1 Samuel 22:1-23 - David At Adullam, Saul Murders the Priest

Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
Sermon Tone Analysis
View more →


A.           David Escaped To the Cave of Adullam (v.1-2).        

1.            ‘David therefore departed from there…’  (v.1a).

a)            David fears man (1Sam.21:12-15)

(1)           David took the words of man to heart.  David allowed what people said to affect him to the point that he feared. 

But I love what the Psalmist says "Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You."  (Psalm 119:11, NASB95)

In the New Testament, Paul said that we are to "Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”  (Colossians 3:16, NASB95)

b)            ‘…David…was much afraid of Achish the king of Gath…’  (1Sam.21:12b).

(1)           When David was walking in the Spirit, not even Goliath as big as he was, could bring fear to the heart of David. 

Listen to what David said to Saul about Goliath "David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail on account of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine…”  "And David said, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”

Then David said to the Philistine, "Then David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine…”  Moreover David said, “The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”  And Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you…!”  "Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin.  But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you.  And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands.”“  (1 Samuel 17:32, 37, 45-47)

And note that in (17:48) when Goliath ran toward David, David ran toward the enemy, not from him.  But now since he is walking after the flesh, he fears man.

The writer of Proverbs says that "The fear of man brings a snare, But whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.”  (Proverbs 29:25, NKJV)

(2)           The fear of man has caused great men of God to fail, bringing them into many compromising positions. 

Abraham was afraid that the men of Gerar might kill him to take Sarah from him so he said that she was his sister, rather than his wife (Gen.20:1-11).

God is the One Whom we are to fear.  Isaiah says "The Lord of hosts, Him you shall hallow; Let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread.”  (Isaiah 8:13, NKJV)

The Lord says in Jeremiah 32 that "I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me forever, for the good of them and their children after them.  And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from doing them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from Me.”  (Jeremiah 32:39-40, NKJV)

c)            ‘…He changed his behavior before them…’  (1Sam21:13)  

(1)           David’s fear now led to a change of behavior before men. 

(2)           In (18:5) we read that “David behaved wisely” and the NASB interprests wisely as “prospered”…  In (18:12) says that "Saul was afraid of David, for the Lord was with him but had departed from Saul "…  In (18:14-15) we read that "And David behaved wisely in all his ways, and the Lord was with him.  Therefore, when Saul saw that he behaved very wisely, he was afraid of him.

(3)           But here we read that because David feared, it caused him to change his behavior. 

d)            Several Reasons Why Men Have a Fear of Other Men: Don’t be trapped by this fear.

(1)           Peer pressure—The fear of rejection—Pilate’s Fatal Choice (Mark 15:6-15).  Pilate for fear of being reported to Caesar as allowing another man to claim to be king, turned Jesus over to the crowd to be crucified.  Pilate gave into peer pressure; he didn’t want to be rejected.
(2)           The Fear of man has kept people from coming to the Lord Jesus Christ (Rev.21:8).
(3)           My friends will laugh at me, they will say that I've become religious; they will call me a Jesus freak.

Jesus said that Whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven.  "But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.  (Matthew 10:32-33 NKJV)

The Apostle Paul said “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  (Romans 10:9 NKJV)

But he also said in 2 Timothy that If we endure, We shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us.  (2 Timothy 2:12 NKJV)

e)            David has been through a lot (1Sam.22).

(1)           He had the high of immediate fame, a recent marriage, dangers from the Philistines, repeated attempts on his life, and a heartbreaking farewell from everyday life to live as a fugitive for who knows how long. Then, David had a brief but intense period of backsliding, a dramatic turn to the LORD and deliverance from a life threatening situation.
(2)           As David left Gath, he praised God with the exaltation we read in Psalm 34. David was pumped!  But after that exhilaration wore off, he had a serious problem to consider: what do I do now?

2.            ‘…David escaped to the cave of Adullam…’ (v.1b).

a)            A place of refuge.

(1)           The name Adullam means refuge.  There was in the O.T. “cities of refuge” which was a place of safety or protection from enemies.  Six of the Levitical cities were designated as cities of refuge (Josh. 20:7-9) where one who accidentally caused a death might seek refuge from avengers until his case could be judged by the elders of the city. If he was found to be innocent of deliberate murder, he could continue to live in sanctuary in the city of refuge (Num. 35:6-28; Deut. 19:1-13).
(2)           The regulations concerning these cities are found in (Numbers 35, Deuteronomy 19:1–13, and Joshua 20).  If the manslayer reached a city of refuge before the avenger of blood could slay him, he was given a fair trial and provided asylum until the death of the high priest.  After that the manslayer was permitted to return home; but if he left the city of refuge before the death of the high priest, he was subject to death at the hands of the avenger of blood.

(3)           In the New Testament, the cities of refuge apparently became a type, or symbolic illustration, of the salvation that is found in Christ:

In Hebrews we read that “We . . . have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us” (Heb. 6:18). 

In other words, when the sinner flees to Christ Jesus for refuge he is safe from the divine Avenger of Blood.  The apostle Paul wrote, “Having now been justified by his [Christ’s] blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him” (Rom. 5:9) and “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1).

Regardless of his sin, the sinner may find asylum and sanctuary in Christ; all who flee to Him find refuge: “The one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out” (John 6:37).

The believer is safe forever in the heavenly city of refuge because the great High Priest, Jesus Christ, will never die: “He ever lives to make intercession for him” (Heb. 7:25).

(4)           Now, even though David fled to the cave, the cave wasn’t to be David’s refuge.  The LORD wanted to be David’s refuge in this time of discouragement. 
(5)           However, unfortunately, sometimes when believers face trials, they often forget what they know about God.  They lose their confident trust in Him, lose their self-control and spiritual stability, and are defeated. Even strong believers are not immune to an occasional lapse, as we see from the life of David.

Listen to what David says about the Lord in 2 Samuel: “Then David spoke to the Lord the words of this song, on the day when the Lord had delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul.  And he said: “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; The God of my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, My stronghold and my refuge; My Savior, You save me from violence.  I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised; So shall I be saved from my enemies."  (2 Samuel 22:1-4, NKJV)


(6)           As David was seeking refuge from Saul’s relentless pursuit, David sought refuge in the Philistine city of Gath.  
(a)           Some of the Philistines recognized him and said to Achish, the king of Gath, “Is this not David the king of the land? Did they not sing of this one as they danced, saying, ‘Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands’?  (1 Sam. 21:11).
(b)           Realizing that his true identity had become known, “David … greatly feared Achish king of Gath” (v. 12).
(c)           Instead of trusting God to deliver him, David panicked and “disguised his sanity before [the Philistines], and acted insanely in their hands, and scribbled on the doors of the gate, and let his saliva run down into his beard” (v. 13).
(d)           His act produced the desired results: “Then Achish said to his servants, ‘Behold, you see the man behaving as a madman. Why do you bring him to me? Do I lack madmen, that you have brought this one to act the madman in my presence? Shall this one come into my house?’ ” (vv. 14–15).
(e)           As a result, “David departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam” (1 Sam. 22:1).
(f)            There, with the crisis past, David had time to reflect on how he should have handled the situation in Gath. In Psalm 57, written at that time, he reaffirmed the truths about God that he had temporarily forgotten (Psalm 57:1-11):

David says "Be gracious to me, O God, be gracious to me, For my soul takes refuge in You; And in the shadow of Your wings I will take refuge Until destruction passes by. I will cry to God Most High, To God who accomplishes all things for me. He will send from heaven and save me; He reproaches him who tramples upon me. Selah. God will send forth His lovingkindness and His truth."  (Psalm 57:1-3, NASB95)

(7)           Remembering the character of God restored David’s spiritual stability and joy.  And in Psalm 142 we read of David’s prayer when he was in the cave (Psalm 142).

b)            Good things can happen in hard places.

(1)           The Lord worked on Joseph as he was in prison, God did a work in Daniel in the lions den, and what about Jonah in the belly of a fish? 
(2)           God did a work in these men while they were in hard places, and God can do the same with you and me.      
(3)           Jonah had deep work being done in his soul in the belly of a fish; deep work went on in Joseph’s heart when he was in prison.  Daniel had deep work done on his heart and soul in a lions den.
(4)           I often want things cushy and comfy but God knows that in those times I my soul might not as hungry for the Lord and having a passion for going after God as it might when I am in a cave.

3.            ‘His brothers and fathers house…went down there to him…’  (v.1).

a)            His family joined him.

4.            ‘Everyone… in distress… in debt… discontented gathered to him (v.2a). 

a)            David met the needs of others.

(1)           Even though David’s life was literally being threatened he was meeting the needs of others.  These men that were in distress, in debt and discontented, made up David’s mighty men. 
(2)           As they spent time with David, their captain, they become like their captain.  As we spend time with the Lord Jesus Christ we to will be like Him (Matthew 4:19)
(3)           This is the Key to being great: hang around Jesus at every opportunity you have (Acts 4:13; Matt.26:7).  Just like this girl accusing Peter a being seen with Jesus, that is the kind of accusation I want, “people seeing me with Jesus.”).  Slowly but surely the more you hang around Jesus the more you will be conformed to His image which Paul says in (Romans 8:29) that this is God’s purpose for us.   
(4)           The Bible says that we are changed from glory to glory as we behold Him (2Cor.3:18).  It’s not just going to church on Sunday, but a lifestyle.  Paul’s concern was that the life of Jesus would be manifested in his body (2Cor.4:10) and that Jesus would be magnified (Phil.1:20). 
(a)           Denying self and following Jesus (Luke 9:23). 
(b)           Receiving Jesus and Being Built Up in Him: Colossians 2:6-7 – Walk in Him, being built up in Him
(c)           1 Peter 1:23 & 2:2 – The Word of God stimulates Growth.            
(d)           Living for Jesus and Obeying Him as LORD: John 13:13 & Luke 6:46
(e)           Basically these passages are dealing with Jesus being Lord and because we call Him Lord we are to do what He tells us.  So discipleship is also living and obeying Him as Lord of our lives. 
(f)            Romans 14:7-9 & 2 Corinthians 5:14-15
(g)           These passages basically call us to no longer live for ourselves but for Him!  Discipleship is not living for self, but living for Jesus Christ.

5.            David put his family in a place of safety (v.3-4). 

a)            Duty toward parents.

(1)           David took responsibility for his parents and sought to take care of them, even during his days as a fugitive.  This is clearly seen in the events that happened.  After some time in the cave at Adullam, David moved to Mizpah and asked the king of Moab to grant sanctuary to his parents.
(2)           Remember that David's great-grandmother was Ruth who was from Moab (Ruth 4:13-22). Probably for this reason the king of Moab granted the request.
(3)           The lesson for us is clear: we must take care of our parents.  David set an example for us in the care of his parents. Despite his own distressing circumstances—a time of extreme trouble—David did not forget nor ignore his parents.  He made sure they were taken care of and looked after, being protected and provided for.
(4)           When our parents are aged and unable to care for themselves, we are to provide for them. We are to make sure they have housing, food, clothing, and whatever medical help is available and needed.  No person must ever forsake his parents in their hour of need. This is the clear teaching of God's Holy Word:

In Matthews Gospel we read "For God commanded, saying, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death."  (Matthew 15:4, NKJV)

Paul, writing to the Ephesians says "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “  Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth."  (Ephesians 6:1-3, NKJV)

Listen to what Leviticus says "You shall rise before the gray headed and honor the presence of an old man, and fear your God: I am the Lord.”  (Leviticus 19:32, NKJV)

b)            Jesus Cared for His Mother (John 19:25-27)

(1)           His thoughts were on others, not on Himself.  Every fiber of His being existed for others, not for Himself.  Even in death, His mind and being were set on taking care of others.
(a)           He was touched with the feelings of Mary’s hurt and pain. In the last moments of His life upon earth, He made arrangements for her care.
(b)           He is touched with the feeling of our hurt and pain, so he takes care of us.

The Lord Jesus cares for us in everything we go through: "For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.  Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”  (Hebrews 4:15-16, NKJV)

(v.5)      Get back to the land of Praise (Judah). 

            This is a great piece of advice.  Whenever you feel down or are in a cave or going through tough times, get back to the place of praise.      

(v.6-8)   Saul always has a spear in his hand. 

Saul is saying, ‘doesn’t anyone feel sorry for me?’

(v.17)    There is a higher authority.

The servants obeyed God rather than man (Acts 4:19; 5:29; Ex.1:17)

(v.18-19) this is the house of Eliah, this is the last of them.  God’s Word comes to pass (1Sam.2:27).  

Doeg is wrong in doing this yet God’s Word does come to pass.

This is all because of David’s lie. 

(v.20)    interesting, the one who escaped fled after David.  I would think that David would be the last person he goes to because of all that David had caused.  David is going to be a king and Abiathar is going to be he priest.  In other words, God is putting together something.  God is at work, doing something that humanly speaking shouldn’t have happened.  

Related Media
See more
Related Sermons
See more