Introduction: What do you do when you have a problem? How do you
decide what to do when you lack good information? What if the matter
is complicated by the people around you acting unreasonably or
dishonestly? Life is not always fair. God’s servants face these
kinds of problems. This week our study looks at the actions of
several of God’s people who are faced with an unfair situation.
Let’s dive into our study of the Bible and see what we can learn to
help us deal with the problems of life!

  1. David’s Visit

    1. Read 1 Samuel 20:1 and 1 Samuel 21:1. David is a fighting
      man who is on the run because he fears King Saul will
      kill him. Why would the High Priest tremble to see one
      fighting man instead of several? (David was not just a
      fighting man, he was a commander of at least a 1,000
      soldiers. ( 1 Samuel 18:13.) Ahimelech obviously knows
      David and believes that something is wrong.)

    2. Read 1 Samuel 21:2-3. What is David’s response to the
      High Priest? (David is on a secret mission! He will join
      up with his men, but in the mean-time he is hungry.)

      1. Why would the King send David on a secret mission
        without enough food?

    3. Let’s skip ahead and read 1 Samuel 21:8-9. Not only is
      David missing food for his secret mission, he is missing
      a weapon! If you were the High Priest, would you be

      1. Recall that David is going to shortly join up with
        his men. Wouldn’t they have plenty of swords?

    4. Read 1 Samuel 21:4-6 and Leviticus 24:8-9. Is it proper
      for David to be eating the consecrated bread? (Read
      Matthew 12:3-4. No. This was reserved for the priests.)

    5. Let’s step back for a moment. Is David’s story true? (No.
      None of it is true.)

      1. Is it proper to lie in such a circumstance?

      2. Read 1 Samuel 20:4-8. Was David in the habit of
        lying to preserve his life?

        1. Is the assumption in the last question correct?
          Did David need to lie to preserve his
          life?(Neither lie seems necessary for what
          David has in mind. If anything, I suppose the
          lie is to help the High Priest or Jonathan.)

    6. Re-read 1 Samuel 21:9. Imagine you are David, holding the
      sword of Goliath. What should be going through your mind?
      (Now there was a time when his life was really in

      1. What lesson should that history lesson have taught
        David about lying as a solution to a tough
        situation? (Last week Uriah was a reminder to David
        of what it meant to be devoted to God and the army.
        This week Goliath’s sword was a reminder to David of
        what it meant to trust God to overcome the worst
        kind of situation – without relying on your own

    7. Let’s revisit what Jesus said by reading Matthew 12:1-8.
      Is Jesus commending what David did? (Jesus does not
      endorse the lie. However, He does seem to endorse the
      eating of the consecrated bread.)

      1. What is Jesus’ point? God’s law is not absolute?
        Certain situations demand an exception? (No. Jesus
        asks us to look beyond the rule and find why it is
        we have the rule. Both the sanctuary system and the
        Sabbath direct our attention to the God who created
        us and then saved us. Jesus was the God to whom
        these rules pointed. We must not let the point get
        trumped by the rule.)

    8. Read 1 Samuel 21:7. Now we have a new fact that makes the
      plot thicken! What problem has now arisen? (David’s
      dishonest conduct with the High Priest will now be known!
      The priest’s conduct will also be known.)

      1. How do you think Doeg pronounces his name? Dog?
        Last week it was a Hittite. This week an Edomite.
        With all of the foreigners running around David is
        finding it hard to sin without someone blowing the
        whistle on him!

  2. Rage

    1. Read 1 Samuel 22:1-2. How would you describe David’s
      followers? (Malcontents and family! Other than the
      family, these were not regular citizens.)

    2. Read 1 Samuel 22:7-8. Does King Saul have a legitimate

      1. Is Saul right that people gravitate to David for
        money? That he will give debtors the property of
        others? (Samuel had already told King Saul that his
        kingdom would be passed to another. (1 Samuel 15)
        Saul knows this is God’s will, not the promise of

    3. Read 1 Samuel 22:9-10. Is “Dog” a rat? (Doeg did not run
      to King Saul right away. It was only when Saul was
      pleading with his supporters to tell him about plots
      against him that Doeg told the King about David and the

    4. Read 1 Samuel 22:11. You and your entire family of
      priests have been summoned to see the King. What are your

      1. Would you have been reviewing those inconsistencies
        in David’s story?

    1. Read 1 Samuel 22:12-13. What would you answer if you were

    2. Read 1 Samuel 22:14-15. Is this a good answer? (Yes.
      Intent is required for a conspiracy. Ahimelech said we
      had absolutely no intent to commit treason against the

      1. Do you blame David for putting this priest in this
        position? Should he have anticipated this? (Yes.
        David had two reasons to lie. He lied to get the
        priest to do something he might not otherwise have
        done. He may have also lied to protect the priest.)

        1. Did David have an obligation to fully inform
          Ahimelech of his situation so that Ahimelech
          could evaluate the risk and decide what to do?
          (Of course. Who is David to evaluate the risk
          for another person? This is pure pride and

    3. Read 1 Samuel 22:16-17. What does the reaction of the
      guards who heard the entire exchange tell us? (They
      thought the priests had a good explanation. They thought
      that King Saul was out of control. He was mentally
      unbalanced. The guards knew that these were God’s men,
      and they would give them the benefit of any doubt.)

      1. What reason does Saul have to give such an order?

      2. If the contest is between Saul and David to be king,
        who is better qualified? (David might have put the
        priests in great danger by his dishonesty, but Saul
        makes the executive decision to execute them.)

    4. Read 1 Samuel 22:18-19. What does this tell us about
      Doeg? (He did not hold God’s priests in such high regard.
      Note that Doeg is an Edomite. Edomites were the
      descendants of Esau. Genesis 36:9. Perhaps, like Uriah,
      he saw the opportunity to be promoted – from head
      shepherd to head of the King’s guard.)

      1. What influence on Doeg’s actions, if any, is the
        fact that he made the report that caused King Saul
        to pronounce the death penalty? (Read Deuteronomy
        17:6-7. Saul is obviously not following this rule
        because he has only one witness. However, the idea
        that the witness must stand behind his testimony may
        have been a factor in Doeg’s decision to do this
        evil deed.)

  1. Abiathar the Survivor

    1. Read 1 Samuel 22:20. Only one priest survived. Is this
      the direction you would run if you were Abiathar?

    2. Read 1 Samuel 22:21-22. If David knew this, why did he
      not warn the priests or do something else to help protect

      1. Would it be fair to leave this to God? (David’s lie
        set this whole sequence of events in motion. David
        did not let God do the heavy lifting when he
        approached the priests. It seems a bit presumptuous
        to make a mess, and then walk away as if you had no
        responsibility. They can trust God, but you do not
        have to.)

    3. Read 1 Samuel 22:23. Would you trust David after what
      just happened? (I would not trust David if his interests
      conflicted with my interests. But, David explains to
      Abiathar that their interests are the same. Apparently,
      that convinced Abiathar.)

    4. Abiathar stayed with David and performed the role of a
      priest when David was on the run and later when David
      became King. With the passage of time, David and Abiathar
      became old men. In his later years, Abiathar faced a very
      difficult challenge. Read 1 Kings 1:5-7. King David was
      old, but he was still alive. What would you do if you
      were Abiathar?

      1. Should Abiathar have consulted with King David?

        1. Why would he not consult David? (This was his
          chance to help make a king!)

    5. King David intervened and Solomon became king instead of
      Adonijah. However, Adonijah later made a request that
      King Solomon understood to be a step towards revolting
      against his authority. Read 1 Kings 2:22. How did King
      Solomon now view Abiathar? (As one who was still a

    6. Read 1 Kings 2:25-27. Compare King Solomon with King Saul
      on the issue of priests and rebellion? (Solomon does not
      act like he is crazy. This time, the priest Abiathar
      really had been a part of the opposition team.)

    7. Friend, our study shows that unfair things happen to
      God’s servants. The sins of dishonesty, intrigue, and
      rage can victimize any of us. Our best course is to seek
      God’s will and trust Him. Fighting fire with fire is not
      the right answer. Will you determine today to trust God
      and not yourself?

  2. Next week: Joab: David’s Weak Strongman.