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David in the Service of King Achish of Gath: Renegade to His People or a Fifth Column in the Philistine Army?

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image of Vetus Testamentum

The biblical presentation of David's ostensible willingness to fight on the side of the Philistines against Israel (1 Sam. xxvii-xxix) is examined. Through a literary analysis it is shown that David is not depicted as intending to betray Saul and Israel. On the contrary, the narrator provides many hints that the Philistine commanders' assessment of David is correct and that had he not been sent away he would have fought against the Philistines and for Israel. His dismissal, instigated by the Philistine commanders, is compatible with the divine plan for Israel's defeat, the destruction of the House of Saul, and David's succeeding Saul on the throne of Israel (1 Sam. xxviii 16-19).

Affiliations: 1: Ramat Gan, Israel


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