Daily Tanach Tuesday Shmuel 1 Chapter 24 Part 1: Shaul makes temporary peace with Dovid

* The article below is an excerpt from the above Sefer

Chapter 24: Shaul makes temporary peace with Dovid

1.      Dovid hides in the desert of Ein Gedi and Shaul is informed:

  • Dovid escaped from that area and went to dwell in the Citadels of Ein Gedi. When Shaul returned from battling against the Philistines he was informed that Dovid was hiding in the desert of Ein Gedi.
  • Shaul gives chase to Dovid in the desert of Ein Gedi: Shaul took with him 3000 young men from amongst all of Israel and he went to search for Dovid and his men on the surface of the high rocks where the rams dwell.

2.      Dovid with an opportunity to kill Shaul instead simply cuts his cloak:

  • Shaul uses the bathroom in a cave found near the shepherd area: On the way to the location where they believe Dovid was found, Shaul arrived in an area that was segregated for the shepherds to bring their herds of sheep [to graze]. In that area there was a cave into which Shaul entered in order to defecate [believing that Dovid was nowhere close to be found as he would not be in an area that was occupied by the shepherds[1]].
  • Dovid cuts the cloak of Shaul: In truth, however, Dovid and his men were sitting at the end of that cave inside. Dovid’s men said to him look, this is the day that will be fulfilled that which G-d told you, “I am handing you your enemies into your hands and you may do with them as you see fit in your eyes.” So, Dovid got up [in the guise of darkness] and discreetly [used his sword to] snip off the corner of the cloak that Shaul was wearing [however, he refused to kill him, as will be explained]. Later on, after this incident, Dovid felt a pain of conscience for what he did, having cut off the corner of Shaul’s coat [as Shaul was the anointed one of G-d and perhaps it was forbidden for him to have done so[2]]. [Chazal[3] explain that Shaul was very modest when he went to the bathroom, having covered his feet, and revealing only the bare minimum necessary to defecate.[4] It was in this merit that Dovid spared Shaul’s life seeing how righteous he truly was. It is also due to this reason that Dovid showed Shaul the piece of his cloak that he cut off, coming to state to him that it is in the merit of his modesty that he was spared.]
  • Dovid tells his men that he and they will not kill or harm Shaul: Dovid said to his men [who agreed amongst themselves to kill Shaul[5]], “G-d forbid that I will do any harm to my master the anointed one of G-d to assassinate him, as he is the anointed one of Hashem.” Dovid talked to his men extensively and forcefully persuading them with words that they do not take vengeance against Shaul, and practically he prevented them from striking him. Shaul then got up and left the cave and went on his way.

[1] Malbim 24:4

[2] Metzudos Dovid 24:5; Pirush Rabbeinu Yeshaya 24:6

[3] Brachos 62a

[4] See Metzudos Tziyion 24:4

[5] Metzudos Dovid 24:8

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