David’s in trouble and he knows it. The past couple of chapters have detailed his flight, his fears, and his faithfulness. Now, beginning in chapter 22:6 of 1 Samuel, we are shown the extent of Saul’s corruption.
Now Saul heard that David was discovered, and the men who were with him. Saul was sitting at Gibeah under the tamarisk tree on the height with his spear in his hand, and all his servants were standing about him. 7 And Saul said to his servants who stood about him, “Hear now, people of Benjamin; will the son of Jesse give every one of you fields and vineyards, will he make you all commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds, 8 that all of you have conspired against me? No one discloses to me when my son makes a covenant with the son of Jesse. None of you is sorry for me or discloses to me that my son has stirred up my servant against me, to lie in wait, as at this day.” 9 Then answered Doeg the Edomite, who stood by the servants of Saul, “I saw the son of Jesse coming to Nob, to Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, 10 and he inquired of the Lord for him and gave him provisions and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine.” ~1 Samuel 22:6-10
Saul stands up with spear in hand. Paranoid much? I know, right?! So the bloody inquisition begins. Who is this corrupt leader most suspicious of? His two best and most excellent men. Those who would have done him the most good of any if he had just been willing to deal fairly.
Unfortunately, Saul wasn’t just. He wasn’t reasonable and he certainly wasn’t truthful. Instead of honest dealings and fairness, he calls his court together and begins to speak lies of these good and godly men. He accuses David of bribery and his own men of taking bribes. He claims that David is lying in wait to kill him.
Who was guilty of bribery, though? Saul was. Who tried to coerce his own son to kill David in exchange for a kingdom that never even rightfully belonged to him? Saul did. Who was standing with spear in hand, preparing for an ambush? It wasn’t the family fostering David. It was the sneaky, suspicious Saul. Funny how guilty parties accuse innocent ones of that which they actually do.
In the midst of all of his false and unfounded accusations against the innocent, Saul begins to rail against his own men. He accuses them of being unwise concerning their own good, unfaithful to himself, and unkind to him personally. Saul’s having a pity party for himself in full view of his entire company. He’s guilting everyone he knows into ratting on the righteous man’s whereabouts. Saul has made himself into a full-fledged victim. And victims refuse to be held accountable for anything. Therefore, they are unable to repent. They damn themselves by their adamant unwillingness to be reconciled to those they have intentionally and willfully wronged. When one takes on the victim role, many will excuse him from his rightful duties out of pity and poor-me principles. They will suffer judgement as well, though.
All this because Saul hates David – and he hates him for the very reasons he should have loved him. David was the fair man. David was the faithful man. David was the kind man. All of that which Saul accuses David of and claims to hate him for lacking, he actually does and lacks.
Coincidentally, what advantages should Saul’s men have been looking to? Earthly fields and vineyards? Or heavenly ones? Who were they called to be faithful to? Corrupt earthly kings or one perfect heavenly one? Who were they called to care for? Bloody power-hungerers or those who were weak and oppressed by such? These were God’s people! Rightly, their allegiance should never have been to Saul first and foremost, but God Almighty, always and only.
Anyway, after all the guilting and groveling by this big baby, a traitor speaks up. So much for God’s ideals. The one who had to be detained in the house of God rather than attending it voluntarily, Doeg, tattle tales on Ahimelech’s kindness towards David giving entrance to Saul’s murderous rampage.
Tragically, this scenario is all too familiar in the realm of God’s people still today. All it takes is one or two corrupt, power-hungry, fearful, jealous, suspicious leaders to spread their poison throughout the whole company. All it takes is a victim or two to guilt and deceive a whole group of weak-minded followers into cooperating with their sordid, bloody affairs. Like Paul said, a little yeast works through the whole batch. Little wonder why he uses that phrase amid his teaching against the error of legal obedience, false religion seated in externals, and falling from grace.
No matter, though. When God Almighty is your only king, when heaven is your most desired home, and when the weak and lowly are your highest priorities, corruption of power will never intimidate you. In fact, it will likely embolden you to rise up against it.
“Power does not corrupt men. Fools, however, if they get into a position of power, corrupt power.”-George B. Shaw