1 Samuel 27:1-12
27 David thought, “Some day the powerful hand of Saul will destroy me. So the best thing I can do is escape. I’ll go to the land of the Philistines. Then Saul will stop looking for me everywhere in Israel. His hand won’t be able to reach me.” 2 So David and his 600 men left Israel. They went to Achish, the king of Gath. He was the son of Maoch. 3 David and his men settled down in Gath near Achish. Each of David’s men had his family with him. David had his two wives with him. They were Ahinoam from Jezreel and Abigail from Carmel. Abigail was Nabal’s widow. 4 Saul was told that David had run away to Gath. So he didn’t look for David anymore. 5 David said to Achish, “If you are pleased with me, give me a place in one of your country towns. I can live there. I don’t really need to live near you in the royal city.” 6 So on that day Achish gave David the town of Ziklag. It has belonged to the kings of Judah ever since that time. 7 David lived in Philistine territory for a year and four months. 8 Sometimes David and his men would go up and attack the Geshurites. At other times they would attack the Girzites or the Amalekites. All of those people had lived in the land that reached all the way to Shur and Egypt. They had been there for a long time. 9 When David would attack an area, he wouldn’t leave a man or woman alive. But he would take their sheep, cattle, donkeys, camels and clothes. Then he would return to Achish. 10 Achish would ask, “Who did you attack today?” David would answer, “The people who live in the Negev Desert of Judah.” Or he would answer, “The people in the Negev Desert of Jerahmeel.” Or he would answer, “The people in the Negev Desert of the Kenites.” 11 David wouldn’t leave a man or woman alive to be brought back to Gath. He thought, “They might tell on us. They might tell Achish who we really attacked.” That’s what David did as long as he lived in Philistine territory. 12 Achish trusted David. He thought, “David has made himself smell very bad to his people, the Israelites. So he’ll serve me forever.”
This Chapter tells a story of David in a time where he was prone to making bad decisions.
Firstly, he leaves Israel in fear of Saul, rather than trusting God’s anointing on him as the next King. Then he becomes the servant of an idol worshipping king who is a sworn enemy of Israel. He then maintains his existence by becoming a roving bandit, claiming the spoils of
victory for himself and paying tribute to Achish.
Although this is clearly a low point in David’s life, I love it as a biographical record of David’s life. Atheist scholars will argue that David’s life falls into the same “fable/legend” category of literature as Homer’s story of the Greek protagonist Odysseus. The story that is recounted in 1 Samuel 27 and many other parts of David’s life suggest otherwise: Characters of fable and legend overcome their weaknesses
and opposition to become the Hero of the story, but here we see David acting in a very human way.
David’s life echoes the walk that most Christians experience, one of progress with numerous setbacks and experiences of failure. Ultimately, it is only through faith that we see David achieving his success.
Lord, help us to see David’s life as a shadow of the coming of Christ and grow our faith.
Written by Justin Ware