1 Samuel 21 Ė 24 part 10


In tonight lesson we will learn about how David is on the run and along the way we will learn about situation ethics, humility, and mercy. So lets us begin a journey by starting in,


1 Samuel 21:1 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?"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."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."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 sanctified in the vessel this day."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.


Here we learn that David is on the run and his hungry. Now this priest was afraid when he saw David alone and he wants to know why isnít anyone with him? Now why was this priest afraid? Well, we are not told for certain in the text but based upon the question he asked him I believe he was afraid because he thought something bad was going on when the King son-in-law was out and about by himself. You see it not normal for David to be out by himself. David face and demeanor may have also made the priest think something was wrong, but whatever the reason we quickly see David responds with a lie.


He claims the King had sent on this mission and he wants food for him and these other men that he would meet up with latter. The problem is the only food available is this holy bread. Now this priest basically makes the claim that these men can have the holy bread but only if they have kept themselves from women. Of course David response is somewhat humorous because he basically is saying that the men have not been with women for at 3 days because they hadnít been around any women for 3 days. That kind of like saying a drug attic is clean because he had no access to drugs for 3 days.


Well, we see that the priest buys into this lie and gives him the showbread. Now when some look at this text they would say, ďwell, in this instance David was hungry and he needed food and even though lied at the holy bread it was ok in the situationĒ. This is what is known as situation ethics. Well, let see if the rest of the Bible can shed give us more information on weather or not it was ok for David to lie and to eat this holy bread.


Proverbs 19:9A false witness will not go unpunished, And he who speaks lies shall perish.


John 8:44 tells us the devil tells us that the devil is the father of lies. In other words he the originator of lies. So anytime someone lies they are being worldly and like the devil. That it why John teaches us in Rev. 21:8 that all liars will have there part in lake which burns forever and ever. When you look at the examples of the faithful Christians and the apostles in the 1st century you do not find them telling lies to save their life or to feed there bellies. For instance one example is when Peter and John were arrested they were told not to speak in the name of Jesus anymore. Now if they had wanted to defuse the situation they could have lied and said ďok, we wonítĒ but instead they said this.


Acts 4:19 But Peter and John answered and said to them, "Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge.20 "For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard."


No matter how hard you look you cannot find a situation that may arise that will justify lying in the site of God. Well, what about showbread was that ok? Again, I would have to say no. Now I believe the priest made this personal judgment call only because David was Kings son-in-law. Surely in the back of the priest mind he knew that it wasnít lawful for anyone other than a priest to eat this bread because the law makes this point very clear.


Leviticus 24:9 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."


To further show that it was unlawful for David or anyone like him to eat the showbread Jesus tells us,


Mark 2:25 But He said to them, "Have you never read what David did when he was in need and hungry, he and those with him:26 "how he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar (a-by-uh-thar) the high priest, and ate the showbread, which is not lawful to eat, except for the priests, and also gave some to those who were with him?"


Now surely we can see from these verses that no situation exist that makes lying acceptable to God and that it was sin for David to have eaten this showbread because it was only for the priest.


1 Samuel 21:7 Now a certain man of the servants of Saul was there that day, detained before the LORD. And his name was Doeg (doe-egg) , an Edomite, the chief of the herdsmen who belonged to Saul.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."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."


David realizes that one of Saul servants has seen him and apparently David doesnít have a weapon so he ask for one because he knows that Doeg is going to tell Saul where David is. Now we donít know for sure why it says Doeg was detained before the Lord. But some have suggested that maybe he was under some sort of vow. Now lets continue on.


1 Samuel 21: 10 Then David arose and fled that day from before Saul, and went to Achish (a-kish) the king of Gath.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'?"12 Now David took these words to heart, and was very much afraid of Achish the king of Gath.13 So he changed his behavior before them, feigned 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?" 22:1 David therefore departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam (a-dull-um). And when his brothers and all his father's house heard it, they went down there to him.


From this text we see the David has become an actor and he is playing the role of an insane man. Can you imagine seeing David acting this way? Going around scratching on the doors and allowing is spit to drop down on his beard. What a show that must have been. Well, all his crazy acting paid off and this king didnít want to have anything to do with David and so he was able to escape from that place and then he met up with brothers and many other men at Adullam.


1 Samuel 22:2 And everyone who was in distress, everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him. So he became captain over them. And there were about four hundred men with him.3 Then David went from there to Mizpah of Moab; and he said to the king of Moab, "Please let my father and mother come here with you, till I know what God will do for me."4 So he brought them before the king of Moab, and they dwelt with him all the time that David was in the stronghold.


Now we see that David has a small army but they were in hiding and apparently David was afraid that Saul might attack his father and mother so he asked King Moab to keep them safe.


1 Samuel 22:5 Now the prophet Gad said to David, "Do not stay in the stronghold; depart, and go to the land of Judah." So David departed and went into the forest of Hereth. (hear-eth) 6 When Saul heard that David and the men who were with him had been discovered -- now Saul was staying in Gibeah under a tamarisk tree in Ramah, with his spear in his hand, and all his servants standing about him --7 then Saul said to his servants who stood about him, "Hear now, you Benjamites! Will the son of Jesse give every one of you fields and vineyards, and make you all captains of thousands and captains of hundreds?8 "All of you have conspired against me, and there is no one who reveals to me that my son has made a covenant with the son of Jesse; and there is not one of you who is sorry for me or reveals to me that my son has stirred up my servant against me, to lie in wait, as it is this day."


David his word from God and he and is mean go to Judah. Then we see King Saul trying to convince the Benjamites that he can offer them more that what David and his men can and then he turns around and accuses them of turning on him because none of them told him about the covenant that was made between David and his Son. We also see that he accuses his own son of stirring up David against him. But of course we know from our previous studies that this simply is not true because David had done nothing wrong against the King.


Well these words that Saul spoke caused Doeg to speak up,


1 Samuel 229 Then answered Doeg the Edomite, who was set over the servants of Saul, and said, "I saw the son of Jesse going to Nob, to Ahimelech the son of Ahitub. (a-high-tub)10 "And he inquired of the LORD for him, gave him provisions, and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine."11 So the king sent to call Ahimelech the priest, the son of Ahitub, and all his father's house, the priests who were in Nob. And they all came to the king.12 And Saul said, "Hear now, son of Ahitub!" And he answered, "Here I am, my lord."13 Then Saul said to him, "Why have you conspired against me, you and the son of Jesse, in that you have given him bread and a sword, and have inquired of God for him, that he should rise against me, to lie in wait, as it is this day?"14 So Ahimelech answered the king and said, "And who among all your servants is as faithful as David, who is the king's son-in-law, who goes at your bidding, and is honorable in your house?15 "Did I then begin to inquire of God for him? Far be it from me! Let not the king impute anything to his servant, or to any in the house of my father. For your servant knew nothing of all this, little or much."


It interesting to me that Doeg had not spoken about this incident until now. Doeg did not want to found guilty of keeping information back from King Saul. No Ahimelech was in the hot seat and proclaimed is innocence in that he didnít know about this situation with David and he was only doing what he thought was right. Did you notice is says that he didnít inquire to God about David? Again, this shows us the decision he made about the Holy bread earlier was his own decision and not the Lords. But now watch happens.



1 Samuel 22:16 And the king said, "You shall surely die, Ahimelech, you and all your father's house!"17 Then the king said to the guards who stood about him, "Turn and kill the priests of the LORD, because their hand also is with David, and because they knew when he fled and did not tell it to me." But the servants of the king would not lift their hands to strike the priests of the LORD.18 And the king said to Doeg, "You turn and kill the priests!" So Doeg the Edomite turned and struck the priests, and killed on that day eighty-five men who wore a linen ephod.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.


King Saul Jealousy and hatred for David had driven him to have all the priest killed all because Ahimelech helped David out without knowing the situation. Of course we see that the King himself didnít do it nor would his servants do this despicable act. But, Doeg seem to have no problems carrying out Saulís orders as he killed all the priest with his sword and he didnít stop their he killed men, women, children and many animals in at Nob.


1 Samuel 22:20 Now one of the sons of Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, (a-by-uh-thar) escaped and fled after David.21 And Abiathar told David that Saul had killed the LORD's priests.22 So David said to Abiathar, "I knew that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would surely tell Saul. I have caused the death of all the persons of your father's house.23 "Stay with me; do not fear. For he who seeks my life seeks your life, but with me you shall be safe."


Because of Davidís lie these priests and the people of Nob perished that day. Whoever invented the phrase ď a little white lie doesnít hurt anyoneĒ obviously had never read what happened to these people at Nob because of Davidís little white lie. This should teach every one of us a great lesson and make us really think twice about telling lies because not only can they cause us problems they can cause other people problems as well.


Now in chapter 23:1-6 we find out that thepeople of Keilah are being attacked by the Philistines and God tells David and his men to go defeat the Philistines and they do. But now Saul is going to try and take advantage of this situation.


1 Samuel 23:7 And Saul was told that David had gone to Keilah. So Saul said, "God has delivered him into my hand, for he has shut himself in by entering a town that has gates and bars."8 Then Saul called all the people together for war, to go down to Keilah to besiege David and his men.


Is it interesting that Saul actual thought that God had given him this opportunity to kill David even though the Spirit of God had left him? Well Saul went on his way thinking he was going to trap David but we learn that David finds out about his plan and David ask God if Saul is coming and also wants to know if these people he just rescued would give him over to Saul. Well the answer to both of these question was yes and so David and his men left that place spoiling Saulís plans once again.


1 Samuel 23:14 And David stayed in strongholds in the wilderness, and remained in the mountains in the Wilderness of Ziph. Saul sought him every day, but God did not deliver him into his hand.15 So David saw that Saul had come out to seek his life. And David was in the Wilderness of Ziph in a forest.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.


Saul had not given up on pursuit to kill David. But at least we learn that Jonathan and David were able to speak to another again. I am sure that neither one of them thought they would see each other every again but this certainly was not the best of circumstances. Now we see that Jonathan is confident that Saul wont find David and the he Saul know that David will be the next King and Jonathan plans on being next to his side when this happens.


Now in verses 19 Ė 26 we learn that the Ziphites are going to help Saul find David and his men and they began to approach them. Davidís men were one side of the mountain and Saulís men on the other. They were so close to one another but something happens that keeps David and his men safe as we read in,


1 Samuel 23:27 But a messenger came to Saul, saying, "Hasten and come, for the Philistines have invaded the land!"28 Therefore Saul returned from pursuing David, and went against the Philistines; so they called that place the Rock of Escape.29 Then David went up from there and dwelt in strongholds at En Gedi.


Now to me this seems like the providence of God at work. It amazes me that Saul actually broke his pursuit to go fight the Philistines but he did and this gave David and his men the time they needed to escape the clutches of King Saul. They even called that place the Rock of escape.


Now in chapter 24 we are going to a great act of mercy and of humility.


1 Samuel 24:1 Now it happened, when Saul had returned from following the Philistines, that it was told him, saying, "Take note! David is in the Wilderness of En Gedi."2 Then Saul took three thousand chosen men from all Israel, and went to seek David and his men on the Rocks of the Wild Goats.3 So he came to the sheepfolds by the road, where there was a cave; and Saul went in to attend to his needs. (David and his men were staying in the recesses of the cave.)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.5 Now it happened afterward that David's heart troubled him because he had cut Saul's robe.6 And he said to his men, "The LORD forbid that I should do this thing to my master, the LORD's anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the LORD."7 So David restrained his servants with these words, and did not allow them to rise against Saul. And Saul got up from the cave and went on his way.


David had his chance here to kill King Saul but he didnít. Instead he just cut a piece of his robe off. David could not bring himself to strike a man who had been anointed by God and so he showed him mercy.


1 Samuel 24:8 David also arose afterward, went out of the cave, and called out to Saul, saying, "My lord the king!" And when Saul looked behind him, David stooped with his face to the earth, and bowed down.9 And David said to Saul: "Why do you listen to the words of men who say, 'Indeed David seeks your harm'?10 "Look, this day your eyes have seen that the LORD delivered you today into my hand in the cave, and someone urged me to kill you. But my eye spared you, and I said, 'I will not stretch out my hand against my lord, for he is the LORD's anointed.'11 "Moreover, my father, see! Yes, see the corner of your robe in my hand! For in that I cut off the corner of your robe, and did not kill you, know and see that there is neither evil nor rebellion in my hand, and I have not sinned against you. Yet you hunt my life to take it.12 "Let the LORD judge between you and me, and let the LORD avenge me on you. But my hand shall not be against you.13 "As the proverb of the ancients says, 'Wickedness proceeds from the wicked.' But my hand shall not be against you.14 "After whom has the king of Israel come out? Whom do you pursue? A dead dog? A flea?15 "Therefore let the LORD be judge, and judge between you and me, and see and plead my case, and deliver me out of your hand."


Here we see a great example of humility. Even though David was being told to kill Saul he did not and by this very act he was proving to Saul that he was not out to harm him or take his kingdom from him. He makes the point that he no more dangerous than a dead dog or a flea and he wants Saul to allow God to make the judgment call. This concept was also taught by Paul.


Romans 12:19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord.


Sometimes we try to take matters into our own hands when we really should have left in the hands of the Lord. This merciful act for a moment anyway really struck the heart of Saul as we see his response.


1 Samuel 24:16 So it was, when David had finished speaking these words to Saul, that Saul said, "Is this your voice, my son David?" And Saul lifted up his voice and wept.17 Then he said to David: "You are more righteous than I; for you have rewarded me with good, whereas I have rewarded you with evil.18 "And you have shown this day how you have dealt well with me; for when the LORD delivered me into your hand, you did not kill me.19 "For if a man finds his enemy, will he let him get away safely? Therefore may the LORD reward you with good for what you have done to me this day.20 "And now I know indeed that you shall surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in your hand.21 "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."22 So David swore to Saul. And Saul went home, but David and his men went up to the stronghold.


Saul broke out in tears realizing how horrible he had been and how righteous David was. Saul know for sure that David will be the new King and he makes him swear that he will not cut off Saulís descendents in the future. David agrees and for now Saul goes back home but David stay hidden in a stronghold. This tells me that David doesnít completely believe Saulís Word and take the precaution of remaining in a stronghold and rightly so as he witnessed first hand Saul flippant behavior.