1 Samuel 25–26: Love Your Enemies

Old Testament Seminary Student Study Guide, (2002), 98


David demonstrated that he would be kind to Saul, who had tried to kill him. In 1 Samuel 25, David was taught about giving others the same consideration as he did Saul. David and his men asked for some supplies from a man named Nabal; Nabal treated them rudely. In response, David and his men prepared to attack. Nabal’s wife, Abigail, heard about what was happening and acted wisely to keep David from attacking and killing her husband. In the process, David realized his revengeful actions were not right. A short time later, Nabal died and the problem was solved anyway. After Nabal’s death, David married Abigail as one of his wives.When Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount, He told the people to “love your enemies” and “bless them that curse you” (Matthew 5:44). Over a thousand years earlier, David practiced these principles in the way he dealt with Saul. As you read, think about the following statement by President Howard W. Hunter and how it might apply not only to this chapter but, more importantly, to our lives today:“Think of what this admonition alone [to love your enemies] would do in your neighborhood and mine, in the communities in which you and your children live, in the nations which make up our great global family. I realize this doctrine poses a significant challenge, but surely it is a more agreeable challenge than the terrible tasks posed for us by the war and poverty and pain the world continues to face.“How are we supposed to act when we are offended, misunderstood, unfairly or unkindly treated, or sinned against? What are we supposed to do if we are hurt by those we love, or are passed over for promotion, or are falsely accused, or have our motives unfairly assailed?“Do we fight back? Do we send an ever-larger battalion? Do we revert to an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, or … do we come to the realization that this finally leaves us blind and toothless?” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1992, 23; or Ensign, Nov. 1992, 18).
Howard W. Hunter

Understanding the Scriptures

1 Samuel 26

Trench (vv. 5, 7)Protected area in the middle of the camp 
Cruse (vv. 11–12, 16)Container 

Studying the Scriptures

Do activity A as you study 1 Samuel 25–26.

Activity A iconMake a Comparison

Read first what Saul tried to do to David in 1 Samuel 18:10–11; 19:9–12; 24:1–2, and then review what David did to Saul in 1 Samuel 24; 26. What does David’s statement in 1 Samuel 26:23 tell us about why he did what he did in 1 Samuel 26? Think of a way you could apply David’s example in your life and begin doing it today.