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THE STORY OF SAMUEL

THE LIFE OF SAMUEL

Christianity Oasis has provided the Samuel story trek for truth into the miracles within the story of Samuel and how the life of Samuel is something that we should truly ponder upon.





THE STORY OF SAMUEL
THE LIFE OF SAMUEL THE PROPHET

Welcome to our Christianity Oasis Bible Characters study program. This is our awe inspiring and faith building ... The Samuel story journey in the marvels shared with us within the story of Samuel and how our own Christian life relates to the life of Samuel.




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SAMUEL



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THE FIRST BOOK OF SAMUEL

CHAPTER 15

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

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

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

Well folks, we see in the story of Samuel that 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 in the Samuel story? 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.

The life of Samuel must have been a difficult one, huh? 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.

The story of Samuel takes a sharp twist now ... 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.

So, who will be the next king of Israel in the Samuel story and what happens next to Samuel the prophet of God?

THE FIRST BOOK OF SAMUEL

CHAPTER 16

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

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

The story of Samuel tidbit of truth... Remember, the Lord told Samuel that 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.

The life of Samuel was a rascal, was it not? Can you just imagine the relief that Samuel felt? He took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of all his brothers (which must have caused some emotions of jealousy to be stirred within them), and the Spirit of the Lord was upon David from that day forward. So Samuel went home to Ramah ... And what do you think happened to Saul?

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

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

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

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

Wait 'till you see what's next!

THE FIRST BOOK OF SAMUEL

CHAPTER 17

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

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

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

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

Now, on with our Samuel 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.

At this point in the story of Samuel, 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 ...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now, you can imagine, as we read through the story of Samuel, that Goliath was pretty 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 on the life of Samuel, Saul sent to Jesse and had David brought to him, who played on his harp when the evil spirit from God was upon him. It also says that Saul loved him greatly and sent to Jesse asking that David remain with him ... But now he doesn't know who's son he is ... As if he doesn't recognize him. Let's look at some possible explanations for this.

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

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

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

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

THE FIRST BOOK OF SAMUEL

CHAPTER 18

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

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

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

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

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

Now what does the story of Samuel statement mean ... In modern English, since the lingo of King James' era was a little 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 by this point in the story of Samuel, 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 of the Samuel story, 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 wild ride the life of Samuel story was! Can't wait to find out what Saul has in store for David next, can you?

THE FIRST BOOK OF SAMUEL

CHAPTER 19

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

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

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

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

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

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

And that's where we left off!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What in the world does that mean?

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

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

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

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

THE FIRST BOOK OF SAMUEL

CHAPTER 20

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now let's look at the story of Samuel, straight from the Bible, as it elaborates on the covenant between David and Jonathan, shall we?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are you excited to see what happens next in the story of Samuel?

THE FIRST BOOK OF SAMUEL

CHAPTER 21

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

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

In light of this, you may not be surprised what happens next in the Samuel story ... David decided to leave town. He went to a place called Nob, also known as the city of the priests, which was only about three and a half miles south, southeast of Gibeah, about a mile east of Jerusalem. There he went to Ahimelech the priest.

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

Levi
Kohath
Amram
Aaron
Ithamar
Ahitub
Ahimelech

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE FIRST BOOK OF SAMUEL

CHAPTER 22

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Well, just then, Doeg spoke up and said,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE FIRST BOOK OF SAMUEL

CHAPTER 23

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE FIRST BOOK OF SAMUEL

CHAPTER 24

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE FIRST BOOK OF SAMUEL

CHAPTER 25

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

Now, to continue our story.

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

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