1 Samuel – Chapter 31

1 Samuel chapter 31

The Enemy Kills Saul

Verses 3, 4 – The Philistines had a reputation for torturing their captives. Saul knew what had happened to Samson (Judges 16:18-31). Saul’s armor-bearer faced a moral dilemma. He knew he should obey the king, but murder was wrong so he refused to do it. There’s a difference in following an order you don’t agree with and following one you know is wrong.

Saul faced death the same way he faced life. He took matters into his own hands without thinking of God or asking for His divine guidance. When the time comes to face death, most will face it however, they have faced life-with or without God.

Verse 7 – The Philistines settlements in this region marked the enemy’s deepest penetration into Israel’s heartland, but after David became king, he subdued them and restricted them to the Judean coastal region.

Verse 8 – Part of plundering the enemy involved returning to strip the dead of their valuables. The Philistines victory had been so complete that no Israelites had dared try to rescue the bodies of Saul and his three sons.

Verse 9 – First Chronicles 10:10 notes that Saul’s head was placed in the temple of Dagon, perhaps at Ashdod (1 Samuel 5:1, 2), symbolizing Dagon’s victory over Israel’s king.

Verse 10 – To put Saul’s armor in the Philistines temple gave credit to a pagan goddess for victory over Saul. Ashtoreth was a goddess of fertility and sex.

Verse 12 – At Jabesh, they burned the bodies, not to ashes, but on a funeral pyre to remove the flesh, probably to protect them from further abuse by wild animals. They did what they could to honor the king.

Verse 13 – Saul’s death was also the death of an ideal – Israel could no longer believe that having a king, as other nations would solve all their problems Saul had tried to please God by spurts of religiosity, but real spirituality takes a lifetime of consistent obedience. Our spiritual lives are built by stacking obedience on top of obedience each day. By doing this we are building our character to be relied upon to accomplish God’s plans for our lives.

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1 Samuel – Chapter 30

1 Samuel chapter 30

Verse 1 – Ziklag was still under Philistine control. The Amalekites whom Saul should have destroyed (15:1-3) had raided the Negev and burned the city down.

Verse 5 – David’s two wives did not escape the Amalekites attack, so he shared personally in the grief that others experienced.

Verse 6 – Faced with the tragedy of losing their families, David’s soldiers turned against him. Instead of planning a rescue, they looked for someone to blame. But David found his strength in God and started looking for a solution. When we face problems, it doesn’t do any good to find fault or blame. Instead, look for a way to resolve the situation.

Verse 7 – David couldn’t go to the tabernacle to ask the Lord for guidance because it was Saul’s territory. Therefore, he called for the ephod to be brought to him, the only tabernacle-related object that David possessed.

Verses 11-15 – The Amalekites cruelly left this slave to die, but God used him to lead David and his men to the Amalekites camp. David and his men treated the young man kindly and he returned the kindness by leading them to the enemy. This is why we are to treat people with dignity no matter how significant they may seem. You never know how God will use them to help you.

Verses 24, 25 – David made a law that those who stayed with supplies were to be treated equally with those who fought in battle. In today’s ministry, we know that without the bookkeepers, secretaries, trainers, and administrators, those with a public ministry would not be able to do their jobs. We must realize that the jobs that are less glamorous or exciting are just as important to the entire body of believers.

1 Samuel – Chapter 29

1 Samuel chapter 29

David Is Spared from Fighting Saul

Verse 1 – The text now flashes back to 28:1, 2, a time prior to the armies gathering at Shunem and Gilboa (28:4).

Verse 2 – David and his men joined Achish and the Philistine leaders as they prepared for battle.

Verse 3 – In response to the concerns of the Philistine commanders, Achish affirmed David’s loyalty to him during the considerable period of time (16 months, 27:7) that David had served him.

Verse 4 – The other Philistine commander knew that David was the one who, as a young man, had killed their champion, Goliath (17:32-54), had killed hundreds of Philistines soldiers (18:27), and was the hero of Israelite victory songs (21:11). They were afraid that, in the heat of the battle, David might turn against them.

Verse 6 – With his words, “as the Lord lives” Achish recognized the power of God in David’s life.

Verse 9 – Achish affirmed his faith in David, but he felt compelled to follow the counsel of his Philistine commanders.

1 Samuel – Chapter 28

1 samuel chapter 28

Verses 1, 2 – Achish’s request put David in a difficult position. David, however, never had to solve this dilemma because God protected him. The other Philistine leaders objected to his presence in battle; thus, he didn’t have to fight.

Verses 3-6 – Samuel had died and Saul had put all the mediums out of the land so he decided to ask God what to do. Saul may have not expected an answer from God. The text says God didn’t answer him. How sad. There’s nothing worse than dead silence when you pray and need an answer. Although Saul had removed the witchcraft from the land, he hadn’t dealt with the rebellion (witchcraft) in his own heart. Knowing what is right and condemning what is wrong does not take the place of actually doing what is right.

Verse 7, 8 – God had forbidden the Israelites to have anything to do with divination, sorcery, witchcraft, mediums, spiritualists, or anyone who consults the dead (Deuteronomy 18:9-14). In fact, sorcerers were to be put to death (Exodus 22:18). People would turn to the occult for answers God would not give. God does not reveal His will to Satan and his demons.

Verse 12 – First of all, Satan did not bring Samuel back from the dead. He does not possess that power. God brought Samuel back to give Saul a prediction regarding Saul’s fate, which Saul already knew. In no way does this episode condone contacting and communicating with the dead. God is against all such practices (Galatians 5:19-21).

Verse 15 – God didn’t answer Saul’s appeals because Saul had not followed God’s previous directions. Sometimes we wonder why our prayers are not answered. Maybe it’s because we haven’t fulfilled the responsibility God has already given. We shouldn’t be too surprised when God doesn’t give us further instruction.

Verse 18 – The words of Samuels’s spirit, “You did not obey the Lord,” is a reference to chapter 15:1-3, 7-9 when Saul failed to kill Amalek.

Verse 19 – The words of Samuel’s spirit, “You and your sons will be with me,” was a verdict of death on Saul and his house.

Verse 25 – The six-mile return journey would bring more stress on Saul, and he would not be prepared for the battle the next day.

1 Samuel – Chapter 27

1 Samuel chapter 27

David Joins with the Philistines

Verses 1-3 – For the second time, David sought refuge from Saul in Philistine territory (21:10-15). Now he had permission to live among them. Previously David had acted insane in front of this king. Evidently, Achish had forgotten that incident or he chose to ignore it. David further strengthened his position with Achish by leading Achish to believe that he was conducting raids on Israel and by pretending loyalty to the Philistines ruler.

Verse 4 – Saul finally stopped pursuing David because by David being out of the country, there was no immediate threat.

Verses 5-7 – Achish let David move to Ziklag, where he lived until Saul died (2 Samuel 2:1).

Verses 8, 9 – These three tribes that David attacked were known for the cruel treatment of innocent people. They attacked both Philistines and Israelites.

Verses 10-12 – When Achish asked David to go into battle against Israel, David agreed, once again pretending loyalty to the Philistines (28:1).

1 Samuel – Chapter 26

1 samuel chapter 26

David Saves Saul’s Life Again

Verse 3 – If Saul were on the hill Hachilah, it would mean he had chosen high ground for his camp, which provided him better protection.

Verses 5-9 – In the heat of emotion, Abishai wanted to kill Saul, but David restrained him. Abishai may have disagreed with David, but he also respected the one in authority over him. Eventually he became the greatest warrior in David’s army. The strongest moral decisions are the ones we make before temptation strikes. To be like David and follow God, we must realize that we can’t do wrong in order to execute justice. Even when our closest friends counsel us to do something that seems right, we must always put God’s standards first. Determining not to do wrong, David left Saul’s destiny in God’s hands.

Verse 12 – This deep sleep from the Lord was His specific intervention so He could teach Saul a further lesson about David’s loyalty.

Verses 15, 16 – David could have killed Saul and Abner, but he would have disobeyed God and set into motion unknown consequences. Instead, David made the point that he had great respect for both God and God’s anointed king.

Verse 21 – Saul’s words sounded repentant, but Saul’s past actions raised serious doubts in David’s mind about their genuineness.

Verse 22 – David’s suggestion that one of the young men of Saul retrieve the king’s spear was a tactful way of saying he was not returning with Saul.

Verse 25 – Saul had opportunities to kill David, but he never did. Why? First, every time David and Saul were face to face, David did something generous for Saul. The king did not want to respond to David’s kindness with cruelty in front of all his men. Second, David had a large following in Israel. Third, God had appointed David to become king of Israel and was protecting him.

1 Samuel – Chapter 25

1 Samuel chapter 25

Verse 1 – Saul was king, but Samuel had been the nation’s spiritual leader. With Samuel gone, Israel would be without this spiritual leadership until David became king.

Verses 7, 8 – David reminded Nabal of a time when he and his men provided protection for Nabal’s livestock. David now asked Nabal to return the favor and provide him and his men with whatever supplies that he asked for.

Verses 10, 11 – Nabal’s response was arrogant and insulting. He insinuated that David was no better than a run-away slave was.

Verse 14 – One of Nabal’s young men realized the folly of Nabal’s action and told Abigail, Nabal’s wife, about her husband’s offense.

Verse 17 – Abigail must have been use to dealing with situations like this before because Nabal was referred to as a “worthless fool.”

Verses 19, 20 – Since Abigail had to descend through a mountain pass hidden from view, she may have thought it all the more important to let David know she was coming.

Verses 21, 22 – David was so disgusted with Nabal that he called him “this man.”

Verse 23 – Abigail bowed to David, treating him as superior and humbling herself before him. Ironically, David had earlier humbled himself before Nabal (verse 8).

Verse 24 – If David had not listened to Abigail, he would have been guilty of taking vengeance into his own hand.

Verse 31 – Abigail didn’t want David to suffer remorse or a troubled conscience after he became king because of slaughtering Nabal’s household needlessly.

Verses 32-35 – David confirmed Abigail’s role as God’s instrument of deliverance for her husband’s and her household.

Verse 36 – Because Nabal was drunk, Abigail waited until morning to tell him what she had done. When discussing difficult matters with people, especially, family members, timing is everything. Ask God for wisdom to know the best time for confrontation and for bringing up touchy subjects.