I Samuel 22

Those who give way to jealousy are in a continual agitation and torment and show that the Spirit of God is not with them.

1 David therefore departed thence, and escaped to the cave Adullam: and when his brethren and all his father’s house heard it, they went down thither to him.

2 And every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented, gathered themselves unto him; and he became a captain over them: and there were with him about four hundred men.

3 ¶ And David went thence to Mizpeh of Moab: and he said unto the king of Moab, Let my father and my mother, I pray thee, come forth, and be with you, till I know what God will do for me.

4 And he brought them before the king of Moab: and they dwelt with him all the while that David was in the hold.

5 ¶ And the prophet Gad said unto David, Abide not in the hold; depart, and get thee into the land of Judah. Then David departed, and came into the forest of Hareth.

6 ¶ When Saul heard that David was discovered, and the men that were with him, (now Saul abode in Gibeah under a tree in Ramah, having his spear in his hand, and all his servants were standing about him;)

7 Then Saul said unto his servants that stood about him, Hear now, ye Benjamites; will the son of Jesse give every one of you fields and vineyards, and make you all captains of thousands, and captains of hundreds;

8 That all of you have conspired against me, and there is none that sheweth me that my son hath made a league with the son of Jesse, and there is none of you that is sorry for me, or sheweth unto me that my son hath stirred up my servant against me, to lie in wait, as at this day?

9 ¶ Then answered Doeg the Edomite, which was set over the servants of Saul, and said, I saw the son of Jesse coming to Nob, to Ahimelech the son of Ahitub.

10 And he enquired of the LORD for him, and gave him victuals, and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine.

11 Then the king sent to call Ahimelech the priest, the son of Ahitub, and all his father’s house, the priests that were in Nob: and they came all of them to the king.

12 And Saul said, Hear now, thou son of Ahitub. And he answered, Here I am, my lord.

13 And Saul said unto him, Why have ye conspired against me, thou and the son of Jesse, in that thou hast given him bread, and a sword, and hast enquired of God for him, that he should rise against me, to lie in wait, as at this day?

14 Then Ahimelech answered the king, and said, And who is so faithful among all thy servants as David, which is the king’s son in law, and goeth at thy bidding, and is honourable in thine house?

15 Did I then begin to enquire of God for him? be it far from me: let not the king impute any thing unto his servant, nor to all the house of my father: for thy servant knew nothing of all this, less or more.

16 And the king said, Thou shalt surely die, Ahimelech, thou, and all thy father’s house.

17 ¶ And the king said unto the footmen that stood about him, Turn, and slay the priests of the LORD; because their hand also is with David, and because they knew when he fled, and did not shew it to me. But the servants of the king would not put forth their hand to fall upon the priests of the LORD.

18 And the king said to Doeg, Turn thou, and fall upon the priests. And Doeg the Edomite turned, and he fell upon the priests, and slew on that day fourscore and five persons that did wear a linen ephod.

19 And Nob, the city of the priests, smote he with the edge of the sword, both men and women, children and sucklings, and oxen, and asses, and sheep, with the edge of the sword.

20 ¶ And one of the sons of Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped, and fled after David.

21 And Abiathar shewed David that Saul had slain the LORD’S priests.

22 And David said unto Abiathar, I knew it that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would surely tell Saul: I have occasioned the death of all the persons of thy father’s house.

23 Abide thou with me, fear not: for he that seeketh my life seeketh thy life: but with me thou shalt be in safeguard.

1 Samuel 22:1-10 – Captain of an Outlawed Band

   What a striking analogy there is between the gathering of these outlawed men to David, and the attraction of publicans and sinners, in all ages, to Christ! He also is outlawed by “the prince of this world.” To find Christ, we must go outside the camp, where He has set up the standard of His cross. How many of those who were in distress or in debt, or who were “discontented,” I Samuel 22:2, have gathered to Him and have been received! Rejected by all others, they have found an asylum in his heart of love, and out of such refugees He is founding a kingdom that can never be moved, and forming an army that will break forever the power of evil.
   Notice David’s care for his parents. Our love to God should make us not less but more attentive to those to whom we are bound by nature’s ties. It is probable that David’s descent from Ruth, the Moabitess, may have suggested Moab as a suitable asylum; but in any case it was a wise precaution to shield the aged pair in the land of a neutral nation. In our experience, the warning of the prophet Gad has its counterpart in the gracious impressions of the Holy Spirit.

I Samuel 22:3—Till I know what God will do for me.

   We shall never get to the end of all that God will do for us, if only we perfectly give ourselves up to Him. David had a very imperfect vision of all that was in God’s plan for him; he had an inkling of it, but that was all. And we have still less. Yet let us recapitulate some of the things which God will do for us.
   He waits to give us the spirit of Sonship: so that we may ever be conscious of his Fatherhood, and look up into his face in the garden of Gethsemane, and on the Mount of Transfiguration alike, calling Him Abba, Father.
   He longs to lead us to full consecration; to lead us into such close association with Jesus in his redeeming purpose, that we may become his willing bond servants, with no other purpose and aim in life than his service and glory.
   He desires to deliver us from all known sin: that we may be blameless and harmless, his children without rebuke in this sinful world, who walk before Him in holiness and righteousness all our days.
   He wants to anoint us with the Holy Spirit: so that our ministry to men may have more of the savor of Christ; may plough deeper furrows in human hearts; may have more abiding results.
   He desires us to come into partnership with his Son here in his redemptive purpose, yonder in his throne. To this indeed He calls us.
   Who can know all that God waits to do, not here only, but yonder, when life has entered upon its eternal stage! “Now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be” (1 John 3:2).

1 Samuel 22:11-23 – The Slaughter of David’s Friends

   The Apostle James says that “the tongue… is set on fire of hell” (James 3:6). Surely this was the case when Saul, encamped on the height above Gibeah, scattered his biting words like firebrands. They met with a ready response in Doeg’s evil heart, and the two perpetrated one of the most atrocious tragedies of history.
   This black act—the blackest of Saul’s life—was not to be extenuated, although it executed the malediction, uttered long before in the days of Eli, against the latter’s evil house. That Saul’s footmen refused to execute the king’s sentence should have made Him hesitate. Doeg’s tale was true in its statement, but false in its implications.
   There is nothing to alleviate the lurid horror of this incident, except David’s welcome to Abiathar. Are not such words addressed by our Lord to all who escape to Him? “Abide… with me” may be understood in the light of John 15. With Christ there is safeguard. “Your life is hid with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3). Fear not, trembling soul; Christ stands surety for thee! See Psalm 52, where David predicts Doeg’s fate, and contrasts it with his own happy lot.