I Samuel 23:1 - 24:8

Sunday, March 1st, 2015

Text: I Samuel 23:1-24:8



As we continue to study the life of David, we realize that David made a mess of some things in the past when he fled from Saul and deceived Ahimilech the priest at Nob.

Last time we saw David at the cave Adullam from which David seems to emerge as a changed man. Somewhere around this time David wrote both Psalms 34 and 56 in which he expresses his complete trust in God.

We read in Isaiah 40:31

Isaiah 40:31 - But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

We also read in Psalms 32 -

Psalms 32 - (1) Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. (2) Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile [i.e. deceit]. (3) When I kept silence, my bones waxed old [i.e. grew old] through my roaring [i.e. through my groaning] all the day long. (4) For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture [i.e. my vitality] is turned into the drought of summer [i.e. is all dried up]. Selah. (5) I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah. (6) For this shall everyone that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him [i.e. they will not come near the godly person]. (7) Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about [i.e. surround me] with songs of deliverance. Selah. (8) I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. (9) Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee [i.e. else they will not come near you]. (10) Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he that trusteth in the Lord, mercy shall compass him about [i.e. mercy will surround him]. (11) Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.

In I Samuel 23:1-24:8 we see that God guides David every step of the way. Similarly, He will guide you; and He will guide me.


Keilah was located close to Philistine territory, around 15 miles straight east of Gath.

I Samuel 23:1-6 - (1) Then they told David, saying, Behold, the Philistines fight against Keilah, and they rob the threshingfloors. (2) Therefore David inquired of the Lord, saying, Shall I go and smite these Philistines? And the Lord said unto David, Go, and smite the Philistines, and save Keilah. (3) And David's men said unto him, Behold, we be afraid here in Judah: how much more then if we come to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines? (4) Then David inquired of the Lord yet again. And the Lord answered him and said, Arise, go down to Keilah; for I will deliver the Philistines into thine hand. (5) So David and his men went to Keilah, and fought with the Philistines, and brought away their cattle, and smote them with a great slaughter. So David saved the inhabitants of Keilah.


I Samuel 23:6-9 - (6) And it came to pass, when Abiathar the son of Ahimelech fled to David to Keilah, that he came down with an ephod in his hand. (7) And it was told Saul that David was come to Keilah. And Saul said, God hath delivered him into mine hand; for he is shut in, by entering into a town that hath gates and bars. (8) And Saul called all the people together to war, to go down to Keilah, to besiege David and his men. (9) And David knew that Saul secretly practised mischief against him; and he said to Abiathar the priest, Bring hither the ephod.

The ephod would apparently include the breastplate which contained the Urim and Thummin by which the Lord's will might be discerned.

Remember Psalms 32:8

Psalms 32:8 - I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.

James 1:5 - If any of you lack wisdom [and we certainly qualify, don't we!], let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.


I Samuel 23:10-12 - (10) Then said David, O Lord God of Israel, thy servant hath certainly heard that Saul seeketh to come to Keilah, to destroy the city for my sake. (11) Will the men of Keilah deliver me up into his hand? will Saul come down, as thy servant hath heard? O Lord God of Israel, I beseech thee, tell thy servant. And the Lord said, He will come down. (12) Then said David, Will the men of Keilah deliver me and my men into the hand of Saul? And the Lord said, They will deliver thee up.

When you are going through difficulties, you need to remember that you never know for certain who your real friends are. There are always those for whom you have done great favors, but this does not mean that they are really your friends. They may just have used you or taken advantage of you; but when the wind blows the other direction, they will betray you.


I Samuel 23:13-15 - (13) Then David and his men, which were about six hundred, arose and departed out of Keilah, and went whithersoever they could go. And it was told Saul that David was escaped from Keilah; and he forbare to go forth [i.e. Saul halted the expedition or Saul gave up the pursuit]. (14) And David abode in the wilderness in strong holds, and remained in a mountain in the wilderness of Ziph. And Saul sought him every day, but God delivered him not into his hand. (15) And David saw that Saul was come out to seek his life: and David was in the wilderness of Ziph in a wood.

The wilderness [i.e. desert] of Ziph was about 4 miles southeast of Hebron.

Remember that just as David's life was in constant danger; so your life is also in constant danger.

I Peter 5:8 - Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.

Ephesians 6:10-18 - (10) Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. (11) Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. (12) For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (13) Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (14) Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; (15) And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; (16) Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. (17) And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: (18) Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.


I Samuel 23:16-18 - (16) And Jonathan Saul's son arose, and went to David into the wood, and strengthened his hand in God. (17) And he said unto him, Fear not: for the hand of Saul my father shall not find thee; and thou shalt be king over Israel, and I shall be next unto thee; and that also Saul my father knoweth. (18) And they two made a covenant before the Lord: and David abode in the wood, and Jonathan went to his house [i.e. Jonathan went home].

Although Saul could not find David, Jonathan had no trouble doing so, and Jonathan encouraged David in the Lord.

Similarly Barnabas was a son of consolation, which means that he was an encourager. This is one of the reasons our missionary Gary Norris named his ministry Barnabas International. It defines his ministry as not only going and helping pastors and missionaries but also as encouraging them. Encouraging others is one of the ways God's people help other believers. Someone is always going through a difficult time. Be an encourager like Jonathan was to David.


I Samuel 23:19-26 - (19) Then came up the Ziphites to Saul to Gibeah, saying, Doth not David hide himself with us in strong holds in the wood, in the hill of Hachilah, which is on the south of Jeshimon? (20) Now therefore, O king, come down according to all the desire of thy soul to come down; and our part shall be to deliver him into the king's hand. (21) And Saul said, Blessed be ye of the Lord; for ye have compassion on me [My, oh my! How piously this rascal speaks!]. (22) Go, I pray you, prepare yet, and know and see his place where his haunt is, and who hath seen him there: for it is told me that he dealeth very subtilly [It's called projection. Saul is projecting one of his faults into David.]. (23) See therefore, and take knowledge of all the lurking places where he hideth himself, and come ye again to me with the certainty, and I will go with you: and it shall come to pass, if he be in the land, that I will search him out throughout all the thousands of Judah. (24) And they arose, and went to Ziph before Saul: but David and his men were in the wilderness [i.e. in the desert] of Maon, in the plain on the south of Jeshimon. (25) Saul also and his men went to seek him. And they told David; wherefore he came down into a rock, and abode in the wilderness [i.e. in the desert] of Maon. And when Saul heard that, he pursued after David in the wilderness [i.e. in the desert] of Maon. (26) And Saul went on this side of the mountain, and David and his men on that side of the mountain: and David made haste to get away for fear of Saul; for Saul and his men compassed David and his men round about [i.e. Saul and his men were encircling David and his men] to take them.

Maon is just south of the southern tip of the Dead Sea, perhaps 6-8 miles from Ziph and 10 miles southeast of Hebron.

James 1:2-4 - (2) My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; (3) Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. (4) But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

Trials don't always end quickly. Keep in mind that Saul pursued David in an effort to kill him for nearly 10 years.


I Samuel 23:27-29 - (27) But there came a messenger unto Saul, saying, Haste thee, and come; for the Philistines have invaded the land. (28) Wherefore Saul returned from pursuing after David, and went against the Philistines: therefore they called that place Selahammahlekoth [i.e. The Rock of Escape]. (29) And David went up from thence [i.e. from there], and dwelt in strong holds at Engedi.

Engedi is located on the western shore of the Dead Sea, a little more than half way down the Dead Sea. It is an oasis 10 miles north of Masada on the Dead Sea.

I Corinthians 10:13 - There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

Jude 21 - Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

Let's keep our lives right with God. Let's keep ourselves in the love of God. Let's be faithful in our local church, studying our Bibles, praying, confessing sin, and witnessing as God gives opportunity.

I remind you that no matter how bad things become, we must obey God and resist the urge to take vengeance on someone who has done wrong to us.

Romans 8:28 - And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose [including efforts to harm us or our reputations in any way].

Psalms 37:23 - The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.

All of a sudden God gives David the perfect opportunity to kill Saul and end Saul's efforts to kill him. The time and place of this is all set up by God.

Remember, however, that it is not God's intent for David to kill Saul. Instead, it is God's intent to strengthen David against this temptation. David had determined not to put forth his hand against Saul who was the Lord's anointed king. Now God brings a circumstance to pass which gives David the perfect opportunity to kill his enemy and rid himself of a major problem.

However, God does not want David to kill Saul. Instead, God wants David to resist the urge to take vengeance on Saul and not to kill him. God wants to take vengeance on Saul Himself.

We know the truth of Romans 12:19 that we are not to take vengeance on anyone but leave it to God to do the avenging-

Romans 12:19 - Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.


I Samuel 24:1-2 - (1) And it came to pass, when Saul was returned from following the Philistines, that it was told him, saying, Behold, David is in the wilderness [or desert] of Engedi. (2) Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel, and went to seek David and his men upon the rocks of the wild goats.


I Samuel 24:3 - And he came to the sheepcotes [i.e. sheepfolds, sheep pens] by the way, where was a cave; and Saul went in to cover his feet [i.e. it is a euphemistic way (or a delicate way) of saying that Saul went into the cave to relieve himself, to attend to his needs, or if you prefer, to go potty]: and David and his men remained in the sides [i.e. in the recesses] of the cave.

While David and his men are hiding in a cave from Saul and his 3,000 chosen soldiers, God gave Saul an urge to use the restroom; only there was no restroom handy. So, Saul spied a cave nearby and entered the cave so that he might have a little private time, not realizing that David and his men were hiding in the same cave.

What an opportunity this was for David to kill Saul!

Rather, what an opportunity this was for David to have victory over any desire he might have had for vengeance against Saul!

God was testing David in a different way and teaching him to trust Him more fully and let Him handle David's problems for him.


I Samuel 24:4 - And the men of David said unto him, Behold the day of which the Lord said unto thee, Behold, I will deliver thine enemy into thine hand, that thou mayest do to him as it shall seem good unto thee [Of course, there is no record of the Lord's having said this.]. Then David arose, and cut off the skirt [i.e. the edge of the hem, the edge of a corner, or the edge of a piece of the hem] of Saul's robe privily [i.e. secretly].

Saul had apparently laid his robe aside upon entering the cave, and David was able to cut off a piece of the robe without Saul realizing it.

This idea of David's taking vengeance on Saul is based on the false philosophy that the end justifies the means.


I Samuel 24:5-8 - (5) And it came to pass afterward, that David's heart smote him [i.e. troubled him], because he had cut off Saul's skirt. (6) And he said unto his men, The Lord forbid that I should do this thing unto my master, the Lord's anointed, to stretch forth mine hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the Lord. (7) So David stayed [i.e. restrained] his servants with these words, and suffered them not [i.e. did not allow them or did not permit them] to rise against [i.e. to rise up against] Saul. But Saul rose up out of the cave [i.e. got up from the cave], and went on his way. (8) David also arose afterward, and went out of the cave, and cried after Saul, saying, My lord the king. And when Saul looked behind him, David stooped with his face to the earth, and bowed himself.

David had ample opportunity to avenge himself, but he had determined in advance that he would not put forth his hand against Saul whom the Lord had placed in power.

We likewise need to determine in advance that we will not seek personal vengeance on anyone for anything.


As believers we need to remember that what other believers do, who do not answer to us, is not really something we should get overly involved in.

We might make some suggestions to them, but they are God's servants and must answer to Him. Furthermore, we should never take vengeance on anyone, believer or unbeliever. We need to do what is right and let God look after taking care of the other person. We have enough to do without trying to do God's job for Him. We have enough problems in our own families and lives to deal with that we don't need to be dealing with those outside of our domain and authority.

Let's resist the urge to involve ourselves uninvited into the affairs of others, especially those outside of our own local church.

Let's determine that we will never seek vengeance on any other person, believer or unbeliever; instead, let's pray for the other person that God will deal with him as He sees fit and bless him.

Romans 12:14 - Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.