I Samuel Chapter
Memory verses for this week:
Zec 4:10 For who hath despised the day of small things? for they
shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel
with those seven; they are the eyes of the LORD, which run to and
fro through the whole earth.
Introduction: We continue
our study on Samuel this week. In last week’s lesson, we studied
about David gathering a group of men in the cave of Adullam. Saul
called up the high priests and questions Ahimelech about whether he
helped David. Ahimelech answers King Saul truthfully and tells him
that while he did help David, he thought there was none more highly
esteemed by the King. Saul has both Ahimelech and all the other
priests destroyed plus many of those living in the city of Nob.
Saves Keilah out of the Hands of the Philistines
23:1 Then they told David, saying, Behold, the Philistines fight
against Keilah, and they rob the threshingfloors.
23:2 Therefore David inquired of the LORD, saying, Shall I go and
smite these Philistines? And the LORD said unto David, Go, and smite
the Philistines, and save Keilah.
Keilah was a
town in the plain about eight miles northwest of Hebron. The
Philistines were robbing the people of their newly harvested and
threshed grain. Some men come and report to David what is happening.
David wanted to go and help, but showed wisdom in first inquiring of
the Lord as to whether he should go or not. So many times when we
want to do some great thing, we move forward quickly without ever
consulting God. If it is important, always know that waiting on the
Lord and asking His advice is the smartest thing a man or woman can
My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments:
For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to
Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck;
write them upon the table of thine heart:
So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God
Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
time to inquire of God, and God directs him to go and to smite the
Philistines and save the people of Keilah.
23:3 And David's men said unto him, Behold, we be afraid here in
Judah: how much more then if we come to Keilah against the armies of
23:4 Then David inquired of the LORD yet again. And the LORD
answered him and said, Arise, go down to Keilah: for I will deliver
the Philistines into thine hand.
23:5 So David and his men went to Keilah, and fought with the
Philistines, and brought away their cattle, and smote them with a
great slaughter. So David saved the inhabitants of Keilah.
David’s men feared the Philistines, and did not think it wise for
them to go up and to attack them. God had given David orders to go,
and they should have had the faith to go forth. David goes again to
the Lord and asks if they should really go. God again assures David
that he will give him the victory over the Philistines. The men
follow David this time and they go down and won a great victory.
They smote the Philistines with a great slaughter and brought their
cattle back with them.
Prepares to Capture David
23:6 And it came to pass, when Abiathar the son of Ahimelech fled to
David to Keilah, that he came down with an ephod in his hand.
Ahimelech’s son, making him the eleventh high priest in succession
from Aaron. Abiathar had escaped when Doeg the Edomite had slew his
father and 85 other priests. In last week’s lesson, we closed with
Abiathar coming to David in the cave of Adullam. It says he fled now
to the town of Keilah and came to David with an ephod in his hand.
An ephod was a priestly garment.
23:7 And it was told Saul that David was come to Keilah. And Saul
said, God hath delivered him into mine hand; for he is shut in, by
entering into a town that hath gates and bars.
23:8 And Saul called all the people together to war, to go down to
Keilah, to besiege David and his men.
23:9 And David knew that Saul secretly practiced mischief against
him; and he said to Abiathar the priest, Bring hither the ephod.
When Saul learned that David
was in the town of Keilah, he mobilized his forces to go and trap
David in the walled town. Even though King Saul was far from the
Lord at this time, he says in verse 7 that God had delivered David
into his hand. We need to stay close to the Lord and be sure that
the feelings we have are truly from God. There are many spirits in
the world, but we are warned to try the spirits, whether they be of
God or not.
4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether
they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the
4:2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth
that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:
4:3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come
in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist,
whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is
it in the world.
David hears of Saul’s plans
and immediately inquires of God as to whether Saul would come up or
not. He tells Abiathar to bring the ephod to him.
III. David Calls on the
Lord for Instructions
23:10 Then said David, O LORD God of Israel, thy servant hath
certainly heard that Saul seeketh to come to Keilah, to destroy the
city for my sake.
23:11 Will the men of Keilah deliver me up into his hand? will Saul
come down, as thy servant hath heard? O LORD God of Israel, I
beseech thee, tell thy servant. And the LORD said, He will come
that God was omniscient… meaning that he is all knowing. He knew
that God would know exactly what Saul would do. God knows our hearts
too and knows what we will do. We may have the best of intentions,
but we may not come through for someone when they need our help. But
God knows even our weaknesses and what we will and will not truly
do. David asks God whether the men of Keilah would deliver him up to
Saul in verse 12.
23:12 Then said David, Will the men of Keilah deliver me and my men
into the hand of Saul? And the LORD said, They will deliver thee up.
23:13 Then David and his men, which were about six hundred, arose
and departed out of Keilah, and went whithersoever they could go.
And it was told Saul that David was escaped from Keilah; and he
forbare to go forth.
think after a man and his followers came to your rescue, that you
would be loyal to him and protect him from one who means him harm.
God tells him that King Saul would definitely come down, and warns
David that the men of Keilah would turn him over to Saul. David
leaves Keilah, and Saul then changes his plan. While it is difficult
to not find fault in these men, we must realize that King Saul had
been mad about taking David. He has just killed all 86 of the
priests of Nob and destroyed many innocent women and children. They
surely knew about this, and to help David would bring the King’s
wrath down on them. It says when David left the town, he now had 600
men with him. Success has a tendency to draw others to the one with
the success, and David was a special man truly blessed of God.
Henry pointed out that David inquired of God twice to seek wisdom
from the Lord.
upon the case are likewise very particular. God allows us to be so
in our addresses to him: "Lord, direct me in this matter, about
which I am now at a loss.’’ He does indeed invert the due order of
his queries, but God in his answer puts him into method. That
question should have been put first, and was first answered, "Will
Saul come down, as thy servant has heard?’’ "Yea,’’ says the oracle,
"he will come down; he has resolved it, is preparing for it, and
will do it, unless he hear that thou hast quitted the town.’’ "Well,
but if he do come down will the men of Keilah stand by me in holding
the city against him, or will they open to him the gates, and
deliver me into his hand?’’ If he had asked the men (the magistrates
or elders) of Keilah themselves what they would do in that case,
they could not have told him, not knowing their own minds, nor what
they should do when it came to the trial, much less which way the
superior vote of their council would carry it; or they might have
told him they would protect him, and yet afterwards have betrayed
him; but God could tell him infallibly: "When Saul besieges their
city, and demands of them that they surrender thee into his hands,
how fond soever they now seem of thee, as their Saviour, they will
deliver thee up rather than stand the shock of Saul’s fury.’’ Note,
[1.] God knows all men better than they know themselves, knows their
length, their strength, what is in them, and what they will do if
they come into such and such circumstances. [2.] He therefore knows
not only what will be, but what would be if it were
not prevented; and therefore knows how to deliver the godly out of
temptation, and how to render to every man according to his works.
23:14 And David abode in the wilderness in strong holds, and
remained in a mountain in the wilderness of Ziph. And Saul sought
him every day, but God delivered him not into his hand.
23:15 And David saw that Saul was come out to seek his life: and
David was in the wilderness of Ziph in a wood.
his men and they remove from Keilah to a forested wilderness in
Ziph. This was approximately four miles southeast of Hebron. Day
after day, Saul came seeking David, but God protected him and did
not allow Saul or his men to find David.
I don’t know
what it would be like to have someone tracking me each day hoping to
put me to death. It had to be hard on David. But you know, David
didn’t give up. He looked to God, and sought strength from the
Almighty in his trying days. Some of the greatest songs and Psalms
David ever penned came during this time of his life. Charles
Spurgeon spoke of this in one of his sermons back in 1872.
statutes,” said David, “have been my songs in the house of my
pilgrimage.” Brother! there hath no sorrow befallen thee but what
thy noble ancestors have celebrated in cheery tones, and set to
music in cheerful strains. Oh, beloved! if you could forget the
statutes, can you ever fail to remember the songs? There has never
been a revival in the church that has not witnessed to the value of
our psalmody. God be praised for our psalms and spiritual songs. Oh,
how often they have made melody in our
hearts to the Lord! While our voices blend, do not our very souls
become more and more richly cemented? They are, in truth, the
Oh to be
able to look beyond our problems of the day and to lift up our
voices to God in praise. We should praise him in the good times, but
also praise him in the down times. David penned how we should Praise
the Lord in Psalms 107:8-9.
Psa 107:8 Oh
that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his
wonderful works to the children of men!
For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with
Jonathan Finds David
23:16 And Jonathan Saul's son arose, and went to David into the
wood, and strengthened his hand in God.
23:17 And he said unto him, Fear not: for the hand of Saul my father
shall not find thee; and thou shalt be king over Israel, and I shall
be next unto thee; and that also Saul my father knoweth.
23:18 And they two made a covenant before the LORD: and David abode
in the wood, and Jonathan went to his house.
Is it not
strange that Saul and all his men could not find David, but Jonathan
could. You can tell by verse 16 that God allowed him to find David
so that he might strengthen him in his time of need. Jonathan knew
that David would soon be the king of Israel. And I believe Saul knew
that too, and that is why he hounded and searched to destroy David
so vigorously. These two men make a covenant before the Lord. We’re
not told what this was, but you can be sure that they meant what
they said and stood by their word. Jonathan tells David that Saul
knows that he will soon be the king over Israel.
Ziphites Turn Against David
23:19 Then came up the Ziphites to Saul to Gibeah, saying, Doth not
David hide himself with us in strong holds in the wood, in the hill
of Hachilah, which is on the south of Jeshimon?
23:20 Now therefore, O king, come down according to all the desire
of thy soul to come down; and our part shall be to deliver him into
the king's hand.
send word to Saul that they know David’s location and will help him
to capture David. These men were simply trying to survive also. Saul
was capable of totally destroying them if he had knowledge that they
might be hiding David near to them. Saul blesses them in verse 21
and says that the people have had compassion on him.
23:21 And Saul said, Blessed be ye of the LORD; for ye have
compassion on me.
23:22 Go, I pray you, prepare yet, and know and see his place where
his haunt is, and who hath seen him there: for it is told me that he
dealeth very subtly.
23:23 See therefore, and take knowledge of all the lurking places
where he hideth himself, and come ye again to me with the certainty,
and I will go with you: and it shall come to pass, if he be in the
land, that I will search him out throughout all the thousands of
instructs the men to find out exactly where David is located and
come and bring him the information as to where he was hiding. He
plans to come and take David if he has to search throughout the
whole land of Judah.
23:24 And they arose, and went to Ziph before Saul: but David and
his men were in the wilderness of Maon, in the plain on the south of
23:25 Saul also and his men went to seek him. And they told David:
wherefore he came down into a rock, and abode in the wilderness of
Maon. And when Saul heard that, he pursued after David in the
wilderness of Maon.
23:26 And Saul went on this side of the mountain, and David and his
men on that side of the mountain: and David made haste to get away
for fear of Saul; for Saul and his men compassed David and his men
round about to take them.
with his men to Ziph and quickly catches up with David. No doubt
David was pretty much hopeless at this point in escaping Saul’s
army, but God again is with him. David goes down the other side of
the mountain as Saul and his men come up the other side in hot
pursuit. It says in verse 26 that Saul and his men compassed David
and it appeared there was no way he could get away.
Message Arrives to Saul
23:27 But there came a messenger unto Saul, saying, Haste thee, and
come; for the Philistines have invaded the land.
23:28 Wherefore Saul returned from pursuing after David, and went
against the Philistines: therefore they called that place
23:29 And David went up from thence, and dwelt in strong holds at
Do you think
God can provide a way of escape for his chosen people? Just as Saul
is about to take David and his men, a messenger arrives telling Saul
that the Philistines are invading the land of the Israelites. Do you
think God had a hand in stirring up the Philistines to attack. I
have no doubt about it. Bible says that the heart of the king is in
God’s hand and he can turn it whichever way he chooses. He did this
in the time of Ezra with the king of Assyria.
And kept the feast of unleavened bread seven days with joy: for the
LORD had made them joyful, and turned the heart of the king of
Assyria unto them, to strengthen their hands in the work of the
house of God, the God of Israel.
returns home, David and his men slip away and hide in the strong
holds of Engedi.
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But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more
and more unto the perfect day.
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