Ramah means height or high and was a military stronghold for the Jews. During David’s life, Ramah was situated in the mountainous terrain and covered the tribal lands of Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh. This was the city in which Samuel was born and lived until his death. It was also in close proximity to Gibeah which was King Saul’s hometown. This made Ramah an ideal place for David to escape when he fled from Saul. Not only was Ramah in close proximity to Gibeah, but David also knew that he would find safety in the presence of Samuel. The bible revealed that Samuel lived among a company of prophets in Ramah.
When Saul went in pursuit of David, the spirit of God fell on his messengers first and then himself. The presence of Samuel and the other prophets meant that the anointing of God rested in that city. Prophets were God’s mouthpiece on the earth and they carried the mantle of God’s presence. Elijah wore a mantle to cover his physical body, which he threw on Elisha when God told him to anoint him (1 Kings 19:19). The kings had a heavy reliance on the prophetic anointing, to understand the things of God and to know the mind of God. They consulted the prophets before a battle and sought guidance from them about war strategies.
After God rejected Saul, Samuel anointed David as king and bestowed on him the promises of God (1 Samuel 16:13). Samuel did not reveal to Saul the instructions from God to anoint another king. God allowed Samuel to conceal this by announcing when he arrived to David’s home town, that he was there to offer a sacrifice (1 Samuel 16:1-3). Since Samuel anointed David and knew of Saul’s volatility, he would understand first hand why Saul wanted to harm David. As such, Samuel was the first person that would come to David’s mind in his initial crisis. David knew that Samuel’s endorsement of him was by God’s instructions. He therefore trusted Samuel to keep him safe and to give him further instructions.
After Samuel’s death, Saul sought a medium to try to conjure his spirit from the grave to seek guidance. This was because Saul could no longer hear from God. We know that the spirit which the medium engaged was a familiar spirit masquerading as Samuel. Nevertheless, Saul was so desperate that he made such a serious blunder. Samuel was entrusted into the service of God from his childhood and God blessed him so that none of his words fell to the ground (1 Samuel 3:19). Saul understood his spiritual authority and significance in understanding the heart and mind of God.
The kings had the power and authority over the people, but the prophets maintained the spiritual authority over the word of God. The role of the prophets complimented that of the kings as the kings needed their support in order to lead the people. The mysteries of God are revealed in part to the prophets in order to edify and equip the body of Christ. “For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away” (1 Corinthians 13:9-10). The safest place to be is in the will of God and the presence of God. As David sought the safety of Samuel, let us associate with people who understand the mind, will and purpose of God. In so doing, we will remain surrounded by people who can help strengthen and sharpen our faith.