Journey Through The Scriptures

David, Part I

Lesson 4: David Eludes His Pursuers

(Scripture to Read: 1 Samuel 21:1–23:29)

It is hard to imagine a fugitive trying to elude the king of a country, with his army and spies everywhere, in a land as small as Israel. And yet, David did so for what may have been up to ten years! Even more amazing is the fact that he was not a lone figure moving in the shadows, but had 600 men and family members with him. And the seriousness of Saul’s intent is underscored by the tragedy that befell the priests in Nob, a small town just north of Jerusalem, when Saul ordered their execution.

David had gone to Nob for refuge, but he had to leave there and flee to Gath in Philistine territory. Thus David entered Goliath’s hometown wearing the giant’s sword! From there he traveled to Adullam, about twenty miles southwest of Jerusalem. David’s nobility shines through in the story of his rescue of the people of Keilah, about twenty miles southwest of Bethlehem. But they betrayed him to Saul, as did the people of Ziph in the desert country of Judah. Jonathan came to see David and encourage him — but acting on the tip, Saul and his army were closing in for the capture when God brought David relief by removing Saul from the scene.

Study Questions

  1. Why did David pretend to be insane when he appeared before the king of Gath?
  2. Why do you think David took his parents to Moab for their safety (22:3–4), despite the fact that Moab was hostile territory for an Israelite?
  3. Why were the people of Keilah so willing to betray David even after he had saved their town from the Philistines?
  4. In what specific way did Jonathan encourage David (23:16–18)?

Something to Think About

We all go through times when we feel we are being hounded by people or circumstances and need a place of refuge. David found refuge in his God, and he wrote about his experiences in the Psalms, for our comfort and encouragement. Read Psalm 57, which was composed during David’s flight from Saul, and join David in his worship and praise.