1 Samuel Chapter 24

King Saul was jealous of David and the love that the people had for him. Saul wanted to kill David and had spent a lot of time, energy and effort, in hunting for him. Time and time again, David had managed to escape from Saul. In the last chapter, the invasion of their common enemy, the Philistines, had stopped Saul from pursuing a fight with David and his men. Their attentions turned to protecting Israel from the Philistines. This chapter begins:

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 of En-gedi.
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.
3 And he came to the sheepcotes by the way, where was a cave; and Saul went in to cover his feet: and David and his men remained in the sides of the cave.
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. Then David arose, and cut off the skirt of Saul’s robe privily.
5 And it came to pass afterward, that David’s heart smote him, because he had cut off Saul’s skirt.
6 And he 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 his servants with these words, and suffered them not to rise against Saul. But Saul rose up out of the cave, and went on his way.
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.

After fighting the Philistines, Saul learned that David was in the wilderness of En-gedi. He returned to his personal mission to find and kill David. Saul and 3,000 of his men went searching for him. Saul found a sheepfold or a cave, where he could rest, which happened to be where David and his men were. Saul did not know that they were there. David’s men told him that the Lord had delivered Saul into his hands. David went and secretly cut the skirt-hem of Saul’s robe, which “smote” David’s own heart. I think he may have felt hurt in his heart for doing something against Saul. According to the footnote, this was the portion of his robe that represented his authority. So, in effect, David would have been symbolically removing his authority as king, which is what he would eventually do. I think it is possible, that for a man of pride, such as Saul, having his authority threatened would have been harder to face than David threatening his life.

While Saul continued to sleep, David returned to his men and told them that the Lord did not want him to kill Saul, because he had been anointed king and master by the Lord. David convinced his men to let Saul go, which they did. Saul was unaware of what had happened. David followed after him, and honored him as his king.

I think that David knew the Lord well enough to know that the Lord would remove Saul in His own time. Until the Lord did so, Saul was still the anointed leader of Israel. Sometimes we are given promises from the Lord, but we cannot rush His plan. We should not take it upon ourselves to force something to happen, just because it has been promised to us. Rather, we should be patient with the Lord’s timing and everything will work out for our good. David was wise and knew he could trust that the Lord would do things the right way. It is possible, that this was a test given to David, to see if he would follow the direction of the Lord, or follow the natural feelings of men, which would have been to take this seemingly perfect opportunity to kill Saul.

9 And David said to Saul, Wherefore hearest thou men’s words, saying, Behold, David seeketh thy hurt?
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.
11 Moreover, my father, see, yea, see the skirt of thy robe in my hand: for in that I cut off the skirt 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.
12 The Lord judge between me and thee, and the Lord avenge me of thee: but mine hand shall not be upon thee.
13 As saith the proverb of the ancients, Wickedness proceedeth from the wicked: but mine hand shall not be upon thee.
14 After whom is the king of Israel come out? after whom dost thou pursue? after a dead dog, after a flea.
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.

David told Saul, that the Lord had delivered him into his hands and some had told him to kill him, but he had spared his life because he was his anointed master. Then, he pointed out the cut of skirt, which David held in his hand, and which showed how he could have killed him while he was resting. David told him that he had no desire to hurt him, even though Saul wanted to kill him. David said that the Lord would judge between their choices and the Lord would avenge him, but David would not be the one to kill Saul. David trusted that the Lord would deliver him from Saul.

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 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.

Saul recognized the voice of David and cried. He admitted that David was more righteous then he was, because he had desired to do evil against him, when David would not do evil against him. David was showing forgiveness to Saul for his hatred towards him, and desire to hurt and kill him. There may be times in our lives, when others will hate or despise us. There may be no fault in us for something we are blamed for, just as it was for David. When someone chooses to become our enemy, we do not have to follow the ways of the natural man, which would be to go on the offensive. We can choose to have a forgiving heart and instead respect and love all people, friend or foe.

Saul knew that David had spared his life, when he had every reason and the ability to kill him. Saul knew that because of his goodness, David would one day be king. He asked David to swear that he would not cut off Saul’s seed or destroy his name, after Saul was no longer king. David agreed. Saul left and returned to his home, while David went into the strongholds of En-gedi.

We can learn from wise David, the great importance of trusting in God. The Lord loves us. He wants to bless us with many things. He will make promises with us, if we are willing to do what he has asked of us. If we can live our lives faithfully, even when we are tested and tried, he will fulfill the promises he makes to us. The Lord knows what is best for us and for all men. He will fulfill those promises when it is the right time.

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I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.
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