Read 1 Samuel 22 -- 24
In Today's Reading:
The Lord sends an army of 400 men to join David, 37 become known as David's Mighty Men (2 Samuel 23:8-39) l David's escape to Adullam and Mizpah in Moab l Saul murders the priests of Nob l David defeats the Philistines l Flight from Saul l David rushes to protect the Israelites in Keilah from the Philistines, who in turn betray his location to Saul l David and his men flee to Engedi l Saul pursues David who had the opportunity to kill Saul l In loyalty to God, David will not kill Saul.
Verse for Today:
I will not put forth mine hand against my lord; for he is the Lord's anointed (1 Samuel 24:10).
After Saul's ninth attempt to murder David (1 Samuel 18:11mentions two attempts; 18:17-21; 19:1,11,15,20; 20:31-33), he fled to the small town of Nob, the city of the priests (22:19), just north of Jerusalem, where the sacred vessels had been kept by the priests since the destruction of Shiloh. David's presence was reported to Saul by Doeg, an Edomite servant. In a rage of anger, King Saul sent a servant to Nob to bring Ahimelech the priest . . . and all his father's house, the priests that were in Nob: and they [all came] to the king (22:11). Then Saul accused Ahimelech the priest of conspiracy for giving David food and allowing him to take the sword that had once belonged to Goliath. In response, Ahimelech reminded Saul of David's loyalty, asking: Who is so faithful among all [your] servants as David, which is the king's son in law, and [goes] at [your] bidding, and is honorable in [your] house? (22:14).
Blinded by jealous hatred, Saul ordered the execution of all the priests and their families. But the servants of the king [refused to murder] the priests of the Lord (22:17). However, without hesitation, Doeg the Edomite . . . slew on that day [eighty-five] persons [who wore the priest's] linen ephod. And Nob, the city of the priests, [he smote with a] sword, both men and women, [and] children (22:18-19). This horrifying murder by Israel's first king was unparalleled in the 400 years since the Exodus from Egypt. Sadly, there is no record that he ever repented of this ruthless massacre of innocent children, women, and priests of God.
Ahimelech's son Abiathar, the only priest to escape being murdered, joined David and became the High Priest (22:20).
Soon after, Saul led his army in search of David, who was hiding in a cave at Engedi, high in the cliffs overlooking the Dead Sea. On the first evening of their mission, Saul withdrew from his men to sleep in a nearby cave, not realizing that David and his men remained [inside] the cave. . . . David arose [in the darkness], and cut off the skirt of Saul's robe (24:3-4). The next morning, with the piece cut from Saul's robe in his hand, David, from a distance, shouted: Some [urged] me to kill [you], but [I spared you saying], he is the Lord's anointed (24:10). Although "circumstance" led some to believe that God had delivered Saul into David's hand, but he didn't seize the opportunity to become king by destroying his enemy.
There are times in the lives of Christians when everything seems hopeless, as it must have seemed to David who was in hiding. In fact, we all experience times when we need to be encouraged about ourselves, our talents, our work, our children, or even our relationship with the Lord.
This was also true of David, who received spiritual direction and comfort from Abiathar and prophets such as Gad (22:5), as well as directly from the Lord, as noted in the often-repeated phrase: David enquired of the Lord (23:4,10-12). David then passed that encouragement on through the psalms he wrote to millions of others, including all of us who are privileged to read the prayers and praises of this man after God's own heart (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22).
The Angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him, and delivereth them (Psalms 34:7).
By David's refusal to take the kingdom by force or before the appointed time set by God (1 Samuel 24:10-13). Christ refused to become King of Israel by force, though the people wanted to make Him an earthly King before His appointed time. When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take Him by force, to make Him a king, He departed again into a mountain Himself alone (John 6:15).
22:4 hold = stronghold, safe place; 22:10 victuals = provisions; 22:18 fell upon = attacked and murdered; 22:22 I have occasioned = I am to blame for; 23:9 practiced mischief = plotted evil or harm; 23:16 strengthened his hand = encouraged his faith in God; 23:22 his haunt = where he is located; 24:3 sheepcotes = where the sheep were kept; to cover his feet = to take a nap; 24:4 privily = unobserved, secretly; 24:7 stayed = persuaded, restrained; 24:19 go well away = get away safely.
Government Officials: Rep. Tom DeLay (TX) and Rep. David Wu (OR) · Pray for one more person to read through the Bible · Country: Bangladesh (127 million) in southern Asia · Major languages: Bangla and English · Present religious freedom may become limited · 87% Muslim; 12% Hindu; .2% Roman Catholic; .2% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Ask that the Holy Spirit will teach you all things (John 14:26).
Optional Reading: Acts 9
Memory Verse for the Week: 1 John 2:5