At the time of the expiration of the events narrated in chap. 1 and in 1 Sam., David and his company still dwelt in Keilah, a city that was located in Philistine territory and that had been given him as a permanent abode by Achish, king of Gad, to whom he had fled to elude Saul, who sought his life. But Saul was now dead, and the logical move for David was to remove to his own land and rejoin his people, that the promise of the kingdom might be fulfilled to him. David’s mind turned to the tribe of Judah. In anyone of the cities of this tribe he would be welcome to take up his abode. This was his confidence. Judah was his own tribe. There he had long found a refuge. Only recently he had done the tribe a great service by routing an Amalekite horde that had been raiding and plundering its southern border. Besides, the northern part of the land was held by the Philistines.
But how were the people taking his alliance with Achish and his following him to the battle? To all appearance all that had stood in the way of his taking up arms against his own brethren was the jealousy and the distrust of the Philistine lords. Had that doing shaken the confidence of his people in him? His own tribesmen would be least likely to show themselves resentful. The right-minded among them would think no evil. They had seen with their own eyes what an effort it had cost him to prevent himself from falling into Saul’s hands while he was keeping himself to his own country. They knew that it was only by a miracle that he had escaped the wrath of the king against whom he was not allowed to defend himself by force of arms. That in his desperation he had finally fled the land and sought peace and quiet with Achish was sinful of him to be sure. But he knew he had done wrong. The Lord had made this plain to him by the calamity that had overtaken his defenseless company in Keilah during his absence. And He had confessed his sin. And the Lord had forgiven him and likewise God’s people. Certainly, they did not believe that he would have turned against his own country in that battle. Not one among God’s people, it may be assumed, could conceive of him doing such a thing.
But there were others in Judah and in the nation at large, men like Nabal, whom the Lord had slain, unprincipled, vicious men, haters of God and His people, always on the alert for occasions to vilify God’s servants. Under what dark clouds of suspicion were they not bringing David? Perhaps they accused him of treason and on the ground of that charge advocated that he be not readmitted in that he had forfeited his right to citizenship in God’s country. Perhaps they accused him of having furnished the Philistines with a road map of northern Canaan and of having given valuable assistance to the adversary in other respects and were therefore holding him jointly responsible for Israel’s defeat in the last war with the uncircumcised. And the sad part of it was that by his affiliations with Achish and especially by his accompanying Achish’s army to the plain of Esdraelon he had laid the foundations of such vile slanders. And who could shame the slandering tongues into keeping silence by proving that he had no intention of unsheathing his sword against his own brethren in the faith. The wrongness and the folly of that flight. He was resolved that henceforth he would do nothing without first learning God’s will. Accordingly, he inquired of the Lord, “Shall I go up to the cities of Judah?” The Lord gives answer, “Go up.” But he had need of a more detailed knowledge of God’s will. So he put this question to the Lord, “Whither shall I go up?” Again the Lord returned answer, “Unto Hebron.”
The city of Hebron was situated in a valley () in the most mountainous part of Judah about eighteen miles to the south of Jerusalem. It was so ancient that it is said to have been built seven years before Zoan in Egypt ( ). It was one of the principle places in Judah and a priestly city ( ). The place abounded in venerable associations. Abraham had often pitched his tent under its spreading oaks and among its hills Isaac had meditated at eventide. There Sarah had died by Abraham; and there he had purchased from the sons of Heth the sepulchre of Machpelah, where first Sarah’s body, then his own, then that of Isaac were laid to rest. There Joseph had brought up the body of Jacob, laying it beside the bones of Leah. There the twelve spies when they went up to search the land had halted. In the division of the land it had been allotted to Caleb. The selection of this place by the Lord must have raised the faith of David. It was like a promise that the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob would be the God of David and that his career as king would prepare the way for the mercies in the prospect of which they rejoiced.
In accordance with the will and direction of God David went thither with his whole company. Mention is made of his two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail Nabal’s wife, his men that were with him, every man with his household. “And they dwelt in the cities of Hebron”.
At that time the Lord gave him another token of His favor and goodness. No sooner had he settled in Hebron than the men of Judah came and there they anointed him king over Judah. Judah was the principle tribe. God had dealt graciously with his servant. Could there be among his psalms one that voices his hearts response to these tokens of the Lord’s favor toward him. Internal evidence points to the hundred and first Psalm.