David Spared Saul’s Life Twice
David set a classic example of reverence for leaders and maintaining dignity while waiting for your turn to be one. God had withdrawn his favor from Saul and commanded Samuel to anoint David as the next king and so out of jealousy, Saul pursued and attempted to kill him (1 Samuel 16 & 18).
David has two opportunities to hurt or even kill Saul but he refused to touch God’s anointed:
The first instance was in 1 Samuel 24:1-22. Saul’s men accused David of plotting against Saul and advised the king to finish him. David and his men were hiding in the innermost part of the cave when Saul went in to relieve himself. David could have easily killed him but chose not to do so. He cut off a corner of Saul’s robe probably to make Saul realize how close he was from hurting him. His heart struck him for doing so.
The next instance was in 1 Samuel 26:6-20. David and his men went to where Saul and Abner were encamped by night and saw them lay deeply asleep. Again David chose not to lay his hand on his King. He took Saul’s spear and the jar of water from his head, to make him realize once again that he had the chance to kill him but chose to uphold his reverence for God’s anointed.
David’s action first and foremost, was in recognition of God’s anointing for Saul as king over Israel. He was still at the helm of the kingdom despite the fact that God has rejected him already. For David, he was not in the position to lay his hand on such an authority. In fact, he never laid a hand on any of Saul’s offspring when he assumed kingship in keeping with the promise which he swore before Saul in 1 Samuel 24: 21-22.
Furthermore, David’s attitude is a classic example of how one should treat his leader. Saul was serious in his intent to kill David yet he did not retaliated. There are some of us who would react negatively and engage in hostile moves over tiny issues they have against their leaders.
Lastly, David did not grab power from Saul despite the fact that he was already anointed as King over Israel. Those who are second in line of succession must learn from David’s example. Wait for the right time – God’s appointed time.