Lucia's Blog: I AND II SAMUEL - SAUL AND DAVID - PART ONE
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Isaiah 55:8-9

Isaiah 55:8-9

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

I AND II SAMUEL - SAUL AND DAVID - PART ONE



SAMUEL, SAUL AND DAVID - I AND II SAMUEL


The Bible books of I Samuel and II Samuel are actually two parts of the Book of Samuel. This book was written partly by Samuel himself. It deals mostly with the prophet Samuel and the first two kings of the nation of Israel. These two kings are Saul and David. Altogether, the books of Samuel can be divided into five sections: 1) Samuel, the prophet; 2) Saul as king; 3) David's beginnings; 4) David in hiding and fleeing from king Saul; 5) David as king, covered in II Samuel.  I want to start out by examining I Samuel first, which covers Samuel, Saul and David before David becomes king of the nation of Judah and Israel.

APPROXIMATE TIMELINE FOR SAUL, DAVID AND SOLOMON
1360-1085 BC:  The period of the Judges
1051 BC:  Saul's reign begins
1040 BC:  David is born
1011 BC:  Saul and his three sons are killed on Mount Gilboa. David is anointed king of Judah.
1004 BC:  David is anointed king of Israel. David moves capital to Jerusalem.
971 BC:  Solomon's reign begins
931 BC:  Israel divides into two separate kingdoms: Israel (including the cities of Shechem and Samaria) in the north and Judah (containing Jerusalem) in the south.




GIANTS OF THE FAITH: SAMUEL THE PROPHET (I Samuel 1-7)

In the Bible account of I Samuel, we see the rise of Samuel, chapters 1-3, which begins a new era in the history of Israel, ending the era of the Judges. Samuel becomes then the bridge between these two eras. He is the prophet who anoints the first two kings of the nation of Israel. He is also the last of Israel's greatest Judges.

SAMUEL'S BIRTH ( I Samuel 1:1-2:11)
I mentioned in earlier study of the Book of Ruth, the ancient writers often used a literary form called "chiasms." I Samuel provides us with another example of chiasm:  the first section corresponds to the last, the second section corresponds to the fourth and the third section stands alone in the center as the climactic event:

Hannah prays to the LORD (I Samuel 1:1-11):  

A certain man whose name was Elkanah from the hill country of Ephraim had two wives. The first wife was Hannah and the other was Peninnah. Peninnah had children but sadly Hannah did not. Even so, Hannah was the favorite wife to Elkanah. She was barren, just like Abraham’s wife Sarah, Isaac’s wife Rebekah, and Jacob’s wife Rachel. As it was in the experiences of Sarah and Hagar as well as that of Rachel and Leah, rivalry rose up between these two women, Hannah and Peninnah. The rivalry grew bitter and became ugly. It also grew brutal, as it did between Sarah and Hagar. Peninnah would provoke her bitterly in order to irritate her. This became a recurrent event, but every time she would be provoked, Hannah would weep and not eat. This became a major concern to her husband Elkanah. He asked her, “Hannah, why do you weep and why do you not eat and why is your heart sad? Am I not better to you than ten sons?” Hannah found herself desperate and distressed over her barrenness. One day when she found herself at Shiloh, the home of the Tabernacle, she cried out to the LORD. As she was praying fervently and weeping bitterly she made a vow to God saying "O Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and a razor shall never come on his head.”  I Samuel 1:11.  Eli the priest that was sitting by the doorpost of the Temple was watching her.


Hannah and Eli ( I Samuel 1:12-18):  Eli the priest was sitting at the doorpost, when he saw Hannah praying so fervently, he assumed she was drunk. Hannah's persistence in prayer is remarkable to me as well as her great faith:  the character of her faith toward the LORD.  It makes her one of my favorite Bible characters. It is not easy for a mother to willingly and unselfishly give up the child that she had waited for so long and give him back to her God to serve Him. When Hannah told Eli the priest about what she was praying, he blessed her.

 Samuel is born  (I Samuel 1:12-18):  Hannah gave birth to Samuel and kept him with her until he is weaned. This event is the climax of a beautiful story and its main significance.

Hannah and Eli  (I Samuel 1:24-28):   After Hannah had weaned Samuel she took him to the house of the LORD at Shiloh after they had slaughtered a bull. She brought Samuel to Eli and said, "Oh, my lord! As your soul lives, my lord, I am the woman who stood here beside you, praying to the Lord. For this boy I prayed, and the Lord has given me my petition which I asked of Him. So I have also dedicated him to the Lord; as long as he lives he is dedicated to the Lord."  What a woman of remarkable faith!!

Hannah praises the LORD (I Samuel 2:1-11):  Hannah then offers praise and thanksgiving for God's faithfulness toward her saying, "My heart exults in the Lord; my horn is exalted in the Lord, my mouth speaks boldly against my enemies, because I rejoice in Your salvation. 'There is no one holy like the Lord, indeed, there is no one besides You, nor is there any rock like our God. 'Boast no more so very proudly, do not let arrogance come out of your mouth; for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and with Him actions are weighed. 'The bows of the mighty are shattered, but the feeble gird on strength. 'Those who were full hire themselves out for bread, but those who were hungry cease to hunger. Even the barren gives birth to seven, but she who has many children languishes. 'The Lord kills and makes alive; He brings down to Sheol and raises up. 'The Lord makes poor and rich; He brings low, He also exalts. 'He raises the poor from the dust, He lifts the needy from the ash heap to make them sit with nobles, and inherit a seat of honor; for the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and He set the world on them. 'He keeps the feet of His godly ones, but the wicked ones are silenced in darkness; for not by might shall a man prevail. 'Those who contend with the Lord will be shattered; against them He will thunder in the heavens, the Lord will judge the ends of the earth; and He will give strength to His king, and will exalt the horn of His anointed."


AN INTERESTING CONTRAST BETWEEN SAMUEL AND THE SONS OF ELI THE PRIEST
(I Samuel 2:12-26-3)

This section is written in another form of literary style, the parallel writing style. According to this style of writing, the writer tells a story regarding one item in a pair first, then the other, back and forth. Like the chiasm, the parallel writing style is used in the Scriptures especially in poetry. Although it is kind of fun, it helps the audience, the listeners, to remember the story better. It also highlights or emphasizes contrasts or differences between one thing and another.


In this account, the parallel thoughts consist of Eli's sons on the one hand and Hanna's son, Samuel on the other. Eli is the priest at Shiloh, the home of the Tabernacle. He has two wicked sons who are ready and want to take his place. The sons did evil before the LORD and were not worthy of the job. Samuel was the opposite of these two sons. He has been devoted to the LORD since birth.

The wickedness of the sons (I Samuel 2:12-17):  The sons of Eli were wicked men who did not know the LORD. These sons despised the offering of the LORD. They treated the sacrifices offered at the Tabernacle with contempt which was an abomination displeasing to God.

Samuel's service (I Samuel 2:18-21):  In contrast, Samuel was growing reverently and was pleasing to the LORD. We can surely see how the LORD blessed Samuel's mother, Hannah, giving her more children.

Eli told of his sons' wickedness  (I Samuel 2:22-25): Eli rebukes his sons when he hears how wickedly they have been to the LORD and all Israel. But they would not listen to their father. The LORD desired to put them to death.

Samuel's maturity (I Samuel 2:26): Samuel was growing in stature and favor, before the LORD and men.

Prophecy against Eli's sons (I Samuel 2:27-36)  A prophet came and predicted that Eli and his sons would die because of the sons' wickedness toward the LORD and His people.
Samuel's call (I Samuel 3:1-10):  The boy Samuel was ministering to the LORD before Eli. Although it was rare in those days for the LORD to talk to others through inspiration and visions, the LORD called Samuel in his sleep. Since it was rare to hear the LORD, Samuel thought that Eli was calling him from the next room. After the third call, Eli told Samuel to answer, "Speak, LORD." Samuel answered the LORD's call.

Prophecy against Eli's sons (I Samuel 3:11-18):  The LORD called Samuel. The LORD told Samuel that he was about to judge the house of Eli for his sons’ wickedness. Samuel reports this to Eli, who sadly responds, “It is the Lord; let Him do what seems good to Him.” 

Samuel as Prophet  (I Samuel 3:19-21): The LORD was with Samuel and everybody knew he was confirmed as a Prophet of the LORD who spoke to all of Israel through him.

TROUBLE WITH THE ARK  (I Samuel 4-7)

It is clear to me that the Israelites were constantly at war and being defeated by the Philistines. They killed about four thousand Israelite men on the battlefield. The Philistines lived in the southern part of Canaan along the Mediterranean Seacoast, the area known now as Gaza. The elders began to question God saying, "Why has the Lord defeated us today before the Philistines? Let us take to ourselves from Shiloh the ark of the covenant of the Lord, that it may come among us and deliver us from the power of our enemies." 

The Israelites thought that God was going to deliver them from the hands of their enemies giving them victory.

Eli's two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the Ark of the covenant of God. Instead of the Ark of the Covenant bringing victory to them, the Ark brought destruction. Israel was defeated in a great slaughter. The loss and fall of Israel was enormous. They lost 30,000 soldiers who were killed on the battlefield including Eli's two sons. To make it worse, the Philistines captured the Ark of the Covenant, which was lost to Israel for a time. When Eli heard that his two sons had died and that the Ark of God had been taken, he fell off the seat backward beside the gate, and his neck was broken and he died, for he was old and heavy. Thus he judged Israel forty years.  I Samuel 4:17-18.

The Philistines took the Ark of God to the house of Dagon setting it up beside the idol. The Philistines were not happy when their idol god Dagon had fallen down on the ground breaking its head and hands beside the Ark of God. The hand of the LORD was heavy against the Philistines. The LORD terrified and afflicted them with tumors and death. When they realized that the Ark was not a blessing to them, and that the city became cursed, they decided to return the Ark to the Israelites. The Philistines sent the Ark away with
guilt offerings. The people of Beth Shemesh found it and rejoiced but some were struck down. The Ark was taken to Kiriath-jearim. This is what the Bibles says, "And the men of Kiriath-jearim came and took up the ark of the Lord and brought it to the house of Abinadab on the hill. And they consecrated his son Eleazar to have charge of the ark of the Lord. From the day that the ark was lodged at Kiriath-jearim, a long time passed, some twenty years, and all the house of Israel lamented after the Lord."  I Samuel 7:1-2 ESV

Then Samuel said to the Israelites, “If you are returning to the Lord with all your heart, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth from among you and direct your heart to the Lord and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.  So the people of Israel put away the Baals and the Ashtaroth, and they served the Lord only."  I Samuel 7:3-4.  After they had purified themselves and fasted, they gathered at Mizpah. When the Philistines heard that the Israelites were gathered at Mizpah they went up against them. Samuel cried out to the LORD on behalf of Israel. The LORD heard his cry and answered him. When Samuel was offering a burnt offering, the Philistines attacked. "But the Lord thundered with a mighty sound that day against the Philistines and threw them into confusion, and they were defeated before Israel. And the men of Israel went out from Mizpah and pursued the Philistines and struck them, as far as below Beth-car."   I Samuel 7:10-11 ESV.   It is obvious that God led them to victory over the Philistines. After the victory Samuel took a stone which he placed between Mizpah and Shen and called that placed Ebenezer for he said, "Till now the Lord has helped us."  So the Philistines were subdued and did not again enter the territory of Israel. And the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel.  The cities that the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron to Gath, and Israel delivered their territory from the hand of the Philistines. There was peace also between Israel and the Amorites, I Samuel 7:12-14.

When Samuel became old, he appointed his sons, Joel and Abijah, judges in Beersheba.  But like Eli's sons, Samuel's sons did not walk in his ways but turned aside after gain.  "Yet his sons did not walk in his ways but turned aside after gain. They took bribes and perverted justice."  I Samuel 8:3.  Then the elders of the Israelites gathered and told Samuel, “Behold, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations.” But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the Lord. And the Lord said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them.  According to all the deeds that they have done, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are also doing to you. Now then, obey their voice; only you shall solemnly warn them and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.”  I Samuel 8:5-9.

So Samuel told them all the words of the LORD and warned them what it would mean to have a king rule over them. He said, "These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots. And he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants. He will take the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants. He will take your male servants and female servants and the best of your young men and your donkeys, and put them to his work. He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord will not answer you in that day."  The LORD told Samuel to give them a king.  I Samuel 8:11-18.  But the Israelites did not want to hear and obey the voice of Samuel saying NO!

They were thinking in fleshly terms about a king because they wanted to be like the other nations.  It is obvious to me that they were not walking by FAITH but by the flesh. They LORD finally gave up on them saying to Samuel, “Obey their voice and make them a king.” Samuel then said to the men of Israel, “Go every man to his city.”  I Samuel 8:22.
 

SAUL, ISRAEL'S FIRST KING  (I Samuel 8-15)

It is clear to me that the Israelites' way of thinking was as carnal as the thinking of other nations. They wanted to be like the other nations and have what they had. But their sin was driving a wedge between them and their God Jehovah. By choosing a king, they were obviously rejecting God's kingship and leadership.  God spoke through Samuel instructing and warning them about the ugly consequences of having an earthly king who would rule over them without justice, righteousness and humility.  Among those warnings were the loss of freedom (meaning oppression) and heavy taxes imposed on them.  Sadly, they did not want to listen to the LORD.  So the LORD finally told Samuel to get them a king.


THE LORD CHOOSES SAUL (I Samuel 9-10)
This section of the Bible account contains another "chiasm," in which the first division is similar to the last. A "chiasm" is a literary structure used to highlight the critical parts of a story. What this means is that in the Bible, the climax of a story usually falls in the middle of a story, not at the end.  

Description of Saul  (I Samuel 9:1-2): Saul was the son of Kish, a Benjamite, a man of wealth. Saul was a handsome young man. He was also taller than any of the people of Israel.

Lost donkeys (I Samuel 9:3-14): The donkeys of Kish, the father of Saul, were lost.  So Kish said to Saul, his son, "Take one of the young men with you, and arise, go and look for the donkeys." Saul and his servant went looking for his father's donkeys.  Notice that donkeys were indispensable to a family in those days. Saul looked for them in three places, Shalishah, Shaalim and Benjamin and did not find them. When Saul and his servant found themselves in the land of Zuph, Saul said to this servant, “Come, let us go back, lest my father cease to care about the donkeys and become anxious about us.”   But he said to him, “Behold, there is a man of God in this city, and he is a man who is held in honor; all that he says comes true. So now let us go there. Perhaps he can tell us the way we should go.”  Then Saul said to his servant, “But if we go, what can we bring the man? For the bread in our sacks is gone, and there is no present to bring to the man of God. What do we have?”  The servant answered Saul again, “Here, I have with me a quarter of a shekel of silver, and I will give it to the man of God to tell us our way.” 

Formerly in Israel, when a man went to inquire of God, he said, “Come, let us go to the seer,” for today's “prophet” was formerly called a seer.  And Saul said to his servant, “Well said; come, let us go.”  So they went to the city where the man of God was.  As they were going up to the city, they met some young women who were drawing water. He asked them if the seer was there and they answered he was just ahead of him. They also told him to hurry since he had just come to the city to offer sacrifice that day on the high place. They also told Saul that he would find the seer as soon as he entered the city before he went to the high place to eat since the people would not eat until he blessed the sacrifice. Again, they urged Saul to go up to meet him. So as they were entering the city, they saw Samuel coming toward them on his way up to the high place.

God chooses Saul  (I Samuel 9:15-27 and 10:1):  God had already told Samuel about Saul before he came to see him. This is what the LORD had told Samuel, "Tomorrow about this time I will send to you a man from the land of Benjamin, and you shall anoint him to be prince over my people Israel. He shall save my people from the hand of the Philistines. For I have seen my people, because their cry has come to me."  So when Saul showed up, the LORD told Samuel, “Here is the man of whom I spoke to you! He it is who shall restrain my people.” Then Saul approached Samuel in the gate and said, “Tell me where is the house of the seer?”  Samuel answered Saul, “I am the seer. Go up before me to the high place, for today you shall eat with me, and in the morning I will let you go and will tell you all that is on your mind. As for your donkeys that were lost three days ago, do not set your mind on them, for they have been found. And for whom is all that is desirable in Israel? Is it not for you and for all your father's house?” Saul answered, “Am I not a Benjaminite, from the least of the tribes of Israel? And is not my clan the humblest of all the clans of the tribe of Benjamin? Why then have you spoken to me in this way?” Samuel then invited Saul and his servant to come to his house and eat. So Saul ate with Samuel that day. Later, the next day, as they were going to the outskirts of the city, Samuel said to Saul, "Tell the servant to pass on before us, and when he has passed on, stop here yourself for a while, that I may make known to you the word of God." Then Samuel anointed Saul and kissed him and said to him, "Has not the Lord anointed you to be prince over his people Israel? And you shall reign over the people of the Lord and you will save them from the hand of their surrounding enemies. And this shall be the sign to you that the Lord has anointed you to be prince over his heritage."

Three signs given (I Samuel 10:1-8): Saul received three signs to confirm that he was the anointed one, the chosen king, over Israel:
  1. Two men would meet him at Rachael's tomb and tell him that the donkeys were found.
  2. Three men would meet him at Bethel, Jacob's place, with three young goats, three loaves of bread and a skin of wine. These three men were to greet him and give him two of the three loaves of bread which he was to accept from their hand.
  3. Saul would encounter a group of prophets with harp, tambourine, flute, and lyre, prophesying at Gibeath-elohim, Saul's home, where there was a garrison of the Philistines. The Spirit of the LORD would come upon Saul and he would prophesy with the prophets and be turned into another man. Then Samuel said to Saul, "Now when these signs meet you, do what your hand finds to do, for God is with you. Then go down before me to Gilgal. And behold, I am coming down to you to offer burnt offerings and to sacrifice peace offerings. Seven days you shall wait, until I come to you and show you what you shall do."

Three signs fulfilled (I Samuel 10:9-16):  Notice that God had given Saul another heart as soon as he left Samuel. And all these three signs had been fulfilled. When Saul came back to Gibeah, his family and all who knew him and saw him prophesying with the prophets, began saying to one another, “What has come over the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?” And a man of the place answered, “And who is their father?” Therefore it became a proverb, “Is Saul also among the prophets?”  When he had finished prophesying, he came to the high place. But did not tell anyone of the matter of the kingdom, of which Samuel had spoken to him.

God chooses Saul through lot (I Samuel 10:16-21a):  
Samuel assembled the Israelites before the LORD at Mizpah saying, "Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘I brought up Israel out of Egypt, and I delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the hand of all the kingdoms that were oppressing you.’ But today you have rejected your God, who saves you from all your calamities and your distresses, and you have said to him, ‘Set a king over us.’ Now therefore present yourselves before the Lord by your tribes and by your thousands." Then Samuel brought all the tribes of Israel plus the tribe of Benjamin near and drew lots, and Saul was chosen as king by lot.

Saul missing (I Samuel 10:21b-22):  Saul could not be found, so they asked the LORD where he was hiding. This is what they inquired, “Is there a man still to come?” and the Lord said, “Behold, he has hidden himself among the baggage.”

Description of Saul (I Samuel 10:23-27):  Saul stood among the people taller than any of the other Israelites from his shoulders upward. Then Samuel said to all the Israelites, “Do you see him whom the Lord has chosen? There is none like him among all the people.” And all the people shouted, “Long live the king!”  Samuel then instructed all the Israelites about what it meant to have a king, the rights and duties of the kingship.  Saul went back to his home at Gibeah with the men of valor whose hearts God had touched. Despite all the signs and the ceremony, some despised Saul saying, “How can this man save us?”  And they despised him and brought him no present.  But he held his peace.

FASCINATING FACT ABOUT CASTING LOTS


When the priests of Israel needed to know God's choice in some decision, they would sometimes use the method of casting lots. The High Priest carried sacred stones known as Urim and Thummim in a container inside his breastplate. The stones were then to be cast, and the LORD would make them fall as He wished. It is not known for sure what the stones looked like or how the outcome of the lot was determined, but the priests would interpret what they saw, and the authority of the stones was not questioned at all.


SAUL AS KING  (I Samuel 11-15)


I Samuel 11:   The Ammonites threatened and attacked Israel at Jabesh-Gilead, from the tribe of Manasseh, east of the Jordan. Nahash, an Ammonite said to the Israelites, “On this condition I will make a treaty with you, that I gouge out all your right eyes, and thus bring disgrace on all Israel.”  So the elders of Jabesh said to Nahash, “What is wrong with the people, that they are weeping?” As Saul heard the terrible news regarding the men of Jasbesh, the Spirit of the LORD came upon him and his anger was greatly kindled. So Saul took a yoke of oxen and began cutting them in pieces. He sent the pieces to all the land of Israel by the hand of messengers saying, "Whoever does not come out after Saul and Samuel, so shall it be done to his oxen!” Then the dread of the Lord fell upon the people, and they came out as one man. The people of Israel were three hundred thousand, and the men of Judah thirty thousand. And they said to the messengers who had come, “Thus shall you say to the men of Jabesh-gilead: ‘Tomorrow, by the time the sun is hot, you shall have salvation.’”  When the messengers came and told the men of Jabesh, they were glad.  Therefore the men of Jabesh said, “Tomorrow we will give ourselves up to you, and you may do to us whatever seems good to you."  And the next day Saul put the people in three companies. And they came into the midst of the camp in the morning watch and struck down the Ammonites until the heat of the day. And those who survived were scattered, so that no two of them were left together. With the three hundred and thirty thousand men, Saul defeats the Ammonites. Now that he, Saul, has proven his leadership ability, the people confirm Saul as king before the LORD at Gilgal and renewed the kingdom. 

I Samuel 12:  After the Israelites had renewed the kingdom by making Saul king before the LORD, Samuel said to all Israel, “Behold, I have obeyed your voice in all that you have said to me and have made a king over you.   And now, behold, the king walks before you, and I am old and gray; and behold, my sons are with you. I have walked before you from my youth until this day.  Here I am; testify against me before the Lord and before his anointed.  Whose ox have I taken? Or whose donkey have I taken? Or whom have I defrauded? Whom have I oppressed? Or from whose hand have I taken a bribe to blind my eyes with it? Testify against me and I will restore it to you.”   Then the Israelites replied, “You have not defrauded us or oppressed us or taken anything from any man's hand.”  And Samuel said to them, "The Lord is witness against you, and his anointed is witness this day, that you have not found anything in my hand.”  And they said, “He is witness."

Samuel rebukes the Israelites demonstrating and confirming God's power and might by bringing down thunder and rain during the dry season. And even though Israel had rejected God as their king, Samuel promises to pray for the Israelites and exhorts them to serve and fear the LORD faithfully with all their heart. But Samuel also warned them that if they did wickedly before the LORD, the LORD would sweep away both their king and them.  Samuel said to the people, "The Lord is witness, who appointed Moses and Aaron and brought your fathers up out of the land of Egypt. Now therefore stand still that I may plead with you before the Lord concerning all the righteous deeds of the Lord that he performed for you and for your fathers.... Now therefore stand still and see this great thing that the Lord will do before your eyes. Is it not wheat harvest today? I will call upon the Lord, that he may send thunder and rain. And you shall know and see that your wickedness is great, which you have done in the sight of the Lord, in asking for yourselves a king.” So Samuel called upon the Lord, and the Lord sent thunder and rain that day, and all the people greatly feared the Lord and Samuel. And all the people said to Samuel, “Pray for your servants to the Lord your God, that we may not die, for we have added to all our sins this evil, to ask for ourselves a king.” And Samuel said to the people, “Do not be afraid; you have done all this evil. Yet do not turn aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart. And do not turn aside after empty things that cannot profit or deliver, for they are empty. For the Lord will not forsake his people, for his great name's sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you a people for himself.... Only fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you. But if you still do wickedly, you shall be swept away, both you and your king."

I Samuel 13:  Early on, the evidence began to accumulate that Saul was not God's man.  He offended the LORD by not waiting for Samuel to make an offering before a battle against the Philistines. This is what the the Bible says Saul did, "But Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and the people were scattering from him. So Saul said, "Bring the burnt offering here to me, and the peace offerings.” And he offered the burnt offering. As soon as he had finished offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came. And Saul went out to meet him and greet him. Samuel said, “What have you done?” And Saul said, “When I saw that the people were scattering from me, and that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines had mustered at Michmash, I said, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the favor of the Lord.’ So I forced myself, and offered the burnt offering.” And Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the command of the Lord your God, with which he commanded you."  For then the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought out a man after his own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be prince over his people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.” And Samuel arose and went up from Gilgal. The rest of the people went up after Saul to meet the army; they went up from Gilgal to Gibeah of Benjamin.  

The LORD was angry at Saul.  He declared that He would not establish the kingdom through Saul's line. God would not allow anyone to mock Him!!!

I Samuel 14:  Saul's son Jonathan and his armor-bearer went against the Philistines and routed them, setting a panic throughout the Philistines camp.  Saul and the rest of the army joined in the battle defeating the Philistines. So the Lord saved Israel that day. And the battle passed beyond Beth-aven. Saul had bound the people under an oath saying, "Cursed be the man who eats food until it is evening and I am avenged on my enemies." So none of the people had tasted food. When they all came to the forest, they saw honey on the ground, but they did not touch it since they feared the oath.  Unfortunately, Jonathan did not know anything about the oath his father had imposed on the people so he put out the tip of the staff that was in his hand and dipped it in the honeycomb and put his hand to his mouth, and his eyes became bright.   And the people were faint. Then Jonathan said, “My father has troubled the land. See how my eyes have become bright because I tasted a little of this honey. How much better if the people had eaten freely today of the spoil of their enemies that they found. For now the defeat among the Philistines has not been great.”

Now Saul and the Israelites had defeated the Philistines but they became faint. They told Saul, "Behold, the people are sinning against the Lord by eating with the blood.” And he said, “You have dealt treacherously; roll a great stone to me here.” And Saul said, “Disperse yourselves among the people and say to them, ‘Let every man bring his ox or his sheep and slaughter them here and eat, and do not sin against the Lord by eating with the blood.”  So every one of the people brought his ox with him that night and they slaughtered them there.  And Saul built an altar to the Lord; it was the first altar that he built to the Lord. Saul was advised by the priest to draw near to God. Saul prayed to God, but He did not answer. Therefore Saul said, “O Lord God of Israel, why have you not answered your servant this day? If this guilt is in me or in Jonathan my son, O Lord, God of Israel, give Urim. But if this guilt is in your people Israel, give Thummim.” And Jonathan and Saul were taken, but the people escaped. Then Saul said, “Cast the lot between me and my son Jonathan.” And Jonathan was taken. Saul then asked Jonathan what he had done and Jonathan tells him that he had tasted a little honey with the tip of his staff. So Jonathan humbly tells his father, "Here I am; I will die." Saul says, "God do so to me and more also; you shall surely die, Jonathan.” Then the people said to Saul, “Shall Jonathan die, who has worked this great salvation in Israel? Far from it! As the Lord lives, there shall not one hair of his head fall to the ground, for he has worked with God this day.” So the people ransomed Jonathan, so that he did not die. Then Saul went up from pursuing the Philistines, and the Philistines went to their own place. Saul fought the Philistines hard all the days of his life.

I Samuel 15:  Saul was commanded by the LORD to attack the Amalekites destroying them completely, everyone and everything. Instead of obeying what the LORD instructed him to do, Saul followed his own foolish wisdom, saving the best of the livestock and letting the Amalekite's king live. The LORD came to Samuel saying, "I regret that I have made Saul king, for he has turned back from following me and has not performed my commandments."  After hearing this, Samuel was very disturbed crying out to the LORD all night. 

The next morning Samuel met Saul and told him, “What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears and the lowing of the oxen that I hear?” Saul tried to find excuses for what he had done, but Samuel told him to stop and then he said to Saul, "Though you are little in your own eyes, are you not the head of the tribes of Israel? The Lord anointed you king over Israel. And the Lord sent you on a mission and said, ‘Go, devote to destruction the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are consumed.’ Why then did you not obey the voice of the Lord? Why did you pounce on the spoil and do what was evil in the sight of the Lord?” After that Saul blamed the people for sparing the best of the sheep and cattle which were kept for sacrifice. Samuel said again, “Has 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 listen than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry.  Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has also rejected you from being king.” 


Even though Saul tried to confess his sin admitting he had sinned against the LORD not obeying his commandment, but was willing to return with Samuel and bow before the LORD, Samuel said to Saul, "I will not return with you. For you have rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord has rejected you from being king over Israel.” As Samuel walked away from Saul, Saul seized the skirt of his robe, and it tore.  Samuel said to him, “The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you this day and has given it to a neighbor of yours, who is better than you.  And also the Glory of Israel will not lie or have regret, for he is not a man, that he should have regret."  Saul bowed to the LORD when Samuel turned his back. Samuel killed Agag the king of the Amalekites before the LORD in Gilgal. Samuel left Saul and did not meet with him again until the day of his death.  Samuel grieved over Saul and the LORD regretted that He had made Saul king over Israel.  Again, God cannot be mocked and would not allow any man on earth to mock Him.  We must FEAR Him!


As disappointing as the history of King Saul is to this point, the latter years of Saul are even more outrageous.  In our next study we are going to consider the ascension of David who begins as Saul's gifted harpist and who soothed him in his times of torment from the evil spirit, but who became King Saul's champion and the hero of his people.


Luci