1 Samuel, Chapter 24

- ח ה ו -

David Tears a Piece of Saul’s Robe at Ein Gedi

David continues to run away from Saul. He arrives in Ein Gedi, in the Judean desert. Saul stops fighting the Philistines for a time and resumes his chase. He enters the very cave where David is hiding. Though David could kill him, he instead decides to only tear a piece of Saul’s robe and try to make peace with him. David does not succumb to hatred, envy, or impulses. He succeeds in overcoming his negative emotions and responds to animosity and hostility with love. 

When Saul realizes what David has done, he is ashamed of his behavior and confesses that he was driven by mere jealousy and selfishness. Saul acknowledges that he is repaying all the kindness he was shown with evil. David tries to convince Saul that he has been acting unreasonably—and for a moment, it seems the ruler of Israel is repenting and about to end his pursuit. He understands that the kingship will be given to David and is ready to God’s will. At this stage, when he is experiencing regret over his sins, Saul can still correct his ways. However, much like Pharaoh in the times of Moses, Saul will once again fall prey to his negative emotions.

“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” (1 Samuel 24:4) 

“And he said to David, Thou art more righteous than I: for thou hast rewarded me good, whereas I have rewarded thee evil. And thou hast shewed this day how that thou hast dealt well with me: forasmuch as when the LORD had delivered me into thine hand, thou killedst me not” (1 Samuel 24:17-18)

Holding on to anger, hurt, or indignation does not bring any blessings; forgiveness, or letting go, does.