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I Samuel Chapter 27

Memory verses for this week: Gen 26:2 And the LORD appeared unto him, and said, Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of:

Introduction: We continue our study on Samuel this week. In last weekís lesson, we studied about Saul seeking David again in the wilderness of Ziph. David and one of his men went down and took Saulís spear and his cruse of water, but does not harm Saul. David then cries out to Abner, the captain of the army, that he had not done a good job in protecting the king. Saul again promises to not harm David after admitting he had done wrong, but David went another way after leaving Saul. With Saulís quick ability to change his mind and intentions, David had no reason to trust him.

  1. David Goes to Philistia

1 Sam 27:1 And David said in his heart, I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul: there is nothing better for me than that I should speedily escape into the land of the Philistines; and Saul shall despair of me, to seek me any more in any coast of Israel: so shall I escape out of his hand.

Rather than going back to the palace with King Saul, David went to the land of the Philistines. It appears David knew that Saul might attempt to put him to death again. In verse one, he makes mention that he might one day perish at Saulís hand. David felt at this time that his best alternative was to escape to the land of Israelís enemies. That had not worked out well the first time David went, but it did not stop him from going again.

1 Sam 27:2 And David arose, and he passed over with the six hundred men that were with him unto Achish, the son of Maoch, king of Gath.

1 Sam 27:3 And David dwelt with Achish at Gath, he and his men, every man with his household, even David with his two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the Carmelitess, Nabal's wife.

David decides to go down to Gath and seek refuge from Saul with the Philistine king, Achish. This was truly an astonishing thing that David did. The Philistines were the known enemies of Israel, Godís chosen nation. It makes you wonder how he could have so quickly forgotten what happened when he went there the first time. Perhaps Davidís faith was low at this time to come to the conclusion that this was the proper plan of action. Time after time, David had seen God preserve him from Saul. In a large number of the Psalms which David penned during this time, he gave praise to God from his wonderful deliverance from Saul. Surely David could not have forgotten he disgraceful conduct to which he had stooped to save himself on his last trip to Philistia. Being afraid for his life, he had acted like a crazy man that they might send him away. David gave God the credit for preserving his life. He at this time took his 600 men with their families and his two wives and asked for asylum to Achish, the king of Gath.

1 Sam 27:4 And it was told Saul that David was fled to Gath: and he sought no more again for him.

1 Sam 27:5 And David said unto Achish, If I have now found grace in thine eyes, let them give me a place in some town in the country, that I may dwell there: for why should thy servant dwell in the royal city with thee?

Word came to Saul that David had sought the protection of Achish, and Saul seemed content to have David there in exile. David did not ask to stay in the royal city with the king, but asked just for a place where he and the men could dwell in safety.

J. Vernon McGee said this was a low point in Davidís life.

This is obviously a departure from the high plain of faith that characterizes the life of David. It is a period of just letting down. We find that the same thing happened to Abraham. It happened to Isaac, and it happened to Jacob. In fact, it seems that most of Godís men have had this low period in their lives.

There is a message for you and me in this chapter. Perhaps this very day you are faced with problems. Perhaps you have been in a dark valley for a long time, and you wonder if you will ever come through it. There seems to be no solution to your problems. Well, if it is any comfort to you, there are many others who have been in the same valleyóit is a well-worn route. This man David walked that path long before you and I got here. This is one of the reasons David has been such a help to me in my own Christian life. I can certainly sympathize with him. It looks as though he may spend the rest of his life running and will finally be slain by Saul. 1

II. Achish Give David Ziklag

1 Sam 27:6 Then Achish gave him Ziklag that day: wherefore Ziklag pertaineth unto the kings of Judah unto this day.

1 Sam 27:7 And the time that David dwelt in the country of the Philistines was a full year and four months.

Achish decided to give the city of Ziklag to David. This was an area located in the southwestern plain of Judah. This land had earlier been allotted to Judah in the days when Joshua divided the land. But because not all of the inhabitants were driven out as the Israelites were commanded, the Philistines now possessed the land. David and his troops lived in Ziklag for sixteen months, which is a very long time to live in the territory of an enemy.

1 Sam 27:8 And David and his men went up, and invaded the Geshurites, and the Gezrites, and the Amalekites: for those nations were of old the inhabitants of the land, as thou goest to Shur, even unto the land of Egypt.

David and his men occupied themselves with invasions and spoiling parties against the Geshurites, Gezrites, and Amalekites. These all lived along the caravan route down to the wilderness of Shur and Egypt. All of these groups were friendly to the Philistines, but were enemies of Israel.

1 Sam 27:9 And David smote the land, and left neither man nor woman alive, and took away the sheep, and the oxen, and the asses, and the camels, and the apparel, and returned, and came to Achish.

When David and his men fought these groups, he totally exterminated them. He killed both the men, women, and children and then took all of their animals. He would then return to Achish and no doubt shared the spoils with him. This kept him on good terms with the Philistine king.


III. David Lies to Achish to Protect Himself

1 Sam 27:10 And Achish said, Whither have ye made a road to day? And David said, Against the south of Judah, and against the south of the Jerahmeelites, and against the south of the Kenites.

Achish questions David about where he had been that day. David replies falsely and says he was fighting against those south of Judah which were the Kenites and Jerahmeelites. These two were the enemies of the Philistines, but were friends of Israel. In verse 11, David commands his men and the women to be sure to speak those same words to those there in Gath lest Achish find out the truth and go against David and his men.

1 Sam 27:11 And David saved neither man nor woman alive, to bring tidings to Gath, saying, Lest they should tell on us, saying, So did David, and so will be his manner all the while he dwelleth in the country of the Philistines.

1 Sam 27:12 And Achish believed David, saying, He hath made his people Israel utterly to abhor him; therefore he shall be my servant for ever.

From all this, it can be determined that Davidís lack of faith not only made him seek refuge in a pagan country, but also caused him to tell lies to cover up. Verse 12 says ďAchish believed DavidĒ. He felt the raids would so antagonize the people of Judah against David that he would never be able to return home. He felt he had a servant forever. If we are not careful, we too may have moments of weak faith and put ourselves in a place where the lord lays claim to us. When this happens, we lose our ability to be a witness of the Lord Jesus Christ. Davidís story should inspire us to realize that the world is not our friend, and it is always wrong to lie, no matter the circumstances. Fear can make us do things that are unwarranted and not in our best interests. Only by faith can we overcome fear. God wants us to be people with salt, and that means we have to have some strong convictions and walk circumspectly in this evil world.

1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

Matthew Henry points out in his commentary that David did some good while in the land of the Philistines, but his lying brought conviction upon him.

David avenged an old quarrel that God had with these nations, and at the same time fetched in provisions for himself and his army, for by their swords they must live. The Amalekites were to be all cut off. Probably the Geshurites and Gezrites were branches of Amalek. Saul was rejected for sparing them, David makes up the deficiency of his obedience before he succeeds him. He smote them, and left none alive, v. 8, 9. The service paid itself, for they carried off abundance of spoil, which served for the subsistence of Davidís forces. 2. Yet we cannot acquit him of dissimulation with Achish in the account he gave him of this expedition. (1.) David, it seems, was not willing that he should know the truth, and therefore spared none to carry tidings to Gath (v. 11), not because he was ashamed of what he had done as a bad thing, but because he was afraid, if the Philistines knew it, they would be apprehensive of danger to themselves or their allies by harboring him among them and would expel him from their coasts. It would be easy to conclude, If so he did, so will be his manner, and therefore he industriously conceals it from them, which, it seems, he could do by putting them all to the sword, for none of their neighbours would inform against him, nor perhaps would soon come to the knowledge of what was done, intelligence not being so readily communicated then as now. (2.) He hid it from Achish with an equivocation not at all becoming his character. Being asked which way he had made his sally, he answered, Against the south of Judah, v. 13. It was true he had invaded those countries that lay south of Judah, but he made Achish believe he had invaded those that lay south in Judah, the Ziphites for example, that had once and again betrayed him; so Achish understood him, and thence inferred that he had made his people Israel to abhor him, and so riveted himself in the interest of Achish. The fidelity of Achish to him, his good opinion of him, and the confidence he put in him, aggravate his sin in deceiving him thus, which, with some other such instances, David seems penitently to reflect upon when he prays, Remove from me the way of lying. 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.