Dr. Kitto, in his Daily Bible Illustrations, forcibly describes the scene, and that which followed it: “Although under the influence of the master-hand which held back the fierce outlaws, Saul was suffered to escape unscathed from that dangerous cave, David was willing to secure some evidence of the fact that Saul’s life had been in his power. He therefore approached him softly as he slept, and cut off the skirt of his robe. No sooner, however, did Saul arise and leave the cavern, and his men begin to laugh at the ridiculous figure the sovereign presented in his skirtless robe, than David’s heart smote him for the indignity he had been instrumental in inflicting on the royal person. Yielding to the impulse of the moment—which again was right, though it might have been in common calculation, most dangerous, he went boldly forth to the entrance of the cave, and called to the king as he descended into the valley,—’My lord, the king!’ Well did the king know that voice. A thunderclap could not have struck him more. He looked up, and David bowed himself very low, in becoming obeisance to his king. He spoke. In a few rapid and strong words, he told what had happened—he described the urgency he had resisted—he held up the skirt in proof how completely had been in his hand the life he spared—saying, ‘I have not sinned against thee; yet thou huntest my life to take it. The Lord judge between me and thee; and the Lord avenge me of thee: but mine hand shall not be upon thee.’ Behold, now that stern heart is melted. The hard wintry frosts thaw fast before the kindly warmth of his generous nature. Saul weeps; the hot tears—the blessed tears, fall once more from those eyes, dry too long.”
Dear Saviour, should our foes defame,
Or brethren faithless prove
Then, through thy grace, be this our aim,
To conquer them by love.
Kept peaceful in the midst of strife,
Forgiving and forgiven;
O may we lead the pilgrim’s life,
And follow thee to heaven!