1 Samuel 27


‘But David thought to himself, ‘One of these days I will be destroyed by the hand of Saul. The best thing I can do is to escape to the land of the Philistines. Then Saul will give up searching for me anywhere in Israel, and I will slip out of his hand.’ So David and the six hundred men with him left and went over to Achish son of Maok king of Gath. David and his men settled in Gath with Achish. Each man had his family with him, and David had his two wives: Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail of Carmel, the widow of Nabal.’ 1 Samuel 27:1-3

David Among The Philistines

In this chapter we see the wisdom of David as he deliberately goes into the land of the Philistines, he knew that Saul wouldn’t go here in case a war broke out. David knew he would be safe in this land.

Although David had been warned on another occasion when he was in Moab to return to Judah, 1 Samuel 22:5, it doesn’t appear that it was God’s will for David to dwell in Philistia at this time.

‘When Saul was told that David had fled to Gath, he no longer searched for him. Then David said to Achish, ‘If I have found favour in your eyes, let a place be assigned to me in one of the country towns, that I may live there. Why should your servant live in the royal city with you?’ So on that day Achish gave him Ziklag, and it has belonged to the kings of Judah ever since.’ 1 Samuel 27:4-6

David’s plan to go to the land of the Philistines worked, as Saul called off his search for him. David wants a place where his men wouldn’t cause any confrontation with the soldiers of Achish.

In other words, he could still be far enough away from the Philistines, without getting involved with them and at the same time, be far enough away from Saul and his army. In doing so, he could pretend to Achish that he was on the side of the Philistines because the Israelites were against him.

Ziklag was an ideal location for David, it was around twelve miles north-northeast of Beersheba. Ziklag was assigned to Simeon but later incorporated into the territory of Judah, Joshua 19:5. David needed to be at a distance from the observation of Achish in order to carry out his plans for deceiving the king of Gath.

On that day Achish gave David Ziklag, this tells us that the date of writing of 1 Samuel was sometime after the division of Israel into the northern and southern kingdoms. The south was called the kingdom of Judah. The division took place after the death of Solomon and continued until the captivity of the kingdom of Judah in 586 B.C.

‘David lived in Philistine territory for a year and four months. Now David and his men went up and raided the Geshurites, the Girzites and the Amalekites. (From ancient times these peoples had lived in the land extending to Shur and Egypt.) Whenever David attacked an area, he did not leave a man or woman alive, but took sheep and cattle, donkeys and camels, and clothes. Then he returned to Achish. When Achish asked, ‘Where did you go raiding today?’ David would say, ‘Against the Negev of Judah’ or ‘Against the Negev of Jerahmeel’ or ‘Against the Negev of the Kenites.’ He did not leave a man or woman alive to be brought to Gath, for he thought, ‘They might inform on us and say, ‘This is what David did.’ And such was his practice as long as he lived in Philistine territory. Achish trusted David and said to himself, ‘He has become so obnoxious to his people, the Israelites, that he will be my servant for life.’ 1 Samuel 27:7-12

David lived in Philistine territory for a year and four months during which he raided desert tribes raided desert tribes to the south that were still within the territory that God had originally given to the nation of Israel as part of the Promised Land.

Although there’s no record of the Geshurites, we do know that the Amalekites were supposed to have been destroyed by Saul in his early reign, 1 Samuel 15:1-35.

It appears that Achish didn’t understand why David was raiding the desert tribes, but David knew exactly what he was doing, he was doing what his forefathers failed to do in removing the Canaanites from the land, Joshua 17:12-13 / Judges 1:19 / Judges 1:28.

The word ‘Negeb’ literally means ‘the dry country’. The Negev of Judah was the tribe of Judah itself, the Negev of Jerahmeel was one of the prominent clans of Judah, 1 Chronicles 2:9 / 1 Chronicles 2:42, and the Negev of the Kenites had been associated with Israel since the days of Moses, whose father-in-law Jethro was of the Kenites. Also, Jael who destroyed Sisera was a Kenite, Judges 4:17.

If David had actually raided these people, as he said he did, Achish’s belief that Israel at that time hated David would have been true.

Go To 1 Samuel 28


"We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all."