Author: F. Duane Lindsey
Week of January 25, 2015
1 Samuel 26:1-26
Saul’s repentance about killing David did not last, and so he sought David in the Desert of Ziph. David and Abishai (Joab’s brother) sneaked into the center of Saul’s camp at night. They found Saul asleep with “his spear stuck in the ground near his head” (1 Sam. 26:7). When Abishai requested permission of David to kill Saul with his own spear, David told him not to “lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed” (v. 9), since “the Lord Himself will strike him; either his time will come and he will die, or he will go into battle and perish” (v. 10).
“So David took the spear and water jug near Saul’s head” (v. 12), and they slipped out of the camp without awakening anyone. Then David stood on a hill some distance away and called out to mock Abner, Saul’s captain, for allowing someone to infiltrate the camp and take Saul’s spear and water jug. Saul recognized David’s voice and said, “I have sinned....I have acted like a fool and have erred greatly.” He praised David’s righteous actions in sparing his life, and promised, “I will not try to harm you again” (v. 21). The Philistines kept Saul too busy to break that promise, until David’s affirmation came true that “Saul will go into battle and perish” (v. 10). David’s decision to “escape to the land of the Philistines” (27:1) also prevented Saul from chasing him again.
A matter to consider: When others break their promises to us, especially time after time, we usually stamp “untrustworthy” across their foreheads, and cease to give them the benefit of the doubt. Though David distrusted Saul personally, he continued to respect and treat him with dignity. In our relationships, such as between husband and wife or parent and child, we need to manifest patience and respect similar to what David showed toward Saul.