The Story of 1 Samuel | David Gives An Oath to Saul | 1 Samuel 24.8-22 |

by | Nov 27, 2020

“Then David went out of the cave and called out to Saul, “My lord the king!” When Saul looked behind him, David bowed down and prostrated himself with his face to the ground. He said to Saul, “Why do you listen when men say, ‘David is bent on harming you’? 10 This day you have seen with your own eyes how the Lord delivered you into my hands in the cave. Some urged me to kill you, but I spared you; I said, ‘I will not lay my hand on my lord, because he is the Lord’s anointed.’ 11 See, my father, look at this piece of your robe in my hand! I cut off the corner of your robe but did not kill you. See that there is nothing in my hand to indicate that I am guilty of wrongdoing or rebellion. I have not wronged you, but you are hunting me down to take my life. 12 May the Lord judge between you and me. And may the Lord avenge the wrongs you have done to me, but my hand will not touch you. 13 As the old saying goes, ‘From evildoers come evil deeds,’ so my hand will not touch you. 14 “Against whom has the king of Israel come out? Who are you pursuing? A dead dog? A flea? 15 May the Lord be our judge and decide between us. May he consider my cause and uphold it; may he vindicate me by delivering me from your hand.” 16 When David finished saying this, Saul asked, “Is that your voice, David my son?” And he wept aloud. 17 “You are more righteous than I,” he said. “You have treated me well, but I have treated you badly. 18 You have just now told me about the good you did to me; the Lord delivered me into your hands, but you did not kill me.19 When a man finds his enemy, does he let him get away unharmed? May the Lord reward you well for the way you treated me today. 20 I know that you will surely be king and that the kingdom of Israel will be established in your hands. 21 Now swear to me by the Lord that you will not kill off my descendants or wipe out my name from my father’s family.” 22 So David gave his oath to Saul. Then Saul returned home, but David and his men went up to the stronghold.” 1 Samuel 24.8-22

The passage we are studying today is lengthily. It’s the full account of when David discovered Saul in the cave in which he was hiding with his 600 men. Saul goes into the cave unknowing that David is there in order to use the restroom. David spares Saul’s life and only cuts of a piece of his robe instead of cutting his throat. Here we see the dialogue between David and Saul when Saul leaves the cave and the oath David makes before Saul at the kings request.

When Saul leaves the cave David makes a plea before Saul for his innocence and for not killing the king. David could have raised his hand against Lord’s anointed but chose not to. David ends with the statement, “May he (God) consider my cause and uphold it; may God vindicate me by delivering me from your hand.”

When Saul realizes that it is David, and that he could have easily lost his life, Saul weeps aloud saying, “Is that your voice, David my son? You are more righteous than I. You have treated me well, but I have treated you badly.” Saul knows he is in the wrong and at this moment seems convicted of his sins against David. Saul then asks David to swear an oath that he will not kill Saul’s descendants or wipe out his name from his father’s family.”

The text says “David gave his oath to Saul. Then Saul returned home, but David and his men went up to the stronghold.”

What a story and what a saga! David is finally delivered from the hand of Saul because he had Saul’s life in his hands and spared it. Saul was convicted of his sins and left David alone and returned him, although David still had his doubts and remained in the stronghold in the caves at En Gedi.

Many lessons could be learned from this story but perhaps the greatest is the morality of David in dealing with Saul. David does not strike him down even though he was able to. He spares his life because God chose Saul to be king and David put his hope in God. Trusting God, regardless of the circumstances, is the best course of action.

“O Lord God, you are good. You saved David from the hand of his enemy and delivered him to safety. You also rescue us from the penalty of sin and death through the blood of Jesus. Even when we fail you, you offer us redemption. Thank you Lord for the lessons in your word and for your faithfulness to your people. It assures me that you will remain faithful in the future. Come now, Holy Spirit, fill me with your power and love that I might walk in the way that leads to life eternal. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen