Scripture reading – 1 Samuel 27

Saul had spoken words of affirmation to David, saying, “Blessed be thou, my son David: thou shalt both do great things, and also shalt still prevail” (1 Samuel 26:25). Yet, David understood the unrelenting, evil character of the king, and “said in his heart, I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul” (1 Samuel 27:1).

David’s Departure and His Care for His Family (1 Samuel 27:2-4)

Fearing for his life, David determined to quickly “escape into the land of the Philistines,” for he believed the king would not desist until he was dead (1 Samuel 27:1). With his wives, and six hundred men, David retreated to the territory of Achish, the Philistine king of Gath (1 Samuel 27:2-4). We read that when Saul learned David was departed from Israel, “he sought no more again for him” (1 Samuel 27:4).

David’s Despair (1 Samuel 27:5-7)

David appealed to his old foe, and King Achish gave him, his men, and their families sanctuary in Gath (the home of the slain giant Goliath). Desiring to remove himself from the king’s royal city, David requested a city where he and his families could dwell and was given Ziklag, a city in southern Judah (1 Samuel 27:5-6).

David’s Deceit (1 Samuel 27:7-12)

David dwelled among the Philistines for sixteen months (1 Samuel 27:7). He acquired possessions by invading and raiding the lands and cities of Israel’s enemies, “the Gesh-ur-ites, and the Gezrites, and the Amalekites” (1 Samuel 27:8).

Lest his activities become known to the Philistines, David made sure there were no survivors of the raids. He deceived the Philistine king, who believed he was raiding Israel (1 Samuel 27:10-11). We read, “Achish believed David, saying, He hath made his people Israel utterly to abhor him; therefore he shall be my servant for ever” (1 Samuel 27:12).

Closing thoughts:

There is no evidence that the LORD led David’s decision to depart from Israel and settle in the Philistine territories. David seemed to have made that decision when he despaired of life. While he escaped from Saul, his immediate enemy, he put himself, his men, and their families amid the Philistines, another enemy. I cannot suggest a defense for David’s decision to lie and deceive King Achish other than he had fallen into a state where his fears had overtaken his faith.

Solomon, David’s son, would later write, “The fear of man bringeth a snare: But whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe” (Proverbs 29:25).

In life, trials and temptations present us with two choices: We can live by our wits and be driven by fear, or we can look at trials through the eyes of faith, trust, and obey the LORD. Solomon taught his son, “5Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; And lean not unto thine own understanding. 6In all thy ways acknowledge him, And he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5–6).

Where do you look in times of trouble?

Questions to consider:

1) Why did David flee Israel and escape into the land of the Philistines? (1 Samuel 27:1)

2) What was Saul’s response when he learned that David dwelled in Gath? (1 Samuel 27:4)

3) Why did King Achish no longer fear David? (1 Samuel 27:11-12)

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

* You can subscribe to the Heart of a Shepherd daily devotionals and have them sent directly to your email address. You may also email your request to

The Internal Revenue Service recognizes Heart of A Shepherd Inc as a 501c3 public charitable organization.