Useful Bible Studies > 2 Samuel Commentary > chapter 23

David desires water from Bethlehem

2 Samuel 23:15

In Israel, most of the rain falls in winter. The grain harvest (verse 13) is in spring; and that is the start of a dry season that lasts for several months.

David expected that he would have to live in a cave during the dry months. He remembered the plentiful supply of water that he had known as a boy in Bethlehem, his home town. Now an enemy army, from Philistia, had taken possession of Bethlehem – and David’s own king, Saul, was trying to find David and to kill him. David felt desperate, and he expressed his strong emotions to the men with him.

The cave at Adullam was in an area of forest that received little rain. So, David’s men were already working hard to provide enough water for their group of 400 men. Clearly, they had found some water, but David did not like it. Unwisely, he told them about the beautiful water in Bethlehem.

David never even imagined that any of his men would try to get that water for him. He was expressing a desire for something that seemed to him impossible. To get that water, the men would have to walk 12 miles (20 kilometres) and back again. If the soldiers from Philistia saw them, they would have to fight for their lives. They would be risking their lives to gain almost nothing.

David had not yet realised how much those men cared about him. He was desperate for something that would bring him some comfort – but they were desperate to do something that would encourage him in that difficult situation. So, three of them discussed the matter – and they made an extraordinary plan.

Next part: David pours out the water as a gift to God (2 Samuel 23:16-17)


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