The First Book of Samuel
The Story of King Saul Explanation
King Saul in the Bible Truth
Great to have you here once again to share more Daily Bread together.
In our study of 1 Samuel, we recently learned about Saul's first
victory over Ammon, and then Samuel's address to Israel. Let's pick
up from there.
First, we must remember that way back when, things weren't like they
are today. In today's time, the leader of a nation is the commander
in chief all right, but they don't go out to battle with the rest of
Also, don't forget that these soldiers of Israel have had no military
training whatsoever ... And those that are strong enough in faith to
fight, are relying on the power of God to be victorious.
Let's recall what's happened recently in the story of King Saul.
Saul's military history began with a battle against the Ammonites.
The army that was united for Israel consisted of 330,000 soldiers.
They were victorious and a great celebration was had.
The Story of King Saul Bible Study
King Saul in the Bible Concerns
So ... What do you suppose the army of Israel did between battles?
Since the conquest of Canaan was over, do you think they had military
bases where they had boot camps and target practice and military
Well, perhaps precious few of the soldiers were that enthusiastic to
protect and defend their new inheritance, but probably, except for a
few bodyguards of the king, it's likely that most went home to their
Now, let me remind you of something that the Lord warned Israel about
way back even before they crossed the Jordan into the Promised Land.
55 But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the
land from before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which ye
let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your
sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell.
56 Moreover it shall come to pass, that I shall do unto
you, as I thought to do unto them.
... And there it was hundreds of years later, and Israel was still
troubled by all those that weren't driven out during the occupation
of their inheritance. In fact, it's now thousands of years later, and
Israel is yet troubled by them.
The Story of King Saul Discussion
King Saul in the Bible Story
Now, back to our story ... Let's look at a few different things that
are directly affecting what happens for Saul. As you may remember
from the Book of Judges, as long as the children of Israel followed
the commandments of the Lord, things went smoothly in their conquest
of Canaan, but whenever they went backsliding, the disaster that they
imposed on their enemies was turned back upon them. In this story, it
wasn't the children of Israel that erred, it was Saul himself.
Let me give you the setting ... Saul has now reigned for two years
over Israel, with one victory over Ammon. Apparently there was some
peace time after that, and the only military that Saul kept at hand
were three thousand soldiers. Two thousand of these were with Saul in
Saul's son Jonathan was with the other thousand in Gibeah, who
successfully attacked a military post of the Philistines in Geba. The
proximities of these places is something like this, with Gibeah and
Gilgal being approximately 15 miles apart.
So Saul spread news of this victory to all of Israel, then combined
all three thousand troops together in Gilgal and declared war on the
The Philistines then assembled a huge army of 30,000 chariots, 6,000
horsemen and more soldiers than one could count. Just counting the
chariots and horsemen alone, it was twelve times the manpower that
The Story of King Saul Continues
King Saul in the Bible Warning
Seeing this, many of the soldiers of Israel were frightened and hid
themselves in caves and forests and such, and others went to the land
of Gad and Gilead, east of the Jordan for refuge. The remaining
soldiers stayed with Saul, but even those trembled in fear.
Now, Samuel had told Saul to wait for him, seven days, and he would
come to Gilgal and make offerings to the Lord before they went to
battle. But when Samuel was late in arriving, Saul grew impatient and
made the offerings himself. Just as Saul had finished making the
burnt offering, Samuel arrived.
What have you done? Samuel asked Saul, and Saul explained that a
number of his troops had abandoned and the Philistines were gathered
together. With Samuel's absence, he was afraid that they would attack
before offerings were made to the Lord, so he took it upon himself to
Well, this was a mistake. How so? you may ask. Think back to the
situation with Abraham and Sarah, and when Sarah was impatient
waiting for the child that the Lord promised, and they took it upon
themselves to have a surrogate ... You remember that whole thing?
The Story of King Saul Disobedience
King Saul in the Bible Danger
But we're not just talking about impatience here, as you might
imagine, an offering as important as this was probably supposed to be
performed by a Levite priest, which Saul was not. I don't recall
reading anything about Samuel telling Saul, "In case I get stuck in
traffic, go on ahead and start the fire without me." God's timing
isn't always our timing
How many times in our own lives do we find it necessary to go on
ahead with our own plans because we're too impatient to wait on the
Lord's plan? At any rate, Saul was told by God's Prophet to wait for
Samuel, and no matter what the circumstance, he should have waited.
So, Samuel said to Saul, You did a foolish thing and didn't obey the
commandment of the Lord. Your kingdom would have been established
forever in Israel, but now, your kingdom won't continue. You see, the
Lord wants a man after His own heart to be captain over His people.
How do you think Samuel was feeling about all of this? Remember,
Samuel was annoyed that the children of Israel chose to have a king
in the first place, so one might wonder what his perspective was.
Well, one thing is certain, Samuel was a Prophet of God, and he loved
the people he served for the Lord. Even though Samuel may not have
been tickled pink about the prospect of having a human king over
Israel, he also knew that Saul didn't choose to be king either.
The Story of King Saul Mistake
King Saul in the Bible Error
The people wanted a king, and he was God's anointed, so one might
assume that Samuel, in the interest of the welfare of Israel, wished
Saul prosperity, so quite naturally, Samuel was disappointed at Saul,
and he left Gilgal and went home to Gibeah. Saul and Jonathan
followed with the mere 600 soldiers that were left.
"Your kingdom won't continue."
What does that mean? Well, had Saul proved himself to be trustworthy
to follow God's Word, the throne would have passed on to his son
Jonathan, and then Jonathan's son after him, and so on, continuing in
Saul's bloodline forever ... But ... Since Saul displayed dishonor in
carrying out the Lord's commandment, he lost the privilege.
Now, the Philistines also had a camp in Michmash, and while Saul and
Jonathan and their small amount of soldiers remained in Gibeah
because they knew they couldn't defend the land, the Philistines
raided the area in three companies, in three different directions
The Story of King Saul Conclusion
King Saul in the Bible Summary
Obviously controlling the area, they then prohibited the Hebrews from
making any swords or spears ... And any farming tools that they
needed to have sharpened, had to be taken to the Philistines to do
it. So, when there was warfare, the Hebrews were weaponless, however,
Saul and Jonathan were both found possessing weapons ... Isn't that
One might come to a few different conclusions about that, but
consider this ...
Perhaps the Lord wanted to make the ultimate point, that weapons
would not win any battles for the children of Israel ... Only the
power of God would.
Anxious to find out what happens next? Well then hurry back for more
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