We’re in 1 Samuel. I’m particularly impressed with just how severe David was hunted down. Sure, we know lots of bible stories. Unfortunately, we make caricatures out of them. They become like a movie that we can walk away from without giving it a second thought because it really didn’t happen. Even David’s psalm seems strange. How often does he lament over his enemies persecuting him? Yet, I tend to skip over these because I don’t pull the backstory into focus.
Here’s one that is sticking with me. You may recall the story of David going to the priest and asking for bread. The priest, Ahimelech, didn’t have any besides that which was holy. This detail is important for other reasons because Jesus spoke of it (see Mark 2:25-26). David told the priest he was there on business for King Saul, but that wasn’t quite the whole story because one of the men present ratted David out to King Saul. In fact, David’s Psalm 52 is about this man named Doeg.
Apparently, the priest was unaware that the king was hunting David down because, when the king came to visit, he defended David. At that, Saul ordered the guards to kill the priests, but they refused. Why? It would seem because they found the order so irrational or unjust. This happened once before (1 Samuel 14:45). What did Saul do then? He ordered Doeg, the rat, to kill them. Indeed, he did. Saul also killed the entire village, men, women, children, infants, and animals. Slaughtered them.
Words of Tears
Why do you boast of evil, O mighty man? The steadfast love of God endures all the day. Your tongue plots destruction, like a sharp razor, you worker of deceit. You love evil more than good, and lying more than speaking what is right. Selah You love all words that devour, O deceitful tongue. Psalm 52:1-4
I wonder how many people Saul killed that day. It must have been awful. I have nothing in my personal life to compare it. I have not had one person close to me that has been innocently murdered. Nor have I had any one taken suddenly, as if by a drunken driver. All that have been close and passed away have been by old age or their own negligent behavior.
So, the story doesn’t mean much unless I spend time thinking about it. Ahimelech was falsely accused. Have I been? Yes, I have. Can’t say I liked it much. Was I harmed? Yes. Did anyone lose their life over it? Not even close. Yes, we do see this type of barbaric behavior today, but not in my neighborhood. I mean, it really takes some serious consideration to even try to appreciate what happened on that day so long ago.
David’s Psalm 1
This is a good reminder for me to spend time thinking about what I have read in my bible. I read it every morning so I can spend the day pondering it. I’ll be honest, most days I get distracted as the day progresses. Furthermore, I have read this story of Ahimelech many times, yet it has never affected me as it has this time. I’m better for it.
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. Psalm 1:1-2
Father, I thank you for times of understanding like this. Please teach me what it is you desire for me. Perhaps it is to simply slow down. Perhaps there is something specific in this story. Either way, speak, Lord, for your servant is listening. Amen.
Copyright © 2021 Scott Powers