New European Version: Old Testament

Deeper commentary on this chapter

Audio talks on this chapter:


Video presentations on this chapter:


Other material relevant to this chapter:

 David And The Ziphites

Hear this chapter read:



About | PDFs | Mobile formats | Word formats | Other languages | Contact Us | What is the Gospel? | Support the work | Carelinks Ministries | | The Real Christ | The Real Devil | "Bible Companion" Daily Bible reading plan

CHAPTER 26 Jul. 13 
David Spares Saul’s Life Again
The Ziphites came to Saul to Gibeah saying, Isn’t David hiding in the hill of Hachilah, which is before the desert? 2Then Saul went down to the wilderness of Ziph, having three thousand chosen men of Israel with him, to seek David in the wilderness of Ziph. 3Saul encamped by the road on the hill of Hachilah, which is before the desert, but David stayed in the wilderness. When he saw that Saul had come after him into the wilderness, 4David sent out spies and found that Saul had certainly come to that place. 5David set out and came to the place where Saul had encamped. He saw the place where Saul and Abner the son of Ner, the captain of his army were lying; Saul lay among the wagons and the people were encamped around him. 6Then David said to Ahimelech the Hittite and to Abishai the son of Zeruiah, brother to Joab, Who will go down with me to Saul to the camp? Abishai said, I will go down with you. 7So David and Abishai came to the army by night and Saul lay sleeping among the wagons, with his spear stuck in the ground at his head, and Abner and the soldiers lay around him. 8Then Abishai said to David, God has delivered your enemy into your hand today. Now therefore please let me strike him to the ground with one stroke of my spear; I will not strike him a second time. 9David said to Abishai, Don’t destroy him, for who can put forth his hand against Yahweh’s anointed and be guiltless? 10David said, As Yahweh lives, Yahweh will strike him, or his day will come to die, or he will go into battle and perish. 11Yahweh forbid that I should put forth my hand against Yahweh’s anointed; but now please get the spear that is at his head and the jar of water, and let us go. 12So David took the spear and the jar of water from Saul’s head and they went away; and no-one saw it or knew about it, neither did anyone awake, for they were all asleep because a deep sleep from Yahweh had fallen on them. 13Then David went over to the other side and stood on the top of the hill far off, a great space being between them, 14and David called to the army and to Abner the son of Ner, Don’t you answer, Abner? Then Abner answered, Who are you who calls to the king? 15David said to Abner, Aren’t you a man? Who is like you in Israel? Why then have you not kept watch over your lord, the king? Someone came to destroy the king your lord. 16What you have done is not good. As Yahweh lives, you are worthy to die because you have not kept watch over your lord, Yahweh’s anointed. Where are the king’s spear and the jar of water that was at his head? 17Saul knew David’s voice and said, Is that your voice, my son David? David said, It is my voice, my lord, O king. 18 Why does my lord pursue his servant? What have I done? What evil am I guilty of? 19Now therefore, please let my lord the king hear the words of his servant. If Yahweh has stirred you up against me, let Him accept an offering. But if it is men who have done it, may they be cursed by Yahweh, for they have driven me out so that I can’t have a part in Yahweh’s inheritance; they have said ‘Go and serve other gods!’. 20Now therefore, don’t let my blood fall to the earth far from the presence of Yahweh, for the king of Israel has come out to seek a flea, as when one hunts a partridge in the mountains.

Saul’s Repentance
21Then Saul said, I have sinned. Return, my son David, for I will no more do you harm, because my life was precious in your eyes today. I have played the fool, and have erred very seriously. 22David answered, Here is the spear, O king! Let one of the young men come over and get it. 23Yahweh will reward every man for his righteousness and his faithfulness, because Yahweh delivered you into my hand today and I wouldn’t put forth my hand against Yahweh’s anointed. 24As your life was respected this day in my eyes, so let my life be respected in the eyes of Yahweh and let Him deliver me out of all oppression. 25Then Saul said to David, May you be blessed, my son David. You will do great things and will surely triumph. So David went on his way, and Saul returned home.


26:12 See on 24:4,518.   
26:19 So many of the Psalms contain references to the smear campaign against David (Ps. 27:12; 31:13; 109:23 all seem to have reference to this verse). This frequency of reference in itself indicates the weight with which this tragedy rested upon David's mind. 
They have said ‘Go and serve other gods!’ – Whether or not they said these very words, to exclude someone from the worshipping community [which can be done by anything from being too lazy to give them a ride to a meeting to formal excommunication] effectively invites people to go to “other gods”. Many fail this test; others like David learn that in fact God is far wider than what they had previously thought (see on :20).
26:20 Far from the presence of Yahweh- David still held the wrong idea that a national god, in this case Yahweh of Israel, could only be served on his own territory and not outside of it. This explains why David so bitterly regretted that Saul had made it practically impossible for him to remain within the territory of Israel (:19). Yet David’s later Psalms reflect his realization that Yahweh is the one and only God of all the planet, His presence is everywhere and He can therefore be worshipped anywhere on earth. Although David had a wrong understanding of God on this point, this didn’t mean that he couldn’t have faith in God nor please Him; and through reflection on the circumstances God sent him, David came to the truth about this matter.
26:21 I have sinned- The very words of Judas (Mt.27:4), again confirming David as a type of Christ and Saul as representative of the opposition to Christ. 
26:24 Here we see established the principle that the grace we show others is related to the grace God will show us. David could have killed Saul, indeed God gave him the legitimate opportunity to do so, but he chose the higher level- of grace and forgiveness, despite Saul’s lack of repentance at the time. We learn that someone doesn’t have to be grovelling in repentance before we show grace to them.