David being driven away by Saul from the prophet Samuel, fled at once to the priests. He loved the servants of God, and would not leave their company:
Seeing David alone, and evidently in distress, Ahimelech suspected something wrong.
Here David spake falsely, and his error is recorded not to his honour, but for our warning. This sad falsehood led to terrible consequences. O that good men could always trust in the Lord.
This act was a violation of the ceremonial law, but in a case of necessity it was justified, for the Lord loves mercy better than sacrifice.
This man, being full of enmity, hastened away to accuse the priests of succouring a traitor.
The simple-minded high priest was blameless, he knew nothing of the feud between Saul and David. David had deceived him, and Doeg knew that he had done so, but did not mention that circumstance. When we report a matter, we are bound to tell it all, or the most innocent may be made to appear guilty.
None but a foreigner would fulfil the cruel edict. This the house of Eli was again smitten as the Lord had threatened, but base was the wretched spy whose one-sided report caused so many murders, and hateful the king who commanded the slaughter.
David must have been cut to the heart when he saw the result of his falsehood. The Lord keep each of us true in every word that we utter.
I will praise Thee for ever.”
David, at this time, wrote a psalm, of which the title is—To the chief Musician, Maschil, A Psalm of David, when Doeg the Edomite came and told Saul, and said unto him, David is come to the house of Ahimelech.
Doeg had small room for boasting in having slaughtered a band of defenceless persons who never drew a sword. He ought to have been ashamed of his cowardice. If David here refers to Saul, the words are equally forcible; how could a man who had in former days been valiant in arms, now rejoice in the murder of the helpless?
If priests be slain, their Master lives. God’s cause lives on, though good men be hunted down.
Eastern barbers use the razor so well that a man scarcely knows that his hair is shorn; and so with wily cunning, base men injure the servants of God. Doeg’s tongue with its soft but sharp speeches, cut off the priests of the Lord. May the Lord save us from slanderers and backbiters.
See how low a man can descend so as not only to utter falsehoods, but to love them better than truth. It is a mark of the foulest character when a man actually prefers dishonesty to justice.
Some evil persons have a taste for calumny, they are never better pleased than when they can injure those who are better than themselves. Shun them. Above all never fall into their sin.
God will one day deal out justice to slanderers, he will pull them up like ill-weeds, and cast them into the fire. A terrible portion awaits all liars. They will not let others live, and God will not let them live.
Good men will look down upon plotters and slanderers with supreme contempt, and the Lord will give them good cause to do so, for they shall be taken in their own net, their subtlety shall slay them. Persecutors may be rich, but their wealth shall not save them; justice has ways and methods for bringing the great ones of the earth to its bar. God cannot be bribed; he will avenge his own calumniated servants, and that right early. Therefore let us patiently endure all manner of slander for Christ’s sake.
Though much abused and hated, David was not plucked up nor destroyed as his enemies would be. He was one of the divine family, and found himself in the household of God everywhere; and yet more, he found himself fresh and vigorous at all seasons like an evergreen olive. If Nob was, as some think, situated upon the Mount of Olives, we can understand why the Psalmist was led to adopt this simile. Though Nob was gone the olives stood, and David also lived on despite Saul’s enmity. The psalmist’s faith, like an olive, was abiding and perpetual, its leaf did not wither, neither did its fruit fail. It renewed its youth from day to day, and possessed a sacred immortality. He knew God’s mercy to be eternal, and in that he trusted. What a rock to build on! What a fortress to fly to!
David’s thankfulness was continual, like the mercy in which he rejoiced; he looked upon God’s punishment of his foes as already accomplished—”thou hast done it,” and therefore he waited patiently till the bright days should dawn for himself and the persecuted church. He felt, as we ought to feel, that quietly to tarry the Lord’s leisure, is good for all those who would be accounted the Lord’s saints, and is also one of the best means of doing good to our fellow-believers, who from our patient waiting will learn how to possess their souls in peace.