David said in his heart, “Now I shall perish someday by the hand of Saul. There is nothing better for me than that I should speedily escape to the land of the Philistines…
David’s despair: 27:1-12; 29:1-30:30. Deeply despondent, and convinced that Saul will destroy him if he remains in Israel, David leads his men back to Philistia. There he enlists as a mercenary soldier with Achish, the king of Gath. He is given the town of Ziglag.
1 And David said in his heart, “Now I shall perish someday by the hand of Saul. There is nothing better for me than that I should speedily escape to the land of the Philistines; and Saul will despair of me, to seek me anymore in any part of Israel. So I shall escape out of his hand.”
7 Now the time that David dwelt in the country of the Philistines was one full year and four months.
David and his men raid Israel’s old enemies (27:6-8), but mislead Achish, who believes that they are raiding southern Israel. In fact, David distributes dome of the loot from his raids to Judean towns (30:26-31), building good will toward the day when Saul will die and David will become king.
9 Whenever David attacked the land, he left neither man nor woman alive, but took away the sheep, the oxen, the donkeys, the camels, and the apparel, and returned and came to Achish. 10 Then Achish would say, “Where have you made a raid today?” And David would say, “Against the southern area of Judah, or against the southern area of the Jerahmeelites, or against the southern area of the Kenites.” 11 David would save neither man nor woman alive, to bring news to Gath, saying, “Lest they should inform on us, saying, ‘Thus David did.’ ” And thus was his behavior all the time he dwelt in the country of the Philistines. 12 So Achish believed David, saying, “He has made his people Israel utterly abhor him; therefore he will be my servant forever.”