David brought a large group of people to Gath; 600 men, with their wives and families. He asked the king of Gath to permit them to live in one of the small towns near Gath. The king of Gath ruled not just Gath, his capital, but also the surrounding towns and villages.
David desired a place where his group of people could live peacefully together. Most of them were from Israel; probably all of them considered Israelís God to be their God. If they lived in Gath, the false religion of Gath may tempt them (26:19). They would constantly be aware of the ceremonies of that religion and the false gods of their neighbours. Not all of Davidís men were strong in their relationship with God (30:22). They might marry foreign wives; they could even forget that they belonged to Israel.
So David wanted them to have their own small town. His request, to Achish, king of Gath, was polite. He explained that he wanted somewhere to live under Achishís authority.
Achish gave a small town called Ziklag to David. It was close to the border between Israel and Philistia. So, David became ruler of that town, and his men took their families there. For 16 months, he ruled that town under the authority of the king of Gath in Philistia. However, the gift of that town actually became permanent when David became king of Judah. At that time, the border moved and Ziklag became part of Judah.
Davidís men behaved well in Ziklag; and that impressed the people who lived in the surrounding area. The result was that 600 men from Philistia became loyal to David, in addition to the 600 men from Israel (2 Samuel 15:18-22).
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© 2014, Keith Simons.