The Agora
Bible Commentary
1 Samuel

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1 Samuel 26

1Sa 26:1

1Sa 26: "Betrayed by men of his own tribe, David returns Saul good for evil, as he meets him for the last time. Reconciliation is effected, but David refuses an offer by the king to return to his former position of favour. David realises the impossible situation that would occur under such circumstances, and rested in the Hand of Providence for guidance. It was at that time that the Ziphites incite Saul against David (1Sa 26:1-4), but Saul found himself in David's power (vv 5-12). Knowing the country, David had the advantage over Saul and could watch him without being discovered. It was a time of trial, and David could have easily taken the opportunity to dispose of his constant enemy. But he was guided by a mature principle: Saul was Yahweh's Anointed, and as such David had no right to destroy him (cp v 9). Saul had no such scruples, although he knew that God had appointed David to succeed him. Then David reproved Abner (vv 13-16). How startled Saul's army must have been as David's voice rang out in the stillness of the night with his cutting taunts at the expense of Abner. David reproves Saul (vv 17-20), and a reconciliation is effected (vv 21-25). This was the last time David and Saul met" (GEM).

1Sa 26:4

'Do not believe the worst about your enemies until they PROVE it.'

1Sa 26:6

"I'LL GO WITH YOU," SAID ABISHAI: "The righteous are as bold as a lion" (Pro 28:1).

1Sa 26:7

WITH HIS SPEAR STUCK IN THE GROUND: "In an Arab encampment, this marks the sheik's tent" (StrScr 46).

LYING ASLEEP: A supernatural sleep (v 12). This occasion was much more marked than that of 1Sa 24:4-6 -- being evidently "from the Lord". Thus it would be a sorer trial.

1Sa 26:9

DON'T DESTROY HIM!: Cp "Al taschith" (Destroy not) Pss: Psa 56; 57; 58; 74. The mercy David showed the LORD's anointed was later shown by God to him (David) as the LORD's anointed.

WHO CAN LAY A HAND ON THE LORD'S ANOINTED AND BE GUILTLESS?: Such an act would be sin, and moreover unnecessary (v 10).

1Sa 26:12

SO DAVID TOOK THE SPEAR: The theft of the spear would remind Saul of what he tried to do with it -- more than once.

1Sa 26:18

WHAT WRONG AM I GUILTY OF?: "Can any of you prove me guilty of sin?" (Joh 8:46; cp Joh 18:23).

1Sa 26:19

IF THE LORD HAS INCITED YOU AGAINST ME: This is always a possibility to consider when one suffers at the hands of others. Cp David with Shimei (2Sa 16:10).

THEY HAVE NOW DRIVEN ME FROM MY SHARE IN THE LORD'S INHERITANCE, AND HAVE SAID, 'GO, SERVE OTHER GODS': David's sad words here demonstrate that his greatest sense of loss in exile was not that of his personal comfort or material prosperity, but rather his opportunity for fellowship with God. By making him an outcast, as they did at the behest of Saul, his countrymen were cutting him off from the tabernacle and the altar, and 'suggesting' that he serve other gods. In our zeal to do right, our ecclesias should consider whether their treatment of offenders might not have the same effect. It is impossible to justify the 'middle-of-the-road' course in a matter of disfellowship -- that is, to 'separate' or 'withdraw' while still attaching no taint of moral judgment. For an ecclesia to practice excommunication, while holding out no realistic possibility of refellowship, is in effect to tell the brother or sister involved, 'Go, serve other gods!' How many righteous "Davids" have been so treated?

1Sa 26:20

A FLEA: Insignificant, worthless.

AN ONE HUNTS A PARTRIDGE IN THE MOUNTAINS: Falcons are used in the east to hunt partridges (LB 209). Partridges offer no resistance (as David).

1Sa 26:21

THEN SAUL SAID, "I HAVE SINNED": // "I have sinned," Judas said, "for I have betrayed innocent blood" (Mat 27:4).

I HAVE SINNED: There is a radical distinction between natural regret and God-given repentance. The flesh can feel remorse, acknowledge its evil deeds, and be ashamed of itself. However, this sort of disgust with past actions can be quickly shrugged off, and the individual can soon go back to his old wicked ways. None of the marks of true repentance described in 2Co 7:11 are found in his behavior. Out of a list of 11 men in the Bible who said, "I have sinned," poss only five actually repented. They were David (2Sa 12:13; 24:10; 1Ch 21:8; Psa 41:4), Nehemiah (Neh 1:6), Job (Job 42:5,6), Micah (Mic 7:9), and the prodigal son (Luk 15:18). The other (poss less sincere) instances? Pharaoh in Exo 9:27; 10:16; Balaam in Num 22:34; Achan in Jos 7:20; Saul in 1Sa 15:24,30; 26:21; Shimei in 2Sa 19:20; Judas in Mat 27:4.

1Sa 26:22

David does not trust Saul. He knows that Saul, though apparently repentant, will "" (Jam 1:23,24).

1Sa 26:24

Note: David does NOT say, 'May YOU value my life..." He trusts in God alone.

1Sa 26:25

Saul's very last words to David.

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