I - Chapter 29

1The Philistines mustered all their forces at Aphek, while Yisrael was encamping at the spring in Yizrael.

אוַיִּקְבְּצוּ פְלִשְׁתִּים אֶת־כָּל־מַחֲנֵיהֶם אֲפֵקָה וְיִשְׂרָאֵל חֹנִים בַּעַיִן אֲשֶׁר בְּיִזְרְעֶאל׃

2The Philistine lords came marching, each with his units of hundreds and of thousands; and David and his men came marching last, with Achish.

v'-sar-NAY f'-lish-TEEM o-v'-REEM l'-may-OT v'-la-a-la-FEEM v'-da-VID va-a-na-SHAV o-v'-REEM ba-a-kha-ro-NAH im a-KHEESH

בוְסַרְנֵי פְלִשְׁתִּים עֹבְרִים לְמֵאוֹת וְלַאֲלָפִים וְדָוִד וַאֲנָשָׁיו עֹבְרִים בָּאַחֲרֹנָה עִם־אָכִישׁ׃

 29:2 David and his men came marching last, with Achish

Commemorative stamps of the martyrs of the struggle for Israeli independance. Eli Cohen (1924-1965), bottom left

It is certainly impossible that David would have been willing, as this verse implies, to wage war against Israel. Though he was fleeing from King Shaul, David remains completely loyal to his people throughout his travails. In this instance, he feigns loyalty to Achish and uses the advantage gained by his trust to spy against the Philistines, gaining information which will later helps him defeat this enemy. This is reminiscent of a more recent Israeli spy, Eli Cohen.  During the 1960’s Cohen managed to infiltrate the highest echelons of the Syrian army, to spy on Israel’s behalf. He provided the I.D.F. with critical information that would assist Israel in the Six Day War and enable it to liberate the Golan Heights.  Though Cohen was captured and executed by the Syrians, the State and People of Israel continue to benefit from his sacrifice to this very day. The Golan Heights is home to flourishing communities, and provides great strategic value to Israel.

3The Philistine officers asked, “Who are those Hebrews?” “Why, that's David, the servant of King Shaul of Yisrael,” Achish answered the Philistine officers. “He has been with me for a year or more, and I have found no fault in him from the day he defected until now.”

גוַיֹּאמְרוּ שָׂרֵי פְלִשְׁתִּים מָה הָעִבְרִים הָאֵלֶּה וַיֹּאמֶר אָכִישׁ אֶל־שָׂרֵי פְלִשְׁתִּים הֲלוֹא־זֶה דָוִד עֶבֶד שָׁאוּל מֶלֶךְ־יִשְׂרָאֵל אֲשֶׁר הָיָה אִתִּי זֶה יָמִים אוֹ־זֶה שָׁנִים וְלֹא־מָצָאתִי בוֹ מְאוּמָה מִיּוֹם נָפְלוֹ עַד־הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה׃

4But the Philistine officers were angry with him; and the Philistine officers said to him, “Send the man back; let him go back to the place you assigned him. He shall not march down with us to the battle, or else he may become our adversary in battle. For with what could that fellow appease his master if not with the heads of these men?

דוַיִּקְצְפוּ עָלָיו שָׂרֵי פְלִשְׁתִּים וַיֹּאמְרוּ לוֹ שָׂרֵי פְלִשְׁתִּים הָשֵׁב אֶת־הָאִישׁ וְיָשֹׁב אֶל־מְקוֹמוֹ אֲשֶׁר הִפְקַדְתּוֹ שָׁם וְלֹא־יֵרֵד עִמָּנוּ בַּמִּלְחָמָה וְלֹא־יִהְיֶה־לָּנוּ לְשָׂטָן בַּמִּלְחָמָה וּבַמֶּה יִתְרַצֶּה זֶה אֶל־אֲדֹנָיו הֲלוֹא בְּרָאשֵׁי הָאֲנָשִׁים הָהֵם׃

5Remember, he is the David of whom they sang as they danced: Shaul has slain his thousands; David, his tens of thousands.”

ההֲלוֹא־זֶה דָוִד אֲשֶׁר יַעֲנוּ־לוֹ בַּמְּחֹלוֹת לֵאמֹר הִכָּה שָׁאוּל בַּאֲלָפָיו וְדָוִד ברבבתו [בְּרִבְבֹתָיו׃]

6Achish summoned David and said to him, “As Hashem lives, you are an honest man, and I would like to have you serve in my forces; for I have found no fault with you from the day you joined me until now. But you are not acceptable to the other lords.

ווַיִּקְרָא אָכִישׁ אֶל־דָּוִד וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו חַי־יְהֹוָה כִּי־יָשָׁר אַתָּה וְטוֹב בְּעֵינַי צֵאתְךָ וּבֹאֲךָ אִתִּי בַּמַּחֲנֶה כִּי לֹא־מָצָאתִי בְךָ רָעָה מִיּוֹם בֹּאֲךָ אֵלַי עַד־הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה וּבְעֵינֵי הַסְּרָנִים לֹא־טוֹב אָתָּה׃

7So go back in peace, and do nothing to displease the Philistine lords.”

זוְעַתָּה שׁוּב וְלֵךְ בְּשָׁלוֹם וְלֹא־תַעֲשֶׂה רָע בְּעֵינֵי סַרְנֵי פְלִשְׁתִּים׃

8David, however, said to Achish, “But what have I done, what fault have you found in your servant from the day I appeared before you to this day, that I should not go and fight against the enemies of my lord the king?”

חוַיֹּאמֶר דָּוִד אֶל־אָכִישׁ כִּי מֶה עָשִׂיתִי וּמַה־מָּצָאתָ בְעַבְדְּךָ מִיּוֹם אֲשֶׁר הָיִיתִי לְפָנֶיךָ עַד הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה כִּי לֹא אָבוֹא וְנִלְחַמְתִּי בְּאֹיְבֵי אֲדֹנִי הַמֶּלֶךְ׃

9Achish replied to David, “I know; you are as acceptable to me as an angel of Hashem. But the Philistine officers have decided that you must not march out with us to the battle.

טוַיַּעַן אָכִישׁ וַיֹּאמֶר אֶל־דָּוִד יָדַעְתִּי כִּי טוֹב אַתָּה בְּעֵינַי כְּמַלְאַךְ אֱלֹהִים אַךְ שָׂרֵי פְלִשְׁתִּים אָמְרוּ לֹא־יַעֲלֶה עִמָּנוּ בַּמִּלְחָמָה׃

10So rise early in the morning, you and your lord's servants who came with you—rise early in the morning, and leave as soon as it is light.”

יוְעַתָּה הַשְׁכֵּם בַּבֹּקֶר וְעַבְדֵי אֲדֹנֶיךָ אֲשֶׁר־בָּאוּ אִתָּךְ וְהִשְׁכַּמְתֶּם בַּבֹּקֶר וְאוֹר לָכֶם וָלֵכוּ׃

11Accordingly, David and his men rose early in the morning to leave, to return to the land of the Philistines, while the Philistines marched up to Yizrael.

יאוַיַּשְׁכֵּם דָּוִד הוּא וַאֲנָשָׁיו לָלֶכֶת בַּבֹּקֶר לָשׁוּב אֶל־אֶרֶץ פְּלִשְׁתִּים וּפְלִשְׁתִּים עָלוּ יִזְרְעֶאל׃