1Samuel 22-24

Sunday Evening Bible Study

February 17, 2002


Saul was the first king of Israel.  But because of his continued disobedience to God, God warned Saul through the prophet Samuel that the kingdom would be given to another.  Even though Saul’s reign as king continued, a young man named David had been anointed by the prophet to become king.  That boy was David.  As God began to work through David, bringing victory after victory to the nation of Israel, King Saul became increasingly paranoid of David’s successes. Even though David never had a notion of taking the kingdom away from Saul, Saul began to plot David’s death.  Eventually, David became a fugitive, even for a time running to hide among the Philistines.

1Samuel 22

:1  David therefore departed thence, and escaped to the cave Adullam: and when his brethren and all his father's house heard it, they went down thither to him.

David leaves the Philistine city of Gath and hides out in a cave.

Adullam ‘Adullam – “justice of the people”.  About ten miles east of Gath. see map

David’s brothers, who had been in Saul’s army, now desert the army and join up with their little brother.  It could be that they sense that their own lives are at risk now.

David wrote a song at a time when he was in a cave.  There were several times in David’s life when this might have been written, but perhaps this was the occasion.

(Psa 142 KJV)  Maschil of David; A Prayer when he was in the cave. I cried unto the LORD with my voice; with my voice unto the LORD did I make my supplication. {2} I poured out my complaint before him; I showed before him my trouble. {3} When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then thou knewest my path. In the way wherein I walked have they privily laid a snare for me. {4} I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul. {5} I cried unto thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my refuge and my portion in the land of the living. {6} Attend unto my cry; for I am brought very low: deliver me from my persecutors; for they are stronger than I. {7} Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name: the righteous shall compass me about; for thou shalt deal bountifully with me.

:2 And every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented, gathered themselves unto him; and he became a captain over them: and there were with him about four hundred men.

distressmatsowq – straitness, straits, distress, stress, anguish

in debtnasha’ – to lend on interest or usury, be a creditor

discontentedmar – bitter, bitterness; of water or food; of pain (subst)

captainsar – prince, ruler, leader, chief, chieftain, official, captain

David and his mighty men.

Their beginning, their exploits

Jesus and His disciples.

1Cor. 1 – not many mighty

Jesus and us.

(Matthew 11:28-30)  Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. {29} Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. {30} For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

(Matthew 16:24-26)  Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. {25} For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. {26} For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

:3  he said unto the king of Moab, Let my father and my mother…be with you

MizpehMitspeh – “watchtower”.  There were lots of “Mizpehs”.   see map

Moab – These were descendants of Lot’s incestuous relationship with one of his daughters (Gen. 19:37).

Why does David take his parents to the pagan Moabites?

The Moabites were enemies of Saul.
1Sa 14:47 So Saul took the kingdom over Israel, and fought against all his enemies on every side, against Moab, and against the children of Ammon, and against Edom, and against the kings of Zobah, and against the Philistines: and whithersoever he turned himself, he vexed [them].
David’s dad, Jesse, is the grandson of a Moabite, Ruth.


Take care of your family.

David is taking responsibility for his family.  He’s taking care of his parents.
(1 Timothy 5:8)  But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

:4 David was in the hold

the holdmatsuwd – net, prey, net prey; fastness, stronghold.  A related word is “Masada”, where Jonathan Maccabeus built a fortress in 142 BC, where Herod would one day build a summer palace, and where the Jews would make a last ditch effort to hold off the Romans in AD 73, until finally all committing suicide.  Some have suggested that David may have been hiding out here for a while.

:5 the prophet Gad  … David departed, and came into the forest of Hareth.

the prophet Gad – He is called “David’s seer” (2 Sam. 24:11).  There are three different times when we see him being used in David’s life.  I wonder if he met David at Naioth, the place of Samuel’s “school of the prophets” (1Sam. 19).

1.     Here, as he gives direction for David to get moving.

2.     When David sins by numbering the nation, Gad is the one who is used to speak for the Lord and give David choices about how he is to be disciplined.  It is Gad that suggests that David build an altar and sacrifice at the threshing floor of Araunah, eventually leading to David’s purchase of the site for Solomon’s temple. (2Sam. 24:11-19)

3.     Gad had input, along with the prophet Nathan, into how David set up the Levites to provide for continuous worship in the temple (2Chr. 29:25).

the forest of HarethChereth – “forest”  see map

:6  Saul abode in Gibeah under a tree in Ramah

The remains of Saul’s fortress at Gibeah

:6  having his spear in his hand

I guess he kept his spear in his hand in case he wanted to throw it at someone.  But as we’ve seen, Saul doesn’t seem to have been too good at throwing spears, since every time he throws one, he misses.  Hmmm.  Perhaps he likes to keep his spear around for practice.

:7  Hear now, ye Benjamites

Probably the people most loyal to Saul were those from his own tribe, Benjamin.  Apparently Saul has been quite generous in giving good jobs and land to his own tribe.  He’s hinting that if David became king, he wouldn’t be so generous to them as Saul.

:8 That all of you have conspired against me, and there is none that showeth me that my son hath made a league with the son of Jesse, and there is none of you that is sorry for me, or showeth unto me that my son hath stirred up my servant against me, to lie in wait, as at this day?

that is sorrychalah – to be or become weak, be or become sick, be or become diseased, be or become grieved, be or become sorry


Severe “I” problems

One of Saul’s greatest problems is that his focus is solely upon himself.  Look how many times the word “me” or “my” is used in this one sentence.  Eight times!
Poor “me”.
The Bible says we ought to be more concerned about others than our own selves.
(Philippians 2:3-4)  Don't be selfish; don't live to make a good impression on others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourself. {4} Don't think only about your own affairs, but be interested in others, too, and what they are doing.

Jesus didn’t think of Himself.  He thought of us.  Above all.  Paul goes on in Phil. 2 to talk about how we ought to be more like Jesus.

(Philippians 2:5-11)  Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had. {6} Though he was God, he did not demand and cling to his rights as God. {7} He made himself nothing; he took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form. {8} And in human form he obediently humbled himself even further by dying a criminal's death on a cross. {9} Because of this, God raised him up to the heights of heaven and gave him a name that is above every other name, {10} so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, {11} and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

I think we can easily run into problems that lead to paranoia when our focus is solely upon our own selves.  I think that we lose perspective on what is really important when we only focus on our own selves.

:9 Then answered Doeg the Edomite

Remember Doeg?  We saw him briefly when David first ran to Nob to get bread from the priest Ahimelech (1Sam. 21).  This was when David had lied to the priest in order to get bread and a sword.  We’re going to see the consequences of David’s lie.

David would write a song about Doeg.  He wasn’t too complimentary.

(Psa 52 KJV)  To the chief Musician, Maschil, A Psalm of David, when Doeg the Edomite came and told Saul, and said unto him, David is come to the house of Ahimelech. Why boastest thou thyself in mischief, O mighty man? the goodness of God endureth continually. {2} Thy tongue deviseth mischiefs; like a sharp razor, working deceitfully. {3} Thou lovest evil more than good; and lying rather than to speak righteousness. Selah. {4} Thou lovest all devouring words, O thou deceitful tongue. {5} God shall likewise destroy thee for ever, he shall take thee away, and pluck thee out of thy dwelling place, and root thee out of the land of the living. Selah. {6} The righteous also shall see, and fear, and shall laugh at him: {7} Lo, this is the man that made not God his strength; but trusted in the abundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wickedness. {8} But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever. {9} I will praise thee for ever, because thou hast done it: and I will wait on thy name; for it is good before thy saints.

:10 And he inquired of the LORD for him

It is thought that Ahimelech “inquired” as to whether or not to give the special holy showbread to David.

:14  And who is so faithful among all thy servants as David

Ahimelech thinks Saul’s accusations are ridiculous.  Everyone knows how loyal David is to Saul.

:15 Did I then begin to inquire of God for him?

This wasn’t the first time that the priest had inquired of God for David.  David was a man who wanted to know God’s will.

:15  for thy servant knew nothing of all this, less or more.

Here’s where David’s responsibility lay.


Be up front.

I’m sure that David reasoned, “What Ahimelech doesn’t know can’t hurt him”.
And perhaps even if David had been honest with Ahimelech, Ahimelech might have still helped David. But at least he would have had the responsibility of deciding himself to betray King Saul.
The problem is that David didn’t give Ahimelech the chance to make up his own mind.  In a sense, David made the decision for Ahimelech by not being honest with him.

:17  But the servants of the king would not put forth their hand to fall upon the priests of the LORD.

The servants of Saul seem to have a greater fear of God than they do of Saul.  Note from Warren Wiersbe – Saul struggled to kill the Amalekites, but he doesn’t seem to have a problem ordering the death of God’s priests.

:19 smote he with the edge of the sword, both men and women …

Not only were eighty-five priests killed, but when Doeg arrived at Nob, he killed the families of the priests as well.

It may be that this was designed to strike fear in the nation to not conspire against Saul, but I have this feeling that instead the nation will become disgusted at Saul in having the priests killed.

:20  Abiathar, escaped, and fled after David.

Abiathar ‘Ebyathar – “my father is great”.  Abiathar apparently escapes with the garments of the high priest (1Sam. 23:6,9).

:22  I have occasioned the death of all the persons of thy father's house.

David recognizes that he had a hand in causing the death of the priests with his lie.

1Samuel 23

:1  Then they told David, saying, Behold, the Philistines fight against Keilah, and they rob the threshingfloors.

Keilah[email protected]‘iylah – “fortress”  see map

rob the threshingfloors – this is similar to what happened when Gideon faced the Midianites.  It seems that Israel’s enemies like to come and steal the profits of their hard work.

This is the kind of thing that David used to take care of when he was employed by Saul.  David had been looked at as a man who could take on the Philistines.  Even though David is “on the outs” with Saul, people are coming to him, looking for help.

:2 Therefore David inquired of the LORD

How did David enquire of the Lord?

We aren’t told.  It could be through the priest Abiathar.  It could be through the prophet Gad.


Ask God

It might be that this was a “no-brainer”.  After all, David was the man to handle the Philistines.
But David asks God for direction.  He doesn’t assume anything.
It’s also a little more than dangerous.

:3 Behold, we be afraid here in Judah: how much more then if we come to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines?

David’s men have a good point. Even their friends are chasing them.  Do they need to get their enemies mad too?


Listen to counsel.

It is a wise thing to listen to the counsel of your friends.
(Proverbs 11:14)  Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.
(Proverbs 12:15)  The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.
(Proverbs 13:10)  Through presumption comes nothing but strife, But with those who receive counsel is wisdom.
(Proverbs 15:22)  Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellors they are established.
(Proverbs 20:18)  Every purpose is established by counsel: and with good advice make war.
(Proverbs 24:6)  For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in multitude of counsellors there is safety.
Sometimes we can be deaf to the advice that friends can give us.  We need to listen and weigh out the things others say.

:4 Then David inquired of the LORD yet again

inquiredsha’al – to ask, enquire, borrow, beg

David checks again with the Lord.  What his men say makes sense.

:5 So David saved the inhabitants of Keilah.


Obey God rather than men

In the end, David is faced with listening to the counsel of his friends (who mean well), or doing what God has specifically said.
David chooses God.
When Peter and John were arrested for having healed a lame man and preaching about Jesus (Acts 4-5), they were told by the Jewish leaders to stop talking about Jesus.
The Bible says that we are to obey those in authority over us (Rom. 13:1-5).  And for most of the time, this is exactly what we are to do.
But when there is a conflict between what others are saying and what God is saying, we need to choose God.
(Acts 5:29)  Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.
David is known as the “man after God’s own heart” because he pretty consistently chooses to obey God rather than man.


Be careful about stopping your ministry

In a way, David’s “ministry” was to fight the enemies of Israel, like the Philistines.
David could have responded to this cry for help by saying, “Hey, I have enough problems on my hands, I don’t have time to do my “Philistine Ministry”.
But he didn’t.

:6  he came down with an ephod in his hand.

ephod – a priestly robe that seems to have some kind of connection with asking God for advice.

:7  he is shut in, by entering into a town that hath gates and bars.

Saul thinks that David has made a mistake by hiding in a city that only has a few ways in and out.

:12  the LORD said, They will deliver thee up.

God knows the hearts of men.  God knows that the men of Keilah, rather than showing gratitude to David for rescuing them, will turn and betray David.


The fickleness of the human heart

These people owe David their lives.  When they called for help with the Philistines, David was the one to rescue them.
And now they’re eager to sell David out to Saul.
In a way, we shouldn’t be too surprised when people turn on us.

:13 Then David and his men, which were about six hundred

David’s group has grown a little.  There were four hundred when he was at Adullam (22:2).  Now there are six hundred.

:13  he forbare to go forth.

Saul didn’t go to Keilah after all.

:14 David abode in the wilderness in strong holds, and remained in …Ziph.

wildernessmidbar – wilderness; uninhabited land

strong holds[email protected] – fort, stronghold, fastness; mountain-fastness.  Again, perhaps Masada.

ZiphZiyph – “battlement”  see map


Trial in the wilderness

Warren Wiersbe writes,
“This period of persecution in David’s life was a part of the preparation for the throne. He was already a great soldier; now he needed to suffer in the wilderness to learn not to trust men but to trust the Lord. All of us need “wilderness testings” to bring us closer to the Lord and to make us better equipped to serve Him.”

:14  And Saul sought him every day, but God delivered him not into his hand.


The enemy never rests

(1 Peter 5:8)  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

:16 And Jonathan … strengthened his hand in God.

Even though Saul isn’t able to find David, somehow Jonathan is able to find David.  Perhaps David sent messengers to Jonathan.

strengthenedchazaq – to strengthen, prevail, harden, be strong, become strong, be courageous, be firm, grow firm, be resolute, be sore.  The form in Hebrew is a “Piel” stem, meaning an “intensive” form.  He really really strengthened David.

(1 Sam 23:16 NASB)  encouraged him in God.

(1 Sam 23:16 NIV)  helped him find strength in God.

(1 Sam 23:16 NLT)  encouraged him to stay strong in his faith in God.


Strengthen your friends in God

It’s good to encourage others.  It’s good to remind them of their strengths.  It’s good to encourage people to just keep going.
But most important of all, is that we encourage them to be strong in the Lord.
I think that even some of the most insensitive people can tell when a person needs encouragement.  But don’t just settle for “encouragement”, strengthen them in the Lord.
Jesus said that we couldn’t do anything without Him,
(John 15:4-5 KJV)  Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. {5} I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
Paul said that with Christ, he could do anything,
(Phil 4:13 KJV)  I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
Don’t just be a cheerleader.  Be a person who encourages others to find courage in the Lord.
How can I do this?

Share Scripture.  As you come across verses in your daily reading that might be a blessing, be sure to share them with your friend.

Pray with your friends.  Grab their hands and talk to God.

Tell them that you are praying for them.  Encourage them to keep putting their trust in the Lord.

:17 thou shalt be king over Israel, and I shall be next unto thee

Jonathan is a man of faith.  He knows what is ahead for David.  Even though it doesn’t look very likely that David will ever be king, Jonathan believes it.

:18 And they two made a covenant before the LORD

covenant[email protected] – covenant, alliance, pledge

Jonathan and David seem to always be “making a covenant”.  They are good friends to the end.

:19 Then came up the Ziphites to Saul to Gibeah, saying, Doth not David hide himself with us

David wrote a song when the Ziphites told Saul about him.  This would happen twice in David’s life, here and in 1Sam. 26:1

(Psa 54 KJV)  To the chief Musician on Neginoth, Maschil, A Psalm of David, when the Ziphims came and said to Saul, Doth not David hide himself with us? Save me, O God, by thy name, and judge me by thy strength. {2} Hear my prayer, O God; give ear to the words of my mouth. {3} For strangers are risen up against me, and oppressors seek after my soul: they have not set God before them. Selah. {4} Behold, God is mine helper: the Lord is with them that uphold my soul. {5} He shall reward evil unto mine enemies: cut them off in thy truth. {6} I will freely sacrifice unto thee: I will praise thy name, O LORD; for it is good. {7} For he hath delivered me out of all trouble: and mine eye hath seen his desire upon mine enemies.

David wrote songs on the run.  He didn’t just write songs when he had a break and things were nice.

:19  in the hill of Hachilah, which is on the south of Jeshimon?

HachilahChakiylah – “dark”  see map

Jeshimon[email protected] – waste, wilderness, desert, desolate place  see map

:21 And Saul said, Blessed be ye of the LORD; for ye have compassion on me.

What a hypocrite! 

Just because someone uses religious language doesn’t mean that they are a nice person.

:22 know and see his place where his haunt is

Saul doesn’t want David to get away again.  He wants the Ziphites to keep an eye on David.

:22  it is told me that he dealeth very subtly.

dealeth very subtly ‘aram – to be subtle, be shrewd, be crafty, beware, take crafty counsel, be prudent.  Here, literally, “being crafty, he is crafty

:24  David and his men were in the wilderness of Maon

Maon Ma‘own   “habitation”

David will stay here for a little while, will leave, and eventually return to this area.  Apparently while he is here, he is kind to a group of shepherds belonging to a man named Nabal.  This will come into play when we get to 1Samuel 25.

:26 Saul went on this side … David and his men on that side …

It looks as if David is surrounded.  Saul has men completely surrounding David and his men.  All looks hopeless.

:27 But there came a messenger unto Saul, saying, Haste thee, and come …

Wow.  What amazing timing!

:28  therefore they called that place Selahammahlekoth.

SelahammahlekothCela‘ [email protected] – “the rock of escape”

:29 And David went up from thence, and dwelt in strong holds at Engedi.

Engedi‘Eyn Gediy  = “fount of the kid”

Probably named this way because of the water there.

Waterfalls at En Gedi

strong holds – There are caves at En Gedi as well.

Caves at En Gedi


Use the exit

To me, this story is one of my favorite ways of seeing how God can bring about deliverance.
The Bible says,
(1 Cor 10:13 KJV)  There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

God will never allow us to be tested or tempted beyond our ability to handle.

He will always provide a way of escape.

Sometimes it will be to stand and fight the situation.  Sometimes it will be to run away.  It could even be through death.

But it’s up to us to take the exit.

David was about to be captured by Saul when Saul is suddenly called away on urgent business.

What does David do?  Does he settle down and make himself comfortable until Saul comes back?  No, he runs to a new hiding place.

When we are faced with a test or a temptation, God will ALWAYS provide a way out.  But it’s up to us to take the way out. If you are faced with a temptation, and something comes along that gives you a small break, take advantage of it.

It may be that you’re sitting at home alone when the most tempting thought enters into your mind.  You begin to dwell on it.  You wonder, “It wouldn’t hurt if I just looked at the carton of ice-cream, would it?”  And then out of the blue, the phone rings and for a brief moment, the ice-cream’s power over you is broken.  What do you do when you hang up?  Don’t say to yourself, “Let’s see now, where was I?”  Take advantage of the exit.


Run to the refreshments

Perhaps this is a bit of a stretch, but En Gedi is something of an oasis.  It is a place of refreshment.
When Jesus was finished with His temptation in the wilderness,
(Mat 4:11 KJV)  Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.
Jesus said,
(John 7:37-39 KJV)  In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. {38} He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. {39} (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

Let the Holy Spirit refresh you after you’ve resisted temptation.  Find your refreshment in the Lord.

1Samuel 24

:2 Then Saul took three thousand chosen men …

David is outnumbered five-to-one.  He has six hundred, Saul has three thousand.  Which group has the advantage?

Apparently the cliffs around En Gedi are a place where mountain goats hang out.

:3 he came to the sheepcotes … where was a cave…Saul went in to cover his feet

sheepcotes[email protected] – wall, hedge; sheepfold (construct with ‘sheep’)

cover his feetcakak – (Hiphil) to screen ; to cover, defecate (euphemism).  Apparently this is a nice way of saying that Saul went into the cave to go to the bathroom.

:4 And the men of David said unto him, Behold the day of which the LORD said unto thee, Behold, I will deliver thine enemy into thine hand, that thou mayest do to him as it shall seem good unto thee. Then David arose, and cut off the skirt of Saul’s robe privily.

David finds where Saul has laid aside his robe, and David takes it and cuts a piece off of it.


Be careful about advice

Apparently there had been some sort of prophetic word concerning David’s enemies.
David’s men encourage him to take advantage of the situation and kill Saul.
Even though David’s men have David’s best interests in mind, they aren’t always the ones giving David good advice.  It seems that more often than not, David receives bad advice from his men.
Even well-meaning people can be telling you the wrong thing.  Even well-meaning people who seem to be basing their advice on God’s Word.

:5 David's heart smote him

David has a sensitive conscience.  Even though he is following some pretty sensible advice, his heart is sensitive enough to notice that he’s doing the wrong thing.

:6 And he said unto his men, The LORD forbid that I should do this thing unto my master, the LORD'S anointed …

David sees Saul as “the LORD’S anointed”. 

Yet ironically, you could make a point for David being the Lord’s anointed.  After all, he has been “anointed” by Samuel, just like Saul.


Touch not the Lord’s anointed

I have to admit this concept has been used and abused much.
It is usually used when somebody in ministry is being questioned about their practices or is in some way being slandered.
But for David, this meant not killing Saul.
David will confront Saul.  Saul will be convicted about his actions.  But David won’t kill him.

:8  David stooped with his face to the earth, and bowed himself.

Even after Saul has been trying to kill David, David still treats Saul with nothing but the greatest respect.


Be careful about betraying a leader

I have seen both in the church as well as out in the business world where a subordinate gets this idea that they’re just like “David”.  They feel that somehow they are the “anointed” one, the “real” leader that everyone should be following.
Instead of acting with respect toward their “Saul”, they do everything they can to cut Saul up into pieces.
If God has indeed called you to be a leader, then God will promote you without you having to stick a knife in someone’s back.
Be a person of integrity.

:9  Wherefore hearest thou men's words, saying, Behold, David seeketh thy hurt?

Though we don’t have any accounts of people saying this to Saul, apparently David has heard reports that some of Saul’s men have been making things worse for David by lying to Saul.

Some have suggested that David wrote Psalm 7 because of this, and that “Cush the Benjamite” was one of the chief men lying to Saul about David.

(Psa 7 KJV)  Shiggaion of David, which he sang unto the LORD, concerning the words of Cush the Benjamite. O LORD my God, in thee do I put my trust: save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me: {2} Lest he tear my soul like a lion, rending it in pieces, while there is none to deliver. {3} O LORD my God, if I have done this; if there be iniquity in my hands; {4} If I have rewarded evil unto him that was at peace with me; (yea, I have delivered him that without cause is mine enemy:) {5} Let the enemy persecute my soul, and take it; yea, let him tread down my life upon the earth, and lay mine honour in the dust. Selah. {6} Arise, O LORD, in thine anger, lift up thyself because of the rage of mine enemies: and awake for me to the judgment that thou hast commanded. {7} So shall the congregation of the people compass thee about: for their sakes therefore return thou on high. {8} The LORD shall judge the people: judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness, and according to mine integrity that is in me. {9} Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end; but establish the just: for the righteous God trieth the hearts and reins. {10} My defence is of God, which saveth the upright in heart. {11} God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day. {12} If he turn not, he will whet his sword; he hath bent his bow, and made it ready. {13} He hath also prepared for him the instruments of death; he ordaineth his arrows against the persecutors. {14} Behold, he travaileth with iniquity, and hath conceived mischief, and brought forth falsehood. {15} He made a pit, and digged it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made. {16} His mischief shall return upon his own head, and his violent dealing shall come down upon his own pate. {17} I will praise the LORD according to his righteousness: and will sing praise to the name of the LORD most high.

:11  I have not sinned against thee; yet thou huntest my soul to take it.

David has never done anything to hurt Saul, yet Saul has continually tried to hurt David.  And now David has returned Saul’s continual attacks with kindness.


Paying back evil with good

David is giving us a good example of what Paul taught about:
(Rom. 12:17-21 Phillips)  Don’t pay back a bad turn by a bad turn, to anyone. See that your public behaviour is above criticism. 18  As far as your responsibility goes, live at peace with everyone. 19  Never take vengeance into your own hands, my dear friends: stand back and let God punish if he will. For it is written: Vengeance belongeth unto me: I will recompense, saith the Lord. 20  And it is also written: If thine enemy hunger, feed him; If he thirst, give him to drink: For in so doing thou shall heap coals of fire upon his head. 21  Don’t allow yourself to be overpowered by evil. Take the offensive—overpower evil with good!

:13 Wickedness proceedeth from the wicked: but mine hand shall not be upon thee.

What is David saying?

He’s saying that he, David, must not be wicked because he is not doing anything wicked.

Yet indirectly, he’s also saying that Saul must be wicked because Saul is doing wicked things.

:14  after a dead dog, after a flea.

David is saying that he’s about as harmful to Saul as a dead dog or a flea.

:15 The LORD therefore be judge, and judge between me and thee


Confront with the truth.

David is putting the truth right in front of Saul.
(Eph 4:14-15 KJV)  That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; {15} But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

Confronting with truth, in love, helps us all to grow up.

:16 And Saul lifted up his voice, and wept.

Saul seems to be convicted about the things that David has been saying.

David has temporarily overcome evil with good.

:20 And now, behold, I know well that thou shalt surely be king

It seems that Saul has known that David would one day be king, but he had been fighting against the truth.

:22 And David sware unto Saul.

David promises Saul what he has already promised to Jonathan, that he won’t go and kill all of Saul’s descendants when the time comes that he becomes king.

It was a common thing when a person became king to kill all the descendants of the previous king to keep there from being any competition for the throne.

:22  And Saul went home; but David and his men gat them up unto the hold.

This won’t be the last time that Saul pursues David.  He will try to kill David one more time (1Sam. 26).


David’s deliverances

Over and over we have seen David delivered from the hand of Saul.  But it’s often different each time.  So far, we’ve seen –
Deliverance through a peacemaker – Jonathan talked to his dad, and for awhile, there was peace between Saul and David (1Sam. 19:1-7).
Deliverance through running – this seems to be a major factor in David’s life – When Saul sent messengers to David’s house, Michal helped David run away (1Sam. 19:11-17).  Over and over again, when God brings about a chance to escape, David runs.
Deliverance through God’s power – when David hid with Samuel at Naioth, God’s Spirit supernaturally overwhelmed each of the messengers until they all were prophesying (1Sam. 19:18-24).
Deliverance through God’s guidance – David enquired of the Lord and God warned David to flee from Keilah so he wouldn’t be betrayed (1Sam. 23:7-13)
Deliverance through encouragement – Jonathan encouraged David in the Lord – he kept David going (1Sam. 23:16-18)
Deliverance through the exit – God caused Saul to get sidetracked long enough for David to make his escape (1Sam. 23:26-29)
Deliverance through kindness – instead of killing Saul, David showed kindness, and Saul temporarily allowed David to go (1Sam. 24).
Deliverance through confrontation – David didn’t just show kindness to Saul, he confronted him about the truth (1Sam. 24).