Dave Burnette's Commentary

1 Samuel Chapter 23

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 Chases David (v 1-29)

1 Samuel 23 Commentary

(23:1) The Threshing Floor - Threshing floors were open, circular areas where grain kernels were separated from their stalks and husks. (In order to separate the grain kernels, farmers began by threshing the grain, which involved either beating it with a stick or having oxen pull a sledge over it. After threshing the grain, they would winnow it, which involved tossing the grain into the air. The wind would blow the husks and other chaff away, leaving only the clean grain kernels.) By looting the threshing floors, the Philistines were robbing Keilah's citizens of all their food supplies. (For more on threshing, see Ruth 3:2.)

(23:2) David Seeks the Lord's Guidance - Through the Urim and Thummim that Abiathar the priest brought (23:6), David sought the Lord's guidance before he took action. Contrary to Saul's approach, David listened to God's directions and then proceeded accordingly. Rather than trying to find God's will after the fact or having to ask God to undo the results of our hasty decisions, we should take time to discern God's will beforehand. We can hear him speak through the counsel of others, his Word, and the leading of his Spirit in our hearts, as well as through our circumstances.

(23:6) The Ephod - An ephod was a sleeveless linen vest worn by priests. The high priest's ephod was brightly colored and had a breastplate with 12 gemstones, each stone representing one of the 12 tribes.

The Urim and Thummim were kept in the breastplate of the high priest's ephod. (Also see the second note on 2:18.)

(23:7) Saul Misinterprets an Opportunity - When Saul heard that David was trapped in a walled city with gates and bars, he thought God was putting David at his mercy. Saul wanted to kill David so badly that he would have interpreted any sign as God's approval to move ahead with his plan. Had Saul known God better, he would have known what God wanted and would not have misread the situation as God's approval for murder. Not every opportunity is sent from God. We may want something so much that we assume any opportunity to obtain it is of divine origin. As we see from Saul's case, however, this may not be true. An opportunity to do something against God's will can never be from God, because God does not tempt us. When opportunities come your way, double-check your motives. Make sure you are following God's desires and not just your own.

(23:16-18) Jonathan Leaves David - This may have been the last time David and Jonathan were together. They were true friends- more than just companions who enjoyed each other's company. They encouraged each other's faith in God and trusted each other with their deepest thoughts and closest confidences. These are the marks of true friendship. As Jonathan prepared to leave David, he not only promised to be David's friend to the end but also encouraged David to stay strong in his faith in God. As a friend, remember that you have far more to offer others than just companionship. How you challenge and encourage your friends to faithfully walk with God could be just what they need.

(23:27-28) Saul Becomes Obsessed - Saul left his murderous pursuit of David to fight the true enemies of Israel. He had become so obsessed by his paranoia over David that he didn't even realize he was trying to kill the one who had actually delivered him from the Philistines. We can be so preoccupied--even obsessed--with a lesser battle or enemy that we lose sight of our ultimate enemy, Satan. Stand firm against the one who is actually trying to destroy you (1 Peter 5:8).


Dave Burnette's Life Application

Let the Lord Fight Your Battles


Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we continue in the book of 1 Samuel with Chapter 23 and we see Saul chasing David in a jealous rage. In making application we see that we will face adversaries in our Christian life and in these times we need to realize that the Lord is with you. It is easy to respond in our flesh but as we will see we are to respond to others in the Lord allowing him to protect us from our enemies. It reminds me of instances in my life where people have lashed out at me for just being a Christian. I learned the same lesson to not respond in my flesh but rather have faith and let the Lord fight my battles. How about you? Do you respond in the Lord when you face adversaries? Let us learn from our text today having faith to let the Lord fight our battles.


1 Samuel 23

1 Samuel 23

 1Then they told David, saying, Behold, the Philistines fight against Keilah, and they rob the threshingfloors.

 2Therefore David enquired of the LORD, saying, Shall I go and smite these Philistines? And the LORD said unto David, Go, and smite the Philistines, and save Keilah.

 3And David's men said unto him, Behold, we be afraid here in Judah: how much more then if we come to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines?

 4Then David enquired of the LORD yet again. And the LORD answered him and said, Arise, go down to Keilah; for I will deliver the Philistines into thine hand.

 5So David and his men went to Keilah, and fought with the Philistines, and brought away their cattle, and smote them with a great slaughter. So David saved the inhabitants of Keilah.

 6And it came to pass, when Abiathar the son of Ahimelech fled to David to Keilah, that he came down with an ephod in his hand.

 7And it was told Saul that David was come to Keilah. And Saul said, God hath delivered him into mine hand; for he is shut in, by entering into a town that hath gates and bars.

 8And Saul called all the people together to war, to go down to Keilah, to besiege David and his men.

 9And David knew that Saul secretly practised mischief against him; and he said to Abiathar the priest, Bring hither the ephod.

 10Then said David, O LORD God of Israel, thy servant hath certainly heard that Saul seeketh to come to Keilah, to destroy the city for my sake.

 11Will the men of Keilah deliver me up into his hand? will Saul come down, as thy servant hath heard? O LORD God of Israel, I beseech thee, tell thy servant. And the LORD said, He will come down.

 12Then said David, Will the men of Keilah deliver me and my men into the hand of Saul? And the LORD said, They will deliver thee up.

 13Then David and his men, which were about six hundred, arose and departed out of Keilah, and went whithersoever they could go. And it was told Saul that David was escaped from Keilah; and he forbare to go forth.

 14And David abode in the wilderness in strong holds, and remained in a mountain in the wilderness of Ziph. And Saul sought him every day, but God delivered him not into his hand.

 15And David saw that Saul was come out to seek his life: and David was in the wilderness of Ziph in a wood.

 16And Jonathan Saul's son arose, and went to David into the wood, and strengthened his hand in God.

 17And he said unto him, Fear not: for the hand of Saul my father shall not find thee; and thou shalt be king over Israel, and I shall be next unto thee; and that also Saul my father knoweth.

 18And they two made a covenant before the LORD: and David abode in the wood, and Jonathan went to his house.

 19Then came up the Ziphites to Saul to Gibeah, saying, Doth not David hide himself with us in strong holds in the wood, in the hill of Hachilah, which is on the south of Jeshimon?

 20Now therefore, O king, come down according to all the desire of thy soul to come down; and our part shall be to deliver him into the king's hand.

 21And Saul said, Blessed be ye of the LORD; for ye have compassion on me.

 22Go, I pray you, prepare yet, and know and see his place where his haunt is, and who hath seen him there: for it is told me that he dealeth very subtilly.

 23See therefore, and take knowledge of all the lurking places where he hideth himself, and come ye again to me with the certainty, and I will go with you: and it shall come to pass, if he be in the land, that I will search him out throughout all the thousands of Judah.

 24And they arose, and went to Ziph before Saul: but David and his men were in the wilderness of Maon, in the plain on the south of Jeshimon.

 25Saul also and his men went to seek him. And they told David; wherefore he came down into a rock, and abode in the wilderness of Maon. And when Saul heard that, he pursued after David in the wilderness of Maon.

 26And Saul went on this side of the mountain, and David and his men on that side of the mountain: and David made haste to get away for fear of Saul; for Saul and his men compassed David and his men round about to take them.

 27But there came a messenger unto Saul, saying, Haste thee, and come; for the Philistines have invaded the land.

 28Wherefore Saul returned from pursuing after David, and went against the Philistines: therefore they called that place Selahammahlekoth.

 29And David went up from thence, and dwelt in strong holds at Engedi.