Dave Burnette's Commentary

1 Samuel Chapter 24

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: David Spares Saul's Life (v 1-22)

1 Samuel 24 Commentary

(24:1-3) The Sheepcote - A sheepcote was a large enclosure with a wall or fence around it that was used to protect sheep from thieves and wild animals at night. Thorn branches were sometimes placed on top of walls that were high enough to prevent most wild animals from getting in. There was only one entrance to the enclosure, and the shepherd often slept in front of it.

(24:3) David's Men Find Refuge in Caves - David and his 600 men found the wilderness of En-gedi a good place to hide because of the many caves in the area. These caves were used by local people for housing and as tombs. For David's men they were places of refuge. These caves can still be seen today. Some are large enough to hold thousands of people.

(24:4) David's Men Misinterpret God's Direction - Scripture does not record that God made any such statement to David or his men. The men were probably offering their own interpretation of some previous event, such as David's anointing (1613) or Jonathan's prediction that David would become king (23117). When David's men saw Saul entering their cave, they wrongly assumed that this was an indication from God that they should act. Even friends who are on your side can give poor advice. Don't assume that they know what is best for you or that they know God's will for you. Always test advice from others against the truth God has shown you in his Word.

(24:5-6) David Honors the Lord - David had great respect for Saul, in spite of the fact that Saul was trying to kill him. Although Saul was sinning and rebelling against God, David still respected the position he held as God's anointed king. David knew he would one day be king, and he also knew it was wrong to strike down the man God had placed on the throne. If David assassinated Saul, he would be setting a precedent for his own opponents to assassinate him some day. Romans 13:1-7. teaches that God has placed the government and its leaders in power. We may not know why, but like David, we are to respect the positions and roles of those to whom God has given authority. However, there is one exception. Because God is our highest authority, we should not allow a leader to pressure us to violate God's law.

(24:16-19) David Refuses to Compromise - The means we use to accomplish a goal are just as important as the goal we are trying to accomplish. David's goal was to become king, so his men urged him to kill Saul when he had the chance. David's refusal was not an example of cowardice but of courage, the courage to stand against the group and do what he knew was right. Don't compromise your godly standards by giving in to group pressure or taking the easy way out.

(24:21-23) David Keeps His Promise - David kept his promise he never took revenge on Saul's family or descendants. Most of Saul's sons were killed later, however, by the Philistines ( Samuel 31:2) and the Gibeonites. (2 Samuel 21:1-14). David had promised to be kind to the descendants of Saul's son Jonathan ( Samuel 20:14-15), and he kept this promise when he invited Mephibosheth to eat at his table (2 Samuel 9).


Dave Burnette's Life Application



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 24. In our text, we see David sparing Saul's life when he could have easily killed him. The tables turned on Saul, and David could have killed him but chose to forgive Saul. In making an application, we see the power of forgiveness. God blessed David for His forgiveness and for respecting the person and position of Saul. Today we too will be blessed as we forgive others as God will bless you. Forgiveness has many health benefits linked to this action. Still, the simple fact is that God did not make us carry the burden of unforgiveness as it turns into bitterness. How about you? Do you forgive others as God has forgiven you? Let us learn from today's text and the life of David to forgive others; as a result, we will receive the blessing of the Lord.


1 Samuel 24

1 Samuel 24

 1And it came to pass, when Saul was returned from following the Philistines, that it was told him, saying, Behold, David is in the wilderness of Engedi.

 2Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel, and went to seek David and his men upon the rocks of the wild goats.

 3And he came to the sheepcotes by the way, where was a cave; and Saul went in to cover his feet: and David and his men remained in the sides of the cave.

 4And the men of David said unto him, Behold the day of which the LORD said unto thee, Behold, I will deliver thine enemy into thine hand, that thou mayest do to him as it shall seem good unto thee. Then David arose, and cut off the skirt of Saul's robe privily.

 5And it came to pass afterward, that David's heart smote him, because he had cut off Saul's skirt.

 6And he said unto his men, The LORD forbid that I should do this thing unto my master, the LORD's anointed, to stretch forth mine hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the LORD.

 7So David stayed his servants with these words, and suffered them not to rise against Saul. But Saul rose up out of the cave, and went on his way.

 8David also arose afterward, and went out of the cave, and cried after Saul, saying, My lord the king. And when Saul looked behind him, David stooped with his face to the earth, and bowed himself.

 9And David said to Saul, Wherefore hearest thou men's words, saying, Behold, David seeketh thy hurt?

 10Behold, this day thine eyes have seen how that the LORD had delivered thee to day into mine hand in the cave: and some bade me kill thee: but mine eye spared thee; and I said, I will not put forth mine hand against my lord; for he is the LORD's anointed.

 11Moreover, my father, see, yea, see the skirt of thy robe in my hand: for in that I cut off the skirt of thy robe, and killed thee not, know thou and see that there is neither evil nor transgression in mine hand, and I have not sinned against thee; yet thou huntest my soul to take it.

 12The LORD judge between me and thee, and the LORD avenge me of thee: but mine hand shall not be upon thee.

 13As saith the proverb of the ancients, Wickedness proceedeth from the wicked: but mine hand shall not be upon thee.

 14After whom is the king of Israel come out? after whom dost thou pursue? after a dead dog, after a flea.

 15The LORD therefore be judge, and judge between me and thee, and see, and plead my cause, and deliver me out of thine hand.

 16And it came to pass, when David had made an end of speaking these words unto Saul, that Saul said, Is this thy voice, my son David? And Saul lifted up his voice, and wept.

 17And he said to David, Thou art more righteous than I: for thou hast rewarded me good, whereas I have rewarded thee evil.

 18And thou hast shewed this day how that thou hast dealt well with me: forasmuch as when the LORD had delivered me into thine hand, thou killedst me not.

 19For if a man find his enemy, will he let him go well away? wherefore the LORD reward thee good for that thou hast done unto me this day.

 20And now, behold, I know well that thou shalt surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in thine hand.

 21Swear now therefore unto me by the LORD, that thou wilt not cut off my seed after me, and that thou wilt not destroy my name out of my father's house.

 22And David sware unto Saul. And Saul went home; but David and his men gat them up unto the hold.