Friday 22 January 2010

Bible Book:
1 Samuel

"David said to Saul, 'Why do you listen to the words of those who say, "David seeks to do you harm"? This very day your eyes have seen how the Lord gave you into my hand in the cave; and some urged me to kill you, but I spared you. I said, "I will not raise my hand against my lord; for he is the Lord's anointed.'" (v.9-10)

1 Samuel 24:3-22 Friday 22 January 2010


By this stage in the story of David, Saul's hatred for him hadforced David into hiding with his loyal followers, conductingguerrilla warfare and seeking shelter in caves out of sight of Sauland his army who were in pursuit.

In a rather unlikely scene, Saul went to go to the toilet into thevery cave where David and his men were hiding. Perhaps, of course,this was to illustrate Saul's poor judgement in contrast to David'snobility - caves were often dens for dangerous animals (as well asterrorists!) and a wise king would have sent in the foot soldiersfirst!

Anyway, Saul was extremely vulnerable at that moment and would havestood no chance if David had chosen to attack him - althoughperhaps the presence of 3,000 soldiers outside the cave wassomething of a deterrent. In any event, David behaved with enormousrestraint, showing due deference to the royal personage, regardinghim still as "the Lord's anointed" and thus sacrosanct - despitefirst cutting off the corner of Saul's cloak. This was obviously ahighly symbolic action, because the tassels at the corners of acloak were very important, although we don't know why (see Deuteronomy 22:12).

The symbolism of this was not lost on Saul however, when Davidcalled after him, waving the tassel as a sign of how close Saul hadbeen to death at his hands. David pleaded with Saul not to regardhim as a threat - which, of course, was not exactly true, giventhat both knew he was to succeed Saul as king. But the point wasthat David himself would not harm the king - Saul's fate was inGod's hands, not his.

Saul recognised David's nobility and integrity, and acknowledgedthe inevitable: David would surely be king, and Saul's own sonswould not rule Israel. Saul, sensibly, pleaded in turn with Davidnot to harm his family when he had the power to do so, to whichDavid agreed. Of course, given Saul's past erratic behaviour, thiscould not be the end of the story and so David retreated to thesafety of his mountain stronghold just in case Saul should decidethat he wasn't so keen on David succeeding him after all. Somehowwe just know there's more to come...

To Ponder

This would make a great film scene! How do youthink the writer is trying to portray the two main characters?

What, if any, is the Christian message to befound in this passage?

If you don't already know the outcome, how do youthink the story will end? Happily or tragically? Why?

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