The hills in central Israel receive much rain. At one time, a vast forest covered much of the high ground in the entire region. Some parts of that forest remained during Davidís life; Davidís men were living there in 1 Samuel 22:5.
As one goes east and south from those hills, the ground descends rapidly towards the Dead Sea. Soon, the land is so dry that trees cannot grow. First, there is grass and rough plants. Then the land becomes a desert.
You might think that it would be too difficult for Davidís men to live in such dry places. However, people have always lived in those deserts and dry areas. Those people cannot remain for long in one place. Like Davidís men, they are constantly moving from one place to another place. They usually live in tents, although Davidís men often stayed in caves.
The people who lived in those dry areas needed to have great knowledge about their region. Many of them, like Nabal in 1 Samuel 25:2, kept sheep. That is possible because the whole region is not dry all of the time. If a person knows where to take his sheep in each season, he can find food for them through the year.
There were also many thieves and robbers in that region. They often formed themselves into large groups that could attack a town. Smaller groups of robbers could attack the many traders who had to pass through the desert, as in Luke 10:30. Like Davidís men, those robbers considered the desert a good place to hide.
Davidís men were able to work as guards in the desert (25:16). They were protecting the people who looked after animals there. In that way, they were defending Israelís borders.
Next part: David at Horesh (1 Samuel 23:15)
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© 2014, Keith Simons.