And it came to pass, when Saul was returned from following the Philistines, that it was told him, saying, Behold, David is in the wilderness of Engedi.
1 Samuel 24:1-2
(with Song of Solomon 1:14)
Engedi means the fountain of the wild goat or rather, as we should say, of the ibex, the Syrian chamois, or the antelope. Among these wild but beautiful solitudes David, with his young men, established himself. Engedi itself was on a perpendicular cliff, hanging fifteen hundred feet above the Dead Sea. The palms have all gone, the vineyards all gone; the trenna, the beautiful wild flower supposed to be that called the camphire, abounds still. The crags and cliffs are thronged with doves, and upon a shelf of the mountain there is a little lakelet or fountain, breaking forth into a stream and tumbling on, no great torrent, but a thread of silver, for four hundred feet below.
I. Here, to David's retreat by the fountain of the wild goat, came Saul, "the deceitful and unjust man." But the cumbrous and heavy Saul could do nothing against the lithe stripling, David. There is even a sportive humour in the very acts by which David shows his superiority to his foe. Altogether, the sublime, the pathetic, the humorous and the graphic mingled together in the various adventures of David, the outlaw of Engedi.
II. With this spot too, no doubt, we are to associate the inditing of many of the imprecatory Psalms; for here, hunted as a bird through the wilderness, he said "I shall one day perish by the hand of Saul."
III. During his stay at Engedi, David was not a wild bandit; among the hills the law of his God was in his heart; not wreaking on society his revenge, but flying to the spot where, if he could be most securely screened from invasion, he would also be farthest removed from the possibility of inflicting injury; and there he waited, nursing his great soul amidst the solitudes of the eternal hills. Among the rocks of Engedi, David "endured as seeing Him who is invisible."
E. Paxton Hood, The Preacher's Lantern, vol. iii., p. 605.
References: 1 Samuel 24:4.—F. W. Krummacher, David the King of Israel, p. 149; J. Van Oosterzee, Year of Salvation, vol. ii., p. 442. 1 Samuel 24:11.—T. Coster, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxi., p. 20. 1 Samuel 24:16.—Parker, vol. vii., p. 41. 1 Samuel 25:1.—W. M. Taylor, David King of Israel, p. no; J. R. Macduff, Sunsets on the Hebrew Mountains, p. 78. 1 Samuel 25:1-36.—Homiletic Quarterly, vol. ii., p. 272. 1 Samuel 25:3.—T. Coster, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxi., p. 51. 1 Samuel 25:10.—H. Melvill, Penny Pulpit, No. 2654. 1 Samuel 25:10, 1 Samuel 25:11.—F. W. Robertson, Sermons, 1st series, p. 245. 1 Samuel 25:8.—F. W. Krummacher, David the King of Israel, p. 168. 1 Samuel 25:18.—Parker, vol. vii., p. 76. 1 Samuel 25:29.—H. J. Wilmot-Buxton, The Children's Bread, p. 113; F. W. Krummacher, David the King of Israel, p. 168. 1 Samuel 25:32.—J. Van Oosterzee, Year of Salvation, vol. ii., p. 445. 1 Samuel 26:6.—F. W. Krummacher, David the King of Israel, p. 187. 1 Samuel 26:25.—Parker, vol. vii., p. 44. 1Sam 26—W. M. Taylor, David King of Israel, p. 95. 1 Samuel 27:1.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. viii., No. 439; Ibid., Morning by Morning, p. 291; F. W. Krummacher, David the King of Israel, p. 199. 1Sam 27-31.—W. M. Taylor, David King of Israel, p. 123. 1 Samuel 23:3.—C. J. Vaughan, Sunday Magazine, 1872, p. 777. 1 Samuel 28:3-19.—G. Mason, A Pastor's Legacy, p. 429. 1 Samuel 28:6.—Homiletic Magazine, vol. x., p. 139. 1 Samuel 28:7.—Parker, vol. vii., p. 47. 1 Samuel 28:7-25.—Expositor, 2nd series, vol. iii., p. 424, and vol. iv., p. 111. 1 Samuel 28:11.—B.J. Snell, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xiv., p. 140; J. M. McCulloch, Sermons on Unusual Subjects, p. 13. 1Sam 28—W. Hanna, Sunday Magazine, 1865, p. 609.
Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel, and went to seek David and his men upon the rocks of the wild goats.
And he came to the sheepcotes by the way, where was a cave; and Saul went in to cover his feet: and David and his men remained in the sides of the cave.
And the men of David said unto him, Behold the day of which the LORD said unto thee, Behold, I will deliver thine enemy into thine hand, that thou mayest do to him as it shall seem good unto thee. Then David arose, and cut off the skirt of Saul's robe privily.
And it came to pass afterward, that David's heart smote him, because he had cut off Saul's skirt.
And he said unto his men, The LORD forbid that I should do this thing unto my master, the LORD'S anointed, to stretch forth mine hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the LORD.
So David stayed his servants with these words, and suffered them not to rise against Saul. But Saul rose up out of the cave, and went on his way.
David also arose afterward, and went out of the cave, and cried after Saul, saying, My lord the king. And when Saul looked behind him, David stooped with his face to the earth, and bowed himself.
And David said to Saul, Wherefore hearest thou men's words, saying, Behold, David seeketh thy hurt?
Behold, this day thine eyes have seen how that the LORD had delivered thee to day into mine hand in the cave: and some bade me kill thee: but mine eye spared thee; and I said, I will not put forth mine hand against my lord; for he is the LORD'S anointed.
Moreover, my father, see, yea, see the skirt of thy robe in my hand: for in that I cut off the skirt of thy robe, and killed thee not, know thou and see that there is neither evil nor transgression in mine hand, and I have not sinned against thee; yet thou huntest my soul to take it.
The LORD judge between me and thee, and the LORD avenge me of thee: but mine hand shall not be upon thee.
As saith the proverb of the ancients, Wickedness proceedeth from the wicked: but mine hand shall not be upon thee.
After whom is the king of Israel come out? after whom dost thou pursue? after a dead dog, after a flea.
The LORD therefore be judge, and judge between me and thee, and see, and plead my cause, and deliver me out of thine hand.
And it came to pass, when David had made an end of speaking these words unto Saul, that Saul said, Is this thy voice, my son David? And Saul lifted up his voice, and wept.
And he said to David, Thou art more righteous than I: for thou hast rewarded me good, whereas I have rewarded thee evil.
And thou hast shewed this day how that thou hast dealt well with me: forasmuch as when the LORD had delivered me into thine hand, thou killedst me not.
For if a man find his enemy, will he let him go well away? wherefore the LORD reward thee good for that thou hast done unto me this day.
And now, behold, I know well that thou shalt surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in thine hand.
Swear now therefore unto me by the LORD, that thou wilt not cut off my seed after me, and that thou wilt not destroy my name out of my father's house.
And David sware unto Saul. And Saul went home; but David and his men gat them up unto the hold.