And every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented, gathered themselves unto him; and he became a captain over them: and there were with him about four hundred men.
Debt - Probably poor debtors, whom the creditors were obliged to spare, Exodus 22:25. And though their persons were with David, yet their lands and goods were liable to their creditors.
Captain over them — He did not 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.
 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.
'Till I know, … — He expresses his hopes very modestly, as one that had entirely cast himself upon God, and committed his way to him, trusting not in his own arts or arms, but in the wisdom, power and goodness of God.
 And he brought them before the king of Moab: and they dwelt with him all the while that David was in the hold.
Hold — In holds; 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 while he was in the hold of Mizpeh, or of Adullam, which was but a little while.
 And the prophet 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.
Abide not — Do not shut up thyself here.
Judah — Go and shew thyself in the land of Judah, that thou mayest 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.
 When Saul heard that David was discovered, and the men that were with him, (now Saul abode in Gibeah under a tree in Ramah, having his spear in his hand, and all his servants were standing about him;)
Spear — It seems, as an ensign of majesty, for in old times kings carried a spear instead of a sceptre.
 Then Saul said unto his servants that stood about him, Hear now, ye Benjamites; will the son of Jesse give every one of you fields and vineyards, and make you all captains of thousands, and captains of hundreds;
Ye Benjamites — You that are of my own tribe and kindred, from whom David designs to translate the kingdom to another tribe. Will he distribute profits and preferments among you Benjamites, as I have done? Will he not rather prefer those of his own tribe before you?
 That all of you have conspired against me, and there is none that sheweth me that my son hath made a league with the son of Jesse, and there is none of you that is sorry for me, or sheweth unto me that my son hath stirred up my servant against me, to lie in wait, as at this day?
That all, … — See the nature of jealousy, and its arts of wheedling to extort discoveries of things that are not.
 And he enquired of the LORD for him, and gave him victuals, and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine.
He enquired — David chargeth him with the sin of lying, Psalms 52:3, and it is not improbable, that he told many lies not here expressed; and withal, he was guilty of concealing part of the truth, which in this case he was obliged to declare for Ahimelech's just defence, namely, the artifice whereby David circumvented Ahimelech: making him believe, that he was then going upon the king's business, so that the service he did to David, was designed in honour to Saul.
 Then the king sent to call Ahimelech the priest, the son of Ahitub, and all his father's house, the priests that were in Nob: and they came all of them to the king.
The priests — Of the house of Eli, which God had threatened to cut off, chap. 2:31.
 Then Ahimelech answered the king, and said, And who is so faithful among all thy servants as David, which is the king's son in law, and goeth at thy bidding, and is honourable in thine house?
And said — He doth not determine the difference between Saul and David; nor affirm what David now was: but only declared what David formerly had been, and what he was still, for anything he knew to the contrary.
 Did I then begin to enquire of God for him? be it far from me: let not the king impute any thing unto his servant, nor to all the house of my father: for thy servant knew nothing of all this, less or more.
Knew nothing of all this — Of any design against thee.
 And the king said to Doeg, Turn thou, and fall upon the priests. And Doeg the Edomite turned, and he fell upon the priests, and slew on that day fourscore and five persons that did wear a linen ephod.
The Edomite — This is noted to wipe off the stain of this butchery from the Israelitish nation, and to shew, why he was so ready to do it, because he was one of that nation which had an implacable hatred against all Israelites, and against the priests of the Lord.
 And Nob, the city of the priests, smote he with the edge of the sword, both men and women, children and sucklings, and oxen, and asses, and sheep, with the edge of the sword.
Both men, … — In all the life of Saul, there is no wickedness to be compared to this. He appears now to be wholly under the power of that evil spirit which had long tormented him. And this destruction could not but go to the heart of every pious Israelite, and make them wish a thousand times, they had been content with the government of Samuel.
 And one of the sons of Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped, and fled after David.
Abiathar — Who by his father's death was now high-priest.