Sunday, June 18, 2006

1 Samuel 26

Once again the Tar People (Ziphites) betray David's location on the hill of Hakilah to Saul. Saul takes 3000 men. But the Lord puts Saul and his army into a deep sleep, enabling David and Abishai (Heb: father of gift) to slip in. Abishai wants to kill Saul, but David stays his hand, ordering him instead to take Saul's water jug and spear. David climbs a nearby hill and calls out to Saul's general, Abner (Heb: father of light), to reprove him for not guarding the king as evidenced by the stolen water jug and spear. Saul and David have a dialogue in which David again pleads his innocence and places a curse on any man who may have incited Saul against him.He complains about being driven from the presence of the Lord, encouraged to worship foreign gods. Saul promises not to pursue David and gives him a blessing. But again, David is too wise to return to Israel.

This chapter is mainly a reprise of 1 Sam. 24. The main point of interest in this chapter is that David asks his nephew Abishai and Ahimelech the Hittite which of them will go with him. Ahimelech (Heb: God is my brother) is the name of the priest at Nob, but this is a different Ahimelech. Ahimelech apparently declines. The Hittites were a Canaanite tribe, so there seems to be a lesson that foreigners are not trustworthy. Later, David will come to grief because of his lust for Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite.

It's also interesting that David apparently does not actually take the jug and the spear, but orders Abishai to do it. One imagines him hanging back, just outside Saul's encampment, letting his nephew do the dangerous work. This makes it even more ironic that David will later despise the sons of Zeruiah as men of blood. We never learn how Abishai died, but since David ordered Solomon to kill his brother Joab for the murder of Abner in which Abishai shared responsibility, one imagines it was not peacefully or in battle with the enemy.