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 The Power Of Loyalty    1 Sam. 24:20-22; 26:1-2, 7-12, 21-25    July 25, 2010


       I like loyalty in people that goes beyond personal pleasure or aggrandizement. We see too little of it today. I think commitment is associated with a dedicated Christian life.


1.   The Power Of Loyalty When . . Treachery Is Intended. 1 Sam 24:20-22. 26:1-2

20 And now I know indeed that you shall surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established

in your hand. 21 Therefore swear now to me by the Lord that you will not cut off my descendants after me, and that you will not destroy my name from my father's house." 22 So David swore to Saul. And Saul went home, but David and his men went up to the stronghold. NKJV

1 Sam 26:1-2 1 Now the Ziphites came to Saul at Gibeah, saying, "Is David not hiding in the hill of Hachilah, opposite Jeshimon?" 2 Then Saul arose and went down to the Wilderness of Ziph, having three thousand chosen men of Israel with him, to seek David in the Wilderness of Ziph. NKJV

(Ryrie Study Bible.)

22:20 Abiathar, who in Mark 2:26 is related to the incident of giving bread to David (1 Sam 21:6), evidently served as coadjutor with his father Ahimelech.

22:22 David's deception (21:2) brought devastating consequences, for which he assumed full responsibility.

26:1 The incidents related in chaps. 24 and 26 are similar, but the differences are sufficient to establish that the events are in fact separate. Jeshimon. See note on 1 Sam 23:19.

26:2 wilderness of Ziph. See note on 1 Sam 23:14.

(Ryrie Study Bible.)

(Dake Annotated Reference Bible.)

Verse 20

a [one of the sons of Ahimelech ... escaped] Only one of the line of priests of Eli's line escaped to carry on his priesthood (1 Sam 22:20-23). Compare the only one that was saved in the line of kings to carry on the royal line of the Messiah (2 Kings 11).

b [Abiathar]

Abiathar (1 Sam 22:20)

Abiathar, excellent father. The son of Ahimelech and twelfth high priest in Israel (1 Sam 22:20-23; 23:6-9; 30:7; 1 Kings 1:7,19,25,42; 1 Chron 27:34; Mark 2:26). He was joint priest with Zadok who was with Saul's party (2 Sam 8:17; 15:24-36; 17:15; 19:11; 20:25; 1 Chron 15:11). He had a son who was also joint priest with Zadok for a while (1 Chron 18:16; 24:6). Solomon deposed Ahimelech because he espoused his brother' cause to become king; and Zadok became sole high priest (1 Kings 1:7-42; 2:22-25). Thus, the prophecy to Eli of the cutting off of his house as priests was fulfilled (1 Sam 2:31), for Abiathar was the last of his line to be sole high priest. Eli and Abiathar were of the house of Ithamar and Zadok was of the house of Eleazar. By this act of Saul he caused the transfer of Urim and Thummim to David (1 Sam 23:2,4,6,9-12).

(Dake Annotated Reference Bible.)


Chapter 26 Verse 1

a [Ziphites came unto Saul] This was the third time David was betrayed by his countrymen, twice by these same Ziphites (1 Sam 26:1; 23).

Verse 2

a [Then Saul arose ... to seek David in the wilderness of Ziph] Saul reverted to his depraved, jealous disposition, and began to seek David's life after vowing once that he wouldn't do so (1 Sam 19:6), and after having his own life spared by David (1 Sam 24).

(Dake Annotated Reference Bible.)

(Application Study Bible.)

1 Samuel 22:20

22:20 Abiathar escaped to David with an ephod (23:6), a priestly garment containing the Urim and Thummim, two objects David used to consult God. The ephod was probably the only symbol of the priesthood that survived Saul's raid and made it into David's camp (23:6). Saul destroyed Israel's priesthood, but when David became king, he installed Abiathar as the new high priest. Abiathar remained in that position during David's entire reign.

(Application Study Bible.)



2.   The Power Of Loyalty When . . Trust Is Applied. 1 Sam. 26:7-12

       7 So David and Abishai came to the people by night; and there Saul lay sleeping within the camp, with his spear stuck in the ground by his head. And Abner and the people lay all around him. 8 Then Abishai said to David, "God has delivered your enemy into your hand this day. Now therefore, please, let me strike him at once with the spear, right to the earth; and I will not have to strike him a second time!" 9 But David said to Abishai, "Do not destroy him; for who can stretch out his hand against the Lord 's anointed, and be guiltless?" 10 David said furthermore, "As the Lord lives, the Lord shall strike him, or his day shall come to die, or he shall go out to battle and perish. 11 The Lord forbid that I should stretch out my hand against the Lord 's anointed. But please, take now the spear and the jug of water that are by his head, and let us go." 12 So David took the spear and the jug of water by Saul's head, and they got away; and no man saw or knew it or awoke. For they were all asleep, because a deep sleep from the Lord had fallen on them. NKJV

(Ryrie Study Bible.)

26:9-10 David recognized God's sovereignty over the life of Saul and believed that God would remove him from office in His own perfect time.

(Ryrie Study Bible.)

(Dake Annotated Reference Bible.)

Verse 8

a [God hath delivered thine enemy into thine hand this day] Abishai recognized that God had given Saul into his hands again to do with him as he saw best (1 Sam 24:4). He then begged to smite Saul just once, promising he would never rise again; then David would be rid of his enemy. Again, however, David spared Saul's life (1 Sam 24:8-9).

Verse 9

a [who can stretch forth his hand against the LORD'S anointed, and be guiltless?]

Verse 10

a [David said furthermore, As the LORD liveth, the LORD shall smite him; or his day shall come to die; or he shall descend into battle, and perish] The 13th prophecy in 1 Samuel (1 Sam 26:10, fulfilled, 1 Sam 31).

Verse 11

a [spear] It was customary to stand a tall spear at the entrance of the leader's tent.

b [bolster] The bolster was Saul's pillow (note c, 1 Sam 19:13). To take the spear from here was sufficient proof that he could have been easily killed.

Verse 12

a [cruse] Hebrew: tsappachath, jar or jug; translated cruse (1 Sam 26:11-12,16; 1 Kings 17:12-16; 19:6; 2 Kings 2:20).

b [deep sleep from the LORD was fallen upon them] This was have the secret of David's success — a deep sleep from God had overcome Saul and his men.

(Dake Annotated Reference Bible.)

(Life Application Study Bible.)

26:5-9 Abishai showed great courage when he volunteered to go into Saul's camp with David. In the heat of emotion, Abishai wanted to kill Saul, but David restrained him. Although Abishai was only trying to protect David, his leader, David could not hurt Saul because of his respect for Saul's authority and position as God's anointed king. Abishai may have disagreed with David, but he also respected the one in authority over him. Eventually he became the greatest warrior in David's army (2 Sam 23:18,19).

26:8ff The strongest moral decisions are the ones we make before temptation strikes. David was determined to follow God, and this carried over into his decision not to murder God's anointed king, Saul, even when his men and the circumstances seemed to make it a feasible option. Who would you have been like in such a situation—David or David's men? To be like David and follow God, we must realize that we can't do wrong in order to execute justice. Even when our closest friends counsel us to do something that seems right, we must always put God's commands first.

26:9 Why did David refuse to kill Saul? God had placed Saul in power and had not yet removed him. David did not want to run ahead of God's timing. We are in similar situations when we have leaders in church or government who are unfaithful or incompetent. It may be easy for us to criticize or move against a leader oblivious to God's hidden purposes and timing. Determining not to do wrong, David left Saul's destiny in God's hands. While we should not ignore sin or sit back and allow evil leaders to carry on their wickedness, neither should we take actions that are against God's laws. We should work for righteousness while trusting God.

(Life Application Study Bible.)


3.   The Power Of Loyalty Through . . Tribulation. 1 Sam. 26:21-25

21 Then Saul said, "I have sinned. Return, my son David. For I will harm you no more, because my life was precious in your eyes this day. Indeed I have played the fool and erred exceedingly." 22 And David answered and said, "Here is the king's spear. Let one of the young men come over and get it. 23 May the Lord repay every man for his righteousness and his faithfulness; for the Lord delivered you into my hand today, but I would not stretch out my hand against the Lord 's anointed. 24 And indeed, as your life was valued much this day in my eyes, so let my life be valued much in the eyes of the Lord , and let Him deliver me out of all tribulation." 25 Then Saul said to David, "May you be blessed, my son David! You shall both do great things and also still prevail." So David went on his way, and Saul returned to his place. NKJV

(Dake Annotated Reference Bible.)

a [Then said Saul ...] David's strategy was successful, causing Saul to acknowledge several things:

1.    I have sinned in seeking your life

2.    You should return to your inheritance

3.    I have been seeking to do you harm, but I will do it no more

4.    I realize that you truly love me and respect me by sparing me the second time

5.    I have played the fool

6.    I have erred exceedingly

b [I have sinned] Before this Saul would not admit that he had sinned; now under the pressure of being overwhelmed by the mercy, love, and justice of David, he freely confessed his sin.

c [return, my son David] This was Saul's first invitation for David to return from exile to serve God where and how He had ordained; to return to his own inheritance, and his own people; and to his own privileges as a citizen of Israel.

d [I will no more do thee harm] Saul didn't make this promise the first time David spared his life (1 Sam 26:21; 24:16-22).

e [my soul was precious in thine eyes this day] Before this Saul just said he couldn't understand why a man would spare his enemy (1 Sam 24:19); now he confessed the reason, acknowledging the love he knew to be in David's heart.

f [have played the fool, and have erred exceedingly] It took grace and character for Saul to admit this; it was the closest he'd come to true repentance since the Holy Spirit had left him (1 Sam 16:14-23).

Verse 22

a [Behold the king's spear! and let one of the young men come over and fetch it] In view of your changed attitude, you may send a young man for your spear and other things I have taken from you.

Verse 23

a [The LORD render to every man his righteousness and his faithfulness: for the LORD delivered thee into my hand to day, but I would not stretch forth mine hand against the LORD'S anointed] David committed his case into God's hands, and appealed to Saul to have as much respect for his life as he had had for the king's (1 Sam 26:23-24).

Verse 25

a [Saul retuned to his place] They parted, never to see each other again; Saul was soon to fall at the hands of enemies and meet his God whom he had rejected for so many years (1 Sam 31; 1 Chron 10:13-14).

(Dake Annotated Reference Bible.)


(Life Application Study Bible.)

26:25 Saul had opportunities to kill David, but he never did. Why? First, every time David and Saul were face to face, David did something generous for Saul. The king did not want to respond to David's kindness with cruelty in front of all his men. Second, David had a large following in Israel. By killing him, Saul would risk his hold on the kingdom. Third, God had appointed David to become king of Israel and was protecting him.

(Life Application Study Bible.)