While Saul was worrying about Philistia’s vast army, David and his men were joining it. Every man in Philistia who could fight had to join its army. David had been living in Philistia since Saul’s actions forced him to leave Israel, 15 months earlier.
Philistia consisted of 5 principal towns: Ashdod, Gaza, Ashkelon, Gath and Ekron. Each town had its own king, who had absolute authority over that town and the country areas round it. When the nation went to war, each king brought the men from his region to join in the battle.
David and his men lived in the region that King Achish of Gath ruled. Achish had seen that David was a skilled, loyal and strong soldier. In fact, Achish trusted David so much that he wanted David to be his personal guard (27:12; 28:2).
Although Achish had absolute rule over his region, his decisions about Philistia’s army needed the support of its other rulers.
It surprised Philistia’s rulers very much to see men from Israel among the soldiers that Achish brought. Achish told the rulers that they could trust David. David was an army commander from Israel who had become an enemy of Saul. When David escaped from Saul, he came to Gath. Achish had watched David carefully and, for more than a year, David had been loyal to Achish. Achish believed that David had now made the people in Israel his enemies (27:12).
Achish’s opinion about David was not completely correct. David had been loyal to Achish, but David was not in fact opposing the inhabitants of Israel (27:8-12). David continued to support and to protect Israel’s people even while he was living in Philistia. Also, although Saul had often tried to kill David, David refused to attack Saul. David still considered Saul to be the king whom God had appointed to rule Israel.
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© 2014, Keith Simons.