David and Achish, a Philistine King

1 Samuel 29

Outline

1-5 | Achish is questioned by the Philistine leaders why David and his men are with them
6-11 | Achish sends David away on account of the Philistine commanders

Reflections

David had sought refuge from Saul among the Philistines with Achish, one of their kings.  David ingratiated himself to Achish, who in return allowed David and his men to stay as long as he liked (1 Samuel 27).  So when Achish and the rest of the Philistine commanders prepared to battle with the Israelites at Jezreel, David and his men went out with them.

However, the Philistine commanders opposed David’s presence with them and Achish had to tell David to return and not go up with them.  Which David did and Achish and the Philistines then made their way up to Jezreel.

The concern that the Philistine commanders had was that David might turn on them and support the Israelites instead of supporting them in the battle.  David’s reputation as a military commander was well known by them, so they were concerned about having to battle a force from within in the heat of the battle with the Israelites.

There are a couple of things to consider here.

1) Just because someone offers to help you doesn’t necessarily mean that they have your best interest at heart.  Achish believed that David would help him, the Philistine commanders were skeptical and so Achish asks David to take his men and return.

2) A person’s reputation is something to be guarded and can be a hindrance or a benefit.  Consider the following.

Concerning the first deacons:

Acts 6:3 NASB “Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task.

Paul presenting himself to the Apostles for the first time since conversion

Galatians 2:2 NASB It was because of a revelation that I went up; and I submitted to them the gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but I did so in private to those who were of reputation, for fear that I might be running, or had run, in vain.

Qualification of Elders for a church

1 Timothy 3:7 NASB And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

Concerning widows to be included in the registry

1 Timothy 5:10 NASB having a reputation for good works; and if she has brought up children, if she has shown hospitality to strangers, if she has washed the saints’ feet, if she has assisted those in distress, and if she has devoted herself to every good work.

Here are some other passages to consider.1

Old Testament: Genesis 6:9; Genesis 21:22; Exodus 17:1; Leviticus 21:8; Numbers 16:3; 2 Samuel 20:1; 2 Chronicles 12:12; Psalm 109:4; Proverbs 25:27; Proverbs 26:1-12; Proverbs 27:11; Jeremiah 5:1; Jeremiah 42:1-3; Daniel 5:10-12; Daniel 6:1-8; Haggai 1:13; Zechariah 8:23;

New Testament: Matthew 1:19; Matthew 7:15-20; Matthew 23:12; Luke 4:22-24; Luke 17:32; John 1:46; Acts 9:26; Acts 10:25-26; Acts 13:22; Acts 17:11; Acts 23:6; Romans 1:8; Romans 12:17; Romans 16:19; 2 Corinthians 8:18-24; Galatians 1:23-24; Ephesians 4:1; Colossians 4:5; Hebrews 11:31; 3 John 1:3-6; 3 Jon 1:12; Revelation 2:1-6; Revelation 18:2;

Proverbs 22:1 NASB A good name is to be more desired than great wealth, Favor is better than silver and gold.

Ecclesiastes 7:1 NASB A good name is better than a good ointment, And the day of one’s death is better than the day of one’s birth.

Matthew 1:19 NASB And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly.

Acts 17:11 NASB Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.

Ephesians 4:1-3 NASB Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, 3 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Colossians 4:5 NASB Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity.

Hebrews 11:31 NASB By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient, after she had welcomed the spies in peace.

One thing to keep in mind, a person’s past doesn’t have to define their future.  We need to be cautious but also allow people the opportunity to change and encourage them along the way.  Matt Chandler in a sermon, from his series on the book of Galatians, speaks about how a person who places their faith in Jesus can have a former life.  Give people the opportunity to begin again (and again, and again, … ).

Lord, thank You for Your word that gives us everything we need to know how to live a godly life.  Help me to look at a person’s heart so that I can better recognize those who are called by You to a new life.  May Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven, in Jesus’ name. Amen.


1 Anderson, Ken. The Contemporary Concordance of Bible Topics: The Entire Bible Indexed by Subject Matter. Wheaton, Ill: Victor Books, 1988. Print.

1 Samuel 29 - David and Achish, a Philistine King
1 Samuel 29 - David and Achish, a Philistine King
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