David Receives Divine Discipline
Comments for Study 10
1 Samuel 21:1-23:29
Memory Verse: 21:6
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I. David Goes to A Priest of the Lord (21:1-15)
>1. Why was David a fugitive? (20:33)
* 1 Samuel 20:33 "But Saul hurled his spear at him to kill him. Then Jonathan knew that his father intended to kill David."
* Saul was obsessed with removing David from his kingdom, even to the point of killing David. David had to flee for his life. David was not a part of Saul's kingdom, even while he served Saul for David had been anointed as the next king by God's servant, Samuel. The religious leaders were obsessed with removing Jesus from their kingdom, even to the point of death. Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to his disciples. Then he ascended to heaven conducting the affairs of his kingdom, his people here on this earth until he comes again; King forever more "on earth as it is in heaven".
* Before David's kingdom, God's priestly nation there must be the reign of Saul, the kingdom that rejected the Lord. Before Jesus' second coming, the kingdom of God, there is the kingdom of the anti-Christs. Every since the beginning of Jesus' church (the kingdom of God) there are anti-Christs. God's people though never a part of the anti-Christ's kingdom are physically in their kingdom as ambassadors of God.
* During the exile period the Lord disciplined, prepared, and trained David for his job as king. He learned the human character and how to lead men, something a lonely shepherd could not do. The Lord also slowly provided him with a group of loyal followers and fighters, something he could not do in the house of Saul. God was working with David through the exile.
* Similar to David, the religious leaders wanted to kill Jesus so he stayed away from Jerusalem. He only went there for the feasts; sleeping on the Mount of Olives and visiting the temple during the day.
* The Messiah is the son of David. Jesus is the twenty-eighth generation after David. (Matt. 1:17) Yet Jesus taught that the Messiah is more than a human son of Daivd. "While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 'What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?' 'The son of David,' they replied. He said to them, 'How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him 'Lord'? For he says, 'The Lord said to my Lord: 'Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet.'' If then David calls him 'Lord,' how can he be his son?'" (Matt. 22:41-45)
>Where did he go first? (21:1)
* 1 Samuel 21:1 "David went to Nob, to Ahimelech the priest. Ahimelech trembled when he met him, and asked, "Why are you alone? Why is no one with you?"
* "Nob" -Nob is a town of priests and their families. (22:19) Nob was a city in Benjamin likely situated between Anathoth and Jerusalem (Neh. 11:31-32; Isa. 10:32). Following the destruction of the Shiloh sanctuary in about 1,000 B.C. (Jer. 7:14), the priesthood relocated to Nob. The site of Nob was perhaps on Mount Scopas about one mile north-east of ancient Jerusalem, on the hill Químeh one mile further north, or Ras el-Mesharif about one mile north of Jerusalem. (Holman Bible Dictionary) After Saul killed all the priests and their families, Nob no longer existed until the return from Babylon captivity (Ne. 11:32) though Isaiah 10:32 mentions it in prophecy.
* "Ahimelech" -Ahimelech is mentioned here for the first time. Ahimelech is the son of Ahitub. (22:11) Ahitub other son, Ahijah had been with Saul wearing the ephod. (14:3) They were of the family of Eli. (14:3) Ahimelech apparently had the ephod since his son brought it with him to David after Saul killed Ahimelech, his family, and eighty-five other priests. (23:6) The tabernacle was being used at Nob. (Shiloh was a building; temple.) Whether or not the ark is at Nob cannot be known for sure. The least time it is mentioned is at Abinadab's house where it is said to have remain many years. (7:1-2) That was before Saul became king in 1050 B.C. Saul died in 1010 B.C. The next time it is mentioned is when David brought it from Abinadab's house to Jerusalem. (2 Sam. 6:1-3)
>Why would Ahimelech tremble?
* "Ahimelech trembled when he met him" -David's presence was strange since priests were in Saul's court. Saul's leadership style lead men to tremble whenever a messenger was sent from him. The people were beginning to realize that there request for a king was not as wise as they first thought. When one man's power and leadership is left unquestioned they tend to do anything to keep their power, causing all around them to live in fear.
* At times in my life and I believe all believers in Jesus' life, I have found myself trembling. Sometimes if fear (Ps. 55:5; and 1 Cor. 2:3), sometimes the Spirit's strong presence (Ps. 2:11; Mark 5:33), and other times while in the presence of someone under the influence of an evil spirit. The later two, though opposite and similar, are quit disconcerting. I can relate to the prophets like Daniel who recorded, "A hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees." (Daniel 10:10)
* Hosea 11:10 states, "They will follow the Lord; he will roar like a lion. When he roars, his children will come trembling from the west."
* Philippians 2:12-13 "Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed--not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence--continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose."
>What story did David tell to calm Ahimelech's fears?
* 1 Samuel 21:2 "David answered Ahimelech the priest, "The king charged me with a certain matter and said to me, 'No one is to know anything about your mission and your instructions.' As for my men, I have told them to meet me at a certain place."
* David's answer is clear deception.
* This passage did not say that David sought the Lord's will through the ephod (21:9, 23:6) though later Doeg told Saul that Ahimelech inquired of the Lord for David. (1 Sam. 22:10) Ahimelech agreed with Doeg; he did inquire the Lord for David, something he did often. (1 Sam. 22:15)
>Why did he say this?
* Several possible reasons for David's deception exist;
1) David was trying to protect Ahimelech and the priests from Saul's wrath.
2) David knew that a man from Saul's service was present. He didn't want to expose himself to possible captured there on the spot as verse 22 indicates.
3) David was afraid that the priest would not help him if they discovered that he was fleeing Saul. Usually someone from the court (as David was) would have had provisions and a body guard. After all, the mere presence of someone from Saul's court caused the priest to tremble.
4) David wasn't sure if he could trust Ahimelech since his brother Ahijah was probably still serving in Saul's court.
* David's little little lie turned into a big deal when eight-five priests and their families died. Later David would write in Psalms 34:13 "keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies." (Peter quoted in 1 Peter 3:10.) Leviticus 19:11 states, "'Do not steal. "'Do not lie. "'Do not deceive one another." I am guilty of the sin of lies and deceit.
>2. What request did David make?
* 1 Samuel 21:3 "Now then, what do you have on hand? Give me five loaves of bread, or whatever you can find."
* "five loaves of bread" -All that he would carry. The loaves of the day were large. "There are seven Hebrew words for bread. Bread was made from wheat or barley. There were three means of baking. Most bread that was so baked had the appearance of a disk (Judges 7:13) about one-half inch thick and twelve inches in diameter. Some was perforated. Some had a hole in the middle for storing or carrying on a pole. Some was heart-shaped (the word for cakes in 2 Sam. 13:6,8,10 literally means heart-shaped). Some took the shape of a small modern loaf (suggested by the arrangement of the Bread of Presence). Bread was broken or torn, not cut." (Holman Bible Dictionary)
>How did Ahimelech help David? (4-6)
* 1 Samuel 21:4-6 "But the priest answered David, "I don't have any ordinary bread on hand; however, there is some consecrated bread here--provided the men have kept themselves from women." David replied, "Indeed women have been kept from us, as usual whenever I set out. The men's things are holy even on missions that are not holy. How much more so today!" So the priest gave him the consecrated bread, since there was no bread there except the bread of the Presence that had been removed from before the Lord and replaced by hot bread on the day it was taken away."
* "ordinary bread" -Ordinary bread was the most common food in Palestine for centuries.
* "consecrated bread" -The consecrated bread (aka the shewbread and the bread of the Presence; Ex. 25:30) was a solemnly placed as an offering in the presences of Jehovah (the Lord) on the table in the Holy Place in the tabernacle and later the temple. It was a thanks offering to the Lord symbolizing his provision of bread. A golden table for the concentrated bread is mentioned in 1 Kings 7:48; and the form of the temple in Herod's temple is preserved on the Arch of Titus in Rome. The bread was renewed every Sabbath, and the loaves that remained were to be eaten only by the priests. (Lev. 24:9)
>What rules did he break and what risks did he take to do so? (Lev. 24:8-9; Matt. 12:3-4)
* "This bread is to be set out before the LORD regularly, Sabbath after Sabbath, on behalf of the Israelites, as a lasting covenant. It belongs to Aaron and his sons, who are to eat it in a holy place, because it is a most holy part of their regular share of the offerings made to the LORD by fire." (Lev. 24:8-9)
* "He answered, 'Haven't you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He entered the house of God, and he and his companions are the consecrated bread which was not lawful for them to do, but only for the priests.'" (Matt. 12:3-4)
* Jesus used this incident to show that when moral and ceremonial obligations come into conflict, the ceremonial give way to the moral.
* Mark 2:25-26 and Luke 6:3-5 are also a record of Jesus' teaching.
>What principle is laid here?
* The high priest was bound to preserve David's life, even at the expense of a ceremonial rule.
* Love and mercy are greater than ceremonies and traditions.
>Who witnessed this event?
* 1 Samuel 21:7 "Now one of Saul's servants was there that day, detained before the Lord; he was Doeg the Edomite, Saul's head shepherd."
* "detained before the Lord" -Either he went there to worship or made a vow. Perhaps he was unclean or possible thought to have leprosy. Either way he had to wait until he was purified. There is the possibility that Saul sent him to the priests as a punishment because he sinned against Saul.
* "Edomite" -Saul had attacked the Edomites, located on the east side of the Salt Sea. (4:47) Most likely this is how Doeg came to be Saul's service.
>What else did David receive?
* 1 Samuel 21:8-9 "David asked Ahimelech, "Don't you have a spear or a sword here? I haven't brought my sword or any other weapon, because the king's business was urgent." The priest replied, "The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you killed in the Valley of Elah, is here; it is wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you want it, take it; there is no sword here but that one." David said, "There is none like it; give it to me."
* "sword of Goliath the Philistine" -David carried around the head of the Philistine after the battle, not the sword probably because the head was a symbol of God's hand more than the sword. Also, the sword weighted a lot especially for a teenage boy.
* David must not have concerned himself and was to busy to pick up and carry as plunder the sword.
* Either David knew or didn't know that the sword was in the presence of the priests. Perhaps he was acting innocent before Doeg to protect the priests. Or it had been many years since David brought it to them and considered that they could have been moved it. Or David didn't know what had happened to it after the battle with Goliath.
* First David received help from Samuel the prophet and Ahimelech the priests. God provides all our needs for all the services and changes of life that we go through. All we need to do is seek his plans so that we can stay in them and be blessed with that which he has provided for us.
* 2 Peter 1:3-4 "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires."
>3. Where did David seek refuge next and why there? (10)
* 1 Samuel 21:10 "That day David fled from Saul and went to Achish king of Gath."
* "David fled from Saul" -David was willing to leave Israel. The land of the Philistines was part of the promised land, but never acquired. Joshua 13:1-5 states, "When Joshua was old and well advanced in years, the Lord said to him, 'You are very old, and there are still very large areas of land to be taken over. This is the land that remains: all the regions of the Philistines and Geshurites: from the Shihor River on the east of Egypt to the territory of Ekron on the north, all of it counted as Canaanite (the territory of the five Philistine rulers in Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gath and Ekron--that of the Avvites); from the south, all the land of the Canaanites, from Arah of the Sidonians as far as Aphek, the region of the Amorites, the area of the Gebalites; and all Lebanon to the east, from Baal Gad below Mount Hermon to Lebo Hamath.'"
* "Gath" -Gath is one of the five principle cities of the Philistines. (Josh. 13:3) Goliath was from Gath (17:4) who was probably one of the Anakites survives (Josh. 11:22). The Anakites were tall and strong people (Deut. 1:28, 2:10-11, 9:2) descendants of Anak (Josh. 15:14) who were from Nephilim (Num. 13:33). Genesis 6:4 states, "The Nephilim were on the earth in those days--and also afterward--when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown."
* "king of Gath" -The Philistine nation consisted of five city states. Each of the five major Philistine cities had a king.
* "Achish" -Later David became a soldier for Achish while cunningly expanded his own influence around Ziklag (1 Sam. 27). David was almost trapped into joining Achish to fight Saul and Israel (28:1-2), but the four other Philistine leaders forced David to leave without fighting (29:1-11). Saul and his sons, including Jonathan, died in the battle (31:1-6).
* At first glance a person could say that David seems to not have a plan, he was from Samuel, to Ahimelech, and now to Achish. However, since we know he inquired of the Lord we can believe that David's plan was fixed; seek the will of the Lord.
>Why could he not find refuge there? (11)
* 1 Samuel 21:11 "But the servants of Achish said to him, "Isn't this David, the king of the land? Isn't he the one they sing about in their dances: "'Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands'?"
* "the king of the land" -Perhaps its possible that they knew that David would be Saul's replacement; however, more likely they knew David was more successful in battle and more renowned than Saul and assumed David was the king.
* "they sing about in their dances" -The song about David had become a number one hit of the day, known of throughout Palestine.
>How did he escape? (12-15)
* 1 Samuel 21:12-15 "David took these words to heart and was very much afraid of Achish king of Gath. So he pretended to be insane in their presence; and while he was in their hands he acted like a madman, making marks on the doors of the gate and letting saliva run down his beard. Achish said to his servants, "Look at the man! He is insane! Why bring him to me? Am I so short of madmen that you have to bring this fellow here to carry on like this in front of me? Must this man come into my house?"
* "insane" -Highly aggressive and not at peace.
* "Am I so short of madman?" -The Philistines must have had many with spiritual, mental, and physical problems.
* Some ancient cultures considered some mentally unstable people as prophets.
>What does this show about him?
* David was bold carrying Goliath's sword into Gath, his hometown trying to obtain amnesty.
* Psalm 34 is written concerning this incident. In it David wrote in verse 6, "This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles." And in verses 18 and 19, "The Lord is close to the heartbroken and saves those who are crushed in spirit. A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all'
* David realized that going right away to Gath was not a good idea for he was alone. However, his later try, when he had many fighting men, proved successful. Sometimes God wants us to go in a direction, but the timing is not always right away for other things need to take place first. Jesus knew he would be crucified in Jerusalem at the hands of the religious leaders when they turned him over to the Romans. However, he was sure to do it at the right time. Once when it was time to go to a feast in Jerusalem he said, "The right time for me has not yet come; for you any time is right. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that what it does is evil. You go to the Feast. I am not yet going up to this Feast, because for me the right time has not yet come." (John 7:6-8)
II. David Becomes a Shepherd of Bums and Outcasts (22:1-23).
>4. Where did the one who sought after God's heart and his family have to live? (1)
* 1 Samuel 22:1 "David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. When his brothers and his father's household heard about it, they went down to him there."
* "the cave of Adullam" -David had no safe place to live. Adullam means sealed off place and was a city five miles (8km) south of Beth-shemesh in Judah, probably modern Tell esh-Sheikh Madkur. (Holman Bible Dictionary)
* "his brothers and his father's household" -His parents had no place to live in safety. They must have heard of what happened in Nob, where Saul took the actions of one man as a punishment of death for his whole family. Sometimes in our service to God when the enemy attacks us he also attacks those we love too.
* Saul was always a threat to him and those with him.
* Saul was about 20 miles (32 km) away.
* The large group that slowly gathered around David could have been easily exposed. God's protection is amazing.
* Saul eventually must have heard of the type of people with David and in selfish righteousness used it as proof that David was not blessed of God.
>Describe the motley crew of men who came to him there.
* 1 Samuel 22:2 "All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their leader. About four hundred men were with him."
* "in distress" -Perhaps due to wars, famine, and Saul's actions.
* "in debt" -Every Israelites had an inheritance. However, if things went bad they could sell their inheritance to pay debts. After seven years they obtained their land again.
* "discontented" -Probably with Saul and/or the elders reign and decisions.
* "he became their leader" -The Lord had blessed David as the next leader in Israel, and thus had given him gifts for that service. David was now in a position to exercise the gifts God had given him. Today all believers have the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Yet it is up to use to exercise the gifts God has given us. Romans 12:6-8 states, "We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.'"
* "four hundred men" -Not that men were the only people with him, rather in those days only the men of fighting age was counted. Numbers 1:3 states, "You and Aaron are to number by their divisions all the men in Israel twenty years old or more who are able to serve in the army."
* A godly man can influence a motley crew to become mighty men because the Lord is with him. Jesus' disciples were also a motley crew; tax collectors, fishermen, and men of no high social standing. The first church consisted of many similar people.
>How did he show himself to be a shepherd of his people despite his situation? (3-5)
* 1 Samuel 22:3-5 "From there David went to Mizpah in Moab and said to the king of Moab, "Would you let my father and mother come and stay with you until I learn what God will do for me?" So he left them with the king of Moab, and they stayed with him as long as David was in the stronghold. But the prophet Gad said to David, "Do not stay in the stronghold. Go into the land of Judah." So David left and went to the forest of Hereth."
* "Mizpah in Moab" -David's great-grandmother, Ruth was a Moabitess. (Ruth 4:12, 22) The Mizpah in Moab has not been discovered.
* "until I learn what the Lord will do for me" -David inquired of God as me moved about. (3,5)
* "let my father and mother come and stay" -David looked for a place for his family to live in safety. (4,5) David, unlike many in modern day took care of his parents. When he could not do it because of running for his life, he let them lived with people he could trust.
* "the prophet Gad" -Gad became one of several important prophets in David's life. Here, he advised David as he fled from Saul. Later he brought God's options for punishment after David took a census of Israel (2 Sam. 24:11-14). Gad also brought David God's orders to build an altar, apparently on the site of the future Temple (2 Sam. 24:18-19). The Chronicler pointed his readers to records of David's reign by Gad (1 Chron. 29:29) and of Gadí's assistance in showing David God's plan for Temple worship (2 Chron. 29:25).
* "the forest of Hereth" -Hereth's forests was in the south-western central part of Judah.
* A priest, prophet and king now acted in all three human branches of God's hand and governing in Israel.
>5. In the meantime, what was Saul's preoccupation? (6-8)
* 1 Samuel 22:6-8 "Now Saul heard that David and his men had been discovered. And Saul, spear in hand, was seated under the tamarisk tree on the hill at Gibeah, with all his officials standing around him. Saul said to them, "Listen, men of Benjamin! Will the son of Jesse give all of you fields and vineyards? Will he make all of you commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds? Is that why you have all conspired against me? No one tells me when my son makes a covenant with the son of Jesse. None of you is concerned about me or tells me that my son has incited my servant to lie in wait for me, as he does today."
* "spear in hand" -Saul used a spear as his scepter, a fitting symbol of his type of reign. David's reign was completely opposite. Saul produced fear in those who served him as will the anti-Christs' will reign. David and Jesus, the son of David will reign in love and deserved respect.
* "men of Benjamin" -Saul surrounded himself of men from his tribe. After David, from Judah left Saul surrounded himself with those he could trust and control.
* "the son of Jesse" -Saul hated David so much he could to use David's name.
* "my son" -Saul's hate for David extended to hating Jonathan, his own son. When a man become obsessed in hatred for someone, that hatred grows till it consumes every thought and action. No wonder that Jesus equates hate and jealousy with murder.
>How did Doeg show himself to be an opportunist?
* 1 Samuel 22:9-10 "But Doeg the Edomite, who was standing with Saul's officials, said, "I saw the son of Jesse come to Ahimelech son of Ahitub at Nob. Ahimelech inquired of the Lord for him; he also gave him provisions and the sword of Goliath the Philistine."
* "Edomite" -The Edomites are considered the descendants of Esau, thus a close relative of the Israelites; even a brother. (Amos 1:11-12) Yet, at the time of the Exodus the Edomites refused the Israelites passage through their land. (Num. 20:14-21) Israel and Edom often had boarder wars.
* Many men like Doeg have existed in the Lord's congregations, men who betray and undermine the people of God.
>What must have it been like to be under Saul's reign?
* Saul has little regard for God and his servants.
* Saul bitterness and hatred towards David blinded him.
* Saul let his emotions control him. He eventually lost control of himself. Saul killed innocent men and women much like Herod killed the babies in Bethlehem in a rage to kill Jesus.
* Saul was slowly becoming very evil. He waged war against God and God's people.
* Saul was paranoid.
* Saul at one time was lead by the Holy Spirit, now did evil things. People do change, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. We should watch our hearts so that we do not change for the worse, but continually grow in the image of Christ.
>6. What are all the things that Saul was convinced of?
* 1 Samuel 22:11-13 "Then the king sent for the priest Ahimelech son of Ahitub and his father's whole family, who were the priests at Nob, and they all came to the king. Saul said, "Listen now, son of Ahitub." "Yes, my lord," he answered. Saul said to him, "Why have you conspired against me, you and the son of Jesse, giving him bread and a sword and inquiring of God for him, so that he has rebelled against me and lies in wait for me, as he does today?"
* "you conspired against me" -paranoid
* "he has rebelled against me" -fear
* "and lies in wait for me" -anxiety
>What happened to Ahimelech, his family and his city and why?
* 1 Samuel 22:14-19 "Ahimelech answered the king, "Who of all your servants is as loyal as David, the king's son-in-law, captain of your bodyguard and highly respected in your household? Was that day the first time I inquired of God for him? Of course not! Let not the king accuse your servant or any of his father's family, for your servant knows nothing at all about this whole affair." But the king said, "You will surely die, Ahimelech, you and your father's whole family." Then the king ordered the guards at his side: "Turn and kill the priests of the Lord, because they too have sided with David. They knew he was fleeing, yet they did not tell me." But the king's officials were not willing to raise a hand to strike the priests of the Lord. The king then ordered Doeg, "You turn and strike down the priests." So Doeg the Edomite turned and struck them down. That day he killed eighty-five men who wore the linen ephod. He also put to the sword Nob, the town of the priests, with its men and women, its children and infants, and its cattle, donkeys and sheep."
* "the king's officials were not willing to raise a hand to strike the priests of the Lord" -They had the fear of the Lord more than the fear of Saul.
* "Doeg the Edomite" -He had been in the temple, but did not know the Lord God. Many are in congregations that will turn around if they had the opportunity and for selfish gains will destroy and evil kill God's people. They are the birds in the mustard plant in Jesus' parable.
* "its children and infants" -Evil actions in the name of self gain is growing in this time too.
* The Lord had told Eli, Ahimelech's grandfather that because Eli did not stop his sons sins, "The time is coming when I will cut short your strength and the strength of your father's house, so that there will not be an old man in your family line and you will see distress in my dwelling. Although good will be done to Israel, in your family line there will never be an old man. Every one of you that I do not cut off from my altar will be spared only to blind your eyes with tears and to grieve your heart, and all your descendants will die in the prime of life." (2:31-33)
>Who escaped and who help him?
* 1 Samuel 22:20-23 "But Abiathar, a son of Ahimelech son of Ahitub, escaped and fled to join David. He told David that Saul had killed the priests of the Lord. Then David said to Abiathar: "That day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, I knew he would be sure to tell Saul. I am responsible for the death of your father's whole family. Stay with me; don't be afraid; the man who is seeking your life is seeking mine also. You will be safe with me."<
* "Abiathar" -First mentioned here.
* "I am responsible for the death of your father's whole family" -David knew that if he didn't go to the priest, left right away, and/or waited for Doeg to leave that the priests would still be alive. David is the only person who said that he was guilty.
>What are the differences between David and Saul's leadership and what can we learn from it?
* Saul forced people from his presence when they didn't meet his idea of loyalty and trustworthiness. Saul was a control maniac. If he couldn't control a person to do his evil wills he banished, killed, or try to kill them. Saul used force to get his way. He kept around him only his clan and chased out people from other clans. He promoted his people and family and destroyed everyone else. I knew of a man many years ago who claimed to be a pastor (though he had no degree) who constructed his congregation like Saul; a sad sight indeed. Jesus taught, "But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, 'My master is staying away a long time,' and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matthew 24:48-51) And Jesus taught, "That servant who knows his master's will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows." (Luke 12:47)
* David welcomed all who came to him, no matter the health, wealth, tribe, nation, or social position. David did not judge by outward appearance. He saw all that came to him as God's will. David relied on the Lord and did not judge by man's standards. As the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." (1 Samuel 16:7)
III. David Seeks the Lord, Saul Seeks David (23:1-29)
>When David heard that the Philistines had attacked Keilah, what did he do?
* 1 Samuel 23:1-2 "When David was told, "Look, the Philistines are fighting against Keilah and are looting the threshing floors, he inquired of the Lord, saying, "Shall I go and attack these Philistines?" The Lord answered him, "Go, attack the Philistines and save Keilah."
* "Keilah" -Allotted to the tribe of Judah in the western foothills (Josh. 15:33-44) identified with modern khirbet Qila, about eight miles (10km) north-west of Hebron and eighteen miles (30km) south-west of Jerusalem.
* "he inquired of the Lord" -With a priest who had the ephod. See below for a description of the ephod.
* "go attack" -David's men received their first fighting training as a group.
>What can we learn from him?
* David was not selfish. He was concerned for his neighbors to the point of risking himself and fighting for them. Philippians 2:20-22 states of Timothy, "I have no one else like him, who takes a genuine interest in your welfare. For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ."
* David sought the Lord for all that he did. He prayed often. 1 Thess. 5:17 says, "pray continually."
>8. When his men were afraid to go to the rescue of Keilah, what did David do?
* 1 Samuel 23:3-5 "But David's men said to him, "Here in Judah we are afraid. How much more, then, if we go to Keilah against the Philistine forces!" Once again David inquired of the Lord, and the Lord answered him, "Go down to Keilah, for I am going to give the Philistines into your hand." So David and his men went to Keilah, fought the Philistines and carried off their livestock. He inflicted heavy losses on the Philistines and saved the people of Keilah."
* "we are afraid" -Sometimes God's puts us in situations that we are not comfortable in and can even be afraid. That is when we can bring glory to God and our faith will grow.
* "Once again David inquired of the Lord" -David was a man of prayer. He listened to his men and took their words to the Lord. He didn't force them to submit to his will. He did not yell at them or rebuke them. He is a gentle shepherd like Jesus is. Jesus does not force his people to do anything. Rather he waits for us to submit to this good and righteous will. Jesus promised us, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30)
* "carried off their livestock" -The Lord blessed David's faith.
* "He inflicted heavy losses on the Philistines and saved the people of Keilah" -David had been in a hard place; Saul on one side and the Philistines on the other. He had compassion on God's people and risk himself when he obeyed the Lord. The Lord blessed his faith and compassion. The Philistines feared the God of Israel and God's people raised the Lord's name. Living by faith is not easy, but when God blesses us we can rejoice. Romans 1:17 states, "For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith."
>What can be seen in his conversation with the LORD?
* "and the Lord answered him" -David's prayer was a two way conversation. He went to the Lord with requests and the Lord answered him.
>When David learned that Saul was plotting against him what did he do?
* 1 Samuel 23:7-12 "Saul was told that David had gone to Keilah, and he said, "God has handed him over to me, for David has imprisoned himself by entering a town with gates and bars." And Saul called up all his forces for battle, to go down to Keilah to besiege David and his men. When David learned that Saul was plotting against him, he said to Abiathar the priest, "Bring the ephod." David said, "O Lord, God of Israel, your servant has heard definitely that Saul plans to come to Keilah and destroy the town on account of me. Will the citizens of Keilah surrender me to him? Will Saul come down, as your servant has heard? O Lord, God of Israel, tell your servant." And the Lord said, "He will." Again David asked, "Will the citizens of Keilah surrender me and my men to Saul?" And the Lord said, "They will."
* "God has handed him over to me" -Saul thought that God was on his side; helping him. He had a form of religion which did not include submission to God's laws and will. Many today are that way. (2 Tim. 3:5) I sit here today working on this Bible study to be posted to the web, believing the Lord confirmed in several ways that this is his will for me and the reason I am now unemployed. Yet at times I wonder if I am fooling myself like Saul did. I seek to do what is pleasing to God, preaching the gospel in verbal word and through the internet. Oh, I wait for the day when I will be in the presence of the Lord, he and I in the flesh. What a great day that will be.
* The difference between Saul and David is that Saul assumed that he was right and moved to action. David didn't assume anything and inquired the Lord's will.
>The Lord spoke to David through the priest's ephod. (6)
* 1 Samuel 23:6 "Now Abiathar son of Ahimelech had brought the ephod down with him when he fled to David at Keilah."
* "the ephod" -David's main communication with God was through the ephod work by the high priest. Exodus describes the ephod as an elaborate garment and upon which the Hoshen (breastplate), containing Urim and Thummim rested. The Ephod was woven out of gold, blue, purple, and scarlet threads, was made of fine linen, and was embroidered "with skilful work" in gold thread. The description continues without describing the shape or length of the ephod, except by stating that it was held together by a girdle, and had two shoulder straps which were fastened to the front of the ephod by golden rings, to which the breastplate was attached by golden chains. It appears to have been something like a minimalist apron or a skirt with braces. The Urim and Thummim was put into the sacred breastplate worn by the high priest over the Ephod. Where the Scripture elsewhere describes an Ephod being used for divination, scholars presume that it is referring to use of the Urim and Thummim in conjunction with the Ephod. The ephod in the sketch to the right is yellow.
>How has God enabled us to converse with him in this age? (1 Cor. 6:19-20; Rom. 8:26-27; James 5:13-18)
* 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body."
* Romans 8:26-27 "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will."
* James 5:13-18 "Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops."
>10. As David was forced to be on the move what confession of faith was an encouragement given by Jonathan? (13-18)
* 1 Samuel 23:13-18 "So David and his men, about six hundred in number, left Keilah and kept moving from place to place. When Saul was told that David had escaped from Keilah, he did not go there. David stayed in the desert strongholds and in the hills of the Desert of Ziph. Day after day Saul searched for him, but God did not give David into his hands. While David was at Horesh in the Desert of Ziph, he learned that Saul had come out to take his life. And Saul's son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God. "Don't be afraid," he said. "My father Saul will not lay a hand on you. You will be king over Israel, and I will be second to you. Even my father Saul knows this." The two of them made a covenant before the Lord. Then Jonathan went home, but David remained at Horesh."
* "about six hundred in number" -earlier it was four hundred.
* "kept moving from place to place" -David helped the town and did not want to burden them with a visit from Saul. So he moved around, suffering himself so that others may live well. Jesus also moved around from place to place because everywhere he went his life and the life of those who followed him was always threatened. Jesus said, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head." (Luke 9:58) Men of God cannot always be sure where they will be tomorrow and they are not guaranteed a home to live in.
* "helped him find strength in God" -2 Thessalonians 3:3 states, "But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one." And 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 states, "May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word."
* "You will be king over Israel" -Jonathan was heir apparent, yet he accepted the Lord's will and was willing to step aside.
* "and I will be second to you" -Jonathan did not know his future.
* "Even my father Saul knows this" -Saul knew but did not accept the Lord's will. This is pure rebellion.
>When the Ziphites exposed David's hiding place where was some of the places he went to? (19-25)
* 1 Samuel 23:19-25 "The Ziphites went up to Saul at Gibeah and said, "Is not David hiding among us in the strongholds at Horesh, on the hill of Hakilah, south of Jeshimon? Now, O king, come down whenever it pleases you to do so, and we will be responsible for handing him over to the king." Saul replied, "The Lord bless you for your concern for me. Go and make further preparation. Find out where David usually goes and who has seen him there. They tell me he is very crafty. Find out about all the hiding places he uses and come back to me with definite information. Then I will go with you; if he is in the area, I will track him down among all the clans of Judah." So they set out and went to Ziph ahead of Saul. Now David and his men were in the Desert of Maon, in the Arabah south of Jeshimon. Saul and his men began the search, and when David was told about it, he went down to the rock and stayed in the Desert of Maon. When Saul heard this, he went into the Desert of Maon in pursuit of David."
* "Ziphites" -Ziph was a town in the Judean hill country (Josh. 15:24), likely Tell-Zif about three miles south-east of Hebron. Mereshah likely founded the town (1 Chron. 2:42). (Holman Bible Dictionary)
* David is running out of places to hide. Perhaps this is when he wrote, "Even Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me." (Psalm 23)
>What happened that saved David?
* 1 Samuel 23:26-29 "Saul was going along one side of the mountain, and David and his men were on the other side, hurrying to get away from Saul. As Saul and his forces were closing in on David and his men to capture them, a messenger came to Saul, saying, "Come quickly! The Philistines are raiding the land." Then Saul broke off his pursuit of David and went to meet the Philistines. That is why they call this place Sela Hammahlekoth. And David went up from there and lived in the strongholds of En Gedi."
* Just when David was about to be captured, the Lord came to his rescue. Wait on the Lord to deliver; that is a wise course. Even though all seems lost, the Lord's waits until the last moment to save. Do not waver and he will rescue; so that me and others may praise his rescue. He will rescue me. He will deliver me. He will always be with me. Have faith. Strengthen your feeble knees, so that they shake no more. Trust him and sleep in the front of the boat; during a raging storm, rocked by the waves. I do not have cry out, "Don't you care that we will drown."
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