Shmuel I Twenty-Two: David on the Move

David is on the run again, and this time he goes to the cave of Adullam. I’m not sure where that is, but it can’t be too far, because his father and brothers all hear about it and come to visit. “And every man who was in distress, and every man who had a creditor, and every man of embittered spirit, gathered themselves to him, and he became a chief over them, and there were about four hundred men with him (Samuel I 22:2).” In all honesty, it sounds like David became some kind of cult leader to the downtrodden of society. He’s gathering men with problems in a cave, and is clearly developing some kind of following. This is exactly the kind of thing that would probably provoke Saul, so we’ll have to see how it’ll pan out.

David moves to Moab, and like a good Jewish boy, asks if his mother and father can come too. “And he brought them before the king of Moab; and they stayed with him all the time that David was in the stronghold (Samuel I 22:4).” This could be to protect them from Saul’s ongoing wrath, or simply to keep the family together. Either way, it endears me to David’s character. At this point, a prophet named Gad comes to David, and tells him to go back to the land of Judah. This prophet hasn’t been previously introduced, and I’m not familiar with him, so don’t know if we’ll see him again. He seems to be more of a minor, one-time character, than Samuel, who is the prophet leader at this time in history.

Saul hears that David is on the move. He admonishes his followers for not telling him about Jonathan’s relationship with David, and for the disloyalty in their ranks. “Then Doeg the Edomite, who was appointed over Saul’s servants, answered and said, ‘I saw the son of Jesse come to Nob, to Ahimelech the son of Ahitub (Samuel I 22:9).'” Saul sends to Ahimelech, and accuses him of rebellion for supporting David. But Ahimelech defends David as a loyal servant, although Saul doesn’t listen. “And the king said, ‘You shall surely die, Ahimelech, you and all your father’s household (Samuel I 22:16).'” The priests from the city of Nob are all killed, as well as the civilians, children, and animals of that city.

One of Ahimelech’s sons escapes, and runs to David. David tries to console him. “Stay with me; fear not, for he who seeks my soul seeks your soul, for you shall be in safeguard with me (Samuel I 22:23).” Saul’s paranoia has now lead to the unnecessary deaths of a whole population. How will the morale of the people recover from this?

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