Acts 13:22-23 says, “After removing [King Saul], He raised up David to be their king. He also testified about him and said, ‘I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man after My heart, who will do My will.’ From this man’s seed, in keeping with His promise God brought to Israel a Savior – Yeshua.”[1]

[Read 1 Sam. 21 – 22:5]

The basic outline of the passage is as follows:

  1. David leaves Jonathan and goes to the priests in Nob (21:1-10)
  2. David leaves Nob and flees to Gath. (21:11-16)
  3. David leaves Gath and flees to cave of Adullam. (22:1-2)
  4. David leaves Adullam and flees to Mizpah of Moab (22:3-4)
  5. David leaves Moab and flees to Hereth in Judah (22:5)
  6. Saul slaughters the priests of Nob (22:6-19)
  7. Abiathar flees Saul and goes to David (22:20-23)

David’s initial flight from Saul is bracketed by the Priests from Nob. We see that Ahimelech Gives David both bread and a sword. Now isn’t it interesting that David deliberately misleads the priest? Some have even suggested that the “king” that David referred to was the L-rd. In addition, the priest breaks the commandment in order to grant David’s request. We will discuss in more detail this later.

After receiving the bare essentials for his flight, David makes his way to Gath. After narrowly escaping there, he goes on to Adullam, Moab, and then back to Hereth. These verses, of course only briefly cover what actually took some time. In terms of where David was emotionally, and how he matured during this time of exile, we shall be looking at several of the psalms:

  • Psalm 56 was written when the Philistines had initially seized him. This is a prayer for when we find ourselves in trouble.
    • We see that David is honest with Adonai about his predicament. (vs. 1-3)
    • And then he reminds himself to trust Adonai and not fear (vs. 4-5)
    • Again David brings the specific accusations (vs. 6-7)
    • And again David is reminded that Adonai sees all and remembers all (vs. 8-10)
    • David finishes off by praising Adonai and remembering the covenant he has with Adonai. (vs. 11-14)
  • 34 was written after he had escaped from Gath:
    • This entire Psalm praises and exalts Adonai.
    • When Adonai answers our prayers, we must remember to thank Him!
  • 142 was written in the cave, and is an honest cry for help.
    • Sometimes, when we are surrounded by darkness, all we can do is lay ourselves down before Adonai and cry out to him.
    • All we can do is look toward the ultimate fulfilment of what Adonai has promised, especially when we cannot see the way.
  • 57 was also written in the cave and shows where David put his trust.
    • David fully puts his trust in Adonai (vs. 1-4 )
    • But he is not unaware of the danger (vs. 5 & 7)
    • Notice that vs 6 & vs 12 are like the chorus?
    • The rest of the psalm is like the first stanza, full of praise and trust in Adonai.

Now going back to the Priests from Nod, Yeshua refers to this story of David. The Expositor’s Commentary asks concerning this event, “Since priestly perquisites were for priests and their families only, how could Ahimelech in good conscience give the consecrated bread to David and his men, who were not priests? [2] Yeshua answers this by basically saying that “human need takes priority over ceremonial law.”[3]

Let’s read the passage in [Matt. 12:1-14]. David Stern mentions several points about this portion of Scripture. Firstly, the primary issue behind this “seemingly minor matter” is not over what the Torah actually permitted on Shabbat, but “whether the Pharisaic tradition – which evolved into what rabbinic Judaism calls the Oral Torah, later committed to writing in the Mishna, Gemara and other works – is God’s revelation to man and binding on all Jews.”[4] Secondly, Stern mentions that the statement, “How much more,” indicates a “form of argument known in rabbinic literature as kal v’chomer (“light and heavy”), corresponding to what philosophers call a fortiori reasoning: If A is true, then … with even greater strength, B must be also true.”[5] This hermeneutical precept was a well-known thought form in Yeshua’s day, and is used twenty-one times throughout the New Covenant.

Using this argument style, Yeshua makes reference to David, the priests and the Temple, and then states, “But a greater than the Temple is here. Here Yeshua is declaring that He, the Son of Man and Lord of Shabbat, is greater than David, the priests and the Temple. Yeshua explicitly states this again in [Matt.22:41 -46] when He quotes (Ps. 110:1), but this should already have been known by studying the covenant Adonai had made with David (2 Sam. 7). Later in Matt. 12:38-42, Yeshua makes similar comparisons to the preaching of the prophet Jonah and the wisdom of Solomon, saying that a “greater than Jonah,” or a “greater than Solomon” is here!

Unfortunately it did not end well for the priest of Nod, since Saul had Doeg kill them all, and then allowed him to butcher the entire town. Interestingly enough, this actually was a fulfilment of what Adonai had told to Eli, because of the wickedness of his two sons (1 Sam. 2:37-36), and even Abiathar was eventually removed from being the priest in 1 Kings 2:26-27. (read Psalm 52 for David’s feeling toward Doeg the Edomite) Isn’t it interesting that Saul was willing to wipe out the entire town of the priests in his rebellion against Adonai, when he was not willing to wipe out the Amalakites (1 Sam. 15) in obedience to Adonai? Adonai will be glorified either through our worship of Him, or through our destruction.

How can we apply David’s flight from Saul to our lives?

  • Through the midst of our trials, we need to remember to take our petitions to Adonai.
  • In the midst of hardship we must recognize that Adonai sees and remembers.
  • Our trust must be in Adonai, even when we are surrounded by darkness.
  • Let us never forget, that a greater than David has come, and will come again!

Let’s close with these two Scriptures:

Phil. 2:6-11 “Who, though existing in the form of God, did not consider being equal to God a thing to be grasped. But He emptied Himself— taking on the form of a slave, becoming the likeness of men and being found in appearance as a man. He humbled Himself— becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason God highly exalted Him and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Yeshua every knee should bow, in heaven and on the earth and under the earth, and every tongue profess that Yeshua the Messiah is Lord—to the glory of God the Father.

Col. 2:6-10 “Therefore as you received Messiah Yeshua as Lord, so continue to walk in Him— rooted and built up in Him and established in your faith just as you were taught, overflowing with thankfulness. See that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men and the basic principles of the world rather than Messiah. For all the fullness of Deity lives bodily in Him, and in Him you have been filled to fullness. He is the head over every ruler and authority.”

[1]Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are taken from the Tree Of Life Version (TLV), 2014.

[2] Frank E. Gaebelein, 1 Samuel. (12 Vols.; The EBC; Zondervan: Grand Rapids MI, 1992), 3:728.

[3] F. F. Bruce, The Hard Sayings of Jesus (Downers Grove, InterVarsity, 1983), 33.

[4] David H. Stern, Jewish New Testament Commentary (Clarksville MA, Jewish New Testament, 1989), 44.

[5] Stern, JNTC, 32.