1 Samuel 26

David Again Spares Saul

1 Then the Ziphites came to Saul at Gibeah, saying, "1Is not David hiding on the hill of Hachilah, which is before * Jeshimon?"
2 So Saul arose and went down to the wilderness of Ziph, having with him 2three thousand chosen men of Israel, to search for David in the wilderness of Ziph.
3 Saul camped in the hill of Hachilah, which is before * Jeshimon, 3beside the road, and David was staying in the wilderness. When 4he saw that Saul came after him into the wilderness,
4 David sent out spies, and he knew that Saul was definitely coming.
5 David then arose and came to the place where * Saul had camped. And David saw the place where * Saul lay, and 5Abner the son of Ner, the commander of his army; and Saul was lying in the circle of the camp, and the people were camped around him.
6 Then David said to Ahimelech 6the Hittite and to 7Abishai the son of Zeruiah, Joab's brother, saying, "Who 8will go down with me to Saul in the camp?" And Abishai said, "I will go down with you."
7 So David and Abishai came to the people by night, and behold, Saul lay sleeping inside the circle of the camp with his spear stuck in the ground at his head; and Abner and the people were lying around him.
8 Then Abishai said to David, "Today God has delivered your enemy into your hand; now therefore, please let me strike him with the spear to the ground with one stroke, and I will not strike him the second time."
9 But David said to Abishai, "Do not destroy him, for 9who can stretch out his hand against the LORD'S anointed and be without guilt?"
10 David also said, "As the LORD lives, 10surely * the LORD will strike him, or 11his day will come that he dies, or 12he will go down into battle and perish.
11 "13The LORD forbid that I should stretch out my hand against the LORD'S anointed; but now please take the spear that is at his head and the jug of water, and let us go."
12 So David took the spear and the jug of water from beside Saul's head, and they went away, but no one saw or knew it, nor did any awake, for they were all asleep, because 14a sound sleep from the LORD had fallen on them.
13 Then David crossed over to the other side and stood on top of the mountain at a distance with a large area between them.
14 David called to the people and to Abner the son of Ner, saying, "Will you not answer, Abner?" Then Abner replied, "Who are you who calls to the king?"
15 So David said to Abner, "Are you not a man? And who is like you in Israel? Why then have you not guarded your lord the king? For one of the people came to destroy the king your lord.
16 "This thing that you have done is not good. As the LORD lives, all of you 15must surely die, because you did not guard your lord, the LORD'S anointed. And now, see where the king's spear is and the jug of water that was at his head."
17 Then Saul recognized David's voice and said, "16Is this your voice, my son David?" And David said, "It is my voice, my lord the king."
18 He also said, "17Why then is my lord pursuing his servant? For what have I done? Or what evil is in my hand?
19 "Now therefore, please let my lord the king listen to the words of his servant. If 18the LORD has stirred you up against me, 19let Him accept an offering; but 20if it is men *, cursed are they before the LORD, for 21they have driven me out today so that I would have no attachment with the inheritance of the LORD, saying, 'Go, serve other gods.'
20 "Now then, do not let my blood fall to the ground away from the presence of the LORD; for the king of Israel has come out to search for 22a single flea, just as one hunts a partridge in the mountains."
21 Then Saul said, "23I have sinned. Return, my son David, for I will not harm you again because * my life was precious in your sight this day. Behold, I have played the fool and have committed a serious * error."
22 David replied, "Behold the spear of the king! Now let one of the young men come over and take it.
23 "24The LORD will repay each man for his righteousness and his faithfulness; for the LORD delivered you into my hand today, but 25I refused * to stretch out my hand against the LORD'S anointed.
24 "Now behold, as your life was 26highly valued in my sight this day, so may my life be highly valued in the sight of the LORD, and may He 27deliver me from all distress."
25 Then Saul said to David, "28Blessed are you, my son David; you will both accomplish much and surely prevail." So 29David went on his way, and Saul returned to his place.

1 Samuel 26 Commentary

Chapter 26

Saul goes after David, who again spares Saul's life. (1-12) David exhorts Saul. (13-20) Saul acknowledges his sin. (21-25)

Verses 1-12 How soon do unholy hearts lose the good impressions convictions have made upon them! How helpless were Saul and all his men! All as though disarmed and chained, yet nothing is done to them; they are only asleep. How easily can God weaken the strongest, befool the wisest, and baffle the most watchful! David still resolved to wait till God thought fit to avenge him on Saul. He will by no means force his way to the promised crown by any wrong methods. The temptation was very strong; but if he yielded, he would sin against God, therefore he resisted the temptation, and trusted God with the event.

Verses 13-20 David reasoned seriously and affectionately with Saul. Those who forbid our attendance on God's ordinances, do what they can to estrange us from God, and to make us heathens. We are to reckon that which exposes us to sin the greatest injury that can be done us. If the Lord stirred thee up against me, either in displeasure to me, taking this way to punish me for my sins against him, or in displeasure to thee, if it be the effect of that evil spirit from the Lord which troubles thee; let Him accept an offering from us both. Let us join in seeking peace, and to be reconciled with God by sacrifice.

Verses 21-25 Saul repeated his good words and good wishes. But he showed no evidence of true repentance towards God. David and Saul parted to meet no more. No reconciliation among men is firm, which is not founded in an cemented by peace with God through Jesus Christ. In sinning against God, men play the fool, and err exceedingly. Many obtain a passing view of these truths, who hate and close their eyes against the light. Fair professions do not entitle those to confidence who have long sinned against the light, yet the confessions of obstinate sinners may satisfy us that we are in the right way, and encourage us to persevere, expecting our recompence from the Lord alone.

Cross References 29

  • 1. 1 Samuel 23:19; Ps 54: title
  • 2. 1 Samuel 13:2; 1 Samuel 24:2
  • 3. 1 Samuel 24:3
  • 4. 1 Samuel 23:15
  • 5. 1 Samuel 14:50, 51; 1 Samuel 17:55
  • 6. Genesis 23:3; Genesis 26:34; Joshua 3:10; 1 Kings 10:29; 2 Kings 7:6
  • 7. 1 Chronicles 2:16
  • 8. Judges 7:10, 11
  • 9. 1 Samuel 24:6, 7; 2 Samuel 1:14, 16
  • 10. Deuteronomy 32:35; 1 Samuel 25:26, 38; Romans 12:19; Hebrews 10:30
  • 11. Genesis 47:29; Deuteronomy 31:14; Psalms 37:13
  • 12. 1 Samuel 31:6
  • 13. 1 Samuel 24:6, 12; Romans 12:17, 19; 1 Peter 3:9
  • 14. Genesis 2:21; Genesis 15:12; Isaiah 29:10
  • 15. 1 Samuel 20:31
  • 16. 1 Samuel 24:16
  • 17. 1 Sam 24:9, 11-14
  • 18. 2 Samuel 16:11
  • 19. Genesis 8:21
  • 20. 1 Samuel 24:9
  • 21. Joshua 22:25-27
  • 22. 1 Samuel 24:14
  • 23. Exodus 9:27; 1 Samuel 15:24, 30; 1 Samuel 24:17
  • 24. 1 Samuel 24:19; Psalms 7:8; Psalms 18:20; Psalms 62:12
  • 25. 1 Samuel 24:12
  • 26. 1 Samuel 18:30
  • 27. Psalms 54:7
  • 28. 1 Samuel 24:19
  • 29. 1 Samuel 24:22

Footnotes 7

Chapter Summary


This chapter relates that Saul, upon the information of the Ziphites, went out again with an armed force to seek David, 1Sa 26:1-3; of which David having intelligence, and of the place where he pitched, came with one of his men and reconnoitred his camp, and finding Saul and his men asleep, took away his spear, and the cruse of water at his head, and departed, without taking away his life, though solicited to it by his servant, 1Sa 26:4-12; which spear and cruse of water he produced to the reproach of Abner, Saul's general, and as a testimony of his sincere regard to Saul, and that he had no design upon his life, 1Sa 26:13-20; of which Saul being convinced, blessed David, and returned home again, 1Sa 26:21-25.

1 Samuel 26 Commentaries

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