Wilderness of Ziph – Israel

This rocky desert land shows up at a few key points in the Old Testament in connection with Saul’s pursuit of David.

Scriptural Significance

  • The Wilderness of Ziph was allotted to the Tribe of Judah (Joshua 15: 24)
  • The Wilderness of Ziph was the backdrop for Saul’s efforts to kill David (I Samuel 23: 14, 15, 24 and 26: 2)

Scripture records that the people of Ziph betrayed David at one point. While this betrayal was a terrible thing, it is not without explanation.  I Samuel 18 – 23 details Saul’s hatred of David and the attempts made on his life. Saul has great difficulty finding David and chases him all over Israel. On one occasion, a priest named Ahimelech provides David with the sword of Goliath as well as supplies. He did not even know that the king sought his life, and instead thought David was on a mission for Saul. When Saul learns that Ahimelech assisted David, he has the priest and nearly his entire family slaughtered.

Later, David seeks refuge in the Wilderness of Ziph. I Samuel 23: 13 – 29 recounts how the people of Ziph informed on David by telling Saul of his location. Given what had happened to Ahimelech, one can understand their motivation.