Life of King Saul

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Bible Characters

Life of King Saul

Welcome to our Christianity Oasis Bible Characters study program. This is our Life of King Saul study. The truth within this SON-derful Life of King Saul study will truly enhance your be-YOU-tiful Christian walk.

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King Saul

The First Book of Samuel

Chapter 8

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

It is always nice to have you back with us at Daily Bread! Well, we've been getting to know Samuel in our recent stories, and it's easy to see that he 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 stories ahead, doesn't it?! I'll be here waiting to share the next one with you, just as soon as you can make it back ... Right here at Daily Bread. See you soon!

The First Book of Samuel

Chapter 9

So nice to have you back again for more Daily Bread. 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

18 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.
19 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 come back soon and see what happens next, right here at Daily Bread!

The First Book of Samuel

Chapter 10

So glad to have you back to share in more Daily Bread today. 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 Saul anointed 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.

Join in again soon, and we'll find out what happens at the beginning of Saul's reign as king of Israel, right here at Daily Bread.

The First Book of Samuel

Chapter 11

Always a pleasure to have you here to share our Daily Bread together. Well, we're about half way through our study of 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

26 And I sent messengers out of the wilderness of Kedemoth unto Sihon king of Heshbon with words of peace, saying,
27 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.
28 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;
29 (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.
30 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

20 (That also was accounted a land of giants: giants dwelt therein in old time; and the Ammonites call them Zamzummims;
21 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

3 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:
4 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.

Why? Well, aside from just being plain cruel, it was a strategy. A soldier carried his shield in his left hand so that he could fight with his right hand. (Of which most were predominantly right handed.) And with only the left eye functioning, it was interfered with by the shield, therefore rendering the soldier practically helpless.

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.

Come on back soon for more Daily Bread!

The First Book of Samuel

Chapter 12

Splendid to have you here at Daily Bread to continue our study of 1 Samuel. Our study ended last time 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

5 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.
6 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.
7 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?
8 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

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

Hurry on back and we'll continue our study of 1 Samuel and find out what's next for the children of Israel and their new king Saul, right here at Daily Bread.

The First Book of Samuel

Chapter 13

Great to have you here once again to share more Daily Bread together. In our study 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 the story of King Saul. 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

55 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.
56 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.

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.


"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? Well then hurry back for more Daily Bread!

The First Book of Samuel

Chapter 14

Greetings! I knew you'd be anxious to return to Daily Bread and see what's in store next in our story. 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 son of Saul) 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 Daily Bread Crumb ... 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! Come on 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, in the next Daily Bread ... See you then!

The First Book of Samuel

Chapter 15

Get ready for another great day of adventure here at Daily Bread! Let's go back a smidgen, 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

8 Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim.
9 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.
10 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.
11 And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed.
12 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.
13 And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.
14 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.
15 And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovahnissi:
16 For he said, Because the Lord hath sworn that the Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.

Deuteronomy 25:17-19

17 Remember what Amalek did unto thee by the way, when ye were come forth out of Egypt;
18 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.
19 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 worshiping 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? Come back soon and see, right here at Daily Bread!

The First Book of Samuel

Chapter 16

Nice to have you back again to share more Daily Bread. This story is one of the great ones of Bible history. Let's see, where did we leave Samuel and Saul when we last shared?

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, right here at Daily Bread!

The First Book of Samuel

Chapter 17

It is always nice to have you back with us at Daily Bread! Today 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 worshiped 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 approximately 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 taunted 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's in it 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.

(Imagine David's oldest brother now, hearing his baby brother bragging to his fellow soldiers that he's gonna go eat this giant for lunch! Heh heh heh!)

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 come back soon and we'll share more Daily Bread!

The First Book of Samuel

Chapter 18

Greetings and great to be with you again to share more Daily Bread. As you recall, the last time we met, 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 litttttle 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? Well, hurry back and we'll break more Daily Bread together!

The First Book of Samuel

Chapter 19

It's a pleasure to have you here to share more Daily Bread! 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.

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.

So, 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, so hurry back and we'll share another great slice of Daily Bread together!

Our King Saul story continues at the link below:

There is a force out there that is attempting to overtake us all; it is Satan. There is another force that is protecting us from him; it is the Holy Spirit. It is a battle for souls. This battle is called Spiritual Warfare, and like it or not, you are right in the middle of it.

How to Prepare for Spiritual Warfare