This chapter is a little (a lot) confusing. Saul has been tracking David down because he hates him and wants to kill him. David has been running for his life. In this chapter all of a sudden Saul seems to switch. He speaks kindly to David and admits his wrong doings towards David. He even calls him “my son”! I mean what?! How is this happening ….what’s really going on?
Most of these notes are found in my study Bible. I would really encourage you to invest in one. We have one that we recommend at Impact for purchase. The right study Bible can give you such deeper knowledge and insight in to the verses. Most of these notes are from my study Bible.
This is the first encounter between Saul and David. You will see the innocence and faithfulness of David not only to his God but also to God’s current chosen king, Saul.
v.1 The desert of En Gedi was a place of protection and provision while he was running from Saul. It derived it’s name “goat spring” from a large spring that was on the steep western shore of the Dead Sea. Probably why in v.2 it says (depending on your Bible translation) Wildgoat’s Rocks or the Crags of the Wild Goats.
Remember David and his men are living in the En Gedi. Below is a picture of the life that is growing in the En Gedi. It’s this beautiful place that looks like an oasis. David is there running for his life, he is at one of his lowest points (he has even lower points later on when he’s king). To get to this beautiful place he and his men would have had to travel through a desert and dry area with no life. And then they come upon this…a place of refuge and provision.
v.4 Don’t you think it was odd that Saul would choose that same exact cave that David was in to go to the bathroom? Was this God that was working to make the 2 interact?
David’s men seem to be speaking out of their own desire for David to take down Saul because there has been no time that God has told David to lift his hand towards Saul.
David then does something tricky that apparently Saul did not notice. He cuts off a corner piece of Saul’s robe. There’s a little more to this…David chooses to inflict a symbolic act on Saul instead of physical harm. David lets this be known later.
v.5-6 David knew that he shouldn’t have cut off a part of Saul’s robe. God had not told him to do anything to Saul. David actually even says that the Lord forbid him to do something disrespectful like that.
David was being respectful of the king that God had put in place. Even though Saul was a horrible king, father, and person in general it seems, David saw God as in control of everything. He knew that God had made Saul king and he would honor that.
v.8 David comes out of the cave and confronts Saul. He doesn’t do it in a mean way but a very humble way. He literally gets on his hands and knees. Prostrating would be like him laying face down with his arms extended in front of him.
David humbly and honestly speaks to Saul. He questions Saul with why he would believe everything he hears and for wheat reason would David have to kill Saul.
V.16 Saul’s reaction genuinely surprises me. It makes no sense. Saul is nuts but he then calls David his son and apologizes to David for all he’s done to him. He admits that David is treating him with respect and incredible kindness for not taking his life when David could have.
In this moment Saul is able to recognize that the way David gains his power and reign is not through force but through the hand of someone else.
v.20 It seems that Saul acknowledges to David that David as king will do much more than Saul has done. Saul had chosen to be disobedient to God and made his own decisions and he sees that David doesn’t do that. David listens to the voice of God and then obeys.