1 Samuel 23 & 24

by | Nov 29, 2023 | 1 Samuel, Old Testament

David has departed from the cave @ Adullam, and is in the forest of Hereth.


To rob the threshing floors is to take the grain after it has been separated from the husk.
The Philistines waited for the grain to be processed, then went to steal it after the work was done, and the grain was ready to eat.

Technically, saving Keilah from the Philistines was Saul’s responsibility.
Jealousy kept him from his job, and turned his efforts in a sinful direction.
Self-preservation in Saul’s heart would have allowed another city to be attacked, and numerous people killed, injured, or left without food.
Such is the case when we are most interested in ourselves.

Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.
If we sow selfishness, one of the harvests will be other people having to suffer b/c of our lack of assistance.


Notice the heart of David.
He is a shepherd at heart, and he cares about God’s people.
He could have easily said that it wasn’t his problem, and left it up to Saul, but he didn’t.
He could have complained about how difficult and unfair life was, and he would have been right
He could have given valid reasons why he shouldn’t do Saul’s job for him, but he didn’t.
He didn’t wait for his problems to go away before he was willing to help others.

There was a need, but he first prayed, and then obeyed.
First pray, and then obey.

NOTE– Remember previously how David acted on his own when he got bread from Ahimelech, the priest at Nob.
That resulted in the death of many.
David was previously motivated by fear, and acted on his own, with terrible results.
Now he is learning to seek the Lord, and to depend upon God’s guidance.


David’s men speak candidly to their leader.
They had the freedom to do that.
Good leaders will create an atmosphere where people can share honestly about their fears.


Notice David’s willingness to continue to ask of God.
It seems as though he is asking again b/c of the fear that is in the hearts of his men.
Notice that God doesn’t rebuke David for asking again.

I believe that David is asking again not for his sake, but for the sake of his men, to give them assurance.

Matthew 7:8 7“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. qvb://0/anchor/88For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.

James 1:5-8 5If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

NOTE– Israel has an ungodly king, who is neglecting his job.
God still cares about his people, and takes care of them through someone else.
When those who should protect fail in that job, please remember that the Lord is our shield and provider.

23:5, 6

Abiathar was the only priest who survived Saul’s slaughter at Nob.
He escaped with the ephod, which the priests wore in their service to the Lord.

It was a garment that was like a bib that covered the chest and back of the priest.
In the front, 12 different stones were mounted, and they represented the 12 tribes of Israel.
There was a pouch in the front of the ephod, and it held the Urim and the Thummim.
Believed to be 2 stones by which the will of God was determined.
Yes or no questions were asked, and the stones withdrawn.
It was an elementary way to determine the will of God for OT saints.

Today, the Christian has the word of God, the Spirit of God, and the Body of Christ.

23: 7, 8

It is amazing how a backslidden man will misinterpret God’s saving actions as an opportunity for him to commit sin.
David was at Keilah to save them.
Saul came to believe it was so that he could kill him.

Isaiah 5:20, 21 20 Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! 21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, And prudent in their own sight!


God used the prophet Gad to speak to David of many things during this season of David’s life.
David was protected by God

In this incident, David seeks the Lord about two things…

  1. The truth re. Saul coming for David.
  2. The allegiance of the men of Keilah to David


Notice that David’s asking of God was followed by David obeying God.
Some may have thought that the men of Keilah would be so thankful for David’s help, that they would never betray him.
Perhaps they knew of Saul’s brutality against the people of Nob.
They wanted to save themselves.
It was good that David listened to the Lord instead of anyone else.


David experienced the protection of God.

23:15, 16

NOTE– David’s enemies couldn’t find him, but his friends found him easily.
NOTE– Jonathan strengthened David in the truths of God.
We do much more for our friends when we strengthen them in God’s truths than when we simply sympathize with them and listen to their story.

23:17, 18

Jonathan was sure about God’s promises to David.
He encouraged David about the present and about the future.
1 Thess. 3:2, 3 2and sent Timothy…to establish you and encourage (parakaleo) you concerning your faith, 3that no one should be shaken by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we are appointed to this.


Saul is so warped in his thinking that he uses the NAME of the Lord to bless these men who are willing to betray innocent blood.
Compassion- to commiserate, to have pity, to spare


Saul gets close, but God once again protects His servant David.


The goats of En Gedi still roam that area. En Gedi is a ravine which has a waterfall at the top of the ravine, and a stream running through it. It is on the western edge of the Jordan River Valley. The area has many caves, wild goats, and conies, which are a large rodent that resembles a solid-colored raccoon.


“Sheepfold”-This indicates that the caves were large, and suitable for housing flocks of sheep.

Saul had to take a break to relieve himself in a cave.
The Hebrew phrase used here means literally, “to cover his feet.”
Some of these caves are quite large.
One cave found in Syria could accommodate 4000 men.

David could see Saul well, for his eyes were used to the dark, but Saul didn’t notice David.
NOTE- With so many caves available, why was it that Saul chose this one?
ANSWER- Because God is working in the life of David, and molding him into a King
He shall be a King who trust the Lord, and shall not advance himself in carnal ways.
This was a test for David.


There is no Biblical record of God ever saying this to David.
Perhaps the men feel that they were speaking for God.
David’s men, with their good intentions, are encouraging their leader to sin.
David ignores their advice, but does humiliate the King by cutting off some of his robe.
Saul takes of his robe to go to the bathroom, and David cuts off the corner of his robe.


David’s heart was somehow wrong about this action.
Most men would have criticized David for not killing Saul.
David recognizes that God had put Saul on the throne.
David realized that it was God who should be the one to remove Saul from the throne.

David is convicted about not honoring the King of Israel.
It was rude to cut off part of his robe.

To cut off the edge, or fringe of the robe, was to dishonor the man.
The symbol of his authority was found on the fringe, or edge of his garment.

Back in chapter 15, Saul had torn the fringe off the robe of the prophet Samuel.

1 Samuel 15:28 So Samuel said to him, “The LORD has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today…”
In rejecting Samuel’s authority as prophet, Saul lost his authority as king.

Luke 8:44-48 came up behind Him, and touched the fringe of His cloak; and immediately her hemorrhage stopped.
In doing this, she was submitting herself to the authority of Christ, and she was instantly made well.

Mark 6:56 …they were laying the sick in the market places, and entreating Him that they might just touch the fringe of His cloak; and as many as touched it were being cured.

24:6, 7

David was not treating Saul according to Saul’s behavior, but according to the position that Saul held by the determination of God.
David would also not be guilty of “looking away” while one of his men killed Saul w/o David’s approval.

David was absolutely unwilling to disobey God for his seeming gain

  1. David could have rationalized disobedience:
      1. Self-defense – “Saul was out to kill me”
      2. “God promised me the throne anyway”
      3. “Even Jonathan knows that I deserve the throne”
      4. “I couldn’t restrain my men”
      5. “I’m just so tired of running and fighting Saul”
  2. Milk

David knew God’s principle, even if it wasn’t written by Paul yet: Don’t be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21)

Romans 13:1-2 Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.

This was written by Paul the apostle, who himself was under one of the most ungodly authorities in the history of the church.
The Roman Empire killed millions of Christians, and yet he wrote to be in subjection to the ungodly authorities over us.
How much more should we, who are free to meet in church publicly without fear of death, submit to the authorities over us?

Does that mean everything they do is right?
No, but we are instructed regarding that as well:
1 Timothy 2:1-4 …I urge that entreaties {and} prayers, petitions {and} thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
So, they may not be saved, but God wants them to be. They may not be godly, but God has placed them there for a purpose.
The next time you feel like cutting off the edge of their robe, pray for them instead.


This is one of the reasons that David was called “a man after God’s own heart”.
He was incredibly humble when led by the Spirit of God.
In this, David was so much like Jesus.

24:9, 10

Even in this interaction with Saul, David maintains a great degree of respect for Saul.
He acknowledges him as the Lord’s anointed.


He calls him “my father”. He is Saul’s son-in-law.


TLB- Perhaps the Lord will kill you for what you are trying to do to me, but I will never harm you
God would eventually judge Saul, and Saul would lose the throne, and David would ascend to the throne.
David would not push that scenario forward in his own strength.
He would wait for God to do it, even though it meant that David would continue to live in fear and danger.

  1. As Christians- When we are wronged, there are a number of scenarios that might take place. We take revenge upon that person.
    This is clearly wrong to do.
    Romans 12:19-21 19Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20Therefore“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”
    21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
  2. We take no action against that person, but we harbor anger, bitterness, or hatred against them.
    We take no action, but we secretly hope that God will destroy them.
    This is also clearly wrong.
    Doing nothing against someone is a good start, but what is in our hearts matters greatly.
    We can take no action against someone, but if we have hatred in our hearts, we are missing God’s command.
    Ephesians 4:26, 27 26“Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27nor give place to the devil.
    Hebrews 12:14, 15 14Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: 15looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;1 John 4:20 20If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? 21And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.
  3.  The right thing is to love them, pray for them, bless them.
    Matthew 5:43-48
    43“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? 48Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Galatians 6:10 10Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.


An ancient proverb which declares that a wicked man does wicked things.
David did not want to be a part of anything like that.
24:14 David diminishes his own place in life. He is not arrogant or self-promoting.


Saul is utterly disarmed by David’s kindness

  1. He had lived on the delusion that David was out to get him; David’s refusal to kill Saul when he had the chance proved beyond doubt that this was false
    1. We see the spiritual power of a demonstration of love to soften the heart of one far from God
  2. Saul testifies to David’s righteousness and recognizes David’s ultimate destiny; then Saul and David go their separate ways
    1. Saul simply wants the same kind of promise from David that David made to Jonathan in 1 Samuel 20:13-16
      Unfortunately, Saul is like the person who weeps at the sermon, claims to recognize his sinful ways, asks for prayer, and then steps outside of the church and forgets everything.