1766.) 1 Samuel 22

Adullam is the green hill in the center of this picture. You are looking east.  The coastal plain, controlled by the Philistines, is behind you; the hill-county, controlled by Saul, is in front.  David found some kind of safety in between, in no man’s land.

1 Samuel 22   (NRSV)

David and His Followers at Adullam

David left there and escaped to the cave of Adullam;

David’s options were limited!  He could not go to his parents’ home, he could not go back to the palace, he could not go to Jonathan or Samuel, he could not go to the house of the Lord, he could not go to the enemies of Israel —

when his brothers and all his father’s house heard of it, they went down there to him. 2Everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him; and he became captain over them. Those who were with him numbered about four hundred.

This could be a beginning of a rebel army; David could go up against Saul.  But David never did.  He waited for the Lord to bring the crown to him, rather than taking the crown for himself from Saul.

These men came to David in distress, in debt, and discontented, but they didn’t stay that way. David made them into the kind of men described in 1 Chronicles 12:8: Mighty men of valor, men trained for battle, who could handle the shield and spear, whose faces were like the faces of lions, and were as swift as gazelles on the mountains.

–David Guzik

3David went from there to Mizpeh of Moab. He said to the king of Moab, “Please let my father and mother come to you, until I know what God will do for me.” 4He left them with the king of Moab, and they stayed with him all the time that David was in the stronghold.

1Sam22 Ruthgleaning

Family connections! David’s great-grandmother, Ruth, had come from Moab. 

5Then the prophet Gad said to David, “Do not remain in the stronghold; leave, and go into the land of Judah.” So David left, and went into the forest of Hereth.

Saul Slaughters the Priests

6Saul heard that David and those who were with him had been located. Saul was sitting at Gibeah, under the tamarisk tree on the height, with his spear in his hand, and all his servants were standing around him. 7Saul said to his servants who stood around him, “Hear now, you Benjaminites; will the son of Jesse give every one of you fields and vineyards, will he make you all commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds? 8Is that why all of you have conspired against me? No one discloses to me when my son makes a league with the son of Jesse, none of you is sorry for me or discloses to me that my son has stirred up my servant against me, to lie in wait, as he is doing today.”

Hear Saul, paranoid and whiny — “It’s all about me!”

9Doeg the Edomite, who was in charge of Saul’s servants, answered, “I saw the son of Jesse coming to Nob, to Ahimelech son of Ahitub; 10he inquired of the Lord for him, gave him provisions, and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine.”

11The king sent for the priest Ahimelech son of Ahitub and for all his father’s house, the priests who were at Nob; and all of them came to the king. 12Saul said, “Listen now, son of Ahitub.”

He answered, “Here I am, my lord.”

13Saul said to him, “Why have you conspired against me, you and the son of Jesse, by giving him bread and a sword, and by inquiring of God for him, so that he has risen against me, to lie in wait, as he is doing today?”

14Then Ahimelech answered the king, “Who among all your servants is so faithful as David? He is the king’s son-in-law, and is quick to do your bidding, and is honored in your house. 15Is today the first time that I have inquired of God for him? By no means! Do not let the king impute anything to his servant or to any member of my father’s house; for your servant has known nothing of all this, much or little.”

16The king said, “You shall surely die, Ahimelech, you and all your father’s house.”

Saul kills Ahimelech the priest for telling the truth.

17The king said to the guard who stood around him, “Turn and kill the priests of the Lord, because their hand also is with David; they knew that he fled, and did not disclose it to me.”

But the servants of the king would not raise their hand to attack the priests of the Lord.

18Then the king said to Doeg, “You, Doeg, turn and attack the priests.”

"Saul Commands Doeg to Slay the Priests," by James Tissot

“Saul Commands Doeg to Slay the Priests,” by James Tissot

Doeg the Edomite turned and attacked the priests; on that day he killed eighty-five who wore the linen ephod. 19Nob, the city of the priests, he put to the sword; men and women, children and infants, oxen, donkeys, and sheep, he put to the sword.

“This is one of the worst acts in the life of Saul; his malice was implacable, and his wrath was cruel, and there is no motive of justice or policy by which such a barbarous act can be justified.”

–Adam Clarke

20But one of the sons of Ahimelech son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped and fled after David. 21Abiathar told David that Saul had killed the priests of the Lord. 22David said to Abiathar, “I knew on that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would surely tell Saul. I am responsible for the lives of all your father’s house.

Now David see the price of his lies to the priest, who was therefore unaware of the enmity between Saul and David, and got caught in the crossfire.

23Stay with me, and do not be afraid; for the one who seeks my life seeks your life; you will be safe with me.”



I am inspired to imitate David in this regard:  no matter how dire his situation, he rejoices in the Lord!  This song uses David’s words from Psalm 36:5-6 — Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the ocean depths.  HERE  Third Day sings “Your Love, O Lord.”


The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Adullam.     http://lh4.ggpht.com/_x4Gor5dqvi8/TEDVjP7jI0I/AAAAAAAABeI/zDZu23hpwbM/Adullam%20area%20aerial%20from%20west,%20tb010703651_thumb%5B2%5D.jpg?imgmax=800
Ruth.    https://wearefearfullymade.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/ruthgleaning-reapers-in-background.jpg
Tissot.    https://mudpreacher.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/james-tissot-saul-commands-doeg-to-slay-the-priests.jpg

2 Responses to 1766.) 1 Samuel 22

  1. proctorp says:

    Dear Rebecca,

    I just LOVE your blog and look forward to getting it every day. I love the excerpts from art, music, Christian writers and scholars and also your own personal observations. I posted a link to it to my Facebook friends and plan to mention it to my bible study class.

    I stumbled on it about three months ago while doing an image search on Google–totally unrelated. Then I saw you are a fellow Wheaton alum and felt confident in your content.

    Just know, you have a super fan out here. Sometime I’d love to hear about your process for writing each entry and how many years it has taken you to complete the entire bible.

    Keep up this amazing work.


    • Rebecca says:

      Thank you! It has been a demanding spiritual discipline and a great joy to put each posting together for this blog! I am on my second time through the Bible–although I have not yet done the book of Ezekiel; that will come this time around! The years I have been working on the blog have been years of significant changes and pressures for me, so “dwelling in the Word” of God has been the best way to keep my focus on that which is important and eternal. Wonderful to hear the Wheaton connection, too! Thanks again for your encouraging words! God bless you as you spend time in Scripture!

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