Merciful One, how glorious is your name in all the world. I rejoice in the gift of this new day.
Read 1 SAMUEL 29
Achish Sends David Back to Ziklag
29 The Philistines gathered all their forces at Aphek, and Israel camped by the spring in Jezreel. 2 As the Philistine rulers marched with their units of hundreds and thousands, David and his men were marching at the rear with Achish. 3 The commanders of the Philistines asked, “What about these Hebrews?”
Achish replied, “Is this not David, who was an officer of Saul king of Israel? He has already been with me for over a year, and from the day he left Saul until now, I have found no fault in him.”
4 But the Philistine commanders were angry with Achish 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? 5 Isn’t this the David they sang about in their dances:
“‘Saul has slain his thousands,
and David his tens of thousands’?”
6 So Achish called David and said to him, “As surely as the Lord lives, you have been reliable, and I would be pleased to have you serve with me in the army. From the day you came to me until today, I have found no fault in you, but the rulers don’t approve of you. 7 Now turn back and go in peace; do nothing to displease the Philistine rulers.”
8 “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?”
9 Achish answered, “I know that you have been as pleasing in my eyes as an angel of God; nevertheless, the Philistine commanders have said, ‘He must not go up with us into battle.’ 10 Now get up early, along with your master’s servants who have come with you, and leave in the morning as soon as it is light.”
11 So David and his men got up early in the morning to go back to the land of the Philistines, and the Philistines went up to Jezreel.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Think of a time when you found yourself in a tight corner. How did the situation get resolved? Could you see God’s hand in the events?
Paradoxically, it is David’s success in fooling Achish so completely that trips him up, when the Philistines gather for battle against Israel and David is expected to fight against his own people.1 If he sides with the Philistines, he will lose support in Israel; if he turns on the Philistine troops, he will be outnumbered. Not for the first time, David is trapped, yet once again God’s providence saves him from an impossible situation.
The chapter is deliciously ironic, as the suspicious Philistine commanders, no friends of David, end up saving him from his dilemma (v 4), while Achish asserts David’s innocence in high- sounding language that is true from Israel’s perspective, but blatantly misguided from his lips (vs 6,9). David’s protest about fighting ‘the enemies of my lord the king’ (v 8) is also nicely ambiguous, completing the picture of nothing being as it seems. The implicit comparison between Saul and David once again highlights the difference between those faithful to God and those who are not. Saul disobeyed God’s orders about the Amalekites and will reach the end of the road in death,2 David fought them on his raids from his Philistine quarters3 and will now be delivered from his predicament. The fact that he is rescued in such a way is surely a sign of God’s amazing protection. It encourages us, believers, that when we seek to live in faithfulness to God, we can count on him every time, whether our difficulties involve a seemingly unresolvable conflict, financial needs, or work problems. He will not leave us nor forsake us,4 and his solutions are often unexpected and surprising.
‘The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all’.5
Mighty God, great and wondrous is your presence. Your ways are just and true, your Word leads me in your ways. I love you Lord.
1 1 Sam 28:1 2 1 Sam 28:18,19 3 1 Sam 27:8 4 Deut 31:8 5 Ps 34:18,19
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