Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I Samuel 29

I Samuel 29: Achish Sends David Back to Ziklag

Synopsis

As mentioned in the last passage, the Philistines are getting ready to battle the Israelites, and Achish has made it clear that he wants David and his men to accompany him into battle. David agreed, leaving me to wonder how far into sin David was going, when agreeing to fight the Israelites with the Philistines. My assumption is that David would have turned on the Philistines, during the battle.

But as it turns out, we won’t find out what David would have done; the other Philistine leaders take Achish aside, and tell him that they don’t trust David. They assume that when the battle starts, David will turn against them.

But the Philistine commanders were angry with him and said, “Send the man back, that he may return to the place you assigned him. He must not go with us into battle, or he will turn against us during the fighting. How better could he regain his master’s favor than by taking the heads of our own men? Isn’t this the David they sang about in their dances:

“‘Saul has slain his thousands,
and David his tens of thousands’?”

(verses 4–5)


So Achish relents, and sends David back. He assures David that “as surely as the LORD lives,” he has been reliable, but he doesn’t want to do anything to displease the other Philistine rulers (verses 6–7). But then David seems hurt!

“But what have I done?” asked David. “What have you found against your servant from the day I came to you until now? Why can’t I go and fight against the enemies of my lord the king?” (verse 8)

Wow. I’m still convinced that David is planning to turn on the Philistines during the battle, but he’s pouring it on thick.

In any event, David and his men return to the land of the Philistines, while the Philistines go into battle.

Thoughts

The other Philistine rulers seem to be better judges of the situation than Achish is. They’re right about David, and Achish is wrong. They’re even right about Saul being David’s master; Achish believes that David has made himself a stench in Saul’s nostrils (I don’t know if that phrase was used, but it’s a common one in the Old Testament), but in actual fact, David has never stopped considering Saul to be his master, since Saul is the LORD’s anointed king.

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