1Samuel 26-27

Thursday Evening Bible Study

May 10, 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  Is the church loved?

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 has anointed the next king, a young man named David. In God’s eyes, David is the king, but in the nation’s eyes, Saul is still king.

As God used David to bring victory over the Philistines, Saul began to grow insanely jealous, to the point of trying to have David killed.

David is now a man on the run.  He’s been hiding out in the deserts of Judah, moving from place to place as Saul continues to try and find and kill David. 

We’ve seen David have opportunity to kill Saul in a cave at En Gedi. 

Yet David refused to take things into his own hands and he has shown respect and kindness towards Saul.

Play En Gedi Maon map clip.

The last time David and Saul had been together was at the oasis of En Gedi where David had spared Saul’s life.

After that incident, David went to Masada, Saul went home to Gibeah.
Now David had last been hanging out at Maon, where he had the strange episode with the fool Nabal (1Sam. 25)

26:1-25 David spares Saul again

:1 Now the Ziphites came to Saul at Gibeah, saying, “Is David not hiding in the hill of Hachilah, opposite Jeshimon?”

:2 Then Saul arose and went down to the Wilderness of Ziph, having three thousand chosen men of Israel with him, to seek David in the Wilderness of Ziph.

:3 And Saul encamped in the hill of Hachilah, which is opposite Jeshimon, by the road. But David stayed in the wilderness, and he saw that Saul came after him into the wilderness.

:4 David therefore sent out spies, and understood that Saul had indeed come.

:4 Ziph – “smelters”

It sounds as if this town was dedicated to forging metal.  Perhaps that means that these people were dwarves and lived inside caves (Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Gimli, etc.)?

The Ziphites were loyal to Saul.  They had already been keeping Saul informed about David whenever they heard that David was in the area.

Back in chapter 23, they were the ones that brought Saul out to capture David.

:4 Hachilah – “dark”.  We’ve been here before…

:4 Jeshimon – waste, wilderness, desert

Play Ziph map clip.

The Ziphites are calling Saul south from Gibeah.  David is out in the wilderness of Jeshimon.  Saul camps out in Hachilah, looking over the wilderness.

:4 sent out spies

David has a plan.  First he wants to find where Saul is camping.

:5 So David arose and came to the place where Saul had encamped. And David saw the place where Saul lay, and Abner the son of Ner, the commander of his army. Now Saul lay within the camp, with the people encamped all around him.

Abner is Saul’s top general, the head of the army.

Saul is surrounded by three thousand warriors. He is in the center so they can protect him.

:6 Then David answered, and said to Ahimelech the Hittite and to Abishai the son of Zeruiah, brother of Joab, saying, “Who will go down with me to Saul in the camp?” And Abishai said, “I will go down with you.”

:6 Abishai

This is one of David’s nephews.  Zeruiah was David’s older sister.

Joab is the one we will hear most about.  He will eventually be David’s commander over the armies of Israel.
Apparently David had a love/hate relationship with his nephews.
They were among his most loyal men, but they also caused him a lot of trouble and grief. (2Sam. 16:10; 19:22)
(2 Sa 16:10 NKJV) —10 But the king said, “What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? So let him curse, because the Lord has said to him, ‘Curse David.’ Who then shall say, ‘Why have you done so?’ ”
(2 Sa 19:22 NKJV) —22 And David said, “What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah, that you should be adversaries to me today? Shall any man be put to death today in Israel? For do I not know that today I am king over Israel?”

:7 So David and Abishai came to the people by night; and there Saul lay sleeping within the camp, with his spear stuck in the ground by his head. And Abner and the people lay all around him.

:7 his spear stuck in the ground

This is Saul’s famous spear that he is unable to hit people with (like David and Jonathan)!

:8 Then Abishai said to David, “God has delivered your enemy into your hand this day. Now therefore, please, let me strike him at once with the spear, right to the earth; and I will not have to strike him a second time!”

This is just like what David’s friends had told him back in the cave at En Gedi (1Sam. 24:4)

(1 Sa 24:4 NKJV) —4 Then the men of David said to him, “This is the day of which the Lord said to you, ‘Behold, I will deliver your enemy into your hand, that you may do to him as it seems good to you.’ ” And David arose and secretly cut off a corner of Saul’s robe.

But instead of encouraging David to kill Saul, Abishai offers to do the deed.

Abishai promises it’ll only take him one quick thrust of his spear and Saul will be dead.

:9 But David said to Abishai, “Do not destroy him; for who can stretch out his hand against the Lord’s anointed, and be guiltless?”

Saul is the “anointed” one.  He’s had oil poured on his head.  He’s the king.

:10 David said furthermore, “As the Lord lives, the Lord shall strike him, or his day shall come to die, or he shall go out to battle and perish.

David is confident that God will take care of Saul. He does not believe that he needs to be the one to do it.

:11 The Lord forbid that I should stretch out my hand against the Lord’s anointed. But please, take now the spear and the jug of water that are by his head, and let us go.”

:11 take now the spear

I don’t think David intended to kill Saul.  I think he was intending to do this very thing, to get close to Saul and take some of his stuff to show Saul that he has no intention of killing Saul.


Growing in kindness

The first time David had a chance to kill Saul, he cut off the corner of Saul’s robe before his conscience began to bother him and he stopped. He realized that he was not supposed to hurt Saul. He needed to be kind.
When David was offended by Nabal, his immediate response was to wipe the man out. But as he was stopped by Abigail, he realized that he needed to again show kindness.
This time, David doesn’t even seem tempted to harm Saul. He knows right off the bat that he needs to be kind to Saul.
Paul wrote,
(Ro 12:21 NKJV) Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
I think David is growing.
Peter writes,
(2 Pe 3:18 NKJV) but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.

I think that at times we can reach these “plateaus” where we think we really can’t grow any further from where we are.  And then God takes us around a corner in our lives and we see before us a huge mountain that is still to be climbed.

We have much farther to go.  Don’t think we’ve arrived.

:12 So David took the spear and the jug of water by Saul’s head, and they got away; and no man saw or knew it or awoke. For they were all asleep, because a deep sleep from the Lord had fallen on them.

God was helping David with his plan to show kindness.

I think the writer records it this way because David recognized that God was involved even in the little details like having everyone sleep so well.

:13 Now David went over to the other side, and stood on the top of a hill afar off, a great distance being between them.

:14 And David called out to the people and to Abner the son of Ner, saying, “Do you not answer, Abner?” Then Abner answered and said, “Who are you, calling out to the king?”

Notice that David is bringing other people into the confrontation than just Saul.

:15 So David said to Abner, “Are you not a man? And who is like you in Israel? Why then have you not guarded your lord the king? For one of the people came in to destroy your lord the king.

:16 This thing that you have done is not good. As the Lord lives, you deserve to die, because you have not guarded your master, the Lord’s anointed. And now see where the king’s spear is, and the jug of water that was by his head.”

It’s too bad we can’t hear the tone of voice that David is using. It almost seems to me that David is teasing Abner.

:17 Then Saul knew David’s voice, and said, “Is that your voice, my son David?” David said, “It is my voice, my lord, O king.”

:18 And he said, “Why does my lord thus pursue his servant? For what have I done, or what evil is in my hand?

:19 Now therefore, please, let my lord the king hear the words of his servant: If the Lord has stirred you up against me, let Him accept an offering. But if it is the children of men, may they be cursed before the Lord, for they have driven me out this day from sharing in the inheritance of the Lord, saying, ‘Go, serve other gods.’

:19 from sharing in the inheritance of the Lord

The inheritance of the LORD for Israel involved the land.

David is being driven from the land of Israel.
It’s as if people are telling him to stop serving the LORD and to serve other gods.

:20 So now, do not let my blood fall to the earth before the face of the Lord. For the king of Israel has come out to seek a flea, as when one hunts a partridge in the mountains.”

:20 hunts a partridge – in the east, the partridge was hunted by chasing it until it got exhausted. Then the bird was bludgeoned with a club. Sounds like what is happening to David.

In modern days, you send your dog into the field, and shoot the birds as they fly up. 

Shooting skeet is what prepares you for hunting partridges. But Saul has been going a bit overboard.  Some people go overboard with their skeet shooting …

PlaySkeet” video.

:21 Then Saul said, “I have sinned. Return, my son David. For I will harm you no more, because my life was precious in your eyes this day. Indeed I have played the fool and erred exceedingly.”

Saul was the one who had wanted to be honored in front of the people (1Sam. 15:30), and now in front of the people Saul admits that he’s been the “fool”.  That’s progress.

(1 Sa 15:30 NKJV) —30 Then he said, “I have sinned; yet honor me now, please, before the elders of my people and before Israel, and return with me, that I may worship the Lord your God.”

:22 And David answered and said, “Here is the king’s spear. Let one of the young men come over and get it.

:23 May the Lord repay every man for his righteousness and his faithfulness; for the Lord delivered you into my hand today, but I would not stretch out my hand against the Lord’s anointed.

:24 And indeed, as your life was valued much this day in my eyes, so let my life be valued much in the eyes of the Lord, and let Him deliver me out of all tribulation.”

:25 Then Saul said to David, “May you be blessed, my son David! You shall both do great things and also still prevail.” So David went on his way, and Saul returned to his place.

:21 I have sinned


Progressive confrontation.

The last time that David confronted Saul while in the cave, I’m not sure that too many of Saul’s people knew what had happened.
The last time, Saul never actually promised to not pursue David any longer.  He only asked David to promise not to kill Saul’s descendants after David became king:
(1 Sa 24:21 NKJV) Therefore swear now to me by the Lord that you will not cut off my descendants after me, and that you will not destroy my name from my father’s house.”
David can tell that Saul wasn’t really repentant about trying to kill him.
I think that David’s new plan is to once again show a sort of kindness to Saul (it did have an effect the last time), but this time in front of Saul’s army and in front of Saul’s commander.
Maybe if these other witnesses hear David and Saul talk, they will realize that David is not a bad guy, and help keep Saul from pursuing David.
Jesus said laid out the same pattern for us when confronting people over their sin,
(Mt 18:15–17 NKJV) —15 “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ 17 And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.

The loving thing is to confront someone quietly, just you and them.  That’s the ideal way to face a sin.

Some people need a little extra push, maybe having a few others in on the conversation, but that ideally ought to come after you’ve tried it the quiet way first.

One of the things I have to continually examine myself over is:  Am I teachable?  How will I respond to criticism?

There were three sisters—ages 92, 94, and 96—who lived together. One night, the 96-year-old drew a bath. She put one foot in, then paused. "Was I getting in the tub or out?" she yelled.

The 94-year-old hollered back, "I don't know, I'll come and see." She started up the stairs, but stopped on the first one. She shouted, "Was I going up or coming down?"

The 92-year-old was sitting at the kitchen having tea, listening to her sisters with a smirk on her face. She shook her head and said, "I sure hope I never get that forgetful," and knocked on wood for good measure. Then she yelled, "I'll come up and help both of you as soon as I see who's at the door."

Sometimes we laugh or complain about other people and their problems, but the big issue is, how about us?  Am I open to learning about my faults?

I want to be that person who responds with the first confrontation and not need a bigger one.

27:1-12  David the Philistine

:1 And David said in his heart, “Now I shall perish someday by the hand of Saul. There is nothing better for me than that I should speedily escape to the land of the Philistines; and Saul will despair of me, to seek me anymore in any part of Israel. So I shall escape out of his hand.”

:2 Then David arose and went over with the six hundred men who were with him to Achish the son of Maoch, king of Gath.

:1 I should speedily escape

Some folks criticize David for fleeing to the land of the Philistines.  They see it as a lack of faith.  I see it as wisdom.

Even though it would appear that David has had a successful confrontation with Saul, even getting Saul to admit that he was wrong in front of his men, David isn’t ready to trust Saul yet.


Testing Repentance

Saul first became jealous of David after David’s victory over Goliath.
(1 Sa 18:11 NKJV) And Saul cast the spear, for he said, “I will pin David to the wall!” But David escaped his presence twice.

People might have initially blamed it on Saul’s personal “demon”, where he needed David to play music to calm him down.

Saul asked David to be his son-in-law, with a dowry of 100 Philistine foreskins.
That’s more than a little suspicious.  Saul expected the Philistines to kill David.
Then Saul put a contract out on David, ordering his servants to kill David. (1Sam. 19:1)
(1 Sa 19:1 NKJV) Now Saul spoke to Jonathan his son and to all his servants, that they should kill David; but Jonathan, Saul’s son, delighted greatly in David.
Jonathan talked his father into changing his mind, and Saul even swore an oath to not kill David.

(1 Sa 19:6 NKJV) So Saul heeded the voice of Jonathan, and Saul swore, “As the Lord lives, he shall not be killed.”

After the next Philistine war and David’s success, Saul again tried to kill David with a spear. (1Sam. 19:10)
(1 Sa 19:10 NKJV) —10 Then Saul sought to pin David to the wall with the spear, but he slipped away from Saul’s presence; and he drove the spear into the wall. So David fled and escaped that night.
Saul even sent assassins to David’s house to kill him while he slept. (1Sam. 19:11)
(1 Sa 19:11 NKJV) —11 Saul also sent messengers to David’s house to watch him and to kill him in the morning. And Michal, David’s wife, told him, saying, “If you do not save your life tonight, tomorrow you will be killed.”
While David hid with Samuel in Ramah, Saul sent more assassins to have David killed, but they all got touched by the Holy Spirit. (1Sam. 19:20)
(1 Sa 19:20 NKJV) —20 Then Saul sent messengers to take David. And when they saw the group of prophets prophesying, and Samuel standing as leader over them, the Spirit of God came upon the messengers of Saul, and they also prophesied.
The next time Jonathan confronted Saul about David, Jonathan himself had to duck from his father’s spear. (1Sam. 20:31)
(1 Sa 20:31 NKJV) 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.”
When Saul found out that David had received help from the priests at Nob, Saul had all the priests killed. (1Sam. 22:19)
(1 Sa 22:19 NKJV) —19 Also Nob, the city of the priests, he struck with the edge of the sword, both men and women, children and nursing infants, oxen and donkeys and sheep—with the edge of the sword.
When David rescued the city of Keilah from the Philistines, Saul came out to kill David (1Sam. 23:11)
(1 Sa 23:11 NKJV) —11 Will the men of Keilah deliver me into his hand? Will Saul come down, as Your servant has heard? O Lord God of Israel, I pray, tell Your servant.” And the Lord said, “He will come down.”
When David was in the wilderness of Ziph, Saul hunted him down until he got called away to handle a Philistine attack. (1Sam. 23:28)
(1 Sa 23:28 NKJV) —28 Therefore Saul returned from pursuing David, and went against the Philistines; so they called that place the Rock of Escape.
When David hid at En Gedi, Saul showed up and David spared his life while they were in the cave (1Sam. 24).
And now Saul has come out to the wilderness once again to kill David before this confrontation.
If you were David, would you believe Saul when he says …
(1 Sa 26:21) …“I have sinned. Return, my son David. For I will harm you no more …”

Would you trust Saul???  Why would we criticize David for not trusting him?

Here’s where it gets confusing as Christians:
We want to be careful to forgive people.  Jesus said,

(Mt 6:14–15 NKJV)14 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

We need to be quick to forgive.  Jesus also said …

(Lk 17:3–4 NKJV) —3 Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. 4 And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.”

Over my life, I’ve come to realize that there is a difference between me “forgiving” a person, and letting them camp out in my living room.

When I “forgive” a person, I am letting go of the debt.  I am choosing not to retaliate.

It might not mean that I completely trust them.

If someone is treating you like Saul treated David, there is a time to realize that you need to slow down before trusting them.

This is one of the traps that a Christian faces when they are continually abused by their spouse.

We feel obligated to “forgive” them, but aren’t sure what that means.

Sometimes you have to step away to see if they are really sincere.

We want to learn to recognize a little better what true repentance looks like.  Does anyone remember the verse that describes true repentance?

(2 Co 7:11 NKJV) —11 For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter.

(2 Co 7:11 The Message) —11 And now, isn’t it wonderful all the ways in which this distress has goaded you closer to God? You’re more alive, more concerned, more sensitive, more reverent, more human, more passionate, more responsible. Looked at from any angle, you’ve come out of this with purity of heart.

:2 Achish

David had tried to hide out in Gath before, but at that time it wasn’t too well known that Saul was trying to kill David.

At that time the Philistines just knew David to be the great warrior of Israel.
David realized what a mistake it was to hide with the Philistines at that time and got out of his predicament by pretending to be insane.

Now it’s apparently common knowledge that David is being hunted by Saul.

Achish will welcome an enemy of his enemy.

:2 Gath

This is the Philistine city on the border with Israel.

This was the home of Goliath

Today, the city of Gath is in a national park in Israel called “Tel Zafit”.  Excavations of Gath have only been taking place since 1996.

They have found that the site had been inhabited long before the Philistines arrived around 1200 B.C.
Pottery that has been unearthed shows the connection between the Philistines and Greek civilization (Crete).
Their diet leaned heavily on grass pea lentils.
Animal bones uncovered showed that they also ate pigs and dogs, both considered unclean to the Israelites.

Archaeologists have found the traces of the city’s destruction, recorded in the Bible as having come at the hand of the Aramean King Hazael in 830 B.C.

Making Friends

There are several groups of people that connect David to Gath in later years.
The Cherithites and Pelethites were two groups of people from which David would choose for his personal bodyguards.
It is thought that these two groups came from the Island of Crete (like the Philistines), and may have been Philistines themselves.
Why would David have Philistines as bodyguards?

Perhaps he got to know them from this period of time.

In his latter years, David had a friend who stayed loyal to him even when his son Absalom rebelled against David.
Ittai was known as the “Gittite”.

That means he was from Gath.

(2 Sa 15:19 NKJV) —19 Then the king said to Ittai the Gittite, “Why are you also going with us? Return and remain with the king. For you are a foreigner and also an exile from your own place.

:3 So David dwelt with Achish at Gath, he and his men, each man with his household, and David with his two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the Carmelitess, Nabal’s widow.

:4 And it was told Saul that David had fled to Gath; so he sought him no more.

:4 he sought him no more

Note that it’s not Saul’s “I have sinned” that stops him from seeking David, but the fact that David is living with the Philistines.

Living with the Philistines was a good idea for David.

:5 Then David said to Achish, “If I have now found favor in your eyes, let them give me a place in some town in the country, that I may dwell there. For why should your servant dwell in the royal city with you?”

I get the idea that David doesn’t want to be too close to Achish.

:6 So Achish gave him Ziklag that day. Therefore Ziklag has belonged to the kings of Judah to this day.

:6 Ziklag

This town was originally supposed to belong to the tribe of Simeon, but here has become a possession of the Philistines.  Now it will belong to Judah.

Play Ziklag map clip.

Apparently we’re not too sure on the exact location of Ziklag as of yet, but most books I checked put it at a place known as Tel esh-Sharia.
David has gone from confronting Saul at Hachilah, to the Philistine city of Gath, and now he settles for a while in the south at Ziklag.

:7 Now the time that David dwelt in the country of the Philistines was one full year and four months.

:8 And David and his men went up and raided the Geshurites, the Girzites, and the Amalekites. For those nations were the inhabitants of the land from of old, as you go to Shur, even as far as the land of Egypt.

:8 Geshurites – “proud beholder”

There were apparently two places known as “Geshur

One place was a city-state located on the northeast coast of the Sea of Galilee.  This was where David would one day marry the daughter of the king of Geshur (named Talmai), and the son of that marriage would be Absalom.
Geshur in Jesus’ day was known as the city of Bethsaida, where Peter was from.
The other place is the one we’re looking at, located in the south and connected to the Philistines.

:8 Girzites


:8 Amalekites

These are the people who had attacked Israel as they came out of Egypt.

We often see them as a good illustration of our own “flesh” or sin nature – attacking us when we are weak.

These are the people that God had commanded Saul to wipe out (1Sam. 15).

These are the people that Saul claimed to have wiped out.

(1 Sa 15:13 NKJV) …I have performed the commandment of the Lord.”

But they’re still around.  And they will continue to cause trouble.

:9 Whenever David attacked the land, he left neither man nor woman alive, but took away the sheep, the oxen, the donkeys, the camels, and the apparel, and returned and came to Achish.

:10 Then Achish would say, “Where have you made a raid today?” And David would say, “Against the southern area of Judah, or against the southern area of the Jerahmeelites, or against the southern area of the Kenites.”

:10 David would say

Even though David is actually continuing to fight the battles of the Lord, he is telling Achish that he is fighting against the Israelites.

:11 David would save neither man nor woman alive, to bring news to Gath, saying, “Lest they should inform on us, saying, ‘Thus David did.’ ” And thus was his behavior all the time he dwelt in the country of the Philistines.

:12 So Achish believed David, saying, “He has made his people Israel utterly abhor him; therefore he will be my servant forever.”

Achish figures that David is now becoming known as a traitor to Israel and it would be useful to have him around for awhile.