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. If you want to truly know your King, you can follow this link to read all of the current portions to date!
Previously in 1 Samuel…The life and fall of Eli, the high priest, and his household happened just as the Lord provided new leadership through Samuel and his household. During Samuel’s time, the Israelites came to a huge shifting point when they demanded a king, which was a desire fostered by their observance of other nations. This was a blatant rejection of the Lord as their King, but He was gracious and merciful to grant their request. So, a man named Saul was crowned “King” of Israel, and his anointing brought the time of the Judges to an end. Saul was clearly infused by the power of the Spirit, and the Lord used him to deliver the Israelites from the Philistines. However, we start to see a slow fade in Saul, and his dependence and trust in the Lord slowly turned into to trust in men and his own wisdom! This ended in the Lord “regretting” that He had made Saul King, and He promised to raise another in his place. David, the son of Jesse and descendant of Ruth, is appointed King. Saul’s spirit is tormented, and his heart is pitted against David. However, Saul’s son, Jonathan, simultaneously adores David.
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 21 – 26.
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 21 – 22 | David flees from Saul to Nob, then Gath, and the cave of Adulam, David is sustained and protected along the way, and Saul commits heinous crimes while chasing after him: After proving Saul’s intentions and leaving Jonathan in Chapter 20, David fled to a land called Nob. At Nob David met a priest named Ahimelech who instantly recognized and feared him. A man named Doeg , an Edomite and chief of Saul’s sheperds, saw David, and he later played a role in evil done by Saul. After his time in Nob, David escaped to Gath and to Adullam. Throughout out all of this running, we clearly see the favor in David’s life. He is blessed with consecrated bread to eat as he coincidentally asked as it was being swapped for new bread. He asks Ahimelech for a weapon, and David is coincidentally given the sword of Goliath, the mighty Philistine that he defeated with a sling and a stone. He even played as though he was insane in order to avoid the gaze of Achish, king of Gath. In Chapter 21 David, although he was fleeing, constantly benefited from numerous blessings along the way, and he did not selfishly hide that hope.
Everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him; and he became captain over them. | 1 Samuel 22:2
In stark contrast, we see great evil exuding from Saul and his actions in Chapter 22. In pursuit of David, Saul arrived at Nob, and he stood before all of the people. At that time, Doeg, the Edomite, told Saul of David’s whereabouts, and he accused Ahimelech. Saul’s anger against Ahimelech was kindled because of the “treason”, and he commanded Doeg to slay all of the priests of the Lord after nobody else dared to attack them. Doeg struck down 85 priests and the entire city of Nob. He killed all of its “men and women, children and infants; also oxen, donkeys, and sheep…” Only one son of Ahimelech, named Abiathar, escaped and told David the horrible news.
- 1 Samuel 23 | David is empowered by the Lord to defeat the Philistines at Keilah, Saul continues to pursue David to take his life, and David continues to elude him: As Saul is so consumed by chasing David, we see David slowly take on the role that the Lord set aside Saul for initially. Saul was meant to be a leader, and in the previous chapter we saw that David began gaining followers and trust from the Israelites. Saul was meant to fight and defend the Israelites, and in Chapter 23, we see David start to take on that role! It is ironic because in one chapter, Saul murders an entire city of priests and innocent people, and in the very next chapter, David saves a city of innocent people. David asked the Lord and was clearly empowered by Him to save the inhabitants of Keilah from the Philistines. Saul heard of this victory, and he pursued David into Keilah, but David again found favor because Abiathar brought an ephod (a garment worn by priests) with him when he escaped from Nob. Abiathar and David used the ephod to converse with the Lord, and they were able to elude Saul. Saul ferociously pursued David into the wilderness of Horesh, but Jonathan encouraged him:
‘Do not be afraid, because the hand of Saul my father will not find you, and you will be king over Israel and I will be next to you; and Saul my father knows that also.’ | 1 Samuel 23:17
Saul was relentless, and at the end of the chapter we see David and his men finally being surrounded by Saul and his company. However, at that moment of impending victory Saul was called to defend the land from the Philistines, and David escaped into the strongholds of Engedi.
- 1 Samuel 24 | David has the opportunity to take Saul’s life, but he spares Saul, who responds with a changed heart: In Chapter 24, there is a huge turning point. While David fled from Saul in previous chapters, we constantly saw glimpses of his character. His decisions and actions seemed to be directly opposite to those of Saul, and everything he did confirmed the Spirit living within him. The fruit of his life was proof of the Lord and of the Spirit and of Christ, just as it is for us living in the world. In this chapter, David clearly took on the mantle of Jesus Christ by showing mercy and grace to the man who offered the opposite to him. Saul is delivered into David’s hand, and David has the perfect opportunity to end the pursuit once and for all. However, he shows mercy to Saul and respect to the Lord by only cutting a piece of Saul’s robe off. So he said to his men:
“Far be it from me because of the Lord that I should do this thing to my lord, the Lord’s anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, since he is the Lord’s anointed.” David persuaded his men with these words and did not allow them to rise up against Saul. | 1 Samuel 24:6-7
Despite everything Saul had done, David still considered him the anointed of the Lord, and he did not seek vengeance against him. David forgave him for all his heinous crimes and spared his life. He confronted Saul and told him that “there is no evil or rebellion” in his hands because “out of the wicked comes forth wickedness”. He revealed the piece of Saul’s robe and told him that he could have easily ended his life. This act of forgiveness and mercy changes Saul’s heart completely:
He said to David, “You are more righteous than I; for you have dealt well with me, while I have dealt wickedly with you. You have declared today that you have done good to me, that the Lord delivered me into your hand and yet you did not kill me. For if a man finds his enemy, will he let him go away safely? May the Lord therefore reward you with good in return for what you have done to me this day. Now, behold, I know that you will surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel will be established in you hand.” | 1 Samuel 24:17-20
Finally, Saul makes David swear not to cut of his name, and both men go on their merry way.
- 1 Samuel 25 | Samuel dies, and David marries Abigail and Ahinoam: Chapter 25 begins with the death of Samuel, which is mourned by all of Israel, but it quickly turns back to the story of our archetype of Christ, David. In this chapter, we read of Abigail and the great woman of God that she was, but we also begin to see a glimpse of David’s flaws. Abigail was married to a man named Nabal who was a less than savory character. David and his men had been side by side with the servants of Nabal, and they had protected them and done no harm to them. However, when David sought provisions from Nabal, who did not oblige or even acknowledge him. This pitted David against Nabal, and he gathered 400 men in revenge to put Nabal to death! However, Abigail interceded for Nabal without his knowledge. She took provisions to David, and met him and his men on the road as they marched against Nabal. She pleaded and humbled herself in front of him.
Then David said to Abigail, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me, and blessed be your discernment, and blessed be you, who have kept me this day from bloodshed and from avenging myself by my own hand.” | 1 Samuel 25:32-33
So David accepted her offering, and Nabal’s life was spared. Shortly after, Abigail revealed what she had done to Nabal, and it caused his heart to die within him, which resulted in his death 10 days later. When David heard of his death, he sent a proposal to Abigail, and she quickly accepted! Unfortunately, we also read that David took another woman, Ahinoam, as a wife as well, and his previous wife Michal, Saul’s daughter, was given to another. The end of this chapter is interesting because we read of this great woman of God who interceded and showed amazing wisdom that caused David to stay away from sin, but David took another wife as if to say that she was not enough! This very flaw would later rear it’s head in David’s life.
- 1 Samuel 26 | Saul is enticed by men to pursue David again, David again spares Saul’s life, and Saul finally seems to relinquish his relentless pursuit: It seems as though many people knew of Saul’s pursuit of David, and although Saul had technically relinquished the pursuit back in Chapter 24, we see the Ziphites rekindle it for a moment. David sent out spies who confirmed that Saul was coming, and while Saul and his men were camped, David and Abishai, his nephew, went down to where Saul was sleeping. Saul was again delivered into David’s hands, and David again decided to spare his life. Instead, he took the spear and the jug of water that were at Saul’s head. David, from a distance, revealed that he had another opportunity, and he challenges Saul because he was stirred up by men and not by the Lord.
Then Saul said, “I have sinned. Return, my son David, for I will not harm you again because my life was precious in your sight this day. Behold I have played the fool and have committed a serious error.” | 1 Samuel 26:21
So, finally finally…the two men seemingly part ways with a newfound understanding.
P.S. HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL! My prayer is that the Lord would powerfully work in our lives every single day this year, so that we would vividly witness that He is alive and actively working every moment of the day! Love y’all 🙂