Scripture reading – 1 Samuel 29

Today’s Scripture reading sets the stage not only for the death of Saul, Israel’s first king but also for that of his son Jonathan (1 Samuel 28:19).

The armies of the Philistines were gathered against Israel. Saul and his army were pitched across the way “by a fountain which [was] in Jezreel” (1 Samuel 29:1). David was in a conflicting place, for he had been chosen by Achish, the king of the Philistines, to be that king’s bodyguard (1 Samuel 29:2).

The Philistine soldiers mobilized and began moving to the battlefront. Providentially, David and his men were placed in the rearward with Achish and were spared from warring against Israel and their countrymen (1 Samuel 29:2).

While King Achish entrusted his life to David, the Philistine generals were far less trusting and protested the thought of going to war against Israel with David and his men in their midst (1 Samuel 29:3-4). Arguably, more astute than the king, the Philistines reminded Achish how David had served as Israel’s champion and, in the past, led the men of Israel to slay “ten thousands” (1 Samuel 29:5).

Achish reluctantly consented to the demands of his generals and, with affirming words, commanded David and his men to remove themselves from the battlefield (1 Samuel 29:6-7). David offered a weak protest to Achish’s command (1 Samuel 29:8-10). In the providence of God, the following day, he and his men returned “into the land of the Philistines” (1 Samuel 29:11). As the Philistines prepared to war against Israel, the LORD wonderfully spared David from lifting his sword against the LORD‘s chosen people.

Reflecting on the sovereignty and providence of the LORD, David would one day write a comforting truth: “23The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: And he delighteth in his way. 24Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: For the Lord upholdeth him with his hand” (Psalm 37:23–24).

Questions to consider:

  • Why did the Philistine leaders reject the thought of David and his men being in the battle with Israel? (1 Samuel 29:4)
  • What was David’s testimony with Achish, the king of the Philistines? (1 Samuel 29:6, 9)

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

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