Achish was a Philistine, so why did David go to Gath to dwell with him. I mean, I know that Saul would never stop looking to kill David but on the other hand... the Philistines? Am I missing something here?

1 Samuel 27:2-3

וַיָּקָם דָּוִד--וַיַּעֲבֹר הוּא, וְשֵׁשׁ-מֵאוֹת אִישׁ אֲשֶׁר עִמּוֹ: אֶל-אָכִישׁ בֶּן-מָעוֹךְ, מֶלֶךְ גַּת. וַיֵּשֶׁב דָּוִד עִם-אָכִישׁ בְּגַת הוּא וַאֲנָשָׁיו, אִישׁ וּבֵיתוֹ: דָּוִד, וּשְׁתֵּי נָשָׁיו, אֲחִינֹעַם הַיִּזְרְעֵאלִת, וַאֲבִיגַיִל אֵשֶׁת-נָבָל הַכַּרְמְלִית

And David arose. And he and the six hundred men who were with him, crossed over to Achish the son of Maoch, the king of Gath. And David dwelt with Achish in Gath, he and his men, each man and his household, David and his two wives; Ahinoam the Jezreelitess and Abigail the wife of Nabal, the Carmelitess.

  • Yes. You're missing some reasoning explaining why you think seeking political asylum from a neighboring king was a bad idea... Jul 5, 2015 at 15:18
  • I think it's self-understood.... Jul 6, 2015 at 16:25
  • I don't think it's well understood at all. In my mind, it's a case of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend." Saul, king of the Jews, hates David. Achish hates Saul. Protecting David from Saul will also help Achish when David assumes power. It's really the smartest thing he can do, politically, if Achish thinks David will be ascendant. Jul 6, 2015 at 17:04
  • Tuche' I never thought of it like that. thanks for the insight! Jul 7, 2015 at 17:33

1 Answer 1


The previous verse explains it pretty clearly (http://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/15856):

1And David said to himself, "Now, I shall perish one day in the hand of Saul; there is nothing better for me than that I shall escape to the land of the Philistines, and Saul will despair of me, to seek me any more in all the border of Israel, and I shall escape from his hand."

  אוַיֹּאמֶר דָּוִד אֶל לִבּוֹ עַתָּה אֶסָּפֶה יוֹם אֶחָד בְּיַד שָׁאוּל אֵין לִי טוֹב כִּי הִמָּלֵט אִמָּלֵט | אֶל אֶרֶץ פְּלִשְׁתִּים וְנוֹאַשׁ מִמֶּנִּי שָׁאוּל לְבַקְשֵׁנִי עוֹד בְּכָל גְּבוּל יִשְׂרָאֵל וְנִמְלַטְתִּי מִיָּדוֹ:

And it worked:

4And it was told to Saul that David had fled to Gath, and he did not continue to search for him.

  דוַיֻּגַּד לְשָׁאוּל כִּי בָרַח דָּוִד גַּת וְלֹא יָסַף (כתיב יָוסַף) עוֹד לְבַקְשׁוֹ:
  • But wasn't Israel at war with the Philistines. What gave the security with the philistines? Jul 3, 2015 at 3:54
  • 1
    @TheTribeOfJudah off and on, yeah. But "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" - and actually, if you read further in that chapter and the next few, David pretended to be on the Philistine side but wasn't.
    – Shamiach
    Jul 3, 2015 at 3:56
  • Ok sorry I've just read further: And David and his men would go up and raid the Geshurites and the Gizrites and the Amalekites, for those (tribes) were the inhabitants of the land, who were of old, as you go to Shur, even to the land of Egypt. and then he would lie to Achish and tell them that he would raid against Judah etc... so Achish would find favor with him. sorry i should have read further. Jul 3, 2015 at 4:22
  • @TheTribeOfJudah sounds like an "arba avos" problem... Jul 6, 2015 at 17:05
  • perhaps this wasn't the intent of the OP but the Plishtim had at least 5 major cities at the time. This answer doesn't explain why David chose Achish/Gath specifically Dec 8, 2022 at 20:16

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