16 July 1 Samuel 21:10-11,22:1-5

16 July.  David’s family seek refuge in Moab

“That day David ran away from Saul and went to Achish king of Gath. But the servants of Achish said to him, ‘This is David, the king of the Israelites. He’s the man they dance and sing about, saying, “Saul has killed thousands of his enemies, but David has killed tens of thousands.”’ David paid attention to these words and was very much afraid of Achish king of Gath…”

“David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. When his brothers and other relatives heard that he was there, they went to see him. Everyone who was in trouble, or who owed money, or who was unsatisfied gathered around David, and he became their leader. About 400 men were with him.”

“From there David went to Mizpah in Moab and spoke to the king of Moab. He said, ‘Please let my father and mother come and stay with you until I learn what God is going to do for me.’”

“So he left them with the king of Moab, and they stayed with him as long as David was hiding in the stronghold. But the prophet Gad said to David, ‘Don’t stay in the stronghold. Go to the land of Judah.’ So David left and went to the forest of Hereth.”

         (1 Samuel 21:10-12 & 22:1-5)



Today’s passage portrays a king in the making who has been forced to escape to save his life, and is desperately seeking shelter away from the current monarch who is threatening to kill him.

David fled from the sanctuary at Nob and initially sought refuge with the Philistine king of Gath. However, not only did the servants of King Achish soon remember that David was the man who killed the Philistine champion Goliath, but they also recognised that he was a rival king in the making. They told Achish, “This is David, the king of the Israelites. He’s the man they dance and sing about.” (1 Samuel 21:11)

David quickly realised that he was in danger in Gath, so he feigned insanity by acting like a madman and dribbled down his beard (see 1 Samuel 21:13-15). This terrified King Achish and enabled him to escape from the Philistines.

David was forced to escape to a cave at Adullam, high above the Elah Valley. Hiding in this large cavern, he was visited secretly by all who held a grievance against King Saul, and quickly built up his following to around 400 men.

David soon recognised the danger that Saul presented to his parents, so, to save them, he appealed for protection for his family to the king of Moab (see 6 on the map on 8 July).

David then returned to the vicinity of the ‘stronghold’ at Gibeah, but was soon persuaded to move away to Judah, where he hid from Saul in the Forest of Hereth.

The photo (by Davidbena) shows the hilltop ruins at Adullam, where David hid from Saul.

You can read more about David and Saul @    https://www.thebiblejourney.org/biblejourney2/30-israel-becomes-a-kingdom-under-saul-and-david/saul-becomes-jealous-of-david/

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