In the cave, Davidís men reminded him about a message that he had received from God. God would hand over Davidís enemy, King Saul to him. Then David could deal with Saul as he wished (24:4).
Davidís men thought that Godís message gave David the right to kill Saul. David absolutely refused to do that. It was very wrong to kill the king whom God had appointed. David insisted that he and his men must respect Saul.
David understood that message from God in a completely different way. The message told David to deal with Saul as he wished. Of course David did not wish to kill the king whom he had always loyally served! David wished to give Saul the honour that was due to him as Israelís king and therefore, as Godís servant. David wished to appeal to Saul as his king, to make his (Saulís) own judgement about Saulís decision to kill him. David wanted to remind Saul about his relationship with God, who in the end would be Saulís judge.
So David humbly bent his body to the ground to give the greatest possible honour to Saul. As any citizen of Israel had the right to do, he appealed to Saul as his king and judge. He urged Saul not to listen to anyone who may have accused him unfairly. Saul himself could see the evidence that David was loyal to him. David had not killed Saul when he had the opportunity to do that. In fact, he had protected Saul from his (Davidís) men.
Davidís appeal was firstly to Saul, but David also appealed to God. God was the judge of both Saul and David; and he knew the truth about these matters. Whatever Saul decided, Godís judgement would be right. So David declared that he would do nothing to oppose Saul. God himself would punish Saul for his evil deeds - but David would not do any such thing.
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© 2014, Keith Simons.