Suffered them not to rise against Saul - As he could restrain them, it was his duty to do so; had he connived at their killing him, David would have been the murderer. In praying for the king we call God the only Ruler of princes, for this simple reason, that their authority is the highest among men, and next to that of God himself; hence he alone is above them. We find this sentiment well expressed by an elegant poet: -
Regum timendorum in proprios greges,
Reges in ipsos imperium est Jovis.
Horace, Odar. lib. iii., Od. i., ver. 5.
Kings are supreme over their own subjects;
Jove is supreme over kings themselves.
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 »