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1 Samuel -- Chapter 12

[26] The Ziphites were still out to get David, so they told Saul that he was hiding on the hill of Hakilah. Saul went down and set up camp on the road to the hill of Hakilah. David found out that Saul had arrived, went to his encampment and saw where Saul and his commander, Ner, had laid down, with the rest of the army camped around them.

"Who will go with me to Saul's camp?" David asked.

A fellow named Abishai said, "I'll go," so they snuck down at night into the camp and found Saul lying on the ground with his sword stuck in the ground next to him with Abner and the rest of the army around him.

Abishai said to David, "God has delivered him into your hands. Let me pin him to the ground with that spear."

But David said, "No. Don't kill him. Who can lay a hand on god's annointed and be guiltless? God will take care of him himself. Just grab his sword and water jug and let's go." So they took the sword and jug and left. No one saw or heard them because god had put them into a deep sleep.

So David went and stood on a hill a little distance away and called out to Abner, "Abner! Abner! Aren't you going to answer me?"

Abner woke up and responded. "Who are you who calls to the king." (Abner was a little disoriented and thought he was king.)

"Why didn't you guard your lord, the king?" David continued. "Someone came into your camp to destroy him. As surely as Mr. god lives you and your men must die for not protecting your king. Look around you. Where are the king's spear and water jug?"

Saul responded, "Is that your voice, David, my son?"

"Yes, it is me," responded David. "Why are you pursuing me? What have I done? What am I guilty of? Now listen, if god has incited you to do this may he accept the killing of an animal. If, however, people have done this may they be cursed before god. They have driven me out from my inheritance."

Saul responded, "I have sinned. Come back David, my son. Since you spared my life today I will not try to harm you again. I was wrong."

"Right! Just like last time, huh?" David responded, and then said, "Here is the king's spear. Let one of your young men come and fetch it. God rewards everyone for righteousness and faithfulness. As I have valued your life today, may he deliver me from all my troubles."

Saul said, "Bless you, David, my son. You will do great things and surely triumph." So David went on his way, and Saul returned home.

[27] But David thought, "One of these days I will be destroyed by the hand of Saul. The best thing I can do is escape to the land of the Philistines. Then Saul will give up looking for me." So David and his six hundred men went over to Achish, king of Gath, and settled there. Each man has his family with him, including David with the beginnings of his harem, Ahinoam and Abigail. When Saul heard he was there he stopped searching for him.

David said to Achish, "If I, the one who has killed so many Philistines, have found favor with you, please assign one of our your country towns for me to live in," so Achish gave him the town of Ziklag, which has belonged to the kings of Judah ever since. David lived with the Philistines for a year and four months.

David and his men planted vineyards ... Oh, no... They grew wheat ... Oh, no ... They became ironworkers ... Oh, no ... They built roads and bridges for the Philistines ... Oh, no ... Oh yes, they became a raiding party and raided the Geshurites, Girzites and Amalekites. (That would be those Amalekites that had been competely wiped out in chapter seven.) Whenever David attacked an area he did not leave a man or woman alive. He slaughtered them all with god's mercy and took all their livestock and clothing and returned to Achish. His actions were so abominable even to the heathen Philistines that he left not a single person alive to say, "This is what David did." After he told Achish that he had been attacking Israelite towns, Achish trusted David, thinking, "He has become so abnoxious to his own people that he will be my servant for life."

During that time the Philistines went to war with Israel, and Achish told David, "Your men must accompany me in the army."

"Oh yes! You will see what I can do!" David responded.

Achish replied, "Very well. I will make you, who have killed so many of my people, my bodyguard for life."

 

Now, Samuel, you might recall, was dead. Israel had mourned and buried him. Saul had expelled all mediums and spiritists from the land. When Saul saw the Philistine army that was gathered against him he was afraid. He inquired of god, but god didn't answer him by dreams, by Urim or by prophets, so he said, "Find me a medium so that I may inquire of her."

He was told that there was one in Endor, so he disguised himself and went to her. "Consult a spirit for me," he said.

The woman responded, "Surely you know that Saul has cut off all the mediums and spiritists from the land. Why are you trying to trap me and cause my death?"

"As surely as I live, you will not be punished for this," Saul responded.

"Who shall I bring up for you?" she asked.

"Samuel," he replied.

When the woman saw Samuel she cried out, "Why have you deceived me. You are Saul!"

"Don't be afraid," Saul said. "Just tell me what you see."

"I see a ghostly figure coming up out of the earth."

"What does he look like?"

"An old man with a robe."

Saul knew it was Samuel and bowed down to the ground.

Samuel said, "Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?"

"I am in great distress," Saul said. "The Philistines are fighting against me and god has left me. He won't answer me by prophets or by dreams, so I have called on you to tell me what to do."

Samuel responded, "Why do you ask me, since you see that god has left you and become your enemy? God has done what I predicted, taken your kingdom away and given it to David, because you did not obey god and kill every last one and every last thing of those icky Amalekites. God will deliver the Israelites into the hands of the Philistines, and tomorrow you and your sons will be with me here in this place, wherever it is, where both us godly prophets and you rebellious people go."

Saul fell on the ground, filled with fear, and wouldn't eat anything. The medium said, "Look. I have done what you have asked. I risked my life and did as you said. Now listen to me and let me give you some food to eat."

"I will not eat," he responded. But the woman took a fattened calf and butchered it and his men urged him to eat, so he did.

 

The Philistines camped at Aphek, and the Israelites at Jezreel. As the Philistine rulers were marching with the units David and his men were marching with Achish. "What about those Hebrews?" the commanders asked.

"This is David, who was an officer of Saul," Achish answered, "He has already been with me for over a year, and from the day he left Saul until now I have found no fault in him."

But the commanders weren't happy with that, and responded, "Send him back. He must not go with us or he will turn against us. What better way to regain his master's favor than by killing our men? Isn't this the one that they sing about, "Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands?' Get him the hell out of here!"

So Achish called David and said, "Look, David. You have been reliable and I have been happy to have you in my army, but these rulers don't approve of you. Go back and go in peace and do nothing to displease the Philistine rulers."

"But what have I done?" David asked. "What have I done against you? Why can't I go fight the enemies of my lord, the king?"

"I know, David. You have been a good boy, but this is what the commanders demand. They are just so unreasonable. Just becaue you have killed so many of our people they think you are untrustworthy. I don't get it, but get up early and go back to keep them happy." So in the morning David's men returned to the land of the Philistines and the Philistines went up to Jezreel.

 

Now, David and his men reached Ziklag three days later. The Amalekites (yes, those ones that had been completely destroyed) had raided Ziklag and the Negev. They burned Ziklag to the ground after taking captive all their people. Those nasty Amalekites weren't like David and the Israelites, though. They were so evil that had not killed anyone, but just taken them captive.

When David reached Ziklag and found it destroyed and the people taken captive he wept. David's two wives were among the captives. David was distressed because the men talked of stoning him because their families were also captive. But David found strength in the lord his god. Then he went to Abiathar the priest and said, "Bring me the ephod. It's better than a Ouija board!"

So Abiathar brought it and David asked god, "Shall I pursue this raiding party?"

God said, "Yes. Pursue them. You will overtake them and rescue the people."

They went and came across an Egyptian who hadn't eaten or drunk in three days. They gave him food and water and asked, "Who do you belong to? Where do you come from?"

The man responded, "I am an Egyptian, the slave of an Amalekite. My master abandoned me when I became ill three days ago. We raided the Negev and burned Ziklag."

David asked, "Can you lead me to this raiding party?"

"Swear to me that you will not kill me or hand me back over to my master and I will take you to them," the man responded.

He led them down and they found the Amalekites scattered over the countryside eating, drinking and reveling because of all the plunder they had taken from the Philistines and from Judah. David fought them for two days and killed all of them except for four hundred young men who fled on camels.

David recovered everything the Amalekites had taken, including his two wives. Nothing nor no one was missing. When David got back to Ziklag he sent some of the plunder to the elders of Judah, saying, "Here is a gift for you from the plunder of god's enemies."