24 July 1 Samuel 29:1-11

24 July.  The Philistines attack the Israelites in the Vale of Jezreel

“The Philistines gathered all their soldiers at Aphek. Israel camped by the spring at Jezreel. The Philistine kings were marching with their groups of 100 and 1,000 men. David and his men were marching behind Achish [the Philistine king of Gath].”

“The Philistine commanders asked, ‘What are these Hebrews doing here?’ Achish told them, ‘This is David. He served Saul king of Israel, but he has been with me for over a year now. I have found nothing wrong in David since the time he left Saul.’”

“But the Philistine commanders were angry with Achish and said, ‘Send David back to the city you gave him. He cannot go with us into battle. If he does, we’ll have an enemy in our own camp. He could please his king by killing our own men. David is the one the Israelites dance and sing about, saying:

“Saul has killed thousands of his enemies,

But David has killed tens of thousands.” ‘”

So Achish called David and said to him, ‘As surely as the LORD lives, you are loyal. I would be pleased to have you serve in my army. Since the day you came to me, I have found no wrong in you. But the other kings don’t trust you. Go back in peace. Don’t do anything to displease the Philistine kings.’”

“David asked, ‘What wrong have I done? What evil have you found in me from the day I came to you until now? Why can’t I go and fight your enemies, my lord and king?’”

“Achish answered, ‘I know you are as good as an angel from God. But the Philistine commanders have said, “David must not go with us into battle.” Early in the morning you and your master’s servants should leave. Get up as soon as it is light and go.’”

“So David and his men got up early in the morning and went back to the country of the Philistines. And the Philistines went up to Jezreel.”

          (1 Samuel 29:1-11)

 

 

In today’s passage, the Philistine forces moved north along the Mediterranean coastal plain near Mount Carmel to attack the Israelites in the Vale of Jezreel (see 16 on the map on 8 July). David and his 600 mercenaries were marching behind their employer, Achish, the Philistine king of Gath, expecting to join in the battle against the Israelites under Saul.

But several of the other Philistine commanders noticed this contingent of Hebrew mercenaries, and began to feel uncomfortable when they realised that they were commanded by David – who was clearly still very popular in Israel. They went to see Achish and objected to the presence of David’s men: “He cannot go with us into battle. If he does, we’ll have an enemy in our own camp.” (1 Samuel 29:4)

So Achish called David, explained the opposition of the other commanders to David’s mercenaries, and ordered David to return to Ziklag the next morning before the battle began.

In the event, this turned out to be highly fortuitous, as not only was David saved from fighting against his own people, but he was also able to come to the rescue of the territory that the Philistines had left undefended as they’d moved north to attack the Israelites.

The photo (by heatkernel) shows the view from Mount Carmel across the Coastal Plain to the Mediterranean Sea.

You can read more about David and Saul @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/biblejourney2/30-israel-becomes-a-kingdom-under-saul-and-david/saul-is-killed-by-the-philistines-at-mt-gilboa/


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