1 Samuel 22:1 David left there and escaped to the cave of Adullam; when his brothers and all his father’s house heard of it, they went down there to him. 2 Everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him; and he became captain over them. Those who were with him numbered about four hundred.
King Saul was after David, wanting to kill him. David hid out in a remote territory of Judah, along with the rest of his family. That makes sense because, if Saul couldn’t get to David, he might attack his family members. In Adullam they were all safe for the time being.
V.2 tells us about 400 others who joined David there. They were not people of power or renown, but were from the margins of society. They were “in distress”, “in debt”, “discontented”. David wasn’t exactly from the high society crowd himself. Saul even mocked him by calling him “the son of Jesse”. Jesse was a nobody and David was Jesse’s 8th son. The oldest son would have been the inheritor of what little the family had. David would have inherited nothing. He was a nobody in a family of nobodies, which may have been why these 400 men (eventually growing to 600 men) were drawn to him. And the fact that David accepted them, agreed to lead them, inspired loyalty in these men that would last a lifetime.
One could say I began as a nobody from a family of nobodies – a family on the margins. I was born to young, teenage parents who had very little, though they were hard workers. The schools I went to as a youngster were on the wrong side of the tracks. The world expected little from people like me. Yet I’ve always been grateful to God that my own children have had a very different experience growing up than I did.
The fact that Jesus came from the margins (from Galilee rather than Jerusalem) appeals to me. He wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth, yet he was the very Son of God. Jesus continues to appeal to the masses this very day. The wealthy, the prosperous, the privileged in our world often discern no need of God. To them religion is “opiate for the masses”. But people in real need still seek the Lord. And as was true in the cave of Adullam, people on the margins still find a place to belong in the house of the Lord. Thanks be to God!