Bible Commentaries
1 Samuel 26

The Church Pulpit CommentaryChurch Pulpit Commentary

Verse 11


‘The Lord forbid that I should stretch forth mine hand against the Lord’s anointed.’

1 Samuel 26:11

I. Here we have another instance of David acting on high principles (cf. 24).—Make this the chief point in the sermon. When feeling, and even policy, urged him to the wrong, principle kept him right. Compare Joseph’s temptation. However bewildered we may be we can always ask, What is right? And once apprehending the right we must do it, whatever we have to suffer. The principles David fell back on were loyalty and piety.

However Saul might be injuring him he was his king, his life was sacred in his eyes. Some of the later kings were assassinated by their officers. True loyalty always guards the person and property of the king. Ambition may destroy loyalty; and so may unworthy brooding over wrongs received. David had a further strengthening of his loyalty in the assurance that Saul was Jehovah’s anointed one. So loyalty to God made him loyal to the king.

But it was David’s piety that really kept him. He would not force his own way to the throne, because he trusted in God, committed all his affairs into God’s hands, and tried willingly to wait God’s time. To kill the king would have been to take his life into his own hands, and fail to wait on God. Show how genuine piety will ever help us in the endeavour to find out what is right to do. And show also that piety makes us kind, considerate, and forbearing.

II. Notice David’s device to win reconciliation.—In those days there was a sense of humour, and this, as well as the desire to have some proof of the peril the king had been in, led David to take the spear and the cruse. See David’s humoursome taunt of Abner. Easterns are quick to take a joke: and we should call this device of David’s a practical joke. But it was skilfully planned to meet the feelings of Saul, and contrast the care David, whom he persecuted, took of him, with the apparent neglect of Abner and his army. Nothing could more effectively prove that David was not the rebel Saul tried to regard him as being.

When innocent we may properly do all that is in our power to prove our innocence, and we ought to do all we can to conquer the enmity of those who hate us. Illustration from the well-known tract, ‘The man that killed his neighbour.”

III. Notice, lastly, how Saul was won by David’s forbearance.—The conviction that his life had been spared moved Saul’s heart, and led him to respond at once and heartily to David; even giving him his blessing, and admitting that he would ultimately prevail.

Lead on to show our Lord’s teaching about the treatment of our enemies. He says we are even to love them, and pity them, and earnestly try to win them. See also the Apostle’s teaching, ‘If thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink, for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.’


(1) ‘Some think that the narrative given in (3) ‘The deepest and sincerest emotion may be transient in its moral effects. We may hope something even of the worst, and, consequently, it is our duty to do something in the negative work of sparing even when we cannot do anything in the positive work of reclaiming. There is a time to fight, as when David fought Goliath; there is a time to spare our enemies, as when David spared Saul. There are differences of conquest; David conquered Saul as surely as he conquered Goliath. There is an infinite superiority of the power that is moral, as compared with the power that is physical. Moral power places restraints upon the wicked, whereby the good man is saved from his perils.’

Bibliographical Information
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 26". The Church Pulpit Commentary. 1876.