Saul had brought his 3000 best soldiers into the region of Ziph. They were ready to attack and to kill David and his 600 men.
Clearly, it would have been foolish for David to fight a battle in such circumstances (Luke 14:31-32). In fact, David did not want to fight Saul in any situation. David respected Saul as the king whom God had chosen to rule Israel. In Davidís opinion, a person who fought against Saul was opposing God.
David could see that none of Saulís officials could ever persuade Saul not to fight against David. Jonathan, Saulís son, had tried it and he had failed (19:4-10). Instead, David could only appeal to Saul himself. David did that successfully in 1 Samuel chapter 24.
Even if David succeeded on this occasion, the result would not be permanent. Since an evil spirit began to affect Saul in 1 Samuel 16:14, Saul could not control his own emotions. For Saul, an attitude of love could quickly change into hate (see 1 Samuel 20:27-33). Evil people could easily persuade Saul to act wickedly (26:19).
However, on this occasion, David did not need to achieve anything permanent. It was becoming clear that David and his men would have to leave Israel (26:19; 27:1). So David simply wanted to arrange that his men could leave safely. He did not want Saulís men to attack as they tried to escape.
To arrange that, David needed to speak personally to Saul. That was not an easy matter. 3000 skilled soldiers who wanted to kill David were camping round Saulís tent. Even if David could speak to Saul, David would still have to persuade him to act kindly towards David and his men.
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© 2014, Keith Simons.