The Agora
Bible Commentary
1 Samuel

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1 Samuel 24

1Sa 24:1

1Sa 24: "Saul continues his relentless pursuit of David, irrespective of the divine determination that the young man who defeated Goliath was Yahweh's anointed-elect. It is a sad commentary on human nature that it acts in opposition to the divine will, even within the community of the faithful. The Lord Jesus himself was pursued to his death by the priesthood of Jerusalem. So Saul gathered a whole community of murderers: 3,000 chosen men are sent on a mission of death (v 2). And yet, in the strange but wonderful actions of Providence, Saul and his men are unwittingly discovered in David's power (vv 3-7). It was an opportunity for revenge, and of the kind that could be justified on the ground that Yahweh had permitted Saul's men to come into the power of David. Is not this the obvious purpose of the Deity? Many times actions are justified on grounds that seem to be correct. But David was greater, for his heart was fashioned according to that of Yahweh, and he saw Saul, in his clutches, as 'Yahweh's Anointed' (v 6). Certainly he cut a portion of Saul's robe (v 4), and particularly that section of the ribband of blue on the hem, which was a covenant garment commanded of all Israel. The ribband represented the laws of the nation. Saul had certainly broken it himself, but it was not proper for David to take advantage -- and his heart smote him (v 5). What a change of fortunes, as the weakness of his position is brought before the king (vv 8-15). There was no doubt that Saul had a moment of sanity as he saw the righteousness of David, and the preservation of his life because of that. There is some reconciliation between the two (vv 16-29). A covenant is established, but David could not trust the vacillating promises of Saul, and therefore, as the king returned to his 'home' (v 22), David remained in 'the hold.' Faithfulness was with the 'king' in the cave; whilst the king on the throne of Israel would never find true comfort" (GEM).

1Sa 24:2

THE CRAGS OF THE WILD GOATS: "The Ibex Cliffs". There are still ibexes these today (BAR 5:6:50,51).

1Sa 24:3

THE SHEEP PENS: Usually an enclosure made by rocks and thorns in the mouth of a cave, in which sheep are protected at night. Poss the sheep moving around helped hide David's movements from Saul; also, such caves are very dark (LB 603).

1Sa 24:4

THIS IS THE DAY THE LORD SPOKE OF... 'I WILL GIVE YOUR ENEMY INTO YOUR HANDS': When had God said this?! Or was this an inference from their knowledge of David's earlier anointing?

A CORNER OF SAUL'S ROBE: The ribband of blue: symbol of Saul's would-be devotion to God.

1Sa 24:21

"When a man's ways are pleasing to the LORD, he makes even his enemies live at peace with him" (Pro 16:7).

1Sa 24:22

THEN SAUL RETURNED HOME, BUT DAVID AND HIS MEN WENT UP TO THE STRONGHOLD: "Then each went to his own home. But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives" (Joh 7:53; 8:1).

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