He was only trying to find some privacy to relieve himself as he entered the cave. He had no idea that in that cave were as many as 3,000 soldiers, all of whom wanted him dead.
King Saul was chasing David, and we are told David had 3,000 men who were hiding in the cave as King Saul pursued them. Not knowing where David was hiding, King Saul just happened to choose THAT cave in which to relieve himself, and David's men thought the Lord had brought Saul into the cave so they could kill him.
Prompted by their urgings, we are told in I Samuel 24:1-8: "Then David arose and cut off the skirt (hem) of Saul's robe secretly. And it came to pass afterward that David's heart convicted him. He said to his men, The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my master, the Lord's anointed, to stretch forth my hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the Lord. So David stopped his men with these words, and didn't allow them to rise against Saul."
I shared last week that when a person does not like to retain God in their knowledge, God follows their free will decision to reject Him, and turns them over to have thoughts completely void of anything God. After all, that is what they wanted. They didn't want to acknowledge Him as God, so He backs completely away to let them experience what they want.
That is the essence of the kingdom of hell, to be able to have a life completely void of anything God - and due to free will, God prepared such a place for angels (who made their decision at Lucifer's rebellion) and people who don't want Him - that is love and grace to do so.
The New Testament teaches every person alive on the earth today is a citizen of one kingdom or the other* - heaven or hell. Angels have already made their choice, humans are in the process of choosing. One kingdom is ruled by a cruel king, the other by the King of Kings. But all are citizens of the kingdom they chose by free will. (*Colossians 1:13, Acts 26:18, etc)
When a person decides they don't want to "retain God in their knowledge", they lose the fear of God and therefore the value of human life. This is because we are made in the image and likeness of the God whom they rejected, so the value of life plummets in value in their eyes.
King David was anointed by the prophet Samuel to succeed King Saul. Though he knew his destiny in the Lord, in practical terms Saul was still alive and on the throne. David recognized God alone retained the authority to remove Saul and orchestrate his eventual death. Human life had value to David, though Saul was evil. But David knew God is God and the One to whom he was accountable. People who don't want God, become angry and devalue human life.
Numbers 15:37-39 is where God commanded Israel to make tassels on their clothing that included a strand of blue (stands for heaven). Today with modern clothing styles this is seen mostly in Hebrew Prayer Shawls, but from Moses through the time of David to the first century with Jesus, all garments of every Jew had these tassels, known in Hebrew as 'tzit-tzit', or tzitzit. (This is what the woman with the hemorrhaging condition touched on Jesus' clothes in Mark 5).
Here is the briefest of summaries for those interested because the full history is so detailed.
God told Moses that the tassels represented the Word of God, and that when they saw them they would think of all God's commands, and remind themselves to keep from sin. Hebrew letters also represent numbers (Like A = 1, B = 2, C = 3), and they were tied in such a way and with knots that totaled 613, which is the number accepted for centuries by Rabbi's as the number of the laws of Moses.
Two sets of strands are knotted together 2x, and then the longer strand (shamash) is wound around 7 strands, and then 2 sets are knotted 2x. They repeat this 3x, for a total of 5 knots, and when all is said and done the number is 39 knots. The number 39 is important because with each Hebrew letter also representing a number, the number 39 says in Hebrew "The Lord is One". And because each 5-knotted tassel has 8 threads when doubled over, for a total of 13, the total sum is 613. The very word 'tzitzit' is the Hebrew number 600. When you add the 13 plus the 600 you get 613. Complicated isn't it?
There is argument among Rabbi's about the number going back centuries. Rabbi Rashi from 1100 AD agrees with 613, but Moses ben Nahman (also known as Nachmanides) who lived in 1200 AD, says the number is 603 and not 613...but generally Rabbi's for centuries have accepted 613 laws of Moses, and following God's command, made (39) tassels with knots that add up to 613, and also meaning "The Lord is One". So that is what Saul was wearing, and what David cut off.
What does that mean for David? The custom of the day up to and including our day among the Orthodox, is to cut the tassels from the garment off at a person's funeral. This signifies that being dead, they are now free from the bounds of the earth and God's Law. David performed this funeral ceremony on King Saul, telling him he was a dead man.
For this his heart convicted him, as we see in his statements that he repented and would not life up his hand against the Lord's anointed king. David demonstrated such honor and grace in that moment. He could have killed Saul and briefly wanted to. He had that momentary failure, killing Saul in his heart and to tell him he was a dead man, but then he repented, stating it is the Lord's responsibility not his, to determine when Saul's reign would end.
When a person does not want to retain God in their knowledge, and the Lord gives them what they want, to think all sorts of thoughts that are void of anything related to God, the first thing that happens is the loss of respect for the authority of ruler (Kings, Presidents, Prime Ministers, Monarchs). In the NT we are told to pray for these people - but they rejected God and therefore God's authority, so the next in line is man's authority, as man was made in the image and likeness of God.
Next week, the sorts of thoughts one has when not wanting to retain God in their knowledge. Until then, blessings,
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