I Samuel 24:9-22

Sunday, March 8th, 2015



If you are seeking to live for the Lord, Satan will try to defeat you. One way is to get everybody, i.e. especially those close to you, stirred up against you even though you really haven't done anything wrong. The natural tendency of our old sin natures is to fight back, to defend ourselves, and to exalt ourselves.

God's will for us, however, is that we not follow the tendencies of our old sin natures and that we do not fight back or defend ourselves or exalt ourselves. In I Samuel 24:9-22 , we see how David handled this very difficult situation, and we recognize that we need to handle difficult situations like these in a similar way.

Before considering this portion of Scripture, I remind you of what preceded it by just a few minutes.

1. Saul had again come after David in order to kill him - 24:1-2

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.

2. God had presented David with a perfect opportunity to avenge himself, to kill Saul, and to end Saul's constant pursuit of him - 24:3

I Samuel 24:3 - And he [i.e. Saul] came to the sheepcotes [i.e. sheepfolds, sheep pens] by the way [i.e. by the road], 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 rest room; only there was no rest room 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 to let Him handle David's problems for him. Don't be surprised if God puts you in a situation where you can take vengeance on someone who has done wrong to you in order to teach you to let Him handle any vengeance which needs to be taken against this person.

3. An idea had been placed in David's mind - 24:4

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 ever 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.

4. David had been kept from sinning against Saul - 24:5-8

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. [Remember that God works in you to will and to do of His good pleasure - Philippians 2:13 God was showing David that it was wrong for him to have cut off a small piece of Saul's robe.] (6) And he [i.e. David] 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. David restrained] his servants with these words, and suffered them not [i.e. David did not allow them or David did not permit them] to rise against [i.e. to rise up against] Saul. But Saul rose up out of the cave [i.e. Saul got up from the cave], and went on his way. [Saul was completely unaware of how close he had just come to dying.] (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 determined in advance that he would not put forth his hand against Saul whom the Lord had placed in power. Good for David. Saul was the Lord's problem. He was not really David's problem even though it might not always have seemed like this. The Lord, rather than David, needed to be the One Who would deal with Saul.


1. David asked Saul if Saul had not been unjust in listening to the slanders against him - v. 9

I Samuel 24:9 - And David said to Saul, Wherefore hearest thou [i.e. why (or for what reason) are you listening to] men's words, saying, Behold, David seeketh thy hurt?

2. David dared not sin deliberately because he feared God - v. 10

I Samuel 24:10 - Behold, this day thine eyes have seen how that the Lord had delivered thee to day into mine hand in the cave: and some bade me kill thee: but mine eye spared thee; and I said, I will not put forth mine hand against my lord; for he is the Lord's anointed.

3. David appealed to his own actions to prove his case - v. 11

I Samuel 24:11 - Moreover, my father, see, yea, see the skirt [i.e. the edge of the hem, the edge of a corner, or the edge of a piece of the hem] of thy robe in my hand: for in that I 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 thy robe, and killed thee not, know thou and see that there is neither evil nor transgression in mine hand, and I have not sinned against thee; yet thou huntest my soul to take it.

4. David affirmed that he had no intention to retaliate and to return evil for evil - v. 12

I Samuel 24:12 - The Lord judge between me and thee, and the Lord avenge me of thee: but mine hand shall not be upon thee.

I remind you of Romans 12:17-21 -

Romans 12:17-21 - (17) Recompense [i.e. repay] to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. (18) If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. (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. (20) Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. (21) Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

5. David referred to his known character - v. 13

I Samuel 24:13 - As saith the proverb of the ancients, Wickedness proceedeth from the wicked: but mine hand shall not be upon thee.

6. David exhibited humility - v. 14

I Samuel 24:14 - After whom is the king of Israel come out? after whom dost thou pursue? after a dead dog, after a flea.

7. David committed his case to God - v. 15

I Samuel 24:15 - The Lord therefore be judge, and judge between me and thee, and see, and plead my cause, and deliver me out of thine hand.

I Peter 2:19-23 - 19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. 20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. 21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: 22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:


I Samuel 24:16-22 - (16) And it came to pass, when David had made an end of speaking these words unto Saul, that Saul said, Is this thy voice, my son David? And Saul lifted up his voice, and wept. (17) And he said to David, Thou art more righteous than I: for thou hast rewarded me good, whereas I have rewarded thee evil. (18) And thou hast shewed this day how that thou hast dealt well with me: forasmuch as when the Lord had delivered me into thine hand, thou killedst me not. (19) For if a man find his enemy, will he let him go well away? wherefore the Lord reward thee good for that thou hast done unto me this day. (20) And now, behold, I know well that thou shalt surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in thine hand. (21) Swear now therefore unto me by the Lord, that thou wilt not cut off my seed [i.e. my descendants] after me, and that thou wilt not destroy my name out of my father's house. (22) And David sware unto Saul. And Saul went home; but David and his men gat them up unto the hold [i.e. the stronghold].

We recognize that God put David in this situation.

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.

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

A similar Old Testament episode, found in Genesis 37 , saw a 17-year-old boy named Joseph, who was hated by his own brothers, sold into slavery by his brothers. For the next 13 years of his life he found himself in Egypt either as a slave or as a prisoner. At age 30 Joseph was made second in command of the entire nation of Egypt, subject only to Pharaoh.

Twenty-two years later, when Joseph was 39 years old, His brothers and father came to Egypt. Seventeen years after this Jacob died. Since Joseph was 39 when Jacob came to Egypt, he would have been 56 years old when Jacob died. The incident in Genesis 50 took place 39 years after Joseph's brothers sold him into slavery. They were understandably afraid that he would take vengeance on them, that he would repay them, for what they had done to him.

Genesis 50:15-21 - (15) And when Joseph's brethren saw that their father was dead, they said, Joseph will peradventure [i.e. perhaps] hate us, and will certainly requite us [repay us or pay us back for] all the evil which we did unto him. [They incorrectly assumed that Joseph would seek to pay them back for what they had done because this is likely what they would have done to Joseph had the situation been reversed.] (16) And they sent a messenger unto Joseph, saying, Thy father did command before he died, saying, (17) So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father. [Now I believe that this was not true, that Jacob did not give them this commandment before he died, that they made it up to deceive Joseph into not paying them back for what they had done to him.] And Joseph wept when they spake unto him. (18) And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants. (19) And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? (20) But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. (21) Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.


Saul went back home. However, in I Samuel 26 , he seems to have forgotten the events of I Samuel 24 and comes after David again.