The Philistine leaders refuse to have David in their army

Chapter 29

The Philistine leaders refuse to have David in their army

v1 The *Philistines gathered their army at the town of Aphek. The *Israelites camped by the water at Jezreel. v2 The *Philistine kings marched out with their soldiers. The soldiers were in groups of 100 men and 1000 men. David and his men were with King Achish at the back of the army. v3 The *Philistine leaders said, ‘Why are these *Israelite men here?’

Achish said, ‘This is David. He used to serve King Saul. But he has been with me for more than a year. I have not found any fault with David since he came to me’.

v4 But the *Philistine leaders were angry with Achish. They said to him, ‘Send David back to the town that you gave him. He cannot go into battle with us. He might become our enemy and start to fight us. Saul would be very pleased with David if he started to kill us. v5 The *Israelites used to dance and sing about David. They sang

          ‘Saul has killed thousands of his enemies.

          And David has killed tens of thousands of his enemies’.

v6 So Achish called David and said, ‘I know as certainly as the *Lord lives that you are loyal. I would be happy to let you fight in this battle with me. Since the day that you came to me, I have never found anything wrong with you. But the other leaders do not trust you. v7 Go back home and have peace. Do not make the other *Philistine leaders unhappy’.

v8 David said, ‘What have I done that is wrong? Have you found any faults in me since I joined you? You are my master, the king. I want to go and fight your enemies’.

v9 Achish said, ‘I know that you are as good as an *angel from God. However, the *Philistine leaders said that you must not go to the battle with us. v10 You and your men must leave early tomorrow morning. Get up and go as soon as it is light’.

v11 So David and his men got up early in the morning. They returned to Ziklag. The *Philistine army went to Jezreel.

The events in this chapter continue from 28:1. The *Israelites were now by the water at Jezreel. This was at the base of the mountain of Gilboa. Achish and the *Philistines had arrived at Aphek. This was 48 kilometres (30 miles) north of the town of Gath. They still had to go 64 kilometres (40 miles) to Shunem (28:4). The *Philistine soldiers marched in order. The king of each town went with his own soldiers. The *Philistine soldiers were not happy to have *Israelite men in their army. Achish trusted David. He believed that he was loyal. But the *Philistine soldiers did not trust David. They remembered that he had killed Goliath and many *Philistines (17:1-18:7). They suspected that David and his men might turn against the *Philistines in the battle. The *Philistines would not take this risk.

Achish and the *Philistines did not *worship the *Lord of the *Israelites. However, Achish used the name of the *Lord in verse 6. Perhaps Achish wanted to convince David that he really trusted him. In verse 9 Achish even says that David is as good as an *angel from God. An *angel comes from God. Achish wanted David to continue to serve him in the future (see 28:2). But Achish would not make his own leaders unhappy. So he sent David and his men back to Ziklag.

In chapter 27 David would not fight against the *Israelites. But in verse 8, he wanted Achish to think that he would. David did not identify who ‘your enemies’ were. He only pretended that he was loyal to Achish. David probably felt relief that he did not have to fight the *Israelites. David got into trouble because he did not trust God enough. But God was kind and saved him from a difficult situation.