Ugh, today is a 4 chapter day. Thankfully 3 of them are short.
Chapter 21- David goes to priest Ahimelech and asks him for bread and a sword. The priest gives him holy bread and Goliath’s old sword. Then David goes to see Aschish king of Gath, but ends up fearing for his life because Aschish’s servants think David is also a king. To protect himself, he acts like a madman and drools on himself.
This chapter is confusing.
“And the priest answered David and said, ‘There is no common bread on hand; but there is holy bread, if the young men have at least kept themselves from women.'” (4) What? The grammar in that sentence is all kinds of vague. I first interpreted it as “The bread only exists if the men are virgins,” not “You can only have bread if you haven’t had sex recently”, which the context seems to indicate is the more accurate interpretation.
But, it’s only been 3 days since they were with women. Good to know that 3 days of heterosexual abstinence is all that’s required for a man to become holy enough to eat God’s special bread.
I’m also curious how the servants of this other king were able to recognize David. I can see why his name would be famous, what with the whole slaying of Goliath thing, but how did they recognize his face? How did anybody know who anyone was in the days before camera phones and the internet?
Chapter 22- David flees to Adullam, but his fans find him. Then he goes to stay in Moab and asks the king to shelter his parents. The prophet Gad tells David to go stay in Judah. Saul hears about the travels of David, and calls Ahimelech the priest in for questioning. Saul doesn’t like what he hears, so he has 85 priests killed, and the entire town of Nob destroyed. One of Ahimelech’s sons survives, and goes into hiding with David.
Again, I have to wonder how people knew where David was. He was hiding in a cave! It seems that privacy never truly existed, even in the days before everyone would “check in” on Facebook.
Saul is just making things worse for himself. If you’re afraid that David is going to rise up against you, you should probably avoid pissing off everyone else too. Allies are an important thing to have, after all.
Chapter 23- David hears that the Philistines are attacking the town of Keilah, so he goes there and defeats them. Then Saul hears that David is in Keilah, and makes ready to attack them to get a David. David, with Jonathan’s help, flees to several different places with Saul/Saul’s men hot on his trail. David was about to get caught, when Saul was forced to return home to fight the Philistines off again.
God reminds me of a magic 8 ball.
11″ Will the men of Keilah deliver me into his hand? Will Saul come down, as Your servant has heard? O Lord God of Israel, I pray, tell Your servant.” And the Lord said, “He will come down.” 12 Then David said, “Will the men of Keilah deliver me and my men into the hand of Saul?” And the Lord said, “They will deliver you.”
Chapter 24- Saul pursues David again. He goes into a cave to do his business, and it just so happens to be the cave in which David was hiding. David sneaks up on Saul and cuts off a corner of his robe, but refuses to kill him or allow his men to kill him. Then he confronts Saul and basically says, “Look, I had the chance to kill you, but I didn’t. Now would you please knock it off with the trying to kill me?” Saul admits that he’s been a douche, acknowledges that David will be king, and asks David not to cut off his family. David agrees and they make a deal.
How refreshing to see someone take the non-murderous route to conflict resolution! Good job Good Guy David!
I do have some follow up questions about what Saul was doing in that cave, though. “So he came to the sheepfolds by the road, where there was a cave; and Saul went in to attend to his needs.” (3) What kind of needs could he have been attending to that would allow David to sneak up and cut off part of his clothes? I suspect it was more than just a quick bladder emptying expedition into that cave…