1 Samuel 24


After the Philistine raid had ended, Saul returned, and he quickly focused his attention on David. It was not long before Saul received a report that David was in the wilderness of Engedi. Saul wasted no time and gathered three thousand soldiers to search for the fugitive. Saul takes leave from the group to use the bathroom in a cave near some sheepfolds. David had hidden in the innermost parts of that very cave. What made Saul choose that cave? Why did David hide in that particular cave? These events remind the reader that God superintends all things and that this was no accident. Imagine the surprise of David's men when they realize that Saul is in their cave and he is alone. David's men see this as the opportunity that God predicted and they encouraged him to seize the opportunity and strike the enemy. David moves with great stealth toward Saul in the dark cave. Saul's life was at risk, and he had no idea the danger that lurked in the darkness. David took his sword, and the men must have been surprised when he cut a corner of Saul's robe. Even cutting Saul's robe did not sit well with David and his heart struck him. David was afflicted with guilt because he had snipped a corner off of Saul's robe and Saul was the Lord's anointed. David persuaded his men with these passionate words not to attack Saul. Saul finished and then he exited the cave to be on his way. 

Let's Work This Out

David's men must have wondered why David had responded as he did, but they may have been surprised by what took place next. Once Saul traveled a safe distance, David went out of the cave and called Saul. Can you imagine what David's men thought when he walked out of the cave and began to address Saul and his three thousand soldiers? David's words are respectful and gentle as he bows to the ground. David calls Saul my Lord the king, and with tremendous emotion, he tried to make his father-in-law see that he was being manipulated by certain men who stood to profit by removing David. David offers his actions as proof. He could have killed Saul, and some of his men had made that recommendation. David spared Saul because he was the Lord's anointed. H offers proof of Saul's danger by presenting him with the sliced material from the corner of Saul's robe. David is self-deprecating and states that Saul was wasting his time seeking him, for David was no more a threat than a single flea on a dead dog. David concluded his speech by asking God to be his judge. Saul was deeply moved by the words of David and he called him son. He began to weep aloud and acknowledged that David had been more righteous than he. He recognized that David must not have considered him as an enemy or else he would have murdered him while he had the chance. Saul prayed that God would reward David because he had refrained from murdering the king. Saul finally seems to understand that David would one day be king. Saul requests an oath from David that he would not wipe out his family. Saul's request seemed reasonable, and David agrees to do it. If David did not kill the king, he would have no reason to kill the descendants of the king. Saul returned home, but David went up to the stronghold.

Things To Consider:

  • Why does anger consume us?
  • How can we discipline our emotions?
  • Why do you think God led David to that particular cave?
  • Why do you think David was so bothered by the thought of killing Saul?
  • How do you now when it is God and when it is something else?
  • How can we respect our God-given leaders?
  • How difficult do you think it was to convince his men that they should not kill Saul?
  • Why does David see the opportunity to kill Saul differently than his men?
  • What posture should we take toward those in leadership over us even when they may be in the wrong?
  • Who struck David's heart?
  • What does David's speech tell us about his attitude toward God and Saul?
  • Does David offer false humility? What makes you think this?
  • What does Saul's declaration tell us about Saul's thoughts toward David?