Journey Through The Scriptures

David, Part I

Lesson 5: David Spares Saul’s Life

(Scripture to Read: 1 Samuel 24:1–26:25)

In these early studies of David, we have seen his courage, compassion, and nobility — qualities he developed as a shepherd that would serve him well as king. It is certainly noble for an innocent fugitive to spare the life of his evil pursuer, especially when the latter is at his mercy. But David’s determination not to kill Saul was motivated by more than human goodness. David was a spiritual person, “a man after [God’s] own heart,” and so to him Saul was “the LORD’s anointed” whom David felt he had no right to harm.

It took two occasions of David sparing Saul’s life to finally persuade Saul to break off his pursuit. Saul’s troubled conscience is evident in his cries of remorse over his attempts to kill David, whom Saul evidently loved like a son. Chapter 25 gives us a glimpse into how David was able to survive his years on the run with so many people to provide for. Armed men would often protect a wealthy person’s flocks in those days, and receive something for it. David did this for Nabal in Maon, but Nabal insulted David and sent his men away empty-handed. Abigail wisely kept David from taking revenge, and affirmed that he would surely be king of Israel someday. After Nabal’s death, Abigail became David’s wife.

Study Questions

  1. Why did David and his men remain in hiding even after Saul seemed to repent of his actions and went back home (24:22)?
  2. What possible reason could Nabal have for turning down David’s reasonable request for supplies for himself and his men (25:3 provides a hint)?
  3. What approach did Abigail wisely use to convince David he did not want to stain his future with the murder of Nabal (25:28–31)?
  4. What hint in chapter 26 shows that Saul as serious in his renewed pursuit of David?

Something to Think About

Revenge against those who have hurt us is a tempting road to take, especially when we have done nothing wrong to deserve being mistreated. But David’s treatment of Saul and Nabal is a worthy reminder that a person who seeks to please God will take the “high road” and forego personal retaliation.