There are two reasons why people may not speak the whole truth. One reason is because they may be lying. The other reason is to keep a secret. Of course, people often tell lies in order to keep a secret.
We do not think that David was lying here; however, he certainly did not speak the whole truth. It was his secret plan, while in Philistia, to help the people in southern Israel. They were suffering greatly because of frequent attacks by large and fierce groups of robbers.
David told King Achish of Gath truthfully where his men were fighting. They were fighting in Judah, and in the regions that belonged to the people called Jerahmeelites and Kenites. Judah was southern Israel; the Jerahmeelites and Kenites lived further into the desert. The Kenites did not belong to Israel; they came from the family of the brother of Moses' wife. However, they supported Israel, so even Saul had protected them (15:6).
However, David did not tell Achish whom his men were fighting in those regions. In fact, David gave his men very careful instructions so that Achish could not discover that fact.
Achish imagined that David was attacking Israelís people there. Achish thought that David was leading a group of robbers, like the other robbers in that region. That thought pleased Achish: he wanted David to be loyal to him. Also, he wanted David to be an enemy of the people in Israel.
However, really David was fighting against the robbers in that region. So, by his actions, David was establishing friendly relations with the people in southern Israel. That was Davidís secret plan; and he considered it very important that Achish should not know about it.
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© 2014, Keith Simons.