1 Samuel 26
-At this time the Ziphites returned to Saul and convinced him to go and seek David out again because he was hiding in the hill of Hachilah, which is before Jeshimon (or the desert). So Saul arose with 3,000 chosen men of Israel and went down to the wilderness of Ziph to search for David once again with the intention of killing him. His party camped in the hill of Hachilah beside the road, fully exposed to David and his group of men. Therefore, they quickly knew he was coming after them as they hid in the wilderness. David sent out some spies, and soon he, himself, came to the place where Saul had camped. He observed Saul laying down and Abner, Saul’s army commander, with all the men of war camped around their king. David astutely convinced one of his men, Abishai, who was the son of Zeruiah and Joab’s brother, to go down with him to Saul in the camp. So David and Abishai came to the people of this camp by night. A sound sleep from the LORD had fallen on these weary men, thereby allowing David and his companion to go straightway to the king. Abishai declared to David in amazement, “Today God has delivered your enemy into your hand; now therefore, please let me strike him with the spear to the ground with one stroke, and I will not strike him a second time.” But David had other intentions, “Do not destroy him, for who can stretch out his hand against the LORD’s anointed and be without guilt?” David then confessed his faith in the Almighty to handle every situation, “As the LORD lives, surely the LORD will strike him, or his day will come that he dies, or he will go down in battle and perish.” This last one was actually what happened (1 Samuel 31). David was assured of God’s promises unto him and rested in that with no animosity or revenge on his mind. What fear of God! What trust! What character! He then continued, “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 jug of water, and let us go.” He wanted to make a point to his enemy, and this was the perfect opportunity. They went away without a single person seeing them or knowing about what they had done (1 Samuel 26:1-12). It was like the sci-fi freeze ray or something. Truly a miracle. And truly David had shown kindness to his enemy.
-David crossed to the other side and stood on top of the mountain at a safe distance now with a large gap of space between them. He then called to the people, especially singling out Abner, rebuking him for not taking better care of the LORD’s anointed ruler of His people as they had every opportunity to kill him. He asked them to note the loss of Saul’s spear and water jug for a proof that they had easily trespassed on their camp, but with no ill intent. Saul, by now, recognized the voice of his nemesis and son-in-law. David verified that it was his voice, which by now was presumably obvious. Then he once again defended his innocent lot, “Why then is my lord pursuing his servant? For what have I done? Or what evil is in my hand?” He went on, “Now therefore, please let my lord the king listen to the words of his servant. If the LORD has stirred you up against me, let Him accept an offering; but if it is men, cursed are they before the LORD, for they have driven me out today so that I would have no attachment with the inheritance of the LORD, saying, ‘Go, serve other gods.’ Now then, do not let my blood fall to the ground away from the presence of the LORD; for the king of Israel has come out to search for a single flea, just as one hunts a partridge in the mountains.” Saul once again realized his mistake, and that David sincerely meant neither him nor his kingdom any harm. He admitted his sin and told David to return with the guarantee that he would not harm him again since his own life was precious in David’s sight that day (or really night). Saul went on to confess that he had “played the fool” and had “committed a serious error.” On David’s part, he invited Saul’s young men to come and take back the king’s spear, which may have been the very one hurled at him a couple of times (1 Samuel 18:11; 19:9-10). The summation of this whole scene is worth noting in the text as it was David and Saul’s last known interchange. “The LORD will repay each man for his righteousness and his faithfulness; for the LORD delivered you into my hand today, but I refused to stretch out my hand against the LORD'S anointed. Now behold, as your life was highly valued in my sight this day, so may my life be highly valued in the sight of the LORD, and may He deliver me from all distress.” Then Saul replied to David, "Blessed are you, my son David; you will both accomplish much and surely prevail." So David went righteously on his way, and Saul returned humbled to his place (1 Samuel 26:13-25).
-*Application* Our testimony to God’s goodness and grace are important to think about after observing this Scripture passage. We are to fear God like David, trust Him, and display the kind of character to respond in every situation with resolve. Are we passing the test of demonstrating forgiveness to those who have wronged us and pursued us with a vehement hatred? When Christ came, He had some strong words on this exact subject as He was teaching His disciples (and us) to pray (Matthew 6:12-15). When we choose forgiveness and extend it others, God will take care of our life situations and deliver us too with miracles and favor. We can count on that.
Verses to Memorize: 1 Samuel 26:10-11, 19, 23-25