David Escapes From Saul

It had been a good day in Mosul, Iraq. Five Southern Baptist workers were making progress toward a water purification project. They had met with officials and laughed with new Iraqi friends. They were headed home for a night’s rest before starting again the next morning. Bu … More


As we read I Samuel 23-24 and consider the events, we are reminded of the words of Christ in Matthew 18:7, “Woe unto the world because of offenses! For it must needs be that offenses come; but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh!”

David was at Horesh in the Ziph Desert. He was afraid because Saul had come to the area to kill him. In these days of hiding, it seemed as if Jonathan was the only one whom David could trust. One night, while David and his group were hiding in the wilderness, Jonathan comes to visit him (v. 15). This may have been the last time Jonathan and David were ever together. Jonathan came to encourage him and no one knows how much his words meant to David (v. 16). Johnathon tells David not to be afraid becaisw his father Saul will never get his hands on him (v. 17). They both promised the Lord that they would always be loyal to each other (v. 18). Saul was told that David was hiding nearby and they could easily catch him (vv. 19-20). Saul thanked the people for helping him and asks them to help him catch David (vv. 21-23).

Since Jonathan had been able to find their hiding place, David presumed that Saul would be able to find them so he moved to the desert of Maon, 10 miles southeast of Hebron (v.24). Saul pursued him there and just as everything looked hopeless for David (v. 25), Saul was called back to defend Israel from a Philistine attack (vv. 26-28). That is why the place is called “Escape Rock."David takes this opportunity to move on to Engedi (v.29), an oasis 10 miles north of Massada on the Dead Sea. This happends to be one of my favorite places to visit when I go to Israel.

David escapes from Saul. From all of this we can see God’s hand of direction and protection in David’s life. Whether He used direct means to prevent David’s capture (vv.27-28) or He gave him warning so he could escape, the Lord was sovereignly orchestrating the events of David’s life just as He wants to orchestrate the events of our lives.


I must not soon forget the principle teaching of this passage that, no matter how harsh the circumstances of this life may be, God is always there to direct and protect me. He doesn’t want me to worry or fret, but just trust Him to take care of me.

I Samuel 23:15-29 (English Standard Version)

David saw that Saul had come out to seek his life. David was in the wilderness of Ziph at Horesh. And Jonathan, Saul's son, rose and went to David at Horesh, and strengthened his hand in God. And he said to him, "Do not fear, for the hand of Saul my father shall not find you. You shall be king over Israel, and I shall be next to you. Saul my father also knows this." And the two of them made a covenant before the LORD. David remained at Horesh, and Jonathan went home. Then the Ziphites went up to Saul at Gibeah, saying, "Is not David hiding among us in the strongholds at Horesh, on the hill of Hachilah, which is south of Jeshimon? Now come down, O king, according to all your heart's desire to come down, and our part shall be to surrender him into the king's hand." And Saul said, "May you be blessed by the LORD, for you have had compassion on me. Go, make yet more sure. Know and see the place where his foot is, and who has seen him there, for it is told me that he is very cunning. See therefore and take note of all the lurking places where he hides, and come back to me with sure information. Then I will go with you. And if he is in the land, I will search him out among all the thousands of Judah." And they arose and went to Ziph ahead of Saul. Now David and his men were in the wilderness of Maon, in the Arabah to the south of Jeshimon. And Saul and his men went to seek him. And David was told, so he went down to the rock and lived in the wilderness of Maon. And when Saul heard that, he pursued after David in the wilderness of Maon. Saul went on one side of the mountain, and David and his men on the other side of the mountain. And David was hurrying to get away from Saul. As Saul and his men were closing in on David and his men to capture them, a messenger came to Saul, saying, "Hurry and come, for the Philistines have made a raid against the land." So Saul returned from pursuing after David and went against the Philistines. Therefore that place was called the Rock of Escape. And David went up from there and lived in the strongholds of Engedi.

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