1 Samue124:1-22; Psalm 57
Saul hunted David as if he were an animal. He knew that David was hiding in a place where there were many caves. Saul and his soldiers started searching these hill sides. At some point, when Saul was alone, he looked around for a place where he could relieve himself. He saw a nearby cave and went inside. There was no way he could have known, but David was hiding inside that same cave!
“Look David,” his men whispered to him. “God has blessed you again. Now is your chance to kill Saul! D avid shook his head. He told them, “No one kills God’s choice of king!”
Then he crawled down the cave, toward Saul. Very quietly, he cut a corner off Saul’s robe. Then he crept back to his hiding place. The moment he was back with his men, David felt very sorry for what he had done. He had not wanted to harm Saul. “I should never even have cut off this corner of his robe.”
So Saul got up and left the cave. Once he was outside, though, David came running after him. He fell on the ground. “My lord the king!” he called out. Saul swirled around in surprise. David held up the cloth. “Look, I cut off this corner of your robe. God gave you into my hands while you were in the cave. But I didn’t hurt you! I even kept my own men from hurting you. Now will you believe I’m not your enemy? Why do you chase me like this? I’ve done nothing wrong! “Saul saw that David could have killed him if he had wanted to. “A man does not let his enemy escape as easily as you have. I believe you, David.”
Saul left David and his men in peace . . . for a little while, at least. Soon, though, Saul went back on his promise.
The fierce Philistines were going to attack Israel. Among the leaders was King Achish of Gath. This king had been protecting David while he ran away from Saul. Achish asked David and his men to march with him. He wanted David to fight against his own people, the Israelites.
When the Philistine generals heard this, they said, “No, we don’t want David with us during this battle. What if he decides to change sides?”
So Achish sent David and his men back to their families. David went home to Ziklag. That is where he had been living for over a year. In Ziklag, he made a terrible discovery.
The town was in flames! While David and his men had been gone, the Amalekites had raided the area! All their families had been taken prisoner!
David rallied his men. Six hundred followed him. Two hundred, who were too tired, remained behind.
All that day they tracked the Amalekites. Just as it grew dark, David and his men attacked. They fought long and hard through the night and into the next day. Women and children ran in all directions. Finally, David and his men won the battle. Only four hundred Amalekites escaped alive. And that only happened because they had camels.
David returned home to Ziklag. There he heard news of the great battle between Saul’s Israelites and the Philistines. This was the battle the Philistine generals had not allowed David to join in.
“It was a terrible battle,” the messenger told David. “The Philistines pressed hard after Saul and his sons. They killed his three sons, including Jonathan….”
David cried out, “Oh, no! Not my brother Jonathan!”
The messenger went on. “The king was surrounded. He had no choice. Saul fell on his own sword, killing himself.”
At this, David and his men moaned and wept. They did not eat the whole day. The king anointed by God was dead! It was a dark day for Israel!
Now that Saul’s sons were dead, the tribes of Israel came to David. “We’re all part of the same family. Even while Saul was king, you were our leader. We’ve heard how the Lord has chosen you. We want you to be our king!”
When David became king he chose Jerusalem as his city. At that time Jerusalem was just a small village. Even so, it was well protected and would be very hard to capture.
The Jebusites, who lived in Jerusalem, laughed at David. “Ha! You couldn’t even fight the blind and crippled of Jerusalem, let alone us! “But David had the blessing of God. When he and his men captured Jerusalem, they made it the royal city of Israel and Judah.
When the Philistines heard that David was king, they called all their troops together so they could attack him. But David asked the Lord what he should do. God told him, “Do not attack right away, but circle around behind them. When you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the trees, move quickly. That will mean the Lord has gone in front of you to strike down the enemy army. “It happened just that way. David defeated the Philistines everywhere he went.
David was thirty years old when he became king of Judah. He was one of the greatest kings the Jewish people ever had.