King Achish of Gath had ordered David and his men to join Philistia’s army. When they had marched for three days, they reached the army’s camp. However, the rulers of Philistia then saw them, and they would not allow them to join the army. So David and his men had gone that long march for no purpose whatever.
David protested to Achish. Achish insisted that he considered David loyal and honourable. Achish had wanted David to join the army; but he had been unable to persuade the other rulers to change their minds. They would not approve of David. It seems that David had made a good impression on Achish. Achish had seen that David was a holy man. Achish even referred to the LORD (the real God; the God of Israel) as he spoke to David. Achish considered David as perfect as an angel (servant of God). These were impressive words from a foreign king who probably served false gods.
As a holy man, David was very careful only to speak the truth. He did not tell Achish that he wanted to fight against Saul or against Israel; that would be untrue. Instead, David said that he would fight against Achish’s enemies. That was true. In fact, as soon as David returned home, he had to do that. He led his men in an attack against a large group of robbers who had attacked Philistia (1 Samuel chapter 30).
God did not want David to fight against Saul or against Israel. That was clear both from David’s beliefs (26:9-11) and from the fact that Philistia’s rulers would not allow him to do it. However, David would not say that Achish and Philistia’s army should not carry out their attack. Perhaps God was permitting them to do that in order to punish Saul for his evil deeds (26:10).
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© 2014, Keith Simons.