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] Also we need to remember the words of Yeshua in Luke 6:27-30, “But I say to you who are listening: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for the ones who mistreat you. To the one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also. And from the one who takes your cloak, do not hold back your shirt. Give to every one who asks you; and whoever takes something of yours, make no demands upon him.”

[Read 1 Sam. 24]

The next three chapters are a literary unit. Both Chapters 24 and 26 talk of Adonai delivering Saul into David’s hand, and then Chapter 25 is sandwiched in the middle. In the story of Nabal and Abigail, we will even see that Nabal is almost like Saul’s alter ego.

  1. David spares Saul. (24:1-7)
  2. David’s defence. (24:8-15)
  3. David swears to spare Saul’s descendants. (24:16-22)

We start right where we left off, in Ein-gedi. Has anyone been there? It’s a beautiful oasis surrounded by rocky wilderness down near the Dead Sea. King Saul has put together a special contingent to go after David and has ensured that it is five times the number of David and his men. This contingent is made up of especially skilled, courageous warriors.

While searching the area, Saul tried to get some privacy to “cover his feet,” but the cave he picked happened to be exactly where David and his 600 men were holed up. Note what verse 4 states? David’s men said, “This is the day you prophesied about.” So of course we have to read [Psalm 57] and understand that this was written while hiding, but before Saul entered the cave. From this prophetic Psalm, we see that David take his refuge in Adonai, not in the cave. Particularly he has found rest in “the shadow of [His] wings.” (Ps. 57:2)

David refuses to kill Saul, but look at what he does. He cuts the corner of Saul’s robe. To gain a full understanding, let’s go back to [1 Sam 15:26-29]. One commentary says this, “In cutting off the corner of Saul’s robe, David may have been symbolically depriving Saul of his royal authority and transferring it to himself. At the very least, parallels from cuneiform texts found at Mari and Alalakh “may imply that David’s act in cutting off the ‘wing’ or hem of Saul’s garment was an act of rebellion for which he was later repentant.[2]” A man’s robe seems to symbolize his power and authority, so when Saul tore the garment of Samuel, Samuel declared that it was a prophetic act. This showed that the kingdom would be torn away from Saul and given to “your neighbour who is better than you.” (15:28) This being said, David would have been unaware of Samuel’s prophesy over Saul. Saul, however, fully understood the significance as we will see in Vs. 20. For more study see the prophetic demonstration done for Jeroboam in 1 Kings 11:29-32.

David respected the position that Saul had as “Adonai’s anointed” even though Saul’s actions had lost his respect. Maybe David did not want to set a precedent for his own reign, but more likely (as we will see in chapters 25 & 26) David wanted to leave vengeance in Adonai’s hand.

David’s brief defence (apologia) starts in vs. 8. From the verb “called out” we can infer that David waited until Saul was some distance from the cave before speaking. When we say that David was a good speaker, I want you so see and hear just how well he spoke. As we read through his defence, notice the words “see/eye” and “hear/speak” and “hand.” [Read 24:9-15] “Unlike those who spread false rumours about his murderous plans, David refuses to listen to all who would incite him to vengeance against Saul.[3]” Remember how Psalm 54 talks about the Ziphites stirring up Saul against David? We will actually see it later in Chapter 26. We also see David calling Saul “my Father.” This was not just a title, but was a reminder that David was indeed Saul’s son-in-law. This status as son-in-law, Saul “corrects” in the next chapter. In verses 12 & 15 we see almost the same thought repeated. “May Adonai judge between me and you.” In vs. 15, the word for “decide” is only used one other place in Scripture, Psalm 68:5-6. In that case it is translated in reference to Adonai as the “defender” of the widow. May we all have Adonai as our mediator! [Heb. 4:15]

Saul then repents. There is no reason to believe that he was insincere. He weeps over David, and calls him “my son.” Interestingly this foreshadows David’s weeping over Absalom his son years later after Absalom is killed. Saul now acknowledges what Jonathan has already said, and like Jonathan, he desires that David sware before Adonai that he will not eliminate all of Saul’s descendants. This promise David keeps through Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s son.

How does Yeshua demonstrate the life of David shown in this chapter? Well just like David, Yeshua’s desire is not for the destruction of His enemies, but rather their repentance and transformation. In [Acts 9:1-9] we see that Yeshua takes the actions against his disciples personally. But instead of bringing death to Saul, Yeshua offers him repentance, and an opening of his eyes. Years later, Saul would repeat Yeshua’s teachings in [Rom. 12:14-21]. Notice that he repeats much of the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5). Let’s remember what we read when we started [Luke 6:27-36].

David chose to receive his kingdom God’s way and at God’s time. He did not take it himself. Similarly Yeshua was offered the kingdom an easy way when He was tempted by the Devil. (Matt. 4:8) And like David, Yeshua refused to take it in a way that would dishonour Adonai. Instead he said to Adonai, “Father, if You are willing, take this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” (Luke 22:42)

In the same way we ought to follow both David and Yeshua.

  • Just as David did not take vengeance, we also must choose to bless when we have been cursed.
  • Justice delayed is not justice denied. We must put all retribution into Adonai’s hand. Allow the faithful Judge to decide on our behalf.
  • Regardless of the safety and security of our position in life, we must remember that only in “the Shadow of His wings” will we find true refuge.
  • Yeshua left us an example that we should follow in His footsteps.
  • Let us choose to love and forgive as Yeshua taught, and rely on Him for our ultimate justice.

[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), 3:746.

[3] Gaebelein, 1 Samuel, 3:747.