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LIFE OF KING SAUL
Christianity Oasis Ministry has provided you with this Life of King Saul study on the Life of King Saul story. This Life of King Saul study on the Life of King Saul lesson looks at the Life of King Saul message and asks what is the Life of King Saul story about, who is the Life of King Saul character, what is the Life of King Saul purpose, who did the Life of King Saul affect, why is the Life of King Saul message important, what is the Life of King Saul message and how does the Life of King Saul message affect you. Most have heard of the Life of King Saul story but most are not aware of the Life of King Saul prophecy. This Life of King Saul study will share the truth of the Life of King Saul story. Let us seek and find the truth of the Life of King Saul with Life of King Saul message in this Life of King Saul study, shall we?


 

KING SAUL


THE FIRST BOOK OF SAMUEL

CHAPTER 8
 

In previous stories to the story of king Saul in the Bible, the story of Samuel the Prophet and judge in Israel is told. We find that Samuel was a man of integrity and well favored by the Lord. 

As Samuel grew old, and because of his age, one can imagine it wasn't so easy to travel around Israel judging matters among the people. I don't want you to forget that being a judge over Israel, was just exactly what the title implies. Not only did the judge rule the people, but settled matters whenever there were disputes, not much different from a court of law in modern times, with a judge presiding. People would bring their "case" to the judge, and the judge would decide, based upon the Law of the Lord and divine inspiration, what was the best solution for the dispute. 

So ... When Samuel became elderly, he made his sons, Joel and Abiah, judges over Israel in Beersheba. But his sons didn't follow the righteous ways of Samuel. They had a fondness for money and accepted bribes, so their judgment wasn't fair among the people. 

The elders understandably didn't like this one bit, so they paid Samuel a visit in Ramah and said to him, Look, you're getting old, and your sons aren't like you. So make us a king to judge us, like all the other nations have. 

Now ... This thing irritated Samuel, so he prayed to the Lord about it, and the Lord told Samuel, The people aren't rejecting you, they've rejected ME, they don't want ME to rule them. Just like they've done since they day I brought them up out of Egypt, until this very day ... Just as they have forsaken me, and served other gods, they do the same also to you. 

Does this remind you of what Jesus said, too?

John 15:18
If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.

 Let me take you back to the book of Deuteronomy for just a second, and let's remember together, that the Lord in fact, (through Moses) predicted that this would happen. 

Deuteronomy 17:14
When thou art come unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me ...

So the Lord told Samuel to oblige the people of Israel and listen to their request, but still, to warn them of the seriousness of their decision and to tell them how the king will reign over them. 

And Samuel did ... Speaking the Word of the Lord to the people of Israel that asked for a king, Samuel said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons and make them work for him, to drive his chariots and be his horsemen, and some will run in front of his chariots and they will make his weaponry and he will make them captains of his army. He will make them plant his crops and harvest them. And your daughters will be his bakers and cooks and candy makers. He will take your fields and vineyards and olive yards, even the best of them, and one tenth of your seed and your vineyards and give them to his servants and his officers. He will take your servants, and make them work for him. He will take one tenth of your sheep, and you will be his servants.  

Samuel continued, And you will cry out when this happens, because of your king which you will choose, and the Lord will not hear you in that day. But the people refused to listen to Samuel ... They insisted to have a king and be like all the other nations, to judge them and go and fight their battles. Samuel listened to all the things that the people had to say, and repeated them to the Lord, and the Lord said, Listen to them and make them a king. Samuel then sent the men of Israel back to their homes. 

If you've ever read the books of Samuel, and the books of Kings, you know that there were a few righteous kings that didn't treat the children of Israel in the manner that Samuel described, and a precious few that were very honorable, so we know from this, that God, through Samuel, was giving His people a warning of how kings in general would operate; Okay, so you want a king? This is what you're in for. 

It looks like we're in for some interesting chapters ahead, doesn't it?!

 

THE FIRST BOOK OF SAMUEL

CHAPTER 9
 

At this point in our story, we're about to meet the man that becomes the first king of Israel. 

Don't forget now, that Samuel is quite upset and offended by the whole business of Israel choosing a king to replace judges in Israel. You may remember from the beginning of the book of Judges, we learned that as long as a judge was alive and overseeing the welfare of Israel as God guided, things went fine for them, but when a judge died, then the people would always go astray.

Judges 2:18-19 
And when the LORD raised them up judges, then the LORD was with the judge, and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge: for it repented the LORD because of their groanings by reason of them that oppressed them and vexed them. And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, that they returned, and corrupted themselves more than their fathers, in following other gods to serve them, and to bow down unto them; they ceased not from their own doings, nor from their stubborn way.

 As you know, throughout history, God has shown mercy and forgiveness to people, because man is but flesh and blood and Original Sin is inherited by everyone. And even though the children of Israel, His chosen people, made a choice to ask for a king over them instead of following God's plans, our Lord still, knowing their character and yet loving them deeply, stepped in to assist them. God told Samuel: 

1 Samuel 9:16
To-morrow about this time I will send thee a man out of the land of Benjamin, and thou shalt anoint him to be captain over my people Israel, that he may save my people out of the hand of the Philistines: for I have looked upon my people, because their cry is come unto me.

 So, this man, who would be king of Israel, would essentially be chosen by God ... But God gives everyone freedom of choice, and as with every human being that ever lived, the decisions a person makes, whether chosen by God or not, are not always the choices God wants. 

Let's find out how this man learned that he would be king of Israel.

There was a man of the tribe of Benjamin named Kish, who was a "mighty man of power". You can decide for yourself whether this means physically strong, influential and respected, or rich. But at any rate, Kish had a son named Saul, who was a fine young man and very tall, taller than any of the people. 

One day the mules of Kish wandered off, so he sent Saul along with a servant to go and find them. They searched far and wide for the animals but couldn't find them, and finally Saul said to the servant, Let's go back home, or my father will stop worrying about the mules, and instead worry about us. But the servant convinced Saul to go on to a certain city because he had heard of a man of God (Prophet) named Samuel, and thought perhaps he could guide them to the mules. 

Saul was concerned because they had nothing to offer Samuel. They had eaten all their bread, so how could they pay Samuel for his help? But the servant had a fourth of a shekel of silver, so they decided to present that as their gift, and they went on to the city. On their way, there were some young maidens going out to draw water from a well, and they asked where they could find Samuel. The maidens told them that there was a sacrifice and feast planned, and directed them where to go. 

Samuel, of course, knowing in advance because God had told him, was expecting Saul, and when he came into sight, the Lord said to Samuel, This is the man I told you about! He shall reign over my people.

Saul came near to Samuel and asked where the house of the seer (Prophet) was. Samuel answered, I am the seer, go up to the high place (a temple or altar, usually built on an elevation, that the ancient Jewish people used for worship), you will eat with me today and tomorrow I will tell you all you want to know, and you may go. As for the mules that went missing three days ago, don't worry about them, they're found ... And the king that Israel desires, will be you. 

Well, Saul thought that Samuel was joking with him, and he replied, I'm from the smallest of the tribes of Israel, and my family is the smallest of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin. Why do you make fun of me? 

Remember why Benjamin was at that time the smallest of the tribes of Israel? It wasn't many generations before that the entire tribe was destroyed, except for 600 men. You can review that story in The Book of Judges, Chapter 19-21. 

Samuel took Saul and his servant and set them in the most honored place among the guests that were invited. Samuel told the cook to bring a special portion to Saul. So Saul did eat with Samuel that day. The next day, Samuel told Saul to ask the servant to go on ahead of them, but for Saul to stay a while so that he could show him the Word of God. 

How does Samuel convince Saul that he's not kidding about becoming king of Israel? Just gotta read on and see what happens next!

THE FIRST BOOK OF SAMUEL

CHAPTER 10
 

Let's review what happened last in our story about the first king of Israel, shall we? 

Saul and his father's servant, being unsuccessful in finding his father's lost mules, decide to go see Samuel the Prophet for help in finding them. The Lord tells Samuel the day before Saul arrives that the man who would be king will come to him tomorrow, so Samuel prepares a feast. When Saul arrives, Samuel tells Saul not to worry because the mules had been found, and then gives him the news about his very near future kingship. Saul thinks that Samuel is making fun of him. Samuel sets Saul at the place of honor at the feast and Saul stays with Samuel that evening. 

The next morning, Saul prepares to return home. Now, remember, Saul thinks that Samuel was just speaking in jest about being king, so Samuel tells him to send his servant on ahead so he can tell him the Word of the Lord. 

Then Samuel took a vial of oil, poured it on Saul's head and kissed him and told him that the Lord had anointed him to be captain over His people. As a sign, Samuel said, When you leave here you'll meet two men by Rachel's tomb, and they'll tell you that the mules you went to search for are found and that your father now worries what happened to you instead of the mules. Then when you leave there, you will meet three men, one carrying three kid goats, another carrying three loaves of bread and one carrying a bottle of wine. They'll greet you and give you two of the loaves of bread.  

Samuel continued, After that, you'll come to the hill of God where you'll meet a group of Prophets, and they will prophecy, and the Spirit of the Lord will overcome you, and you will be a changed man. When these signs come true, know that the Lord is with you. Then go to Gilgal and I will be there in seven days to make offerings and sacrifice and I'll tell you what to do then. 

When Saul turned to leave Samuel, God gave him another heart, and all the signs that Samuel spoke, came to pass that day. 

So Samuel gathered all the people together and spoke the Word of the Lord to them. I saved you from Egypt and from the hand of all that oppressed you, and today, you reject your God who saved you out of all your troubles, and you have said to Him, No, but give us a king. Now then, present yourselves before the Lord by your tribes. 

If you will recall the method by which they determined that Achan stole the accursed thing from Ai, bringing all of Israel, first by tribes, then by families, then by households, then man by man (this was probably done by casting lots or perhaps by Urim and Thummim) until it was revealed that Achan had committed the transgression. This was also how it was shown to the people that Saul was the anointed one to be king of Israel. First the tribe of Benjamin was chosen, then  the family of Matri, then Saul, but Saul was nowhere to be found. So they asked the Lord where he was and were told that Saul had hidden himself among the "stuff." (One might assume the stuff was baggage, since people had come from all over Israel to sort of inaugurate their new king.) 

Remember earlier in our story, the Bible said Saul was (to use the exact words) "a choice young man, and a goodly: and there was not among the children of Israel a goodlier person than he," so one might assume that he was humble, and that was why he had hidden himself when all this "to do" was going on about the new king.

Anyway, they went and found him and brought him before all the people. Don't forget now, Saul was taller than anyone else, and Samuel said, See ye him whom the LORD hath chosen, that there is none like him among all the people? And all the people shouted, and said, God save the king. 

Then Samuel wrote down in a book, what would happen in the kingdom, and sent all the people home. Saul went to his home in Gibeah, along with a band of men whose hearts God had touched, but there were wicked people who doubted in Saul and despised him, but Saul humbly remained quiet about the matter. 

 

THE FIRST BOOK OF SAMUEL

CHAPTER 11
 

Well, we're about half way through the book of 1 Samuel, and Saul has just been announced king of Israel. 

The first thing that Saul had to deal with was war with the Ammonites. Let's do a little refreshing before we continue ahead with our study ... Who are the Ammonites? They were the children of Ammon, who was the son of Lot. If you would like to review the story of their origin, you will find it in Genesis, Chapter 19.

Do you remember any significant events involving the children of Ammon? How about when Moses was leading the children of Israel to the Promised Land? 

Deuteronomy 2:26-30
And I sent messengers out of the wilderness of Kedemoth unto Sihon king of Heshbon with words of peace, saying, Let me pass through thy land: I will go along by the high way, I will neither turn unto the right hand nor to the left. Thou shalt sell me meat for money, that I may eat; and give me water for money, that I may drink: only I will pass through on my feet; (As the children of Esau which dwell in Seir, and the Moabites which dwell in Ar, did unto me;) until I shall pass over Jordan into the land which the LORD our God giveth us. But Sihon king of Heshbon would not let us pass by him: for the LORD thy God hardened his spirit, and made his heart obstinate, that He might deliver him into thy hand, as appeareth this day.

Where is Ammon? It is the land that lies on the east side of the Jordan River. We also know this about this particular region:

Deuteronomy 2:20-21
(That also was accounted a land of giants: giants dwelt therein in old time; and the Ammonites call them Zamzummims; A people great, and many, and tall, as the Anakims; but the LORD destroyed them before them; and they succeeded them, and dwelt in their stead:

In addition, Israel was commanded not to meddle with the Ammonites, way back in Moses' day:

Deuteronomy 2:19
And when thou comest nigh over against the children of Ammon, distress them not, nor meddle with them: for I will not give thee of the land of the children of Ammon any possession; because I have given it unto the children of Lot for a possession.

Deuteronomy 2:37
Only unto the land of the children of Ammon thou camest not, nor unto any place of the river Jabbok, nor unto the cities in the mountains, nor unto whatsoever the LORD our God forbade us.

And the Ammonites were forbidden to enter the congregation of the Lord because they weren't hospitable to God's people when they were on their way to the Promised Land from Egypt.

Deuteronomy 23:3-4
An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the LORD for ever: Because they met you not with bread and with water in the way, when ye came forth out of Egypt; and because they hired against thee Balaam the son of Beor of Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse thee.

 Now that we've got a refreshed memory about the children of Ammon ... On with the story. The Ammonites, who were led by a king named Nahash, planned an attack against Jabesh-Gilead. And what do you remember about Jebesh-Gilead? Well, remember when the tribe of Benjamin had no wives ... Back when the children of Israel destroyed all but 600 men of the tribe because of the woman who was killed by the men of Gibeah (and her husband cut her into 12 pieces and sent one to each tribe of Israel). You may remember that while Israel was repenting about the ordeal, they made an oath that whoever didn't come to Mizpeh to participate in making peace offerings would be put to death, and none from Jabesh-Gilead attended, so they were all destroyed except for 400 chaste women whom they gave to the Benjamites to marry. 

So, now that we're familiar with who's who, let's continue, shall we? The men of Jabesh-Gilead said to the king of Ammon, Make a deal with us, and we'll serve you. Nahash answered, I'll make a deal with you if I may pluck out all your right eyes. The elders of Jabesh said to him, Give us seven days to prepare and then if there is no one to help us, we'll come out to fight with you. 

They sent messengers to Gibeah (where Saul lived) and explained their dilemma, and all the people cried bitterly. When Saul heard the report of all this, the Spirit of God came upon him and he was filled with anger. He took a yoke of oxen and cut them in pieces, sending them throughout all Israel with the message that whoever didn't come and follow Saul and Samuel, the same would be done to their oxen. 

As you can imagine, the  fear of the Lord inspired them all to come out without hesitation. Under Saul's command, they defeated Nahash and the Ammonites victoriously. The people then suggested that those who questioned Saul's ability to lead the children of Israel, be put to death, but Saul refused and gave the Lord glory for saving Israel that day. 

So Samuel called all the people together, and a second time pronounced Saul king before the Lord in Gilgal, with sacrifices, offerings and rejoicing.
  

THE FIRST BOOK OF SAMUEL

CHAPTER 12
 

Our last chapter ended with the congregation of Israel at Gilgal rejoicing over their victory over Ammon and sort of a "renew"ing of the kingdom.  

Here's something to think about. When we think of the kings of the Bible, we tend to think of their position as a holy thing, which, in a perfect world, it would be. What am I getting at? Israel was God's chosen people. They were different. OTHER nations had kings to govern them, and that's what Israel was seeking in a king ... GOVERNment. Not a holy king to guide them in God's Law. But don't forget what Moses said:  

Deuteronomy 4:5-8
Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it. Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for? And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?

They were a nation "so great" that God chose them for His own special people. But even though they already had God's Law, which was divinely superior to any other government that could possibly be implemented, it wasn't enough for them. They weren't satisfied. 

Let's talk about the "kings" and "government" topics a little more. In today's era one would be hard pressed to say that people's incentive to elect any given candidate is because of their likelihood to carry out God's will, but rather because of the candidates probability of enforcing policies that would increase the voters income level and comfort of living, and decrease the voters effort in achieving it.  

Now, for the past four to five hundred years since the Exodus, the children of Israel had been living under the "government" of God the King. They knew full well that whenever they (the children of Israel and their forefathers) turned away from the Lord, things went awry ... Just like He promised. They also knew full well that whenever they sought the Lord and turned to Him, things went incredibly well. To have stuck with GOD as King would have been the "holy" thing to do. 

Another thing to be mindful of is that its easy for one to wonder in retrospect, why the children of Israel didn't see what they were doing. Well, not only was it told by God that they would be stiff-necked and backsliding, etc., etc., but we tend to lose sight that these stories happened over generations of time. One would think that people would learn from the mistakes of their ancestors, but as silly as it sounds, people want to make their own mistakes, claiming that one can only learn from their OWN errors. Yes, I know how prideful that sounds, but most people, if they heard a story about something that happened to their great grand-dad, would think many things before learning any kind of lesson from it. For instance: Times have changed; people have changed; the circumstances are different; etc., etc. 

It's almost like people think that their own mistakes are like part of their own unique personality ... As if mistakes make up who they are. Some sick psychologist (I believe) or some other genius, even came up with the idea that mistakes "build character." Man, I never read anything in the Bible like that! Who do you think is more respectable in God's eyes, who do you think He views as having more "character" ... A person that strives not to make mistakes or a person who believes mistakes are some kind of prerogative? At any rate, the children of Israel were no different than people today in that sense, and they had thousands of years less hindsight than we do today.  

Another argument you may have with yourself is, "Wait a minute ... They had judges didn't they? How much different could it be to have a king? Well, you might answer this way: In times of trouble, GOD decided when and who to send to judge (lead, protect and guide) His people. That sure seems quite different than a king. Well ... You remember all the things Samuel prophesied about the future kings back in Chapter 8. Quite different from any judges, wouldn't you agree? That's not to say that there weren't any good kings. A king was as good as his faith in God. If he had strong faith, the Lord blessed him.  

It's no wonder that Samuel (being a judge and all) was offended and upset at Israel's insistence on having a king. Remember, Samuel's entire life was devoted to serving God, and now he's old and overwhelmed with disappointment. At the same time, he loves God's people. You would imagine this was a difficult time for him, and he probably felt like his heart was being torn in two.  

Samuel addresses Israel at this celebration they're having, and testifies to them of his integrity, which the people affirm. He reminds them of the Lord's saving Grace since the Exodus despite the fact that they had forsaken God numerous times, and how it was the Lord that appointed all their deliverers up until king Nahash of Ammon threatened them, and they demanded a king.  

The prophet Samuel told Israel, Fear the Lord and things will go well with you and your king, but rebel against the Lord and His hand will be against you. As a sign I will call to the Lord and He will send thunder and rain, so that you'll understand that your wickedness is great in asking for a king.  

And the Lord did indeed send thunder and rain that day, and the people revered the Lord and Samuel. Samuel assured the children of Israel that he would continue to pray for them and teach them the good and right way.  

1 Samuel 12:24-25
Only fear the LORD, and serve him in TRUTH with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you. But if ye shall still do wickedly, ye shall be consumed, both ye and your king.

What's next for the children of Israel and their new king Saul? Read on!
 

THE FIRST BOOK OF SAMUEL

CHAPTER 13

 

In our study so far of 1 Samuel, we recently learned about Saul's first victory over Ammon, and then Samuel's address to Israel. Let's pick up from there.

First, we must remember that way back when, things weren't like they are today. In today's time, the leader of a nation is the commander in chief all right, but they don't go out to battle with the rest of the military. Also, don't forget that these soldiers of Israel have had no military training whatsoever ... And those that are strong enough in faith to fight, are relying on the power of God to be victorious.   

Let's recall what's happened recently in our story. Saul's military history began with a battle against the Ammonites. The army that was united for Israel consisted of 330,000 soldiers. They were victorious and a great celebration was had.  

So ... What do you suppose the army of Israel did between battles? Since the conquest of Canaan was over, do you think they had military bases where they had boot camps and target practice and military strategy lessons? Well, perhaps precious few of the soldiers were that enthusiastic to protect and defend their new inheritance, but probably, except for a few bodyguards of the king, it's likely that most went home to their families. 

Now, let me remind you of something that the Lord warned Israel about way back even before they crossed the Jordan into the Promised Land. 

Numbers 33:55-56
But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell. Moreover it shall come to pass, that I shall do unto you, as I thought to do unto them.

 ... And there it was HUNDREDS of years later, and Israel was still troubled by all those that weren't driven out during the occupation of their inheritance. In fact, it's NOW THOUSANDS of years later, and Israel is YET troubled by them. 

Now, back to our story ... Let's look at a few different things that are directly affecting what happens for Saul. As you may remember from the Book of Judges, as long as the children of Israel followed the commandments of the Lord, things went smoothly in their conquest of Canaan, but whenever they went backsliding, the disaster that they imposed on their enemies was turned back upon them. In this story, it wasn't the children of Israel that erred, it was Saul himself. 

Let me give you the setting ... Saul has now reigned for two years over Israel, with one victory over Ammon. Apparently there was some peace time after that, and the only military that Saul kept at hand were three thousand soldiers. Two thousand of these were with Saul in Michmash. Saul's son Jonathan was with the other thousand in Gibeah, who successfully attacked a military post of the Philistines in Geba. The proximities of these places is something like this, with Gibeah and Gilgal being approximately 15 miles apart.  

                         •Michmash           •Gilgal
               Geba•
  Gibeah •   

So Saul spread news of this victory to all of Israel, then combined all three thousand troops together in Gilgal and declared war on the Philistines. 

The Philistines then assembled a huge army of 30,000 chariots, 6,000 horsemen and more soldiers than one could count. Just counting the chariots and horsemen alone, it was twelve times the manpower that Saul had. Seeing this, many of the soldiers of Israel were frightened and hid themselves in caves and forests and such, and others went to the land of Gad and Gilead, east of the Jordan for refuge. The remaining soldiers stayed with Saul, but even those trembled in fear. 

Now, Samuel had told Saul to wait for him, seven days, and he would come to Gilgal and make offerings to the Lord before they went to battle. But when Samuel was late in arriving, Saul grew impatient and made the offerings himself. Just as Saul had finished making the burnt offering, Samuel arrived. 

What have you done? Samuel asked Saul, and Saul explained that a number of his troops had abandoned and the Philistines were gathered together. With Samuel's absence, he was afraid that they would attack before offerings were made to the Lord, so he took it upon himself to do it. 

Well, this was a mistake. How so? you may ask. Think back to the situation with Abraham and Sarah, and when Sarah was impatient waiting for the child that the Lord promised, and they took it upon themselves to have a surrogate ... You remember that whole thing? But we're not just talking about impatience here, as you might imagine, an offering as important as this was probably supposed to be performed by a Levite priest, which Saul was not. I don't recall reading anything about Samuel telling Saul, "In case I get stuck in traffic, go on ahead and start the fire without me." God's timing isn't always our timing. How many times in our own lives do we find it necessary to go on ahead with our own plans because we're too impatient to wait on the Lord's plan? At any rate, Saul was told by God's Prophet to wait for Samuel, and no matter what the circumstance, he should have waited.  

So Samuel said to Saul, You did a foolish thing and didn't obey the commandment of the Lord. Your kingdom would have been established forever in Israel, but now, your kingdom won't continue. You see, the Lord wants a man after His own heart to be captain over His people.  

How do you think Samuel was feeling about all of this? Remember, Samuel was annoyed that the children of Israel chose to have a king in the first place, so one might wonder what his perspective was. Well, one thing is certain, Samuel was a Prophet of God, and he loved the people he served for the Lord. Even though Samuel may not have been tickled pink about the prospect of having a human king over Israel, he also knew that Saul didn't choose to be king either ... The people wanted a king, and he was God's anointed, so one might assume that Samuel, in the interest of the welfare of Israel, wished Saul prosperity, so quite naturally, Samuel was disappointed at Saul, and he left Gilgal and went home to Gibeah. Saul and Jonathan followed with the mere 600 soldiers that were left. 

OUCH!

"Your kingdom won't continue." 

What does that mean? Well, had Saul proved himself to be trustworthy to follow God's Word, the throne would have passed on to his son Jonathan, and then Jonathan's son after him, and so on, continuing in Saul's bloodline forever ... BUT ... Since Saul displayed dishonor in carrying out the Lord's commandment, he lost the privilege.  

Now, the Philistines also had a camp in Michmash, and while Saul and Jonathan and their small amount of soldiers remained in Gibeah because they knew they couldn't defend the land, the Philistines raided the area in three companies, in three different directions around Michmash. Obviously controlling the area, they then prohibited the Hebrews from making any swords or spears ... And any farming tools that they needed to have sharpened, had to be taken to the Philistines to do it. So, when there was warfare, the Hebrews were weaponless, however, Saul and Jonathan were both found possessing weapons ... Isn't that curious? 

One might come to a few different conclusions about that, but consider this ... 

Perhaps the Lord wanted to make the ultimate point, that weapons would not win any battles for the children of Israel ... Only the power of God would. 

Anxious to find out what happens next? Stay tuned!

 

THE FIRST BOOK OF SAMUEL

CHAPTER 14
 

As you may recall, things aren't looking too bright for Saul and the army of Israel. Israel is not only sorely outnumbered by the army of the Philistines, but they (except for Saul and Jonathan, his son) have no swords or spears to fight against their opponents with, so basically, they're sitting idle, while the Philistines are gaining control of more and more of Israel. 

Well, don't be too downhearted because the Lord is about to give 'em a break.  

But first, a little tidbit ... You see, the ammunition of those days was quite bulky, as one might imagine ... Arrows, spears, swords ... It must have been quite a burden to carry any amount of those things. Not to mention, the armor itself that a soldier wore was quite heavy. So, while en route from the camp to the battle site, a soldier had an armor bearer, who carried the armor and weaponry so the soldier wouldn't be too tuckered out to fight once he reached the battle. 

It seems that one day, Jonathan had an idea. While Saul sat idle in the outskirts of Gibeah with the six hundred (bless their hearts) soldiers that remained steadfast for Israel, Jonathan secretly summoned his armor bearer to sneak over with him to the Philistines camp to sort of stir things up a bit. He also professed his faith to his armor bearer that there's no limit to what God can do, and that He could save Israel with many soldiers ... Or with just a few. 

Jonathan's armor bearer agreed to go along with anything Jonathan thought best. Now, the Philistine's camp was up on a cliff and Jonathan said, We'll reveal ourselves outright to them, and if they tell us to come on up to them, we'll take it as a sign from the Lord that we'll prevail over them, but if they tell us to wait and that they'll come down to us, then we'll stay put, and not go up. 

So, up they go, climbing this cliff, which in itself must have been a feat, and the Philistines spotted them. Don't forget now, even though the Philistines have been gaining control of the area, they're probably still a mite scorned because of the last time Jonathan attacked their camp in Geba, and Saul made sure the whole land knew about it, so the Philistines beefed up their army, and ever since, the Hebrews have been apprehensive to confront them. 

"LOOK! The Hebrews are coming out of their hiding places! C'mon up ... We've got something to show you!" ... They mocked. 

Well, Jonathan accepted this invitation as a victory, and immediately continued to ascend the cliff with his armor bearer following. The hand of the Lord was definitely with them, because the Philistines fell before them, effortlessly. The earth even quaked, and Saul's watchman from Gibeah could see the Philistines fleeing their camp and even killing one another in panic.  

When Saul heard that the Philistine camp was in an uproar, he asked who it was that caused all the commotion, so they did a count and discovered that Jonathan and his armor bearer were missing. Saul then called for Ahiah the priest to bring the ark of God. (To refresh your memory a bit, in the days of Joshua, the children of Israel would bring the Ark of God to a battle site in hopes that it would save them.) While Saul talked to Ahiah, the confusion among the Philistines camp grew even louder so Saul took his men and when they came into view of what was happening they saw the Philistines killing ... Each other! News of this spread quickly throughout the land, and all the Hebrews that had previously abandoned Saul and Jonathan rejoined with them in battle. 

Here comes an interesting twist to the story. Saul, anxious to further avenge himself on his enemies, solemnly commanded the people that if anyone stopped fighting and tasted any food until the evening, they would be cursed. The Hebrews, though they were weary, feared the curse so they obeyed ... But Jonathan didn't hear Saul proclaim the curse, and as they entered a forest, he ate a piece of an honeycomb and he gained virtue.

When the people realized that Jonathan ate, they told him about the curse that Saul announced, and Jonathan said that Saul hadn't done well with this curse, because if they had eaten some food, they would have had more strength for an even greater slaughter of the Philistines. 

The Hebrews continued to strike down the Philistines until the evening and they were very faint. Late in the evening when the fear of the curse had ended, the people took a great spoil of the Philistines camp, killing sheep and oxen and calves and eating them with the blood, which was against the commandment of God. When Saul heard of it, he ordered that a great stone be rolled into the middle of them so they could kill their sacrifices on it and pour out the blood so that it was acceptable to God. This was the first altar Saul built as king. 

After this, Saul wanted to go back to pursuing the Philistines during the night and attack until the morning until there wasn't a single one left. The people agreed, so Saul asked the priest to ask God if he would deliver them into the hand of Israel, but God didn't answer. Saul knew that God didn't refuse to answer without good reason, and that there was sin that was concealed, which was why God kept silent, so he gathered all the people to find out who had sinned. 

Saul then swore that even if it proved to be Jonathan his son who had sinned, he would surely die ... But when nobody confessed anything, he decided to reveal the sinner by casting lots. When the lot fell on Jonathan, Saul asked what he had done. Jonathan said, I only tasted a little honey, and now I must die. Saul answered, God do so and more also: for thou shalt surely die, Jonathan.

Whew! Ya gotta know this was a terribly emotional situation! Saul swore to the Lord that even though it was his son, he would have to die, and was ready to stand by his word for God. Jonathan, just as honorable, offered himself willingly.

But the people interjected ... "Should Jonathan, the one who initiated this great salvation in Israel, die? God forbid! As the Lord lives, there shall not one hair of his head fall to the ground ... He worked with God today!" 

So the people rescued Jonathan, and Saul returned home. He also fought against the neighboring nations on every side. There was bitter war against the Philistines all the days of Saul's reign, and whenever Saul saw a strong or valiant man, he took him as part of his posse.

More adventures that happened during Saul's reign, next!

 

THE FIRST BOOK OF SAMUEL

CHAPTER 15

 

Let's go back a smidgeon, shall we? Remember all the way back in the book of Exodus when the Amalekites attacked Israel as they were on their way to the Promised Land? 

Exodus 17:8-16
Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim. And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: to morrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand. So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek: and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword. And the LORD said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under Heaven. And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovahnissi: For he said, Because the LORD hath sworn that the LORD will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.

Deuteronomy 25:17-19
Remember what Amalek did unto thee by the way, when ye were come forth out of Egypt; How he met thee by the way, and smote the hindmost of thee, even all that were feeble behind thee, when thou wast faint and weary; and he feared not God. Therefore it shall be, when the LORD thy God hath given thee rest from all thine enemies round about, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance to possess it, that thou shalt blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under Heaven; thou shalt not forget it.

 Well folks, it looks like the time of reckoning has arrived because Samuel informed Saul that the Lord had a mission for him concerning Amalek. 

1 Samuel 15:3
Now go and smite Amalek, and
utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.

 So, Saul gathered quite an army of over 200,000 strong, and they set up in ambush in a city of Amalek, but first Saul alerted the Kenites to leave the area where they lived in the vicinity, because they were kindred to Moses' father-in-law. 

There was a terrible slaughter of the Amalekites, but Saul spared one person alive and took him prisoner, which was Agag, the king of the Amalekites. In addition, they kept the best of the sheep, oxen, fatlings, lambs and all that they felt was worthy of regard, but all else, they destroyed.

            Uh oh ... Do you sense more trouble for Saul? Uh huh ... You're probably thinking, Geez boy! Haven't you learned yet to obey the Lord completely who appointed you king of His people! 

Well ... The Lord sent Word to Samuel, saying, It makes me sorry that I made Saul king ... He doesn't listen to me. 

This grieved Samuel, and he cried to God all night. Bless old Samuel's heart ... A lot like Moses, wasn't he? Even though he knew that the Lord was wronged, he still loved the people so, that he prayed for them sincerely for God's Grace. 

Now, Saul had gone home and when Samuel found him the next morning, Saul bragged that he had been victorious in carrying out the Lord's bidding as if he had obeyed the Word that the Lord sent through Samuel to the letter, when in TRUTH, Saul merely did what he thought was best, and not what the Lord commanded him.

Samuel replied, Then why is it that I hear the bleating of sheep and the lowing of oxen in my ears?

Saul answered that the people spared the best of the sheep and oxen to sacrifice to the Lord, but the rest, they utterly destroyed. Samuel said to Saul ... Listen while I tell you what the Lord told me last night. When you were unworthy in your own mind, weren't you made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the Lord anointed you king over Israel? The Lord sent you on a mission to UTTERLY DESTROY the sinners -- the Amalekites -- until they were consumed. Why didn't you obey the voice of the Lord, but instead you reserved the best and did evil in the eyes of the Lord?

Saul disagreed, Yes I have obeyed ... And have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. But the people took the sheep and oxen and the choice things that should have been utterly destroyed to sacrifice to God in Gilgal.

Samuel asked Saul ... Does the Lord delight in sacrifices as much as in obedience to the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen to Him is better than the fat of rams. Because you have rejected the Word of the Lord, He has also rejected you from being king.

Finally, Saul confessed that he had disobeyed the commandment of the Lord and the orders of His Prophet because he feared the people and obeyed their voice. Saul asked Samuel to forgive him and go with him to worship the Lord, but Samuel refused, saying, I will not ... You have rejected the Word of the Lord and he has rejected you from being king over Israel.

As Samuel turned to walk away, Saul took hold of Samuel's coat and it tore. And Samuel said to Saul, In the same way, the Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel away from you today, and has given it to someone better than you. Samuel also added that God wasn't kidding, and that He wouldn't change His mind.

Saul again admitted to his sin, and asked Samuel to accompany him in worshipping God before Israel, so Samuel obliged him the favor.

Then Samuel ordered that Agag be brought to him, and Agag came cheerfully, commenting that certainly the bitterness of death had past. Samuel answered him ... As your sword has made women childless, your mother shall also be childless among women. And Samuel cut up Agag in pieces before the Lord in Gilgal.

Samuel went home to Ramah, and Saul went home to Gibeah ... And Samuel never went to see Saul again, but Samuel mourned for Saul, and the Lord regretted that He had made Saul king over Israel.

Sooooo, who will be the next king of Israel?

 

THE FIRST BOOK OF SAMUEL

CHAPTER 16

 

This story is one of the great ones of Bible history. Let's see, where did we leave Samuel and Saul in the last chapter? Oh yes, the Lord told Samuel that the kingdom of Israel would be taken away from Saul because he had rejected the Word of the Lord by not utterly destroying the Amalekites, and that was just shortly after being reprimanded for disregarding Samuel (the Lord's Prophet) when he told Saul to wait for his arrival to make offerings before going to battle against the Philistines. 

So, Samuel was sad ... Probably for several reasons, mainly because he was a man with a good heart, and though he disapproved of Saul's actions, he still grieved for him. But don't forget what led up to all of this in the first place. Samuel was getting very old and it was difficult for him to be sojourning through Israel judging the matters of the people, so he put his two sons in charge, who didn't have the best interests of Israel at heart, as Samuel did. The people recognized this and asked for a king. Think Samuel didn't feel guilty and frustrated, and probably a whole myriad of different emotions about all of that? Certainly, he must have. 

Now, remember, the Lord told Samuel ... The people aren't rejecting you, they're rejecting ME. They don't want ME to rule over them, so I will choose a king for them. Well, now it looks as though this king isn't after the Lord's own heart, so Samuel ... Possibly still feeling a bit responsible for the whole ordeal ... Lamented for Saul. 

So the Lord said to Samuel ... How long are you gonna pout about Saul? Fill your horn with oil and go to Jesse in Bethlehem. I've chosen me a king from his sons. But Samuel was afraid that Saul would kill him if he heard about it, so the Lord told Samuel to say that he had gone there to sacrifice to the Lord. 

When Samuel saw Jesse's eldest son, he presumed that surely this was the Lord's chosen, because of his appearance.  

1 Samuel 16:7
 But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.

 So Jesse called five other of his sons to appear before Samuel, but Samuel told Jesse, the Lord has not chosen these ... Are these all your sons?

Well, there's still David, the youngest ... He's out tending the sheep. 

So Samuel told Jesse they couldn't go to the sacrifice until David came in from the fields.  

David had a beautiful countenance (appearance and manner), and the Lord said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he. 

Can you just imagine the relief that Samuel felt? He took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of all his brothers (which must have caused some emotions of jealousy to be stirred within them), and the Spirit of the Lord was upon David from that day forward. So Samuel went home to Ramah ... And what do you think happened to Saul? 

Well, the Spirit of the Lord was upon David now, so it departed from Saul, and instead, an evil spirit from God troubled him. Saul's servants suggested that he find someone who could play the harp, to soothe him and make him feel better, so Saul ordered that they find someone to sort of "charm" the evil spirit out of him.  

One of the servants knew that David was skillful on the harp and smart and that the Lord was with him, so Saul sent to Jesse requesting to take David from the flocks because he had heard of his good character. So Jesse sent David with gifts to take to Saul, and David served Saul, and Saul loved David greatly and made him his armor-bearer. 

So Saul sent to Jesse and requested that David stay with him because he was so delighted in him, and whenever the evil spirit was upon Saul, David played on the harp, the evil spirit departed and Saul was refreshed.  

And that's just the beginning of David's story ... As you read through the history of king David, remember that it was through his bloodline that Jesus was born. 

Wait 'till you see what's next!

THE FIRST BOOK OF SAMUEL

CHAPTER 17

 

Now we have a real treat.  In case you never knew, David was very beloved in the eyes of the Lord, and probably one of the major reasons for that was that David trusted the Lord implicitly.  This story is a perfect example.  The story of David and Goliath. 

First, let's talk about the Philistines for a moment. The Philistines lived in Canaan before the Hebrews came up from Egypt to inherit it from the Lord, so naturally, they're a bit miffed about these former slaves of Egypt claiming that suddenly their land no longer belongs to them, because the Lord gave it to the children of Israel. Now, how is one supposed to feel about this? Are you supposed to feel sorry for them because if someone tried to evict you from your home that you paid for and loved ... You'd be quite upset too?  Perhaps some feel that way, but God saw the people of Canaan as heathen because they worshipped other gods and did many other despicable things in His eyes. So the diverse peoples of Canaan that God originally gave this beautiful land of milk and honey to, lost their privilege of keeping it by forsaking the Lord ... And our Lord can do whatever He pleases! 

Job 1:21
... the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.

Now, many of the Canaanites surrendered and left the Promised Land, knowing the power of the Lord, having heard of the signs and miracles that he wrought in Egypt and during the 40 years that the children of Israel were in the wilderness, but some resisted and probably the most persistent resisters were the Philistines, who continually organized armies that rose up against Israel to "reclaim" their native land. And don't forget, as I frequently remind, that God warned they would be a pain in the neck because the children of Israel didn't completely destroy them back during the conquest of Canaan. Ha, did I say pain in the neck? I meant thorn in the side. If you're really interested in history, and how it affects the present times and the future, you probably wouldn't be surprised at who the Philistines are today, and that they're still trying to "reclaim" their native land ... Just as the Lord said they would. 

Now, on with our story. The Philistines again have gotten together an impressive army and have gathered on top of a mountain to fight against Israel, so Saul and the army of Israel pitched their camp on a mountain top not far away, with a valley in between the two armies. Now, David's three oldest brothers were soldiers in Saul's army and David, being just a youngster was back at home tending the sheep. 

Right about now you may be wondering ... Why, since David has already been anointed the next king of Israel, is Saul still acting as reigning king? Actually, the Bible doesn't say exactly why, but we might look at a possible answer. In those days, a king reigned until his death, whereupon usually the eldest son of the king inherited the throne. We know that God already told Saul that the kingdom would be taken away from him, perhaps meaning that it wouldn't be passed down to anyone of his bloodline, but that Saul was to reign until his own death. You'll discover soon that David was very respectful of Saul's anointing, even though he was already anointed to be the next king. Now, where were we ... 

So, out of the Philistine army, this great big Philistine named Goliath comes down to the valley between the two armies heavily armored and with his armor bearer to address the army of Israel. Goliath was a giant ... Nine feet nine inches tall! What's up with that, you may ask. If you think back, the days of the judges after Joshua died, lasted about 400 years, and during the time of Joshua there were still giants in Gaza, Gath and Ashdod. 

Joshua 11:22
There was none of the Anakims (giants) left in the land of the children of Israel: only in Gaza, in Gath, and in Ashdod, there remained.

Apparently, there were enough giants still in Joshua's time, that 400 years (or approx. 4 or 5 generations) later, they still existed, if only few in number. 

About this Goliath fellow ... Obviously, he was like a hero to the Philistines, and he confronted the Hebrews from the valley between them to send over a soldier to represent Israel and fight against him one on one ... Goliath said: If he can fight with me and kill me, then we'll be your servants, but if I  kill him, then you'll be our servants, and serve us. I challenge the army of Israel today ... Send me a man so we can fight! Then Goliath returned to his camp at the top of the mountain and this scared the army of Israel witless. Goliath returned to the valley forty days running, speaking the same challenge, and Saul and his army were terrified.

In the meantime, Jesse sent David with a little care package for his sons and to find out how they were faring. Now, it happened that the Philistines decided to fight army against army instead of one on one, and right as David arrived and was greeting his brothers, he heard Goliath come out from among the Philistine army and deliver his challenge. You can imagine that this giant, clad in armor that alone weighed hundreds of pounds, was a mite more terrifying close up than viewing him from half a mountain away, and the soldiers of Israel fled at his presence. 

The men of Israel said, They've sent this man to shame Israel. Certainly the king will reward the man who kills him with great riches and give him his daughter in marriage, and reward his father's family too.  

David, being zealous for the Lord said to the men close by, Who does this Philistine think he is, trying to shame the armies of the living God? And what will be done for the man that kills him? 

When David's oldest brother heard David inquiring more about the whole situation, he grew angry and said, Why did you come here? And who did you leave those sheep with in the wilderness? I know you just came here to sneak a look at the battle. And David replied ... What have I done wrong? Isn't that a good reason? And David continued talking with the other soldiers. 

When Saul was informed that David was eager to fight against Goliath, he sent for him and David said, Don't let any soldier of Israel lose heart because of this Philistine ... I'll go and fight with him. 

Saul replied, You can't go against this giant ... You're just a boy, and he's a man of war since he was a child. Then David told Saul that the Lord once saved him from a lion and a bear, as he was tending the sheep. David said that he killed them both, and this Philistine will be dead too, and that God would protect and assist him since this Philistine had shamed the armies of the living God. 

Seeing the intensity of faith that David had of God's presence with him, Saul clothed David with his armor but walking in armor is not like walking in regular clothing ... One must learn how to maneuver in it. David said, I can't wear this, and he took it off. Instead he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in his shepherd's bag, took his sling in his hand and proceeded toward Goliath. 

When Goliath saw David approaching, he despised the fact that this child thought he could beat him with weapons that are more appropriate for driving away a dog, and asked David ... Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks? Goliath also cursed David by his gods and told him that he would feed him to the birds and beasts. 

David replied to Goliath, You come to me with a sword and a spear and a shield, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have shamed. Today the Lord will deliver you into my hand and I will kill you and take your head off, and I'll give the carcasses of the army of the Philistines to the birds and beasts of the earth today, that all may know that there is a God in Israel. And all of Israel will know that the Lord doesn't save with sword and spear ... The battle is the Lord's, and He will give you into our hands. 

Now, you must imagine, Goliath, confident that he would defeat David, who was just a child, and not to mention, seemingly unarmed, began walking toward him, slowly, as a person wearing armor certainly can't be swift in running. But David on the other hand, ran toward Goliath, and reaching in his bag, took out a stone and slang it. The stone sunk into Goliath's head, causing him to fall. Well, David had no sword of his own, so he ran up on Goliath and borrowed his sword, cutting off Goliath's head. 

Seeing that their champion was dead, the rest of the Philistines ran off, but the soldiers of Israel and of Judah had a renewed attitude about fighting against them and they chased them far away and looted their tents. 

David took the head of Goliath and brought it to Jerusalem, and Saul had David brought to him and asked, Whose son are you?  And David answered, I am the son of Jesse the Bethlehemite. 

You may think this is a little strange, seeing that in our last chapter Saul sent to Jesse and had David brought to him, who played on his harp when the evil spirit from God was upon him. It also says that Saul loved him greatly and sent to Jesse asking that David remain with him ... But now he doesn't know who's son he is ... As if he doesn't recognize him.  Let's look at some possible explanations for this.

One possibility is that God prevented Saul from recognizing David ... After all, how would Saul feel, knowing that his replacement was about to be God's major player in saving the army of Israel from the Philistines? Pride or jealousy or anger may have caused him not to allow David to fight against Goliath.  

Another possibility is that Saul simply may not have recognized David. We don't know how much time had elapsed from the time David stood before Saul as his armor-bearer and played the harp for him, until this battle occurred. And though scripture says that Saul loved David greatly, that doesn't necessarily mean that they had a close friendship. What? Well, many people say that they love Barry Manilow, but they've never even seen him. And as for David "standing before" Saul, that may merely mean that he was a servant, of which the king had many, the same probably being true of being his armor bearer.  

Don't forget that Saul was also troubled by an evil spirit from God, so he may have been so out of his head during the time that David served him that it may have been difficult to remember what he had for breakfast on any given day, let alone who a servant boy's daddy was from ago. 

Some more great stories ahead, so let's carry on!

 

THE FIRST BOOK OF SAMUEL

CHAPTER 18

 

As you recall, in the last chapter we shared the story of David and Goliath, and because of the strength of God in him, David was held in very high esteem of the children of Israel, having saved them from the Philistines and Goliath, who the Philistines where counting on to ascertain victory over Israel. 

And as it happened, at that time, Jonathan, Saul's son, met David and ... 

1 Samuel 18:3
Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul.

They weren't just pals ... They were the best of friends, and because Jonathan felt such an immense bond with David, they made a covenant. Now, you won't find the words of that covenant in Chapter 18, but I went ahead and cheated a little bit and read further so that you could know what it was ... 

1 Samuel 20:42
... we have sworn both of us in the name of the LORD, saying, The LORD be between me and thee, and between my seed and thy seed for ever.

Now what does that mean ... In modern English, since the lingo of King James' era was a littttle bit different than we talk today. It probably means something like, May the Lord always keep our friendship together, and our children too, and forever after. Then Jonathan gave David his coat, garments, sword, bow and belt. One might imagine that this gesture showed that this covenant meant a lot to Jonathan, since he was a man of valor and these things must have certainly been special to him. We'll talk more about the covenant between David and Jonathan when we get to Chapter 20. 

As you can tell, the Spirit of the Lord was with David, and he won the respect of all Israel, including the soldiers that Saul put him in charge of, and Saul's other servants as well. When they returned from the battle where David slew Goliath, the women of all the cities, in celebration, went to meet the king with music and singing and dancing, and they chanted back and forth to one another saying ... 

Saul has killed his thousands ...

And David his ten thousands ... 

... Which sparked a considerable amount of jealousy in the king, since David was enjoying the thrill of the victory and the attention and admiration of the people, and God's favor ... The only thing that David didn't have, in Saul's opinion ... Was the kingdom.  The Bible says ...

1 Samuel 18:9
And Saul eyed David from that day and forward.

It's a pretty good guess that "eyed" means that Saul was either jealous, suspicious, envious, or all of the above. The next day, the evil spirit from God came upon Saul again. David played the harp for him to calm him and there was a javelin in Saul's hand, which he threw at David, intending to skewer him to the wall with it, but David escaped it ... Twice! 

Now as we said, the Lord was with David, and had left Saul. Make no mistake ... Saul knew the power of the Lord, having experienced first hand some pretty amazing stuff, so knowing that the power of the Lord now rested with David, and that he was experiencing evil spirits sent from God, it made Saul afraid of David. So, what do you think Saul did next? He promoted David from being his harp player in his house and his armor bearer, to being the captain over a thousand soldiers of the army of Israel. A promotion? Perhaps ... But also a lot more dangerous of a job for David than playing the harp, and for Saul a lot more security than having a giant killer that you're afraid of, carrying your weapons. All in all, David's demise was what Saul was scheming, which was far more likely with him on the battlefield. 

That wasn't the entire plan Saul had to bringing David down. He then offered his elder daughter to David for a wife if he would be strong and fight the Lord's battles. Of course his ulterior motive was that the Philistines would kill David instead of he himself killing him, and that way his name wouldn't be shamed.

An interesting thing to note is that if we go back to Chapter 17, you'll see that David actually already won the daughter of the king, among other things, because he killed Goliath ... 

1 Samuel 17:25
And the men of Israel said, Have ye seen this man that is come up? surely to defy Israel is he come up: and it shall be, that the man who killeth him, the king will enrich him with great riches, and will give him his daughter, and make his father's house free in Israel.

But David, instead of saying, UHHH, according to the fellas out on the battlefield, I already won the wench ... Being an humble person, (just as Saul once was) said:

1 Samuel 18:18
Who am I? and what is my life, or my father's family in Israel, that I should be son in law to the king?

Remember? Saul said a similar thing when Samuel told him he was gonna be king!

1 Samuel 9:21
Am not I a Benjamite, of the smallest of the tribes of Israel? and my family the least of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin? wherefore then speakest thou so to me?

You've gotta know, this was a weird predicament David was in. Being son-in-law to the king was sure to have its perks ... But one may not be so anxious if the king has already wielded his spear at ya a couple of times with no good reason known to you! After all, you were just playin' a little jam on the harp to get his
kingship to simmer down and relax because obviously something was troubling him.
 

Well, it turns out that Saul's eldest daughter was given to someone else to marry, but Saul's daughter Michal loved David. This pleased Saul, hoping that she would be a trap for David ... How so you ask? 

In those days, a dowry was required of a prospective groom. What is a dowry? In polite terms, it is a gift from the groom to the parents of the bride ... In frank terms, it's a price for a wife. Now, Saul told his servants to secretly tell David that the king wanted him to be his son-in-law, and David replied, Is it no big deal to you to be a king's son-in-law, since I'm a poor man? Well, the servants relayed this back to Saul, who then told the servants to tell David that he didn't want any dowry, but to kill one hundred uncircumcised Philistines to be avenged of the king's enemies. Saul thought surely that David would be killed in an attempt to do something so dangerous. 

Well, David went above and beyond the required dowry substitute and killed two hundred Philistines, so Saul gave him Michal to be his wife. Saul recognized that the Lord was with David and that Michal loved him, and this made Saul all the more afraid of David and all the more his enemy. As for David, he conducted himself more wisely than all of Saul's servants, and everyone knew it. 

Wow! What a story! Can't wait to find out what Saul has in store for David next, can you?

THE FIRST BOOK OF SAMUEL

CHAPTER 19

 

We have quite a story unfolding about king Saul and David, haven't we? Let's just summarize a bit to kind of get it all into perspective, shall we?

Let's just say you're David ... Just a young lad, and you get called in from the sheep field one day and this Prophet of God anoints you the next king of Israel ... You're really like the king-elect because king Saul is still alive.  

About this time, king Saul is troubled by an evil spirit sent from God. Perhaps you've read about people who are troubled by evil spirits ... You might call them crazy or lunatic or possessed or ... Out of their mind! At any rate, you're recommended to go and play your harp for the king to attempt to "refresh" him. Lucky you! The king promotes you to being his armor-bearer. 

Shortly thereafter the Philistines are threatening Israel once again, so king Saul sends you home and gets an army together and they go set up camp. Your daddy sends you with a care package of bread and corn and cheese out to your brothers who are soldiers for Israel, and for their captain. This is when you observe a giant, humiliating the army of your God and your homeland and the Lord gives you the wherewithal to kill this big bully with a sling and a stone ... And the giants own sword!   

Wait ... It goes on ... The multitude of your fellow Israelites think you're a hero, but the king is a little less than thrilled with you when the ladies of the kingdom start singing higher praises for you than for him. To the king, this is a threat to his popularity, his valor, and his kingdom ... But you ... You're just trying to be a good, humble, God-fearing fellow. The king promotes (?) you again to being a captain of a thousand soldiers ... An extremely dangerous position (in hopes that you'll be killed), then has another bout of evil-spirit-itis and when you play your harp to calm him, he chunks a javelin at you a couple of times. Where's the gratitude? you wonder.

The king offers you his daughter in marriage if you'll kill a hundred of his Philistine enemies, not so much because he doesn't want you to feel bad for not having a dowry, but more so because the chances of your getting slain in the effort are very good ... Ha ... Excellent in fact. You, being assisted by God, instead, kill two hundred of the Philistines instead of the mere one hundred required ... You rascal! You marry the king's daughter Michal and the more the Israelites love you ... The more king Saul hates you. 

And that's where we left off!

Now, Saul may have an evil spirit haunting him, but he still has enough soundness of mind to plot David's demise. So he speaks to all his servants AND his son Jonathan and encourages them to kill David. This doesn't sit too well with Jonathan, seeing that David is his bosom buddy, so Jonathan tells David about Saul's plan and suggests that he (David) hides, while Jonathan tries to talk some sense into his dad. Jonathan recounts to Saul all the good things David has done, putting his life at stake and that through David, the Lord brought about a great deliverance from the Philistines for Israel, adding that Saul saw it himself and rejoiced about it. Jonathan asked Saul why he would sin against someone innocent without a reason. 

Sooooo ... Saul listened to Jonathan and promised ... 

1 Samuel 19:6
... As the LORD liveth, he shall not be slain.

So, Jonathan repeated to David what Saul had said, and once again David served in Saul's presence, like before. 

And again there was war with the Philistines, and David had an impressive victory ... And again there was an evil spirit from the Lord upon Saul, and just like before, while David played the harp for him, Saul tried to impale David with his javelin. David escaped and went to his own house, and in turn, Saul sent messengers to David's house to watch him and to kill him in the morning.  

Well, Michal (David's wife and Saul's daughter) loved David and recognized what Saul was about to have done, so she told David and let him down through a window. He escaped while Michal prepared the bed to appear that David was sleeping in it and told the messengers in the morning that David was sick, and they relayed the message to Saul. But Saul sent the messengers back to bring David to him in the bed so he could kill him. Well, when they returned to get David, they found that nobody was in the bed after all and that David had escaped. When Saul asked Michal why she helped David escape, she lied to him saying that it was because David threatened to kill her, so she let him go. 

Be sure to check out Psalm 59 which David wrote about this very night! 

So David went to Samuel in Ramah and told him everything that Saul had done. They left Ramah together and went to Naioth to stay and Saul got wind of it, so he sent messengers there to take David, but when they arrived, the Lord caused them to prophesy. 

What in the world does that mean? 

Well, in this case, it was to speak or to sing by inspiration of God, either predicting something or simply stating something that the Lord wants known. It's important to know that when this happens to some people, it takes a lot of their virtue (strength) and they become very weak afterward.  

So when Saul found out that his messengers prophesied (and having experienced prophesying before himself), he sent more messengers and the same thing happened to the second group, so he sent even more messengers a third time and they prophesied as well. Finally Saul went to Ramah himself and the Lord caused him to prophesy too, right there with Samuel. 

Now, wait a minute, you may be saying ... I thought Samuel didn't see Saul ever again after Saul kept Agag (the king of the Amalekites) alive when God commanded Saul to entirely destroy all of the Amalekites. To put your mind at ease, the Bible says that Samuel never again went to visit Saul, but not vice versa. 

Well, it looks like Saul isn't gonna back down from his animosity toward David, but don't forget God is on David's side and at David's side. There's a lot more to come in this historical story to share together!

 

THE FIRST BOOK OF SAMUEL

CHAPTER 20

 

We have quite an interesting story unfolding haven't we? Just a short review of what happened last in our story ... After David returned from yet another victory over the Philistines, the evil spirit from the Lord was once again upon Saul and while David played the harp to comfort him, Saul again tried to spear David to the wall. David escaped and went home to Michal, who warned David that Saul would have David killed by morning if he didn't escape now, so David went to see Samuel in Ramah. Saul sent messengers after David three times, but when they arrived in Ramah, the spirit of God caused them all to prophesy, so Saul finally went to Ramah himself, and Saul prophesied as well. 

Well, David had already seen Saul favor him, and then hate him, and then favor him again, and then hate him again, so he wasn't about to take any chances and he promptly left Ramah and went to talk to Jonathan.   

David asked Jonathan, What have I done that makes your dad want to kill me? Jonathan didn't believe it and assured David that Saul wouldn't do anything like that without notifying him first. But David told Jonathan that he had no doubt that Saul wouldn't confide this plan to Jonathan because he knew that it would grieve him since he loved David so.  

Jonathan promised David that whatever he wanted him to do to help him, he would do. So David explained this plan to Jonathan. Tomorrow is the full moon and the king will expect me at dinner, but instead I'll go hide in the field until the evening of the third day. If the king asks about me, tell him that I asked permission to go to Bethlehem (where his family lived) for a yearly sacrifice that my family observes. If he says, It is good that he went, then I will feel safe, but if he is angry, then be certain that he plans evil against me. So please do me a favor and if you discover any wickedness in me, prevent your dad from doing this, and kill me yourself.

Amazing! How righteous can a soul be?! David would rather Jonathan kill him if there was any chance that Saul's motives against David were justified, to spare any kind of shame or endangerment to the reputation of the anointed of the Lord. 

Remember back in Chapter 18 when we learned about the covenant that David and Jonathan made between them? Well, at such a time as this, you can bet that they would remind one another about their bond ...  

1 Samuel 18:3
Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul.

As one might imagine, this is a very highly emotional and confusing time for both Jonathan and David. Jonathan is befuddled to say the least that his dad, the king of Israel (not long ago a meek and humble man who didn't feel worthy to be in such an honored position as king of God's people), has a vengeance against his beloved friend ... And David, just a young man doing God's will is being hunted by the Lord's anointed!  

Now let's see, straight from the Bible, as it elaborates on the covenant between David and Jonathan, shall we? 

1 Samuel 20:12-17
 And Jonathan said unto David, O LORD God of Israel, when I have sounded my father about to morrow any time, or the third day, and, behold, if there be good toward David, and I then send not unto thee, and show it thee; The LORD do so and much more to Jonathan: but if it please my father to do thee evil, then I will show it thee, and send thee away, that thou mayest go in peace: and the LORD be with thee, as he hath been with my father. And thou shalt not only while yet I live show me the kindness of the LORD, that I die not: But also thou shalt not cut off thy kindness from my house for ever: no, not when the LORD hath cut off the enemies of David every one from the face of the earth. So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, Let the LORD even require it at the hand of David's enemies. And Jonathan caused David to swear again, because he loved him: for he loved him as he loved his own soul.

So a plan had to be made to get the news to David, as to how Saul reacted to his absence at dinner, and Jonathan said that he would take a lad with him to the field where David would be hiding, and would shoot three arrows. If the arrows landed close to Jonathan in front of the lad, then all was well ... But if the arrows landed beyond the lad, that meant, RUN FOR YOUR LIFE! 

And though the outcome wasn't what either David or Jonathan had hoped, they carried out their plan because Saul was indeed angry when he asked Jonathan about David's absence and Jonathan explained that he had given David permission to go visit his family. 

And the truth was revealed as to why Saul held so much perfect hatred for David. He told Jonathan that as long as David was alive, the kingdom could not be passed down to Jonathan (as the Lord had anointed David to be the next king at the passing of Saul). He even ordered Jonathan to go fetch David and bring him to Saul so that he could kill him. But Jonathan, who had no desire for the kingdom, but only the safety and well being of his friend, said in reply, Why should he be killed, what has he done? 

This angered Saul so deeply, that he picked up a javelin and threw it at Jonathan intending to kill his own son! By this time, Jonathan was thoroughly convinced that Saul indeed intended to kill David and he left the table enraged that his Dad had grieved David by such shameful behavior. 

The next morning Jonathan shot the arrows beyond the mark in the field where he and David agreed, then gave his artillery to the lad and dismissed him. 

1 Samuel 20:41-42
And as soon as the lad was gone, David arose out of a place toward the south, and fell on his face to the ground, and bowed himself three times: and they kissed one another, and wept one with another, until David exceeded. And Jonathan said to David, Go in peace, forasmuch as we have sworn both of us in the name of the LORD, saying, The LORD be between me and thee, and between my seed and thy seed for ever. And he arose and departed: and Jonathan went into the city.

Are you excited to see what happens next?

 

THE FIRST BOOK OF SAMUEL

CHAPTER 21

 

And what an exciting story we're discovering.  We just learned in our last chapter that king Saul revealed his contempt for David to his son Jonathan, so David left Gibeah. But before that, it looked like things were going splendidly well ... By God's hand, David had become a hero, killing Goliath the giant and leading Israel in being victorious over their enemies, not to mention, he was given the king's daughter in marriage.

Well, that was all great and groovy, but jealousy is a spirit that can really spoil a good streak, ya know?! 

In light of this, you may not be surprised that David decided to ... Get outta Dodge so to speak ... Leave town. He went to a place called Nob, also known as the city of the priests, which was only about three and a half miles south, southeast of Gibeah, about a mile east of Jerusalem.  There he went to Ahimelech the priest. 

Now, if you get into "who's who" in the Bible, this Ahimelech is a person who is a bit of a stickler to identify. First of all, we know he must be of the tribe of Levi since he was a priest. In Chapter 22 of 1 Samuel, the Bible says that Ahimelech is the son of Ahitub in three different verses.  If you go to 1 Chronicles 24:3, you'll find that Ahimelech was of the sons of Ithamar, who was of course Aaron's son, so for the sake of being precise, it appears that the lineage went like this: 

Levi
Kohath
Amram
Aaron
Ithamar
Ahitub
Ahimelech
 

It you want to get even more specific, 1 Samuel 14:3 says that Ahitub was Ichabod's brother and Ichabod was the son of Phinehas (who was the son of Eli the priest). So, if Ahitub was Ichabod's brother, that would mean that they would have either the same mother or the same dad. But we know that Ichabod's dad was Phinehas and Ahitub's dad was Ithamar, so could they have the same mother? Well, Ichabod's mother died right after she bore him, 1 Samuel 4:20-21, so unless she was married to Ithamar before she was married to Phinehas and they had Ahitub, we may assume that in this case brother may mean kin. The same verse also says that Ahitub's son was named Ahiah, so one may also presume that Ahiah IS Ahimelech.  

At any rate, you may just want to put a little bookmark in your mind about all this, because we'll be recalling this particular branch of the Levi family tree in the next chapter, but for now, let's get back to the story. 

Now, Ahimelech was uneasy about seeing David unaccompanied. After all, a hero who is an army captain over a thousand soldiers doesn't usually travel to places alone. So David cleverly told Ahimelech that the king had sent him on a secret mission and that servants were to meet him at a designated place later. 

Then David asked Ahimelech for some bread, no doubt after hiding in the field for three days, he was hungry. Ahimelech answered that there was only the shewbread that had been replaced with hot bread that day. So Ahimelech gave David bread ... 

Bu wasn't that a no no? According to the Book of Leviticus ... 

Leviticus 24:9 
And it shall be Aaron's and his sons'; and they shall eat it in the holy place: for it is most holy unto him of the offerings of the LORD made by fire by a perpetual statute.

Let me ask, when you're in dire straits, do you ever see need for exceptions to rules? We usually refer to those times as "extenuating circumstances." Times when circumstances make it necessary to lessen the seriousness or extent or even invalidate the strength of a rule ... We've all experienced them. Jesus referred to this when He said ...  

Matthew 19:11
 But He said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given.

All rules are not meant for all people at all times ... But never forget that God knows one's heart and remaining righteous is the important thing. Jesus also talked about this very incident with David and Ahimelech: 

Matthew 12:1-5
 At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and His disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto Him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day. But He said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him; How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests? Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless?

But, but, but ... (your own Pharisee tendencies whisper) Isn't that ... A double standard? My friends, the Lord can do anything He wants and can judge any way He pleases. He doesn't have to be logical ... Our ability to understand His motives is so limited. In fact, let's use Saul for an example ... The law says, Do not kill, yet since Saul DIDN'T kill all the Amalekites as he was commanded, he lost his anointing. God's the Boss. He can change rules, add rules, ignore rules ... He's the Creator! The patent holder! Everything belongs to Him! No matter who objects.

Okay, let's address another objection that may be lurking in the back of your mind even though you're starting to get the gist of the kind of sovereign power our Almighty Father has. These were Old Testament times, and since we're so fortunate to live in the Time of the Gentiles and the New Covenant when our sins are forgiven by repentance and faith in Jesus Christ and God's mercy, we're spoiled, but for some strange reason we think that in Old Testament times, the laws shouldn't have been lenient because of circumstances. Justice was justice ... Back then. Sacrifice and offerings, that's just the way it was, and the only way it was ... Or was it? Well, again I'll steer you to something Jesus said ... It was following His teaching about David eating the shewbread ... 

Matthew 12:7
But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.

AGAIN? ... I can hear your Pharisee-isms are saying, "NEW Testament." But guess what ... The Word of God said the SAME thing in the Old Testament too! Lookie: 

1 Samuel 15:22
 And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.
Psalms 40:6
 Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required.
Psalms 51:16-17
 For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
Hosea 6:6
For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.

Next time you ask God for mercy for something you do, reflect on this and I promise, you'll understand it much clearer. Okay, back to the story. There was a man there in Nob that day who was a servant of Saul's, named Doeg who was an Edomite, and he heard the conversation between David and Ahimelech which continued with David asking if Ahimelech had any weapons there, explaining that his mission for the king required such haste that he had no time to gather weapons to bring with him. 

It so happened that the same sword of Goliath that David used to kill him with, was the only weapon there, and Ahimelech gave it to David, who took it gladly knowing there wasn't a sword that could compare. 

After that, David fled to Gath, which was a bit more comfortable distance away when one is running for their life. Gath was about 25 to 30 miles southwest of Gibeah (where Saul's home base was). It was also in a part of Israel that the Philistines ruled, and the king of that region was named Achish.

Now, David heard the servants of Achish tell him that this was the same David that had killed many ten thousands of Philistines.  

Can you imagine? How does one feel when they're in such a situation? This Psalm that David wrote explains: 

Naturally, this situation concerned David considerably, so what did he do? 

1 Samuel 21:13
And he changed his behavior before them, and feigned himself mad in their hands, and scrabbled on the doors of the gate, and let his spittle fall down upon his beard.

Pretty clever, huh? Well, this made Achish angry that his servants would bring a crazy man to him and claim that it was the hero David ... How absurd! So king Achish had them release David and that's how our chapter ends. 

Along with today's study, you won't want to miss Psalm 34. David wrote this Psalm to praise the Lord after this event happened. Don't get confused when you read the title: A Psalm of David, when he changed his behaviour before Abimelech; who drove him away, and he departed.  

Ahimelech was the priest from the beginning of this chapter, but Abimelech is what they called a king of Philistine. Achish was his proper name, Abimelech was his title.  

Where will David go next, and what will he do?

 

THE FIRST BOOK OF SAMUEL

CHAPTER 22

 

Let's continue with our story about Saul and David. In hopes to find refuge from king Saul, who wanted David dead, he fled to Gath, but it was occupied by Philistines, so he left there and went to a cave in Adullam, which was about 13 miles east, northeast of Gath. 

You'll find that David hid in caves a number of times from Saul over the years that he was being pursued by him. In Psalm 142, you can read a prayer that David wrote to the Lord while he was in hiding at one of those times. 

When his family and others who were disgruntled with Saul for one reason or another, learned where David was (about 400 people in all), they joined him and became his loyals.  

From there, David took his mom and pop to Moab and asked the king of Moab if they could remain there until he was sure of what God's plan was for him, and the king of Moab obliged them. 

Now, why would the king of Moab agree to protect David's folks, since the Moabites and the Hebrews weren't exactly allies? Actually, that may have been the best reason ... David was considered an enemy of Saul's, so perhaps the king of Moab, knowing how mighty David was from his reputation, thought it might be in his best interest to befriend any enemy of the king of Israel. 

Next, the prophet Gad told David to leave the cave at Adullam and go into Judah, so he went to the forest of Hareth. 

Meanwhile, Saul, back in Gibeah, learned that David had a band of loyal men who had joined him and he found out where they were. So Saul had a little chat with his own men, who he was suspicious of not being as loyal as he had hoped. He asked them if they thought David would be as generous to them as he had been, giving them land and making them captains in his army, and he accused them, since none of them confessed that Jonathan was involved in conspiring against him, of all being conspirators.

Well, just then, Doeg spoke up and said, 

1 Samuel 22:9-10
 I saw the son of Jesse coming to Nob, to Ahimelech the son of Ahitub. And he inquired of the LORD for him, and gave him victuals, and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine.

So, Saul had Ahimelech and all the priests in Nob brought to him and said to Ahimelech, Why have you conspired with David against me and given him bread and a sword, and inquired of God on his behalf? Ahimelech answered that he didn't know that David was his enemy, but that since he was his son-in-law, a faithful servant and captain over a thousand of his soldiers, he assumed that he was doing the king a favor in helping David carry out a secret mission for the king. 

 Ahimelech asked Saul not to hold him or any of his family accountable for wrongdoing since he was unaware of David's motives. 

But Saul wasn't persuaded, being his disdain for David was so great and ordered that Ahimelech and all the priests of the Lord be killed, maintaining that they had all conspired against him. But the king's servants were afraid to kill the priests of the Lord, so Saul ordered Doeg to kill them ... Remember that Doeg wasn't Hebrew, but an Edomite, so it made no nevermind to him. So he killed them all and also went to Nob and killed all that were there as well ... Men, women, babies, children and animals alike.  Only one of the sons of Ahimelech escaped alive, which was Abiathar, and he fled to David. 

Abiathar told David all that had happened and David said that he knew that day when he saw Doeg, that he would certainly tell Saul, and he blamed himself for the death of all of Abiathar's family.

So David invited Abiathar to remain with him, being that it would be a safer place than anywhere else he could have gone. 

Be sure to read Psalm 52 which David wrote at the time when Doeg disclosed to Saul that David was with Ahimelech. Probably many of you have read all the Psalms before, but may have had a hard time relating to some of them, because just like some songs you hear, the words may rhyme and the song may have a good beat and a catchy tune, but practically nobody can really understand what it means, unless the writer of the lyrics explains it. After reading the story of what Doeg did, David's Psalm makes a lot more sense, doesn't it? 

Now here is an interesting thing ... We discussed this in the last chapter about the bloodline of Ahimelech. When Eli's sons sinned against the Lord, a prophet of God told Eli that He would cut off his father's house (1 Samuel 2:31-35). And now there is only one left of that family. 

Things are sure heating up in our story aren't they?

 

THE FIRST BOOK OF SAMUEL

CHAPTER 23

 

Have you ever gone through a really rough time in your life, when you felt like nothing else could possibly go wrong because one person's life couldn't possibly include any more turmoil? Probably that's the way David was feeling at this point in his life.  

Don't miss out on Psalm 63 that David wrote while he was hiding in the wilderness of Judah, which is where he was when we left off in our story. 

Just imagine the faith that it took to believe that being king was worth all he was going through ... Can you imagine ... An entire city of priests and their families were massacred because the reigning king Saul was jealous of David. 

Get ready now ... What else could happen to add to the chaos in David's life at this point?  Well, don't forget, David is a man of war, and he's good at it too.  He has a passion for defending Israel and he learns right about now that the Philistines are attacking the town of Keilah and stealing their grain. 

Now, remember, David and his band of men are out in the forest somewhere hiding from Saul, but David's loyalty to his country ... God's people ... Is so great, that he prays ... 

1 Samuel 23:2 
... Shall I go and smite these Philistines? And the LORD said unto David, Go, and smite the Philistines, and save Keilah.

David's men, however aren't as brave as David, and they confess, "We're afraid here in Judah, won't we be even more afraid fighting against the Philistines?" So David calls on God again for confirmation, and the Lord assures him that He will give them the power to defeat the Philistines, and they were indeed victorious, even acquiring their cattle. 

In the meanwhile, Saul got wind of where David was, and because Keilah was a fenced in city, Saul believed that the Lord had delivered David into his hand, cornering him in. 

Now, of course David knew that Saul planned to do him harm, so he told Abiathar the priest to bring him the ephod which he brought with him when he sought refuge with David in Keilah. Time for a little trivia! What is an ephod exactly? Well, it was a linen apron worn by the Hebrew high priest which was used for divination ... That is, gaining insight from God. (Don't get this kind of divination mixed up with divination done by sorcerers and witches and palm readers and fortune tellers and necromancers, etc.) 

So David asked the Lord if the people of Keilah would turn him and his men over to Saul, and the Lord said they would. At that, David and his company left Keilah and hid in the wilderness of Ziph, which was about a dozen miles southeast of Keilah. David had about six hundred soldiers now, that's two hundred more than he had when he was hiding in the cave at Adullam. Saul searched for David every day, but the Lord protected him.

While David was in a forest in Ziph, Jonathan, Saul's son and David's best friend, found him and encouraged him that God would be with him and not to be afraid. 

1 Samuel 23:17
 And he said unto him, Fear not: for the hand of Saul my father shall not find thee; and thou shalt be king over Israel, and I shall be next unto thee; and that also Saul my father knoweth.

They made an agreement about this and Jonathan returned home while David remained in the woods. 

Then, the people of Ziph went to Saul in Gibeah and told him that David was hiding in the forest, and to come down and they would turn David over to him.  Saul blessed them because they had pity on him and told them to go find out exactly where David's hangout was, and make sure that someone had actually seen him there because Saul knew David was very clever. Saul told them that when they found out all David's secret hiding places, to return again to him in Gibeah and then he would go find him. 

Be sure to check out Psalm 54, which David wrote after the Ziphites told Saul where he was hiding. 

So the Ziphites went back to Ziph, but David had already moved on to the wilderness of Maon, which is only about 5 miles south of Ziph. When Saul and his men went to look for David, he was hiding in a mountain, and Saul and his men were on one side, David and his men on the other. And just as Saul and his men surrounded David and his men, ready to capture them, a messenger of Saul's came crying out, "Hurry, the Philistines are invading the land!" 

So Saul left off chasing David and went after the Philistines, so they call that place Selahammahlekoth, which means rock of divisions. After that, David and his men left Maon and hid in strong holds at Engedi, which is at the west bank of the Salt Sea. 

Now, bookmark the city of Maon in your mind because in Chapter 25, you're going to be reading about something that went on in Maon. 

 

THE FIRST BOOK OF SAMUEL

CHAPTER 24


           
What a great chapter this is. You're about to discover what a righteous and gracious character David had. As you may recall, the last thing that happened in our story was that David and his men were surrounded by Saul and his men, when suddenly a messenger came to Saul with urgent news that the Philistines were invading the land elsewhere, so Saul and his men left to go pursue his real enemies, and David and his men went and hid in the wilderness of Engedi.  Now we're up to date.

When Saul was done pursuing the Philistines, he heard where David was, so he took three THOUSAND chosen men from all over Israel to go search for David again. On his way, Saul stopped at a cave to rest and believe it or not, David and his men were hiding in the very same cave! 

Now, David's men believed that this was the Lord's way of saying, Look, I brought your enemy right to you to do as you see fit.  For certain, David's men wanted to punish Saul for hunting David and encouraged him to kill Saul right then. 

David, however, didn't see it as cut and dried as all that ... He truly believed in God's hand taking care of things. So instead of harming Saul, David secretly cut off the bottom of Saul's coat while he slept ... And then he felt horrible for what he had done, and told his men that he felt wrong to do such a thing to the Lord's anointed. So David restrained his men from harming Saul. 

When Saul awoke and left the cave, David called out to Saul, "My lord the king." When Saul turned around, David bowed to him with his face to the ground as to honor his royalty, and he said to Saul, "How can you believe anyone that says I want to harm you? You can see that today the Lord gave me the power to kill you, and some enthusiastically encouraged me to do it, but I couldn't bring myself to harm the Lord's anointed. Lookie here, I've got the hem of your coat in my hand ... I could've gotcha, but I didn't. My actions show that I plan no harm to you, yet you hunt my soul to take it. You’re the king of Israel! … Why are you bothering with me, I’m nothing but a dead dog, or a flea compared to you. May the Lord judge between us, but I will not lay a hand on you, and God will deliver me out of your hand.

No doubt! After all, Saul had 3,000 of Israel's best men looking for David and his 600, and they couldn't even find them when they were in the very SAME cave! Well, that deliverance just has the Lord's fingerprints all over it! Sooooo, you've got to be wondering what Saul's response was, huh?

Welllll, Saul said, Is that you David? And he (Saul) started crying!  He then agreed to all David had said … That David showed righteousness but Saul rewarded him with evil. Then Saul said; Now I know for certain that you will surely be king of Israel, but swear to me that you won't destroy my name or my family after me.

So David promised and Saul went home, but David and his men went back to their hiding place. This isn't the first time that Saul seemed to have relinquished his animosity towards David though, is it?  

If you'd like to know exactly what David was thinking right about then, check out Psalm 57, that he wrote when he fled from Saul in the cave. 

How long before Saul has that evil spirit upon him again and his jealousy for David prompts him to hunt him down once more?

THE FIRST BOOK OF SAMUEL

CHAPTER 25
 

Let’s start out with what happened in the last chapter, shall we? Saul was in pursuit of David, and ends up taking refuge for the night … He and his three thousand men with him, in the very same cave as David. Secretly, David sneaks over to Saul without any of the massive group of soldiers awakening to catch him. David’s men believe all of this is a sign that God has delivered David’s enemy right to him. But instead of harming Saul, David cuts off part of Saul’s clothing and steals away a safe distance with it, then calls out to Saul, “I coulda gotcha!” Saul relents that David is a more righteous man than himself and recedes that David will indeed be king one day. He then asks for David’s assurance that he will not slander his name or cut off his posterity. David humbly agrees, and Saul departs for home, while David leery to return to his home, returns to hiding. 

Now, to continue our story. 

While David was in hiding, Samuel died and all of Israel gathered together, and mourned for him, then buried him at his home in Ramah.  Meanwhile, David left Engedi and went to the wilderness of Paran, which is in the Sinai Peninsula.  

Now, In Maon (a city about fifteen miles east/southeast of Engedi) there lived a rich man named Nabal who owned property in Carmel (which was about a mile north of Maon).  Nabal was a cruel and evil man.  His wife Abigail, however, was a smart and beautiful woman.  Nabal had three thousand sheep and a thousand goats and he took his sheep for shearing to Carmel.

Haven't had a bit of trivia in a while, have we? Let's talk about sheep shearing! This is the third time we've heard about sheep shearing in the Bible. The first time in Genesis 31:19, Jacob fled from Laban while Laban was away shearing his sheep. In Genesis 38:13, Judah went up to his sheepshearers in Timnath after he finished mourning his wife's death. Now we have Nabal taking his sheep up to Carmel to have them sheared. In each instance, the sheep owners took the sheep elsewhere to have them sheared. Perhaps the cities they were taken to were cities of trade, where purchasers of wool, or markets were. Another thing to remember when you picture what's going on in the Bible stories that we share, is the era in which things are happening. If you think about sheep shearing today, you might automatically think of the shearer holding an electric razor, and you can probably even imagine the sound of it buzzing as the tufts of wool fall from the blades. But they didn't have such luxuries back then. It must have taken much longer to shear a sheep with scissors or knife blades or whatever they used back then. At either rate, it was a time of celebration as well as sort of a harvest time, because the sheep owners would naturally sell the wool and make an abundance of money. Well ... Imagine how much wool one would get from three thousand sheep! So, one might imagine, just as you would imagine grape harvest time in old Italy, though it was work because they had to stomp the grapes without the modern methods we have today, it was a time of great joy and friends were invited to join in the festivities.    

Now, back when David and his fellas were hiding from Saul in Engedi, they used to hang out with Nabal’s shepherds around Carmel and there was a good rapport between Nabal’s shepherds and David’s men.  

Remember now, David has since left Nabal's neighborhood and is out in the wilderness of Paran, and he heard that Nabal was shearing sheep. So David sent ten of his guys to Nabal in Carmel with a message, saying, “Peace to you, your family, and all that you own. I heard you're sheering sheep. We've always treated your shepherds kindly ... Ask your fellas and they'll tell you. So please be generous and allow my men to find favor in your eyes and give to your servants and your son David whatever you can since we've come at a time of celebration. 

So to get a better picture of this, everyone in Israel knows the skinny on David and Saul and what's going on with that situation. And David, along his travels as a fugitive, gains supporters along the way. Some actually follow him as soldiers, while others back him in mind and heart and if possible help out with food and other provisions. David’s servants had been helping out Nabal’s men with the sheep and whatnot ... Why not, there's not much to do out in the wilderness, while you're waiting for Saul's next move, so helping out your countrymen helps pass the time and gain friends. So, David in return asked Nabal if he could hook them up with some food and goods in return. When David’s men approached Nabal, they repeated everything David told them to. 

But Nabal's response wasn't what David expected, “Who is this David fellow? The son of who? A lot of servants these days escape their master. So I’m supposed to take my bread and water and meat that I have for my servants and give it to people I don’t even know?”

Nice guy, that Nabal, eh?  His men were helped by David’s men, yet he refuses to return the favor, and insults David on top of it. Do we ever act like that when someone has helped us, but when it comes time to reciprocate, it seems like an awful inconvenience? Maybe we don’t have time, or just don’t … Care. Maybe someone has been a friend to you and in return you gossiped about them or insulted them. Keep reading to find out what happened next … 

David’s men returned to David reporting everything Nabal said. This sort of made the hair on the back of David’s neck stand up and he said to his men, “Get your swords.”  And with about 400 men, David went to confront Nabal, while 200 men stayed behind with the supplies.   

What’s the big deal, you may be saying to yourself.  Certainly Nabal isn’t the only guy in Israel that could help out David and the fellas with a little grub … Why not just leave it be and seek out someone more generous. Well, it’s a little easier to understand if you look at the whole picture. Here’s David, the one that God said would be king, living not only like a pauper, but a fugitive. Also, don't forget that David wasn't hiding in the wilderness for a couple of days, or just a few weeks or months, but YEARS. David was the apple of God's eye, but that doesn't mean that David had assurance each and every day that he would pull through these wilderness experiences he was having and someday live in a palace and lead God's people in comfort. There may have been extremely long periods of time when David may have wondered if God abandoned him. Just because we get to read the adventures in David's life one chapter after another, doesn't mean that these things happened day after day. David and his men could have been out in the wilderness for months or years when this happened. They could have been suffering from starvation or who knows what ... So imagine David in this situation and when what appears might be a blessing turns out to be an insult, it doesn't sit too well, no matter how righteous a soul you are. “Who is this David? Son of who?” Nabal may as well have added, “Your mama wears army boots!” Gettin’ the picture now? 

It turns out that one young man told Abigail, Nabal’s wife, that David sent messengers to talk to Nabal and he just insulted them. The servant told her, “The men were very kind to us. We were never hurt or had anything taken from us as long as we were with them in the fields. In fact, they protected us day and night while we were keeping the sheep. There’s gotta be something you can do about this. Soon bad things will happen to Nabal and his family because he's such a son of a gun that nobody can talk sense to him.

Abigail immediately took 200 loaves of bread, two bottles of wine, 5 sheep, roasted grain, 100 clusters of raisins, and 200 fig cakes and piled them on top of donkeys. Now, I don't know about you, but the way I figure it, David's got six hundred hungry men ... Am I the only one who thinks they might run outta wine? Okay, let's give Abby a break, not only was she in a hurry, but since Nabal was probably entertaining his friends and family at the sheep shearing celebration, he probably didn't leave enough wine for six hundred soldiers sittin' in the pantry, right? Okay then. Now, Abigail told her servants, “Go ahead of me. I'll follow shortly.” But she didn’t tell her husband what she was doing. 

Do you sense that the Lord is about to use Abigail to remind David that he's acting on his own will without asking God's counsel first? Though Abigail may not agree with how her husband responded, she wanted there to be peace. But David swore that by morning he would destroy Nabal’s entire family. 

Now, Abigail follows the caravan of food and drink that she packed up and meets David and his men. She jumps down off her mule, bows to David and begs him not to pay any attention to what Nabal said, since he's a man that lives up to his name. (The name Nabal means ‘foolish’. And don’t forget that back in those days, the meaning of your name was a big deal. It was supposed to identify what you would become or something about the circumstances that were present around the time of your birth.) She apologizes that she didn’t speak to David’s men before Nabal because she certainly would have helped them. She then not only presents the gift of food that she brought, but in very eloquent words assures David of the calling that God has given him and reminds him that the Lord is in control of everything. So David sees the foolishness in letting Nabal irritate him to the point of doing something rash, and he gives it to God.  

David says to Abigail, “Blessed be the Lord God that sent you to me today.  Your advice is blessed, as you are blessed.  You kept me from avenging myself without asking the Lord.  If you hadn't come quickly to meet me, I would've destroyed the house of Nabal, and even you would have never seen another day. 

David accepts all the provisions that Abigail brought for them and says, “You can go home without worry.  I believe what you’ve said and I won’t do your family any harm.” 

Abigail returns home to find Nabal having a huge feast. He was drunk and very content, so she waited to speak to him until the morning. The next morning, after Nabal had sobered up, Abigail told him everything that had happened and his heart became like a stone. Ten days later, Nabal died. 

When David heard what had happened, he thanked the Lord for avenging him of Nabal while at the same time, keeping his hands clean. 

You reap what you sow. 

Galatians 6:7
Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

This story may raise the question, what made Nabal so evil? 

The story doesn’t say. It could have been greed. It could have been selfishness. It could have been jealousy. Who knows ... The Lord could have created Nabal for the sole purpose of testing David's resolve. No matter what, it sends a wake up call to those that may KNOW they have evil and bitterness in their heart that they refuse to get rid of. One little seed of bitterness can grow into something huge … And that “something” ended up KILLING Nabal. Nabal was evil to everyone, and died because of it. Rid of your life and your heart of anything you know may be poison for you. Remember, we reap what we sow. 

David’s servants went to Carmel to take Abigail to be his wife and she bowed down and said, “Let your handmaid be a servant to wash the feet of the servants of my lord.”

She quickly got on a mule with five of her maids following her, followed David’s messengers back and became his wife. David also took Ahinoam of Jezreel as his wife. 

But Saul had given Michal, his daughter, (and David’s wife) to another man named Paltiel.  What does one say about that? Is that the same Saul that recently admitted that David will indeed be king in his stead one day and begged him to be merciful to his family? 

Interesting story, huh? More exciting stories to come!

 

THE FIRST BOOK OF SAMUEL

CHAPTER 26 
 

This chapter may remind you a lot of Chapter 24, but let's refresh our memories as to what happened last in our story. David requested some help from a rich estate owner named Nabal, but instead of offering his generosity, Nabal instead offered David insults. We don't usually see David act as if he has a short temper, but he gathers up the fellas and the swords and heads out to obliterate Nabal's entire family. Nabal's wife Abigail intercepts David on his way and reminds him that he is the Lord's anointed and Nabal is a fool, and she suggests that he chill out a little so that God will continue to hook David up with blessings in his future. David comes to his senses because of her well orated speech and backs off. The next morning, upon learning what Abigail did, Nabal's heart died within him and he became as a stone, then died ten days later. David takes Abigail to be one of his wives, and now friend, we're up to date on the last chapter, but we need a little event-by-event refresher of what happened before that too! 

Now remember back in Chapter 23 while David was fleeing from Saul, the Lord told David to go and save the people of Keilah from the Philistines, so David left Judah and went to Keilah, BUT, the Lord also told David that those same men from Keilah would turn David over to Saul, so David went to Ziph.  Well the Ziphites ratted out David's whereabouts to Saul, so David left there and went to Maon, but Saul got word again of where David was so they surrounded David and his men. But just in the nick of time, one of Saul's messengers came with news that the Philistines were invading the land elsewhere, so Saul and his goons had to go defend Israel and left David for later. David then left Maon and went to Engedi and that was where David cut off the bottom of Saul's garment. After that, David went to the wilderness of Paran and heard that Nabal (from Maon) was shearing sheep in Carmel, and that brings us up to the last chapter and how David ended up back in the area of Maon again.

Well, apparently the Ziphites really wanted to get on Saul's good side because they went back to Saul again reporting that David was hiding in their neck of the woods. It appears that there were places that undoubtedly felt secure (probably why they were called strongholds) and obviously David couldn't remain in any one place for a long time, so he would move from place to place, and some of them he would return to at various times. Since the Ziphites had already revealed David to Saul once in the past, perhaps David thought that Saul wouldn't go looking for him in the same place. The strategy makes sense, but obviously David didn't count on the Ziphites discovering that he and his men were back again. At either rate, let's look at both tattlings, just to show ourselves that the Ziphites were persistent, for whatever reason. 

1 Samuel 23:19

 Then came up the Ziphites to Saul to Gibeah, saying, Doth not David hide himself with us in strong holds in the wood, in the hill of Hachilah, which is on the south of Jeshimon?

1 Samuel 26:1

 And the Ziphites came unto Saul to Gibeah, saying, Doth not David hide himself in the hill of Hachilah, which is before Jeshimon?

 So this time Saul rounded up 3000 men to track David down.

Just a side note … Saul wanted David dead because he was jealous of David, and because he wanted the throne of Israel to be inherited by Jonathan his son. Certainly Saul knew approximately how many men David had with him ... Does three THOUSAND sound a little like ... Overkill, if you'll excuse the pun? But then, Saul KNEW it would take a lot. He had seen the Lord's strength work through David before. Three thousand people is nothing when you have God defending you. 

Saul arrived where David was, but David already knew it was just a matter of time before Saul was on the chase again, so he sent out spies to keep an eye on Saul and confirm that he was following him. David went over to where Saul was staying to check it out. He found Saul and his general Abner sleeping with several soldiers surrounding them. David then asked Ahimelech the Hittite and Abishai (Joab's brother), “Who will go with me to Saul’s camp?”  

Now, this is the first time we've been introduced to Joab's brother Abishai. You'll be hearing more about him throughout The Second Book of Samuel, but just to give you a small profile of Abishai, it would be fitting to call him ... Shall we say, enthusiastic? He is earnest to defend David and Israel and usually seems to want to act on impulse. One might call him a hothead ... He's one of those guys that you could imagine his guardian angel might be shaking his head at most of his decisions, but at the same time, his loyalty was what drove him to such extremes ... Well ... You'll see what I mean.  

Abishai volunteers to accompany David over to Saul's camp. So during the night, David and Abishai went back to where Saul’s army had pitched and found him sleeping with his spear stuck in the ground beside his head. His army of people, including Abner, were still around Saul, but fast asleep. 

Great protection Saul brought with him, huh? Asleep on the job ... But then, it's obvious that their inability to keep watch was divine intervention. 

Abishai thought God was giving David the opportunity to kill Saul. "God has delivered your enemy over to you!" He asked, “Can I take his spear and thrust it through his body? I’ll only strike him once.  I won’t strike him a second time.” David responded, “No! Don't kill him. We'd be guilty of killing God’s anointed. The Lord is in control of this. The Lord will either punish him one day, or he'll die from old age or in battle. The Lord forbids that I should kill one of His anointed. But, we will take his spear and his water jug and then get out of here.” So David grabbed the spear and the water jug and escaped without anyone waking up and seeing them because the Lord caused the soldiers to sleep deeply. 

Don’t you love being on the same team as God?

Then David went a safe distance away and stood on top of a hill. He shouted to the people of Saul’s camp, and Abner. “Aren’t you going to answer me, Abner?” Abner responds, “Who is calling out for the king?” “Aren’t you a mighty man?” David taunted. “Where is there anyone else in Israel that is as great as you? So why haven’t you guarded your king? Someone came in the camp to destroy him. You haven’t done well at all. You deserve to die because you haven't protected your king, the Lord’s anointed. Look and see where the king’s spear and water jug is." 

Saul knew David’s voice and said, “Is that David, my son?” David responded, “It is me, my king. Why are you following me? What have I done to you? What is my crime? Please listen to me, your servant. If the Lord has caused you to be angry at me, let Him accept my offering. However, if this is from mere humans plotting against me, then may they be cursed before the Lord because they have driven me away from my home, which was the Lord’s inheritance for me, and for telling me to ‘go, serve other gods.’  Don't let my blood spill in the presence of the Lord. Why does the king of Israel come out and look for a flea, like one does when they hunt for a partridge in the mountains? 

Then Saul confesses, “I have sinned. Go back home, my son David. For I will no longer try to harm you because you have valued my life today and did not kill me when you had the opportunity. I was a fool today and have been terribly wrong.” David answers, “Here is your spear. Let one of your men come over here and get it. The Lord rewards every man for being righteous and faithful to Him. He gave me the opportunity to kill you today, but I will not kill one of the Lord’s anointed. Let my life be valued by the Lord, as I have valued your life today and let Him deliver me from all my troubles. Saul said, “David, my son, blessed are you. You will do great things and surely triumph.” Then David continued on his way, and Saul returned home. 

Psalm 18 is one that David wrote about a time when the Lord saved him from his enemies and from the hand of Saul. This may have been the incident that David was referring to in this Psalm. Be sure to check it out. 

How admirable that David didn’t take matters into his own hands, even when it seemed like God gave him the chance to kill Saul. David looked at the big picture. He wanted GOD to be control and knew God’s timing would always be better than his own timing, even though it was more than a bit annoying being followed and hunted down to be killed. David trusted God and knew without a doubt that God would keep him safe.  

Can't wait for the next chapter so we can share more adventures.

 

THE FIRST BOOK OF SAMUEL

CHAPTER 27

(PARALLEL CHAPTER - 1 CHRONICLES, CHAPTER 12)
 
 

 Welcome back! Ready for more great adventure? Me too! Even though Saul didn’t catch David yet, David knew that Saul wouldn’t give up trying to kill him. So David decided to escape to the land of the Philistines so Saul would stop chasing him ... Pretty good strategy, huh? 

So David and his 600 men went to Gath, where Achish was the king. David brought his men, their families, and his two wives, Ahinoam and Abigail (Nabal’s widow). Word spread to Saul that David now resided in Gath, so he stopped trying to hunt after him. 

David went to Achish and asked, “If it’s okay with you, may I have a home in some town in the country to live in instead of staying in this royal city with you since I am only your servant? So Achish gave him the town of Ziklag. David moved there and stayed there for a year and four months. He was pretending loyalty to Achish so he, his wives, and his men could safely hide from Saul. 

During David's stay at Ziklag many others aside of his 600 men joined him. There were men from each and every tribe, even the tribe of Benjamin (Saul's blood) and some even crossed the Jordan in the spring season when it overflows it's banks to come to David and help him. 

Don't forget now, Israel and the Philistines were enemies. 

While David was living in Philistine territory, he wasn't only busy hiding from Saul, but why not take care of some of the Philistines at the same time and secure the kingdom of Israel a little bit more for when all this business with Saul was over and done with? After all, the Lord DID anoint him to be the next king. So, David and his men invaded the Geshurites, Gezrites, and the Amalekites. The nations David destroyed were a threat and danger to Israel, his home country. From ancient times, those nations had lived in that land from Shur to Egypt. David didn’t leave one person alive and took their sheep, oxen, donkey, camels, and clothes and returned to see Achish. 

Achish asked, “Where did you invade today?” Now, don't forget, Achish thinks that David is on the Philistines "side" now, since he's Saul's enemy, but nothing could be further from the truth. David responded, “Against the south of Judah, and against the south of the Jerahmeelites, and against the south of the Kenites.” The places he told Achish that he invaded were his own people (Israelites). So, Achish thought David was invading and destroying his own people.  That’s why David had to kill utterly everyone there, so the truth wouldn’t get back to Achish of where he was and what he was really doing. David didn’t leave one person alive to come back to Gath and tell that he was really invading Philistine cities. This happened the entire time David lived in Philistine territory.   

Achish believed David and said to himself, “He's really made his people in Israel hate him so much, that he'll be my servant forever.” 

In the next chapter, we'll see what Saul is up to ... You won't believe it! Hurry Back!

 

THE FIRST BOOK OF SAMUEL

CHAPTER
28
 

Let's find out what's going on in the First Book of Samuel at this point, shall we? During that time, the Philistines gathered their armies to go into war with Israel. Achish, who thought David was now a supporter of the Philistines, since Saul was after him, approached David and told him, “You’re expected to go into battle with me and my men.” David responded, “Of course, then you can see for yourself what we can do.” Achish replied, “Then I will make you my bodyguard for life.”

Remember now that Samuel had died, and all of Israel had mourned for him and buried him in Ramah, his hometown. Saul, in the meantime had banned all mediums (witches) and psychics from the land. 

So,  the Philistines had assembled and set up camp in Shuem; and Saul assembled the army of Israel and set up camp in Gilboa.

When Saul saw how large the Philistine army actually was, he became very afraid. When he asked the Lord for guidance, the Lord didn't answer him, either by dreams, or Urim (this was used by the High Priest to receive guidance from God), nor by Prophets.

You gotta figure that Saul was particularly freaked out because he knew that David was staying in Philistine territory, and that the Lord was with David. He had even stopped pursuing David, so Saul couldn't figure out what in the world was going on. The Philistines must have taken on an added element of fear for Saul.

Soooooo … Saul sent his servants to find a witch that he could go and see to get guidance from. Saul obviously knew seeking out a witch was wrong, hence why he banned them from practicing in Isral. But being very impatient and frustrated, he allowed the spirit of fear to overtake him. 

Saul's servants came back to him and told him they did find a witch at Endor. So Saul disguised himself and took two men with him to go visit the witch. He told her he needed to talk to a spirit that he would name. The woman told him, “You know that Saul has banned all mediums and psychics from the land. Why are you trying to trap me and get me killed?” 

Saul swore to her by the name of the Lord, “As surely as the Lord lives, there will be no punishment for you if you do this thing for me.” So the woman asked, “Whose spirit do you want me to call?” Saul responded, “Call up Samuel.” And when the woman saw Samuel, she screamed and said to Saul, “Why have you deceived me? YOU are Saul!” 

He responded, “Don’t be afraid. What did you see?” She said, “I see a god (or spirit or ghost) coming out of the earth.” “What does he look like?” Saul asked. “An old man wrapped in a robe,” she answered, and Saul realized it was indeed Samuel and bowed with his face to the ground.  

Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by calling me back?” Saul answered, “I’m so troubled. The Philistines are declaring war against me, and God has left me and won’t answer me, not by Prophets, nor by dreams, so I called for you so you can tell me what I should do.”

Then Samuel said, “Why ask me since the Lord has left you? The Lord has done what He said he would do through me. The Lord has taken the kingdom from you and given it to David because you didn't obey Him or carry out His command to kill everyone in Amalek. The Lord will hand over Israel and you into the hands of the Philistines and tomorrow you and your sons shall be with me. The Lord will also deliver the army of Israel into the hands of the Philistines. 

At that, Saul fell full length on the ground and was very afraid because of what Samuel had said. He had no strength because he hadn't eaten all that day or night. And the woman came to Saul and saw how troubled he was and said, “Sir, I have obeyed you at the risk of my life. Now please listen to your servant and let me give you some bread to eat so you can have strength when you return on your way.” 

But Saul refused and said, “I will not eat.” But his servants and the woman together convinced him to listen. So Saul got up and sat on the bed (couch). The woman prepared a fatted calf, and baked some unleavened bread and brought it to Saul and his servants. They ate and when they finished they left. 

You may want to learn more about what the Bible says about divination (what the witch of Endor did) … Check out this awesome study: 

Divination

Don't forget, the Philistines are gearing up to go to battle against Israel, and Saul feels abandoned by God, and Samuel, and he's pretty much having a bad day, so to speak. I'm so excited to find out what's next ... Aren't YOU?

 

THE FIRST BOOK OF SAMUEL

CHAPTER 29

 

Howdy! Remember where we were in our story? Saul knows that the Philistines are preparing to go to war again, but he knows that God is no longer supporting him because he disobeyed His command concerning Amalek, AND because he didn't wait for Samuel to make offerings before going to war before that, and he took it upon himself to make the offerings when he was told to wait! Ready to see what happens next? Let's take a look! 

Now the Philistines gathered their army together at Aphek, and the Israelites camped by a spring in Jezreel. The rulers of the Philistines led their groups out by the hundreds and thousands, but don't forget, David was in Philistine territory hiding from Saul, and Achish told David that he was expected to fight for the Philistines. David and his men were in the back with Achish. The Philistine leaders asked Achish, “What are these Hebrews doing here?” 

And Achish answered, “This is David, the servant of Saul the king of Israel, who has been with me for more than a year and I have yet to find a fault in him since he’s come to me.” 

But the Philistines were angry with Achish, “Make him go back!  He may go into battle with us and then turn on us! What way would be better to regain favor with his master than by killing our men? Isn’t this the David they sang about in their dances saying ‘Saul killed his thousands, and David his ten thousands?’” Achish turned to David and said, “Surely as the Lord lives, you’ve been reliable and in my opinion you should come with us to battle. But the Philistine leaders don’t agree. So return, and go in peace, so you don’t upset the leaders of the army.” 

David replied, “But what did I do? Why can’t I go fight with you against your enemies?” Achish answered, “In my opinion, you're as good as an Angel of God, but the Philistine leaders said you can’t join us in battle. First thing in the morning, you and your men must leave. So David and his men got up early the next morning to return to the land of the Philistines while the army of the Philistines went up to Jezreel

Pretty exciting stuff. Wait 'til you read what happened next! Never a dull moment in the life of David, huh?

THE FIRST BOOK OF SAMUEL

CHAPTER 30
 

At the end of our last chapter, Achish, king of Gath, told David that the leaders of his army didn't have confidence that David wouldn't be a traitor to the Philistines for his own benefit and make amends with Saul over the matter.  

Now when David and his men arrived back in Ziklag, they discovered the Amalekites had invaded the south, including Ziklag. They attacked Ziklag, burned it, and taken the women who they held as captives. They didn’t kill any of them, but took every woman, young and old, and left. 

When David and his men saw that their town was burned and their wives and sons and daughters were gone, they screamed and cried until they couldn’t cry anymore. David’s two wives were both taken captive (Abigail and Ahinoam). David was greatly troubled because his people talked about stoning him since they all lost their wives, sons, and daughters as well. But David found strength in the Lord his God.  

There are two different perspectives we can look at here.  One being David's, and the other being the view of his people. The people decided to place the blame on David … So they were gonna kill him. Before we think that’s way too extreme, let’s examine our OWN lives and how WE react to major problems that we're faced with. How often do we act like these people had acted? We get unbearable news, and instead of knowing TWT (that is ... Time will tell), trusting in God … Or even PLANNING A RESCUE (hello?? Did anyone else want to run and save their loved ones??), we immediately want to assign blame and act in extremes. (I would say killing someone would be an extreme, wouldn’t you?) Instead of looking for someone to blame, we may want to spend some time praying for a solution. 

At either rate ... 

David’s perspective now … He’s going through the exact same thing everyone else is going through, but with the added bonus of all his closest friends and his mighty men want to kill him! But what does a man of God do? HE RUNS TO THE LORD! He finds the strength that he does not have, IN THE LORD. He doesn’t try to place the blame on someone else (even though it wasn't his fault), or retaliate, or try to run away and hide … He simply … Prays to God.  Wow. 

In fact, you can read what David wrote about this very happening, in Psalm 56! Now that, folks, is how it's done ... Praise, supplication, trust, thanks!  

So David says to Abiathar the priest, Ahimelech’s son, “Please, bring me the ephod.” (Remember that trivia we talked about a few chapters ago, that an ephod is a garment the priests wore to assist in asking for guidance from the Lord.) Abiathar brought David the ephod and David used it to ask the Lord if he should go after the troops that invaded Ziklag and overtake them? 

The Lord responded, “Definitely go after them and overtake them because without fail, you will recover everyone that was taken captive.”

So David took 600 men and they started on their journey and approached the brook Besor, but some stayed behind.  David then continued with 400 men, and 200 men stayed behind because they were too weak to cross the brook. 

David's men then ran across an Egyptian man in the fields and brought him to David. They gave him bread and something to drink. They also gave him fig cakes and raisins which helped the man regain his strength and spirit since it had been 3 days since he had anything to eat or drink. 

David asked the man, “Who are you?  Where are you from?” 

The man responded, “I’m from Egypt, a servant to an Amalekite but my master left me because I got sick 3 days ago. We invaded the south of the Cherethites, and Judah’s coast, and the south of Caleb. And we also burned down Ziklag.” 

... Uh oh ... 

David asked him, “Can you bring me to the rest of your people?” The man responded, “If you swear by God that you won’t kill me nor tell my master where I am, then I will show you where they are.” He led David to where they were all scattered over the land eating, drinking, and dancing because of the vast amount of plunder they had taken from the Philistine territory and out of Judah. David and his men killed everyone there through the night and into the evening of the next day. No one escaped except four hundred young men that got away on camels … 

Camels?? … One might think that camels are extremely SLOOOOWWW … But why do we think that? We don’t believe giraffes to be slow, and most have seen on those National Geographic specials that even herds of elephants are pretty swift when they’re stampeding, so maybe camels have their moments of light footedness too.  :) 

At either rate, David was able to recover all that was taken from his town and yes, safely recovered his two wives. Nothing was lost … David and his men recovered EVERYTHING that was taken. They rounded up all the flocks and herds and drove them on ahead and David’s men said, “These all belong to David now as his reward.” 

They approached the brook Besor on their way back, and the 200 men who stayed behind because they were too exhausted to go further. David went up and greeted them. But certain men of the group said to David, “Because they weren’t with us, let’s not give them anything we recovered. We’ll give them back their wives, and sons, and daughters, and then make them leave.” 

David responded, “We’re not doing that. We're not going to be selfish with what the Lord has given us. He has kept us safe and led us to victory. Who do you think is going to listen to you about this matter? We’re on the same team. Some fight in battle, and some guard the stuff.” From that day on, David made it a law for Israel and it is still followed today (at least at the time of the writing of the First Book of Samuel, it was). 

When David arrived back in Ziklag, he gave some of the belongings he recovered to the elders of Judah and to his friends, telling them, “Here is a gift for you taken from the Lord’s enemies.” The gifts were sent to the leaders of the following towns where David and his men had been: Bethel, South Ramoth, Jattir, Aroer, Siphmoth, Eshtemoa, Rachal, Jerahmeelites, Kenites, Hormah, Chor-ashan, Athach, and Hebron.

Did you notice that when the Lord blessed David, David blessed others. He paid it forward. He didn't keep all the wealth to himself … A good thing for us to practice as well.

 

THE FIRST BOOK OF SAMUEL

CHAPTER
31


(PARALLEL CHAPTER - 1 CHRONICLES, CHAPTER 10
 

The last thing that was happening in our story, was that the Amalekites had invaded Ziklag while David was out of town, because Achish recruited him to fight AGAINST Israel, since he was hiding from king Saul. Well, it turned out that David recovered everything that the Amalekites attempted to take. 

Now remember, the Philistines were fighting against Israel, but the men of Israel ran for their lives and were killed in mount Gilboa. The Philistines followed closely after Saul and his sons, and killed Jonathan, Abinadab, and Melchishua (Saul’s sons). The fighting grew more intense against Saul and the Philistine archers struck Saul and wounded him severely. 

Then Saul turned to his armourbearer and told him, “Take my sword and thrust it through me. If you don’t, then the Philistines will end up hurting me worse and killing me in the end anyway.”

But the armourbearer was too afraid and couldn’t kill Saul even though he asked him to. So Saul took his own sword and fell upon it and ended his life. When the armourbearer saw what Saul had done, he fell upon his sword as well and died with him. So Saul, his 3 sons, and his armourbearer all died on the same day together. 

Remember what Samuel predicted when Saul asked the witch of Endor to awaken him? Samuel said that Saul and his sons would be joining him on this day. 

When the Israelites that were on the other side of the valley and on the other side of Jordan saw that the army had fled and Saul and his sons were dead, they abandoned the cities they lived in and ran away. Afterward, the Philistines then came in and overtook their towns. 

The next day, when the Philistines went out to rob the dead, they found Saul and his sons, dead on mount Gilboa. They cut off Saul's head, took his armor, and went to proclaim the news in their temple of idols. They put his amour in the house of Ashtaroth (one of their gods), hung his head in the temple of Dagon (another of their gods), and fastened his body to the wall of the city of Beth-shan. 

When the people living in Jabesh-gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, all the brave men got together and traveled all night to steal the body of Saul and his sons from the wall of the city of Beth-shan, and took them to Jabesh and burned them there. Afterward, they took their bones, and buried them under a tree at Jabesh and fasted seven days. And that ... Was the end of king Saul and his sons, just as Samuel had told him. 

1 Chronicles 10:13-14
So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the LORD, even against the word of the LORD, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to enquire of it; And enquired not of the LORD: therefore He slew him, and turned the kingdom unto David the son of Jesse.

Saul was king of Israel for about 40 years! (Sometimes you have to seek different places in the Bible to find the facts!)

Acts 13:21
 And afterward they desired a king: and God gave unto them Saul the son of Cis, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, by the space of forty years.

Can you believe that David hid from Saul for most of that time? Now it makes more sense why David was so distressed in the writing of some of his Psalms. Forty years is a LONG TIME! It also lends to the argument that while we only have a few stories of David in hiding, these stories may have lasted YEARS at a time, which is deceiving when we read about them one after another in chapter after chapter. Nevertheless, now you know the real story, and you can imagine, David's life is about to be a little different than the fugitive life that he has been living for the past several decades.

Congratulations, you've just completed the study of The First Book of Samuel! But there's much more excitement and adventure ahead!

THE SECOND BOOK OF SAMUEL

CHAPTER
 

You may be wondering, since Samuel died in Chapter 25 of The First Book of Samuel, Why is this book called The Second Book of Samuel? Good question. Well, the books of First and Second Samuel were originally one book in the Hebrew Bible, known as the "Book of Samuel" or simply "Samuel." Then the Septuagint (a version of the Old Testament used by Greek-speaking Christians) divided Samuel into two books, presumably to break up the history of David. The Greek title is translated "Books of Kingdoms," referring to the later kingdoms of Israel and Judah. First Samuel was named "First Kingdoms," Second Samuel and First and Second Kings were named "Second, Third, and Fourth Kingdoms," respectively. Later the Latin Bible combined the Hebrew and Greek titles and that's why we have First and Second Samuel, and First and Second Kings.

In The Second Book of Samuel, we'll learn about the highlights of king David's reign, first over the territory of Judah, and then over the entire nation of Israel. We'll learn about how David finally acquired the throne as king, his sins (we won't get into what those were just yet), and the heart wrenching consequences of those sins on his family and the nation of Israel.

Yes, David, the apple of the Lord's eye ... Sinned! Does that surprise you? We all do it ... That temporary lapse of reason that we experience DAILY in our lives. EVERYONE. DAILY. Whether in thought, word or deed ... Original sin is not something that can be cured, but it can be conquered. That's why the Word of the Lord tells us to fight the good fight DAILY!
 

Luke 9:23
And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross
daily, and follow me.

1 Corinthians 15:31
 I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die
daily.

Hebrews 3:13
 But exhort one another
daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

When we left off at the end of The First Book of Samuel, three of Saul's sons had been killed in battle, and Saul, being sore wounded, didn't want it to be said that he was killed by the Philistines. He also knew that since he was wounded, if the Philistines came across him fallen, they would torture him, so he entreated his armor bearer to kill him, but he wouldn't do it, so Saul fell on his own sword.

Meanwhile, David and his men had just defeated the Amalekites which had raided and burned down Ziklag, the Philistine town that Achish (the king of Gath), gave to David, in which they (David, his men, and their families) lived for the past year. They recovered all that was stolen from them, including their wives, sons, and daughters which the Amalekites took captive. 

Unaware of the death of Saul at this point, David returned from his victory over the Amalekites, and spent two days in Ziklag. And on the third day, an Amalekite man arrived from Saul’s camp with his clothes torn and dirt on his head ... Remember, that was a traditional thing they did when someone was in mourning or was very very upset. When the man approached David, he fell on the ground to show deep respect, then told David of the demise of Saul and his three sons, and of the sore beating that Israel had taken. David asked this man how he knew for certain that Saul and Jonathan were dead. He explained to David that as he had happened by Mt. Gilboa, Saul beckoned to him, requesting that he kill him because he was in such misery, having been wounded. He told David that he thought Saul was too badly hurt to ever recover, so he did as Saul asked and took the kings crown and bracelet to bring them to David.

TIME OUT!

Did something happen that wasn't recorded in the last chapter of First Samuel, which is being revealed to us now? Let's go back and take a look at the account of Saul's death in 1 Samuel, Chapter 31:

1 Samuel 31:3-5
 And the battle went sore against Saul, and the archers hit him; and he was sore wounded of the archers. Then said Saul unto his armourbearer, Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and abuse me. But his armourbearer would not; for he was sore afraid. Therefore Saul took a sword, and fell upon it. And when his armourbearer saw that Saul was dead, he fell likewise upon his sword, and died with him.

 And now, the account from the Amalekite man to David:

2 Samuel 1:6-10
And the young man that told him said, As I happened by chance upon mount Gilboa, behold, Saul leaned upon his spear; and, lo, the chariots and horsemen followed hard after him. And when he looked behind him, he saw me, and called unto me. And I answered, Here am I. And he said unto me, Who art thou? And I answered him, I am an Amalekite. He said unto me again, Stand, I pray thee, upon me, and slay me: for anguish is come upon me, because my life is yet whole in me. So I stood upon him, and slew him, because I was sure that he could not live after that he was fallen: and I took the crown that was upon his head, and the bracelet that was on his arm, and have brought them hither unto my lord.

Now, one of two things is possible here. First, it could be that Saul fell on his sword, but didn't die right away. He may have appeared to be dead, so his armor bearer killed himself, then as this Amalekite passed by, Saul had regained consciousness enough to call out to him and ask him to put the final touch on his attempted suicide.

ORRRRRRR ...

This Amalekite didn't slay Saul at all, but by chance wandered by his dead body before the Philistines discovered him dead, and took his crown and his bracelets, supposing that he would benefit a great deal from bearing the news to David, that he had killed his enemy. You decide.

In either case, David was devastated at the news. He tore his clothes and the men with him did the same. They mourned, wept, and fasted all day for Saul, Jonathan, the people of the Lord, and the nation of Israel because so many had died that day in battle.

Now, remember, David and Jonathan were the very best of friends. Also, remember that David had proven in the past that though Saul threatened his life, he had the utmost respect for him because he was the Lord's anointed. Whether it was the truth that this Amalekite was proclaiming to David, or a fib, David didn't appreciate it one bit, and told the man that he was his own accuser. David didn't see anything unjust in punishing the killer of the first anointed king of Israel, so David commanded one of his men to kill him.  

David mourned Saul and Jonathan through this song of lamentation. He also commanded that the children of Judah be taught this song. It is also written in the book of Jasher.

2 Samuel 1:19-27
The beauty of Israel is slain upon thy high places: how are the mighty fallen! Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Askelon; lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph. Ye mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew, neither let there be rain, upon you, nor fields of offerings: for there the shield of the mighty is vilely cast away, the shield of Saul, as though he had not been anointed with oil. From the blood of the slain, from the fat of the mighty, the bow of Jonathan turned not back, and the sword of Saul returned not empty. Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their lives, and in their death they were not divided: they were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions. Ye daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you in scarlet, with other delights, who put on ornaments of gold upon your apparel. How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle! O Jonathan, thou wast slain in thine high places. I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan: very pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women. How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished!

 David had a gift and passion of music. He sang when he was rejoicing, and he sang when he mourned. It was his way to deal with and/or express whatever emotions or problems he was facing. It was his way to talk to God. Prayers do not have to be spoken. There’s an old saying … He who sings, prays twice! What a cool concept! Your prayers to God can be in any form as long as it's from your heart: singing, playing an instrument, painting, dancing, writing, etc. … God hears and sees it all. Don’t keep your feelings from Him. Don’t bury something that you need to talk to God about just because you don’t want to deal with it or feel the pain anymore. Let it out. Cry on God’s shoulder as David did. Your Father wants you to depend on Him to help you. He loves you!

Here is a related study if you are struggling with a Lost Love yourself.

 One more interesting thing about this chapter that deserves noting is that it mentions the book of Jasher. Did that title ring a bell? You may recognize that the book of Jasher was also mentioned in the Book of Joshua.

Joshua 10:13
 And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of Heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day.

 Now, we know that there isn't a book of Jasher in the King James Version of the Bible, but it is mentioned twice, so if you like to know bits of Bible trivia, this might be a fun thing to know ... One might assume that Jasher is a person, but this is actually referring to the book of the "upright" ... or the book of the law.

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