Study Notes

1Samuel 26:1-25

26:1 The Ziphites Meddle Again

Zeef was a city at the extreme southern end of the land of Judah (Josh. 15:24). When David was hiding in the hill country in the wilderness of Zeef (1Sam 23), the Zeefites had told on him to Saul. Now they're at it again, saying, "Isn't David hiding on the hill of Khak-ee-LAW, south of Yesh-ee-MONE?"

The last interaction that Saul had with David resulted in Saul repenting from his suspicion of and hatred toward David. But this interference on the part of the Zeefites was all that Saul needed to get angry at David again.

The proverb says,

Prov. 26:17 Like one who takes a dog by the ears Is he who passes by and meddles with strife not belonging to him.

The rule of thumb is: unless you're asked, stay out of other people's conflicts. The Zeephites had nothing to do with the tension between Saul and David. They should have stayed out. Peter warned us,

1Pet. 4:15 By no means let any of you suffer as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler

The Greek word translated "troublesome meddler" is literally, "an overseer of what belongs to another." Peter is saying, "don't be a thief, don't be a murderer, and don't take control of what doesn't belong to you." That's how serious the Bible views meddling in others' affairs. The Zeefites have stirred up a fire that had almost gone out.

26:2-4 Saul Searches For David

Angry again, Saul brings 3,000 men with him to search for David. David knows that Saul is once again after him.

26:5 The Camp

Saul slept in the middle of the circle of the camp. The camp was laid out in a way that protected the king in case of a night-time ambush.

Ner was Saul's uncle, making Abner Saul's cousin. Abner was the commander of Saul's army.

26:6-8 Abishai's Vengeance

This Akh-ee-MEH-lek is not the priest from Nob. Saul had put him and all the other priests to death. This is Akh-ee-MEH-lek the Hittite. You don't need to remember his, because when he saw what a suicide mission going down into Saul's camp with David was, he declined the invitation.

However, Ab-ee-SHAH-ee the son of Tser-oo-YAW accepted David's offer.

David and Ab-ee-SHAH-ee snuck down into the camp and made it all the way into the middle, where King Saul was sleeping.

Ab-ee-SHAH-ee was convinced that this was God's way of letting David kill Saul. Ab-ee-SHAH-ee asked David if he could kill Saul, promising that he would kill him quickly and silently with one strike of the spear.

26:9-10 The Lord's Anointed

David makes two statements. David had always known the first one: if you stretch out your hand against the Lord's anointed, you will be guilty.

Remember the three groups of men that were anointed: prophets, priests, and kings. David always adhered to the rule that you do not touch the Lord's anointed. It is too bad that many Christians have wholeheartedly neglected this rule that David lived by. By and large, the three groups that individuals in churches regard as "open season" are those who teach the word of God, those who preach the Word of God, and those who have been placed in authority by God.

But the Lord has made it clear in both the Old and New Testaments not to touch His anointed. This includes church leaders:

1Tim. 5:17 Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching.

Gal. 6:6 ...Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with him who teaches.

And it includes authorities:


Rom. 13:1-2 Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.

Prophets, priests, and kings are the Lord's anointed. If we cannot subject ourselves to them, then we must quietly remove ourselves from the church, the job, or the country. We must not attack or speak evil of them. Rather,

1Tim. 2:1-2 ...I urge that entreaties {and} prayers, petitions {and} thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority...

We would drastically improve our witness if we observed this rule. No matter how many opportunities David had to stretch out his hand against the Lord's anointed, he refused.

The Lord Will Strike Him

The second statement that David made he had just recently learned. From his recent experience with Naw-BAWL, he knew that,

1Sam. 26:10 ..."surely the LORD will strike him, or his day will come that he dies, or he will go down into battle and perish."

Although he had planned to kill Naw-BAWL himself, he was prevented by Abigail. The next day, Naw-BAWL had a stroke or heart attack that incapacitated him. He died about ten days later.

Paul would later write,

Rom. 12:19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath {of God,} for it is written, "VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY," says the Lord.

If God is as angry at the person as you are, He'll do a much better job of punishing him. But if He is not angry, then you should not dare touch him. Either way, it's not your place to strike with vengeance. Leave it up to God.

26:11-12 A Sound Sleep From The Lord

Here we see the reason that David and Ab-ee-SHAH-ee were able to sneak in and out of the camp without being caught: "a sound sleep from the Lord had fallen on them."

This is the same Hebrew word that described the state Adam was in.

Gen. 2:21-22 ...The LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh at that place. And the LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man...

This was a sleep that you could perform surgery on someone!

26:13-16 You Did Not Guard The King

David put some distance between himself and Saul's army, then called out to them. He revealed that he and another had been in the camp. Ab-ee-SHAH-ee had wanted to kill Saul, his life had been in danger. Because they had not protected their king, the penalty they should have suffered was death.

That might have sounded ludicrous to Abner and his men, but after all, weren't they pursuing David to put him to death? And David had done nothing wrong!

It is so easy for us to judge others, but not ourselves. It is so easy to be graceful regarding our sin, but so law-abiding when it comes to others' sins. Later in David's life, we will see an example with the roles reversed.

2Sam. 12:1-7 Then the LORD sent Nathan to David. And he came to him, and said, "There were two men in one city, the one rich and the other poor. The rich man had a great many flocks and herds. But the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb Which he bought and nourished; And it grew up together with him and his children. It would eat of his bread and drink of his cup and lie in his bosom, And was like a daughter to him. Now a traveler came to the rich man, And he was unwilling to take from his own flock or his own herd, To prepare for the wayfarer who had come to him; Rather he took the poor man's ewe lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him." Then David's anger burned greatly against the man, and he said to Nathan, "As the LORD lives, surely the man who has done this deserves to die. And he must make restitution for the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing and had no compassion." Nathan then said to David, "You are the man!

You see, it had been David that had taken Uriah's wife Bathsheba, even though he himself already had several wives, and Uriah had only one. David's harsh judgment of another man certainly softened when he realized he was judging himself. Jesus said,

Matt. 7:3-5 "And why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,' and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye."

Oh, how easy it is to judge others when we really should be judging our own sins!

26:17-20 What Has Stirred You Up?

I love what David says here:

1Sam. 26:19 "...If the LORD has stirred you up against me, let Him accept an offering; but if it is men, cursed are they before the LORD..."

Hatred of someone is always a sin. Because if you are truly angry at their unrighteousness, then you have a commandment from God:

Rom. 12:14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and curse not.

Luke 6:27-28 "But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.

If you are truly correct that they have done awful things, you must pray for them, not hate them, gossip about them, or smite them. That's why David said, "If the LORD has stirred you up against me, let Him accept an offering."

But the other option is that you are wrong about the person. You've been stirred up against them by men. You've listened to gossip that wasn't true, you've made assumptions that were wrong. That's why the Bible commands,

Prov. 20:19 not associate with a gossip.

So either way, if you've been angry and in hatred, it's time to repent.

26:21-25 As Yours, So Is Mine

David makes the statement,

1Sam. 26:24 " your life was highly valued in my sight this day, so may my life be highly valued in the sight of the LORD..."

David was trusting in the fact that the Lord would treat him as he had treated Saul. In fact, the Lord's prayer even says,

Matt. 6:12 ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

Luke 6:31 "And just as you want people to treat you, treat them in the same way."

Luke 6:37-38 "And do not judge and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned. Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, they will pour into your lap. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return."

The "golden rule" is a spiritual law. Let us do unto others as we would have them do unto us.

Go to next study

Go to previous study