We saw in the previous chapter that David had descended very low when he had pretended to be mad in Gath. Yet it was also then that his spiritual recovery began, as we can see from the heading of Psalm 34. It was a renewed David who made his way to the cave of Adullam. Verse 6 of that psalm indicates that David recognised that although he was poor as far as his own resources were concerned he did have access to God in prayer and did enjoy the protection of angels. So perhaps he and his friends were singing the psalm as they made their way from Gath to the cave.
When would we expect to gain followers? I don’t think we would expect many to identify with someone on the run. But I suppose it depends on which direction they are running. When David was on the run from God, he did not have many followers, but when he was on the run towards God and with God, then he discovered that others wanted to identify with him, whatever Saul thought.
What kind of followers would we like? Probably people who have no baggage, without any problems and who were good at everything. David did not gather such followers in the cave of Adullam. Instead he was befriended by those who were in danger (his family), in distress, in debt and despondent. In other words, he was joined by those who had lots of problems. I suspect the cave of Adullam is like a church, composed of people with many needs.
David had recovered his spiritual bearings. He now wanted to keep God’s commandments (seen in his obedience to the fifth, which required him to care for his parents) and listen to God’s servants when they gave him advice (as the prophet Gad did).
What about Saul? He was brooding over the fact that David remained popular with people and suspected that he could not trust any of his servants. The only individual who showed open support for Saul was Doeg the Edomite who informed the king of what had taken place at Nob when David was fed and armed by the priest.
The outcome was inevitable. Ahimelech was summoned and questioned by Saul. Although he showed respect for Saul, Ahimelech saw no reason to say anything bad about David. Instead he courageously reminded the king of the truth of the situation. For his faithfulness the priest must die, along with the other priests and their families, with the dreadful act carried out by Doeg.
Providentially one priest escaped and fled to David. Now there was a king and a priest in exile. Whatever else the followers of David had, they had a king (David), a priest (Abiather) and a prophet (Gad). The future for David’s men was now a lot brighter. I a far higher sense, we have One who combines in himself the roles of prophet, priest and king, which means that our future is bright in a manner that far excels the prospects that David’s loyal friends had.