Dave Burnette's Commentary

1 Samuel Chapter 26

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 Again Spares Saul's Life (v 1-25)

1 Samuel 26 Commentary

(26:1) David is Betrayed - This is the second time the men from Ziph betrayed David (see 23:19 for the first). They would surely be counting on some kind of reward if Saul was successful in capturing him. David wrote Psalm 54 at this time

(26:5-9) David Restrains Abishai - Abishai showed great courage when he volunteered to go into Saul's camp with David. In the heat of emotion, Abishai wanted to kill Saul, but David restrained him. Although Abishai was only trying to protect his leader, David could not hurt Saul because of his respect for Saul's authority and position as God's anointed king. Abishai may have disagreed with David, but he also respected the one in authority over him. Eventually he became the greatest warrior in David's army (2 Samuel 23:18-19).

(26:8-25) David Follows God - The strongest moral decisions are the ones we make before temptation strikes. David was determined to follow God, and this carried over into his decision not to murder God's anointed king, Saul, even when his men and the circumstances seemed to make it a feasible option. Who would you have been like in such a situation- David or David's men? To be like David and follow God, we must realize that we can't do what is wrong in order to execute justice. Even when our closest friends counsel us to do something that seems like a good idea, we must always put God's commands first.

(26:9-11) David Refuses to Kill Saul - Why did David refuse to kill Saul? God had placed Saul in power and had not yet removed him. David did not want to run ahead of God's timing. We are in similar situations when we have leaders in our churches or government institutions who are unfaithful or incompetent. It may be easy for us to criticize or move against a leader, oblivious to God's hidden purposes and timing. Determining not to do something that was wrong, David left Saul's destiny in God's hands. While we should not ignore sin or sit back and allow evil leaders to carry on their wickedness, neither should we take actions that are against God's commands. We should strive for righteousness and trust God.

(26:15-16) David Spares Saul's Life - David could have killed Saul and Abner, but he would have been disobeying God and setting into motion possible cycles of vengeance and assassination. Instead, he took a spear and water jug, showing that he could have killed the king but had not done it and making the point that he had great respect for both God and God's anointed king. When you need to make a point, look for creative, God-honoring ways to do so. It will have a more significant impact.

(26:19) David is Driven Out of Israel - This was David's way of saying he had been driven out of Israel. The whole earth belongs to God, but the tabernacle, the ark of the covenant, and God's people were in Israel. Forced to leave Israel, David could not worship at the tabernacle or participate in the annual feasts. He felt separated, living among people who worshiped strange gods.

(26:25) God Protects David - Saul had opportunities to kill David, but he never did. Why? First, every time David and Saul were face-to-face, David did something generous for Saul. The king did not want to respond to David's kindness with cruelty in front of all his men. Second, David had a large following in Israel. By killing him, Saul would risk his hold on the kingdom. Third, God had appointed David to become king of Israel and was protecting him.


Dave Burnette's Life Application

True Repentance


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 26. In our text, David again with the opportunity to kill Saul but didn't end his life. In response, Saul acknowledged his wrongdoing but failed to repent or turn from his wrong decisions in repairing this relationship. In making an application, we see the difference between acknowledgment and repentance. Many today acknowledge their sin but don't repent. In an empty prayer, they believe they have gained a ticket to Heaven. Still, the Bible is clear that if a Soul fails to repent unto Christ in true repentance, they will fail to have their sins forgiven by a Holy God. It is not A-B-C repeat after me Salvation. Still, a soul walking in a sinful path, then being convicted of a Holy God, then turning from that sin to receive the forgiveness Christ paid on Calvary. How about you? Have you repented unto Salvation, or have you just acknowledged you are a sinner? Let us learn from our text today and the life of Saul to remember that acknowledgment is not repentance. In our lives, it takes repentance of our sins to Jesus Christ to receive forgiveness of our sins and true Salvation.


1 Samuel 26

1 Samuel 26

 1And the Ziphites came unto Saul to Gibeah, saying, Doth not David hide himself in the hill of Hachilah, which is before Jeshimon?

 2Then Saul arose, and went down to the wilderness of Ziph, having three thousand chosen men of Israel with him, to seek David in the wilderness of Ziph.

 3And Saul pitched in the hill of Hachilah, which is before Jeshimon, by the way. But David abode in the wilderness, and he saw that Saul came after him into the wilderness.

 4David therefore sent out spies, and understood that Saul was come in very deed.

 5And David arose, and came to the place where Saul had pitched: and David beheld the place where Saul lay, and Abner the son of Ner, the captain of his host: and Saul lay in the trench, and the people pitched round about him.

 6Then answered David and said to Ahimelech the Hittite, and to Abishai the son of Zeruiah, brother to Joab, saying, Who will go down with me to Saul to the camp? And Abishai said, I will go down with thee.

 7So David and Abishai came to the people by night: and, behold, Saul lay sleeping within the trench, and his spear stuck in the ground at his bolster: but Abner and the people lay round about him.

 8Then said Abishai to David, God hath delivered thine enemy into thine hand this day: now therefore let me smite him, I pray thee, with the spear even to the earth at once, and I will not smite him the second time.

 9And David said to Abishai, Destroy him not: for who can stretch forth his hand against the LORD's anointed, and be guiltless?

 10David said furthermore, As the LORD liveth, the LORD shall smite him; or his day shall come to die; or he shall descend into battle, and perish.

 11The LORD forbid that I should stretch forth mine hand against the LORD's anointed: but, I pray thee, take thou now the spear that is at his bolster, and the cruse of water, and let us go.

 12So David took the spear and the cruse of water from Saul's bolster; and they gat them away, and no man saw it, nor knew it, neither awaked: for they were all asleep; because a deep sleep from the LORD was fallen upon them.

 13Then David went over to the other side, and stood on the top of an hill afar off; a great space being between them:

 14And David cried to the people, and to Abner the son of Ner, saying, Answerest thou not, Abner? Then Abner answered and said, Who art thou that criest to the king?

 15And David said to Abner, Art not thou a valiant man? and who is like to thee in Israel? wherefore then hast thou not kept thy lord the king? for there came one of the people in to destroy the king thy lord.

 16This thing is not good that thou hast done. As the LORD liveth, ye are worthy to die, because ye have not kept your master, the LORD's anointed. And now see where the king's spear is, and the cruse of water that was at his bolster.

 17And Saul knew David's voice, and said, Is this thy voice, my son David? And David said, It is my voice, my lord, O king.

 18And he said, Wherefore doth my lord thus pursue after his servant? for what have I done? or what evil is in mine hand?

 19Now therefore, I pray thee, let my lord the king hear the words of his servant. If the LORD have stirred thee up against me, let him accept an offering: but if they be the children of men, cursed be they before the LORD; for they have driven me out this day from abiding in the inheritance of the LORD, saying, Go, serve other gods.

 20Now therefore, let not my blood fall to the earth before the face of the LORD: for the king of Israel is come out to seek a flea, as when one doth hunt a partridge in the mountains.

 21Then said Saul, I have sinned: return, my son David: for I will no more do thee harm, because my soul was precious in thine eyes this day: behold, I have played the fool, and have erred exceedingly.

 22And David answered and said, Behold the king's spear! and let one of the young men come over and fetch it.

 23The LORD render to every man his righteousness and his faithfulness; for the LORD delivered thee into my hand to day, but I would not stretch forth mine hand against the LORD's anointed.

 24And, behold, as thy life was much set by this day in mine eyes, so let my life be much set by in the eyes of the LORD, and let him deliver me out of all tribulation.

 25Then Saul said to David, Blessed be thou, my son David: thou shalt both do great things, and also shalt still prevail. So David went on his way, and Saul returned to his place.