Lessons from King David: A Merciful Man

We watch the news and often see stories who harmed or killed their enemy in order for them to get ahead.

David and his men lived in caves

David had this opportunity handed to him, but he chose not to act in such a rash manner.

David and his men are hiding in a cave, when King Saul travels by and decides to enter the cave to relieve himself.

David’s men are excited and whisper to him “This is the day God was talkinga bout when he said, ‘I’ll put your enemy in your hands.'” {1 Samuel 24:3}

The men seem eager for him to kill King Saul. But that is not what Daivd does.

“Quiet as a cat, David crept up and cut off a piece of Saul’s royal robe.” {1 Samuel 24:4}

Saul did not know he was in David’s cave

David does not harm Saul, instead he cuts of a piece of his robe.

If we were watching this in a movie, we would be on the edge of our seat waiting for the battle to ensue. But, we would be greatly disappointed.

No battled has ensued.

Notice the next thing we are told. “Immediately, he felt guilty.” {1 Samuel 24:5} David feels guilty for cutting off a pice of Saul’s robe.

Now, David speaks. “God forbid that I should have done this to my master, God’s anointed, that I should so much as raise a finger against him. He’s God’s anointed!” {1 Samuel 24:5-6}

David held up Saul’s robe for him to see

David refused to harm Saul and are telling his men not to lay a hand on the king. Even though Saul has sought to kill David and is forcing him to live on the run and in a cave, David still refuses to harm the king. He sees him as God’s anointed. But, that’s even though he himself has been anointed.

In our thinking, we may say he is crazy. But, David is a righteous man and seeks God’s heart. We are not told of David’s inner struggle during these years, but I’m sure there were years and times when David struggled within himself and questioned God about his situation. But, when he is tested and the opportunity presents itself to him, David waits.

David approached Saul

“Saul got up, left the cave, and went on down the road.” {1 Samuel 24:7} Saul had no idea these men were in the cave.

That must have been a HUGE cave to hide over 600 men and King Saul isn’t aware. One can only imagine what Saul would have done if he had known David was there.

But, David isn’t without a little taunting on his own. But, when we read this is it taunting? It sure does not read that way to me.

After Saul has left the cave, David comes to the mouth of the cave and calls to Saul. “David fell to his knees and bowed in reverence.” {1 Samuel 24:8}

David showed reverence to Saul

David goes into a stance of worship and has a respectful and revered heart when he speaks to Saul.

In essence he says, I could have killed you today but I didn’t. You are anointed by God. Look at this piece I cut from your robe. I could have killed you but didnt. Then he says “Be assured that my hand won’t touch you.” {1 Samuel 24:13}

Saul answers that “You’ve done right. not me…God put me in your hands and you didn’t kill me. Why?…May God give you a bonus of blessings for what you’ve done for me today! I know now beyond doubt that you will rule as king. The kingdom of Israel is already in your grasp! Now promise me under God that you will not kill off my family or wipe my name off the books.”

The two men then went their respectful ways.

The two men went their own way

Once again, David showed that we should turn the other cheek and treat others as we want to be treated. All lessons tat Jesus taught many centuries later.

There are times when we want revenge or to get even, but we’re told that “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” {Deuteronomy 32:35}

Do you seek vengeance? Do you trust the Lord to take care of you no matter what? What would you do if confronted with your enemy?


David was merciful when he had a chance to kill King Saul Share on X


**Photos from FreeBibleImages.org

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