David spares Saul’s life (again). UPDATED.
VERSE 1. The Ziphites came to Saul to Gibeah, saying, “Doesn’t David hide himself in the hill of Hachilah, which is before the desert?”
The Ziphites. The Ziphites snitch on David.
VERSE 2. Then Saul arose, and went down to the wilderness of Ziph, having three thousand chosen men of Israel with him, to seek David in the wilderness of Ziph.
three thousand chosen men. This is excessive. It demonstrates Saul’s paranoia.
This is the second time Saul, in his paranoia, called upon a giant army to hunt for David. The first time was back in chapter 24:
1 Samuel 24:2. Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel, and went to seek David and his men on the rocks of the wild goats.
VERSE 3. Saul encamped in the hill of Hachilah, which is before the desert, by the way. But David stayed in the wilderness, and he saw that Saul came after him into the wilderness.
VERSE 4. David therefore sent out spies, and understood that Saul had certainly come.
VERSE 5. Then David arose, and came to the place where Saul had encamped; and David saw the place where Saul lay, with Abner the son of Ner, the captain of his army. Saul lay within the place of the wagons, and the people were encamped around him.
the people were encamped around him. Saul used the people of his army as human shields.
VERSE 6. Then David answered and said to Ahimelech the Hittite, and to Abishai the son of Zeruiah, brother of Joab, saying, “Who will go down with me to Saul to the camp?” Abishai said, “I will go down with you.”
Who will go down with me to Saul to the camp? David needed to wait for someone to say “yes” to his plan.
Similarly, in our day, God probably waits for us to say “yes” to his plan. Will you say “yes” to God’s plan for your life?
VERSE 7. So David and Abishai came to the people by night: and, behold, Saul lay sleeping within the place of the wagons, with his spear stuck in the ground at his head; and Abner and the people lay around him.
VERSE 8. Then Abishai said to David, “God has delivered up your enemy into your hand today. Now therefore please let me strike him with the spear to the earth at one stroke, and I will not strike him the second time.”
VERSE 9. David said to Abishai, “Don’t destroy him; for who can stretch out his hand against the LORD’s anointed, and be guiltless?”
Don’t destroy him. Saul was an evil person. And an evil king. He propagated evil. He needed to be taken down. Yet David restrained himself (and his mighty warriors) against Saul.
David’s restraint is wrong. And as far as we can tell, it is not biblically based. It merely stems from David’s own personal piety.
In our day, some church leaders act like Saul. They do not restrain the evil of priests who sexually abuse children. Instead, they conceal it.
These evils must be exposed and conquered. They are sins that cry out to heaven.
Yet many Christians restrain themselves against corrupt church leaders.
VERSE 10. David said, “As the LORD lives, the LORD will strike him; or his day shall come to die; or he shall go down into battle and perish.
VERSE 11. The LORD forbid that I should stretch out my hand against the LORD’s anointed; but now please take the spear that is at his head, and the jar of water, and let’s go.”
VERSE 12. So David took the spear and the jar of water from Saul’s head; and they went away: and no man saw it, or knew it, nor did any awake; for they were all asleep, because a deep sleep from the LORD had fallen on them.
a deep sleep from the LORD was fallen on them. In the fifth room of The Interior Castle, Teresa of Avila says one’s prayer is like “sleep.”
The body is stationary, but the soul is suspended. Time ceases, for the soul. It is an extraordinary experience. Read more »
VERSE 13. Then David went over to the other side, and stood on the top of the mountain afar off; a great space being between them;
VERSE 14. and David cried to the people, and to Abner the son of Ner, saying, “Don’t you answer, Abner?” Then Abner answered, “Who are you who cries to the king?”
VERSE 15. David said to Abner, “Aren’t you a man? Who is like you in Israel? Why then have you not kept watch over your lord, the king? For one of the people came in to destroy the king your lord.
VERSE 16. This thing isn’t good that you have done. As the LORD lives, you are worthy to die, because you have not kept watch over your lord, the LORD’s anointed. Now see where the king’s spear is, and the jar of water that was at his head.”
VERSE 17. Saul knew David’s voice, and said, “Is this your voice, my son David?” David said, “It is my voice, my lord, O king.”
VERSE 18. He said, “Why does my lord pursue his servant? For what have I done? What evil is in my hand?
VERSE 19. Now therefore, please let my lord the king hear the words of his servant. If it is so that the LORD has stirred you up against me, let him accept an offering. But if it is the children of men, they are cursed before the LORD; for they have driven me out today that I shouldn’t cling to the LORD’s inheritance, saying, ‘Go, serve other gods!’
VERSE 20. Now therefore, don’t let my blood fall to the earth away from the presence of the LORD; for the king of Israel has come out to seek a flea, as when one hunts a partridge in the mountains.”
VERSE 21. Then Saul said, “I have sinned. Return, my son David; for I will no more do you harm, because my life was precious in your eyes today. Behold, I have played the fool, and have erred exceedingly.”
Return, my son David. Saul offers this olive branch. But David does not accept it.
David knows by bitter experience how fickle and untrustworthy Saul really is. Saul cannot be trusted, no matter what.
VERSE 22. David answered, “Behold the spear, O king! Then let one of the young men come over and get it.
VERSE 23. The LORD will render to every man his righteousness and his faithfulness; because the LORD delivered you into my hand today, and I wouldn’t stretch out my hand against the LORD’s anointed.
VERSE 24. Behold, as your life was respected today in my eyes, so let my life be respected in the LORD’s eyes, and let him deliver me out of all oppression.”
VERSE 25. Then Saul said to David, “You are blessed, my son David. You will both do mightily, and will surely prevail.” So David went his way, and Saul returned to his place.
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.