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I Samuel Chapter 22

Memory verses for this week: Hag 1:6 Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.

Introduction: We continue our study on Samuel this week. In last weekís lesson, we studied about David fleeing to Ahimelech, the high priest who was from the line of Eli whom God did not recognize. He obtains food and a weapon from the priest, and then flees to Gath and tries to find safety among the Philistines. They still feared David and he had to pretend to be a crazy man in order to get away from the Philistines.


  1. David in Rejection Gathers Mighty Men

1 Sam 22:1 David therefore departed thence, and escaped to the cave Adullam: and when his brethren and all his father's house heard it, they went down thither to him.

1 Sam 22:2 And every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented, gathered themselves unto him; and he became a captain over them: and there were with him about four hundred men.

David escaped from the men in the town of Gath and comes down to the cave of Adullam. This was approximately 20 miles southwest of Jerusalem. He set up a strong hold here for himself against Saul. It was at this time that he began to attract a following of strong men to himself. First his brothers came whose lives were also in danger from Saul. Then there came out a crowd of the distressed, those in debt, and every one that was discontented. David became a captain over these 400 men. As David drew the distressed to him, the Son of David stands today waiting to help those that are in distress and a far from God.

J. Vernon McGee said this about David gathering his army at this time.

Chapter 22 begins that period in Davidís life when he hides in the caves and dens of the earth. He is learning that the Kingís business does not require haste. God is schooling and training him as He has His other men. During these years when he hides from the presence of Saul who seeks to kill him, he is hunted and hounded. He is driven from pillar to post. He is forced to hide in the forests and caves of the earth to escape the kingís wrath. During this time David describes himself in the following ways: (1) I am hunted like a partridge (1 Sam. 26:20); (2) I am like a pelican of the wilderness (Ps. 102:6); (3) I am like an owl of the desert (Ps. 102:6); (4) My soul is among lions (Ps. 57:4); and (5) They have prepared a net for my steps (Ps. 57:6).

David becomes weary during these years of running away from Saul. When Saul presses him hard, he withdraws to the cave of Adullam, which is a rocky mountain fastness, southwest of Jerusalem, in a valley between Philistia and Hebron. 1

In the book of faith, Hebrews Chapter 11, David is mentioned and how that he wandered in mountains, dens, and caves.

Heb 11:32 And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:

Heb 11:33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,

Heb 11:34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.

Heb 11:35 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:

Heb 11:36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:

Heb 11:37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;

Heb 11:38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

Heb 11:39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:

Heb 11:40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.

II. Davidís Wandering and Dangers

1 Sam 22:3 And David went thence to Mizpeh of Moab: and he said unto the king of Moab, Let my father and my mother, I pray thee, come forth, and be with you, till I know what God will do for me.

1 Sam 22:4 And he brought them before the king of Moab: and they dwelt with him all the while that David was in the hold.

1 Sam 22:5 And the prophet Gad said unto David, Abide not in the hold; depart, and get thee into the land of Judah. Then David departed, and came into the forest of Hareth.

At this time, David moved his very aged father and mother out of the country for their safety. He carried them to the king of Moab and asked that they might stay with him. Jesse, Davidís father, was distantly related to the Moabites. His grandmother was Ruth, the Moabitess, the wife of Boaz.

Ruth 4:10 Moreover Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, have I purchased to be my wife, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance, that the name of the dead be not cut off from among his brethren, and from the gate of his place: ye are witnesses this day. 2

The prophet Gad joined David with a message from the Lord. He was to depart from Adullam and go into the land of Judah. After receiving this message, David went to the forest of Hareth in the mountains of Judah.

1 Sam 22:6 When Saul heard that David was discovered, and the men that were with him, (now Saul abode in Gibeah under a tree in Ramah, having his spear in his hand, and all his servants were standing about him;)

1 Sam 22:7 Then Saul said unto his servants that stood about him, Hear now, ye Benjamites; will the son of Jesse give every one of you fields and vineyards, and make you all captains of thousands, and captains of hundreds;

1 Sam 22:8 That all of you have conspired against me, and there is none that showeth me that my son hath made a league with the son of Jesse, and there is none of you that is sorry for me, or showeth unto me that my son hath stirred up my servant against me, to lie in wait, as at this day?

Saul accuses the tribe of Benjamin of joining with David and Jonathan to conspire against him. Apparently, David had admirers and loyal followers in the tribe of Benjamin. Benjamin was the tribe from which Saul had descended. Saul accuses the tribe of Benjamin of four things.

1. Turning to David despite the fact that Saul had given them a privileged position among the tribes.

2. Joining with Jonathan in protecting David.

3. Keep a secret of the league between David and Jonathan.

4. Lack of sympathy with him and in general encouraging David in his rebellion.


III. Doeg Reveals Davidís Contact with Ahimelech

1 Sam 22:9 Then answered Doeg the Edomite, which was set over the servants of Saul, and said, I saw the son of Jesse coming to Nob, to Ahimelech the son of Ahitub.

1 Sam 22:10 And he inquired of the LORD for him, and gave him victuals, and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine.

Doeg speaks up and tells of how he was present in the tabernacle when David came to Ahimelech. Ahimelech had given David bread and the sword of Goliath, and had also inquired of the Lord for him.


1 Sam 22:11 Then the king sent to call Ahimelech the priest, the son of Ahitub, and all his father's house, the priests that were in Nob: and they came all of them to the king.

1 Sam 22:12 And Saul said, Hear now, thou son of Ahitub. And he answered, Here I am, my lord.

1 Sam 22:13 And Saul said unto him, Why have ye conspired against me, thou and the son of Jesse, in that thou hast given him bread, and a sword, and hast inquired of God for him, that he should rise against me, to lie in wait, as at this day?

King Saul sends a messenger to bring Ahimelech and his family to the king. He questions Ahimelech and asks if he has conspired against Saul by giving the son of Jesse bread and a sword and sought guidance from the Lord for him? Saul intimates that if he had done this, that he was helping David to rise up against him and to lie in wait to this very day.

1 Sam 22:14 Then Ahimelech answered the king, and said, And who is so faithful among all thy servants as David, which is the king's son in law, and goeth at thy bidding, and is honourable in thine house?

1 Sam 22:15 Did I then begin to inquire of God for him? be it far from me: let not the king impute any thing unto his servant, nor to all the house of my father: for thy servant knew nothing of all this, less or more.

1 Sam 22:16 And the king said, Thou shalt surely die, Ahimelech, thou, and all thy father's house.

Ahimelech quickly replies that he has helped David, and questions who better could he help but the very son in law of King Saul. He asks is not David the one that goes at they bidding and is honourable in his house? He goes on to state that he knew nothing of any conspiracy against the king, and really knew nothing at all, neither less or more. Saul is not impressed with his excuse and says that he and his people should all die.

1 Sam 22:17 And the king said unto the footmen that stood about him, Turn, and slay the priests of the LORD; because their hand also is with David, and because they knew when he fled, and did not show it to me. But the servants of the king would not put forth their hand to fall upon the priests of the LORD.

1 Sam 22:18 And the king said to Doeg, Turn thou, and fall upon the priests. And Doeg the Edomite turned, and he fell upon the priests, and slew on that day fourscore and five persons that did wear a linen ephod.

1 Sam 22:19 And Nob, the city of the priests, smote he with the edge of the sword, both men and women, children and sucklings, and oxen, and asses, and sheep, with the edge of the sword.

Saul gives a command to his foot soldiers to turn and slay the priests of the Lord due to them being against him and helping David. But the men feared God, and did not carry out the command. Saul then commands Doeg to turn on the priests and to slay them, and it says he went forth and killed 85 that wore a linen ephod. He then sends him to slaughter those who lived in the town of Nob, both men, women, children, and animals.

1 Sam 22:20 And one of the sons of Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped, and fled after David.

1 Sam 22:21 And Abiathar showed David that Saul had slain the LORD'S priests.

1 Sam 22:22 And David said unto Abiathar, I knew it that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would surely tell Saul: I have occasioned the death of all the persons of thy father's house.

1 Sam 22:23 Abide thou with me, fear not: for he that seeketh my life seeketh thy life: but with me thou shalt be in safeguard.

Abiathar, one of the sons of Ahimelech, escaped and fled after David. He tells David of how Saul had slain the Lordís priests. David tells him that he knew the day he saw Doeg the Edomite there that he would most likely tell Saul. Because off this, David said ďI have occasioned the death of all the persons of thy fatherís house.Ē He promises to help safeguard Abiathar since the one that sought his life was the same one that sought his life.

Matthew Henry said this about Abiathar and his escape.

The escape of Abiathar, the son of Ahimelech, out of the desolations of the priestsí city. Probably when his father went to appear, upon Saulís summons, he was left at home to attend the altar, by which means he escaped the first execution, and, before Doeg and his bloodhounds came to Nob, he had intelligence of the danger, and had time to shift for his own safety. And whither should he go but to David? v. 20. Let those that suffer for the Son of David commit the keeping of their souls to him, 1 Pt. 4:19. He gave David an account of the bloody work Saul had made among the priests of the Lord (v. 21), as the disciples of John, when their master was beheaded, went and told Jesus, Mt. 14:12. And David greatly lamented the calamity itself, but especially his being accessory to it: I have occasioned the death of all the persons of thy fatherís house, v. 22. Note, It is a great trouble to a good man to find himself in any way an occasion of the calamities of the church and ministry. David knew Doegís character so well that he feared he would do some such mischief as this when he saw him at the sanctuary: I knew he would tell Saul. He calls him Doeg the Edomite, because he retained the heart of an Edomite, though, by embracing the profession of the Jewish religion, he had put on the mask of an Israelite. David granted protection to Abiathar. He perceived him to be terrified, as he had reason to be, and therefore bade him not to fear, he would be as careful for him as for himself: With me thou shalt be in safeguard, v. 23. David, having now time to recollect himself, speaks with assurance of his own safety, and promises that Abiathar shall have the full benefit of his protection. It is promised to the Son of David that God will hide him in the shadow of his hand (Isa. 49:2), and, with him, all that are his may be sure that they shall be in safeguard, Ps. 91:1. 2

2 Henry, Matthew, Matthew Henryís Commentary on the Bible, (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers) 1997.


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Prov 4:18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.


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1J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1981 by J. Vernon McGee.

2The King James Version, (Cambridge: Cambridge) 1769.