I Samuel Chapter 24

"Saul Hounds David in Desert of En-Gedi ."
"David Spares Saul's Life [7-15]."
"Saul Acknowledges God's Will [20]."
"Covenant Between Saul and David [21]."

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

I Samuel 24:1 "And it came to pass, when Saul was returned from following the Philistines that it was told him, saying, "Behold, David is in the wilderness of En-gedi."

I Samuel 24:2 "Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel, and went to seek David and his men upon the rocks of the wild goats."

"En-gedi" in the Hebrew tongue means "fountain of the goats."

I Samuel 24:3 "And he came to the sheepcotes by the way where was a cave; and Saul went in to cover his feet: and David and his men remained in the sides of the cave."

"To cover his feet" means to sleep. This cave that Saul entered into to sleep was a huge cave, and while Saul and his men were bedded down, David and his men were over against the wall of the cave watching while Saul was bedding down with his men. Remember that David had six hundered men and all of the men were in that cave.

I Samuel 24:4 "And the men of David said unto him, "Behold the day of which the Lord said unto thee, `Behold, I will deliver thine enemy into thine hand, that thou mayest do to him as it shall seem good unto thee.' "Then David arose, and cut off the skirt of Saul's robe privily."

David could have killed Saul and David's men encouraged him to take Saul's life while he lay there defenseless and sleeping. This gives us a real view of David's character and heart. This is a good lesson that we ought to remember and apply to our lives. David knew in his mind that it was not his father-in-law Saul that was evil, but it was the evil spirit that was in Saul and possessed him that caused him to do those evil things.

When we find an evil spirit of jealousy or another evil spirit with in a family member or a friend, don't always blame that person, for it was the devil that sent that evil spirit upon the person. Know your enemy, and protect yourself from him. The enemy is Satan the Devil, who will use even your closest friends and family members to get to you. Know then, what you must do to put a stop to Satan's work.

David would have not stopped Satan by slaying Saul, for Saul in a sense was innocent, in as much as God allowed the evil spirit to possess Saul. Many times David played his harp to chase the evil spirit out of Saul, and David knew that when Saul did not have this spirit of jealousy within him, Saul was a very good person but a little stupid. David loved Saul, and when the spirit of jealousy was not there, Saul loved his David.

So we must always focus on the true reason an event is taking place. It was for this reason that David did not end Saul's life in that cave in En-Gedi. David knew the case of what was going on in Saul's life. The only thing that mattered in David's life was that what ever he did, that it would be pleasing to God. David did not want to be guilty of the taking of innocent blood before the Father.

Saul was a reckless man with his orders, for remember that Saul gave the orders to the Israelites in his army to kill the eighty five priests and their families at Nod, and they refuse the order. So Saul ordered Doeg the Edomite to carry out the order. Saul did not spill the blood, Doeg the Edomite killed the people. Many times we say things, and later we feel sorry for the things were have spoken, but unless we ourselves take an active role in the matter, we are still innocent? We are not guilty until we act on those things that are evil that come into our minds. The order came from the evil spirit that Saul was possessed by, and Doeg used that order to respond to the hate that was in his heart. There is no way that Saul would have ordered the death of eighty five priests if he was in his right mind, considering that he had even prophesied with them himself.

So we should always look to the prime root of the problem and attack that root to end the problem. When the prime root goes away, so will all the detail of the problem. We are not to be weak in facing our problem, but we are to be wise in our dealing with problems that face us. David was wise and full of love. When one has an evil spirit, he doesn't sleep well, and Saul slept very well that night. However with David in that cave, the evil spirit did not go into the cave with Saul.

I Samuel 24:5 "And it came to pass afterward, that David's heart smote him, because he had cut off Saul's skirt."

This is kind of an insult when this is done, and David wanted to prove a point here.

I Samuel 24:6 "And he said unto his men, "The Lord forbid that I should do this thing unto my master, the Lord's anointed, to stretch forth mine hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the Lord."

Saul was anointed first to be the king of Israel. However, David was also anointed by Samuel the prophet to be the king when God say the direction that Saul had taken. Saul ruled very unwisely, and also killed many of God's priests and their families. So God removed the mantle from off Saul, and placed it upon David. David's rule will not take place though until after the death of Saul. Through this act on David's part we can see why the people loved him, for he was committed to honor a man God had appointed, even when that man was out to kill him. David was a man full of compassion and he cared for this family that he had married into. Much of David's devotion had to do with his friend, Jonathan, the brother of his wife.

I Samuel 24:7 "So David stayed his servants with these words, and suffered them not to rise against Saul. But Saul rose up out of the cave and went on his way."

I Samuel 24:8 "David also arose afterward, and went out of the cave, and cried after Saul, saying, "My lord the king." And when Saul looked behind him, David stooped with this face to the earth, and bowed himself."

It is hard to understand why David would do such a thing when you consider that Saul has been out to take his life for quite a while. Many people have lost their lives over Saul's hunt for David, and now outside this cave under the desert's morning sun in wild goat country, David was bowing there before Saul as a humble servant. David is showing the greatest respect for Saul, and Saul knows it.

I Samuel 24:9 "And David said to Saul, "Wherefore hearest thou men's words, saying, Behold, "David seeketh thy hurt?' "

Of course it was men that made this claim in ignorance. If the king thought that a person was hiding something from him, the king had the power to take that person's life. David was letting Saul know that all those words stated about him were just lies. Remember also that the evil spirit was having a holiday with all these lies, and driving Saul into things that he normally would not have done. A spirit of jealousy will do that to anyone that allows evil spirits in their life.

I Samuel 24:10 "Behold, this day thine eyes have seen how that the Lord had delivered thee today into mine hand in the cave: and some bade me kill thee: but mine eye spare thee; and I said; `I will not put forth mine hand against my lord; for he is the Lord's anointed.' "

Even though David has been selected and anointed to replace Saul in due time, David understands that his time has not come yet, and Saul is still God's anointed for that day to rule in Israel.

I Samuel 24:11 "Moreover, my father, see, yea, see the skirt of thy robe in my hand: for in that I cut off the skirt of thy robe, and killed thee not, know thou and see that there is neither evil nor transgression in mine hand, and I have not sinned against thee; yet thou huntest my soul to take it."

David is standing there with part of Saul's robe in his hand, and David is reminding Saul that God had delivered him into David's hand. David could have killed Saul, but he did not.

I Samuel 24:12 "The Lord judge between me and thee, and the Lord avenge me of thee: but mine hand shall not be upon thee."

In this time when Saul could have very easily claimed David's life, David is keeping his level head and calling Saul's attention that it is God that will be the ultimate judge of them. David is leaving all the judgment of what he has done in God's hands, and later we will see that David will lose his head at another time. Notice though that David was a man just like all of us, and he also had shortcomings at times. The point here is that you do not quit when you mess up a little, but pick yourself up, and refocus to keep on going. David wasn't perfect all the time, but here we see David on at his best.

I Samuel 24:13 "As saith the proverb of the ancients, `Wickedness proceedeth from the wicked:' but mine hand shall not be upon thee."

This was a saying that had been around many years even prior to David's time. This is another way of saying that "it is God that takes the vengeance."

I Samuel 24:14 "After whom is the king of Israel come out? after whom dost thou pursue? after a dead dog, after a flea."

David is showing just how harmless he is towards Saul. A dead dog can't bite you, and a flee even when he does bite you doesn't threaten your life.

I Samuel 24:15 "The Lord therefore be judge, and judge between me and thee, and see, and plead my cause, and deliver me out of thine hand."

Never forget that God is able to deliver you out of Satan's hand in times of trouble.

I Samuel 24:16 "And it came to pass, when David had made an end of speaking these words unto Saul, that Saul said, "Is this thy voice, my son David?" And Saul lifted up his voice, and wept."

In the presence of David, there was no presence of any evil spirit. Saul looked on David as his son, which he was, and there was true love in his heart for David. For the moment there was shame in Saul's heart for the things that he had done against David.

I Samuel 24:17 "And he said to David, "Thou art more righteous than I: for thou hast rewarded me good, whereas I have rewarded thee evil."

I Samuel 24:18 "And thou hast shewed this day how that thou hast dealt well with me: forasmuch as when the Lord had delivered me into thin hand, thou killedst me not."

Notice the difference between the character between David and Saul. David had true character and love, and God can deal with him continually. Whereas Saul had no character and God will not deal with a man without character. Saul now sees the difference between the two of them, and he states it here.

I Samuel 24:19 "For if a man find his enemy, will he let him go well away? wherefore the Lord reward thee good for that thou hast done unto me this day."

Saul now knows that David had the opportunity to kill him, and yet he allowed Saul to live.

I Samuel 24:20 "And now, behold, I know well that thou shalt surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in thine hand."

This was prophecy coming through the mouth of Saul at this time. Saul knew that Samuel the prophet had anointed David to be king following his reign, and he acknowledged it at this time.

I Samuel 24:21 "Sware now therefore unto me by the Lord, that thou wilt not cut off my seed after me, and that thou wilt not destroy my name out of my father's house."

It was common amongst royalty of other lands that if a king died and another person took the position, other than the king's own family, all the males of the household would be killed. Saul did not want any of his sons to face such a thing at David's hand.

I Samuel 24:22 "And David sware unto Saul. And Saul went home; But David and his men gat them up unto the hold."

David swore an oath to Saul that he would not kill any of his household. Of course David was part of that household through his marriage to Saul's daughter. David did not go back with Saul at this time, but stayed with his men in their stronghold in the desert for a while. God blessed David where ever he went, and it was by God's blessing that David was the successful and wise king that he had become.

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