Useful Bible Studies > 1 Samuel Commentary > chapter 21

David pretends that his mind is ill

1 Samuel 21:11-15

When David reached Gath, King Achishís officials recognised him. However, they had a wrong idea about him: they thought that David was already Israelís king.

This wrong idea came from the song that Israelís women sang in 1 Samuel 18:7. After the death of Goliath, they made up a song to give honour to Saul and David. In their song, they declared that Saul had killed many thousands of Israelís enemies. However, David had defeated many more enemies than that. That was what their song meant.

It was that song which first made Saul so angry with David (18:8). From it, Saul saw that David would become Israelís king. However, the song was not yet true. Saul was still Israelís king; David had just been a commander in his army. Saulís success in battle was still much greater than anything that David had yet achieved.

David wanted Achish to allow him to live peacefully in Gath. However, David heard what Achishís officials were saying. He became too afraid to meet Achish. Psalm 56 may be his prayer on this occasion.

David made up a clever scheme to protect himself. He pretended that his mind was ill. He acted as if he could not control his own behaviour.

Achish was angry that his officials had brought David to him. He did not believe that David was Israelís king. He thought that his officials were wasting his time. So David escaped.

Afterwards, David understood the truth about this incident, as Psalm 34 shows. He should have trusted God more; God is able to save his people in every situation. David had acted foolishly, but God still saved him. So David declared that he would constantly praise God.

Next part: The cave of Adullam (1 Samuel 22:1-2)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.