I Samuel Chapter 23

"Relief of Keilah the Philistines to David [1-13]."
"Pursuit of David by Saul [14-28]."

This Bible Study is written by Roger Christopherson, and it's transcription is provided with written permission by http://www.theseason.org

I Samuel 23:1 "Then they told David, saying, "Behold, the Philistines fight against Keilah, and they rob the threshingfloors."

"Keilah" in the Hebrew tongue means a "walled city", or a city enclosed. This city was a farming community in the low lands of Judah were much grain was raised. The Philistines were after this grain to feed their people; in as much as the threshing floors were the center of attention here.

I Samuel 23:2 "Therefore David enquired of the Lord saying, "Shall I go and smite these Philistines?" And the Lord said unto David, "Go, and smite the Philistines, and save Keilah."

Don't miss this, "David enquired of the Lord". Remember that Abiathar, the offspring of Eli was there with him. Abaithar the son of Ahimelech had fled from Saul's army when Doeg came to the priest's town of Nod and killed all the people in the town, all except Abaithar. Abaithar the priest came under David's protection. It was through the "ephod", a method of determining whether or not something to be good or bad, or a direction to be taken. It is done by the casting of the Thummim and Urim to verify something to be true or not. The notes in the Companion Bible under Exodus 28:30 gives us a detailed report as to how these precious stones of the ephod were used in determining whether a matter was true, or just, or to give direction where it was unsure.

The "Thummim and Urim" were two precious stones that were carried in this bag called an "ephod", that was carried in the breastplate of the priest. When these lots or stones were cast, the Lord caused their direction that the stones pointed, thus the decision or judgment was left entirely up to the Lord. It is from this "ephod", or in the Hebrew tongue "aman" that we get our term "Amen", that we use at the close of a prayer to the Father, or in stating that we agree with the pastor in his sermon. When we say "Amen" we are stating that we affirm that what is stated is truthful and correct. So this is how God spoke directly to David through the ephod.

I Samuel 23:3 "And David's men said unto him, "Behold, we be afraid here in Judah: how much more then if we come to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines?"

"Behold", or in the Hebrew "hinneh", this is an expression of surprise, and these men are telling David to wait a minute and lets take a closer look at what we are about to do. Saul is hot on their trail and trying to kill them, yet David was commanding that they go and kill the Philistines at Keilah, and save the town. That surely would draw attention to their where-abouts and Saul would know where to find them. The fear here was not for the facing the Philistines, but drawing Saul's army to them.

I Samuel 23:4 "Then David enquired of the Lord yet again. And the Lord answered him and said, "Arise, go down to Keilah: for I will deliver the Philistines into thine hand."

David again sought the advise of the Lord and wanted His direction. The answer to David's questions were absolute, "I will deliver the Philistines into thine hand." These Philistines were not an entire army, but a raiding party sent out to get supplies for the people back home. The point that should draw our attention in this verse, is that once you have prayed and received an answer from the Father, it is okay to go back and seek verification before you start following those instructions. David had the answer in the prior verse and yet here after the men had heard the orders, they wanted a second instruction or verification from God before they follow through with it. It did not upset God that David went back a second time for instruction, after man had said that it wasn't right.

Think about what this is saying. The men knew that there was a bounty on their head, and king Saul was out to kill them. Yet David told his men that God wants them to go down and kill these Philistines and save this little town from these heathen.

So if you feel that there may be some error in your judgment to what God has instructed you in your life, it doesn't hurt to go back to the Father for guidance in your life again. However, keeping in mind that we should never do anything major in our lives unless we have consulted the Father beforehand. That does not include the parking of your car, or matters of plain common sense, but in measures shaping and molding the character and direction of your life. Consult the Father and ask His blessings on those things and He will always be with you. The answers may not be what you want or expect, but it will be within the Will of God. If it is not the way that you planned it, He will give you another way out, and cause you to have success in the matter. These are examples and types that we can use in our lives, for David was human just like you and I, and David even messed up from time to time, Yet he always sought the Lord's help. God didn't disown David just because he made a few mistakes. God will never leave thee nor forsake thee.

I Samuel 23:5 "So David and his men went to Keilah, and fought with the Philistines, and brought away their cattle, and smote them with a great slaughter, So David saved the inhabitants of Keilah."

God always keeps His Word. David and his men ought against the Philistines and brought back the goods and cattle that these Philistines had taken from the citizens of Keilah.

I Samuel 23:6 "And it came to pass, when Abiathar the son of Ahimelech fled to David to Keilah, that he came down with an ephod in his hand."

Though it seems here that Abiathar the son of Ahimelech, showed up after the fact, after the battle, but in the manuscripts that is not how it is written. As is stated here, it was through the ephod that Abiathar brought with him that the decision and promises of the Lord came beforehand. The events came to pass exactly as God had promised. Remember back in verse four that David "enquired of the Lord", this was the process that God gave his people at that time for "enquiring of the Lord". Abiathar was a priest, and from the priestly family. When the rest of the people from Nod were killed by Saul, Abiathar went to David for protection. The Father was with Abaithar the priest and speaking through the ephod.

I Samuel 23:7 "And it was told Saul that David was come to Keilah. And Saul said, "God hath delivered him into mine hand; for he is shut in, by entering into a town that hath gates and bars."

Remember that the word "Keilah" means enclosed, or walled in. This town had walls, gates and bars on the windows. Saul thinks that the fight is all over, and all that he has to do is go to the town and wait for the town to deliverer David and his men into his hand.

I Samuel 23:8 "And Saul called all the people together to war, to go down to Keilah, to besiege David and his men."

I Samuel 23:9 "And David knew that Saul secretly practiced mischief against him; and he said to Abiathar the priest, "Bring hither the ephod."

Here again David was seeking the Word from God to know what to do in this matter. He called for Abiathar the priest to come and bring his ephod. Abiathar will again cast the lots of the Thummim and Urim to see which way David and his men should go. David is using the priest's office to seek direction from the Father for his life.

I Samuel 23:10 "Then said David, "O Lord God of Israel, Thy servant hath certainly heard that Saul seeketh to come to Keilah, to destroy the city for my sake."

Stop and think for a moment, for remember that Saul was possessed with an evil spirit. Saul was instructed through his evil spirits as to how to kill David. David represented the enemies of the Devil and all his evil spirits, for it is through David that much of God's Word is given us. It will be through the loins of David, the son of Jesse that our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ would come. David was aware of this, and he knew that God will protect him through it all.

David and his band of men had just fought on behalf of the people of Keilah, and saved their city, and it became obvious that this news would soon reach the ears of Saul. Saul had this spirit of jealousy within him, and all he can think of for that moment was the killing of David. Of course Saul's natural thoughts for that moment would be that the town of Keilah would be on David's side for what he had done for them.

I Samuel 23:11 "Will the men of Keilah deliver me up into his hand? will Saul come down, as Thy servant hath heard? O Lord God of Israel, I beseech Thee, tell Thy servant," And the Lord said, "He will come down."

Saul thought these people would protect David, yet David also thought these same thoughts, but in doubt. "Would the people of Kelah deliver me up into Saul's hand?" And for the answer David went to the only source that he could trust, and that again was through the ephod and the instructions of God through the priest Abiathar. The answer from the Lord was absolute, "He will come down."

God knows the minds of His children and He also knew the mind of Saul.

I Samuel 23:12 "Then said David, "Will the men of Keilah deliver me and my men into the hand of Saul? And the Lord said, "They will deliver thee up."

Even though David delivered this town from the hand of the Philistines, God knew that they would still turn David over to Saul, for he can read their minds. Would this normally be done when a town is saved from destruction? No. However any time you have a ruler that is without any character, or a government that is headed by the directions of evil spirits, treachery will take place. Truth meant absolutely nothing to any man under the influence of evil spirits, whether he be Saul or the president of the our land. All Saul thought about was his own self, and how he could draw attention to himself. Saul didn't care who was loyal to him, for David was very loyal to Saul and even to part of his family, but Saul would use anybody and anything to get what he wanted.

When you have a place that goes along with those evil spirits and allows this leader without character to have his way with them, God is going to curse the place and the people. This goes all the way back to the purpose for God's resistance to giving his people a man king in the first place. He wanted His people to love and trust Him. God was there king. When they prayed for a king, God gave them Saul, and everything that Samuel told the people that a man king would become, has come true through Saul. When character is lacking in a community and its leadership, this is exactly what will happen in that town. They will in time turn on their friends, and even turn on their own family.

I Samuel 23:13 "And David and his men, which were about six hundred, arose and departed out of Keliah, and went whithersoever they could go. And it was told Saul that David was escaped from Keilah; and he forbare to go forth,"

Before the battle David had four hundred men, yet after this battle David's small rag tag army of men has grown to six hundred men. Saul thought he had his rabbit in the cage, but the rabbit has escaped from the cage. This word of David's escape was driving Saul out of his mind, for he had lost focus of all other matters of government around him.

I Samuel 23:14 "And David abode in the wilderness in strong holds, and remained in a mountain in the wilderness of Ziph. And Saul sought him every day, but God delivered him not into his hand."

The word "Ziph" in the Hebrew means "battlement". This wilderness provided David with the cover necessary to protect himself and his men. Saul's entire attention was now focused on getting and killing David. It was God that kept David and his men from being delivered into Saul's hand.

I Samual 23:15 "And David saw that Saul was come out to seek his life: and David was in the wilderness of Ziph in a wood."

I Samuel 23:16 "And Jonathan Saul's son arose, and went to David into the wood, and strengthened his hand in God."

Jonathan was the oldest son, and next in line to Saul's throne, as far as Saul was concerned. However, Jonathan knew the anointing of David and that it would be David that would rule after his father Saul. Yet through it all, David and Saul were not only family through marriage but very close friends. Jonathan was David's spy in Saul own camp.

I Samuel 23:17 "And he said unto him, "Fear not: for the hand of Saul my father shall not find thee; and thou shalt be king over Israel, and I shall be next unto thee; and that also Saul my father knoweth."

Jonathan knew that Samuel the prophet had anointed David to be king after Saul. Jonathan told David that not only does he know this, but his father Saul knows it also. Jonathan understood that he would never take over the throne after Saul's death, but that it shall be David's and Jonathan was still committed to David in friendship.

I Samuel 23:18 "And they two made a covenant before the Lord: and David abode in the wood, and Jonathan went to the house."

This is the renewing of that covenant made earlier between David and Jonathan.

I Samuel 23:19 "Then came up the Ziphites to Saul to Gibeah, saying, "Doth not David hide himself with us in strong holds in the wood, in the hill of Hachilah, which is on the south of Jeshimon?"

The Ziphites are the people that were living in the woods of the wilderness where David is hiding. They came to Saul and were trying to work out a deal to give David to him. Remember that this place where David was hiding was a wasteland, covered with woods, and many caves to hide in. Only someone from that area would be able to find David in those hills and woods.

I Samuel 23:20 "Now therefore, O king, come down according to all the desire of thy soul to come down: and our part shall be to deliver him into the king's hand."

This should remind you of the thirty pieces of silver that Judas received in exchange for turning Christ over to the Kenite Jewish religious leaders of that day. There is a sell-out coming, and David the father of the true Christ is being sold out. It is interesting what people will do to satisfy those in authority, when there is no character in the minds of the leaders at the top of the land.

This is a type of what shall happen very shortly, for on that day when Satan comes to present himself as the Christ, people will turn their own family over to him for the sake of gaining favor with him. Just as the Ziphites were doing it all in ignorance, so also will it be done in ignorance for they will not know what they are doing. Satan will also promise to bless those that turn to him, just as Saul is making those same promises to these Ziphites that are not his to give.

I Samuel 23:21 "And Saul said, "Blessed be ye of the Lord; for ye have compassion on me."

Saul is throwing his blessing all around and promising something that he just does not have to give. However, that doesn't bother Saul, just as it would not bother any leader that is without character. They are willing to promise and bless anyone, for what they say simply does not matter to them. The only thing that matters to them is that their desires are met.

I Samuel 23:22 "Go, I pray you, prepare yet, and know and see his place where his haunt is, and who hath seen him there: for it is told me that he dealeth very subtilly."

Saul had some friends around David that bad-mouthed David without David's knowledge. It seems that there will always be some men or women that will present themselves to be your friend to your face, but when you are gone they will make up stories and lies about you. There is nothing new under the sun, what has happened before will happen again, over and over, and that was why Saul knew much of what went on in David's camp.

I Samuel 23:23 "See therefore, and take knowledge of all the lurking places where he hideth himself and come ye again to me with the certainty, and I will go with you: and it shall come to pass, if he be in the land, that I will search him out throughout all the thousands of Judah."

Saul was boasting that he will find David, yet it was through these spies in David's camp that Saul had paid for the information of David's where-abouts. It wasn't a great mystery to Saul, for the problem was that the Lord instructed David on his moves, and David kept one move ahead of Saul in all his movements.

I Samuel 23:24 "And they arose, and went to Ziph before Saul: but David and his men were in the wilderness of Maon, in the plain on the south of Jeshimon."

Once these men of Ziph found and located the places where David and his men were hiding, and departed back to Saul; David moved his men. David was now in the wilderness of Maon, on the plain south of Jeshimon. Saul was going on a wild turkey chase at the invitation of the Ziphites.

I Samuel 23:25 "Saul also and his men went to seek him, And they told David: wherefore he came down into a rock, and abode in the wilderness of Maon. And when Saul heard that, he pursued after David in the wilderness of Maon."

When Saul heard that David was not in Ziph, he turned his attention to the wilderness of Maon, hot on David's trail.

I Samuel 23:26 "And Saul went on the side of the mountain, and David and his men on that side of the mountain: and David made haste to get away for fear of Saul; for Saul and his men compassed David and his men round about to take them."

Saul came to a place where there were two hill sides, David and his men were on one side, and Saul and his army could look across the valley and see David on the other hill. This is getting very close, to close for comfort. Yet God will have his hand in this matter, and God's protective hand will prevail.

I Samuel 23:27 "But there came a messenger unto Saul, saying, "Haste the, and come; for the Philistines have invaded the land."

God is using the Philistines to protect David, in that God has place the desire to go to war in their minds, seeing that Saul and his army are set on pursuing after David.

I Samuel 23:28 "Wherefore Saul returned from pursuing after David, and went against the Philistines; therefore they called that place Sela-hammah-lekoth."

"Sela-hammah-lekoth" in the Hebrew tongue means "the cliff of divisions", or in "separations". It is in reference to where two men and their forces are close enough to see and talk to each other, yet the gulf is too great for them to get together. There is protection in the cliff that separates them.

I Samuel 23:29 "And David went up for thence, and dwelt in strong holds at En-gedi."

"En-gedi" means "the fountain of the wild goats". It was a place of hiding.


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