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Daily Reader for Day 116: 1 Samuel 29 - 30

Dave Moore

Today, the camera shifts to David in exile, and two episodes highlight the irony of his position.  In chapter 29, the other Philistine lords challenge Achish’s faith in David, disbelieving that he will stand with them against Saul.  By the end of chapter 30, the author will have masterfully positioned all the principle characters on the eve of the climactic battle, between Israel and the Philistines. 

There are a few details to take note of.  When the Philistine commanders refer to David’s band as “these Hebrews,” you can pick up on two things.  First, you’ve already noticed that there’s a derogatory slant, like calling them “these rebel scum.”  Second, it’s a term typically used by foreigners to refer toward Israelites, rather than Israelites using it themselves.  It’s unclear where this term came from or exactly what it means, but it carries the sense of being a “foreigner,” which may be what the New Testament author of Hebrews is picking up on.

It’s a bit jolting when Achish, the Philistine king, swears by the LORD God of Israel, that he’s sure David has been honest with him.  It’s also disconcerting when the Philistine lords bring out the popular refrain: “Saul has struck down his thousands, and David his ten thousands.”  It’s designed to make us fear for David, both for his life and for his integrity.  David makes a sincere show of wanting to fight against Saul, asking Achish, “What have I done?” and divine intervention might be required to keep him from harm.  

That intervention comes in chapter 30.  While David is pleading his case, the Amalekites raid his stronghold of Ziklag and exact revenge for David’s recent raids.   Tension abounds as now the locals speak of stoning him, for bringing disaster upon them.   But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God, and takes off in rescue, across the Negev, and away from the gathering armies at Mount Gilboa. 

Our verse for this week is Romans 6:23: For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

1 Samuel 29 and 30.  Now let’s read it!

1 Samuel 29 - 30

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Romans 6:23

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

(ESV)

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