Dave Burnette's Commentary

1 Samuel Chapter 22

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Samuel, Nathan, & Gad 
Date Penned: (931-975 BC)
Overview: Samuel, Israel's Last Judge (c 1-31)
Theme: Saul and David (c 16-31)
Message: Saul Executes the Priests (v 1-23)

1 Samuel 22 Commentary

(22:1-2) David Forms a Group of Men - Those in some sort of trouble, in debt, or discontented joined David, who was an outlaw. These people were outcasts themselves and could only improve their lot by helping David become king. David's control over this band of men again shows his resourcefulness and ability to lead and motivate others. It is difficult enough to build an army out of good soldiers, but it takes even greater leadership to build one out of the kind of soldiers who followed David. This group eventually formed the core of his military leadership (2 Samuel 23:8-39).

(22:3-4) David Goes to Moab - Although the Israelites were not on friendly terms with Moab (14:47), David may have been able to secure permission from the king because of his family ties. His great-grandmother Ruth was from Moab (Ruth 1:4; 4:13-22).

(22:7-8) Saul Attempts to Gain Support - Why did Saul only mention those from the tribe of Benjamin when he addressed his officers? Apparently Saul's key officers were from the tribe of Benjamin, just as he was. David was from the neighboring tribe of Judah. Saul was appealing to tribal loyalty to maintain his hold on the throne.

(22:18-19) Saul Kills the Priests - Why would Saul have his own priests killed? Saul suspected a conspiracy among Jonathan, David, and the priests. His suspicion came from Dog's report of seeing David talking to Ahimelech, the high priest, and receiving food and a weapon from him (22:9-10). Saul's action showed his mental and emotional instability and how far he had strayed from God. By destroying everything in Nob, Saul was placing the city under the ban described in Deuteronomy 13:12-17, which was supposed to be used only in cases of idolatry and rebellion against God. But it was Saul, not the priests, who had rebelled against God.

(22:18-19) Israel's Desire for a King Pays a Dividend - Why did God allow 85 innocent priests and their families to be killed? Their deaths served to dramatize to the nation how a king could become an evil tyrant. Where were Saul's advisers? Where were the elders of Israel? This was one of the consequences of the people demanding a king to rule over them. God does not promise to protect good people from evil in this world, following God is not a ticket to wealth, success, or health. But God does promise that ultimately all evil will be abolished. Those who have remained faithful through their trials will experience great rewards in the age to come (Matthew 5:11-12; Revelation 21:1-7; 22:1-21).

(22:20) The Priesthood is Sustained - Abiathar escaped to David with an ephod (23:6), a priestly garment containing the Urim and Thummim, two objects David used to consult God. The ephod was probably the only symbol of the priesthood that survived Saul's raid and made it into David's camp. Saul destroyed Israel's priesthood, but when David became king, he installed Abiathar as the new high priest. Abiathar remained in that position during David's entire reign.


Dave Burnette's Life Application

Sometimes Bad Things Happen to Good People


Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter, making application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Today we continue in the book of 1st Samuel with Chapter 22. In our text, we see Saul executing the priests. In making applications, we see that bad things happen to good people. It was not their fault that they fell, and as we read the story, we see that justice comes Saul's way. In our lives, we see the same trend happening as it seems as if bad people are getting away with their sinful ways, but the truth is that He is in control of it all and sees that all come to justice. How about you? Do you see that the Lord is in ultimate control? Let us learn from our text today that bad things happen to good people, but the Lord is in ultimate control


1 Samuel 22

1 Samuel 22

 1David therefore departed thence, and escaped to the cave Adullam: and when his brethren and all his father's house heard it, they went down thither to him.

 2And every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented, gathered themselves unto him; and he became a captain over them: and there were with him about four hundred men.

 3And David went thence to Mizpeh of Moab: and he said unto the king of Moab, Let my father and my mother, I pray thee, come forth, and be with you, till I know what God will do for me.

 4And he brought them before the king of Moab: and they dwelt with him all the while that David was in the hold.

 5And the prophet Gad said unto David, Abide not in the hold; depart, and get thee into the land of Judah. Then David departed, and came into the forest of Hareth.

 6When Saul heard that David was discovered, and the men that were with him, (now Saul abode in Gibeah under a tree in Ramah, having his spear in his hand, and all his servants were standing about him;)

 7Then Saul said unto his servants that stood about him, Hear now, ye Benjamites; will the son of Jesse give every one of you fields and vineyards, and make you all captains of thousands, and captains of hundreds;

 8That all of you have conspired against me, and there is none that sheweth me that my son hath made a league with the son of Jesse, and there is none of you that is sorry for me, or sheweth unto me that my son hath stirred up my servant against me, to lie in wait, as at this day?

 9Then answered Doeg the Edomite, which was set over the servants of Saul, and said, I saw the son of Jesse coming to Nob, to Ahimelech the son of Ahitub.

 10And he enquired of the LORD for him, and gave him victuals, and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine.

 11Then the king sent to call Ahimelech the priest, the son of Ahitub, and all his father's house, the priests that were in Nob: and they came all of them to the king.

 12And Saul said, Hear now, thou son of Ahitub. And he answered, Here I am, my lord.

 13And Saul said unto him, Why have ye conspired against me, thou and the son of Jesse, in that thou hast given him bread, and a sword, and hast enquired of God for him, that he should rise against me, to lie in wait, as at this day?

 14Then Ahimelech answered the king, and said, And who is so faithful among all thy servants as David, which is the king's son in law, and goeth at thy bidding, and is honourable in thine house?

 15Did I then begin to enquire of God for him? be it far from me: let not the king impute any thing unto his servant, nor to all the house of my father: for thy servant knew nothing of all this, less or more.

 16And the king said, Thou shalt surely die, Ahimelech, thou, and all thy father's house.

 17And the king said unto the footmen that stood about him, Turn, and slay the priests of the LORD: because their hand also is with David, and because they knew when he fled, and did not shew it to me. But the servants of the king would not put forth their hand to fall upon the priests of the LORD.

 18And the king said to Doeg, Turn thou, and fall upon the priests. And Doeg the Edomite turned, and he fell upon the priests, and slew on that day fourscore and five persons that did wear a linen ephod.

 19And Nob, the city of the priests, smote he with the edge of the sword, both men and women, children and sucklings, and oxen, and asses, and sheep, with the edge of the sword.

 20And one of the sons of Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped, and fled after David.

 21And Abiathar shewed David that Saul had slain the LORD's priests.

 22And David said unto Abiathar, I knew it that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would surely tell Saul: I have occasioned the death of all the persons of thy father's house.

 23Abide thou with me, fear not: for he that seeketh my life seeketh thy life: but with me thou shalt be in safeguard.