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KING SAUL STORY

KING SAUL BIBLE

ADVENTURE

Christianity Oasis Ministry has provided you with this king Saul Bible voyage into the deeply concerning king Saul story. We'll look into the king Saul in the Bible and other Biblical characters to learn from their mistakes and their triumphs.





KING SAUL STORY
KING SAUL BIBLE SAGA

Welcome to our Christianity Oasis Bible Characters study program. This is our extremely essential and hope building ... king Saul Bible discussion taking an in depth look into the mighty mysterious and meaningful king Saul story as to discover how the king Saul in the Bible message affects your Christian walk today.




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KING SAUL



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THE FIRST BOOK OF SAMUEL

CHAPTER 20

Welcome back ... 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, king 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, in the king Saul story we have already seen king Saul favor David, 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 our king Saul Bible reading of 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 king Saul in the Bible Scripture, 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?

We find from the king Saul story that this angered king 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 king Saul 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 latest events in our king Saul Bible story, 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, let's take a quick king Saul Bible detour ... 1 Samuel 14:3says 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.

Let's take a lil king Saul Bible story timeout ... 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 king Saul 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 king Saul Bible 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.

Ahimelechwas the priest from the beginning of this chapter, but Abimelechis what they called a king of Philistine. Achish was his proper name, Abimelechwas his title.

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

THE FIRST BOOK OF SAMUEL

CHAPTER 22

Let's continue with our king Saul story ... 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 king Saul in the Bible 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, in the king Saul story 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, next in the king Saul Bible tale, 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 king 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 king Saul Bible tidbit of truth ... We discussed this in the last chapter of the king Saul story 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 in the Bible 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 in the king Saul in the Bible story, 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, according to king Saul in the Bible references, king 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.

The king Saul Bible Scripture shares with us that 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 king Saul Bible 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 king Saul 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?

Well, 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?

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

Now, to continue our story.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What's the big deal, you may be saying to yourself. Certainly Nabal isn't the only guy in Israel that could help out David and the fellas with a little grub ... Why not just leave it be and seek out someone more generous. Well, it's a little easier to understand if you look at the whole picture. Here's David, the one that God said would be king, living not only like a pauper, but a fugitive. Also, don't forget that David wasn't hiding in the wilderness for a couple of days, or just a few weeks or months, but YEARS. David was the apple of God's eye, but that doesn't mean that David had assurance each and every day that he would pull through these wilderness experiences he was having and someday live in a palace and lead God's people in comfort.

Here is a king Saul Bible story point to ponder upon ... There may have been extremely long periods of time when David may have wondered if God abandoned him. Just because we get to read the adventures in David's life one chapter after another, doesn't mean that these things happened day after day. David and his men could have been out in the wilderness for months or years when this happened. They could have been suffering from starvation or who knows what ... So imagine David in this situation and when what appears might be a blessing turns out to be an insult, it doesn't sit too well, no matter how righteous a soul you are. "Who is this David? Son of who?" Nabal may as well have added, "Your mama wears army boots!" Gettin' the picture now?

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

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

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





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

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

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

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

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

You reap what you sow.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Interesting story, huh? More exciting stories to come!

THE FIRST BOOK OF SAMUEL

CHAPTER 26

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

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

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

1 Samuel 23:19

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

1 Samuel 26:1

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

So this time king Saul in the Bible rounded up 3000 men to track David down.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Can't wait for the next chapter so we can share more king Saul Bible story adventures.

THE FIRST BOOK OF SAMUEL

CHAPTER 27

(PARALLEL CHAPTER - 1 CHRONICLES, CHAPTER 12)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE FIRST BOOK OF SAMUEL

CHAPTER 28

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Divination

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

THE FIRST BOOK OF SAMUEL

CHAPTER 29

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE FIRST BOOK OF SAMUEL

CHAPTER 30

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

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

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

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

At either rate ...

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

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

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

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

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

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

David asked the man, "Who are you? Where are you from?"

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

... Uh oh ...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE FIRST BOOK OF SAMUEL

CHAPTER 31


(PARALLEL CHAPTER - 1 CHRONICLES, CHAPTER 10)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE SECOND BOOK OF SAMUEL

CHAPTER 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TIME OUT!

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

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

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

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

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

OR ...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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