And the men of David said - We know not to what promise of God the men of David refer; they perhaps meant no more than to say,
"Behold, the Lord hath delivered thine enemy into thy land, now do to him as he wishes to do to thee."
Then David arose - Though I have a high opinion of the character of David, yet the circumstances of the case seem to indicate that he arose to take away the life of Saul, and that it was in reference to this that his heart smote him. It appears that he rose up immediately at the desire of his men to slay his inveterate enemy, and one whom he knew the Lord had rejected; but when about to do it he was prevented by the remonstrance of God in his conscience, and instead of cutting off his head, as he might have done, an act which the laws and usages of war would have justified, he contented himself with cutting off the skirt of his robe; and he did this only to show Saul how much he had been in his power.
The work of many a burden bearer is not understood, his labors are not appreciated, until death lays him low. When others take up the burdens he has laid down, and meet the difficulties he encountered, they can understand how his faith and courage were tested. Often then the mistakes they were so quick to censure are lost sight of. Experience teaches them sympathy. God permits men to be placed in positions of responsibility. When they err, He has power to correct or to remove them. We should be careful not to take into our hands the work of judging that belongs to God. MH 484.1
The conduct of David toward Saul has a lesson. By command of God, Saul had been anointed as king over Israel. Because of his disobedience the Lord declared that the kingdom should be taken from him; and yet how tender and courteous and forbearing was the conduct of David toward him! In seeking the life of David, Saul came into the wilderness and, unattended, entered the very cave where David with his men of war lay hidden. “And the men of David said unto him, Behold the day of which the Lord said unto thee, ... I will deliver thine enemy into thine hand, that thou mayest do to him as it shall seem good unto thee.... And 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.” The Saviour bids us, “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” Remember that soon your life record will pass in review before God. Remember, too, that He has said, “Thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: ... for thou that judgest doest the same things.” 1 Samuel 24:4-6; Matthew 7:1, 2; Romans 2:1. MH 484.2Read in context »
David was not the character Shimei represented him to be. When Saul was repeatedly placed in his power, and his followers would have killed him, David would not permit them to do so, although he was in continual fear of his own life, and was pursued like a wild beast by Saul. At one time when Saul was in his power, he cut off a piece of the skirt of his robe, that he might evidence to Saul that he would not harm him, although he might have taken his life if he was so disposed. David repented even of this, because he was the Lord's anointed. 4aSG 91.1
When David was thirsty, and greatly desired water of the well of Bethlehem, three men, without his knowledge, broke through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, and brought it to David. He considered it too sacred to drink and quench his thirst, because three men, through their love for him, had periled their lives to obtain it. He did not lightly regard life. It seemed to him that if he drank the water these brave men had put their lives in jeopardy to obtain, it would be like drinking their blood. He solemnly poured out the water as a sacred offering to God. 4aSG 91.2
After the death of Absalom, God turned the hearts of Israel, as the heart of one man, to David. Shimei, who had cursed David in his humility, through fear of his life, was among the first of the rebellious to meet David on his return to Jerusalem. He made confession of his rebellious conduct to David. Those who witnessed his abusive course urged David not to spare his life, because he cursed the Lord's anointed. But David rebuked them. He not only spared the life of Shimei, but mercifully forgave him. Had David possessed a revengeful spirit, he could readily have gratified it, by putting the offender to death. 4aSG 91.3Read in context »
The Ziphites, into whose wild regions David went from Keilah, sent word to Saul in Gibeah that they knew where David was hiding, and that they would guide the king to his retreat. But David, warned of their intentions, changed his position, seeking refuge in the mountains between Maon and the Dead Sea. PP 661.1
Again word was sent to Saul, “Behold, David is in the wilderness of Engedi. Then 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.” David had only six hundred men in his company, while Saul advanced against him with an army of three thousand. In a secluded cave the son of Jesse and his men waited for the guidance of God as to what should be done. As Saul was pressing his way up the mountains, he turned aside, and entered, alone, the very cavern in which David and his band were hidden. When David's men saw this they urged their leader to kill Saul. The fact that the king was now in their power was interpreted by them as certain evidence that God Himself had delivered the enemy into their hand, that they might destroy him. David was tempted to take this view of the matter; but the voice of conscience spoke to him, saying, “Touch not the anointed of the Lord.” PP 661.2
David's men were still unwilling to leave Saul in peace, and they reminded their commander of the words of God, “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.” But his conscience smote him afterward, because he had even marred the garment of the king. PP 661.3Read in context »