1 Samuel 27: From Robin Hood to Double Agent

We left off in 1 Samuel 26 with Saul meeting up with David one last time. David had a second opportunity to take Saul’s life, and instead chose to show mercy. The two parted ways once more without harm occurring to either one.

In spite of how the two had left off, David did not feel at ease. He did not trust that Saul would keep his pledge to harm him no more.

So what should he do?

The most logical plan that presented itself was to run away from the land of Israel and stay in enemy territory, where Saul would not dare to come. And that is exactly what he did. David gathered together his two wives, his 600 men and their families, and immigrated to the Philistine city of Gath.

This was actually the first place that David had fled to, back in chapter 21 – and the hometown of Goliath. Last time he tried to hide there, he had been recognized by the Philistines, and afraid for his life, he had feigned insanity so he could escape somewhere else instead.

So why he thought it was a good idea to go back now, I have no idea. But that’s what he did. And this time, it actually went pretty well. King Achish welcomed the band of outlaws into his royal city, and when Saul found out where David had gone, he stopped pursuing him (so apparently Saul wasn’t going to keep his promise after all).

After a little while, David asked Achish if he could have some town in the country where he could live, instead of taking up so much space in the capitol city. So Achish gave him the town of Ziklag.

Ziklag became the headquarters of a massive double-agent cover-up. You read that right: the future King David had gone from being the Israelite version of Robin Hood to being a successfully deceptive double agent.

He and his men would head out from Ziklag and make raids on the Geshurites, the Girzites, and the Amalekites – peoples that would have been allies to Philistia. Under David’s command, the band would wipe out an entire town, leaving no survivors whatsoever to tell the tale. And when Achish would ask David, “What have you been up to lately?”, David would come up with a story that he had been raiding towns belonging to Philistia’s enemies – including Israel. And somehow, Achish never figured out the truth. He had complete confidence that David had defected from Israel and would be an ally of Gath for the rest of his life.

 

I’m not going to say whether David’s behavior was right or wrong. Should he have gone to Philistine territory, or was that demonstrating a lack of faith? Should he have deceived Achish into thinking he was an ally when in fact he wasn’t? I suppose arguments can be made for both sides, and I’m not going to pick one at this time.

But I will ask you this: What do people think of you? Do people have confidence in you, or do they feel like they can’t trust you? And would their opinions be justified? Or are you living a lie?

Are you living the “Christian” life, talking the “Christian” talk, doing the “Christian” thing – but in truth you do not actually belong to Christ?

Are you giving the impression that your walk with the LORD is strong, your faith unwavering and your knowledge of Him growing – when in reality it’s weak, stagnating, and even slipping away?

Do your actions match your words?

Do your actions in private match your actions in public?

Or are you living a double life?

Because whether you like it or not, there’s always going to be Someone who knows the truth about you. The whole truth – not just the parts you want to show.

“Therefore the Lord said: ‘Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths and honor Me with their lips, but have removed their hearts far from Me. . . Woe to those who seek deep to hide their counsel far from the LORD, and their works in the dark; they say, ‘Who sees us?’ and, ‘Who knows us?’ Surely you have things turned around! Shall the potter be esteemed as the clay . . .?” (Isaiah 29:13, 15-16a)

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” (Matthew 23:25-28).

If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also” (1 John 4:20-21).

Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? . . . Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” (James 4:4, 8).

“Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked” (1 John 2:3-6).

“Teach me Your way, O LORD; I will walk in Your truth; unite my heart to fear Your name” (Psalm 86:11).