1 Samuel Chapter 29

In the previous chapter, the Philistines gathered together to go to war against the Israelites. Saul, in his fear, desired to know what to do, but God was slow to answer him, so he turned to the help of a witch. She foretold his death, the death of his son, and the Israelite defeat in battle against the Philistines. This chapter begins as follows:

1 Now the Philistines gathered together all their armies to Aphek: and the Israelites pitched by a fountain which is in Jezreel.
2 And the lords of the Philistines passed on by hundreds, and by thousands: but David and his men passed on in the rearward with Achish.
3 Then said the princes of the Philistines, What do these Hebrews here? And Achish said unto the princes of the Philistines, Is not this David, the servant of Saul the king of Israel, which hath been with me these days, or these years, and I have found no fault in him since he fell unto me unto this day?
4 And the princes of the Philistines were wroth with him; and the princes of the Philistines said unto him, Make this fellow return, that he may go again to his place which thou hast appointed him, and let him not go down with us to battle, lest in the battle he be an adversary to us: for wherewith should he reconcile himself unto his master? should it not be with the heads of these men?
5 Is not this David, of whom they sang one to another in dances, saying, Saul slew his thousands, and David his ten thousands?

David had become the captain of the guard to Achish, who was the king of Gath. He was gathered with the Philistines, and was in the rear of the host with Achish. As they traveled, the princes of the Philistines questioned why David was among their troops, but Achish spoke for David saying that David had been a good servant to him. The princes were angry and they were worried that David would turn against them in battle. They wanted David to be sent back to his home, just in case he would join with Saul and defeat them. They had heard of David’s strength in battle.

6 Then Achish called David, and said unto him, Surely, as the Lord liveth, thou hast been upright, and thy going out and thy coming in with me in the host is good in my sight: for I have not found evil in thee since the day of thy coming unto me unto this day: nevertheless the lords favour thee not.
7 Wherefore now return, and go in peace, that thou displease not the lords of the Philistines.

Achish told David that he felt that he had been a good and loyal servant to him, but that the princes of the Philistines did not favor him. He told David to go in peace, rather then make the princes displeased.

8 And David said unto Achish, But what have I done? and what hast thou found in thy servant so long as I have been with thee unto this day, that I may not go fight against the enemies of my lord the king?
9 And Achish answered and said to David, I know that thou art good in my sight, as an angel of God: notwithstanding the princes of the Philistines have said, He shall not go up with us to the battle.
10 Wherefore now rise up early in the morning with thy master’s servants that are come with thee: and as soon as ye be up early in the morning, and have light, depart.
11 So David and his men rose up early to depart in the morning, to return into the land of the Philistines. And the Philistines went up to Jezreel.

David asked what he had done, considering he had been loyal. He wanted to fight for his lord, Achish. Achish told him that he knew he had been good to him, and it sounds like he was saying that he trusted David, but they princes had told him that David was to be sent away. Achish told him to leave first thing in the morning, so that is what David did, while the Philistines went to Jezreel.

It was good for David to show that he would have been loyal to the Philistines, who had allowed him to live among them during a time when his life was threatened by Saul. I wonder if the Lord had allowed feelings of unease to effect the princes, so that David would not be blamed later, for an Israelite defeat. With this choice to send him away, David was not questioned in his loyalty to Achish, and he would not be held accountable for fighting against Israelites either. This would probably work out for his good in the future. Sometimes things in our lives do not go as we expect them to, but if we are doing what is right, the Lord will allow all things to be for our good. Just like the Lord told the prophet Joseph Smith, during a difficult time in his life, “if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good (see Doctrine and Covenants 122:7).” I am grateful to know this principle when I deal with my own daily life, difficulties and trials, because it can be a source of great comfort and strength to know that something good can come from all of it in the end.

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