָֽה׃  Hebrew: וַיֹּאמֶר֩ גָּ֙ד הַנָּבִ֜יא אֶל־דָּוִ֗ד לֹ֤א תֵשֵׁב֙ בַּמְּצוּדָ֔ה לֵ֥ךְ וּבָֽאתָ־לְּךָ֖ אֶ֣רֶץ יְהוּדָ֑ה וַיֵּ֣לֶךְ דָּוִ֔ד וַיָּבֹ֖א יַ֥עַר חָֽרֶת׃