Have you ever been accused of something you didn’t do? Then you can remember how it feels to be misunderstood, singled out, slandered, etc. Certainly, we want to set the record straight. David was no different. He had his image to uphold. Sound familiar?
It was only a matter of time before Saul would bring total ruin and defeat to his time as king. You’d think he’d want to go out in “glory.” But we’ll walk through that together in the readings to come. For now, this is David’s turn at saving his reputation.
It was like Saul was delivered to David on a silver platter. Yet David spared Saul’s life that day in the cave. Can you imagine the emotions that were coursing through David’s veins? His men were urging him to kill Saul. Surely God had made Saul vulnerable for David’s benefit, hadn’t he?
David’s restraint and wisdom was great. We can ponder all day how it was that David was able to get that close to the king without being detected. David didn’t waste the opportunity he was given. He chose to spare Saul’s life and cut off part of his robe instead. Accomplishing that without detection was quite a feat!
It’s almost like cat and mouse game between Saul and David. It does almost seem like a game for Saul. A very dark game. Yet whether by David’s actions or not, David has yet to be caught or killed. Just when we think that Saul may be nearing the end of his patience, his anger and preoccupation escalating with every moment, the scene changes.
Saul is snapped back into the reality of the big picture. What good is a squabble regarding who is king if there is no Israel to lord over? The Philistines are a threat to deal with right away. His own personal vengeance will have to wait.
What struck me in this reading is how the relationship between David and God seems so natural, almost like they’re old friends. I have not personally had a conversation like that with God where I am totally clear on a particular life or death, what should I do next, kind of question.
We see first the victory over the Philistines. We didn’t see David rushing ahead before God with confidence and might. David prayed. First and foremost we need to keep that model in mind. Before rushing forward with decisions in our life, we need to get on our knees.
Have you ever said about someone, “(s)he hears only what (s)he wants to hear!” Well, Saul certainly heard what he wanted to hear that day. What a pity for how it all played out. If only Saul had been reasonable, he would have been able to see clearly what was happening. Misunderstandings and lies were responsible for the death of many priests that day.
Can’t you just picture the faces of those priests while Saul starts his rant? Ahimelech tried to reason with Saul, reminding him it was trustworthy and loyal David he was talking about. This message and plea of innocence would fall on Saul’s deaf ears as the pronouncement of death was made.