1 Samuel 29:

6 So Achish called David and said to him, “As surely as the LORD lives, you have been reliable, and I would be pleased to have you serve with me in the army. From the day you came to me until today, I have found no fault in you, but the rulers don’t approve of you. 7Now turn back and go in peace; do nothing to displease the Philistine rulers.”

Achish was a Philistine. Was there evidence that he believed that the LORD was real because of his association with David?

3 Answers 3


Because of the difficulty of this question and the dependence on culture, I asked your question here: Did אָכִ֜ישׁ actually use hashem? How do we interpret שמואל א 29:6? Note: Hashem means the Name in Hebrew. It is used in this way to reference the Tetragram [YHWH] without speaking the Name.

  1. This is one good answer so far from Harel13. In his first full paragraph he essentially translated Radak's commentary that is written in Hebrew.

Good question!

According to Radak on the verse, Achish wanted to convince David that he was only letting him go because of peer pressure from the other seranim (leaders of the Phillistines), and not because he no longer trusted him, so he took a vow before him in the name of David's God to show his faith in him (David).

This understanding is also brought in Yalkut Me'am Loez on the verse.

Edit: Another thought that comes to mind is that Achish was very likely around back when the Ark was wreaking havoc among the Phillistine cities. He might not yet have been king of Gat, but he was most likely aware of the might of Hashem, and so, though he did not worship Him, his taking a vow in His name may have included a facet of fear/awe of Hashem and not merely as a sign to David.

Also consider that, while Israel had the Law to only worship the one true God, the Philistines did not follow this Law and were essentially polytheists. Thus, Achish would have no trouble using David's God's name.


This is a controversial matter, stirring much debate. Here is the Biblical data:

“For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them.” Rom 2:14, 15. See also Ps 87:4-6.

Further, 1 John 4:7 claims that, “Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” More explicitly, John 1:9 and Rom 1:18-20 also suggest that all people receive some revelation of God and all are without excuse. See also Prov 4:18 and Luke 12:47, 48.

the Bible contains numerous examples of pagans behaving like (or often better than) Jews and Christians and receiving divine information, visions and advising Jews and Christians.

  • Pharaoh rebukes Abram after a vision from God. Gen 12:17-20
  • Abimelech rebukes Abraham after a vision from God. Gen 20:3-6
  • Abimelech rebukes Isaac about Rebekah. Gen 26:8-11
  • The Philistine king Achish appeared to recognize YHWH, the LORD, in 1 Sam 29:6, 7.
  • King Necho of Egypt rebukes Josiah’s foolishness. 2 Chron 35:20-22
  • Jonah was the divine agent in saving the pagan city of Nineveh without the need for them becoming Jews. Jonah 3:4-10
  • The magi (“wise men”) of the east were avid students of Scripture. Matt 2:1, 2, 11, 12.
  • Several Roman Centurions were obviously saved. Matt 8:5-12, Luke 23:47, Acts 10:30-35.

1 Samuel 29:9

Achish answered, “I know that you have been as pleasing in my eyes as an angel of God; nevertheless, the Philistine commanders have said, ‘He must not go up with us into battle.’

Achish knows quite a bit of the LORD, including angels.

He is not the only one. Hiram also knows the LORD.

2 Chronicles 2

11Then Hiram king of Tyre wrote a letter in reply to Solomon:

“Because the LORD loves His people, He has set you over them as king.”

12And Hiram added:

“Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who made the heavens and the earth! He has given King David a wise son with insight and understanding, who will build a temple for the LORD and a royal palace for himself.

The LORD is famous in and around the land of Canaan.

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