David’s presence in the Philistine army is questioned by some of the commanders. They fear that David will turn against them in fighting the Israelites and they even cite the ditty about Saul slaying his thousands and David his tens of thousands” (v. 5).
Achish calls David in, affirms that he has been reliable and says that he has found no fault in him, “but the rulers don’t approve of you.” He asks him to turn back and go in peace and not to do anything to displease the Philistine rulers (v. 7).
David pleads to stay and to fight “the enemies of my lord the king” (v. 8). Achish says David has “been as pleasing in my eyes as an angel of God” (v. 9). But Achish insists David and his men leave at dawn. And they do.
Some takeaways for me:
This text is a bit difficult for me to find any practical application. David has been engaged in a ruse, a deceit in which he and his men have been attacking Philistine outposts, killing everyone there, even though he is in King Achish’s army!
Strategy and deceit in wartime is expected, but I don’t believe I’m to live a life of deception and lies.
This chapter may well fit into the category of description rather than prescription. In other words, we are simply being given an accurate story of David here and his example is not to be followed by us.