April 3 Reading: I Samuel 25-27 Commentary
Below is our I Samuel 25-27 commentary from our Beginning to End Bible reading program. You can find an email link at the end of this page to share your thoughts or comments with us.
“Do not destroy him; for who can stretch out his hand against the Lord’s anointed, and be guiltless?…As the Lord lives, the Lord shall strike him, or his day shall come to die, or he shall go out to battle and perish. The Lord forbid that I should stretch out my hand against the Lord’s anointed.” (I Sam. 26:9-11)
I Samuel 25 – Abigail Protects David from Himself
Samuel helped usher in the monarchy of Israel. He’d anointed the man who would lead Israel into their greatest time period to date. Most of all, he’d served as the spiritual leader of Israel for many years. When he died (v. 1), all of Israel gathered together to mourn and bury him at his home town of Ramah.
After Samuel’s death, David and his 600 men kept moving, this time down into the Wilderness of Paran, a desert region in northeast area of Sinai. While there, he was in need of supplies. So he sent 10 of his men to a wealthy farmer in the region by the name of Nabal, asking for whatever food and provisions Nabal could spare to give them (vv. 2-8).
Nabal wanted no part of David. In fact, the words he spoke to David’s messengers were insulting. He essentially accused David of being just another runaway servant and unworthy to help (vv. 10-11).
Needless to say, this message did not sit well with David when he heard back from his messengers about Nabal’s response. He selected 400 of his men to attack Nabal with the intent of wiping out every male within the household (vv. 21-22).
However, one of Nabal’s servants reported the incident to Nabal’s wife Abigail. The servant gave high praise to David and his men for protecting their flocks in the wilderness (vv. 14-16). In contrast, the servant warned Abigail that disaster was about to come on the house because of Nabal’s “scoundrel” like actions (v. 17).
Abigail Saves the Day
Abigail quickly jumped into action. She gathered large amounts of supplies, including food and wine (v. 18). She told her servants to go on before her with the supplies to intercept David before he reached their home. All this she did without reporting her activities to her husband.
When Abigail finally caught up with the David’s war party, she got down off her donkey and threw herself at David’s feet (v. 23). The next 8 verses (24-31) detail her passionate speech to David as she tried to deter him from the oath he’d spoken (vv. 21-22). Some noteworthy statements from her speech include:
1. She took the responsibility on herself for David not receiving supplies…(v. 24),
2. However, she did not present her husband in a positive light, calling him “a fool” (like his name implied)(v. 25).
3. God had sent her to keep David from shedding blood from his own hand (v. 26).
4. She knew David would one day be king and that he was being unjustly persecuted at the present time (vv. 28-29).
5. When David rose to power, she asked to be remembered for her kind deeds (v. 31).
David blessed the Lord for Abigail’s wisdom and thoughtfulness. She had indeed kept him from taking revenge by his own hand (vv. 32-34). In that regard, it seems as though David’s intentions in regards to Nabal were not from the Lord.
Abigail Becomes David’s Wife
David did not pursue Nabal anymore and told Abigail to go in peace (v. 35). When Abigail returned home and told Nabal what she’d done, “his heart died within him, and he became like a stone” (v. 37). We don’t know exactly what that means, but perhaps he had stroke or heart attack. Whatever the cause, in ten days time after this, “the Lord struck Nabal, and he died” (v. 38).
When David heard about Nabal, he praised the Lord for He “pleaded the cause of my reproach from the hand of Nabal, and has kept His servant from evil!” (v. 39). That’s yet another sign that David’s initial intentions were not pure. He recognized Abigail’s role in keeping him from sinning.
David then proposed to Abigail to become his wife. She gladly accepted his invitation and came to live with him (v. 39-41).
We also learn that David took another wife Ahinoam, and that Saul gave his first wife Michal to another man (vv. 42-44).
I Samuel 26 – David Spares Saul Again
After the death of Samuel, we read that Saul again took up his pursuit of David with the intent to kill him. The action again took place in the Wilderness of Ziph. And once again, the Ziphites turn David in (see I Sam. 23:19), telling Saul that David’s camp was located nearby (v. 1-4).
One night, David arose with one of his warriors Abishai, and snuck down into Saul’s encampment. They found Saul again, this time sleeping in the camp with his commander Abner and all the people around him. Saul’s spear was stuck in the ground next to his head (vv. 5-7).
Abishai saw God’s providence in the moment and was ready to strike saying, “God has delivered your enemy into your hand this day. Now therefore, please, let me strike him at once with the spear, right to the earth; and I will not have to strike him a second time!” (v. 8).
But David again restrained one of his men from killing Saul. His comment to Abishai is striking and reveals his reverence for the Lord:
“Do not destroy him; for who can stretch out his hand against the Lord’s anointed, and be guiltless?…As the Lord lives, the Lord shall strike him, or his day shall come to die…The Lord forbid that I should stretch out my hand against the Lord’s anointed” (vv. 9-11).
David was clearly leaving Saul’s fate in the hands of the Lord again. It is interesting to think how David’s life might have turned out differently if he had not been thinking clearly and killed Saul himself.
Instead, David instructed Abishai to take Saul’s spear and jug of water. They were able to do so because the Lord had caused a deep sleep to fall upon the camp (v. 12).
David Reveals His Actions
Last time David spared Saul’s life, he showed some remorse for his actions (of cutting off Saul’s robe)(see I Sam. 24). Here, we get no sense of that. From the top of a nearby hill where Saul can hear his cry, he revealed his actions to Saul.
Instead of regret, David mocked (criticized) Abner for not protecting the king (vv. 15-16). He also questioned why Saul still pursued him, because he doesn’t know what he’s done to deserve Saul’s anger (v. 18).
In light of David’s mercy again, Saul is grieved at his sin. He says, “I have sinned. Return, my son David. For I will harm you no more, because my life was precious in your eyes this day. Indeed I have played the fool and erred exceedingly” (v. 21). But David has seen this script before. There is no way he is returning with Saul. Instead, he takes his case to the Lord in his parting statement to Saul:
“May the Lord repay every man for his righteousness and his faithfulness; for the Lord delivered you into my hand today, but I would not stretch out my hand against the Lord’s anointed. And indeed, as your life was valued much this day in my eyes, so let my life be valued much in the eyes of the Lord, and let Him deliver me out of all tribulation” (vv. 23-24).
I Samuel 27 -David’s “Alliance” With the Philistines
David has had it running from Saul. He remarked to his men, “There is nothing better for me than that I should speedily escape to the land of the Philistines; and Saul will despair of me, to seek me anymore in any part of Israel. So I shall escape out of his hand” (v. 1). So he went to live in the land of the Philistines, under the protection of Achish, king of Gath.
David’s move had the intended effect. Saul quit pursing him (v. 4). Meanwhile, Achish gave David space to live in and oversee the city of Ziklag (v. 6). David lived there for one year and 4 months (v. 7).
While in Ziklag, David convinced the king he was there to serve the interests of the Philistines. David and his men would to out on raiding parties and attack the enemies of Israel that lived near the south/west of Israel (the Geshruites, Girzites, and Amalekites)(v. 8). However, when Achish asked what raids David had gone on, David told him that he was attacking areas belonging to Israel (v. 10).
David got away with this because he “…would save neither man nor woman alive, to bring news to Gath, saying, ‘Lest they should inform on us, saying, ‘Thus David did”” (v. 11). So Achish came to believe that David was entirely loyal to him saying that “…he has made his people Israel utterly abhor him; therefore he will be my servant forever.” (v. 12).
Questions to Consider:
There are times when you have to go the extra mile to make things right with someone. That may mean even accepting the blame or responsibility for something that was not your fault.
In I Sam. 25, a man named Nabal rudely rejected an offer to help David. David was determined to take revenge on the entire household, but Nabal’s wife Abigail stepped in to ask forgiveness of David. Her actions calmed the situation and saved lives. Is there someone you need to stand in the gap for today?
What do you think might have been the outcome of David killing Saul on his own accord and not in the Lord’s timing?
Do you think David’s use of deception against King Achish is justified?
What other points would you want to know about in our I Samuel 25-27 commentary? Email us here with questions or comments.