1 Samuel 22:19
(19) Nob, the city of the priests, smote he.--The vengeful king, not content with striking the men, the heads of the priestly houses, in his insane fury proceeded to treat the innocent city where they resided as a city under the ban "cherem," as though it had been polluted with idolatry and wickedness, and therefore devoted to utter destruction. The only crime of Nob had been that its venerable chief citizen, Ahimelech the priest, had shown kindness to David, whom Saul hated with a fierce mad hate. In 2Samuel 21:1 we read of a scourge in the form of a famine afflicting Israel during three years. The cause of this God-sent calamity is told us in the Lord's words: "It was for Saul and his bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites." Now, this slaughter of the Gibeonites--evidently a dark crime--is nowhere specially related in the Old Testament books. Was it not this awful sequel to the crime of Gibeah, where the hapless Ahimelech and his eighty-five priests were murdered, that was referred to in the above mentioned passage--the awful sequel when Saul smote Nob, the city of the priests, with the sword? In that terrible catastrophe, were not the Gibeonites, hewers of wood and drawers of water for the Tabernacle (see Joshua 9:21-27), slain? for we read how in the destruction of the ill fated city men, women and children, and all cattle perished. "Only once before had so terrible a calamity befallen the sons of Aaron, and that was when the Philistines destroyed Shiloh. But they were enemies, and had been provoked by the people bringing the Ark to battle; and even then the women and children seem to have escaped. It was left to the anointed king of Israel, who had himself settled the priests at Nob and restored Jehovah's worship there, to perpetrate an act unparalleled in Jewish history for its barbarity."--Dean Payne Smith.

22:6-19 See the nature of jealous malice and its pitiful arts. Saul looks upon all about him as his enemies, because they do not just say as he says. In Ahimelech's answer to Saul we have the language of conscious innocence. But what wickedness will not the evil spirit hurry men to when he gets the dominion! Saul alleges that which was utterly false and unproved. But the most bloody tyrants have found instruments of their cruelty as barbarous as themselves. Doeg, having murdered the priests, went to the city, Nob, and put all to the sword there. Nothing so vile but those may do it, who have provoked God to give them up to their hearts' lusts. Yet this was the accomplishment of the threatenings against the house of Eli. Though Saul was unrighteous in doing this, yet God was righteous in permitting it. No word of God shall fall to the ground.And Nob, the city of the priests, smote he with the edge of the sword,.... Either Doeg or Saul; who, as Josephus (i) says, sent men thither to slay all the inhabitants of it:

both men and women, children and sucklings; not sparing sex nor age:

and oxen, and asses, and sheep, with the edge of the sword; Saul, who was so tender hearted and merciful in the case of the Amalekites, when his orders from the Lord were utterly to destroy them, 1 Samuel 15:2, that he spared their king, and the best of their cattle, 1 Samuel 15:7; yet now so cruel to a city of the priests, as to destroy all the inhabitants of it, and cattle in it; and yet this bloody affair of Saul's is not taken notice of afterwards, only his slaughter of the Gibeonites, 2 Samuel 21:1; and Abarbinel is of opinion, that the inhabitants of this place were Gibeonites, who were hewers of wood, and drawers of water, to the house of the Lord here, Joshua 9:23. Now Saul was the more severe this city, to deter others from joining with David, who, if they did, must expect the same treatment.

(i) Antiqu. l. 6. c. 12. sect. 6.

1 Samuel 22:18
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