Saturday, April 18, 2009

Trust? Or Suspicion?

David was an honorable man.

But he was also a warrior, a political leader, and very cunning.

In today's reading of Samuel 25 - 27 there are many great stories. I am struck today by the very last one, where David goes to live among the enemy - the Philistines.

2 -4 "So David left; he and his six hundred men went to Achish son of Maoch, king of Gath. They moved in and settled down in Gath, with Achish. Each man brought his household; David brought his two wives, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail, widow of Nabal of Carmel. When Saul was told that David had escaped to Gath, he called off the hunt."
So this king took in David, his 600 fighting men, and their families. Should he have trusted David? Well, the deception has just started.

5 "Then David said to Achish, "If it's agreeable to you, assign me a place in one of the rural villages. It doesn't seem right that I, your mere servant, should be taking up space in the royal city."
6 -7 So Achish assigned him Ziklag. (This is how Ziklag got to be what it is now, a city of the kings of Judah.) David lived in Philistine country a year and four months."
David didn't want to be right under the nose of the Philistine king, because he would have been exposed sooner or later. So he asked to take over a town on the outer edge of the king's territory.

8 -9 "From time to time David and his men raided the Geshurites, the Girzites, and the Amalekites—these people were longtime inhabitants of the land stretching toward Shur and on to Egypt. When David raided an area he left no one alive, neither man nor woman, but took everything else: sheep, cattle, donkeys, camels, clothing—the works. Then he'd return to Achish."
Achish thought he was keeping tabs on his enemy, but he didn't do due diligence. He accepted the answer at face value.

10 -11 "Achish would ask, "And whom did you raid today?"
David would tell him, "Oh, the Negev of Judah," or "The Negev of Jerahmeel," or "The Negev of the Kenites." He never left a single person alive lest one show up in Gath and report what David had really been doing. This is the way David operated all the time he lived in Philistine country.
12 Achish came to trust David completely. He thought, "He's made himself so repugnant to his people that he'll be in my camp forever."
Didn't happen that way. Once Saul was killed by the Philistines, David would rise to be King of Israel.
Be careful whom you trust...

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