1 Samuel 28 – Saul and the Medium of En-dor

As we forge ahead in chapter 28, Saul has gone from bad to worse.  Samuel has died. His madness and jealousy of David (in spite of knowing God was on David’s side) drove him to kill all the priests and women and children at Nob (1 Samuel 22:16-21), and Abiathar has fled to be with David.  Now the Philistines threaten to split the kingdom in two, and he has cut himself off from God.  So he decides to consult a medium – expressly forbidden in Leviticus 19:31 and elsewhere.

Apparition of the spirit of Samuel to Saul, by...

Apparition of the spirit of Samuel to Saul, by Salvator Rosa, 1668. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At Endor, he tells the medium to he wants to talk to Samuel.  We are not told that it is actually Samuel who does appear, but he speaks of the Lord and of Saul as Samuel would.  The surprise and shriek from the woman could indicate that God just allowed it. There is much we do not know about demons in the Bible and of this type of thing that the it strictly warns us from.  But whatever the case, the news is not good for Saul, as he is told that he and his sons would all die the next day.

Having fasted (probably for this event), the news is the last straw for the weak Samuel.  He finally consents to eat somethings at the urging of his servants – with the medium!  No man who thought himself righteous would eat in such company under any circumstances in that land and time.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

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1 Samuel 19 – Saul Tries to Kill David

"David and Jonathan," by Rembrandt. ...

“David and Jonathan,” by Rembrandt. Jonathan is the figure in the turban. Hermitage News (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As we move to chapter 19, David’s skill as a warrior is proven, his reputation has grown and Saul has become more jealous and paranoid than ever.  His plan for David to be killed by Philistines backfired, and David’s prowess and reputation increased.  As part of that failed plan, Saul had promised his daughter Michal.  Now the one he feared most was his son-in-law!  Saul knew not only that his daughter loved David, but he also knew that the Lord was with David (1 Samuel 18:28).  So by plotting against David, he was fighting against God, and he knew it.  What madness!

Saul’s son, Jonathan, loved David.  Contrary to what some would have you believe, their relationship was simply one of deep brotherly love and respect.  Also, we tend to think of them as close in age, but this was probably far from the case.  Remember, Jonathan was commanding troops while David was still a very young boy before even being anointed (1 Samuel 13:2-3).  So Jonathan intercedes and convinces Saul not to kill David, and he again defeats the Philistines for the kingdom, as war broke out again (verse 8).

"Saul Tries to Kill David"

“Saul Tries to Kill David” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But God had to get David trained and ready to lead the people.  So in His wisdom, He again sent a harmful spirit to Saul.  Saul tried to pin David to the wall with his spear when he was playing the lyre in his house, but David escaped.  When he sent them to his home, his daughter had already warned David, and he escapes through the window.  He went to Samuel, and they went to Naioth in Ramah. In verses 20-24 Saul’s messengers, and even Saul himself are overcome with the Spirit of the lord and Saul is stripped of his kingly robes – just as he would be stripped of his throne.

Michal lets David escape from the window. A pa...

Michal lets David escape from the window. A painting by Gustave Doré, 1865. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What about the idol from the house of her father that Michal used to deceive her father’s messengers (verses 13-16)?  Could be the spoils of war that Saul had kept.  he never has been shown in the scripture to be a man after the Lord’s heart – that was David.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Robert
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

1 Samuel 16 – David Anointed King

Samuel anointing king David

Samuel anointing king David (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Lord sends Samuel to the house of Jesse (son of Ruth and Boaz) to anoint one of his sons as the new king.  When Samuel arrives, he is sure that the tall one, Eliab, must be the one.  But God tells him that he is not, and that He does not judge man by appearance, but by their heart.  After going through all of Jesse’s sons, he finds that the least likely, David (the youngest, who is tending the sheep) is actually the one.  Once again, we find it to be the case that God often uses the one we least expect for His work.

Samuel anointed him in verse 13 and “the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David from that day forward.”  Then, verse 14 tells us that “the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul,” making a significant statement of the rejection and shift of favor. Some commentators take the meaning of the “harmful spirit” that tormented Saul as being a mental disorder.  Others see it as more demonic.  Either way, Saul clearly is irrational at many times from this point forward.  By God’s providence, his servants suggest music to soothe him, and they just happen to know of a skillful musician with a lyre – David, who becomes favored in Saul’s court for this, as well as becoming Saul’s armor-bearer.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Robert
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

1 Samuel 15 – The Lord Rejects Saul

This chapter is a favorite for skeptics to cite as showing God to be ruthless, rather than the God of love that we know Him to be.  And indeed, the idea of having an entire people obliterated is disturbing to many of us.  Two things must be remembered by us as we read of such.  First, God is our sovereign Lord and creator; and He decides what is best with His knowledge for which our own understanding is insufficient (Proverbs 3:5-7).  Secondly, as with Jericho  and other cases in the land of Canaan, these are not innocent people who had never been given an opportunity to repent.  (Note that when Samuel Kills Agag in verse 33, his statement that Agag’s own sword has made women childless is literal). Ages of wicked savagery and the reality that survivors would corrupt others (Deuteronomy 7:1-5) demanded obeying this command of Lord. See post on “The Fall of Jericho.”

This chapter shows us the character flaws of Saul.  He was the military leader the people had wanted, but it was all about Saul – and never about the Lord; and though victorious, his leadership was often a great model for what a leader should not do.  After God had led the people out of Egypt, Amelek attacked them the first time without provocation (Exodus 17:8); and when they were defeated, God told Moses in Exodus 17:14 “…that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek…”  So Samuel gives Saul God’s instructions in verses 2-3 of this chapter not to spare even the oxen and other livestock.  He is victorious, but he spares the Amelekite king Agag and the best of the livestock and brings them back.

When God tells Samuel in verse 10 of what Saul has done and of His rejection of Saul as king, Samuel is grieved and very angry with Saul.  Worse, he finds out along the way that Saul has built a monument to himself (verse 12).  When he arrives, he lets Saul have it with both barrels.  Saul at first tries to blame the people (verses 15, 21), but Samuel is having none of it.  Not only does he know better, but as he reminds Samuel, as king, he is supposed to be a leader.  Saul’s final admission of sin is half-hearted, and as Samuel turns from him, Saul desperately grabs his robe and tears it.  At this point, Samuel lets him know that his kingdom is being torn from him.  But Saul seems to care more about what the people think, than what God thinks of him (verse 30).

It would be the last time Samuel will see Saul until he dies, and he grieved (verse 35).

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Robert
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

1 Samuel 13 – Saul’s Unlawful Sacrifice

The translation of verse one is different in many versions because the Hebrew in that text is difficult.  Paul tells us in Acts 13:21, that Saul reigned for 40 years.  All we know other than that is that Samuel is old enough here to have a son (Jonathan) commanding (victoriously) a battle.

This chapter illustrates Saul in verses 1-4 as once again being the military leader that the people wanted in a king. God gave them what they asked for.  Now we begin to see that he is not the king they need, as he disobeys the Lord’s instructions given to him by His prophet, Samuel.  That is what is unlawful about Saul’s sacrifice, and Saul demonstrates that he knows that when he starts his excuses in verse 11.  But it is more than that – it is a matter of the heart.  Saul is never portrayed as a Godly man; and even his offering here was not intended for the Lord – verse 12 seems very much like “rubbing a magic lamp” for his own selfish ambitions.

Samuel gives him notice in verse 14 that “the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart.”  Not once do hear of any remorse (or concern for that matter) on Saul’s part.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Robert
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

1 Samuel 12- Samuel’s Farewell Address

This is not Samuel’s last public address, but it does sound very much like Joshua’s farewell address, especially Joshua 23:1-13. Samuel reminds them of all that God has done for them, and reminds and rebukes them for their lack of loyalty to the Lord.  The unseasonable storm of verses 17-18 are not punishment for wanting a king, rather a sign of the Lord’s displeasure at their lack of faith, trust and loyalty to Him.

Nevertheless, Samuel warns that all will be well with them and their king as long as they “do not turn aside from following the Lord.”   Here, “king” refers to present and future, as verse 25’s warning of them and their king being swept away is prophetic of their fate.  The “empty things” of verse 21 refers to idols and idol worship.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Robert
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

1 Samuel 10-11 – Saul Anointed King

In a private ceremony, Samuel anoints Saul as king, then tells him of several signs that will prove to him that God has made king (ch. 10 verses 2-7).  The term “another heart” simply refers to the Spirit of God rushing upon him and enabling him to become more like who the Lord needs him to be at the time.  A timid Saul (ch. 10 verses 21-22) is then presented to the people.

The threat from Nahash the Ammonite in 11:2 makes a lot more sense when you learn that one of the Dead Sea scrolls (4QSam) contains an account of that Ammonite king gouging out the eyes of the Gadites and Reubenites on Transjordan – and 7,000 men fleeing to Jabesh-Gilead.  When he granted the request for their delay in decision (verse 3), he did not believe they would be getting any help.  We find Saul behind the plow (not exactly being treated like a king yet) in verse 5.

When told of the threat, the Spirit of the Lord rushes upon Saul, and he does what God had intended for him, hastily putting together an army an defeating the Ammonites.  In 11:12-15, we have Saul at last acting like a leader.  Better still, he credits God with the victory.  How different might things have been if only he had remained that sort of man in the coming chapters?

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Robert
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

1 Samuel 8 – Israel Demands a King

Samuel is getting old, and has appointed his sons Joel and Abijah as judges.  But they are corrupt (verse 3) and the elders come to Samuel and tell him that they want a king.  It was not wrong for them to want a king – as a matter of fact, Moses had told them in Deuteronomy 17:14-15 that they could have one when the time came.  But what they wanted was a military leader, when all along it had been God who fought for them.  It was a rejection of the Lord (verse 7) and God points out to Samuel in verse 8 that it had been so with them ever since he brought them out of Egypt.

So although Samuel didn’t want to do it, the Lord told him to “make them a king.”  But at God’s instruction, Samuel warned them of the “ways of the king” that will reign over them (verses 11-17) – “he will take…”  is emphasized over and over.  Some of this is the common practice of rulers, and necessary – like taxes.  But some as in 14 and 16 were prophetic of abuse, and indeed verse 18 predicts that they will “cry out because of your king”  as slaves.  This type of servitude labor would come to pass for them, as we will see in 1 Kings 5:13-16 and elsewhere.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Robert
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

1 Samuel 3 – The Lord Calls Samuel

The Lord calls Samuel twice as he is laying down in the temple, and both times he thinks it is Eli calling him.  But when he runs to him to see what he wants, Eli sends him back to bed.  But the third time, Eli finally gets it, and tells Samuel what to say when the Lord calls him again.  This time, God calls his name twice (verse 10).  The Lord does not waste words.  When we read of Him calling someone’s name  twice, it is of great importance.  he did so to Abraham when he was being tested with Isaac (Genesis 22:11), to Jacob to let him know it was OK to go to Egypt (Genesis 46:2), and to Moses at the burning bush (Exodus 3:4).

Then the Lord told Samuel that he was about to punish Eli’s house forever for his son’s blasphemy and Eli’s own failure to restrain them (verses 13-14).  The corruption of Eli’s sons and Eli’s failure to deal with it were very public sins – all the people would know of it.  And their sexual use of women at the temple (1 Samuel 2:22) defiled the temple of the Lord, as that was the sort of thing that went on at idol worship.  This public “high-handed” sin was warned about in scripture (Numbers 15:30, for example), and Eli was not exactly shocked when Samuel reluctantly told him of the Lord’s plans for him and his house (verse 18).

Verse 19-21 tell how Samuel’s growth and establishment as a prophet became known to Israel because the Lord revealed himself by His word there – meaning that what Samuel prophesied came to pass (see Deuteronomy 18:21-22) there at Shiloh.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Robert
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

1 Samuel 1 – The Birth of Samuel

Peninnah, Elkanah’s other wife tormented Hannah because she was barren.  Another great example the Old Testament shows us of how deviating from God’s intention of one woman and one man in marriage (Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:3-9) so often causes problems and heartache.  Two other of many cases in point are Abraham (Sarah and Hagar, Gen 16:1-6), and Jacob (Leah and Rachel, Gen 30).

Shiloh, the modern Khirbet-Seilum is 20 miles north of Jerusalem toward eastern border of Ephraim is where Hannah went with her husband Elkanah, as he sacrificed there. Hannah went to the temple (verse 11) and prayed to God for a son, and promised to give him to serve the Lord dedicated as a Nazirite (Num 6).  She was weeping, and Eli the priest thought she was drunk, and rebuked her. When she explains her grief, he blesses her. After she returns to Ramathain-Zophin with Elkanah, she does conceive a son and names him Samuel (verse 20).  After he was weaned, Elkanah supported her in her vow to the Lord and took sacrifices with them to Shiloh (verses 23-24). Hannah reminded Eli of their meeting, and presented Samuel to him for service to the Lord (verses 26-27).

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Robert
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.