Taking Matters into Our Own Hands

1 Samuel 22 3/15/15 SCC


The experience of David and Saul mirrors our life situations. We can see that David is threatened. Saul is the instigator. One is learning to lean of the Lord and his ingenuity to survive. The other is leaning upon himself and has control of circumstances and people to survive. Its one or the other. You reject the Lord and his care you are left to yourself. You learn dependence and the Lord is your strength. You choose.


Limited options can force preoccupation with protecting oneself:

Verse 1: David is attempting to find a way through the morass he is in. There are many huge caves in the limestone hills in that area several of which can accommodate over 400 people. Evidently Davidís family was no longer safe from Saul in Bethlehem. If Saul would attack his own family, there was no telling what he might do to Davidís.


Here David seems to make another important decision under duress. Knowing it was no longer possible to serve his people in Israelís defense force and with him gone only a matter of time before the Philistines invaded Judah and Benjamin he organized hi sown private army. A mixed bag of volunteers something like Robin Hoodís band. In training them Davidís wisdom and patience no doubt go taxed but they served him well. A list of these mighty men and their hometowns is given in 2 Sam 23:8-39.


Verse 2: David now became the leader of a group of people who, for various reasons, had become discontented with Saulís government. They were in distress, in debt and discontented. The domestic affairs of he country seem to have driven these to this kind of decision. This growing movement of support behind David led eventually to his crowning as king of all Israel.


Limited options may extend concern to others who are vulnerable:

Verse 3: Davidís concern for his parents meant a trip from Bethlehem to Moab. Moab was a reasonable place for Davidís parents to seek protection since Davidís great-grandmother, Ruth, was a Moabitess. David may have wanted to secure the support of the Moabites since he could use help from neighboring kingdoms if Saulís antagonism led to full-scale war. Yet Davidís site is set on what God will do.

NB: With limited options at our disposal we can depend upon God to advance our cause even when things still look bleak and we have to find a way to apply righteousness to our situation.

Verse 4: Returning from Moab David went to the stronghold or fortress. The name preserved later is called Masada. Here King Herod the Great build a stronghold used later by Jewish Zealots in their last stand against the might of Rome. The natural defenses of this stronghold have David the imagery, which would become incorporated into the Psalms.

Verse 5: Gad appears to have been a prophet who remained with David throughout his reign. He tells David to stop hiding outside the land of Israel. David is to find his sanctuary in Israel, specifically in the territory of his own tribe, Judah. It is Judah, after all, who first accepts David as their king. The exact whereabouts of this forest are not entirely clear, but from reading 2 Sam 18:8 it is a dangerous place, one which Saul and his men will be reluctant to enter.

PT: All of this to say for David it seems bleak. He is mobile but he is threatened. But now what about Saul?



The schemes of the faithless are based in accusation 6-9

Verse 6: This man is paranoid. He never seems to be without that spear or without what appears to be a host of bodyguards. The domestic affairs of the country seem to be sketchy. The foreign affairs are in shambles. Yet here he sits fuming over David. Riveted with tunnel vision.

Verse 7: Saul was aware that some in his army, apparently even some of his tribal kinsmen from Benjamin, had deserted to David. He accuses virtually everyone of being part of a sinister plot against him, when in reality God is the one taking his kingdom from him, due to his own sin.

Verse 8: He showed signs of paranoia when he claimed that Jonathan had encouraged David to ambush him. Not only does Saul accuse Jonathan and David of conspiring against him. Saul accuses Jonathan of leading David astray and of stirring up David against him. He also accuses his servants Ė all of them of a conspiracy. The term conspired appears twice in our text (in verses 8 and 13).

As a reward for their loyalty to Saul, these Benjamites have been given property and positions of authority as political spoils. Do they think that if David becomes king they will enjoy the same spoils? They most certainly will not. And so Saul reminds his servants that they owe him -- big time. And now he wants a payback -- by having them inform him of Davidís whereabouts. (22:8). Saul has lost it.


The schemes of the faithless are characterized by condemning and ridicule 9-16

Verse 9-10: Doeg was obviously loyal to Saul v 9-10. As a result of the guilt Saul heaps upon his servants, Doeg informs Saul of Davidís visit to Ahimelech and Ahimilechís innocent compliance with Davidís requests. Doeg has just recently seen David.

Verse 11: In his mind, not only Ahimelech but all of the priesthood are part of the ďconspiracyĒ against him. Ahimelech and the priests are all summoned to appear before Saul. Saul reacts with retaliation in his quest for power and nothing stands in his way.

Verse 12: This madman now has an audience with the entire priesthood. On this occasion, it is not they who are to pass judgment on Saul but Saul who passes judgment on them. Saul reveals his disdain for both David and Ahimelech by the way he addresses them. He calls them by their fatherís names: ďthe son of JesseĒ (verse 8) and ďthe son of AhitubĒ (verse 12).

Verse 13: He does not seek the facts of the case, but hastens to condemn the priests as traitors to the throne. He does not ask if Ahimelech has betrayed him, but why!

Verse 14: Ahimelech stands up to Saul, speaking on Davidís behalf, and reminding the king that David is not only his most faithful servant but the man whom the people honor, and whom Saul has promoted to positions of power and authority. If all else fails, Saul should at least remember that David is his son-in-law.

Verse 15: Ahimelech appealed to Saul on Davidís behalf much as Jonathan had done earlier. He did not knowingly assist David in any act of conspiracy. And the fact that he assisted David is nothing new or novel, let alone inappropriate. It is certainly not the first time David has come to him, asking him to inquire of the Lord. We can surmise David often inquired of the Lord this way.

Verse 16: Nevertheless this time Saul did not respond to reasonable persuasion v 16. Saulís disregard for the Lordís will is obvious in his command to kill the priests whom God had appointed to serve Him. This punishment was unwarranted and baseless.


The schemes of the faithless are bent on destruction

Verse 17: Saulís soldiers had too much respect for the priesthood to slay the anointed servants of the Lord. Doeg was an Edomite, a foreigner who had less respect for the Mosaic Law. The king pronounces the death sentence, not just upon Ahimelech but upon all the priests who have gathered. As much as these men fear Saul, they are not willing to put the priests to death.

Verse 18-19: Doeg steps up and steps in. He not only obeyed the king but went beyond Saulís command and slaughtered all the men, women, children, and animals in Nob v 19. Nonetheless Saul was also responsible v 21. Earlier Saul had failed to slay all the Amalekites at the Lordís command. Now he was slaying all the Nobites without divine authorization. Saul will now kill the ďking of the JewsĒ (David) and any who support him (like the priests), and he will enlist the help of Gentiles if need be to do so.

Verse 20: God preserved one of Eliís descendants even though 85 other priests died. This man fled to David, so from then on the priesthood was with David rather than Saul.

Verse 21-23: David acknowledged that his deception of Ahimelech was responsible for the slaughter of the priests. David became the protector of the priesthood. The king-elect and the priest-elect now became fellow fugitives from Saul. Psalm 52 provides insight into how David felt during this incident.


So What?

1. God is at work in our situations where our options are limited. Here David knows this when he speaks to the king of Moab. God send Gad. All along God is at work. We have to trust Him.

2. When you harden your heart to the truth or to the God of truth you only have yourself to rely upon. That can work if you have ingenuity or clout. But eventually your sense of inadequacy and exposure necessitates schemes to protect what you are afraid of losing. You will accuse, blame, mock, ridicule, condemn and destroy what you can with whatever you have. Pitiable. No way to live your life.


Ps 52 has 9 verses.

Theme: Treacherous acts (subject) should be condemned by us even tough they will be judged by God (complement).

Author: David.

Historical Setting: when Doeg the Edomite came and told Saul and said to him, ďDavid has come to the house of Ahimelech. This resulted in Doeg killing 85 priests at Nob (1 Samuel 21-22).

Key Passage: verse 1

Structure: The psalm has three paragraphs. In verses 1-4 David condemns Doeg the Edomite. In verses 5-7 David says God will condemn Doeg. In verses 8-9 David praises God notice the 7 ways Doeg is described.

Psa. 52:1 †††††† Why do1. you boast in evil,2. O mighty man?

††††††††† The lovingkindness of God endures all day long.

Psa. 52:2 3.Your tongue devises destruction,

††††††††† Like a sharp razor, O worker of deceit.

Psa. 52:3 4.You love evil more than good,

††††††††† Falsehood more than speaking what is right. †††††††† Selah.

Psa. 52:4 You love all words that devour,

††††††††† O deceitful tongue.

Psa. 52:5††††††† But God will break you down forever; not David

††††††††† He will snatch you up and tear you away from your tent,

††††††††† And uproot you from the land of the living. †† Selah.

Psa. 52:6 The righteous will see and fear,

††††††††† And will laugh at him, saying, notice laugh means to mock or scorn, never humor.

Psa. 52:7 ďBehold, 5. the man who would not make God his refuge,

††††††††† But 6. trusted in the abundance of his riches

††††††††† 7.And was strong in his evil desire.Ē

Psa. 52:8††††††† But as for me, I am like a green olive tree in the house of God;

††††††††† I trust in the lovingkindness of God forever and ever.

Psa. 52:9 I will give You thanks forever, because You have done it,

††††††††† And I will wait on Your name, for it is good, in the presence of Your godly ones.