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1 Samuel 24


1 Samuel 24 is a significant chapter that highlights the moral and ethical dilemmas faced by David as he confronts King Saul. The narrative takes place in the rugged terrain of En Gedi and presents a tense and dramatic encounter between the two. Key aspects of the chapter include:
Saul’s Pursuit of David: After dealing with the Philistines, Saul resumes his pursuit of David with three thousand chosen men. They come to the sheep pens along the way, where there is a cave.
David and His Men in the Cave: Unknown to Saul, David and his men are hiding in the recesses of the same cave. David’s men see Saul’s arrival as a providential opportunity for David to kill his adversary.
David Spares Saul’s Life: Despite the urging of his men, David quietly cuts off a corner of Saul’s robe but refrains from killing him. He is conscience-stricken for even cutting Saul’s robe, respecting Saul’s anointed status as king.
David Confronts Saul: After Saul leaves the cave, David comes out and reveals himself. He shows Saul the piece of the robe, demonstrating that he could have killed Saul but chose not to. David reiterates his innocence and questions why Saul is pursuing him.
Saul’s Acknowledgment of David’s Righteousness: Saul, overcome with emotion, acknowledges David’s righteousness in sparing his life. He expresses his realization that David will indeed become king and asks David to swear that he will not cut off Saul’s descendants or wipe out his name.
David’s Oath and Saul’s Departure: David swears to Saul’s request, and Saul returns home. However, David and his men go back to their stronghold, aware that Saul’s change of heart might be temporary.
1 Samuel 24 illustrates the complexity of David’s character, showing his respect for Saul’s divine anointing and his commitment to ethical conduct, even in the face of personal risk. This encounter in the cave at En Gedi is a pivotal moment, demonstrating David’s moral fortitude and his reliance on God’s justice rather than taking matters into his own hands. The chapter also reflects Saul’s internal conflict and momentary recognition of David’s destiny, adding depth to the ongoing narrative of their tumultuous relationship.

1 Samuel 24

1  And it came to pass, when Saul was returned from following the Philistines, that it was told him, saying, Behold, David is in the wilderness of Engedi.

2  Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel, and went to seek David and his men upon the rocks of the wild goats.

3  And he came to the sheepcotes by the way, where was a cave; and Saul went in to cover his feet: and David and his men remained in the sides of the cave.

4  And the men of David said unto him, Behold the day of which the LORD said unto thee, Behold, I will deliver thine enemy into thine hand, that thou mayest do to him as it shall seem good unto thee. Then David arose, and cut off the skirt of Saul's robe privily.

5  And it came to pass afterward, that David's heart smote him, because he had cut off Saul's skirt.

6  And he said unto his men, The LORD forbid that I should do this thing unto my master, the LORD'S anointed, to stretch forth mine hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the LORD.

🔑↑ Pulpit Parallel:  Growing Into Your Spiritual Birthright (Part 1)

7  So David stayed his servants with these words, and suffered them not to rise against Saul. But Saul rose up out of the cave, and went on his way.

8  David also arose afterward, and went out of the cave, and cried after Saul, saying, My lord the king. And when Saul looked behind him, David stooped with his face to the earth, and bowed himself.

9  And David said to Saul, Wherefore hearest thou men's words, saying, Behold, David seeketh thy hurt?

10  Behold, this day thine eyes have seen how that the LORD had delivered thee to day into mine hand in the cave: and some bade me kill thee: but mine eye spared thee; and I said, I will not put forth mine hand against my lord; for he is the LORD'S anointed.

11  Moreover, my father, see, yea, see the skirt of thy robe in my hand: for in that I cut off the skirt of thy robe, and killed thee not, know thou and see that there is neither evil nor transgression in mine hand, and I have not sinned against thee; yet thou huntest my soul to take it.

12  The LORD judge between me and thee, and the LORD avenge me of thee: but mine hand shall not be upon thee.

13  As saith the proverb of the ancients, Wickedness proceedeth from the wicked: but mine hand shall not be upon thee.

14  After whom is the king of Israel come out? after whom dost thou pursue? after a dead dog, after a flea.

15  The LORD therefore be judge, and judge between me and thee, and see, and plead my cause, and deliver me out of thine hand.

16  And it came to pass, when David had made an end of speaking these words unto Saul, that Saul said, Is this thy voice, my son David? And Saul lifted up his voice, and wept.

17  And he said to David, Thou art more righteous than I: for thou hast rewarded me good, whereas I have rewarded thee evil.

18  And thou hast shewed this day how that thou hast dealt well with me: forasmuch as when the LORD had delivered me into thine hand, thou killedst me not.

19  For if a man find his enemy, will he let him go well away? wherefore the LORD reward thee good for that thou hast done unto me this day.

20  And now, behold, I know well that thou shalt surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in thine hand.

21  Swear now therefore unto me by the LORD, that thou wilt not cut off my seed after me, and that thou wilt not destroy my name out of my father's house.

22  And David sware unto Saul. And Saul went home; but David and his men gat them up unto the hold.

End of 1 Samuel 24

1 Year Plan:  May 2 - 1 Sa 23, 1 Sa 24,  John 19

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