Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
David therefore departed thence, and escaped to the cave Adullam: and when his brethren and all his father's house heard it, they went down thither to him.CHAPTER 22
1. In the cave of Adullam (1Samuel 22:1-2)
2. In Moab and Gad’s message (1Samuel 22:3-5)
3. Saul’s discovery of David’s visit to Nob (1Samuel 22:6-10)
4. The murder of the priests (1Samuel 22:11-19)
5. David and Abiathar (1Samuel 22:20-23)
Next we find him in the cave of Adullam (a witness). Here a strange company gathers around the rejected king. It consisted of 400 men. He became their captain. Some of them were in distress, others in debt, and discontented. Such were attracted to the rejected David. It was a blessed scene foreshadowing Him to whom all can gather who are in distress, who feel their debt, their sinfulness, their sorrow and their need. And a greater One than David is here. Our Lord rejected, but owned by those who acknowledge their need, has power to meet it all in the riches of His grace. They with their captain, the Lord’s anointed were “outside of the camp.” Such a place there is today for all who know Him, who is rejected of men and so much dishonored in that which claims and bears His name. “Let us go forth therefore unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach” (Hebrews 13:13). And later those who had gathered around David in the cave, and suffered with him, were specially remembered (2Samuel 23:8-39). “If we suffer we shall reign with Him” (2Timothy 2:12). Psalm 57 was written by David when he fled to the cave. And when he was in the cave he prayed. This prayer is embodied in Psalm 142. It was answered too when the Lord sent to him the 400 men. What food for meditation and reflection is here!
Then he came to Moab. His father and mother were there with him. He thought of making his nest there, yea, more than a nest, a hold; it was not according to the mind of the Lord. His ancestress of blessed memory, Ruth, the Moabitess, had left the land of Moab to dwell in Israel; her great-grandson David leaves the land to dwell in Moab. Again it was unbelief. He tried to escape the troubles which were in store for him. He had to learn patience and endurance. Therefore the Lord sent the prophet Gad with the message to depart. In all his unbelief and failures the Lord did not forsake him, but His watchful, loving eye followed His rejected servant. He cared and provided for him. No harm could reach him. He was not in Saul’s hands but in the hands of the Lord. And this is our happy lot. In a psalm he saith “Thou tellest all my wanderings.”
A frightful scene follows. Doeg the Edomite tells Saul of what happened at Nob. Saul, demonized Saul, orders the slaughter of the priests and while the servants of Saul refused the bloody work, the Edomite executed the command. Abiathar the son of murdered Ahimelech told David. He knew of Doeg’s words to Saul about the shelter Ahimelech had given him. At that time David wrote Psalm 52. Prophetically Doeg, the Edomite, is the type of that cunning man of sin.
Beautiful are David’s words to Abiathar (verse 23). They suggest the blessed assurance of salvation and preservation all receive who in faith turn to the Lord Jesus Christ.