1 Samuel 22:1
So David left Gath and took refuge in the cave of Adullam. When his brothers and the rest of his father's household heard about it, they went down to him there.
David At the Cave of AdullamJ. T. Woodhouse.1 Samuel 22:1-2
David's Refuge and FollowingB. Dale 1 Samuel 22:1, 2
The Cave of AdullamD. Fraser 1 Samuel 22:1, 2

1 Samuel 22:1, 2. (THE CAVE OF ADULLAM.)
David's escape from Gath to the cave of Adullam marks a fresh starting point in his career. Henceforth he led the life of an independent outlaw at the head of a band of armed men. He was openly and continually persecuted by Saul, under the illusion that he was aiming at the crown, although he neither rebelled nor encouraged rebellion against his authority. He was thereby kept prominently before the minds of the people, and must have fixed the attention of the most observant and devout upon him, as, in contrast to Saul (whose government became more and more arbitrary, inefficient, and ungodly), the man who alone was worthy to be "captain over the Lord's inheritance;" and the experience through which he passed served to prepare him for his destination. "This very period of his deepest sufferings becomes the decisive turning point of his whole history, at which it enters upon a true upward course, thence to rise ever higher and higher; while his real destiny, viz., to rule, is now for the first time not only foreshadowed, but already begun, though only on the smallest scale; and the clearest proof that this actually is his destiny is found in the fact that he begins to work it out without consciously exerting himself to do so" (Ewald). He may be considered as representing, in some respects, the good man under persecution, and as -

I. PROTECTED FROM THE VIOLENCE OF PERSECUTORS, with which the servants of God have been threatened in every age.

1. Underneath the personal and ostensible grounds of such violence lie the opposition of "the kingdom of darkness" to the kingdom of God, and the enmity of the evil heart against righteousness and goodness. David was "the representative of the theocratic principle for which he suffers and endures; Saul of the antitheocratic principle." Like Moses, David bore "the reproach of Christ," who was in him and suffered with him (Acts 9:4; Colossians 1:24; Hebrews 11:26, 32-38).

2. It is limited in its power, and is always ultimately defeated. "Be not afraid of them that kill the body," etc. (Luke 12:4).

3. God himself is the Refuge of the persecuted, and provides varied, wonderful, and effectual means for their deliverance. "Thou art my refuge" (Psalm 142:5). "Thou hast delivered my soul from death," etc. (Psalm 56:13). The operation of Divine providence was displayed in a remarkable manner in the preservation of David throughout the whole course of his persecution by Saul.

II. SYMPATHISING WITH THE MISERY OF THE OPPRESSED. "His brethren and all his father's house," endangered by Saul's jealousy as well as by the Philistine garrison at Bethlehem (2 Samuel 23:13, 14), "and every one that was in distress" (outwardly impoverished and harassed), "and in debt" (to avaricious usurers, and not necessarily through any fault of his own), "and discontented" (inwardly embittered and dissatisfied with the existing state of things), owing to bad government. "Surely oppression maketh a wise man mad" (Ecclesiastes 7:7), and incites and justifies the adoption of a course which, under other circumstances, would be highly culpable. They did not gather to David in vain.

1. Sympathy with suffering is usually felt in an eminent degree by those who have themselves suffered (Hebrews 2:18).

2. It is always shown, when it is genuine, in practical effort for its alleviation (2 Corinthians 1:4).

3. It generally produces in those toward whom it is shown a peculiarly strong and enduring attachment. "Pain is the deepest thing we have in our nature, and union through pain has always seemed more real and more holy than any other" (A.H. Hallam). "I do not know where a better home could have been provided for David than among those men in distress, in debt, in discontent. If it behoved a ruler to know the heart of his subjects, their sorrows, their wrongs, their crimes, - to know them and to sympathise with them, - this was surely as precious a part of his schooling as the solitude of his boyhood, or as any intercourse he had with men who had never faced the misery of the world, and never had any motive to quarrel with its laws. Through oppression, confusion, lawlessness he was learning the eternal, essential righteousness of God" (Maurice).

III. ASSUMING THE LEADERSHIP OF THE FAITHFUL. "He became captain over them: and there were with him about four hundred men" - afterwards six hundred (1 Samuel 23:13); including his nephews, Abishai (1 Samuel 26:6), Joab, Asahel, and Amasa, Ahimelech the Hittite, the "three mighty men" who "broke through the host of the Philistines and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem" (2 Samuel 23:16), many of those whose names are recorded in the list of David's heroes (1 Chronicles 11:10 47), Gadites "whose faces were like the faces of lions, and were as swift as the roes upon the mountains," Benjamites and men of Judah, under Amasai, on whom "the Spirit came, and he said, Thine are we," etc.; "for thy God helpeth thee" (1 Chronicles 12:8-18). Some of them possessed, perhaps, little religious principle, and were ready for any adventurous enterprise; but most of them were young, free, noble spirits, resenting the tyranny of Saul, and sympathising with all that was best in the nation - "the unconscious materials out of which a new world was to be formed." David's leadership was -

1. Exercised by virtue of his peculiar position, eminent godliness, and surpassing ability.

2. Accepted by them voluntarily, and followed with fidelity and enthusiasm.

3. Contributed to their discipline, improvement (Psalm 34:11), and future service against the common enemy, as well as his own moral force and power of organisation and rule. "The effect of such a life on his spiritual nature was to deepen his unconditional dependence on God; by the alternations of heat and cold, fear and hope, danger and safety, to temper his soul and make it flexible, tough, and bright as steel. It evolved the qualities of a leader of men, teaching him command and forbearance, promptitude and patience, valour and gentleness. It won for him a name as a founder of a nation, and it gathered around him a force of men devoted to him by an enthusiastic attachment, bred by long years of common dangers and the hearty friendships of many a march by day and nightly encampment round the glimmering watchfires beneath the lucid stars" (Maclaren).

IV. DEVOTED TO THE SERVICE OF GOD. The effect of persecution on a good man is to cause him to draw nigh to God in -

1. Renewed confidence and hope.

2. Intense desire for the manifestation of his glory in "bringing the wickedness of the wicked to an end and establishing the just" (Psalm 7:9). He wishes above all things and strives for the setting up of the kingdom of God upon earth.

3. Earnest prayers and thanksgivings, such as are expressed in the "cave songs" of David. Psalm 142., 'A cry of the persecuted to God' (see inscription): -

"With my voice to Jehovah do I cry,
With my voice to Jehovah do I make supplication.
Deliver me from my persecutors,
For they are stronger than I." Psalm 57, 'Trusting in the protection of God' (see inscription): -

"Be gracious unto me, O God, be gracious unto me,
For in thee hath my soul found refuge;
And in the shadow of thy wings will I find refuge
Until the destruction passeth by.
Be thou exalted above the heavens, O God,
Thy glory above all the earth." When his companions in arms were carousing or asleep, he sat by his lamp in some still retreat, or 'considered the heavens' as they spread above him, or meditated on the law, or engaged in prayer, or held intimate communion with God, and composed and wrote (though he thought not so) what shall sound in the Church and echo through the world to all time (Binney). - D.

David therefore departed thence, and escaped to the cave of Adullam.
David had strangled a lion, slain a giant, and overcome two hundred Philistines; but he is himself overcome by his needless fear. The fear that terrified David arose as much from his own sin as from Saul's fury. Had David been truthful to the priest at Nob he would not have had to dissemble before the king of Gath, and hide like a traitor in the cave of Adullam. One misstep leads to another. The troubles of life frequently spring from our own folly.


1. It was a place of perfect safety.

2. It was a place of comparative seclusion. David needed rest and quiet. The tremendous excitement through which he had passed had exhausted both body and mind.

3. It was a place of earnest supplication. If David sinned at Nob, he sincerely repented at Adullam. David sought for forgiveness for his sin. David sought protection from his enemies. David sought deliverance from his prison. There is a cave of Adullam in every life. Doubt may be such a cave. Persecution may be such a cave. Sickness may be such a cave. Bereavement may be such a cave. There is no cave deep and dark enough to shut out God.

II. DAVID'S ASSOCIATES IN THE CAVE OF ADULLAM. Notice three things respecting David's followers:

1. It was an affectionate association. In time of trouble God will raise up friends to comfort His believing children.

2. It was a mixed association.

3. It was a faithful association. These men proved both their courage and constancy. When David longed for water from Bethlehem they imperilled their lives to gratify his desire. David's experience agrees in some points with Christ's. David was concealed in a cave, Christ was laid in a manger. David was an outlaw, Christ was despised and rejected of men. David was sustained by men in distress, Christ selected for His disciples men who were poor and unknown. David was made a captain over four hundred, Christ is the Captain and Saviour of all who are in distress. If any man is weary of Satan's service, he may become a soldier of the cross.

III. DAVID'S THOUGHTFULNESS IN THE CAVE OF ADULLAM. David was therefore deeply concerned for their safety, and his ardent attachment manifested itself in three ways:

1. By his dangerous journey to promote the comfort of his parents. "David went thence to Moab." This was not a long journey, but it was difficult, to accomplish.

2. By his earnest intercession to obtain protection for his parents.

3. By his special endeavour to secure respect for his parents. "He brought them before the king:" This was a prudent introduction. "And they dwelt with him": This was gracious reception. "All the while that David was in the hold:" This was generous hospitality. We cannot too highly commend David's devotion to his parents. He was willing to sacrifice his life and liberty for their safety.

IV. DAVID'S DEPARTURE FROM THE CAVE OF ADULLAM. We may learn three things from David's departure from the cave of Adullam.

1. Good men receive timely direction from God. "Abide not in the hold." God will not disappoint those who wait for his guidance. The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord.

2. Good men receive minute direction from God. "Get thee into the land of Judah." All the agencies of life — seen and unseen — known and unknown — are regulated by God.

3. Good men promptly obey the direction of God. "Then David departed." Whether God call us to serve or suffer, we must cheerfully obey. We dare not resist, the leadings of Divine providence. There is a time coming when we must all depart.

(J. T. Woodhouse.)

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