1Samuel 22:1-2

Sunday Morning 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 … escaped to the cave Adullam

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 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.

Maschil – “instructive”.  This is a Psalm intended to teach a lesson, something to ponder about.


Depend on God first.

It is good to have friends you can lean on.  At various times in David’s life, he had good friends to lean on.  He leaned on Jonathan at times.  And a good portion of this morning’s message is about the “David’s Mighty Men”, men that God will soon be gathering around David.
But there are times in our lives where there is no one else to depend upon but God.
And that isn’t a bad thing.  I think that God desires that we come to this place in our lives where we know that even if everyone else around us fails us, that we are still clinging to Him.

I think that sometimes God will even allow us to go through times where it seems that everyone has deserted us, simply to teach us to cry out to Him.


Years ago, there was a very dear sister who had this list of pastors she’d call whenever she was sad or lonely.  I was blessed to be one of those pastors on her list.  I remember many phone calls from her, often wondering how in the world I could help.  One time, we were out of town, and when we got back, we listened to our message machine to hear a very distraught message from this sister.  She wanted desperately to find someone to talk to.  I found out later that she had tried calling several of the pastors on her personal “list”, and there wasn’t a single one around to talk to.  And then she sensed the Lord talking to her.  “Hey, what about ME?” the Lord said to her.

She got the point.  When I got around to calling her back, she told me of a wonderful time she had experienced with the Lord. 

It seems that David had already written Psalm 34 before this particular time in his life, and at that time he wrote,

(Psa 34:4-6 KJV)  I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. {5} They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed. {6} This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.

I think this is a very important thing in marriage.

It is good that we learn to depend upon each other.  It is good that our spouse become our best friend.

But a healthy marriage comes from the place where each person FIRST comes to the place where God is the one they look to in order to meet their needs.

:1  and when his brethren and all his father's house heard it, they went down thither to him.

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.  In addition to his brothers like Eliab, there would have been others from David’s family, such as the sons of David’s only sister, Zeruiah.  David had three nephews – Joab, Abishai, and Ashahel.  These would become some of David’s best fighters.

: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.

It seems that David arrives at the cave of Adullam alone, but God begins to bring a group of men around him.  They are not exactly what you might call the “cream of the crop”.

distressmatsowq – distress, stress, anguish; “straits” – kind of like the idea of being “between a rock and a hard place”.

This particular Hebrew word is found six times in the Old Testament.  In four of those times, the King James translates it “straitness”, and in each of those four times, it is talking about the kind of distress a person will experience when they are in such a horrible time of famine that they would have to actually resort to eating their own children (Deut. 28:53,55,57; Jer. 19:9).  It describes people who are so desperate that they will do anything.

The other time it is used (besides here in 1Samuel) is

(Psa 119:143 KJV)  Trouble and anguish have taken hold on me: yet thy commandments are my delights.


in debtnasha’ – to lend on interest or usury, be a creditor.  This Hebrew word is found four times in the Old Testament, and it is simply the idea of having a financial debt.

A person in need of debt relief.  Forgiveness.

discontented – two Hebrew words are used here to translate this word; mar – bitter, bitterness; of water or food; of pain; nephesh – soul, self, life, creature, person, appetite, mind, living being, desire, emotion, passion

This combination of words is found 11 times in the Old Testament and seems to primarily carry the idea of bitterness or even anger.

It is translated “heavy hearts” as in the idea of someone who is facing the reality of dying (Prov 31:6).

It is translated “chafed in their minds”, “enraged”, or “fierce” like a mother bear that has been robbed of her cubs (2Sa 17:8)

It is translated “bitterness of soul”, used to describe Samuel’s mother Hannah, as she cried to the Lord with desperation about not being able to have children:

(1 Sam 1:10 KJV)  And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore.

captainsar – prince, ruler, leader, chief

Distress, in debt, and discontent.  It sounds like a bunch of losers.  It sounds like a bunch of guys whose lives were a mess.

Yet this ragtag group of men would one day be known as “David’s Mighty Men”.

David and his mighty men.

(1 Chr 11:10-26, 41 KJV)  These also are the chief of the mighty men whom David had, who strengthened themselves with him in his kingdom, and with all Israel, to make him king, according to the word of the LORD concerning Israel. {11} And this is the number of the mighty men whom David had; Jashobeam, an Hachmonite, the chief of the captains: he lifted up his spear against three hundred slain by him at one time. {12} And after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo, the Ahohite, who was one of the three mighties. {13} He was with David at Pasdammim,

Pasdammim – “the sole (as in foot) of bloodshed”.  We don’t have any other account of this than this particular record.  This is simply one of the times that David had faced the Philistines.

and there the Philistines were gathered together to battle, where was a parcel of ground full of barley; and the people fled from before the Philistines. {14} And they set themselves in the midst of that parcel, and delivered it, and slew the Philistines; and the LORD saved them by a great deliverance.

I think the idea was that during this battle, while everyone else ran away, David and Eleazar just stood their ground, side by side, and didn’t budge until it was over.

{15} Now three of the thirty captains went down to the rock to David, into the cave of Adullam; and the host of the Philistines encamped in the valley of Rephaim.

This places these “mighty men” at the very place in our text, the cave of Adullam.  The valley of Rephaim is to the north of Bethlehem.

{16} And David was then in the hold, and the Philistines' garrison was then at Bethlehem. {17} And David longed, and said, Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, that is at the gate!

Bethlehem is about 12 miles east of Adullam.  David has this craving for Bethlehem water.

{18} And the three brake through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David: but David would not drink of it, but poured it out to the LORD, {19} And said, My God forbid it me, that I should do this thing: shall I drink the blood of these men that have put their lives in jeopardy? for with the jeopardy of their lives they brought it. Therefore he would not drink it. These things did these three mightiest.

These men loved David.  They were willing to sacrifice their lives for David.  David also in turn valued their lives as well and would not consider ever abusing his relationship with them by having them fulfill his “wishes”.

{20} And Abishai the brother of Joab, he was chief of the three: for lifting up his spear against three hundred, he slew them, and had a name among the three.

Abishai was one of David’s nephews.

{21} Of the three, he was more honourable than the two; for he was their captain: howbeit he attained not to the first three. {22} Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man of Kabzeel, who had done many acts; he slew two lionlike men of Moab: also he went down and slew a lion in a pit in a snowy day. {23} And he slew an Egyptian, a man of great stature, five cubits high; and in the Egyptian's hand was a spear like a weaver's beam; and he went down to him with a staff, and plucked the spear out of the Egyptian's hand, and slew him with his own spear. {24} These things did Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and had the name among the three mighties. {25} Behold, he was honourable among the thirty, but attained not to the first three: and David set him over his guard. {26} Also the valiant men of the armies were, Asahel the brother of Joab

{41} Uriah the Hittite

This is the man who was married to Bathsheba.  When we see how David would one day kill Uriah to cover up his sin with Bathsheba, this makes David’s sin so much the worse.  He knew Uriah.  He had been close with Uriah.

Can I be a “mighty man”?

1.  Come as you are

God is not looking for perfect people.

The men that came to David were far from perfect.  When they came to David, they were a mess.

a) They were “in distress”.

Are you desperate for God?

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.)
I think that sometimes we have this idea that if God is to use us, then we have to be perfect and powerful.
We only have to be needy, hungry for Him.  That’s when God can get a hold of a person’s life and fill it with His Spirit.

b) They were in debt.

They owed a debt they couldn’t repay.

We too are faced with a debt, the debt of sin.  The Bible says that the debt of sin, the “wages of sin” is death.  To get ourselves out of debt, someone has to die.  God doesn’t want you to die for your sin, and that’s why He sent Jesus, to die in our place to pay for our sin.

The concept of forgiveness in the Bible is closely related to this idea of debt.  The idea of forgiveness is the release of a debt.  We need God’s forgiveness, and it only comes when the price has been paid.  It only comes through Jesus.

c) They were those that are discontent.

Jesus is looking for people who want to do something about their bitterness and anger.  He doesn’t want you to stay bitter.

2.  Come to David

Come to the “Son of David”.

In a way, David and his “mighty men” are very similar to a “son of David” who would have a group of mighty men around Him.

Jesus didn’t choose religious scholars to follow Him, He choose fishermen.

When Paul writes to the Corinthian church,

(1 Cor 1:26-29 NLT)  Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world's eyes, or powerful, or wealthy when God called you. {27} Instead, God deliberately chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose those who are powerless to shame those who are powerful. {28} God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important, {29} so that no one can ever boast in the presence of God.

I don’t think any of us would hesitate in calling the twelve disciples “mighty men”.

Yet they didn’t start out that way.  When Jesus called His disciples, they were “unlearned and ignorant men”.  And even after the resurrection, there was a sense in which they still came across as “unlearned and ignorant”.
(Acts 4:13 KJV)  Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.
unlearnedagrammatos – illiterate, unlearned
ignorantidiotes – a private person as opposed to a magistrate; in the NT, an unlearned, illiterate, man as opposed to the learned and educated: one who is unskilled in any art
How could the disciples be “idiots”, yet men whom God used?  Because they had spent time with Jesus.

Jesus said,

(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.

3,  Come to fight

Frankly, we’re in a battle.

(Eph 6:10-13 KJV)  Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. {11} Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. {12} For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. {13} Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

When we come to Jesus, we do often come initially because we realize we’re in a battle.  Our lives are a mess and we need help.

But we can come to Jesus thinking that there will never ever be another battle.

And then we are shocked to find that when we take a step to follow the Lord, that the battle can even get worse.

We may find ourselves saying to a friend, “Come to Jesus and He will give you peace”.
What do we mean by that?  Do we mean that there will never be another conflict in our life?
The men that joined with David had many, many battles ahead.

They were the “mighty men” because they learned how to fight well.

Paul goes on to write,

(Eph 6:14-18 KJV)  Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

Everything hangs on the truth.  I need to learn to live my life in reality, and not in make-believe.
My heart is protected by Jesus’ righteousness.  Satan will want to put me on a guilt trip and remind me of the past, but Jesus has forgiven me and changed me.

{15} And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

God wants us to stand our ground in battle.  He wants us to be able to move out when He commands.  He wants us to share the gospel with others.

{16} Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

The enemy will try to discourage you with all kinds of attacks and temptations.  But as you learn to trust the Lord in all situations, those fires are put out.  This is faith.

{17} And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

My life is protected by Jesus’ salvation.
My greatest weapon is the Word of God.  The battle is completely lost if I don’t know how to use my sword.

{18} Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

I stay in touch with my General by talking to Him.