This chapter tells of David’s “almost capture.” On three separate occasions Saul was ready to apprehend David, but on the same three occasions the Lord did not allow it to occur. First, there was the time when David assisted the town-folk of Keilah, second, there was the occasion when the town-folk of Ziph was prepared to assist the king in David’s arrest, and then third, David was in the wilderness of Moan with Saul on the verge of encircling David. Each one of these accounts indicates that Saul was insistent in his pursuance of David; one can only image the weariness David and his entourage experienced.
Application: In the nation of Israel there was a divide. People knew that David was Israel’s next appointed king, but they also knew that Saul was seeking his life. While many might have been sympathetic to David, Saul was still king and could render much damage to a local community (or family) if he detected treachery in them. The people of Ziph (23:19-20) were people loyal to the king. Saul, upon hearing this, expressed his perception of the matter, “Blessed are you of the Lord, for you have compassion on me” (23:21, NKJV). One’s perception is not always based in reality.
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