1 Samuel 21–25: Injustice & Vengeance

Read the Bible in 2011 ◊ Week 15: Tuesday

Then Ahimelech answered the king and said, “And who among all your servants is as faithful as David, even the king’s son-in-law, who is captain over your guard, and is honored in your house?”
1 Samuel 22:14

Tuesday’s Bible reading of 1 Samuel 21–25, finds David continuing to flee for his life from Saul. Saul’s hatred knows no bounds; after David receives help from the priest, Ahimelech, Saul has Ahimelech, along with 84 other priests, killed and all of the people and livestock in Nob, the city of the priests.

David, on the other hand, has a chance to kill Saul when Saul comes into the cave where David and his men are hiding. He cuts off a portion of Saul’s robe, and after Saul leaves the cave, David calls after him and shows him proof that he had held Saul’s life in his hands, but had not killed him.

“May the LORD judge between you and me, and may the LORD avenge me on you; but my hand shall not be against you.”
1 Samuel 22:12

In one of his few moments of acknowledgment of his deeds, Saul weeps and tells David that David is more righteous than him and that he has acted wickedly.

Samuel’s death is recorded in chapter 25, as are David’s dealings with Nabal and Abigail. This time Abigail’s wisdom defuses David’s fury at Nabal’s crass and ungrateful refusal to help David and his men, and she prevents David from slaughtering Nabal and his household. David recognizes what he has been kept from doing:

Then David said to Abigail, “Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me, and blessed be your discernment, and blessed be you, who have kept me this day from bloodshed and from avenging myself by my own hand. Nevertheless, as the LORD God of Israel lives, who has restrained me from harming you, unless you had come quickly to meet me, surely there would not have been left to Nabal until the morning light as much as one male.”
1 Samuel 25:32–34

With both Saul and Nabal, David’s decision is to let God avenge him. I was reminded of Romans 12:19:

Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord.

David would have been familiar with Deuteronomy 32:35, in which God says that vengeance is His.

When injustice is done to us, it can be terribly hard not to strike back. To hold back doesn’t mean we don’t acknowledge the wrong done or pretend to the other person it never happened. May God give us wisdom in these instances and enable us to trust Him to avenge us.

Isaiah 42 Photograph: ChristianPhotos.net – Free High Resolution Photos for Christian Publications

Original content: Copyright ©2011 Iwana Carpenter

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