TODAY’S READING: 1 SAMUEL 22-24
“David departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam. And when his brothers and all his fathers house heard it, they went down there to him. And everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was bitter in soul, gathered to him. And he became commander over them. And there were with him about four hundred men.” – 1 Samuel 22:1-2
There were tens of thousand, if not hundreds of thousand, people in Israel. Yet, “everyone” who was in distress, in debt, and bitter in soul totaled just 400 people? Really?!?
The juxtaposition of 400 people making up everyone who heard that David escaped to the cave of Adullam should lead us to search for a deeper spiritual meaning of the text.
And, why would David escaping to the cave of Adullam have anything to do with people in distress, in debt, and bitter in soul gathering to David? That seems pretty weird.
It seems weird until the Spirit breathes life into the passage to reveal its witness to Jesus.
And, that witness is that everyone will hear the message of Jesus and everyone will be justified by Jesus.
DAVID, A SHADOW OF JESUS
The name David means beloved son.
Jesus is the beloved son of God. When Jesus was baptized, “behold, a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.'” (Matthew 3:17)
DAVID DEPARTED THE ACHISH, THE KING OF GATH
1 Samuel 22:1 says, “David departed from there.”
1 Samuel 21:10 tells us that David “went to Achish the king of Gath. Further, verse 12 tells us that David “was much afraid of Achish the king Gath.”
Who is Achish the king of Gath? What episode does this represent in the life of Jesus?
There is no agreed upon meaning of the name Achish, but it has something to do with anger and fear. A likely meaning for the name is “he was afraid.” The name Gath means wine-press.
So, here we have a picture of Jesus going to the winepress in fear and trepidation. This is a picture of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane before he went to the cross.
Matthew 23:36 says, “Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane.” Gethsemane literally means “a wine-press of oils.” Then, in verse 38, Jesus says, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death.” Jesus was deeply grieved and trouble. We could even say he was in fear.
Luke 22:39-46 also recounts Jesus’ time in the garden of Gethsemane before he was crucified. Luke 22:44 says, “And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” When a grape is squeezed in the wine-press, its juice comes out. So, here we see the life of Jesus being squeezed in the wine-press as his sweat became like great drops of blood. Remember, the life is in the blood.
Because Jesus asked the Father to remove this cup from him, we assume that it was God putting him in the winepress. But, this is wrong.
The shadow that is David shows us who put Jesus in the wine-press. Achish the king of Gath was a Philistine. The Philistines represent the flesh. They were the people under the control of the god of this world, Satan. It was Satan through man that judged the man Jesus and put Jesus in the wine-press to squeeze his blood, his life, out of him.
DAVID ESCAPED TO THE CAVE OF ADULLAM
When he departed Achish the king of Gath, David “escaped to the cave of Adullam.” (1 Samuel 22:1)
Throughout the Bible, a cave is a burying place for the dead. After Jesus’ life was completely squeezed out of the wine-press of the cross, he was buried in a tomb, a cave.
There are two possible meanings for the name Adullam. The first is refuge or retreat. In this sense, David escaped the wine-press to the cave of refuge or retreat.
However, I find the second meaning even more intriguing. Adullam also means “the justice of the people.”
Romans 4:24-5:2 says, “Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification. Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand.”
It is Jesus Christ was crucified, died, buried, and raised for our justification. We are justified by faith in his work. And, we even obtain this faith by which we are justified through Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:18 says, “Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.”
David “escaped” to the cave of Adullam. The Hebrew word for escaped, malat, means to flee to safety. That’s what escape means. But, malat also means to save someone. Therefore, by the Spirit we David’s escaping to the cave of Adullam as a picture of Jesus’ death and burial, which we he was resurrected from and leads to justification and salvation.
But, did you notice above that Paul said this one act of Christ – his crucifixion, death, burial, and resurrection – leads to justification for and life for all men?
DAVID’S BROTHERS AND FATHER’S HOUSE HEARD
1 Samuel 22:1 says, “And when his brothers and all his father’s house heard it, they went down there to him.”
It is the hearing that David has escaped to the cave of Adullam that draws his brothers and his father’s house to him.
What do we see here?
This is a picture of the gospel drawing all men to Christ.
In 1 Corinthians 15:3-5, Paul says, “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.” This is just what we are seeing in the shadow of David.
How did Paul deliver this gospel?
In 1 Corinthians 15:1-2, Paul says, “Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you.”
We saw above that it is by faith we are justified. Paul is preaching in 1 Corinthians 15 the gospel that says, which we shadowed by David.
But, how do we see receive the faith in this justifying work of Christ?
Romans 10:17 says, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” Hearing the preaching of the gospel draws us to Jesus.
This is just we see with the shadow of David. He went to cave, the burying place, that was named the justice of the people. When people heard that he escaped there, they came to him. How wonderful is the inspiration of the scripture.
Take note of who heard.
First, David’s brothers. This is a picture of believer in Christ, the church. Paul called the Corinthians who had received his preaching, his brothers. And, when Jesus was resurrected and Mary found him in the garden, Jesus said, “Do not cling to me, for I have yet ascended to the Father, but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascneding to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'” (John 20:17)
Second, David’s father’s household. If we, the believers, the church, are Jesus’ brothers, then who is his Father’s household? The household of God is Israel, God’s spirit-filled people. Gentile believers, brothers, have been grafted into this tree, this household. Gentile believers, brothers, who were strangers and aliens are now fellow citizens of the household of Jesus’ Father, God.
Ephesians 2:13-19 says, “But now in Christ Jesus you who were once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.”
So, David’s brothers and father’s household came when they heard David escaped to the cave that was the justice of the people.
So, just who comes to Jesus’ burial place when he hears the message of justification? Who identifies with Jesus by being baptized into his death and is so raised with him?
EVERYONE WHO IS IN DISTRESS
1 Samuel 22:2 says that “everyone who was in distress” gathered to David. Therefore, it is everyone who is in distress that comes to Jesus.
The Hebrew word for distressed means hardship or anguish. It comes from a root word meaning to press, drive, oppress.
Almost every time the word oppress is used in the New Testament it is in relation to someone under spiritual attack. The gospels often say that those oppressed by demons were brought to Jesus (Matthew 4:24, 8:16, 9:32, 12:22, 15:22; Mark 1:32).
In Luke 4:18, near the start of his ministry, Jesus announces he came “to set at liberty those who are oppressed.”
In Acts 10:38, Peter tells Cornelius’ household, “He [Jesus] went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.”
Oppression comes from the devil. And, everyone who is in distress, everyone who is under oppression, goes to Jesus for justification, salvation, and healing.
EVERYONE WHO IS IN DEBT
1 Samuel 22:2 says that “everyone who was in debt” gathered to David. Therefore, it is everyone who is in debt that comes to Jesus.
The Hebrew word for debt here is an interesting one. It comes from a root word meaning to lift or bear. It has the idea of carrying something away. One Hebrew dictionary says the word comes from a primitive root meaning to lead astray, i.e. (mentally) to delude, or (morally) to seduce.
This is fascinating.
Ephesians 2:1-3 says, “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which once walked, following the course of the this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience – among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.”
Paul says that we have all been led astray, deluded, seduced by the world and Satan. But, look at what Paul says about us who have been led astray.
Colossians 2:11-14 says, “In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.”
We are in all debt because we have been led astray from the truth by Satan. But, Christ cancelled that debt by nailing it to the cross.
EVERYONE WHO IS BITTER IN SOUL
1 Samuel 22:2 says that “everyone who was bitter in sould” gathered to David. Therefore, it is everyone who is bitter in soul that comes to Jesus.
The Hebrew word for bitter means to be bitter, to be desperate, bewildered, to make bitter. Interestingly, the root word for bitter is used as the root for the Hebrew word meaning gall bladder, gall, or poison.
When the apostles heard that Samaria had received Jesus, they sent Peter and John to them. While the Samaritans had received the word of God, they had not received the Holy Spirit. Simon saw this and offered Peter and John money so that he could receive the Holy Spirit too.
In Acts 8:22-23, Peter said to Simon, “Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity.” Peter links the gall of bitterness with the evil intentions of the heart. These evil intentions are like poison in our hearts.
In his death, burial, and resurrection, Christ acted as poultice, a balm, that sucked the poison of bitterness out of our souls.
DAVID BECAME COMMANDER OVER THEM
1 Samuel 22:2 says that David “became commander over them,” everyone that came in distress, debt, and bitterness of soul.
The Hebrew word for commander means representative of the king, official, commander, etc. It comes from the verb meaning to rule or reign or to have oversight of.
David as a commander is a picture of Jesus as lord.
While Jesus was called lord by many all throughout the gospels, the full understanding of Jesus as Lord did not come until after the resurrection. In fact, in Peter’s first sermon he links the death of Jesus to his being made Lord. Peter says in Acts 2:36, “Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”
God made Jesus Lord because he was “obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:8)
EVERYONE IS 400 MEN?
So, David’s brothers came to him. All his father’s household came to him. Three times we read that everyone came to him. But, then 1 Samuel 22:2 says, “And there were with him about four hundred men.”
Wait…so all and everyone means that just 400 men came to David? What’s do significant about that? Why the stressing of all and everyone to be let down by just 400 men coming to David?
Something seems off and that doesn’t sound like much…if we read the text literally. But, if we read the text by the Spirit, then we see something entirely different.
The first mention of 100 is found in Genesis 11:10, which says, “These are the generations of Shem. When Shem was 100 years old, he fathered Arpachshad two years after the flood.” Shem was the son of Noah that Jesus would ultimately come from.
The name Shem is the Hebrew word for name. It can also mean identity or personality. The name Arpachshad means something like “light trickles from his bosom.” Therefore, at 100 years of age, the name fathered the light that trickles from his bosom.
This alludes to God fathering his only begotten son, Jesus, the light of the world from the bosom of the Father. Jesus is the identity of God. Colossians 1:15 says, “He is the image of the invisible God.” And, Hebrews 1:3 says, “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature.” Jesus is the light from the bosom of the Father, or the radiance of the glory of God. Jesus is the exact imprint of God’s nature, the light that is the identity of the Father.
The next two mentions of 100 are related to Abraham and Issac, who are a picture of the Father and Jesus. Genesis 17:17 says, “Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed and said to himself, ‘Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old?’” Then, Genesis 21:5 says, “Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.”
Issac was the child of promise. Paul says in Galatians that Jesus is the true child of promise. Therefore, the number 100 speaks to the child of promise, Jesus.
The number four is a symbol of the universal picture or meaning of something. Something is universal means it includes or covers all or a whole collectively or distributively without limit.
In the Bible, we have four directions that include the earth. We have four gospels that give the universal or whole picture of Christ.
Also, the number four symbolizes the people that will come to God. Revelation 7:9 says, “After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, stranding before the throne and before the lamb.” Here there are four descriptions that define all the people that will before the lamb on the throne.
So, when we combine the number 100 and four we understand that the 400 men that came to David represents the universal people of the child of promise, Jesus. It’s not a literal 400 people. Therefore, all and everyone in 1 Samuel 22 means everyone.
BUT, DO ALL COME TO JESUS
You may say that the all and everyone does not really mean all will be justified because not everyone will come to Jesus.
But, recall Romans 5:18 form above. “Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.” All men were condemned. All men will be justified and receive life.
I mentioned above Philippians 2:8-9, which says that Jesus was exalted as Lord for his obedience to the point of death.
Why did God exalt Jesus and to Lord and give him a name above every other name?
Philippians 2:10 says, “So that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God.” That’s every knee and every tongue of all creatures, all things created.
Also, in 1 Corinthians 12:3, Paul says, “No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except in the Holy Spirit.” So, if every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord, then every tongue will be in the Holy Spirit.
Remember that in the first sermon ever preached by Peter he said the pouring out of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost was the fulfillment of God pouring out his Spirit on all flesh.
I could go on with many references to the all’s and every’s in scripture that related to the justification of all people in fulfillment of the shadow of David justifying everyone in 1 Samuel 22.