In an earlier version of this article we argued that it was always right to submit to the governments which are placed over us, based on Romans 13 and other verses. However, further study revealed that while this is the general rule, there are times Yahweh expects us to disobey government. Let us proceed prayerfully.
One general rule is that we should always obey any government legitimately anointed by Yahweh. For example, when King Shaul (Saul) realized that David would sit on the throne instead of his son Jonathan, King Shaul sought to kill David. Yet even when King Shaul was delivered into David’s hand in the cave in the rocks of the wild goats, David would not strike Shaul down, for Shaul was Yahweh’s anointed government leader. That is how seriously David took it.
Shemuel Aleph (1 Samuel) 24:1-13
1 Now it happened, when Shaul had returned from following the Philistines, that it was told him, saying, “Take note! David is in the Wilderness of En Gedi.”
2 Then Shaul took three thousand chosen men from all Israel, and went to seek David and his men on the Rocks of the Wild Goats.
3 So he came to the sheepfolds by the road, where there was a cave; and Shaul went in to attend to his needs. (David and his men were staying in the recesses of the cave.)
4 Then the men of David said to him, “This is the day of which Yahweh said to you, ‘Behold, I will deliver your enemy into your hand, that you may do to him as it seems good to you.'” And David arose and secretly cut off a corner of Shaul’s robe.
5 Now it happened afterward that David’s heart troubled him because he had cut Shaul’s robe.
6 And he said to his men, “Yahweh forbid that I should do this thing to my master, Yahweh’s anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of Yahweh.”
7 So David restrained his servants with these words, and did not allow them to rise against Shaul. And Shaul got up from the cave and went on his way.
8 David also arose afterward, went out of the cave, and called out to Shaul, saying, “My master the king!” And when Shaul looked behind him, David stooped with his face to the earth, and bowed down.
9 And David said to Shaul: “Why do you listen to the words of men who say, ‘Indeed David seeks your harm’?
10 Look, this day your eyes have seen that Yahweh delivered you today into my hand in the cave, and someone urged me to kill you. But my eye spared you, and I said, ‘I will not stretch out my hand against my master, for he is Yahweh’s anointed!’
11 Moreover, my father, see! Yes, see the corner of your robe in my hand! For in that I cut off the corner of your robe, and did not kill you, know and see that there is neither evil nor rebellion in my hand, and I have not sinned against you. Yet you hunt my life to take it!
12 Let Yahweh judge between you and me, and let Yahweh avenge me on you. But my hand shall not be against you!
13 As the proverb of the ancients says, ‘Wickedness proceeds from the wicked.’ But my hand shall not be against you!”
One might easily acquit David for killing King Shaul in self-defense, yet David knew that no matter how evil or corrupt King Shaul might be, it was wrong to kill any man that Yahweh had legitimately anointed to lead Israel. As long as Shaul was Yahweh’s chosen leader, David knew his only lawful option was to flee.
And lest we think David’s mercy on Shaul was a mistake or a “one time fluke,” David spared Shaul’s life a second time. In verses 9 and 11, David clearly tells us the reason he spared Shaul’s life (though he would not have spared Nabal’s, 1 Samuel 25) was that no one can stretch out his hand against Yahweh’s anointed leader and be found guiltless.
Shemuel Aleph (1 Samuel) 26:1-11
1 Now the Ziphites came to Shaul at Gibeah, saying, “Is David not hiding in the hill of Hachilah, opposite Jeshimon?”
2 Then Shaul arose and went down to the Wilderness of Ziph, having three thousand chosen men of Israel with him, to seek David in the Wilderness of Ziph.
3 And Shaul encamped in the hill of Hachilah, which is opposite Jeshimon, by the road. But David stayed in the wilderness, and he saw that Shaul came after him into the wilderness.
4 David therefore sent out spies, and understood that Shaul had indeed come.
5 So David arose and came to the place where Shaul had encamped. And David saw the place where Shaul lay, and Abner the son of Ner, the commander of his army. Now Shaul lay within the camp, with the people encamped all around him.
6 Then David answered, and said to Ahimelech the Hittite and to Abishai the son of Zeruiah, brother of Joab, saying, “Who will go down with me to Shaul in the camp?”
And Abishai said, “I will go down with you.”
7 So David and Abishai came to the people by night; and there Shaul lay sleeping within the camp, with his spear stuck in the ground by his head. And Abner and the people lay all around him.
8 Then Abishai said to David, “Elohim has delivered your enemy into your hand this day. Now therefore, please, let me strike him at once with the spear, right to the earth; and I will not have to strike him a second time!”
9 But David said to Abishai, “Do not destroy him; for who can stretch out his hand against Yahweh’s anointed, and be guiltless?”
10 David said furthermore, “As Yahweh lives, Yahweh shall strike him, or his day shall come to die, or he shall go out to battle and perish.
11 Yahweh forbid that I should stretch out my hand against Yahweh’s anointed. But please, take now the spear and the jug of water that are by his head, and let us go.”
Scripture shows us that whenever we have an Israelite leader anointed by Yahweh that does evil, then our first course of action is to turn back to Yahweh and ask for His help.
Divre HaYamim Bet (2 Chron.) 7:13-14
13 “When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people,
14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
However, this protection only applies to a leader who is anointed by Yahweh’s prophet or priest, and it can be revoked by Yahweh if He so chooses. As we explain in Nazarene Israel, Yahweh originally chose Jeroboam to lead the ten northern tribes because King Solomon had sinned. Ahiyah (Ahijah) the Shilonite met Jeroboam on the way and anointed him. He was to have ten tribes, leaving Solomon’s son Rehoboam with just two tribes (Judah and Benjamin). However, his anointing was only to last if he obeyed Yahweh’s commands. Verse 38 specifies that Jeroboam was to have an “enduring house” (i.e., a lasting dynasty), but only if he kept to Yahweh’s ways, as King David had done.
Melachim Aleph (1 Kings) 11:29-39
29 Now it happened at that time, when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, that the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite met him on the way; and he had clothed himself with a new garment, and the two were alone in the field.
30 Then Ahijah took hold of the new garment that was on him, and tore it into twelve pieces.
31 And he said to Jeroboam, “Take for yourself ten pieces, for thus says Yahweh, the Elohim of Israel: ‘Behold, I will tear the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon and will give ten tribes to you
32 (but he shall have one tribe for the sake of My servant David, and for the sake of Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel),
33 because they have forsaken Me, and worshiped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the (false) elohim of the Moabites, and Milcom the (false) elohim of the people of Ammon, and have not walked in My ways to do what is right in My eyes and keep My statutes and My judgments, as did his father David.
34 However I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand, because I have made him ruler all the days of his life for the sake of My servant David, whom I chose because he kept My commandments and My statutes.
35 But I will take the kingdom out of his son’s hand and give it to you — ten tribes.
36 And to his son I will give one tribe, that My servant David may always have a lamp before Me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen for Myself, to put My name there.
37 So I will take you, and you shall reign over all your heart desires, and you shall be king over Israel.
38 Then it shall be, if you heed all that I command you, walk in My ways, and do what is right in My sight, to keep My statutes and My commandments, as My servant David did, then I will be with you and build for you an enduring house, as I built for David, and will give Israel to you.
39 And I will afflict the descendants of David because of this, but not forever.'”
However, as we explain in Nazarene Israel, Jeroboam did not keep Yahweh’s ways. Rather, he led Ephraim to sin with golden calf worship; and as a result, Yahweh prophesied through Hosea that none of the kings of the northern kingdom were of Him.
Hoshea (Hosea) 8:4
4 “They set up kings, but not by Me;
They made princes, but I did not acknowledge them.
From their silver and gold
They made idols for themselves —
That they might be cut off.”
Kingship is not a hereditary “right,” but rather a sacred duty and calling. If a king does not obey Yahweh, his anointing can be revoked. Further, Yahweh will hold him accountable for the consequences of his actions. For example, when Jeroboam’s descendant King Ahab, his wife Jezebel, and their son Yoram (Joram) became corrupt. Yahweh raised up Yehu (Jehu) the son of Yehoshaphat (Jehoshaphat, meaning “Yahweh shall judge”), to strike down all the house of Ahab, in judgment for what they had done.
Melachim Bet (2 Kings) 9:6-10
6 Then he arose and went into the house. And he poured the oil on (Yehu’s) head, and said to (Yehu), “Thus says Yahweh Elohim of Israel: ‘I have anointed you king over the people of Yahweh, over Israel.
7 You shall strike down the house of Ahab your master, that I may avenge the blood of My servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of Yahweh, at the hand of Jezebel.
8 For the whole house of Ahab shall perish; and I will cut off from Ahab all the males in Israel, both bond and free.
9 So I will make the house of Ahab like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahiyah.
10 The dogs shall eat Jezebel on the plot of ground at Jezreel, and there shall be none to bury her.'” And he opened the door and fled.
Yehu immediately mounted a rebellion and carried out his commission. First he killed King Yoram, and then he killed Jezebel, and all the house of Ahab. Because he carried out what Yahweh’s desires, Yahweh gave him and his sons the throne for four generations.
Melachim Bet (2 Kings) 10:30
30 And Yahweh said to Yehu, “Because you have done well in doing what is right in My sight, and have done to the house of Ahab all that was in My heart, your sons shall sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation.”
Yehu had also killed the corrupt Jewish king, Ahazyah (Ahaziah). And in an inexplicably perverse act, when Ahazyah’s mother Atalyah (Athaliah) saw that her son was dead, she slew the rest of the Jewish royal family, in order to rule herself. Only her grandson Yoash (Joash) escaped.
Melachim Bet (2 Kings) 11:1-3
1 When Atalyah the mother of Ahazyah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the royal heirs.
2 But Yehosheva, the daughter of King Yoram, sister of Ahazyah, took Yoash the son of Ahazyah, and stole him away from among the king’s sons who were being murdered; and they hid him and his nurse in the bedroom, from Atalyah, so that he was not killed.
3 So he was hidden with her in the house of Yahweh for six years, while Atalyah reigned over the land.
Although Atalyah was queen over Judah, she was never Yahweh’s anointed queen. Because of this, when her grandson Yoash was seven years old, Yehoiada (Jehoiada) the priest anointed Yoash as king over Judah, and had Atalyah put to death.
Melachim Bet (2 Kings) 11:4-16
4 In the seventh year Jehoiada sent and brought the captains of hundreds — of the bodyguards and the escorts — and brought them into the house of Yahweh to him. And he made a covenant with them and took an oath from them in the house of Yahweh, and showed them the king’s son.
5 Then he commanded them, saying, “This is what you shall do: One-third of you who come on duty on the Sabbath shall be keeping watch over the king’s house,
6 one-third shall be at the gate of Sur, and one-third at the gate behind the escorts. You shall keep the watch of the house, lest it be broken down.
7 The two contingents of you who go off duty on the Sabbath shall keep the watch of the house of Yahweh for the king.
8 But you shall surround the king on all sides, every man with his weapons in his hand; and whoever comes within range, let him be put to death. You are to be with the king as he goes out and as he comes in.”
9 So the captains of the hundreds did according to all that Jehoiada the priest commanded. Each of them took his men who were to be on duty on the Sabbath, with those who were going off duty on the Sabbath, and came to Jehoiada the priest.
10 And the priest gave the captains of hundreds the spears and shields which had belonged to King David, that were in the temple of Yahweh.
11 Then the escorts stood, every man with his weapons in his hand, all around the king, from the right side of the temple to the left side of the temple, by the altar and the house.
12 And he brought out the king’s son, put the crown on him, and gave him the Testimony; they made him king and anointed him, and they clapped their hands and said, “Long live the king!”
13 Now when Atalyah heard the noise of the escorts and the people, she came to the people in the temple of Yahweh.
14 When she looked, there was the king standing by a pillar according to custom; and the leaders and the trumpeters were by the king. All the people of the land were rejoicing and blowing trumpets. So Atalyah tore her clothes and cried out, “Treason! Treason!”
15 And Yehoiada the priest commanded the captains of the hundreds, the officers of the army, and said to them, “Take her outside under guard, and slay with the sword whoever follows her.” For the priest had said, “Do not let her be killed in the house of Yahweh.”
16 So they seized her; and she went by way of the horses’ entrance into the king’s house, and there she was killed.
So although David correctly kept his hand from doing harm to the anointed King Shaul, it was right for Yehu to overthrow Yoram at Yahweh’s command; and it was also correct for Yehoiada to depose the wrongful queen Atalyah. In each case, Yahweh’s will was done.
Interestingly, no Ephraimite nation has an anointed king or prince today because Yahweh prophesied that the northern kingdom would abide many days without an anointed king or prince. This makes sense when we remember that no Ephraimite nation has a prophet or priest of Yahweh anoint the leader with oil.
Hoshea (Hosea) 3:4-5
4 “For the children of Israel shall abide many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred pillar, without ephod or teraphim.
5 Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek Yahweh their Elohim and David their king. They shall fear Yahweh and His goodness in the latter days.”
However, even though Ephraimite governments are not technically anointed of Yahweh, we generally are to obey the laws of the lands where we live and the governments appointed over us, because in the final analysis there is no government that Yahweh has not raised up for His purposes. This is why Shaul calls them “Yahweh’s ministers.”
Romim (Romans) 13:1-7
1 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from Elohim, and the authorities that exist are appointed by Elohim.
2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of Elohim, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.
3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same.
4 For he is Elohim’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is Elohim’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.
5 Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake.
6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are Elohim’s ministers attending continually to this very thing.
7 Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.
Sometimes people suggest that we are to obey the authorities only when they are good, but Shaul wrote his epistle to the Romans when Nero was emperor, and Nero killed a lot of believers. Just like Yeshua went like a lamb to the slaughter, Shaul also willingly went to his death, knowing that Yahweh would use it for good.
Ma’asei (Acts) 21:13
13 Then Shaul answered, “What do you mean by weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Adon Yeshua.”
It is not fun to think about, but it was the suffering and death of many innocent believers that turned public opinion in Rome towards the Messiah. And as Emperor Constantine observed, those emperors who persecuted the faith in a Jewish Messiah not only ended up strengthening the faith they sought to persecute, but they also came to a bad end.
The key is to discern what Yahweh wants at the time. As we will see, there are times that Yahweh wants His people to come out from among the nations and be separate; and in those times He blesses His faithful for separating. An example of this was how He blessed His people for coming out of Egypt after 430 years in captivity. However, back in the first century it was not yet His time. He wanted His people to be dispersed among the nations for two thousand years, so that when He called them out again, they would be ready. As we explain in Revelation and the End Times, this separation will take place after the tribulation, after the battle of Armageddon. Until that day comes, we are commanded generally to be subject to the government placed over us.
Hitgalut (Revelation) 13:9-10
9 If anyone has an ear, let him hear:
10 He who leads into captivity shall go into captivity; he who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the set-apart ones.
When it is Yahweh’s time to separate, then we should do so. In the meantime Kepha also tells us to honor kings, so as to give a good witness among the gentile nations where we presently live.
Kepha Aleph (1 Peter) 2:9-21
9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a set-apart nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
10 who once were not a people but are now the people of Elohim, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.
11 Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul,
12 having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify Elohim in the day of visitation.
13 Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for Yahweh’s sake, whether to the king as supreme,
14 or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good,
15 For this is the will of Elohim, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men —
16 as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of Elohim.
17 Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear Elohim. Honor the king.
18 Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh.
19 For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward Elohim one endures grief, suffering wrongfully.
20 For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before Elohim.
21 For to this you were called, because Messiah also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps.
In verse 19, Kepha tells us that it is commendable when we endure grief that is wrongly inflicted.
In the first few centuries, entire stadiums of Roman spectators are said to have converted to Christianity because of their shock that such peaceful and patient people as the Christians were thrown to the lions. When the Christians did good and suffered patiently and without complaint, it was found good and commendable before Elohim; and then Yahweh caused the Roman people to convert.
Until Yahweh calls us to separate ourselves, it is not really an option to take up the sword. Yeshua told Kepha to put his sword away.
Mattithyahu (Matthew) 26:51-54
51 And suddenly, one of those who were with Yeshua stretched out his hand and drew his sword, struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear.
52 But Yeshua said to him, “Put your sword in its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword!
53 Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of messengers?
54 How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?”
Yeshua did not strike those who struck Him, but instead showed them kindness in return. He also healed the ear that Kepha struck.
Luqa (Luke) 22:51
51 But Yeshua answered and said, “Permit even this.” And He touched his ear and healed him.
Revelation tells us that he who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. This is the true test of the patience and faith of the set-apart ones.
Hitgalut (Revelation) 13:9-10
9 If anyone has an ear, let him hear:
10 He who leads into captivity shall go into captivity; he who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the set-apart ones.
Although the general rule is for us to obey the governments appointed over us, there are times for us to disobey the governments placed over us, and even to separate. As we will see, these times are
- When Yahweh orders it.
- When it is necessary to glorify Elohim.
- When it will save Israelite lives or limbs.
- When it will relieve other Israelites from oppression.
Moshe slew the Egyptian taskmaster in order to save his brethren from oppression and abuse. Although he had to flee, it was not reckoned unto him as any kind of a sin because he did it to help other Israelites.
Shemote (Exodus) 2:11-12
11 Now it came to pass in those days, when Moshe was grown, that he went out to his brethren and looked at their burdens. And he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his brethren.
12 So he looked this way and that way, and when he saw no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.
The Hebrew midwives lied and disobeyed authority in order to save lives. Yahweh blessed them for this because they “feared Elohim” (rather than man).
Shemote (Exodus) 1:15-21
15 Then the king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives, of whom the name of one was Shiphrah and the name of the other Puah;
16 and he said, “When you do the duties of a midwife for the Hebrew women, and see them on the birthstools, if it is a son, then you shall kill him; but if it is a daughter, then she shall live.”
17 But the midwives feared Elohim, and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the male children alive.
18 So the king of Egypt called for the midwives and said to them, “Why have you done this thing, and saved the male children alive?”
19 And the midwives said to Pharaoh, “Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women; for they are lively and give birth before the midwives come to them.”
20 Therefore Elohim dealt well with the midwives, and the people multiplied and grew very mighty.
21 And so it was, because the midwives feared Elohim, that He provided households for them.
Yahweh blessed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego for disobeying King Nebuchadnezzar’s order to worship the golden image, because they put their own lives at risk in order to avoid idolatry. Because they honored Elohim, He came to back them up.
8 Therefore at that time certain Chaldeans came forward and accused the Jews.
9 They spoke and said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “O king, live forever!
10 You, O king, have made a decree that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music , shall fall down and worship the gold image;
11 and whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.
12 There are certain Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego; these men, O king, have not paid due regard to you. They do not serve your elohim or worship the gold image which you have set up.”
We know Yahweh approved, for Yeshua appeared.
24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and he rose in haste and spoke, saying to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.”
25 “Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of Elohim!”
Kepha (Peter) and Yochanan (John) also refused to obey rabbinic authority when they said that they had no choice but to teach in Yeshua’s name.
Ma’asim (Acts) 4:5-12
5 And it came to pass, on the next day, that their rulers, elders, and scribes,
6 as well as Hannanyah the high priest, Caiapha, Yochanan and Alexander, and as many as were of the family of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem.
7 And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, “By what power or by what name have you done this?”
8 Then Kepha, filled with the Set-apart Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders of Israel:
9 If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well,
10 let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Yeshua Messiah of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom Elohim raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole.
11 This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’
12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
We can see that the apostles continued to be part of the Nation of Israel; and while they were happy to obey the elders of Israel in most normal matters, they had to speak Yeshua’s name in order to glorify Him. Because of this, when the elders told them not to speak in Yeshua’s name, they said they had no choice but to speak about the things they had seen and heard.
Ma’asim (Acts) 4:18-20
18 So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Yeshua.
19 But Kepha and Yochanan answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of Elohim to listen to you more than to Elohim, you judge.
20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.”
Even if we die as a result of glorifying Elohim, it means we will receive a much better resurrection.
Hitgalut (Revelation) 20:4
4 Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Yeshua and for the word of Elohim, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Messiah for a thousand years.
While we are generally to be honest, David’s example shows us that it is alright to dissemble, or to conceal our true motives from Israel’s enemies. One example is how David pretended to be insane when he fled from King Shaul and dwelt with Achish, King of Gath.
Shemuel Aleph (1 Samuel) 21:13-15
13 So he changed his behavior before them, pretended madness in their hands, scratched on the doors of the gate, and let his saliva fall down on his beard.
14 Then Achish said to his servants, “Look, you see the man is insane. Why have you brought him to me?
15 Have I need of madmen, that you have brought this fellow to play the madman in my presence? Shall this fellow come into my house?”
Later, David even sacked King Achish’s towns. This was not reckoned to him as any kind of a sin.
Shemuel Aleph (1 Samuel) 27: 1-12
1 And David said in his heart, “Now I shall perish someday by the hand of Shaul. There is nothing better for me than that I should speedily escape to the land of the Philistines; and Shaul will despair of me, to seek me anymore in any part of Israel. So I shall escape out of his hand.”
2 Then David arose and went over with the six hundred men who were with him to Achish the son of Maoch, king of Gath.
3 So David dwelt with Achish at Gath, he and his men, each man with his household, and David with his two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the Carmelitess, Nabal’s widow.
4 And it was told Shaul that David had fled to Gath; so he sought him no more.
5 Then David said to Achish, “If I have now found favor in your eyes, let them give me a place in some town in the country, that I may dwell there. For why should your servant dwell in the royal city with you?”
6 So Achish gave him Ziklag that day. Therefore Ziklag has belonged to the kings of Judah to this day.
7 Now the time that David dwelt in the country of the Philistines was one full year and four months.
8 And David and his men went up and raided the Geshurites, the Girzites, and the Amalekites. For those nations were the inhabitants of the land from of old, as you go to Shur, even as far as the land of Egypt.
9 Whenever David attacked the land, he left neither man nor woman alive, but took away the sheep, the oxen, the donkeys, the camels, and the apparel, and returned and came to Achish.
10 Then Achish would say, “Where have you made a raid today?” And David would say, “Against the southern area of Judah, or against the southern area of the Jerahmeelites, or against the southern area of the Kenites.”
11 David would save neither man nor woman alive, to bring news to Gath, saying, “Lest they should inform on us, saying, ‘Thus David did.'” And thus was his behavior all the time he dwelt in the country of the Philistines.
12 So Achish believed David, saying, “He has made his people Israel utterly abhor him; therefore he will be my servant forever.”
The big difference between Achish and King Shaul was that Achish was not an Israelite, while King Shaul was. Thus while it was alright to actively dissemble against Achish, David and his wife Michal only lied to Shaul when it was necessary to save life or limb.
Shemuel Aleph (1 Samuel) 19:12-14
12 So Michal let David down through a window. And he went and fled and escaped.
13 And Michal took an image and laid it in the bed, put a cover of goats’ hair for his head, and covered it with clothes.
14 So when Shaul sent messengers to take David, she said, “He is sick.”
When faced with a decision to obey her earthly father and king, or to save her husband’s innocent life, Michal chose to protect innocent life.
Then there are other times when Yahweh tells us to overthrow a non-Israelite oppressor. For example, Gideon was told to deliver Israel from the hand of the Midianites.
Shophetim (Judges) 6:11-14
11 Now the Messenger of Yahweh came and sat under the terebinth tree which was in Ophrah, which belonged to Yoash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon threshed wheat in the winepress, in order to hide it from the Midianites.
12 And the Messenger of Yahweh appeared to him, and said to him, “Yahweh is with you, you mighty man of valor!”
13 Gideon said to Him, “O my Adon, if Yahweh is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not Yahweh bring us up from Egypt?’ But now Yahweh has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.”
14 Then Yahweh turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?”
Notice that Gideon was chosen even while he was threshing wheat in the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites. Gideon was probably hiding the wheat to keep his enemies from taxing him on it, or taking it. He seems to have resisted Israel’s enemies, and Yahweh chose him for service as a result.
The book of Maccabees is not part of the canon, but only a historical record. In it we read how Yahweh also blessed those who rebelled against Hellenistic rule. When Mattityahu ben Yochanan and his sons saw all the abominations that were done in Judah and Jerusalem, they first rent their clothes and put on sackcloth, and then they sought Yahweh’s help.
1 Maccabees 2:14
14 Then Mattityahu and his sons rent their clothes, and put on sackcloth, and mourned very sore.
In answer to their prayers, Yahweh used Mattityahu and his sons to deliver Israel from the hand of the Hellenists.
1 Maccabees 2:23-30
23 Now when he had left speaking these words, there came one of the Jews in the sight of all to sacrifice on the altar which was at Modin, according to the king’s commandment.
24 Which thing when Mattityahu saw, he was inflamed with zeal, and his reins trembled, neither could he forbear to shew his anger according to judgment: wherefore he ran, and slew him upon the altar.
25 Also the king’s commissioner, who compelled men to sacrifice, he killed at that time, and the altar he pulled down.
26 Thus dealt he zealously for the Torah of Elohim like as Pinkhas did unto Zambri the son of Shalom.
27 And Mattityahu cried throughout the city with a loud voice, saying, “Whosoever is zealous of the Torah, and maintaineth the covenant, let him follow me.”
28 So he and his sons fled into the mountains, and left all that ever they had in the city.
29 Then many that sought after justice and judgment went down into the wilderness, to dwell there:
30 Both they, and their children, and their wives; and their cattle; because afflictions increased sore upon them.
Once more, the key is to discern Yahweh’s will, and His timing. While it was Yahweh’s will to deliver Israel by the hand of Mattityahu and His sons, there are other times when it is not His time; and in those times, we just have to wait.
And even when it is Yahweh’s time, we still have to pray and wait until Yahweh shows us not only what to do, but also how He wants us to do it. This is because Yahweh wants us to seek Him at every turn. He does not want His people to deliver themselves by their own hands, because then they will think they do not need Him. This is why real victory is only to be had by praying, waiting on Him, and then following His instructions, as King David did.
Shemuel Bet (2 Samuel) 5:22-25
22 Then the Philistines went up once again and deployed themselves in the Valley of Rephaim.
23 Therefore David inquired of Yahweh, and He said, “You shall not go up; circle around behind them, and come upon them in front of the mulberry trees.
24 And it shall be, when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees, then you shall advance quickly. For then Yahweh will go out before you to strike the camp of the Philistines.”
25 And David did so, as Yahweh commanded him; and he drove back the Philistines from Geba as far as Gezer.
As it is said that rules are sometimes made to be broken, but instructions are made to be followed. David was a great military leader at least partly because he consulted Yahweh at every turn. Whenever there was a question about what to do, “David inquired.” And this is the rule for disobeying governments that are against His people Israel: first we are to inquire, and then we are to wait on Yahweh, and do exactly as He says.