And he changed his behavior before them, and feigned himself mad in their hands, and made marks on the doors of the gate, and let his spittle fall down upon his beard.
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Augustine of Hippo
All these modes of expression will be thought lies, if a figurative expression or action is to be considered a lie. But, if it is not a lie when signs signifying one thing are put for another to serve the understanding of a truth, certainly that should not be judged a lie either which Jacob did or said to his father in order to be blessed, or what Joseph said in sporting with his brothers, or David’s pretense of insanity, or other signs of the same kind. They should be judged as prophetic expressions and actions set forth for the understanding of those things which are true. Those things are veiled in figures, in garments as it were, in order that they may exercise the mind of the pious inquirer and not become cheap for being bare and obvious. Although we have learned their meaning stated openly and plainly in other places, still, when they are dug out of obscurity, they are somehow recreated in our knowledge and thus become sweet. A student is not hindered because they are shrouded in...
When Saul was pursuing David, David fled to king Achish, and since through the motive of jealousy he was suspected there, he carefully changed his countenance, covering his face with spittle so that he would be thought to be diabolically possessed and thus released unharmed as an object of pity. But these and other deeds were accomplished by David as evidence of a great mystery, for he showed that the spittle, which represented the holy Scriptures, was running down his beard, that is, had great strength. The significance of these things led to the substitution of the name of Abimelech, meaning “kingdom of my father,” for Achish, to whom David had fled. Clearly this incident aptly refers to the Lord Christ, through whom the glorious Father with most holy devotion undertook service to the world. The expression “who dismissed him” refers to king Abimelech; “and he went his way” means that David departed to another region because, as we have said, he had begun to be suspected. - "Expositio...
Countenance. Hebrew, "sentiment, (Calmet) or, behaviour. "(Haydock)
Chaldean, "reason. "He no longer acted as a prudent man, but like a fool.
Down; not fainting, (Calmet) but like one in an epileptic fit. (Haydock)
Hebrew, "he feigned himself mad. "Chaldean, "stupid. "
Stumbled. Hebrew, "wrote, or made figures upon. "Septuagint, "beat the drum upon the gates of the city, and he was carried about, or acted the fool, in his hands, (pare hereto en tais chersin, autou: Amama would have, auton, their) and he fell against the doors of the gate "They seem to give a double translation. St. Augustine says, "we cannot understand how David could be carried in his own hands. But we understand how it was verified in Christ. For Christ was carried in his own hands at his last supper, when he gave, or commending, his own body, he said, This, for he then carried his own body in his own hands. "(In Psalm xxxiii. conc. i.) Ferebat enim illud corpus in manibus suis. Amama may laugh at St. Augustine's ...