Beginning of the End


The Noble Spirit of David

This chapter is based on 1 Samuel 22:20-23; 23 to 27.

“One of the sons of Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped and fled after David. And Abiathar told David that Saul had killed the Lord’s priests. So David said to Abiathar, ‘I knew that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would surely tell Saul. I have caused the death of all the persons of your father’s house. Stay with me; do not fear. For he who seeks my life seeks your life, but with me you shall be safe.’” BOE 334.1

Still hunted by the king, David’s brave group retreated to the wilderness of Ziph. At this time, when there were so few bright spots in the path of David, he received an unexpected visit from Jonathan. These two friends told each other about their many experiences, and Jonathan cheered the heart of David, saying, “Do not fear, for the hand of Saul my father shall not find you. You shall be king over Israel, and I shall be next to you. Even my father Saul knows that.” The hunted fugitive was greatly encouraged. “So the two of them made a covenant before the Lord. And David stayed in the woods, and Jonathan went to his own house.” BOE 334.2

The Ziphites sent word to Saul in Gibeah that they knew where David was hiding and that they would guide the king to his retreat. But David, warned of their intentions, changed his location, seeking safety in the mountains between Maon and the Dead Sea. BOE 334.3

Again a message came to Saul, “‘Take note! David is in the Wilderness of En Gedi.’ Then Saul took three thousand chosen men from all Israel, and went to seek David and his men on the Rocks of the Wild Goats.” David had only six hundred men in his company. The son of Jesse waited in a secluded cave for God’s guidance about what to do. BOE 334.4

As Saul was making his way up the mountains, he entered alone the very cave in which David and his people were hiding. When David’s men saw this they urged their leader to kill Saul. The king was now in their power—certain evidence that God Himself had delivered the enemy into their hand so that they could destroy him. David was tempted to take this view of the situation, but the voice of conscience spoke to him. “Touch not the anointed of the Lord.” BOE 334.5

David’s men reminded their commander of the words of God, “‘Behold, I will deliver your enemy into your hand, that you may do to him as it seems good to you.’ And David arose and secretly cut off a corner of Saul’s robe.” BOE 335.1

Saul got up and went out of the cave to continue his search, when a voice came to his startled ears, “My lord the king!” Who was speaking to him? The son of Jesse, the man he had so long wanted to kill. David bowed, then said to Saul: “Look, this day your eyes have seen that the Lord delivered you today into my hand in the cave, and someone urged me to kill you. But my eye spared you, and I said, ‘I will not stretch out my hand against my lord, for he is the Lord’s anointed.’ Moreover, my father, see! Yes, see the corner of your robe in my hand! For in that I cut off the corner of your robe, and did not kill you, know and see that there is neither evil nor rebellion in my hand, and I have not sinned against you. Yet you hunt my life to take it.” BOE 335.2

Saul was deeply moved as he realized how completely he had been in the power of the man whom he was trying to kill. With softened spirit he exclaimed, “‘Is this your voice, my son David?’ And Saul lifted up his voice and wept.” Then he declared to David: “You are more righteous than I; for you have rewarded me with good, whereas I have rewarded you with evil. ... For if a man finds his enemy, will he let him get away safely? Therefore may the Lord reward you with good for what you have done to me this day. And now I know indeed that you shall surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in your hand.” And David made a commitment to Saul that he would not cut off his descendants. BOE 335.3

David could not rely on the king’s promises, so when Saul returned home, he stayed in the mountains. BOE 335.4

After evil-minded men say and do wicked things against the Lord’s servants, the Spirit of the Lord works with them, and sometimes they humble their hearts in front of those they have tried to destroy. But as they again open the door to the evil one, the old hatred rekindles and they return to the same actions that they repented of. Satan can use such souls with far greater power than before, because they have sinned against greater light. BOE 335.5