By now, you probably know the drill. If you are new to this, this series, as you may have deciphered, is an outline of the entire Bible, book by good ol’ book. Here are the previous sections: Part 1 | Genesis, Part 2 | Exodus, Part 3 | Leviticus, Part 4.1 | Numbers 1-8, Part 4.2 | Numbers 9-19, Part 4.3 | Numbers 20-27, Part 4.4 | Numbers 28-36, Part 5.1 | Deuteronomy 1-11, Part 5.2 | Deuteronomy 12-20, Part 5.3 | Deuteronomy 21-34, Part 6.1 | Joshua 1-12, Part 6.2 | Joshua 13-19, Part 6.3 | Joshua 20-24, Part 7.1 | Judges 1-5, Part 7.2 | Judges 6-12, Part 7.3 | Judges 13-21, Part 8 | Ruth.
Part 9.1 | 1 Samuel 1-8 – The first chapters of 1 Samuel details the life and fall of the priest, Eli, and his household while simultaneously documenting the growth and rise of Samuel and his household. We see the Israelites continue down the same path as we saw them on in Judges, but there is a huge shift in Chapter 8. The Israelites demand a king over them in response to what they see in other nations. They effectively reject the Lord as their King.
Part 9.2 | 1 Samuel 9-12 – As the book of 1 Samuel continues, we see the Lord answer the desire of the Israelites. A man named Saul is crowned the “King” of Israel, and the age of the Judges comes to an end. The Lord indeed uses Saul to lead the people of Israel, and through him, many things are done. However, we also see glimpses of weakness in the new king.
BEFORE READING MORE – It would be ideal if you read the chapters to be discussed prior to looking through the outline! This week we are covering 1 Samuel 13 – 15.
1 SAMUEL – The first book of Samuel details the life of major biblical characters such as Hannah, Samuel, Saul, Jonathan, and David. At the end of Ruth we learned that Ruth and Boaz had a boy named Obed, who was the father of Jesse, and Jesse was the father of David whose line would eventually lead to Jesus Christ. 1 Samuel describes an important shift from the time of the Judges over Israel to the time of Kings, and although that shift was an indication of the wayward heart of the Israelites, we still see God’s perfect will played out in a wonderful way through many characters and events. But of all the things that happened throughout the book, it was the life of David that is of particular importance.
- 1 Samuel 13 | Saul acts by his own wisdom and does not follow the Lord’s command: Saul and his son, Jonathan, fought against the Philistines for the Lord, and in Chapter 13 Saul is led to the land of Gilgal, which was the part of Samuel’s prophecy in Chapter 10 that had not come to pass yet. Saul was to wait for Samuel before sacrificing burnt offerings and peace offerings, but after Samuel did not show for some time, Saul decided to go ahead and do it himself. As soon as he finished offering the sacrifices, Samuel arrived and was shocked.
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.” | 1 Samuel 13:13-14
This began the downfall of Saul’s reign, and we will see his flawed mindset continue to plague his decisions in Chapter 14. At the end of the chapter we see Saul along with Jonathan and around 600 men camped just across a garrison of Philistines that consisted of “thirty thousand chariots and six thousand horsemen and troops like the the sand on the seashore in multitude” that came up to fight the Israelites.
- 1 Samuel 14 | Saul forgets the Lord and trusts his own wisdom, Jonathan and his armor bearer fight bravely for the Lord but are almost condemned by Saul’s foolishness, Saul seems to depend more on man than God: Chapter 14 epitomizes the drifting of Saul from the Lord by comparing his prideful actions to that of his own son, Jonathan. Jonathan decided to cross over into the garrison of Philistines with his armor bearer, and as the two men arrived this is what Jonathan thought:
Jonathan said to the young man who carried his armor, “Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised. It may be that the Lord will work for us, for nothing can hinder the Lord from saving by many or by few.” | 1 Samuel 14:6
With full confidence in the Lord, Jonathan then decided to reveal himself to the Philistines, and he proceeded to judge whether or not they should attack by the response of the Philistines, essentially leaving it up to the Lord. Sure enough, Jonathan felt called to attack claiming to his armor bearer “Come up after me, for the Lord has given them into the hand of Israel,” and he and the armor bearer were empowered by the Lord to attack the Philistines. They immediately killed 20 Philistines, which caused a great confusion and panic in the garrison. Saul and the 600 men see the confusion from afar, and they learned that only Jonathan and his armor bearer are missing. Immediately, Saul looks to the priests and Lord for guidance, but his humility is replaced by his own wisdom.
So Saul said Ahijah, “Bring the ark of God here.” For the ark of God went at that time with the people of Israel. Now while Saul was talking to the priest, the tumult in the camp of the Philistines increased more and more. So Saul said to the priest, “Withdraw your hand.” | 1 Samuel 14:18-19
Saul effectively rejected the guidance of the Lord, and withdrawing his initial intention, he ultimately took matters into his own hands (in various places in the Bible we have read about the Urim and Thummim, which were used to seek the will of the Lord, and they were located in the ark at this time – so Saul’s initial intention was to seek the Lord). Saul’s folly is continued when he curses anyone that eats of the land until “I am avenged on my enemies,” which had nothing to do with the Lord’s will and the Lord’s righteous vengeance. This “curse” caused much difficulty in many ways as the starving Israelites eventually resorted to literally killing and eating raw animals, and Jonathan, who did not hear his fathers decree, ate of the land. Ultimately, Saul is disconnected from the Lord, and he essentially blames it on Jonathan. But the people of Israel have to ransom Jonathan saying that he fought for the Lord valiantly that day. The epitome of Saul’s downward spiral can be seen in this verse:
There was hard fighting against the Philistines all the days of Saul. And when Saul saw any strong man, or any valiant man, he attached him to himself. | 1 Samuel 14:52
Saul is clearly transformed from a man empowered by the Lord to a man dependent on the strength of a wavering mankind.
- 1 Samuel 15 | Saul does not devote the Amalekites completely to destruction, Saul is rejected by the Lord, another King is promised, the Lord regrets anointing Saul: Chapter 15 again outlines the folly of Saul, but this time it has horrific results. Samuel spoke for the Lord and told Saul that the Lord commanded him to go and completely destroy the Amalekites who opposed the Israelites when they were leaving Egypt. The Lord makes it clear that everything was to be completely destroyed with nothing spared, and of course, Saul spares the Agag, king of the Amalekites, and the sheep and oxen and calves and lambs and all that was good. This was a huge mistake and the Lord’s response to Saul’s actions is something that I would never want to hear: The word of the Lord came to Samuel:
“I regret that I have made Saul king, for he has turned back from following me and has not performed my commandments” | 1 Samuel 15:11
What a horrible thing! The Lord regretted. So Saul’s downward spiral was cemented, and although Saul does repent, it is too late. The Lord promised another in his place:
“Now therefore, please pardon my sin and return with me that I may bow before the Lord.” And 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 turned to go away, Saul seized the skirt of his robe, and it tore. And 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.” | 1 Samuel 15:25-27
The chapter ends with Samuel hacking Agag to pieces, and the two men, Samuel and Saul, part ways and never see each other again! The very last verse of the chapter again reiterates:
And the Lord regretted that he had made Saul king over Israel | 1 Samuel 15:35b