And don't forget that about the printable Study Guide so you can continue delving deeper in your personal Quiet Time! To access each week's guide in The Library, make sure to sign up to the blog via email so you have the password!
Sometimes darkness seems to follow us, doesn’t it? Maybe not all the time…but there are seasons when we feel we just can’t catch a break and catch our breaths. I’m sure David felt this as he continued to run from Saul…until finally things turned around as the hunted became the hunter. Saul received intel on where David and his men were hiding, and from the looks of it, David also received a heads-up that the king knew where they were. In fact, verses 1-4 make it almost sound as if the whole thing was a set up and the leak to Saul was deliberate.
“…When he saw that Saul had followed him there, he sent out scouts and learned that Saul had definitely arrived” (1 Samuel 26:3b-4)
After making camp, the king and 3,000 soldiers he had previously brought together with sole purpose of taking down David, fell fast asleep (even the guards who were supposed to be patrolling and taking shifts for protection). Bringing with him only his nephew Abishai, David makes his way down the rough terrain and all the way to camp.
The whole thing seems very premeditated, having one plan and one aim: Show the king that though we could, we will not hurt a hair on his head.
Aside from being fearlessly loyal to his uncle, Abishai also shows us he is a confident warrior when he stands above Saul and whispers to David that he could pierce his spear through Saul’s heart a single time and this whole thing would be over. David would be free from Saul. Likely remembering the moments in the cave when he cut off a portion of the king’s robe, David’s mind was resolute, not morally wavering for a moment.
Perhaps because he knew God was on his side thinking back onto Nabal’s downfall (1 Samuel 25), David knew if He wanted Saul dead…he would be. Reminding his headstrong nephew:
Don’t destroy him! Who can lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed and be guiltless? As surely as the Lord lives” he said, “the Lord himself will strike him, either his time will come and he will die, or he will go into battle and perish. (1 Samuel 26:9-10)
Grabbing the water jug and spear Saul kept above his head as he slept, they crept out of camp and back up the mountainside. Once a safe distance away, David called out not to Saul, but to his head general, Abner.
He called out to the army and to Abner son of Ner, “Aren’t you going to answer me, Abner?”
Abner replied, “Who are you who calls to the king?”
David said, “You’re a man, aren’t you? And who is like you in Israel? Why didn’t you guard your lord the king? Someone came to destroy your lord the king. What you have done is not good. As surely as the Lord lives, you and your men must die, because you did not guard your master, the Lord’s anointed. Look around you. Where are the king’s spear and water jug that were near his head?” (1 Samuel 26:14-16)
Recognizing David’s voice, Saul spoke out once again, apologizing for his behavior and delirium over hunting down his son-in-law. Asking forgiveness for his sin, Saul promises to never attempt to hunt David again (26:21).
And you know what? His promise holds true.
We’ll never know if it’s because he truly repented from his ways, or merely because he never had the opportunity… but the last chapter in our study, we’ll say goodbye to the once good king.
David knew he simply couldn’t trust Saul even after his latest promise to never again attempt to kill him. I’m sure after all the back and forth, it felt like an empty promise to the soon-to-be-king. David decided as crazy as it sounded, the enemy of Israel would be the perfect place for a little breathing room.
After parting ways with Saul’s company, David and his 600 men (plus each man’s family) went somewhere they never would’ve expected their hopeful king to take them: Gath.
Sometimes to keep our families safe and protected from active harm, we do things and go places we’d never typically consider. With a “Fool me once, shame on you…fool me twice, shame on me” mentality, David knew he must not only exist, but give his men and all their families an opportunity to live.
No longer on the run by himself, like when he initially left the palace, David understands that no one can live a life on the run without becoming incredibly worn down. Needing to care for his two wives, his 600 men and each of their families that have joined them, David humbled himself yet again and rode into enemy territory to plead for solace and protection. His magnetic and dynamic personality shone through as he pled his case before the king who had previously considered him insane (see 1 Samuel 21:10-15). I would’ve loved to be a fly on the wall for that conversation, as he explained himself.
Coming before King Achish, David stood before the ruler of the Philistines once again. Stepping out in boldness, he asked Achish for a place to live. We saw in chapter 21 that the king seemed a kind and fair man, and here we see his generosity once again as he actually gives David the country town of Ziklag.
It’s unlikely the gift of Ziklag was without price, however. It was common in those days for a group of people to flee their homeland and rest in the safety of another country, knowing the stipulation that their assemblage become mercenaries for the king of that country.
With this knowledge, it was likely that David and his men began raiding for Achish. However, each of the tribes attacked by David’s soldiers were enemies of Israel, so perhaps David was given the opportunity to defeat various adversaries as he kept his real reasons quiet, giving King Achish tribute and booty from each city and tribe they attacked.
By this point, people have been telling David for several years that he will become Saul’s successor. It may finally be sinking in as he recalls the day of his anointing with Samuel. I’m sure with a head full of unanswered questions for the deceased prophet, he instead searches the face of God and calls upon His Heavenly Father for help and advice. As his faith and trust in the Lord continues to strengthen, his time as king soon approaches.
Don't forget to head to The Library to print out your Study Guide to delve further into this text and use for your personal Quiet Time (you must subscribe to the blog via email to receive the password).
I can't wait to continue on next week!