1 Samuel 23-24
1 Samuel 23-24
David hears of a town that is besieged by the Philistines, so he prays and the Lord tells him to go to the town and fight them, and he will deliver them into his hand. After David is victorious there, Saul hears about it and figuring he can trap him in a walled town, he sets off on an expedition to lay siege to the town. Now Saul wasn’t concerned abou helping the townspeople when the Philistines were plundering their town, but since he can catch David unawares he will take a whole army there. That’s how messed up his priorities are at this moment.
David finds out about this trap, and after some prayer and consultation he decides to leave before Saul arrives. David and Saul play a game of cat and mouse through the wilderness and spies try to keep Saul abreast of David’s location. Until one day, David is hiding in a cave while Saul combs the hillside with 3000 men. When Saul enters the same cave to use the bathroom, and David sneaks in close to cut a piece of his robe off.
When Saul leaves the cave (and presumably gets down the hill a safe enough distance) David comes out and calls down to him. He shows him the robe piece and swears he’s never had any intent to harm Saul. The piece of robe is proof that he could’ve easily killed him, but he didn’t. Saul seems to be moved by this brush with death, and after eliciting a promise that David won’t kill his children after he dies, he leaves and heads home. Little did Saul know, but his son Jonathan had already made a pact with David to be his right hand man when he became king. Saul is fighting to preserve his dynasty when his son would willingly hand it over to David because somehow he knows that David is the rightful king.
Peter goes up to Jerusalem and when asked he reports to the others what’s been going on along the coast, and he runs into the earliest heretical sect, the judaizers. Called the “the circumcision party” here in Acts, they believed that converts must become full Jews and observe all the Jewish law. They were strict observers of the kosher laws and all the old covenant regulations. These people persisted through the first century of Christianity and have popped up here and there ever since.
Many, if not all of them, were converts from Judaism so the law was just a natural thing to live and breath for them. Someone who’s always ate kosher wouldn’t even think it was difficult to do, but take someone from another culture and drop them into that mix after they had just accepted the Lord, and it’s going to put a lot of strain on their newfound faith.
Peter recounts the visions that both he and Cornelius had, and that God had used them to show him the dividing line between gentiles and Jews had been erased by the cross. At this they seemed satisfied, but they’ll be back soon enough.
The. The narrative cuts away to those who were scattered during the persecution that followed the martyrdom of Saint Stephen. Luke is using this passage to show that what was planned to crush the church only spread it further out from Jerusalem and gained a wider variety of converts. Up until that time the vast majority of Christians would be of Jewish origin, but now many gentiles are being drawn in. And so Saul is called up and goes to Antioch to teach these new converts about the faith.
If you think about it, a Jewish convert would already be steeped in the scriptures and only have to learn about Jesus and his teachings, but someone who was previously a pagan would need a lot more catechesis. They’d have no foundation to build upon, no knowledge of the history of salvation from Adam to Noah, from Abraham to Moses, from Joshua to David, from Ezra and Nehemiah to Jesus Christ. And who better to teach them than a biblical scholar turned Christian evangelist from Tarsus named Saul?
1 Samuel 25-26