Although David respected Abishai and his brother Joab for their military skills, he did not approve of their cruelty. He considered them evil men whom he was unable to control (2 Samuel 3:39; 1 Kings 2:5-6).
Abishai and Joab believed that David would become Israelís king. They supported him because his rule would give them the opportunity to have great power and authority.
For that reason, Davidís attitudes and methods were very different from theirs. Of course Abishai wanted to kill Saul. David could never be king while Saul remained alive. However, David was not asking himself what he needed to do in order to become king. David was trusting God to arrange his life for him. So instead, David was asking himself what he must do in order to please God. Clearly God would not be pleased if David murdered Saul.
David had a special reason why he would not hurt Saul. Saul was the king whom God had appointed to rule Israel. God had separated Saul from everyone else in Israel for that special task. Therefore, David considered Saul to be a holy man, a servant of God. Saul had not been loyal to God, but he was still Israelís king. So, David believed that everyone in Israel, including David himself, must be loyal to Saul.
David ordered Abishai not to attack Saul. Abishai obeyed; he accepted Davidís authority. However, Abishai would still have considered Davidís decision very strange. In Abishaiís opinion, any opportunity to achieve success was a gift from God.
However, David would have preferred for his ambitions to fail than that he should offend God by them.
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© 2014, Keith Simons.