SynopsisIn the last passage, Saul tried—again!—to kill David, and when David confronted him, he—again!—repented. But David is learning his lesson, and in this passage he decides to leave Israel and go and live with the Philistines, so that Saul will stop chasing him. So he and his six hundred men go and settle in Gath, where the king’s name is Achish. (And Saul stops chasing him, so I guess it was a good idea.)
He tells Achish that he doesn’t want to live in the royal city with the king, so Achish gives him a town called Ziklag to live in. (The passage tells us that Ziklag has belonged to the kings of Israel ever since—meaning up until the time that the book of I Samuel was written.)
But once David has settled in, he starts raiding the surrounding peoples; the Geshurites, Girzites and Amalekites. But what he tells Achish is that he’s raiding the Israelites. Whenever he does one of his raids, he takes the plunder, but doesn’t leave alive a single man or woman, so that word won’t get back to Achish what David is really doing. And his subterfuge works, because Achish becomes convinced that David has become “odious” to his own people, and that therefore he’ll have no choice but to remain in Gath, and serve Achish.
In all, the passage tells us that David and his men live there for a year and four months.