1st Reading – 1 Samuel 26:2, 7-9, 12-13, 22-23
In those days, Saul went down to the desert of Ziph
with three thousand picked men of Israel,
to search for David in the desert of Ziph.
So David and Abishai went among Saul’s soldiers by night
and found Saul lying asleep within the barricade,
with his spear thrust into the ground at his head
and Abner and his men sleeping around him.
Abishai whispered to David:
“God has delivered your enemy into your grasp this day.
Let me nail him to the ground with one thrust of the spear;
I will not need a second thrust!”
But David said to Abishai, “Do not harm him,
for who can lay hands on the LORD’s anointed and remain unpunished?”
So David took the spear and the water jug from their place at Saul’s head,
and they got away without anyone’s seeing or knowing or awakening.
All remained asleep, because the LORD had put them into a deep slumber.
Going across to an opposite slope,
David stood on a remote hilltop
at a great distance from Abner, son of Ner, and the troops.
He said: “Here is the king’s spear.
Let an attendant come over to get it.
The LORD will reward each man for his justice and faithfulness.
Today, though the LORD delivered you into my grasp,
I would not harm the LORD’s anointed.”
Today’s first reading is from the intriguing story of Saul and David in 1 Samuel.
The prophet Samuel (ca. 1056-1004 BC) was the last judge of Israel and the first of the prophets after Moses. He inaugurated the monarchy by choosing and anointing Saul as the first king of Israel, at God’s direction.
Saul later disobeyed God, resulting in God rejecting him and instructing Samuel to anoint David, one of Saul’s soldiers. Saul, in his jealousy, does everything he can to kill David; David flees for his life with Saul in pursuit.
As we will see, David’s behavior toward Saul is a model of the kind of behavior that Jesus is trying to teach his disciples.