Today we continue on in our journey through the book of 1 Samuel. For the past several weeks, we’ve been following David as he attempts to escape the grasp of King Saul. Even though David has been nothing but loyal to Saul, Saul has become insane with jealousy towards David and is convinced that David is trying to conspire against him. Saul has become so fearful of David that it seems there is nothing he won’t do to try to capture and kill David.
In fact, Saul has just executed 85 priests and their families because the priest Ahimelech had earlier given David some supplies for his journey! Of course, Ahimelech didn’t even know that David was fleeing from Saul, but Saul accused him of conspiring with David and ordered that he be put to death. Ahimelech and all of his relatives were then murdered by Saul’s henchman, Doeg. Only one member of Ahimelech’s family escaped – his son Abithar who fled for his life and found refuge with David.
Of course, Abithar wasn’t the only person who found refuge with David. You’ll remember that when David was hiding from Saul at the cave of Adullam, a whole group of people came to David and joined him there. These men were described as being in trouble or in debt or bitter of soul. But they all found compassion and refuge with David until David was the captain of about 400 men.
About that time, the prophet Gad told David that the Lord wanted him to return to Judah. And so, being obedient to the Lord, David and his men left the safety of their stronghold in the cave of Adullam and returned to Judah. And that’s about where we left David last time.
Saul is still on the hunt for David and David is now hiding out with his 400 men in the forrest of Hereth.
Now I don’t know if you’ve noticed this or not, but as soon as I read about David hiding out with his men in the forest of Hereth, I immediate thought about the story of Robin Hood. I mean, just change a few names and the plot is strangely similar. Instead of Robin Hood and his band of merry men hiding out in the Sherwood Forest – you have David and his ragtag group of 400 men hiding out in the forest of Hereth. And instead of Prince John and the sheriff of Nottingham trying to hunt down Robin Hood, you have King Saul and his evil herdsman, Doeg trying to hunt down David. You could even find similarities between Robin Hood’s loyal friend, little John, and David’s loyal friend Jonathan.
The only thing we haven’t seen yet is David stealing from the rich to give to the poor. Then again, in today’s passage, we’re going to see David coming to the rescue of those in need – even while being on the run himself – so maybe there are some more similarities after all.