The name ”Adullam” means “refuge” or “hiding place,” which reflects its role as a secure shelter for many individuals throughout biblical history. It was a fortified city and prominent cave complex, providing protection and security in times of danger.
One of the notable references to Ad
The Bible is not just a collection of ancient texts; it is a historical and spiritual treasure trove filled with names and places that carry significant stories and meanings. Among these places is Adullam, a location mentioned in the Bible that holds a unique place in biblical history. In this blog post, we will explore the biblical significance of Adullam, uncovering its role as a refuge, a site of rebellion, and a remarkable backdrop to key events.
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The Biblical Mention of Adullam
Adullam, an ancient city in Israel, is mentioned several times in the Old Testament. It is situated in the Shephelah region, the lowlands of ancient Judah.
Adullam as a Place of Refuge:
- David’s Refuge: Adullam is prominently associated with King David. When David was on the run from King Saul, he found refuge in the cave of Adullam. This event is recounted in 1 Samuel 22. In the cave, David was joined by “everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was bitter in soul” (1 Samuel 22:2, ESV). It became a place where those who sought refuge, including David’s family and followers, gathered.
- A Place of Safety: The story of Adullam reflects the theme of finding safety and refuge in God during times of trouble. David’s time in Adullam served as a powerful reminder of God’s protection and deliverance.
Adullam as a Site of Rebellion:
- Rebel Stronghold: In the time of the Judges, Adullam was one of the cities where the descendants of Judah lived. It was also a location where the Judahites gathered under the leadership of a rebel named Hirah, who engaged in rebellious activities (Genesis 38:1-30).
- Tamar’s Story: The story of Tamar, found in Genesis 38, involves her interactions with Judah and her actions near the town of Adullam. It is a narrative that emphasizes the importance of justice and righteousness.
Adullam’s Symbolic Significance:
Adullam, as both a refuge for David and a site of rebellion in the time of the Judges, holds symbolic significance in the Bible:
- Refuge and Redemption: Adullam symbolizes the idea of finding refuge in God during times of distress and hardship. It reflects the theme of redemption and safety in the divine.
- Human Frailty and God’s Sovereignty: The rebellious activities near Adullam serve as a reminder of human frailty and the need for divine guidance and justice.
A Refuge, a Rebellion, and a Remarkable Story
(1 Samuel 22:1a NIV) David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam…
David found himself in a place where instead of being king as he was anointed to be, he was in a cave.
Because of David’s mistakes, 85 priests in Nob ended up dying because one priest helped him.
For David, it was the worst of times but it became the best of times. The only thing that he had to fall back on was his relationship with the Lord. It was in the cave that he hit rock bottom. He had no money, no food, no friends, no weapons, nothing.
In the cave of Adullam, it was God and David period.
In the cave of Adullam, David did the following:
- He turned loose of his own strength
- He turned loose of his own ideas
- He turned loose of his own wisdom
- He abandoned himself completely to the will of God
The Cave of Adullam is where David quit and God took over.
The Cave of Adullam is the line where David’s life being David’s responsibility and becoming God’s responsibility. It is where he came to the end of himself.
This is the place in our lives where we quit trying to make God’s plans and promises come to pass and we surrender and let God bring to pass His own plans.
(Jeremiah 29:11 NIV) For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
(Philippians 1:6 NIV) …being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
(1 Peter 5:6-7 NIV) Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. (7) Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
The Cave of Adullam (1 Samuel 22.1-5)
After behaving so wisely in the palace, David, the anointed king, was content to wait upon God notwithstanding the threats of Saul. He had been divinely protected from Saul’s violence and meekly endured his envy. But the situation became more desperate when Saul vowed to kill him (1 Sam 20.33). As a result David panicked and his faith failed. He gave way to falsehood, fear, and folly (1 Sam 21.10-15), touching depths of shame and humiliation as he was unceremoniously despatched by Achish. “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor 10.12). David escaped to Adullam where his faith was renewed. Psalm 34 records his experiences there. One has rightly said, “The cave became the birthplace of the kingdom”. It also suggests many helpful thoughts for us.
The mighty men of 2 Samuel 23 were mainly men who joined David when he fled from Saul, and began his exile as the rejected king. These men were weary of Saul’s reign; they were distressed, debtors, discontents who “gathered themselves unto David and he became a captain over them” (1 Sam 22.2). They were lovers of David, attracted by him, admirers of him, attached to him. They remembered how much they owed him; they sought and found refuge with him: “with me thou shalt be in safeguard” (v.23).
Our experience as believers corresponds with this. For similar reasons we have gathered unto our heavenly David (our Beloved) in a place of refuge; the assembly is such a place, where He fits us for service and suffering. Christ in love and grace has received us, removed our discontent, relieved our distress, and remitted our debt. The disciples no doubt felt safe in the company of Christ: they were chosen to be with Him, and often we read of the twelve with Him, listening, looking and learning. Do we delight to be with Him?
For David it was a time of suffering and sorrow, reproach and rejection, training for reigning, and these men were prepared to share David’s afflictions, “the fellowship of his sufferings”. This plainly parallels our situation as we identify with the rejected Christ. A usurper rules the world and we have a choice to make. Are we ready to “go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach” (Heb 13.13), separated and consecrated (see Rom 12.1-2)? It is not easy in the current political, religious, and social climate to be associated with New Testament assemblies. Conviction and constancy are required. There is increasing reproach to bear, and it is likely that in the near future there will be persecution to endure. May the Lord keep us faithful to His Word.
The troubles of these men who had joined David were soon forgotten in his company. They had ample resources – the grace of David as their present portion; the glory of David their future prospect. What of our present portion? We have “the God of all grace”; and for the future, “eternal glory” (1 Pet 5.10). Besides David the king, there was Gad the prophet and Abiathar the priest in their midst, all moral and spiritual resources. So have we all the resources needful – “his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness”. Christ in our midst is Prophet, Priest, and King, but do we avail ourselves of our spiritual resources?
The men who came to David at great risk to themselves served him faithfully and defended him valiantly. David’s leadership and example made them “mighty men”. They became separated, strong, skilful, steadfast, swift (1 Chr 12.8). They were rewarded when David came to the throne (1 Chr 11.10-47), and still remembered at the conclusion of his reign (2 Sam 23.1-39). There have been, and are still today, many mighty men of valour, like Gideon; mighty men in word and deed, like Moses; mighty men in the Scriptures, like Apollos. Let us aim to be among God’s mighty men and women in our day and generation. Such men and their works will be remembered and rewarded at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Let us bear in mind that we cannot all do great exploits for God, but we can all endeavour to be more like our blessed Lord in character, conduct, and conversation. “What doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God” (Micah 6.8).
Adullam is more than just a geographical location; it is a place of refuge, rebellion, and redemption. The stories associated with Adullam, particularly David’s refuge in the cave, resonate with themes of God’s protection, human vulnerability, and the potential for redemption in times of trouble. It reminds us that even in our moments of distress, we can find refuge and hope in the shelter of God’s presence.