David on the Run

First Samuel 21:1 to Second Samuel 1:27
and First Chronicles 12:1-22

At times the stories of Sha’ul and David intersect, at other times they go on their own way – only to interlace again and again, their fates being bound together. Every action movie has a great chase scene and the books of Samuel are no different. The chase scenes involving Sha’ul and David make for one of the most riveting and gripping sections of the entire Bible.

Sha’ul spent the rest of his life hunting David. Why this irrational passion? Because he knew ADONAI had chosen David to be Isra’el’s next king. David spent those same years as the hunted . . . fleeing, hiding, and patiently surviving until Sha’ul died. Though Sha’ul nearly captured him on several occasions, YHVH protected David, all the while using the harsh demands of his lifestyle to shape him into an exceptional leader and commander.

During those years, on occasion, Y’honatan found ways to meet his friend in order to encourage him and repeat his loyalty to him. Y’honatan consistently affirmed what Sha’ul was desperately trying to prevent – that David would be Isra’el’s next king. With remarkable love and humility, the prince explained to David, “Don’t be afraid, My father Sha’ul will not lay a hand on you. You will be king over Isra’el, and I will be second to you. Even my father knows this” (First Samuel 23:17).

Y’honatan willingly gave up his own claim to the throne because he understood that God had chosen David instead of him. And he had no resentment, only affection for the one who would reign in his place. Ironically, while Sha’ul stubbornly tried to retain the throne for his son, his son happily offered it to the man he knew was YHVH’s choice to be Isra’el’s ruler.

Y’honatan’s character is shown most clearly in his attitude toward David. Without question, he was a mighty warrior, a noble prince, and a loyal friend. But it was his steadfast faith in Ha’Shem’s plan for him and his future that set him apart. Y’honatan did not merely accept his role – he embraced it wholeheartedly, eagerly protecting and promoting the one whom the LORD had appointed to be king instead of him.77

This begins the wanderings of David as a fugitive for about five years, from about the time he was 25 until he was 30 and anointed as king a second time at Hebron.


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