1 Samuel 24:1-22 … DAVID SPARES SAUL’S LIFE AND SWEARS TO SPARE HIS DESCENDANTS.
Q.1. Where was David hiding? Why did he stop his men from killing Saul? What bothered his conscience? What appeal and prayer did he present to the king? – (1 Sam.24:1-12) =
Q.2. What did David mean by his proverb? On whom did David rely for safety? What admission did Saul make to David? What did David promise the king? – (1 Sam.24:13-22) =
David Spares Saul’s Life
24 [a] When Saul returned from following the Philistines, he was told, “Behold, David is in the wilderness of Engedi.” 2 Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel and went to seek David and his men in front of the Wildgoats’ Rocks. 3 And he came to the sheepfolds by the way, where there was a cave, and Saul went in to relieve himself.[b]Now David and his men were sitting in the innermost parts of the cave.4 And the men of David said to him, “Here is the day of which the Lordsaid to you, ‘Behold, I will give your enemy into your hand, and you shall do to him as it shall seem good to you.’” Then David arose and stealthily cut off a corner of Saul’s robe. 5 And afterward David’s heart struck him, because he had cut off a corner of Saul’s robe. 6 He said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my lord, the Lord‘s anointed, to put out my hand against him, seeing he is the Lord‘s anointed.” 7 So David persuaded his men with these words and did not permit them to attack Saul. And Saul rose up and left the cave and went on his way.
8 Afterward David also arose and went out of the cave, and called after Saul, “My lord the king!” And when Saul looked behind him, David bowed with his face to the earth and paid homage. 9 And David said to Saul, “Why do you listen to the words of men who say, ‘Behold, David seeks your harm’? 10 Behold, this day your eyes have seen how the Lordgave you today into my hand in the cave. And some told me to kill you, but I spared you.[c] I said, ‘I will not put out my hand against my lord, for he is the Lord‘s anointed.’ 11 See, my father, see the corner of your robe in my hand. For by the fact that I cut off the corner of your robe and did not kill you, you may know and see that there is no wrong or treason in my hands. I have not sinned against you, though you hunt my life to take it. 12 May the Lord judge between me and you, may the Lord avenge me against you, but my hand shall not be against you.13 As the proverb of the ancients says, ‘Out of the wicked comes wickedness.’ But my hand shall not be against you. 14 After whom has the king of Israel come out? After whom do you pursue? After a dead dog! After a flea! 15 May the Lord therefore be judge and give sentence between me and you, and see to it and plead my cause and deliver me from your hand.”
16 As soon as David had finished speaking these words to Saul, Saul said, “Is this your voice, my son David?” And Saul lifted up his voice and wept. 17 He said to David, “You are more righteous than I, for you have repaid me good, whereas I have repaid you evil. 18 And you have declared this day how you have dealt well with me, in that you did not kill me when the Lord put me into your hands. 19 For if a man finds his enemy, will he let him go away safe? So may the Lord reward you with good for what you have done to me this day. 20 And now, behold, I know that you shall surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in your hand. 21 Swear to me therefore by the Lord that you will not cut off my offspring after me, and that you will not destroy my name out of my father’s house.” 22 And David swore this to Saul. Then Saul went home, but David and his men went up to the stronghold.
Q.1. Where was David hiding? Why did he stop his men from killing Saul? What bothered his conscience? What appeal and prayer did he present to the king? – (1 Sam.24:1-12) = After David had escaped from Saul, and survived the treachery of his countrymen, Saul was told – David is in the wilderness of Engedi (1 Sam.24:1). He took three thousand of his troops to ferret David out of hiding (1 Sam.24:2). At one stage, Saul went into a cave to relive himself … the very cave occupied by David and his men (1 Sam.24:3). Perhaps Saul was known to be deaf, or it was a stormy day, so his men told David – ‘Behold, this is the day of which the Lord said to you, ‘Behold; I am about to give your enemy into your hand, and you shall do to him as it seems good to you.’ Then David arose and cut off the edge of Saul’s robe secretly (1 Sam.24:4). David responded to his men – ‘Far be it from me because of the Lord that I should do this thing to my lord, the Lord’s anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, since he is the Lord’s anointed.’ 7 David persuaded his men with these words and did not allow them to rise up against Saul (1 Sam.24:6-7). However, his conscience bothered him over his lack of respect for the king (1 Sam.24:5). David then followed Saul, called to him, and bowed before him. He asked why Saul believed he was out to harm him, and informed the king – Behold, this day your eyes have seen that the Lord had given you today into my hand in the cave, and some said to kill you, but my eye had pity on you; and I said, ‘I will not stretch out my hand against my lord, for he is the Lord’s anointed.’ (1 Sam.24:10). He showed him the edge of his robe to prove his claim and declared – May the Lord judge between you and me, and may the Lord avenge me on you, but my hand shall not be against you (1 Sam.24:12). David understood that vengeance is God’s prerogative alone (c.f. Rom.12:19-21).
Q.2. What did David mean by his proverb? On whom did David rely for safety? What admission did Saul make to David? What did David promise the king? – (1 Sam.24:13-22) = The proverb David quoted was based on the observation that – out of the wicked comes wickedness (1 Sam.24:13). However, David resolved not to act that way, but rather to trust in God, and told Saul – The Lord therefore be judge and decide between you and me; and may He see and plead my cause and deliver me from your hand (1 Sam.24:15). Saul admitted to David – You are more righteous than I; for you have dealt well with me, while I have dealt wickedly with you (1 Sam.24:17). He acknowledged – May the Lord therefore reward you with good in return for what you have done to me this day. 20 Now, behold, I know that you will surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel will be established in your hand (1 Sam.24:19-20). He asked David to promise not to destroy his descendants, or his name (1 Sam.24:21). David agreed to Saul’s request and swore to spare Saul’s posterity. Nevertheless, in spite of all David’s kind words, Saul wouldn’t stop trying to kill David. David showed Saul that he had nothing to fear from him, and that he would wait for God’s timing, before ascending the throne of Israel. David’s gracious action to the king also revealed Saul’s stupidity in trying to eliminate him, since he was no threat to Saul. It would also establish for Saul’s army, and his own men, a brand new basis for running the kingdom, when eventually he would ascend to the throne. David acted wisely and righteously.
(Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)
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