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Bible Commentaries

Bell's Commentary on the Bible

1 Samuel 23

Verses 1-13

    1. GUIDANCE! (23:1-5)
    2. Booker T Washington in his book Up From Slavery, wrote, “I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacle which he has overcome while trying to succeed.” (Shepherdʼs Notes; 1&2 Samuel pg.39)
      1. Measured by this standard which is a good 1 David was a very successful man.
      2. Obstacles: dodging the kings spears; an attempted kidnapping; escaping 3 companies of solder’s & Saul himself. For 10 years he’d be a fugitive w/a price on his head, & over 600 people to care for.
        1. Persecuted Church Update: On Sunday, September 26, Hindu militants stormed a small, mostly tribal fellowship in Umachagi village, Karnataka, which has been led by Pastor Shivanda Siddi (45) for the past 5 years. After interrupting prayers, they tried to argue with Pastor Siddi while abusing believers and taking their Bibles. For the next half hour they insulted, beat and stripped the pastor before phoning the police and falsely accusing him of forced conversions. When the police arrived they arrested the pastor, 7 women and 2 children. While the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) was able to intervene to get the women and children released, Pastor Siddi was tried and charged under Section 295 of the Indian Penal Code, which prohibits "forced" conversions. At last report, the pastor had been released on bail. [and these christians go rt back to what God has called them to!]
    3. Philistines were looting the grain from the border town Judahiate city of Keilah.
    4. A gifted leader like David might have been tempted to depend on his experience, instead, he turned to the Lord for the guidance he needed. (Warren Wiersbe: With The Word; pg.175)
      1. Even the counsel of his men didn’t sway him once he knew the mind of the Lord.
    5. God in His providence gave David 2 great gifts: The ephod & a priest (6).
      1. David could always seek God’s will as he planned & strategized.
      2. Today we have 2 great gifts by God’s providence: The Word of God & an Interceding High Priest.
      3. Do you seek the mind of the Lord as you make decisions?
    6. TREACHERY! (23:6-13)
    7. David rescued the citizens of Keilah yet they planned to turn him & his men over to Saul!
      1. He saved a total collapse of their economy but
      2. Do not expect everybody you help to appreciate what you have done!
    8. TACTICAL BLUNDER! (7)
    9. A tactical blunder by relying on the protection of a city w/double walls & double gates.
    10. In Saul's twisted mind, he thought he had God’s blessing on this? (rt after priest slaughter?)
    11. GOD OF FEWS WORDS! (11,12)
    12. But when it’s God speaking, you don’t need 1 more word than is necessary.
    13. OUTCAST ONCE AGAIN! (13)
    14. They went wherever thy could go.
    15. Here Ps.31 was penned. [Turn there]
      1. This Psalm 31 has ministered to many bible characters.
        1. Jeremiah – Borrows the phrase, “fear is on every side”(vs.13) no less than 6 times.
        2. Jonah – In his prayer in the big fish(2:8), he quoted the phrase "Those who regard worthless idols...” (from vs.6).
        3. Another Psalmist – Psalm 71 intro starts the same.
        4. Jesus – Last of 7 statements on cross, Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.
      2. Illustration: A dense fog covering 7 city blocks, to a depth of 100’, is composed of something less than 1 glass of water.
        1. This can be compared to the things we worry about... If we could see into the future & if we could see our problems in their true light, they would be downgraded to their true size & place.
      3. David makes the journey twice over from anguish to assurance: [vs1-8; then 9-24]
        1. So David isn’t always on top, wasn’t always smiling!
          1. He is capable of going up to the heights of joy & the next moment down into the depths of despair.
        2. There is significant change of mood, contrast vs.7 & 12. [but faith triumphs vs.14-16]
          1. His times = in this moment of adversity & trial, all the question marks of his life, were in the hand of God! (Alan Redpath: The Making of the Man of God; pg.88)
        3. When David & his men were invited to share w/them in the life of the city as a reward, it was little ray of sunshine. (21) [the strong city of Keilah]
        4. Then he makes a confession of saying some pretty dumb things (22)
      4. Wrap up with last 2 triumph verses! Wow!
        1. We all need to Hope in the Lord (not self)
          1. Dennis the Menace & his friend Joey were coming home from Mrs. Wilson’s house, hands full of cookies, faces smudged with chocolate, Joey says, “I wonder what we did to deserved this?” Denis responds with a perfect definition of grace, “Listen Joey, Mrs. Wilson doesn’t give us cookies because we’re nice, but because she’s nice!”

Verses 14-29

  1. INTRO:
    1. Sweet Revenge: Chicago Cubs outfielder Andre Dawson paid a $1000 fine for disputing a strike called by umpire Joe West. On the memo line of his check Dawson wrote: “Donation for the blind.” (Galaxie Software. (2002; 2002). 10,000 Sermon Illustrations. Biblical Studies Press.)
      1. Ever felt like taking revenge? Your boss takes full credit for the project you slaved over. Your professor unfairly gives you a failing grade. Your business partner sets you up to bear the brunt of his shady dealings. Your so called friend betrays a confidence & spreads lies about you. Your spouse runs off w/ someone else, leaving you w/no income & no place to live. (Chuck Swindoll: David A Man of Passion & Destiny; p.60)
        1. Oh, to get even! - Often we wont use the unpleasant Revenge word. We won’t say “I’m going to get you!” we say, “I’m just standing up for my rights.” Or, we’ll call it Justified Retaliation!
        2. Settling the score becomes a moral obligation. We take the law into our own hands.
        3. Whatever we call it, God calls it revenge. Rom.12:19-21 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
          1. Not talking about defending ourselves as individuals or as a nation; Nor seeking justice through the legal system; We’re talking personal vendettas & taking the law into our own hands.
        4. We cannot make anyone live in peace w/us, but we can make sure the path to peace is clear on our side!
      2. This week we’ll see David had the perfect opportunity to avenge himself against Saul. The temptation to get even was strong.
  2. BUT GOD! (23:14-29)
    1. BUT GOD! (14,15)
    2. (14) But God - Those 2 words represent a contrast.
      1. In the opening verses of Eph. 2 it shows us what the condition of man is, as God sees him, as he actually is in life.
      2. In contrast to that gloomy picture the apostle says, "But God, ..."
        1. We were dead in sin, BUT GOD made us alive with Christ.
        2. We were captive to the prince of the power of the air and enslaved to the course of this world, BUT GOD raised us with Christ and made us sit with him in the heavenly places.
        3. We were children of wrath and deserving of an eternity in the torments of hell, BUT GOD, instead of pouring out wrath, will spend eternity showing the immeasurable riches of his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
          1. Brothers and sisters, this is good news!
      3. Once we were dead in sin, BUT GOD made us alive!
      4. Once we were captive to Satan, BUT GOD made us free!
      5. Once we were children of wrath, BUT GOD has promised to spend eternity unwrapping the riches of his grace in kindness toward us!
    3. A DEVOTED FRIEND! (16-18)
    4. Dad wants to kill him, son wants to encourage him.
      1. How tragic that Jonathan’s hopes for the future were destroyed by his fathers sins. Jonathan was willing to be 2nd man.
    5. FROM ZIPH TO MAON! (19-23)
    6. Ziph belonged to Judah, so the citizens should have been loyal to David.
    7. TIMELY INTERVENTION OF A SOVEREIGN GOD! (24-29)
    8. Maon about 3 miles south from Ziph.
    9. God used an invasion of the Philistines to rescue David when it looked as if Saul’s forces would win. (Warren Wiersbe: With The Word; p.175)
      1. No matter what men may do, God works out His purposes, & His providence does not fail!
      2. Prov.19:21 There are many plans in a man’s heart, Nevertheless the Lord’s counsel - that will stand.
    10. (28) The Rock of Escape [תֹוֽקְלְח ַּמ ַֽה ע ַל ֶ֖ס]SelaַּמHammahlekothַֽהעַלֶ֖סrock of parting
      1. The Hebrew carries the idea of a smooth rock, i.e. a slippery rock. In other words, the rock of slipping away!
    11. Here’s what David wrote during this time - Read Ps.54:4-7
Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 23". "Bell's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/1-samuel-23.html. 2017.