Verses 1-5 (1 Samuel 26:1-5)

Here, 1. Saul gets information of David?s movements and acts offensively. The Ziphites came to him and told him where David now was, in the same place where he was when they formerly betrayed him, 1 Sam. 23:19. Perhaps (though it is not mentioned) Saul had given them intimation, under-hand, that he continued his design against David, and would be glad of their assistance. If not, they were very officious to Saul, aware of what would please him, and very malicious against David, to whom they despaired of ever reconciling themselves, and therefore they stirred up Saul (who needed no such spur) against him, 1 Sam. 26:1. For aught we know, Saul would have continued in the same good mind that he was in (1 Sam. 24:17), and would not have given David this fresh trouble, if the Ziphites had not put him on. See what need we have to pray to God that, since we have so much of the tinder of corruption in our own hearts, the sparks of temptation may be kept far from us, lest, if they come together, we be set on fire of hell. Saul readily caught at the information, and went down with an army of 3000 men to the place where David hid himself, 1 Sam. 26:2. How soon do unsanctified hearts lose the good impressions which their convictions have made upon them and return with the dog to their vomit!

2. David gets information of Saul?s movements and acts defensively. He did not march out to meet and fight him; he sought only his own safety, not Saul?s ruin; therefore he abode in the wilderness (1 Sam. 26:3), putting thereby a great force upon himself, and curbing the bravery of his own spirit by a silent retirement, showing more true valour than he could have done by an irregular resistance. (1.) He had spies who informed him of Saul?s descent, that he had come in very deed (1 Sam. 26:4); for he would not believe that Saul would deal so basely with him till he had the utmost evidence of it. (2.) He observed with his own eyes how Saul was encamped, 1 Sam. 26:5. He came towards the place where Saul and his men had pitched their tents, so near as to be able, undiscovered, to take a view of their entrenchments, probably in the dusk of the evening.

- Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary