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Lesson 43: David Finds Saul in a Cave

Updated: Jul 26

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INTRODUCTION. After David and Jonathan made their second covenant, David

became a fugitive and outlaw, running from Saul for most of the remainder of Saul's

life. David first fled to Nob, a town in the territory of Benjamin called, "the city of the

priests" (I Sam. 22:19). There the priest Ahimelech gave him some provisions and

Goliath's sword, for David was unarmed and without any weapons (I Sam. 21:1-9).


David next went to Achish, the king of the Philistine city of Gath, but he was not welcome

there among the Philistines (I Sam. 21:10-15). He escaped then to the cave

of Adullam, a large cave in the lowlands of Judah. His father's family joined him

there as well as a fighting force of 400 men who were discontented, distressed, and

in debt. David removed his family to Moab for safety, then returned to Judah at the

advice of the prophet Gad (I Sam. 22:1-5).


Meanwhile an Edomite named Doeg informed Saul that the priest Ahimelech had

aided David. Saul called for Ahimelech and all the priests at Nob and commanded

his servants to slay them. The servants of the king refused to strike the priests of

the Lord, so Saul told Doeg, the Edomite, to kill them. Doeg killed eighty-five priests

that day then attacked Nob, killing all in the city. Abiathar, one of the sons of Ahimelech,

managed to escape and fled to David (I Sam. 22:6-23).


As David moved from place to place constantly trying to elude Saul and his men, his

force of followers increased to 600. David and his 600 men next delivered the city of

Keilah, located in the southern lowlands of Judah, from an attack by the Philistines.

When Saul heard that David was in Keilah, he sent his army to besiege the city and

trap David. However, David was warned by God, and he and his men fled to the

wilderness of Ziph. It was at this time while David was in the hill country of Judah in

the wilderness of Ziph that Jonathan came to him, and they renewed their covenant

for the third time (I Sam. 23:1-18).


After a while the Ziphites betrayed David to Saul, so David and his men moved a little

farther south in the wilderness. Saul continued to seek David, but receiving a

message that the Philistines were invading his territory, he left his pursuit of David

and turned against the Philistines (I Sam. 23:19-29).


David then went to Engedi at the edge of the wilderness on the western shore of the

Dead Sea. This was an oasis watered by a hot spring that gushed forth hundreds of

feet above the base of a large cliff, and the rocky gorges in the area offered many

hideouts. When Saul returned from his encounters with the Philistines, he continued

his pursuit of David with 3000 men. Saul went into one of the many caves in the

area to rest unaware that David and his men were in the innermost part of the same

cave (I Sam. 24).

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