I Samuel 22:1–5: David develops a following
This passage continues with David’s wanderings, as he seeks to escape Saul.
After his meeting with Achish in the last passage, David leaves Gath and hides in a cave in a place called Adullam. It’s not a great secret that he’s there, though, because many people hear about it, and join him there:
All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their leader. About four hundred men were with him. (verse 2)
In order to protect his family, David approaches the king of Moab, and asks if his parents can stay in Moab, temporarily, until David can figure out what God will do for him. The king gives permission, so David leaves his parents there, and goes back to his cave (which this passage sometimes calls his “stronghold.”)
However, a prophet named Gad tells David not to stay in the stronghold, but that he should go to Judah instead. So David does, and goes to the forest of Hereth.
It’s interesting that David feels comfortable enough with the king of Moab to ask permission to hide his parents there, even though the Moabites are enemies of Israel. In fact, in Chapter 14 it is mentioned that Saul has been inflicting punishment on his enemies, including the Moabites, so it’s possible that the king of Moab thinks David will be an ally—or, at the very least, that he won’t be as bad as Saul. Or maybe the king doesn’t think that David will ever become Israel’s ruler, but he just thinks that any enemy of Saul’s is a friend of his.