Old Testament Survey

Lesson 10 w/answers1 Samuel 21-31


We continue our look at the book of 1 Samuel, beginning with Chapter 21 and David’s escape from Saul, who was planning to kill him. Assisted by his closest friend, Jonathan, who was also one of Saul’s sons, David is warned by Jonathan of the plot to kill him, and David escapes to Gath. We continue our study from this point.

Read I Samuel Chapters 21 through Chapter 31; then answer the following:

  1. Read chapter 21 and describe David’s first meeting with Achish, King of Gath.
    1. ANSWER: Achish’s servants recognized David immediately and pointed out to the king that this was the real "king" of Israel, and that David was famous for killing tens of thousands of men. David, who was looking for a place to hide from Saul, pretended to be a mad man—a fighter or warrior who had gone off the deep end. Achish believed David’s ruse, and David was allowed to hide in the caves.
  2. What caused the slaughter at Nob? (See 1 Sam. 22)
    1. ANSWER: Doeg the Edomite had spied on David when Ahimelech, the son of Ahitub, had provided food, a sword, and interceded with the Lord for David. Doeg then told Saul that Ahimelech had helped David; and Saul had Doeg kill all of the priests including Ahitub, their wives, children, and animals at Nob.
  3. David spares Saul’s life twice. Describe each instance and explain why David did not kill Saul. (See 1 Sam. Chapters 24 and 26)
    1. ANSWER 1: In Chapter 24, while David is hiding in a cave, Saul comes into that very cave to relieve himself. While Saul is in the cave, David is close enough to kill him with his knife. However, instead, he simply cuts off a piece of Saul’s robe—which he will later show Saul as proof that he could have easily taken his life.
    2. ANSWER 2: In Chapter 26, the second opportunity for David to kill Saul arises when Saul and his men are camped and asleep. Even though a sleeping Saul is surrounded by his own men, David and Abishai sneak into the camp and take the sword and jug of water that are right beside Saul as he sleeps—again later showing Saul this proof that David spared his life when he could have easily taken it.
    3. ANSWER 3: David never killed Saul, recognizing that in spite of how Saul behaved toward David, he was still the God-appointed King of Israel. David could not imagine ever lifting a hand against the man that God had appointed. In 1 Samuel 26:11, David says "The LORD forbid that I should stretch out my hand against the LORD’s anointed."
  4. What prevented David from participating in the fight at Mt. Gilboa? (Chapter 29)
    1. ANSWER: While David had been a faithful servant and warrior for Achish, king of Gath, the Philistine soldiers did not trust him, especially since David was known for having killed tens of thousands of Philistines. The last thing they wanted was to go battle with him, only to have David turn on them and kill them during the fight with Saul’s army. As a result, King Achish had to send him back to Ziklag.
  5. What happened when David and his army returned to their homes in the land of Philistines at Ziklag?
    1. ANSWER: They found the city in ruins and burning down, having been attacked by the Amalekites. The Amalekites had taken everything they could plunder plus all the men’s wives, including David’s two wives. After seeking God’s advice on whether to attack them, God tells David to go after them. They rescue all of their wives and families, reclaim all of their possessions, and take a large amount of plunder from the defeated Amalekites.
  6. How does David divide the spoils from defeating the Amalekites?
    1. ANSWER: In addition to the four-hundred-man army that went into battle with him, he also gave spoils to the two hundred men who were too tired to go on and had stayed behind "with the baggage". He also gave a portion of the spoils to the cities and people of the south—in all the places where people had helped or welcomed him and his men.
  7. Describe the events surrounding the death of Saul and his two sons.
    1. ANSWER: The army of King Achish (the Philistine army) defeated Saul’s army at Mt Gilboa. During the battle, they killed the sons of Saul, including Jonathan. As the battle continued and Saul’s army was falling to defeat, Saul is struck with an arrow. As he lay mortally wounded, he asked his armor-bearer to run him through with his own sword so that the Philistines would not capture him and drag him and his body around and this making "sport" of him. When the armor-bearer refused, Saul fell on his own sword and died. Seeing this, his armor-bearer also fell on his sword and died. Thus in a single day, as God had foretold, Saul and all his sons were killed in battle.

Closing our brief study of 1 Samuel, we see a stark contrast between the righteous behavior of Hannah (Samuel’s mother), Samuel, David, and Jonathan; versus the unrighteous behavior of Eli, his two sons, and Saul.

Next, we will begin a look at the reign of David.

Have a great week everyone.

In Christ,



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