Once the Philistine threat was over, Saul again turned his attention to tracking down his rival David. There were reports that David was hiding in the area of Engedi, so Saul took three thousand men and marched in that direction. En route, Saul entered one of the caves that were part of a sheepfold to relieve himself. David and some of his men were hiding in the inner recesses of that same cave. The men reminded David that God had promised one day to deliver his enemies into his hand. David crept forward in the dark and cut off the edge of Saul’s robe, but he returned to his men guilt-stricken because he even had dared to cut the robe of God’s anointed. David persuaded his men not to touch Saul, and after Saul had gone a safe distance, David went out of the cave and called after him. He bowed to the ground and addressed Saul respectfully as “My lord the king.” With great emotion, David tried to make his father-in-law see that he was being manipulated by certain men who stood to profit by removing David from the scene. He pointed out that he could have slain Saul in the cave had he been so minded and provided proof with the missing edge of Saul’s robe. Perhaps God would avenge the wrong that Saul had done to him, but David would not. Saul was wasting his time seeking him, for David was self-deprecating as he explained that he was no more a threat than a single flea on a dead dog. David concluded his speech by appealing to God to deliver him from the hand of Saul.
Saul was moved to tears by the words of David and acknowledged that David had been more righteous than he. Saul recognized for the moment that David must not have considered him as an enemy, else he would have slain him in the cave. Saul prayed God's blessing on David since he had refrained from killing the king. Saul declared that David would one day be king and concluded by adjured an oath from David that he would not wipe out his family, an action frequently taken when a new dynasty came to power. David quickly gave Saul the promise he desired, and he returned home. David and his men went up to “the stronghold,” the most rugged part of the Wilderness of Judea.
Thing To Consider:
- Why does David see the opportunity to kill Saul differently than his men?
- What posture should we take toward those in leadership over us even when they may be in the wrong?
- Who struck David's heart?
- What does David's speech tell us about his attitude toward God and Saul?
- Does David offer false humility? What makes you think this?
- What does Saul's declaration tell us about Saul's thoughts toward David?