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, was appointed King, and from that point on Saul’s spirit was tormented, and his heart was pitted against David. However, Saul’s son, Jonathan, simultaneously grew to adore David. Ironically, David became a key player in Saul’s closest council, and despite Saul’s attempts to destroy/kill him, David always came on top! Eventually, David fled from Saul’s presence with the help of Jonathan, and we read that he was empowered to defeat the Philistines and that he married Abigail and Ahinoam while on the lam. The Lord granted him multiple opportunities to take Saul’s life as Saul pursued him, but David willingly spared the life of Saul on multiple occasions. It seemed as though this put to rest the feud between Saul and David for good.
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 27 – 31.
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 27 | David lives with the Philistines: In Chapter 27 Saul’s promises of giving up the chase in Chapter 26 seemed to have fallen on deaf ears. David, in fear, decided that escaping to the land of the Philistines was the best way for him to avoid the hand of Saul. So, David, along with six hundred men and their households, cross over into Gath, which is , ironically, the place where Goliath was from. Amazingly David finds favor in the eyes of Achish, the king of Gath and the man that David had previously convinced that he was insane! David and his men stayed with Achish at Gath, and Saul gave up his search once he learned of David’s whereabouts. Eventually, Achish gave David the Philistine city of Ziklag to inhabit, and David and his men lived with the Philistines for a total of 1 year and 4 months. While living with the Philistines, David led his men to raid and utterly destroy the Geshurites, Girzites, and Amalekites, who were enemies of Israel, but when Achish inquired about his raids, David made it seem as though he acted against Israel. David would utterly destroy the people so that they could not inform the king of Gath of the truth, and Achish’s trust of David grew!
- 1 Samuel 28 | The Philistines gather their armies against Israel, Achish exalts David, Saul is afraid of the Philistines, and Saul seeks out the spirit of Samuel: At the start of the chapter, the Philistines gathered their armies against Israel, and Achish assures David that he would be a part of the camp. He goes on to guarantee that David would be his “bodyguard for life”, which is most certainly not what David would want, but the Lord continued to show David favor whether it was among foreigners or the children of Israel. After the brief update on David’s whereabouts, we transition to the life of Saul. Saul was filled with terror when he saw the camp of the Philistines, so he sought the Lord.
When Saul saw the camp of the Philistines, he was afraid and his heart trembled greatly. When Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord did not answer him, either by dreams or by Urim or by prophets.| 1 Samuel 28:5-6
In stark contrast to David, Saul seemed completely disconnected from the Lord. So he took things into his own hands. He sought out a medium who could conjure up the spirit of Samuel. A woman from En-dor did just that for him, and this is what Samuel had to say:
The Lord has done accordingly as He spoke through me; for the Lord has torn the kingdom out of your hand and given it to your neighbor, to David. As you did not obey the Lord and did not execute His fierce wrath on Amalek, so the Lord has done this thing to you this day. Moreover the Lord will also give over Israel along with you into the hands of the Philistines, therefore tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. Indeed the Lord will give over the army of Israel into the hands of the Philistines!’ | 1 Samuel 28:17-19.
Saul immediately fell onto the ground after hearing all of what Samuel had to say, and he was filled with fear. The woman realized that it was Saul, and she fed him for he hadn’t eaten all day and all night. After eating, Saul and his servants went away.
- 1 Samuel 29 – 30 | David is relieved of his duties as an honorary Philistine, David returns to Ziklag to find it had been raided, and he deals a mighty blow to those who were responsible, the Amalekites: In Chapter 29 , David saved before being found out! We last saw him with Achish who vowed that David and his mean would march against Israel with the Philistines. Unfortunately, the other Philistine lords did not have the same desire. They were afraid that David would turn against them in the heat of the battle, so they demanded that he stayed back. I doubt that David would have actually fought against the Israelites alongside the Philistines, and he most likely would have turned against the Philistines. As David returned to his home of Ziklag, he and his men come upon a raided, looted, and burned city by none other than the Amalekites. Everything was taking including his two wives! While the people were distressed and began to talk of stoning David, he was strengthened in the Lord. He sought the council of the Lord, and the Lord ensured him that he should pursue the Amalekites “for you will surely overtake them, and you will surely rescue all.” David proceeded to follow, and he dealt a huge blow to the Amalekites. Just as the Lord had promised, David rescued all.
So David recovered all that the Amalekites had taken, and rescued his two wives. But nothing of theirs was missing, whether small or great, sons or daughters, spoil or anything that they had take for themselves; David brought it all back. | 1 Samuel 30:18-19
It is ironic that David so clearly occupied the position that Saul had once held. His defeat of the Amalekites, who had ominously loomed over Saul from Chapter 15 to Chapter 28, is a confirmation of that major shift, and his treatment of the spoils continued to exalt him among the Israelites. David made it a point to share the spoils with all his men, those who fought and those who stayed behind, and to the elders of Judah. So instead of having to fight Israel with the Philistines, David was miraculously led back to his home that he found had been raided. He pursued the raiders, and he proceeded to defeat the Amalekites and bless Israel with the spoils.
- 1 Samuel 31: Saul and his sons die just as Samuel’s spirit had foretold: In the final chapter of the book, we read of the untimely and shameful death of Saul. Saul seemed to have been greatly swayed by his fear in his last days, which could be attributed to the lack of the Lord’s Spirit within him. As the Israelites warred with the Philistines, the Israelites eventually found themselves overrun. They fled, but the Philistines overtook them, and we read of the demise of Saul’s sons including the beloved Jonathan. Saul was badly wounded by the Philistines, and he asked his armor bearer to kill him in order to prevent any abuse the Philistines had planned for him. After his armor bearer refused, Saul took his own sword and fell upon it, and his armor-bearer followed suit. When the Philistines found the dead king, they beheaded him and fastened his body to a wall as they proclaimed the good news. Thus the life of Saul ended. The king that the Israelites wanted, did not live up to the standards established by the King on high. Saul’s horrible death was the epitome of his tortured life. The one that was once empowered by the Lord to do mighty things suffered a wretched fate caused by his own fearful and broken heart.