David, “a man after God’s own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14), became a fugitive hiding from evil King Saul. Following Goliath’s defeat, the young man had become a gifted general in Saul’s army. Whenever “David marched out with the army, (he) was successful in everything Saul sent him to do” (1 Samuel 18:5). Now, Saul was seeking to kill him, and he was a runaway.
Oh, what a remarkable metamorphosis. From general to refugee. From the palace to a cave. From well-trained Israeli troops, to a bunch of rag-tag misfits.
To save himself from Saul, David “took refuge in the cave of Adullam. When David’s brothers and his father’s whole family heard, they went down and joined him there. In addition, every man who was desperate, in debt, or discontented rallied around him, and he became their leader. About four hundred men were with him” (1 Samuel 22:1–2).
Driven by self-centered jealousy, “Saul took three thousand of Israel’s fit young men and went to look for David and his men in front of the Rocks of the Wild Goats. When Saul came to the sheep pens along the road, a cave was there, and he went in to relieve himself. David and his men were staying in the recesses of the cave, so they said to him, ‘Look, this is the day the Lord told you about: “I will hand your enemy over to you so you can do to him whatever you desire.” ’ Then David got up and secretly cut off the corner of Saul’s robe” (1 Samuel 24:2–4).
The Bible must be true because nobody could make this stuff up. Really! Saul went into a cave to relieve himself. Not just any cave, but the cave where David was hiding.
Imagine this. While Saul is taking care of business, David’s men are whispering. “There he is! Stab him in the back with your sword! This must be God’s way of exacting revenge!... Quick!”
But David couldn’t. Wouldn’t. “He said to his men, ‘As the Lord is my witness, I would never do such a thing to my lord, the Lord’s anointed. I will never lift my hand against him, since he is the Lord’s anointed’ ” (1 Samuel 24:6).
“Then Saul left the cave and went on his way. After that, David got up, went out of the cave, and called to Saul, ‘My lord the king!’ ... Someone advised me to kill you, but I took pity on you ... Look, my father! Look at the corner of your robe in my hand, for I cut it off, but I didn’t kill you. Recognize that I’ve committed no crime or rebellion. I haven’t sinned against you even though you are hunting me down to take my life” (1 Samuel 24:7–11).
“Then Saul wept aloud and said to David, ‘You are more righteous than I, for you have done what is good to me though I have done what is evil to you.’ ... ‘Now I know for certain you will be king, and the kingdom of Israel will be established in your hand’ ” (1 Samuel 24:16-20).
David wasn’t driven by self-serving pride. He refused to take a short-cut to the throne and trusted God’s plan and God’s protection. Yep... David was a man with a heart for God!
All Scripture quotation, except as otherwise noted, are from
Holman Bible Publishers’ Christian Standard Bible.