1 Samuel 21

* David with Ahimelech. (1-9) David at Gath feigns himself mad.


1-9 David, in distress, fled to the tabernacle of God. It is

great comfort in a day of trouble, that we have a God to go to,

to whom we may open our cases, and from whom we may ask and

expect direction. David told Ahimelech a gross untruth. What

shall we say to this? The Scripture does not conceal it, and we

dare not justify it; it was ill done, and proved of bad

consequence; for it occasioned the death of the priests of the

Lord. David thought upon it afterward with regret. David had

great faith and courage, yet both failed him; he fell thus

foully through fear and cowardice, and owing to the weakness of

his faith. Had he trusted God aright, he would not have used

such a sorry, sinful shift for his own preservation. It is

written, not for us to do the like, no, not in the greatest

straits, but for our warning. David asked of Ahimelech bread and

a sword. Ahimelech supposed they might eat the shew-bread. The

Son of David taught from it, that mercy is to be preferred to

sacrifice; that ritual observances must give way to moral

duties. Doeg set his foot as far within the tabernacle as David

did. We little know with what hearts people come to the house of

God, nor what use they will make of pretended devotion. If many

come in simplicity of heart to serve their God, others come to

observe their teachers and to prove accusers. Only God and the

event can distinguish between a David and a Doeg, when both are

in the tabernacle.
10-15 God's persecuted people have often found better usage

from Philistines than from Israelites. David had reason to put

confidence in Achish, yet he began to be afraid. His conduct was

degrading, and discovered wavering in his faith and courage. The

more simply we depend on God, and obey him, the more comfortably

and surely we shall walk through this troublesome world.

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