1Samuel 20-21

Thursday Evening Bible Study

April 19, 2012


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision

Saul was anointed to be the first king, but through Saul’s continued disobedience to God’s commands, God has told Saul that he will no longer king. Samuel snuck off and anointed a young man named David to be king.  In God’s eyes, David is the king, but in the nation’s eyes, Saul is still king.

We’ve seen God begin to use David in a big way to help the nation starting with his victory over Goliath. 


An archaeologist was digging in the Negev Desert in Israel and came upon a casket containing a mummy. After examining it, he called the curator of a prestigious natural-history museum. “I’ve just discovered a 3,000 year-old mummy of a man who died of heart failure!” the excited scientist exclaimed. To which the curator replied, “Bring him in. We’ll check it out.” A week later, the amazed curator called the archaeologist. “You were exactly right about the mummy’s age and cause of death. How in the world did you know?” “Easy. There was a piece of paper in his hand that said, ‘10,000 Shekels on Goliath.’”

With each of David’s victories, Saul is growing increasingly jealous of the attention that David is getting from others.  Saul has even made attempts on David’s life by throwing javelins at him or asking others to kill him.

When Saul tells his servants to kill David, Saul’s son Jonathan was able to talk to his father and get Saul to make peace with David.

The second time that Saul tries to kill him, David escapes with the help of his wife Michal, Saul’s daughter.

When Saul tracks down David at Samuel’s School for Prophets at Naioth, God once again helps David, but this time God’s Spirit simply touches everyone who comes to take David, and they all end up prophesying with the prophets.

20:1-42 Jonathan’s Loyalty

:1 Then David fled from Naioth in Ramah, and went and said to Jonathan, “What have I done? What is my iniquity, and what is my sin before your father, that he seeks my life?”

David and Jonathan are close friends.

Jonathan is Saul’s oldest son, the “crown prince”.  He’s the one in line to inherit the throne of Saul.

:1 he seeks my life

Several times now David has been the target of Saul’s javelin.

Saul has sent agents out to kill David.


Give it time

Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.
David didn’t come to the conclusion that Saul was out to kill him right away.  He waited until the evidence was overwhelming.
Sometimes we jump to the wrong conclusion a little quick.
Solomon wrote,
(Pr 18:13 NKJV) —13 He who answers a matter before he hears it, It is folly and shame to him.
David now has quite a bit of proof that Saul wants him dead.

:2 So Jonathan said to him, “By no means! You shall not die! Indeed, my father will do nothing either great or small without first telling me. And why should my father hide this thing from me? It is not so!

:3 Then David took an oath again, and said, “Your father certainly knows that I have found favor in your eyes, and he has said, ‘Do not let Jonathan know this, lest he be grieved.’ But truly, as the Lord lives and as your soul lives, there is but a step between me and death.”

While Jonathan is convinced that his father isn’t out to kill David, David just thinks that Saul is hiding his intentions from Jonathan because Jonathan is David’s friend.

:4 So Jonathan said to David, “Whatever you yourself desire, I will do it for you.”

:5 And David said to Jonathan, “Indeed tomorrow is the New Moon, and I should not fail to sit with the king to eat. But let me go, that I may hide in the field until the third day at evening.

:5 New Moon

No, this is not talking about a vampire movie.  The beginning of the month was a time for a feast. The head of the family would expect everyone to be present. David is now a part of Saul’s family by marriage, and as a military leader. It was to be celebrated with burnt offerings and peace offerings. (Num. 10:10)

(Nu 10:10 NKJV) —10 Also in the day of your gladness, in your appointed feasts, and at the beginning of your months, you shall blow the trumpets over your burnt offerings and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; and they shall be a memorial for you before your God: I am the Lord your God.”

:5 the third day

This has to do with the nature of the feast they would be celebrating. Peace offerings were the sacrifices where the family would offer part of the sacrifice to God, and then the family would feast on the rest. There were rules for the peace offering – you were supposed to eat all the meat in the first two days.  On the third day the feast was over, all leftovers were to be burnt. (Lev. 7:17-18)

(Le 7:17–18 NKJV) —17 the remainder of the flesh of the sacrifice on the third day must be burned with fire. 18 And if any of the flesh of the sacrifice of his peace offering is eaten at all on the third day, it shall not be accepted, nor shall it be imputed to him; it shall be an abomination to him who offers it, and the person who eats of it shall bear guilt.
In other words, David is going to hide out in the field for the two day feast, and expect to hear back from Jonathan after the party has broken up, on the evening of the third day.

:6 If your father misses me at all, then say, ‘David earnestly asked permission of me that he might run over to Bethlehem, his city, for there is a yearly sacrifice there for all the family.’

This is actually a very plausible story.  For most people it would be a great excuse.  But for a paranoid person, it would not satisfy them.

:7 If he says thus: ‘It is well,’ your servant will be safe. But if he is very angry, be sure that evil is determined by him.

Saul’s anger would make it evident about where his heart was about David.

:8 Therefore you shall deal kindly with your servant, for you have brought your servant into a covenant of the Lord with you. Nevertheless, if there is iniquity in me, kill me yourself, for why should you bring me to your father?”

Jonathan and David had promised to be friends forever. (1Sam. 18:1-4)

:9 But Jonathan said, “Far be it from you! For if I knew certainly that evil was determined by my father to come upon you, then would I not tell you?”

Jonathan is not convinced that his father is out to kill David.  And he’s wrong.

:10 Then David said to Jonathan, “Who will tell me, or what if your father answers you roughly?”

David is worried that if Jonathan finds out there is trouble, that David might not ever find out, or at least he might be in trouble if Saul starts to follow Jonathan.

:11 And Jonathan said to David, “Come, let us go out into the field.” So both of them went out into the field.

:12 Then Jonathan said to David: “The Lord God of Israel is witness! When I have sounded out my father sometime tomorrow, or the third day, and indeed there is good toward David, and I do not send to you and tell you,

:13 may the Lord do so and much more to Jonathan.

Jonathan is swearing an oath that he will give David an answer.

The oath goes like this:  If Jonathan forgets to tell David that everything is okay, may the Lord do more to Jonathan than what David was afraid of Saul doing to him.

But if it pleases my father to do you evil, then I will report it to you and send you away, that you may go in safety. And the Lord be with you as He has been with my father.

:14 And you shall not only show me the kindness of the Lord while I still live, that I may not die;

:15 but you shall not cut off your kindness from my house forever, no, not when the Lord has cut off every one of the enemies of David from the face of the earth.”

:14 show me the kindness of the Lord

Jonathan promises to tell David what he finds out about his father.

Jonathan also has this sense that David will one day be king, and he wants David to look favorably on Jonathan and his descendants.


Support God’s Work

Jonathan is a man of faith.
Jonathan seems to have this notion that God has chosen David. He seems to believe that God is going to protect David and that David will someday be king. And when that day comes, Jonathan is pleading with David to be merciful with his family.
Saul is the king, and has armies at his command with which to use to protect his government. David is only a poor shepherd boy. Yet Jonathan is talking as if it is inevitable that David will one day be king.

I find it amazing that Jonathan is only more than willing to hand over what some could consider his “birthright”, and even support David in becoming king.

To Jonathan, God’s kingdom is more important than Jonathan’s kingdom.

:16 So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, “Let the Lord require it at the hand of David’s enemies.”

:16 Let the Lord require it

The idea is that should David or any of his descendants ever cause harm to any of Jonathan’s descendants, then may the Lord cause the enemies of David to defeat him.

:17 Now Jonathan again caused David to vow, because he loved him; for he loved him as he loved his own soul.

:17 again caused David to vow

Not only has Jonathan sworn an oath to David, but David swears an oath to Jonathan.

This covenant will come into play later on when David does indeed become king. David will send his servants out to search for any living relatives of Jonathan’s. When he finds Mephibosheth, while another king might have eliminated all others who might have a claim to the throne, David welcomes him. (2Sam. 9:7)

(2 Sa 9:7 NKJV) —7 So David said to him, “Do not fear, for I will surely show you kindness for Jonathan your father’s sake, and will restore to you all the land of Saul your grandfather; and you shall eat bread at my table continually.”

Jonathan and David renew their friendship covenant.


Keep friendship fresh.

I think that it’s a good thing in all our relationships to keep our love fresh. I think it’s a good thing to remind your spouse that you love her. It’s good to tell your friends you love them.

:18 Then Jonathan said to David, “Tomorrow is the New Moon; and you will be missed, because your seat will be empty.

:19 And when you have stayed three days, go down quickly and come to the place where you hid on the day of the deed; and remain by the stone Ezel.

:20 Then I will shoot three arrows to the side, as though I shot at a target;

:21 and there I will send a lad, saying, ‘Go, find the arrows.’ If I expressly say to the lad, ‘Look, the arrows are on this side of you; get them and come’—then, as the Lord lives, there is safety for you and no harm.

:22 But if I say thus to the young man, ‘Look, the arrows are beyond you’—go your way, for the Lord has sent you away.

:23 And as for the matter which you and I have spoken of, indeed the Lord be between you and me forever.”

Just in case Jonathan is being followed when he returns and he can’t risk exposing David to danger, there would be a special signal between the two of them.

If Jonathan tells his servant that he’s “gone too far” to get the arrows, then David is safe.

If he tells the servant that he hasn’t “gone far enough”, then this means that David is in danger. Perhaps if this would be the case, David himself hasn’t “gone far enough”.

:24 Then David hid in the field. And when the New Moon had come, the king sat down to eat the feast.

:25 Now the king sat on his seat, as at other times, on a seat by the wall. And Jonathan arose, and Abner sat by Saul’s side, but David’s place was empty.

Abner is the commander of Saul’s army.

:26 Nevertheless Saul did not say anything that day, for he thought, “Something has happened to him; he is unclean, surely he is unclean.”

Being ritually “unclean” would be an acceptable excuse for missing a sacrifice.

:27 And it happened the next day, the second day of the month, that David’s place was empty. And Saul said to Jonathan his son, “Why has the son of Jesse not come to eat, either yesterday or today?”

:28 So Jonathan answered Saul, “David earnestly asked permission of me to go to Bethlehem.

:29 And he said, ‘Please let me go, for our family has a sacrifice in the city, and my brother has commanded me to be there. And now, if I have found favor in your eyes, please let me get away and see my brothers.’ Therefore he has not come to the king’s table.”

:30 Then Saul’s anger was aroused against Jonathan, and he said to him, “You son of a perverse, rebellious woman! Do I not know that you have chosen the son of Jesse to your own shame and to the shame of your mother’s nakedness?

:30 the shame of your mother’s nakedness

Jonathan is the one in line to become the next king.

When Jonathan acts as if he thinks David ought to be the next king, he’s disgracing himself as well as his father, the one who impregnated his mother.  Some might even question whether Jonathan was a legitimate son of Saul.

:31 For as long as the son of Jesse lives on the earth, you shall not be established, nor your kingdom. Now therefore, send and bring him to me, for he shall surely die.”

:32 And Jonathan answered Saul his father, and said to him, “Why should he be killed? What has he done?”

:33 Then Saul cast a spear at him to kill him, by which Jonathan knew that it was determined by his father to kill David.

:33 Saul cast a spear at him

Things are getting pretty bad with Saul.  Now he’s even trying to kill his own son.


The peacemaker

Jesus said,
(Mt 5:9 NKJV) Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God.

It’s a good thing to try and bring reconciliation between two people who aren’t getting along.

Paul wrote,
(Ro 12:18 NKJV) If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.

Sometimes it just isn’t possible to bring peace.

Note: It could be that Saul is really bad at throwing javelins. We don’t have any record of him actually hitting anyone with one.  Maybe he needs glasses.

:34 So Jonathan arose from the table in fierce anger, and ate no food the second day of the month, for he was grieved for David, because his father had treated him shamefully.

:35 And so it was, in the morning, that Jonathan went out into the field at the time appointed with David, and a little lad was with him.

:36 Then he said to his lad, “Now run, find the arrows which I shoot.” As the lad ran, he shot an arrow beyond him.

:37 When the lad had come to the place where the arrow was which Jonathan had shot, Jonathan cried out after the lad and said, “Is not the arrow beyond you?”

Jonathan gives the signal indicating that things are bad, that Saul wants David dead.

:38 And Jonathan cried out after the lad, “Make haste, hurry, do not delay!” So Jonathan’s lad gathered up the arrows and came back to his master.

:39 But the lad did not know anything. Only Jonathan and David knew of the matter.

:40 Then Jonathan gave his weapons to his lad, and said to him, “Go, carry them to the city.”

:41 As soon as the lad had gone, David arose from a place toward the south, fell on his face to the ground, and bowed down three times. And they kissed one another; and they wept together, but David more so.

David comes out of hiding because it’s obvious that Jonathan is alone.

These are not the actions of a person who is plotting to overthrow the government. These are the actions of a humble young man who respects and honors the Crown Prince Jonathan.

:42 Then Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, since we have both sworn in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘May the Lord be between you and me, and between your descendants and my descendants, forever.’ ” So he arose and departed, and Jonathan went into the city.

This won’t be the last time David will see Jonathan, but there will only be one more brief time (1Sam. 23:16-18)

(1 Sa 23:16–18 NKJV) —16 Then Jonathan, Saul’s son, arose and went to David in the woods and strengthened his hand in God. 17 And he said to him, “Do not fear, for the hand of Saul my father shall not find you. You shall be king over Israel, and I shall be next to you. Even my father Saul knows that.” 18 So the two of them made a covenant before the Lord. And David stayed in the woods, and Jonathan went to his own house.

:42 the Lord be between you and me


The value of friendships

There’s a picture here of what true friendship, true fellowship ought to be all about.
The neighborhood bar is possibly the best counterfeit there is to the fellowship Christ wants to give his church. The bar is an imitation dispensing liquor instead of grace, escape rather than reality, but it is permissive, it is accepting and it is an inclusive fellowship. It is unshockable. It is democratic.
You can tell people secrets and they usually don't tell others or even want to. The bar flourishes not because most people are alcoholics, but because God has put into the human heart, the desire to know and be known, to love and be loved. And so many people seek a counterfeit at the price of a few beers.
The Sequoia trees of California tower as much as 300 feet above the ground. Strangely, these giants have unusually shallow root systems that reach out in all directions to capture the greatest amount of surface moisture. Seldom will you see a redwood standing alone because high winds would quickly uproot it. That's why they grow in clusters. Their intertwining roots provide support for one another against the storms.
How can I find these kinds of friendships?
Frankly, I don’t think it’s going to happen simply by sitting in church. There comes a point where you need to step out. I think one of the ways it can get started is when you get involved with other people. Get involved in a small group. Get involved in serving. Go on a retreat. But don’t stop there. Learn to go out to lunch. Learn to invite people over to the house. Learn to help. Learn to listen.

21:1-9  David visits Nob

:1 Now David came to Nob, to Ahimelech the priest. And Ahimelech was afraid when he met David, and said to him, “Why are you alone, and no one is with you?”

:1 Nob – “high place”

Play Nob map video

David had been at Naioth in Ramah with Samuel.  Saul has his home in Gibeah. Nob is about 3 miles from Gibeah where Saul is.  It is about 6 ˝ miles from Nob to Bethlehem.

Is it possible that the tabernacle is at Nob?  The Ark is at Kirjath Jearim.

:1 Ahimelech the priest

Ahimelech is the high priest.  He is Eli’s great-grandson.

:2 So David said to Ahimelech the priest, “The king has ordered me on some business, and said to me, ‘Do not let anyone know anything about the business on which I send you, or what I have commanded you.’ And I have directed my young men to such and such a place.

:3 Now therefore, what have you on hand? Give me five loaves of bread in my hand, or whatever can be found.”

:2 The king has ordered me

David is lying to Abimelech.

David’s lie is going to bring a lot of pain.


Manipulation Danger

Abimelech is going to help David without realizing that he is putting himself into jeopardy with Saul.
It’s one thing if Abimelech helps David knowing that he might be getting into trouble, then the decision and responsibility is Abimelech’s.  But because of David’s lie, Abimelech doesn’t know what he’s getting into.
Sometimes we tell little “lies” to people in order to get them to do what we want them to do.
It’s better to be up front about it and have them say “no” to you than it is to manipulate them and they find out that you lied to them.


Lying leads to trouble

A pastor was walking down the street when he came upon a group of about a dozen boys, all of them between 10 and 12 years of age. The group surrounded a dog. Concerned lest the boys were hurting the dog, he went over and asked “What are you doing with that dog?” One of the boys replied, “This dog is just a neighborhood stray. We all want him, but only one of us can take him home. So we’ve decided that whichever one of us can tell the biggest lie will get to keep the dog.” Of course, the pastor was taken aback. “You boys shouldn’t be having a contest telling lies!” he exclaimed. He then launched into a ten minute sermon against lying, beginning, “Don’t you boys know it’s a sin to lie,” and ending with, “Why, when I was your age, I never told a lie.” There was dead silence for about a minute. Just as the pastor was beginning to think he’d gotten through to them, the smallest boy gave a deep sigh and said, “All right, give him the dog.”
The truth is, we all have a tendency to lie.  It’s not hard to find yourself stretching the truth every once in a while, especially if it doesn’t seem like it’s going to hurt anyone.  And especially if you think it might help you out a little.
David’s lie will cause Ahimelech and 85 priests to die (1Sam. 22:11-23)

:4 And the priest answered David and said, “There is no common bread on hand; but there is holy bread, if the young men have at least kept themselves from women.”

:4 there is holy bread

This is the showbread, the “bread of the Presence”.

Every week, the priests were to bake twelve large loaves of bread, each loaf weighing six pounds for a total of 72 pounds of bread. On Saturday, the Sabbath, a priest was to take the loaves into the Tabernacle and place them on the golden table along with frankincense. The old bread was then taken out …
(Le 24:9 NKJV) And it shall be for Aaron and his sons, and they shall eat it in a holy place; for it is most holy to him from the offerings of the Lord made by fire, by a perpetual statute.”

The bread was for the priests to eat.

But David is hungry, so he and his men will eat anything.  Have you heard of those new coffee makers called “K-cups”?

Play K-Cup 5-Star Meals
Because this bread was to be in the Holy Place, in God’s “presence”, it was called the “bread of the Presence” or, “showbread”.

:4 kept themselves from women

Why does Ahimelech make this request?

There was only one other time when this requirement seems to have been given, at the giving of the Law at Mount Sinai:
Ex 19:15 And he said unto the people, Be ready against the third day: come not at [your] wives.
Other than that, there is no other requirement like this for anything.
Some have suggested that this was something that God told Ahimelech by enquiring of the Lord.
Later, a witness to this will say that

(1 Sam 22:10 KJV) And he inquired of the LORD for him, and gave him victuals, and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine.

Because of this, some have suggested that the directions that Ahimelech gives here were given to him by God for this specific situation.

Note:  Be careful that you don’t get the idea that sex is something that makes you unclean.  It’s not unclean if you are married to each other.
(Heb 13:4 KJV) Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.

:5 Then David answered the priest, and said to him, “Truly, women have been kept from us about three days since I came out. And the vessels of the young men are holy, and the bread is in effect common, even though it was consecrated in the vessel this day.”

:5 the bread is in effect common

David is reasoning a little with the priest here about the matter of the bread being special.

This is probably happening on Saturday, the Sabbath day, the day that the bread is changed in the Tabernacle. Because the bread had earlier been inside the Tabernacle, there was a sense in which it was “consecrated this day”.
Yet David isn’t asking the priest to take away the bread that is now in the Tabernacle, he’s only asking for the bread that has just come from the Tabernacle, bread that is now available for human consumption (though supposed to be for priests). In this way it is “in a manner common”.

:6 So the priest gave him holy bread; for there was no bread there but the showbread which had been taken from before the Lord, in order to put hot bread in its place on the day when it was taken away.

:6 the priest gave him holy bread



Keep in mind that this event is taking place most likely on a Sabbath Day.
Jesus used this story of David and the showbread to teach a truth regarding the Sabbath.  Turn to …
(Mt 12:1–8 NKJV) —1 At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. And His disciples were hungry, and began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. 2 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to Him, “Look, Your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath!” 3 But He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him: 4 how he entered the house of God and ate the showbread which was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? 5 Or have you not read in the law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless? 6 Yet I say to you that in this place there is One greater than the temple. 7 But if you had known what this means, I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. 8 For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”
Jesus used this story of David’s to show that God was concerned about people, “I desire compassion, and not a sacrifice”.
The Jews had taken the Law and made their traditions so detailed and intricate that they made life strict and harsh.
They would have rather let David and his men starve than break their interpretation of the Law.


Mercy or sacrifice?

What is our motivation for living? Do we do things out of love for the Lord and love for others, or are we motivated by the “I have to” things, the mindset of having to “sacrifice” all the time?
Be careful here – sometimes we can stop doing the right things and use “legalism” as our excuse to stop.
For example – some people start off reading their Bible every day, and end up doing it out of a sense of legalism.  They begin to think that they will be in sin if they stop, or they believe they are better than others because they read every day.
But you don’t stop reading your Bible if you are doing it out of legalism.  Learn to change your attitude, not your behavior.

Learn to read every day because it’s a great thing, because you love the Lord, because you can hardly wait to spend time with him.

Do you stop telling your wife that you love her every day because you are afraid of becoming legalistic?  What would your wife think if you stopped telling her you love her?
Change the motives, not the actions.

:7 Now a certain man of the servants of Saul was there that day, detained before the Lord. And his name was Doeg, an Edomite, the chief of the herdsmen who belonged to Saul.

:7 Doeg, an Edomite – “fearing”

Doeg isn’t just a shepherd for Saul.  He’s in management.

When David is talking to Ahimelech, Doeg is around to hear it all.

David will write a Psalm about this occasion and what happens as a result of it.

Extra credit:  Read Psalm 52.
(Ps 52 NKJV) — To the Chief Musician. A Contemplation of David Told Saul, and Said to Him, “David Has Gone to the House of Ahimelech.” 1 Why do you boast in evil, O mighty man? The goodness of God endures continually. 2 Your tongue devises destruction, Like a sharp razor, working deceitfully. 3 You love evil more than good, Lying rather than speaking righteousness. Selah 4 You love all devouring words, You deceitful tongue. 5 God shall likewise destroy you forever; He shall take you away, and pluck you out of your dwelling place, And uproot you from the land of the living. Selah 6 The righteous also shall see and fear, And shall laugh at him, saying, 7 “Here is the man who did not make 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 forever and ever. 9 I will praise You forever, Because You have done it; And in the presence of Your saints I will wait on Your name, for it is good.

:8 And David said to Ahimelech, “Is there not here on hand a spear or a sword? For I have brought neither my sword nor my weapons with me, because the king’s business required haste.”

At this point if I were Ahimelech, I’d be wondering, “Geez, this kid doesn’t think of packing a lunch and didn’t even bring his weapons with him!”

:9 So the priest said, “The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you killed in the Valley of Elah, there it is, wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you will take that, take it. For there is no other except that one here.” And David said, “There is none like it; give it to me.”

:9 The sword of Goliath the Philistine

We know how big some of Goliath’s other weapons were, we don’t know how big the sword was.

It is interesting that David is now going to be wielding a Philistine sword.

Goliath is from what city?  Gath.

21:10-15 David visits Gath

:10 Then David arose and fled that day from before Saul, and went to Achish the king of Gath.

Play Nob to Gath map video

Gath is 25 miles west of Nob.  Gath is one of the five main Philistine cities.  They were famous for growing tall men (Goliath).

:10 went to Achish the king of Gath


Chasing David away

Why Gath of all places?
David was the one who killed their champion. You would think that would be the last place David would go.
Sometimes life is hardest among people we should be at home with. Sometimes we can be more comfortable with the wrong people.
Sometimes it’s easier to get along with non-Christians than it is with Christians. It shouldn’t be so.  We ought to be careful we aren’t chasing any David’s into Philistine cities.

:11 And the servants of Achish said to him, “Is this not David the king of the land? Did they not sing of him to one another in dances, saying: ‘Saul has slain his thousands, And David his ten thousands’?”

That victory tune had been on the Philistine hit-charts as well. Poor Saul. Even the Philistines see David as being greater than Saul.

It’s interesting that the Philistines think of David as the king.

:12 Now David took these words to heart, and was very much afraid of Achish the king of Gath.

:12 very much afraid of Achish

David is beginning to wonder if he’s made the right choice, running to Gath.

:13 So he changed his behavior before them, pretended madness in their hands, scratched on the doors of the gate, and let his saliva fall down on his beard.

:14 Then Achish said to his servants, “Look, you see the man is insane. Why have you brought him to me?

:15 Have I need of madmen, that you have brought this fellow to play the madman in my presence? Shall this fellow come into my house?”

:15 Have I need of madmen

The Jews have a tradition that the wife and daughter of Achish were “mad”. While David was acting like a madman out in the streets, Achish was living with it at home.

Though Achish will drive David out of town this time, David will be back. David will continue to run from Saul, and one day he ends up running back to Gath and asks Achish for help (1Sam. 27) because he doesn’t know of anywhere else to go. Achish will receive David warmly and a sort of strange friendship will form. 

But for now, David was …

:12 very much afraid


Trust cures fear

I have heard it suggested that David is operating out of the “fear of man”. He is running from Saul out of fear. Now he is afraid of Achish. And the Bible does say,
(Pr 29:25 NKJV) The fear of man brings a snare, But whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.
But David gives us a clue as to what is going on in his heart in his songs. David is learning what to do with fear.
David wrote several Psalms around this same period:
(Ps 56 NKJV)To the Chief Musician. Set to “The Silent Dove in Distant Lands.” a Michtam of David When the Philistines Captured Him in Gath. 1 Be merciful to me, O God, for man would swallow me up; Fighting all day he oppresses me. 2 My enemies would hound me all day, For there are many who fight against me, O Most High. 3 Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You. 4 In God (I will praise His word), In God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me?
5 All day they twist my words; All their thoughts are against me for evil. 6 They gather together, They hide, they mark my steps, When they lie in wait for my life. 7 Shall they escape by iniquity? In anger cast down the peoples, O God! 8 You number my wanderings; Put my tears into Your bottle; Are they not in Your book? 9 When I cry out to You, Then my enemies will turn back; This I know, because God is for me. 10 In God (I will praise His word), In the Lord (I will praise His word), 11 In God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? 12 Vows made to You are binding upon me, O God; I will render praises to You, 13 For You have delivered my soul from death. Have You not kept my feet from falling, That I may walk before God In the light of the living?

Even though David was afraid at times, he handled his fear by trusting in the Lord. He kept putting himself into God’s hands.

Another Psalm – Achish is referred to as “Abimelech” (“my father is king”, a common title for Philistine kings)
(Ps 34 NKJV) — A Psalm of David When He Pretended Madness Before Abimelech, Who Drove Him Away, and He Departed. 1 I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. 2 My soul shall make its boast in the Lord; The humble shall hear of it and be glad. 3 Oh, magnify the Lord with me, And let us exalt His name together. 4 I sought the Lord, and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears.
5 They looked to Him and were radiant, And their faces were not ashamed. 6 This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him, And saved him out of all his troubles. 7 The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, And delivers them. 8 Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him! 9 Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him. 10 The young lions lack and suffer hunger; But those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing. 11 Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. 12 Who is the man who desires life, And loves many days, that he may see good? 13 Keep your tongue from evil, And your lips from speaking deceit. 14 Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it. 15 The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their cry. 16 The face of the Lord is against those who do evil, To cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. 17 The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, And delivers them out of all their troubles. 18 The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit. 19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers him out of them all. 20 He guards all his bones; Not one of them is broken. 21 Evil shall slay the wicked, And those who hate the righteous shall be condemned. 22 The Lord redeems the soul of His servants, And none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned.

I understand how folks criticize David for living with the Philistines for a time while he was running from Saul.

But I’d hate to say he was in sin.  He was trusting the Lord.

Are you afraid of something right now?  Anxious over something?

Trusting God is the answer to our fears.