We continue our Blogging Through the Bible with Saul, David, and those involved with their story. Just when you think the tale was already pretty exciting, the next chapter unfolds, and that’s just what we see here today.
Tammy expounded on Chapters 29 & 30 of 1 Samuel HERE.
Angela added to her studies with coverage of Chapters 27 & 28 HERE.
And there is plenty more to come!
As the last chapter of 1 Samuel opens, we find Saul once again where he has been before. In battle with the Philistines. Only now, he has the message of Samuel the Prophet ringing in his ears. He will die today. And that’s just what happens. His three sons died along with him.
The Philistines murdered Saul’s sons while archers fatally wounded the King himself. He knew what was about to happen and asked his armourbearer to take his sword out and kill him before the Philistines had a chance to get to him. Of course, the armourbearer refused, so Saul “fell on a sword” effectively finishing himself off. Seeing that, the armourbearer did the same.
One of King Saul’s fear’s, had he lived until the Philistines reached his location, was that they would capture and abuse him. The fear seems valid enough when indeed, the Philistines arrived to strip the dead bodies. Finding Saul and his sons dead, they decapitated them and put the bodies on display in the temples of their gods.
“All the valiant men”, as the Word says (other soldiers who served Saul, I would suppose) sprang into action. Upon hearing what the Philistines had done, they made the overnight trip to pick up the bodies. They then took them to Jabesh, where the bodies were burned and their bones buried under a tree.
David Learns of Saul’s Death
David had been fighting the Amalekites and winning, according to the wording of 2 Samuel 1:1. On his third day in Ziklag, a man came out of Saul’s camp, obviously in a state of mourning. His clothes were torn, and he had dirt on his head. Of course, David asked where he had come from, looking like he did.
The young man told him, over the course of the conversation, that the Israelites had been fighting, and Saul and Jonathan were dead. David didn’t want to believe it at first and questioned this young man’s knowledge.
Now at this point, something interesting happens. That young man lied to David. Not that anyone would ever know. The man may have been in close enough proximity to have seen what actually happened to Saul. He might have heard the story from someone else who saw it. Or he could have completely orchestrated the story.
After all, we’ve just read that David had SLAUGHTERED the Amalekites. And that’s just who this young man was. An Amalekite. It’s a good probability that the man also knew about David being tracked down, again and again by Saul. So it could have been that by attempting to take on the role of the exterminator of David’s “enemy,” the young man might have thought he was saving himself.
Would David see him as just another Amalekite in need of slaughtering? Or would David see him as a sort of savior? Maybe he thought David would bestow honor on him for taking the necessary step that would allow David to take the throne?
What David Really Thinks about Saul…
When the “story” is told, David and all his men with him, mourned, wept, and fasted the entire day. That was the first order of business. It was apparent, though, that David had been doing some heavy thinking during that time. Isn’t that quite like us? When tragedy strikes, our minds go a hundred miles a minute and we try to figure everything out.
Finally, David asked the stranger why he wasn’t afraid to kill one of the Lord’s anointed. The answer, if he even got one, wasn’t recorded. I imagine, right after the question, that the young man probably fell silent. It might have seemed strange that after all David had gone through at Saul’s hand, he still considered him “anointed.”
David immediately had him killed, issuing this statement after it was done: Thy blood be upon thy head; for thy mouth hath testified against thee, saying, I have slain the LORD’s anointed. Then once again, he mourned this great loss.
How Quickly Things Can Change
It didn’t take long for the entire scenery to change the day Saul and his sons were killed in battle. In just these two short chapters, we see lives lost, destroyed, Kingdoms subdued, and great atrocities committed. It can happen that way anywhere.
One of the most beautiful things I see in these chapters, however, is David’s continually bowing himself before God. Saul had tried, more than once, to murder him. Even after swearing he wouldn’t do it again. After repenting to God for ever doing it in the first place. David, if he was like anyone else, would have killed Saul on any of the instances where he could have.
Except that he recognized an anointed king for who he really was… anointed and chosen by God.
Letting God be God!
You see, when we recognize that God is in control, it gives us certain emotional freedoms. It gives us the courage to stand in the face of the enemy knowing that God’s plan will prevail. Of course, David was going to be king. But should he, in the flesh, do away with Saul himself in order to get there?
He couldn’t do it!
He couldn’t allow himself to take on the role of judge, jury, and executioner, all at the same time. In other situations, we know that he had no problem with it. But when it came to God’s Hand in matters, David made sure he was yielded in the right place!
And so should we!
Lord Jesus, please help us to always remember that YOU are in control. Be our compass in a world that is so laden with evil, it seems like we should be fighting everyone around us. Our flesh is weak, but we need you to help our spirit to be strong within us. It couldn’t have been easy for David to wait in line behind an evil king before taking his rightful place on the throne. And we know it’s not always easy for us to wait, when it looks like evil is prevailing. So cover us under the shelter of Your Wings when the climb looks too steep, and we’ll never fail to give You the praise, the glory, and the honor! In Jesus’ might Name, Amen!