Then said Saul, I have sinned: return, my son David: for I will no more do thee harm, because my soul was precious in thine eyes this day: behold, I have played the fool, and have erred exceedingly (I Samuel 26:21).
Saul became jealous because of Davids military success (I Samuel 18:79, etc.). As a result, Saul sought to kill David. Our text comes after a pursuit of David to the hill of Hachilah. With the help of the Lord, who caused a deep sleep to fall on Saul and his men, David sneaked into camp and stole Sauls spear and cruse of water. At a safe distance, David called to Saul and displayed the spear and cruse to prove he could easily have killed Saul, but chose not to do so.
This episode overlays a deeper principle of our obligation to those in authority over us who are Gods anointed. We are not to take things into our own hands to change Gods plan, because we serve a living God who is still in controlThis thing is not good that thou hast done. [Speaking to Abner, Sauls general and bodyguard.] As the LORD liveth, ye are worthy to die, because ye have not kept your master, the LORDs anointed. And now see where the kings spear is, and the cruse of water that was at his bolster (I Samuel 26:16).
The problem was that Saul was chasing David without cause (v.18). After David made known his intention not to cause any harm to Saul, Saul realized he had been a fool, lacking understanding in the matter.
Contrast Sauls playing the fool with Davids acting in wisdom. David knew God, understood the principle of respect for Gods anointed, and practiced wisdom by teaching others about Gods plan. Perhaps we all play the fool at times, but we ought to be wary lest our foolishness degrade into wickedness. May God make us wise, rather, through meditation on His word. KBC