“David answered the priest Ahimelech, “The king gave me a mission, but he told me, ‘Don’t let anyone know anything about the mission I’m sending you on or what I have ordered you to do.’ I have stationed my young men at a certain place.” (CSB – Read the chapter)
David flat-out lies to Ahimelech here. What’s more, when he finally leaves Israel, he goes to the Philistines for refugee—the very people he had spent the last several years decimating in battle. Things aren’t looking good for our hero.
Have you been somewhere like this before? Something goes wrong that turns your world upside-down, and in response you begin to pursue a path that is in many ways the opposite of the one you had been on before.
Now, if your previous path was not a good one, this could be a very good thing. The trouble shocks your system back onto the path of life. But, David’s path was a pretty good one before Saul blew everything into pieces. Now, he is on the run with the king and soon the whole nation is rooting for his downfall, and the first place he runs to is dishonesty. Next, he takes shelter with the enemy, and then he falls to feigning insanity. He’s not in a good place.
Okay, but what about the fact that Jesus mentioned this very episode to the Pharisees and didn’t condemn anything David did as sinful? Jesus was talking about his taking and eating of the bread of the presence. He didn’t mention his lying to the priest at all.
Yes, but wouldn’t you have done the same thing if you were in David’s place? I mean, he didn’t know who he could trust at this point. He certainly feared Ahimelech would turn him over to the king if he was honest with him. Perhaps. But, just because you can understand the reasoning process that led to sin being unleashed in someone’s life doesn’t mean it was somehow justified or not still sin. Jumping onto a path of sin when things go wrong won’t lead to any kind of a positive resolution to the situation.
This is one of those Bible stories where sin is presented without comment or explicit condemnation. The author is presenting what happened, not condoning it. David’s life felt like it was falling apart and he made some foolish choices in the immediate aftermath. These choices did not contribute even a penny’s worth of help to his situation. If we follow his example, ours won’t either.