First Reading:  1 Samuel 26:2,7-9,12-13,22-23


Embarrass the King


2 Saul arose, and went down to the wilderness of Ziph, having three thousand chosen men of Israel with him, to seek David in the wilderness of Ziph.


7 So David and Abishai came to the people by night: and, behold, Saul lay sleeping within the place of the wagons, with his spear stuck in the ground at his head; and Abner and the people lay around him. 8 Then Abishai said to David, “God has delivered up your enemy into your hand this day. Now therefore please let me strike him with the spear to the earth at one stroke, and I will not strike him the second time.”


9 David said to Abishai, “Don’t destroy him; for who can stretch out his hand against YHWH’s anointed, and be guiltless?”


12 So David took the spear and the jar of water from Saul’s head; and they went away: and no man saw it, nor knew it, neither did any awake; for they were all asleep, because a deep sleep from YHWH was fallen on them. 13 Then David went over to the other side, and stood on the top of the mountain afar off; a great space being between them.


22 David answered, “Behold the spear, O king! Then let one of the young men come over and get it. 23 YHWH will render to every man his righteousness and his faithfulness; because YHWH delivered you into my hand today, and I wouldn’t stretch out my hand against YHWH’s anointed.


World English Bible


This passage represents the second time David was able to catch King Saul off guard. The first time, David was able to approach the sleeping Saul by accident; David took hem of Saul's tunic, only to repent of his action.


This time, Saul pursued David [2]. Even though Saul surrounded himself with guards, David calculated his approach. Remembering God's will in the person of Saul, David resisted the temptation to kill his enemy [7-8]. Instead, David took the symbols of Saul's survival (water jug) and military power (spear) [12-13].


From an opposite high point, David taunted Saul; he challenged the King to send one of his servants to retrieve the items. This is a rhetorical remark, for David had the high ground to fend off an attack. The real purpose of the taunt was revealed; David could have killed the king but spared Saul's life at cost of his royal honor. David was the better warrior and power of this story would galvanize popular support for David. Saul was in decline. From this point on, David did not try to reconcile with Saul. In David's mind, the inevitable was in God's hands. [22-23]


No one escapes the wrath of an enemy. But, how do we, as Christians, respond to direct attack or slander? Do we return in kind, or do we trust God with the outcome? This is the true measure of our moral character.


How do you trust God with bickering? With gossip? How has God helped you in these times of temptation and trial?