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13. David Flees

December 17, 2009

Text:      I Samuel 21:1-22:23

Outline:      I. David Seeks Help      I Samuel 21:1-9

                         II. David Goes into Enemy Territory      I Samuel 21:10-15

                        III. David Takes Proper Precautions      I Samuel 22:1-5

                        IV. Saul Kills the Innocent      I Samuel 22:6-19

                        V. David Takes Responsibility      I Samuel 22:20-23


     David leaves Jonathan and his wife at Gibeah and goes to Nob where Abimelech is priest. Abimelech trembles when he sees David alone, probably thinking something bad has happened in that David was a very successful leader of men against the Philistines. David explains he is on a secret mission for Saul and needs food for himself and his men whom he will meet later. Abimelech explains that he has no bread except that which is consecrated. He offers it to David if he and his men are “clean” as defined by the Law. Saul’s head shepherd was also there and over hears their conversation. Before leaving, David asks for weapons. The only weapon is Goliath’s sword which David left there and he takes it.

     David leaves and goes to Gath in Philistine territory. But those people fear David so David acted as if he were insane until he could plan his next move and leave. David goes to the cave of Adallum, near his family home and Bethlehem where he meets with his family, revealing all that has happened. Others in the area were discontent with Saul and pledged their allegiance to David [they probably were also aware that Samuel had anointed David years before]. David now has 400 fighting men who are familiar with all of Judah’s landscape. David, his family, and his men go to Mizpah in Moab asking for refuge for his family until things settle down and David could come out of hiding. But a prophet named Gad [perhaps from the tribe of Gad on the east side of the Jordan River] advised David to return to Judah.

     Saul hears that David has been located, chastises his fellow Benjamites for not keeping him informed, and compliments the loyalty of his chief shepherd. The king sends for Abimelech and the other priests at Nob accusing them of conspiring against him, their king, and accommodating David with bread, a sword, and seeking the Lord on his behalf. Abimelech responds telling Saul that David is one of his most loyal servants. They were unaware of the jealousy that Saul had toward David. Saul orders the prophets killed but his guards refused. Saul then orders his chief shepherd to kill them, which he does. He also killed all the people and animals living in Nob.

     Abiathar, son of Abimelech, escaped and joined up with David. When David hears what happened, he feels responsible and offers Abiathar safety with him.


     1. When dealing with the enemy, there is a time to fight and a time to flee. Before setting either plan in motion. take time to seek the Lord’s Will. If you must flee, don’t run scared but run with the confidence that God is in the lead.

     2. Sometimes a former outside enemy of God can be less of a problem than the current internal enemy of God. Be discerning when dealing with both past and present enemies of God so He can lead you.

     3. Consider your family and their safety with respect to the battle you have been called to fight. They must be protected, not exposed to harm.

     4. One’s support in battling the enemy will come from those who also have been wronged or oppressed. Accept their help. Lead them as you are led by God.

     5. A loss of face, a loss of pride, and/or a loss of support will cause God’s enemies to do insane things to innocent people. There are sometimes casualties in the battles between right and wrong. But in the end, right always triumphs over wrong.

     6. Take responsibility in the war between right and wrong and do what’s right. Grieve over the loss of those innocent but offer protection to those depending on your righteous leadership.

     7. Deception does not always work. Unless threatened with harm, always be truthful. The taking of innocent life is the gravest of sins. We are called to fight and confront the unrighteous, not the righteous. Verify the TRUTH, right from wrong, before taking action.


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