Useful Bible Studies > 1 Samuel Commentary > chapter 23

Saul tries to attack David at Keilah

1 Samuel 23:7-8

Saulís attitude astonishes us. His last action was to kill Godís priests (22:16-18). Now he was speaking as if God was on his side.

Saul had tried to control his officials by fear (22:8). Perhaps he imagined that he was able to control God by the same method. Saul was able to kill Godís priests; perhaps he now believed that he could force God to hand David over. Saul had fought against God for several years (15:23); perhaps Saul actually believed that he had won.

If Saul thought such things, his ideas about God would be completely wrong. Nobody can control God; nobody will ever defeat him.

However, perhaps there is another explanation. Saul saw his opportunity to arrest David; perhaps Saul considered that opportunity to be a gift from God. Saulís ideas about religion were always very simple. When Saul was pleased about something, he thanked God for it. Saul still did that even when he was pleased about something evil. Saul did not ask what God wanted; Saul only cared about the things that he himself wanted.

On this particular occasion, Saul was pleased to discover that David was living in Keilah. Strong walls surrounded Keilah; Saul could easily bring an army to surround the town. That army would cut off all supplies into the town. The inhabitants would be very afraid, so they would hand David over. They did not want to starve, or for Saul to destroy their town.

So Saul began to gather an army for that purpose. Most of his soldiers were part-time; when they were not fighting, they returned to their own towns, often to work on their farms. So Saul had to send men across Israel with a message for the army to gather. Someone who heard that message told David about it.

Next part: Davidís experience at Keilah (1 Samuel 23:9-13)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.