En Gedi is one of the most beautiful and special places in Israel. It is in the desert, far from any other town, and near the Dead Sea. In this dry and difficult place, the springs at En Gedi provide plentiful water, and wonderful gardens grow.
Here David found a safe place to live when he was trying to escape from Saul. Of course, David could not stay in the town. He and his men made their home among the rocks, in the cliffs and caves of the desert in that region (see Hebrews 11:38). Although David could hide successfully there, he still could not escape Saulís attention. Saul took a group of 3000 skilled soldiers into the region to try to find David.
Saulís men would establish their main camp in En Gedi itself. The plentiful supplies of food and water would allow them to remain in that region for a long time. Each day, they would leave the town and go into the desert to search for David and his men.
Davidís men too would have to go into the town frequently for their supplies. Of course, they went there in secret. It was much too dangerous for them to allow anyone to see them. At all other times, they stayed in the desert. Each night, they probably chose a different place to camp. Often they slept in the vast caves there.
David was still leading a group of 600 men (23:13; 27:2). If there had been fewer men, perhaps they could have lived on the animals in the desert. Many wild goats live in such regions (Job 39:1-4). The region was not completely dry. Some people were managing to keep sheep there, for part of the year at least (24:3). However, with such a large group of men, David clearly needed supplies from the town. So he had to remain in the region of En Gedi while Saul was searching for him there.
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© 2014, Keith Simons.