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SAMUEL BIBLE VERSES
Christianity Oasis Ministry has provided you with this Samuel Bible Verses study on the Samuel Bible Verses quotes. This Samuel Bible Verses study on the Samuel Bible Verses lesson looks at the Samuel Bible Verses message and asks what are the Samuel Bible Verses about, who is the Samuel Bible Verses character, what is the Samuel Bible Verses purpose, who do the Samuel Bible Verses affect, why is the Samuel Bible Verses message important, what is the Samuel Bible Verses message and how does the Samuel Bible Verses message affect you. Most have heard of the Samuel Bible Verses but most are not aware of the Samuel Bible Verses importance. This Samuel Bible Verses study will share the truth of the Samuel Bible Verses. Let us seek and find the truth of the Samuel Bible Verses with Samuel Bible Verses message in this Samuel Bible Verses study, shall we?


 

SAMUEL

 

Samuel was a prophet of God. His mother promised that she would give him to the Lord for his whole life and never shave his head, if the Lord would bless her with a son. Samuel heard God talk to him. He was a judge of God's people. When Samuel grew old he made his son's judges over Israel, but they did not obey God's commandments and the people didn't like them either, so God's people told Samuel to give them a king, like all the other nations had. Samuel did not like this. God told Samuel that the people did not reject him, they really didn't want God to rule them any more. Samuel anointed Saul king over Israel and God sent many messages to Saul through Samuel. Samuel also anointed David, God's first chosen king of Israel. God told Samuel to judge a person by their heart, not by what they look like.



THE FIRST BOOK OF SAMUEL

CHAPTER 1
 

In the First Book of Samuel, you will learn how kings became the leaders in Israel. Most of this book focuses on three main people: Samuel, the judge and Prophet; Saul, the first king of Israel, and David, the Lord's personal favorite king, who was anointed, but had not yet taken the throne, because Saul was still alive. There are of course, other stories to discover as well.

It's important to note that the books of First and Second Chronicles have many of the same stories as the books of Samuel and Kings plus some additional details that were omitted from Samuel and Kings, so Daily Bread has already done the leg work for you and matched up the stories from Chronicles with the stories from Samuel and Kings and combined the information for you, just like we combined our studies of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in the Daily Bread Gospels. We have indicated these "parallel" chapters at the beginning of each study, so without any further ado, let's get started, shall we?

There was a man named Elkanah, and he had two wives; Peninnah and Hannah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah did not, and every year Elkanah went to the house of the Lord in Shiloh to worship and sacrifice.
 

Deuteronomy 12:17-18
Thou mayest not eat within thy gates the tithe of thy corn, or of thy wine, or of thy oil, or the firstlings of thy herds or of thy flock, nor any of thy vows which thou vowest, nor thy freewill offerings, or heave offering of thine hand: But thou must eat them before the LORD thy God in the place which the LORD thy God shall choose, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite that is within thy gates: and thou shalt rejoice before the LORD thy God in all that thou puttest thine hands unto.

Each year at this celebration, Peninnah would taunt Hannah, to make her cry because she was barren. It would make Hannah so sad that she wouldn't eat, so Elkanah said to her, Why are you so unhappy? Why do you cry and not eat? Am I not better to you than ten sons? And Elkanah gave portions (for feasting) to Peninnah and her children, but he gave more to Hannah because he loved Hannah, but the Lord kept her childless.

So after they had eaten and drank in Shiloh, Hanna went to pray at the Temple, and she made a vow to the Lord, that if He would allow her to have a baby boy, she would give him to the Lord all the days of his life and never cut his hair. As Hannah prayed, she was very sad and cried, and as she spoke in her heart, her lips moved, but her voice was silent.

There in the Temple, sitting by a pillar, was Eli, the high priest. Noticing that Hannah moved her lips as she prayed, Eli assumed that she was drunk. When he mentioned this observation to her, she told him that she had nothing to drink, but that she had a sorrowful spirit. Eli said, Go in peace, and my god answer your prayer.

And God did indeed answer Hannah's prayer, and she had a son who was named Samuel. When he was weaned, they brought him to the Temple in Shiloh at the time of the yearly worship and sacrifice, and Hannah said to Eli, I am the woman who prayed to the Lord for this child, and He has answered my prayer. I vowed that I would grant him to the Lord as long as he lives. And Hannah left Samuel under the care of Eli the priest, who raised him in ministering to the Lord in the Temple.

This story may remind you a little of how Samson was conceived, because his mother was barren before that. Matter of fact, we've seen many times when the Lord has blessed women with children who were once barren. There was Sarah (Genesis 11:30, Genesis 21:2), Rebekah (Genesis 25:21), Rachel (Genesis 29:31, Genesis 30:22), Samson's mother (Judges 13:2-3), and now Hannah.

 Matthew 19:26
... with God all things are possible.

 

THE FIRST BOOK OF SAMUEL

CHAPTER 2
 

In the last chapter, you may recall, we were briefly introduced to Eli, the high priest. Well, Eli had two sons, named Hophni and Phineas, who were wicked men and had no fear of God in them, and no respect for the honor of ministering to the Lord, either. They abused the privilege of their position by breaking the laws of the offerings and sacrifices by stealing people's sacrifices by force, and they also defiled the women who came to worship at the Tabernacle of the Congregation.

Now, Eli was very old, and he knew about the evil ways of his sons, but though it grieved him at his heart, he did nothing more than scold them about it. Hophni and Phineas ignored Eli's concern and admonition, and continued in their disrespect and sin, but the Lord definitely took notice.

One day, a man of God (Prophet) visited Eli and gave him a message from God, saying, Why do you honor your sons above me? Why do you belittle my sacrifices and offerings, to make yourselves rich with the best of the offerings of my people Israel? I did say that your family and the family of your father (the Levites) would serve me for ever, but now, I will honor those who honor me, and those who despise me will be thought well of.

Time for a little Daily Bread Crumb! As you may know, in families of royalty, the throne is usually passed down to the firstborn son of the king. Well, likewise, the high priesthood of Israel was the same way. The eldest son of the high priest inherited the office, whether it be by reason of death, or health issues or whatever the cause be that the serving high priest left the office. 

Aaron of course was the first high priest of the Israelites when they were freed from Egypt. He had four sons, but the two eldest died at the hand of the Lord:

Leviticus 10:1-2
And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which He commanded them not. And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.

The next in line to inherit the high priesthood was Eleazar and the fourth son of Aaron was Ithamar. Now we know from the books of Joshua and Judges that Eleazar did indeed succeed Aaron, and then Eleazar's son Phineas, but after that, we have Eli, who was not of Eleazar's bloodline (you can see for yourself in 1 Chronicles 6:3-15). So somehow, the bloodline switched from Eleazar to Ithamar.

But how do we know Eli is of the bloodline of Ithamar, seeing that Ithamar's family tree is not listed in Chronicles or elsewhere in the Bible? Well, by a process of elimination, because 1) he wasn't from Eleazar's bloodline, 2) he WAS a high priest, and 3) one had to be of one of the two sons of Aaron in order to execute the priests office.

To go one step further with this, let's take a look ahead in the book of 1 Kings and 1 Chronicles shall we?

First of all, it appears that during the reign of king David, the priesthood was shared by the descendents of Eleazar and Ithamar:

1 Chronicles 24:1-3
Now these are the divisions of the sons of Aaron. The sons of Aaron; Nadab, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. But Nadab and Abihu died before their father, and had no children: therefore Eleazar and Ithamar executed the priest's office. And David distributed them, both Zadok of the sons of Eleazar, and Ahimelech of the sons of Ithamar, according to their offices in their service.

But when Solomon became king, he gave the high priesthood to the family of Eleazar exclusively:

1 Kings 2:27
So Solomon thrust out Abiathar from being priest unto the LORD; that he might fulfil the word of the LORD, which he spake concerning the house of Eli in Shiloh.

1 Kings 2:35
And the king put Benaiah the son of Jehoiada in his (Joab's) room over the host: and Zadok  the priest (of the bloodline of Eleazar) did the king put in the room of Abiathar.

Now, resuming our study, the Lord (through the man of God mentioned earlier), tells Eli that because of the sins of his sons, and Eli's negligence to stop them, a day will come when the strength of Eli's family will be reduced and all of his posterity would die at a young age. And this will be a sign to you. Your two sons will both die in the same day. And I will raise me up a righteous priest that will serve faithfully forever, and your descendents will beg to be assigned to a priest's office.

Meanwhile, Samuel, just a child, ministered to the Lord in Shiloh and Hannah (his mother) made him a coat each year and brought it to him when they came up for the yearly sacrifice. And the Lord blessed Elkanah and Hannah with five more children because she gave Samuel to the Lord.

 

THE FIRST BOOK OF SAMUEL

CHAPTER 3
 

Reviewing what happened in the last chapter, Eli was sent a message from God that because he neglected to do something about his sons defiling the office of the priesthood, Eli's posterity would never live to be old, but would die at a young age. 

Apparently, even after this warning, Eli failed to defend the integrity of the priesthood, and as you'll see, God's messenger wasn't just full of empty words.

Don't forget now, in the meantime, Samuel is just a child, and Eli is teaching him to serve the Lord (righteously) as a priest. At that particular time, it was rare that anyone received the Word of the Lord. There was no open vision (a vision that takes place when one is conscious, like falling into a trance, but with the eyes open).  

But one night, the Lord called to Samuel, and having never heard the Word of the Lord before, Samuel thought it was Eli calling him, so he went to Eli and said, Here I am. Eli told Samuel to go on back to lie down because he hadn't called him. This happened three times, and then Eli realized it was the Lord calling Samuel, so he instructed him to go lie back down, but if he (Samuel) heard the voice again, to answer: Speak Lord, your servant is listening. 

So the Lord did call again, saying, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered as he was told by Eli, and the Lord talked to him about Eli. He told Samuel that He would do something in Israel, and anyone who heard of it ... Their ears would tingle. Perhaps this is like what we refer to today as, a chill up the spine. At any rate, God was going to do something that would grab attention. He said that He would do all the things that He had spoken (through the man of God) concerning the family of Eli because of the sins of his sons, and that he (Eli) didn't stop them. So God promised that the sins of Eli's family would not be forgiven with sacrifice nor offering, forever.  

The next morning, Samuel was afraid to tell Eli about the vision, but Eli called Samuel to him and asked what the Lord revealed to him, adding, May God do the same to you and more if you hide anything from me that He told you. So Samuel told Eli all of it, and Eli responded, He is the Lord: let Him do what He thinks is good.

Now, if Eli had been truly repentant and had taken action with his sons to stop their evil ways when the man of God warned Eli of the things that would happen because of their transgressions, perhaps things may have turned out differently, but as you can see, Eli seems to have sort of a "whatever will be, will be" attitude, and the ministry of the priesthood ... Especially the high priest and heirs, deserves the utmost reverence, of which the Lord saw that Eli and his sons didn't care to exercise, so we'll see what happens to them as a consequence to their ways a little later on in the next chapter. 

Meanwhile, Samuel grew closer and closer to the Lord, and all of Israel recognized that he was chosen to be a Prophet of the Lord. You may remember that at the beginning of our study of 1 Samuel, we said that Samuel was the last judge.  Some believe that Samuel was the first "recognized" Prophet. Well, we certainly don't want to split hairs about who was considered the first Prophet, but there are a few scriptures that are interesting about this topic. First of all, Peter said: 

Acts 3:24
Yea, and all the Prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days.

And Paul said:  

Acts 13:20
And after that He gave unto them judges about the space of four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel the Prophet.

But the Lord himself referred to Abraham as a Prophet, too:

Genesis 20:7
Now therefore restore the man his wife; for he is a Prophet, and he shall pray for thee, and thou shalt live: and if thou restore her not, know thou that thou shalt surely die, thou, and all that are thine.

And the Lord also said that He sent prophets since the day that Israel came out of slavery in Egypt:

Jeremiah 7:25
Since the day that your fathers came forth out of the land of Egypt unto this day I have even sent unto you all my servants the Prophets, daily rising up early and sending them ...

Of course there was Enoch, Noah, Moses, Aaron, Miriam, Balaam and Deborah who are noted as being Prophets as well, so we're not going to say that Peter was wrong, or Paul was wrong, or anything of that nature. Let's just say that during the time period when the judges ruled, there weren't any Prophets around until Samuel. 

Don't forget, people will always want to challenge Christianity by asking you tricky questions that have absolutely nothing to do with your faith. Obviously, in a perfect world, they would realize that it doesn't matter who was the FIRST prophet, and that living a life that represents Jesus is all that really matters, so never let trivia, debate, or provocation shake you. Just always ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in sharing TRUTH with others, and be at peace within yourself that you do your best to share the Word of the Lord and the Gospel as purely as you possibly can.

 

THE FIRST BOOK OF SAMUEL

CHAPTER 4
 

When our last chapter ended, Eli was told by the Lord through Samuel, that the future was grim for he and his family.

Now at that time, there were still battles between the heathen people who were never dispossessed of their land in Canaan, and Israel who inherited the land from God. Just as He had warned ... They would always be thorns in their sides.

In the days when Samuel had begun to prophecy, the Philistines again made war against Israel and at first, Israel was being defeated, losing about 4,000 men. So they decided it was a good idea to take the Ark of the Covenant out to the battlefield, in hopes that it would save them.

Now, who do you think went with the Ark? You guessed it ... Hophni and Phinehas, Eli's sons. When the Ark came into the camp, all of Israel shouted so loudly that the Earth rang, like it did in Jericho.

Joshua 6:20
So the people shouted when the priests blew with the trumpets: and it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city.

When the Philistines heard it, they knew that the Ark of the Lord was in the camp, and they were afraid, recalling all the great wonders that the Lord had worked on behalf of Israel since He brought them out of the land of Egypt.

But the Philistines then encouraged one another to be courageous and fight like men so that they wouldn't end up as slaves to the Hebrews, as the Hebrews were to the Philistines aforetime. They then defeated Israel sorely and stole the Ark of God, killing Hophni and Phinehas.

One man from the tribe of Benjamin escaped the disaster and ran to Shiloh the same day, with his clothes torn and dirt on his head, as was customary when a person was in mourning or devastation.

Now Eli, being ninety-eight years old, and blind, sat waiting for the Ark of God to return, and the man of Benjamin told Eli that there was a great slaughter of Israel, including Hophni and Phinehas, and that the Ark of God was stolen. 

If you read your text in your Bible, you'll notice that it wasn't when Eli heard of the demise of his sons, that he was greatly affected, but when he heard the news of the Ark of God being stolen, he fell backward in grief off his seat and died, being an old and fat man. Eli judged Israel forty years. (Though this story is not in the book of Judges, Eli was still considered a judge, even though he was also a high priest.)

When Phinehas' wife heard that her husband and her father-in-law were both dead, and that the Ark had been taken, she went into labor and gave birth to a son, naming him Ichabod (which means "no glory"), saying, The glory is departed from Israel, for the Ark of God is taken. She died after giving birth.

To find out what happened next with the Ark of God, stay tuned for the next chapter.

 

THE FIRST BOOK OF SAMUEL

CHAPTER 5-6

 

Recounting what happened in the last chapter of our story, the Philistines, who had made war with Israel, were victorious and they captured the Ark of God. 

Now, there were five cities of the Philistines: Asdod, Askelon, Gath, Gaza, and Ekron. (If you look on an ancient map of Israel, you'll see that they are all in the same general vicinity.) The Philistines took the Ark to Ashdod and put it in the house of their god. The next morning, they found their god fallen down on it's face in front of the Ark (as in worship), so they stood it back up, and the following morning, they found it fallen down on it's face again, only this time, it's head and both palms of it's hands were cut off and only a stump of it remained. 

In addition to this, the Lord destroyed many people of Ashdod and the surrounding area. Many died, and there were also mice that plagued the Philistine countries, similar to when the Lord sent the frogs, lice, flies, etc., into Egypt. Those Philistines that survived the plague were struck with emerods (tumors of the secret parts, or in other words; hemorrhoids). Yes, you read that correctly. 

So the men of Ashdod, realizing that the hand of the Lord was against them, had a little meeting with the leaders of all the Philistines to decide what to do with the Ark of God, and they decided to carry it to Gath. 

Well, the people of Gath experienced the same fate as those of Ashdod, so they sent the Ark on to Ekron. As you might imagine, the Ekronites felt like the Ark was (if you'll excuse the expression) a hot potato, since their fellow Philistines in Ashdod and Gath were devastated while the Ark was among them, so the people of Ekron pleaded with the leaders of the Philistines to return the Ark to the Israelites. 

You'll find an interesting thing in this story concerning the Philistines. We know of course, that they were a heathen people, and we know that they had their own god, but the destruction that was occurring among them while the Ark was in their possession, was so deadly that: 

1 Samuel 5:12
... the cry of the city went up to Heaven.

Why do people pray to God in Heaven if they are unbelievers? Just something interesting to think about. Incidentally, the answer is; because He is so undeniable, and the fear of the Lord is the only hope of humankind ... He IS their maker. Even people who claim not to believe, still have the instinct ... The understanding that He is REAL, though they may deny it consciously, but again ... Instinctively, the human creature knows that GOD EXISTS, because we are created by Him. Take a look at what is written in the book Isaiah:

Isaiah 29:15-16
Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the LORD, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us? Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter's clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding?

In modern English ... Anguish will come to those who try and hide their plans from the Lord, and secretly they think that nobody knows their intents. Their backward thinking is viewed as potter's clay (of which form the potter can change, any time HE pleases), after all, can any object say concerning HIM that made it, HE didn't make me? or can a thing that is formed say concerning HIM that formed it, HE didn't know what HE was doing?

Another thing to remember, is that many people are believers in God, just not worshippers of Him ... Like the Philistines. Very sad, but true.

Now, back to our story.

For seven months, the Ark was in the country of the Philistines, and there was uncertainty among them as to what they should do with the Ark, because some believed that their misfortune was of the hand of the Lord, and others credited it all to happenstance, so they called together their priests and diviners (those who they thought had special intuition or supernatural power of understanding), to ask what to do, and how they should go about returning the Ark to the Israelites. Their advice was to send the Ark back to the people of Israel. They advised not to send it back empty, but with a trespass offering. Again, why would the Philistines send an offering to God if they didn't believe in Him?

What was this offering that their "prudent" men and priests advised the Philistines to send? Five golden emerods (honestly), and five golden mice (representing an offering for each of the five Philistine lords and their people). They also suggested that just as the plagues of the Egyptians departed when God's people were freed, perhaps the plagues of the Philistines would vanish likewise, once they returned the Ark. 

So the Philistines followed the advice of their counselors and made a new cart on which to return the Ark. They made their golden emerods and mice and laid them in a chest upon the cart with the Ark, and sent the Ark of God on it's way, being driven of two milk cows, separating their calves from them as not to encourage them in any way. Their conclusion was that if the cows led the Ark up to Bethshemesh, then all the evil that befell them was of God's hand, but if not, they would surmise that all that had happened was purely by chance. (Why Bethshemesh? Because it would be the obvious route to take when departing the countries of the Philistines, if one's destination was an Israelite city.)

Well, guess what. Those cows went straight on to Bethshemesh, just a lowing as they went, and didn't stray to the right or to the left. The Philistines followed, of course, to the border of the town to see if they would change course, but they did not.

For the people of Bethshemesh (which was a town of Judah, by the way), this was a sight to see ... Their beloved Ark of God, returning to them as they were harvesting wheat in the valley! The milk cows brought the Ark to the field of one Joshua, where it stood still, and there was a great stone there. The people split the wood of the cart and offered the milk cows as a burnt offering to the Lord, and the people of Bethshemesh offered sacrifice. When the five lords of the Philistines saw all of this, they returned to Ekron that same day.

But that's not the end of this story. The people of Bethshemesh looked into the Ark of the Lord and He killed 50,070 people because of this. Only the Levite priests were allowed to view the things of the Ark:

Numbers 4:15
And when Aaron and his sons have made an end of covering the sanctuary, and all the vessels of the sanctuary, as the camp is to set forward; after that, the sons of Kohath shall come to bear it: but they shall not touch any holy thing, lest they die. These things are the burden of the sons of Kohath in the tabernacle of the congregation.

Numbers 4:20
But they shall not go in to see when the holy things are covered, lest they die.

The men of Bethshemesh felt unworthy of the Ark remaining with them, so they sent word to the people of Kirjathjearim that the Philistines had returned the Ark of the Lord, and to come and bring it to their city.

Quite a story, wouldn't you say? And there's more ahead, so be sure to read on!

THE FIRST BOOK OF SAMUEL

CHAPTER 7

 

As you may remember, when we ended our last chapter, the Ark of God had just been returned to the people of Israel in Bethshemesh, but the Lord destroyed many people there because they looked in the Ark. After that, the people of that city felt unworthy to keep the Ark because of their trespass, so they called on the neighboring city of Kirjathjearim to take it there. 

The Ark remained in Kirjathjearim for twenty years, under the care-taking of Eleazar, the son of Abinadab (not to be confused with Eleazar the son of Aaron). During that twenty years, the children of Israel sought the Lord's favor, as they were still threatened by the Philistines. During this twenty years, Samuel judged Israel, guiding the people in the way of the Lord. 

Samuel then spoke to all of Israel and told them that if they would devote themselves to the Lord with all their hearts and SERVE HIM ONLY, that the Lord would save them from the Philistines, and the children of Israel heeded Samuel's advice. Then Samuel gathered all of Israel to Mizpeh and they fasted and prayed there in repentance for their disloyalty. 

Now, the Philistines heard that all of Israel was gathered in one place at Mizpeh, so the leaders of the Philistines thought this was a good opportunity to attack them. When Israel discovered the Philistines' plan, it frightened them, so they asked Samuel to pray to God on their behalf, to save them from the Philistines. 

Samuel took a baby lamb and sacrificed it to the Lord with prayer, and the Lord heard. While Samuel was still offering the sacrifice, the Philistines neared, but the Lord sent out thundering so great that it overcame the Philistines and they were defeated by Israel. 

So Samuel set up a memorial stone at the boundary of their victory and called it Eben-ezer (the stone of help), and said, Up to here has the Lord helped us. The Philistines didn't come into the borders of Israel anymore and the hand of the Lord protected Israel from the Philistines all the days of Samuel. Even the cities that the Philistines had taken from Israel were given back and there was peace also between Israel and the Amorites. 

Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life, and he traveled each year to Bethel, Gilgal and Mizpeh, and judged Israel in all those places, but his home where he lived and judged was in Ramah, and he built an altar there to the Lord. 

What's next for Israel? Well, you'll have to read on!


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.  

 

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