1 Samuel 24:1 And it came to pass, when Saul was returned from following the Philistines, that it was told him, saying, Behold, David is in the wilderness of Engedi.2 Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel, and went to seek David and his men upon the rocks of the wild goats.

3 And he came to the sheepcotes by the way, where was a cave; and Saul went in to cover his feet: and David and his men remained in the sides of the cave.

4 And the men of David said unto him, Behold the day of which the LORD said unto thee, Behold, I will deliver thine enemy into thine hand, that thou mayest do to him as it shall seem good unto thee. Then David arose, and cut off the skirt of Saul’s robe privily.

5 And it came to pass afterward, that David’s heart smote him, because he had cut off Saul’s skirt.

6 And he said unto his men, The LORD forbid that I should do this thing unto my master, the LORD’S anointed, to stretch forth mine hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the LORD.

7 So David stayed his servants with these words, and suffered them not to rise against Saul. But Saul rose up out of the cave, and went on his way.

8 David also arose afterward, and went out of the cave, and cried after Saul, saying, My lord the king. And when Saul looked behind him, David stooped with his face to the earth, and bowed himself.

9 And David said to Saul, Wherefore hearest thou men’s words, saying, Behold, David seeketh thy hurt?

10 Behold, this day thine eyes have seen how that the LORD had delivered thee to day into mine hand in the cave: and some bade me kill thee: but mine eye spared thee; and I said, I will not put forth mine hand against my lord; for he is the LORD’S anointed.

11 Moreover, my father, see, yea, see the skirt of thy robe in my hand: for in that I cut off the skirt of thy robe, and killed thee not, know thou and see that there is neither evil nor transgression in mine hand, and I have not sinned against thee; yet thou huntest my soul to take it.

12 The LORD judge between me and thee, and the LORD avenge me of thee: but mine hand shall not be upon thee.

13 As saith the proverb of the ancients, Wickedness proceedeth from the wicked: but mine hand shall not be upon thee.

Introductory Thoughts

Men frequently focus upon David’s extreme failures but fail to realize that he also exemplified a tremendous example of someone who understood loyalty. King Saul’s antics would have allowed most people to justify not affording Saul the loyalty his position warranted. Even many of David’s men held to this position. Yet, we read that David felt and acted otherwise. Although Saul repeatedly attempted to kill David, David did not take advantage of any of his opportunities to kill Saul. The Bible says that he refused to stretch forth his hand against the LORD’S anointed. Instead, David decided to send a message to Saul by cutting off the skirt of Saul’s robe. Because of David’s loyalty, even this act immediately smote his heart. His godly character trumped his personal frustrations toward the very man who sought to bring him grave, personal harm. Although David’s men were prepared and able to take the most aggressive actions, David advised against it.

Devotional thoughts

• (For children): We may not like those who have the authority over us. They may not even love God or personally care for us, but God still expects us to honour them when possible (Titus 3:1; 1 Peter 2:13-14, 18). Joseph, Nehemiah, and Daniel worked for pagan kings, yet they practiced Titus 3:2a.

• (For everyone): Did Saul deserve David’s loyalty? If not, why was David loyal toward him? What did David do that brought conviction to his heart? What would it take to bring conviction to your heart when you fail to obey?

• David’s men were loyal to David to the point that they were ready to kill Saul. How would David’s loyalty to Saul be a wonderful example and edification to his own men?

Prayer Thoughts

• Ask the Lord to teach you what it means to be loyal.

• Ask God for strength of character.