David and his men, about six hundred, are hiding in the wilderness of Ziph from Saul, who is seeking to kill David. “Then Jonathan, Saul’s son, arose and went to David in the woods and strengthened his hand in God.” Jonathan knows that he can’t save David but that the Lord will because the Lord never breaks a promise, and He has promised David to be the next king. Jonathan’s friendship is a gift from God, but unfortunately this is the last time David will see his loyal friend. However, their covenant between each other will stand.
Three major events happen in today’s reading – Saul is spared, Samuel dies, and David acquires more wives.
1) The Lord distracts Saul from chasing David with an invasion by the Philistines. However, once Saul returns from following the Philistines, he is back in hot pursuit of David. Now David and his six hundred men are hiding out in the wilderness while Saul and his three thousand men are trying to hunt him down. David demonstrates his trust in the Lord when he has an opportunity to kill Saul while Saul is relieving himself in the cave where David and his men are hiding. David refrains from killing Saul, and he does not allow his men to rise against him. When Saul is safely out of their hideout cave, David yells to him that he has no desire to kill him as Saul is the Lord’s anointed king, and that he will trust the Lord to judge between them. David has a promise from God that he will be the next king, and he trusts that God will deliver on that promise in His way and in His timing. So in the heat of the moment where David showed Saul mercy, Saul declares that David is more righteous than himself, and he has David swear that once he becomes king he will not cut off Saul’s descendants. Saul then goes home but unfortunately not for good, as we will read about tomorrow.
2) Samuel dies in today’s reading, and all of Israel mourns for him.
3) We meet a man named Nabal, whose name actually means fool. He is a wealthy, ignorant, ruthless man who is married to a wise beautiful wife named Abigail. Nabal harshly refuses to help David and his men, who have been protecting rich Nabal and all his possessions. David lets his anger get the best of him and decides to respond by killing Nabal and all the males in his household. However, the Lord sends brave Abigail to intercede and to remind David, who is currently blinded by His emotions, of what David already knows – to trust the Lord and let Him act on his behalf. Sometimes during tough circumstances we need to hear a word from others reminding us of God’s character and His great promises. So David responds, “Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me! And blessed is your advice and blessed are you, because you have kept me this day from coming to bloodshed and from avenging myself with my own hand.” Soon after, the Lord acts on David’s behalf and kills the foolish and wicked Nabal. Then David takes Abigail as his wife.
David also takes Ahinoam as his wife, and we learn that Michal, who is Saul’s daughter and David’s first wife, was given to another man, but not for long. The Lord says in Mark 10:7-8 – “‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh.” God designed marriage to be between one man and one woman. There will be negative consequences that come from having multiple wives and children by multiple wives. We will learn more about this as the story continues to unfold, so keep reading. (1 Samuel 23:13-29, Psalm 54, 1 Samuel 24:1-25:44)