October 16, 2017
I Samuel 27:1, 2
(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
Our featured Scripture is I Samuel 27:1 and 2:
And David said in his heart, “Now I shall perish someday by the hand
of Saul. There is nothing better for me than that I should speedily es-
cape to the land of the Philistines; and Saul will despair of me, to seek
me anymore in any part of Israel. So I shall escape out of his hand.”
Then David arose and went over with the six hundred men who were
with him to Achish the son of Maoch, king of Gath.
A discouraged and depressed David escaped to the land of the Philistines, located along the Mediterranean coast south of Palestine. Having been hounded by King Saul for at least four years – Saul trying to kill this one whom God ordained to replace him as king of Israel – David came up with the idea of hiding in Philistia, or Dwelling In The Devil’s Dominion! And he stayed there for a year and four months! (See I Samuel 27:7). Why do I call the land of the Philistines The Devil’s Dominion? Because for more than 400 years, the Philistines were enemies of Israel and Israel’s God! And they would continue to be so for at least 500 years after David’s time! (see Exodus 13:17; Ezekiel 25:16).
This was David’s second time fleeing from Saul to the land of the Philistines! The first time was about four years earlier when King Saul first started seeking to kill David. We are told in I Samuel 21:10: “Then David arose and fled that day from before Saul, and went to Achish the king of Gath.” This first time didn’t turn out very well!
• He was most likely alone this first time, and armed only with a sword! It was Goliath’s sword (see I Samuel 21:8, 9), Goliath, whom David had killed some years before (see I Samuel, chapter 17). That sword was easily recognized by the Philistines, for it says in verse 4 of chapter 17, Goliath was their champion! We learn other details about Goliath from verse 4: He was also from Gath, the very city where David was seeking asylum! We also learn that Goliath’s “…height was six cubits and a span…” – about 9 feet eight inches tall! So the sword of Goliath was most likely far too big for David to use as his own!
• Having recognized both the sword and its bearer (according to I Samuel 21:11)…
…the servants of Achish said to him, “Is not this David the king of the
land? Did not they sing of him to one another in dances saying, ‘Saul
has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands’!”
Apparently the Philistines believed the prophecies concerning David being the next king of Israel…more than David did! In their minds, he was already the king! Does the unbelieving world sometimes have more faith in what God has said than we do as Christians?
• To save his own neck, David “…feigned madness in their hands, scratched on the doors of the gate, and let his saliva fall down on his beard.” (I Samuel 21:12). Achish, the king, basically kicked him out of Gath, saying, “Look, you see the man is insane….Have I need of madmen…? Shall this fellow come into my house? ” (I Samuel 21:14 and 15).
And David went back there four years later?!! You would think he had learned his lesson! Yes, we should sometimes call to mind our past failures – not to dwell upon them, but to learn from them!
What were the effects of David’s decision to Dwell In The Devil’s Dominion?
• At that time of his flight to Gath (one of the five major cites in Philistia), David was the leader of six hundred men who were with him, and their families! Including the women and children, perhaps there were a couple of thousand under David’s leadership! We read in I Samuel 22:1 and 2 that earlier in David’s flight from Saul…
…his brothers and all his father’s house…went…to him. And everyone
who was in distress, everyone who was in debit, and everyone who was
discontented gathered to him. So he became captain over them. And
there were about four hundred men with him.
These were a rag-tag bunch of people for the most part who aligned themselves with David! And, apparently, by the time he fled to Gath for an extended stay, two hundred more men and their families had joined him! David’s lack of faith in Jehovah’s protection and provision affected all these followers!
We are told in James 3:1, “My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.” In other words, leaders will be held accountable before God for their influence over others who follow them! Paul told the Corinthian believers in I Corinthians 11:1, “Imitate me, just as I imitate Christ.” If we are going to influence others (and we all do) we had better make sure we do so in a positive way for God and good! And the more influence we have over others, the more accountable we are before God!
• David was slipping more and more into idolatry in this heathen country! Remember, idolatry is putting something else before God and loving Him – obeying Him! (See John 14:15). The most common form of idolatry is putting our own selves before Him, our wills before His! (See Luke 22:42 for the best way to avoid this idolatry).
✡ I Samuel 27:5 – He said to King Achish, “If I have now found favor in your eyes, let them give me a place in some town in the country, that I may dwell there.” David sought to find favor in the eyes of a heathen king! James warns us in James 4:4: “Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” (See also II Corinthians 6:14-18). Paul tells us in Colossians 1:21, “…you…once were alienated and enemies is your minds by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled….” We are not to return to our former Godless ways! The penalty for such is extremely great! (See Hebrews 6:4-8).
✡ I Samuel 27:8-12 – To support himself, his family, and his followers, “David and his men…raided the Gehurites, the Girzites, and the Amalekites…the inhabitants of the land from of old…[and] left neither man nor woman alive…” (verses 8 and 9), “…lest they inform on us, saying, ‘Thus David did’ ” (verse 11). These tribes that David raided were most likely allies of the Philistines. So David habitually lied to the king of Gath! What are we to do as followers of the LORD? “…putting away lying, each one speak truth with his neighbor…” (Ephesians 4:25). Be truthful…and let God take care of the details!
We will examine further idolatrous actions of David Dwelling In The Devil’s Dominion in our next blog.