Summary of 1 Samuel

Summary of 1 Samuel

Chapter by Chapter:

1 Samuel 1-2: Hannah Bares Samuel/Hannah has more Children
1 Samuel 3-4: The Prophet Samuel/Eli Dies
1 Samuel 5-6: The Ark in the House of Dagon/Don’t Look into the Ark of God
1 Samuel 7-8: Put Away False gods/Evils of Kings
1 Samuel 9-10: Saul to be King/Saul Prophesies
1 Samuel 11-12:  Saul Comes to the Rescue/Look What God Has Done for You!
1 Samuel 13-14: The Lord Chooses Another/God Does not Always Answer Prayers
1 Samuel 15-16: Saul Disobeys/Saul Chooses David
1 Samuel 17-18: David and Goliath/David Marries Michal
1 Samuel 19-20: Saul Seeks to Kill David/David and Jonathan; Covenant of Friendship
1 Samuel 21-22: David Gets Help from Ahimelech/David Moves: Running from Saul
1 Samuel 23-24: David Continues to Flee/David Saves Saul’s Life
1 Samuel 25-26: David Marries Abigail/David Spares Saul’s Life
1 Samuel 27-28: David with the Philistines/Saul Enquires of a Witch

1 Samuel 29-31: Israel & The Philistines Prepare for War/David Smites the Amalekites/The Philistines Defeat Israel

 

Samuel, is born to Hannah, a woman who was previously unable to have children. Hannah gives Samuel to Israel’s chief priest, Eli, to be raised as a Nazirite. The priesthood in Israel is in a general state of decline, and Eli’s sons are disobeying God’s laws. God declares that he will choose a new priest for Israel from outside Eli’s family and begins delivering messages to Samuel as a young man. Samuel becomes a recognized prophet throughout Israel, delivering God’s messages to the people.

During battle, the Philistines kill Eli’s sons and capture the Ark of the Covenant—Israel’s religious altar and symbol of God. Upon learning of the attack and robbery, Eli falls over and dies. The Ark is returned to Israel after it causes its Philistine captors to become terribly diseased. As the nation rejoices, Samuel persuades Israel to set aside its worship of local pagan deities, and God helps Israel thwart Philistine oppression for many years.

The Israelites demand that Samuel appoint a king for them so that Israel will be like other nations. Samuel is displeased, but God grants him permission to elect a king. God notes that by asking for a king, the people have not rejected Samuel; they have rejected God. Samuel warns the people that a monarchy brings wickedness.

God tells Samuel who should be king, and the following day, a man named Saul appears before Samuel, inquiring about some lost donkeys. Samuel pours oil over Saul’s head to anoint him as king. Saul, pleases the Israelites as king and leads them in rescuing an Israelite town from invasion. Stepping down as Israel’s leader, Samuel encourages the people that, so long as they are obedient to God’s laws, God will not punish them for requesting a king.

Despite many military victories, Saul soon disobeys God. He tries to rush into battle by performing a ritual war sacrifice without the help of a priest. Later, Samuel sends Saul to fight the Amalekites, instructing Saul to destroy them completely and leave nothing alive. Saul, however, spares the Amalekite ruler and the best portion of their flocks, hoping to present them as sacrifices to God. Samuel rebukes Saul, claiming that obedience to God’s instructions is more important than religious sacrifice. He informs Saul that God will choose another man to be king of Israel. Saul pleads with Samuel, begging for forgiveness. Saul grabs for Samuel’s cloak, but the cloth tears—a symbol, says Samuel, of Saul’s broken kingdom and how it will be eventually torn from him.

God leads Samuel to the town of Bethlehem to choose a new king from Jesse’s family. Each of Jesse’s older sons are impressive, but God instructs Samuel to judge people not by their external appearances but, rather, by their hearts. Samuel anoints Jesse’s youngest son, David, a shepherd, as king, and God gives divine power to David. God withdraws his power from Saul, cursing Saul with psychological distress in the form of an “evil spirit” (1 Samuel 16:14). David begins his rise to courtly status as a harp-player for Saul to calm his evil spirit.

The Philistines again threaten to attack Israel, this time taunting Israel with their new hero, Goliath—a giant more than nine feet tall. Saul and the Israelites tremble in fear, but David, arriving to deliver food to his brothers, offers to fight the giant. Refusing the king’s armor, David publicly invokes God’s help and kills Goliath with a single stone shot from his sling. The Israelites attack the retreating Philistines, and Israel returns home to the sound of women singing praises of David’s victory.

Saul is insanely jealous of David, who becomes an intimate friend of Saul’s son, Jonathan, and leads the Israelite troops to many more victories. After attempting to kill David with a spear, Saul sends David on a suicide mission to kill a hundred Philistine men and bring back their circumcised foreskins. David succeeds, and Saul grudgingly rewards David with his daughter Michal’s hand in marriage. Saul orders his household to kill David, but, with the help of Michal and Jonathan, David flees from Saul. David builds an army of unhappy and impoverished Israelites, and he is joined by a priest who is also fleeing from Saul’s destructive path.

Saul pursues David into the desert where David spares the king’s life twice. While Saul is urinating in a cave, David sneaks up behind him and cuts off a corner of Saul’s robe, scorning the opportunity to kill God’s “annointed” ruler (1 Samuel 24:6). At night, David and his men sneak into the king’s tent and steal Saul’s spear while he is sleeping. On both occasions, David announces his deed to Saul, and Saul expresses remorse both times, begging for David’s mercy.

Saul continues his pursuit, and David takes refuge with the Philistines, who show mercy to the great warrior and adversary of Israel’s king. Preparing to fight the Philistines, Saul is wracked with fear and consults a witch, bidding the spirit medium to conjure up the dead spirit of Samuel. Samuel’s ghost angrily warns Saul that he and his sons will die fighting the Philistines, ensuring the demise of Saul’s kingdom. David and his men head out to fight the Amalekites, and David succeeds in destroying the warring nation. In the meantime, Saul leads Israel into a losing battle with the Philistines, and Saul’s sons, including Jonathan, are killed. Saul commands his armor-bearer to kill him, but the boy refuses, so Saul commits suicide.

1 Samuel 29-31

1 Samuel 29-31

Chapter 29: Israel & The Philistines Prepare for War

David prepares for war, but some of the other Philistine rulers are not happy, they think that David will end up turning on them when they start the battle! Achish calls David and tells him to go to the back and not fight, because Achish trusts David, but doesn’t want to frustrate or upset the other rulers. David is devastated by this and asks Achish what he has done wrong! David really is making it look like he wants to fight for the Philistines! Is this the case?

Chapter 30: David Smites the Amalekites

Because David was not trusted by the other Philistine leaders, him and his men return to Ziklag only to find that the entire town has been raided by the Amalekites. They took everyone in the city captive as slaves. David and his men are upset and weep until they have no more strength to weep. Some of the men even try to place blame in David and some talk about stoning David to death. But at the same time, David finds strength in the Lord and has Abiathar bring the ephod, so that he can ask the Lord if they should pursue the Amalekites or not. David is told to pursue them, so he and his men do! Unfortunately 200 of his men are too sick/tired to make it on the journey and have to stay behind.

David comes across an Egyptian who was starving, and after they gave him food they find out that the man was a slave to the Amalekites, but was left behind because he was sick. The man agrees to lead David to the Amalekites, if he agrees to not turn him over to his previous master. David agrees and they go to catch up with the Amalekites. When they come across the Amalekites they fight for two days straight and manage to kill all the Amalekites, except 200 young men who flee on camels. They rescue/free the people and take back their plunder.

When David returns, the men who fought in the battle decide that none of the plunder goes to them men who stayed behind, because they didn’t have to fight! David however, tells the men that they must share equally, because those who stayed behind had to watch the supplies. This becomes an ordinance in Israel forever.

When David returns to Ziklag, he even sends some of the plunder to the Elders of Judah, who are friends of his, as a gift.

Chapter 31: The Philistines Defeat Israel

The Israelites fight the Philistines and the outcome is exactly as Samuel had predicted to Saul. The Israelites lose against the Philistines, the Philistines kill many Israelites and drive the rest away. They kill Saul’s sons and critically wound Saul. Saul is afraid that the Philistines will come back to finish off the job of killing him, and he is worried that they will also torture him. Saul asks his amour bearer to kill him, and he refuses, so Saul takes his own life to avoid possible torture from the Philistines.

When other Israelites find out about what happened, they flee from their homes and the Philistines immediately occupy all of the Israelite towns. Later the Philistines find the dead body of Saul and declare it a trophy, by cutting off his head and send people throughout the land to declare the good news. They then hang the bodies of Saul and his sons on the walls of the city. When the people at Jabesh Gilead hear about what had happened, they send courageous men to rescue the bodies and take them to Jabesh to give them proper burials and fast for seven days.

1 Samuel 27-28

1 Samuel 27-28

Chapter 27: David with the Philistines

David decides to leave Israel to go and live amongst the Philistines (mainly to avoid the crazy Saul, who keeps trying to kill him). David and his 600 men go and live in the area of Gath, where the king is named Achish. David tells Achish that he doesn’t want to live in Gath and the king tells him he can live in a place called Ziklag.

After arriving, David and his men start raiding and plundering surrounding people; the Geshurites, Gizites and Amalekites. David tells Achish that he is actually raiding the Israelites, but when he does his raid he kills all women, men and children so that no one can tell Achish what happened. David’s plan is to make Achish think the Israelites hate him, so he can like in Gath and serve the king Achish.

Chapter 28: Saul Enquires of a Witch

In this chapter we learn that there is a pending battle between the Israelites and the Philistines and King Achish comes to David to confirm that he will be fighting on the side of the Philistines.

David tells him that he is indeed fighting with the Philistines and that he has expelled all of the spiritual people from the land. The battle comes together and both sides look onto one another. When Saul sees the Philistine army, his heart is filled with terror. So he inquires of the Lord, but receives no inspiration. Saul gets nervous and asks his servants to find him some sort of medium with who he can ask questions and get comfort. His men tell him that there is a woman in Endor who can do this. Saul heads off to Endor to find the woman. Saul disguises himself and goes into see her, the woman tells Saul that Saul has banned mediums throughout the land and she would get in trouble for doing it. But Saul convinces her and she asks him who he wants. Saul asks for Samuel and the lady calls Samuel to come forth. Samuel comes forth and asks Saul what he was doing bothering him. Saul explains that the Lord is not responding to him and he needs advice.

Samuel tells Saul that because he disobeyed God and did not destroy the Amalekites like the Lord had commanded, he is going to have the kingdom ripped from his hands and that tomorrow the Philistines will defeat the Israelites. Saul, overwhelmed by this faints and falls to the ground. The medium tells him he needs to eat, Saul fights at first, but then gives in. The medium prepares food for Saul and his men.

1 Samuel 25-26

1 Samuel 25-26

Chapter 25: David Marries Abigail

This chapter starts off by tell us that Samuel has died. David goes to the Desert of Maon where he meets a man who lives there named Nabal and his wife Abigail. Nabal is a ugly, disgusting mean man and his wife was intelligent and beautiful. Think Beauty and the Beast or Shrek and Fionna. David and his men go to Nabal and ask him for a hand out, Nabal is a very wealthy man and David and his army have been protecting his property. Nabal, being the mean guy he is deals with the men unfavorably.

This upsets David’s men and they decide to teach Nabal a lesson! Afterall David has only been nice to him, how dare Nabal do that! So 400 of David’s men gather together to go and kill Nabal.

But while they are coming towards the house of Nabal, Abigail loads up a donkey with food and heads out to meet them. Abigail gets down and bows before David and begs him to not do anything to Nabal, because he is a fool. David agrees and accepts what she brought as a gift.

Abigail returns home in peace to find her husband drunk and living like a king. She decides to wait until the next morning when he is sober to tell him what had happened. Nabal, when he finds out freezes up and becomes like a stone for 10 days, before the Lord takes his life. David hears about this and sends servants to ask Abigail to be his wife, she agrees.

Chapter 26: David Spares Saul’s Life

Saul had just repented of trying to kill David, but Saul had lost his mind again and was back on the hunt to kill David. The Ziphites come to Saul and report that David is in the Desert of Ziph, so Saul sends his army out to get him, and they send out scouts to confirm that he was there.

One night, Saul’s army is all fast asleep. David and Abishai sneek into the camp and go to where Saul is sleeping. There they take Saul’s spear and jug of water and head up to a hill within shouting distance to taunt Abner, the leader of Saul’s army. He yells to Abner and asks him why he did not protect his king, by letting someone into the camp without stopping him and as proof he asks Abner to verify where the king’s spear and jug of water are.

Saul must have woken up by now, and steps into the conversation. David asks Saul why he is trying to hurt him, when he has done nothing wrong. Saul repents and tells David he won’t try to kill him again. David returns his spear and jug of water and Saul heads home!

1 Samuel 23-24

1 Samuel 23-24

Chapter 23: David Continues to Flee

David hears that a placed called Keliah is being attacked by the Philistines and David inquires of the Lord as to what he should do. The Lord tells David to go and save Keliah. David tells his men to prepare for battle and they tell him that they are too scared to fight. David inquires a second time and gets the same answer, so he tells his men that they must go. So they go, and they inflict massive damage and casualties! Saul hears that David is going to a heavily fortified city named Keliah and thinks that this is a sign from God that he will put him in prison for him. So Saul goes and prepares to siege the city.

David however hears about this and decides to inquire of the Lord. The Lord tells them that YES Saul is coming and that the people of Keliah will give David to Saul. David and his men leave the city in droves, and make it so Saul changes his search from Keliah to David directly. David, with the help of God evades Saul.

While David is at Horesh in the desert of Ziph he learns that Saul was coming out to take his life and that his son Jonathan tells David to not be afraid for his father will not lay a hand on him. In fact David and Saul make a pact, that David will become the king of Israel and that Jonathan would be his second in command. After this pact is made, Jonathan heads home and David stays at Horesh.

Both Saul and Jonathan know that David will become king! The Ziphites approach Saul and offer to hand over David, but Saul rejects their offer until they come up with a more solid offer, because Saul knows David too well! He knows that if he can evade him, he can easily evade the Ziphites. David is hiding in the Desert of Maon and Saul is hot on his trail. However the Lord intervenes again! While Saul is chasing David and his men, a messenger comes and tells Saul that the Philistines were being attacked and they needed reinforcements. This slows down Saul.

Chapter 24: David Saves Saul’s Life

This chapter picks up where the last one left off. Saul is still pursuing David, but goes into a cave to relieve him. While he is in there, he doesn’t realize that David and his men are also hiding in the same cave!

Instead of killing Saul, David sneaks up to Saul and cuts a corner off of his robe and keeps his men from attacking him. Saul leaves the cave and David calls out to him. David explains that he is crazy to think that he was deceiving him or trying to harm the king. He shows the corner he cut off of his robe, to prove to Saul that he could have killed him, but he did not! David even calls Saul his king.

Saul weeps out and tells Saul that he has done wrong and should not have tried to kill him, calling David more righteous then himself.

1 Samuel 21-22

1 Samuel 21-22

Chapter 21: David Gets Help from Ahimelech

David, while in hiding goes to a place called Nob where he meets up with Ahimelech the priest. The priest gets a little nervous for some reason that David is alone, thinking that there might be something up, like maybe he is in hiding/running away? Maybe. But David tells him that he is on basically a secret mission for the king and that he really isn’t alone, because he will be meeting back up with the men soon.

David asks the priest for some food and he explains that he has no “normal” food, but some blessed/consecrated bread. Ahimelech gives David the food, thinking it is for his men and David actually asks the priest for a weapon and armor because he “left so quickly” that he had essentially forgotten about the whole thing. Ahimelech gives David the sword that had belonged to Goliath.

Unbeknownst to David, a servant of the king named Doeg is there in Nob when David was talking to the priest… but continuing on… David goes to a place called Gath. Unfortunately for David the king of Gath named Achish gets nervous and thinks that David is the king of Israel because he had slain tens of thousands of people while Saul had only killed a few thousand. So they go to kill David and David decides to pretend like he is completely wacked out nuts. The king buys the acting of David and then doesn’t feel threatened by this madman.

Chapter 22: David Moves: Running from Saul

David leaves Gath and heads for a cave in a placed called Adullam, oddly enough people hear that David is coming and they actually meet him there! So much for being secretive. Every man who was in distress or in debt gathered around David and made him their leader, 400 in all.

David approaches the king of Moab and asks him to provide a kind of protective custody for his parents in his land while he figures out the stuff between him and Saul. The king of Moab agrees and David goes back to his cave in Adullam. David is there in the cave for a while until a prophet in Gad tells him to not stay there, so David listens and goes to the forest of Hereth.

This whole time up until now we have read about David and his constant fleeing and hiding, but what about Saul? Oh, he has been busy looking for David! Saul gathers his men and starts talking to them about how they have deceived him and are not telling him key details. In this group, we have Doeg, remember from last chapter? Doeg tells Saul that he saw David in Nob and that he had been speaking to Ahimelech the priest. Saul commands that Ahimelech and his entire family be brought in for questioning. Ahimelech tells Saul that he hasn’t been helping David and that he doesn’t think that David would conspire against him. Saul of course is not happy with this answer and thinks that Ahimelech is up to no good, so he orders his execution.

Saul’s men however are not about to kill a servant, let alone a priest of the Lord! So they refuse, but Doeg is more than happy. He kills Ahimelech, his family and all of town of Nob. The only one to survive and flee is Abiathar who was Ahimelech’s son. Abiathar catches up to David and tells him everything that had happened. David feels bad and blames himself, even saying that he thought he had seen Doeg, and thought that he would do something like this. David tells Abiathar to stay with him and he would be safe.

1 Samuel 19-20

1 Samuel 19-20

Chapter 19: Saul Seeks to Kill David

We learned from the last chapter that Saul has become jealous of David. Saul commands Jonathan and his servants to go off and kill David. The problem is that Jonathan likes David and ells David to hide. David goes into hiding, meanwhile Jonathan talks to his father Saul and tries to reason with him and make him understand that all David has done is serve him. Saul changes him mind and agrees to not kill him.

So, David returns to his service and there is another battle with the Philistines, where David has great success in getting rid of the Philistines. Because of this, the jealousy combined with the evil spirit in Saul comes back and while David is playing the harp to help soothe the evil spirit, Saul takes a spear and attempts to spear David to the wall. But David is able to avoid the spear and runs off. When Michal finds out, she tells David that Saul is going to come for him and that he needs to hide. So she lowers him down from the window and makes a dummy to go into David’s bed. When they finally find out that David is not “real” Saul asks Michal why she would deceive him like that. But Michal (probably to protect herself) tells Saul that she was forced to do it, because David had threatened to kill her if she didn’t.

So Saul finds out that David had gone to see Samuel in a place called Naioth. So Saul sends a group of men to go get him, but they end up prophesying. Saul sends two more groups and they also prophesy. Finally Saul goes himself and he too… is filled with the Spirit and prophesies!

Chapter 20: David and Jonathan; Covenant of Friendship

This chapter opens up with Jonathan being baffled by the fact that Saul was trying to kill David, telling David that his father would have told him about this. David tells Jonathan that his father probably didn’t tell him anything this time, because he knew that they were friends.

Jonathan asks David what he can do for him, and David comes up with a plan. It’s almost time for the New Moon Festival and David decides to not go, and asks Jonathan to make up an excuse as to why he is absent. If Saul is fine with him being absent than that will mean that everything is fine between them, but if Saul gets angry about David not being there, then he must want to kill David.
Jonathan tells David that he will go to the festival and then bring him word from his father. But David is worried about how they will meet up again to talk. So they come up with a plan, a few days after the festival they will meet in a field. Jonathan will go out to practice with his bow and when the servant goes to collect the arrows, he will use a code. If David is safe, he will tell his servant that the arrows are to the side of him, and if David is in danger, he will tell his servant that the arrows are beyond him. If he is in danger, David is supposed to run away.

So Jonathan goes to the festival and 2 days after the festival Saul asks about David’s absence. Jonathan tells him and Saul gets angry, even throwing a spear at Jonathan. So Jonathan goes out and to shoot arrows and loses control and just yells to David to “Go quickly and run!” – The servant must have been really confused.

David decides to still wait and when the servant is gone comes out to Jonathan and weeps saying goodbye!

1 Samuel 17-18

1 Samuel 17-18

Chapter 17: David and Goliath

The Philistines and the Israelites gather together their armies for battle, each on opposing hills with a valley in between them.  Both sides are just standing around, but no real battle has begun. Here is where we read about one of the more famous people of the Bible, Goliath. Goliath comes out and challenges the Israelites, telling them that if they find a man to fight him and win, then the Philistines would be subject to the Israelites. But if Goliath wins, then the Israelites would be subject to the Philistines. This is a winner take all battle between two people.

The Israelites are a little uncomfortable with fighting Goliath and for very good reasons! So who is Goliath?

Goliath is from Gath and came from a Philistine camp, he was a champion fighter. Goliath was 9 feet tall, and only shy of 0.8 ft from the top of the backboard on a NBA basketball hoop. Essentially the top of the basketball hoop is at eye level with Goliath. He wore a coat of mail that weighed 200 lbs and a spear, whose spear head alone weighed 24 lbs!

This terrifies the Israelites, but Goliath steps out and offers this battle every day for 40 days, with no takers! During this same time we learn that David’s three oldest brothers are in army (Eliab, Abinadab and Shammah). David is serving Saul halftime, while still tending to his father’s sheep. David comes out to meet his brothers on the battle field on the 40th or 41st day that Goliath once again issues his challenge. When Goliath comes out to issue this challenge the Israelites are so afraid that they run in the opposite direction. David talks to some of the other men on the battle field about this and one man tells David that the man who defeats Goliath gets money, exemption of taxes and Saul’s daughter to marry. Eliab (Saul’s brother) is very unhappy that David is talking to the other soldiers.

Eliab asks David what he is doing here, and burns with anger as he asks him. David brushes it off and turns to talk to another soldier. Word gets to Saul about this and Saul calls for David. David tells Saul to not “lose heart” and to stay positive, he tells Saul that he will go and fight Goliath. Saul of course is not very comforted by this and tells David that Goliath is a warrior since birth and that he is just a boy. But after some time, David convinces Saul to let him try by telling his that he has killed a lion and a bear when they tried to attack his sheep.

Saul tells David to go with the Lord. They prepare David to go to battle and put all the armor on him. But David is not used to it and can barely even move with all of it, so he takes it off and grabs a staff and 5 smooth stones from the river. David then approaches Goliath.

When Goliath sees that they sent a little boy to battle him, he says;

“…Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves?” (1 Samuel 17:43)

                David responds by saying;

                                “…Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to                thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou has defied.          This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head          from thee…” (1 Samuel 17:45-46)

From here we find out that Goliath goes to strike David, but David slings a stone at him which strikes him in between his eyes. This stones sinks into his forehead, which caused Goliath to fall face first to the ground. David then cuts off Goliath’s head with his own sword. After this happens the Philistines retreat and the Israelites pursue after them. David then takes the head of Goliath to Jerusalem and brings Goliath’s weapons into his own tent.

Abner brings David before Saul and asks David who is father is, David tells Saul that he is Jesse’s son.

Chapter 18: David Marries Michal

After the defeat of Goliath, David and Jonathan become very good friends. Saul decides to keep David in service full time, which means that David no longer has time to tend to his father’s sheep. Jonathan gives David his armor, and Saul gives David a high rank in the military. David’s new position is welcomed by both the people and the soldier below him.

Saul however begins to be filled with jealousy. Because the women in the Israelites towns sing songs in the street about how Saul has slain thousands, and David tens of thousands. This makes Saul really jealous and nervous that David might take his kingdom from him.

The following day, Saul is plagued by the evil spirit again and attempts to kill David, twice. Each time David eludes him. So Saul, because of his fear of David, decides to send him off on a campaign with a thousand men. This of course is a very successful campaign, because the Lord is with David.

Saul comes up with the idea to have his daughter Merab marry David. But David refuses and tells Saul that he is not worthy to be the king’s son-in-law. Later Saul finds out that his other daughter Michal is in love with David. So Saul decides to give David a task that would give him more credit into the family. He tells David to go and get him 100 Philistine foreskins. David goes and does what Saul asks and is successful at it, so successful that David brings back 200 foreskins!

David marries Michal and continues to be successful and well known throughout all the land!

1 Samuel 15-16

1 Samuel 15-16

Chapter 15: Saul Disobeys

Samuel comes to Saul and tells him that he was the one that the Lord had sent to anoint him as king over the Israelites. Samuel tells him that he has a message from the Lord and that he should listen to him. The message from the Lord tells Saul that the Amalekites are evil and that they must be punished for what they have done to Israel, even saying;

 “…utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.” (1 Samuel 15:3)

                This is a very interesting point about God. At times he commands someone to “utterly destroy everyone” (See Judges 21:11) and at times God tells people to “not kill” (See Exodus 20:13). What is the reasoning for this? Well in Isaiah 55:8/28:10 the Lord tells us that his thoughts are not the same as our thoughts. This is an important principles to remember with anything that happens. God knows best, even if we don’t understand why something is happening, eventually we will know and understand and be grateful for the master plan that the Lord has for each and every one of us.

So with this commandment from God, Saul doesn’t hesitate in mustering up his men to prepare an attack on the Amalekites. Before he goes to attack the Amalekites, he sends a warning to the Kenites who live nearby that Saul will spare them. So Saul and his men do what the Lord asked and utterly destroy everyone and everything except, they spare the best livestock as plunder and the king Agag of the Amalekites. The Lord is displeased with their ignorance to his commandment. The Lord tells Samuel that he is disappointed in Saul, Samuel prays all night crying out for Saul.

The next day Samuel goes on a search to find Saul and talk with him, but cannot find him, because he had been moving around. But Samuel does find a statue that was made to honor Saul. Finally when Samuel meets up with Saul, Saul explains that he doesn’t think he disobeyed the Lord.

So Samuel asks him why he can hear animals in the background if he “utterly destroyed everything”.  Samuel tells him that he essentially thought it would be ok to take the best animals and spare the king, completing most of what the Lord had asked. After talking with him some more, Saul admits that he was afraid of the people and gave into their demands of plunder. He tells Samuel that he has sinned and asks Samuel to go with him to worship the Lord. Samuel refuses and walks away, but Saul grabs his robe and it rips. Samuel takes the opportunity to teach and object lesson; just as his robe has ripped, so has the kingdom torn from the hands of Saul. But still Saul practically begs for forgiveness and yet again Samuel uses this opportunity as a teaching moment.

Samuel tells Saul;

“…Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices , as in obeying the Lord? Behold to obey is better than sacrifice…” (1 Samuel 15:22)

                Obeying is better than sacrifice. Maybe you have heard the phrase “It is easier to ask for forgiveness than it is to ask for permission”? This is a very common and I would think widely used phrase in its literal meaning in today’s world. We see this happening everywhere! But in the world of the Lord, Asking for permission is better than asking for forgiveness. It is much easier to do the right thing the first time, instead of having to make things right and living with the guilt and pain of your bad decisions for the rest of your life.

Samuel leaves and goes to put Agag to death, then leaves to go home in Gibeah. Samuel never sees Saul again and the Lord is grieved that he has made Saul king of Israel.

Chapter 16: Saul Chooses David

This chapter introduces King David. The Lord comes to Samuel and tells him that he should not mourn for Saul, but instead for to the home of Jesse in Bethlehem to anoint the new king. Samuel is a little worried about this, because he thinks that if Saul finds out that he is doing this, that he might be killed by Saul. So God tells Samuel that he should just claim he is making an offering sacrifice and inviting Jesse to go with him.

Samuel goes to Bethlehem and has the town elders there to meet him. Samuel meets up with the elders and tells them that he has come in peace and that he must go and consecrate the sons of Jesse. Samuel goes to a feast and meets Jesse’s son Eliab, who he thinks (by his appearance) is the one that the Lord has chosen. But the Lord tells Samuel that he should not consider his appearance of height, because the Lord does not look at the same qualities in man as men do. The Lord looks at a man’s heart, whereas the natural man looks at his appearance on the outside.

Jesse introduces Samuel to seven of his sons, but the Lord rejects them all. Samuel asks Jesse if he has more sons. Jesse tells Samuel that his youngest is out tending to the sheep. Jesse sends for David and tells everyone that they will not sit down to eat until he arrives. David comes and Samuel anoints him in front of everyone, and from that day on David is filled with the Spirit of the Lord and his power.

Saul doesn’t find out that David has been anointed (but not yet crowned king), and as soon as the Spirit of the Lord entered David, an evil spirit of the Lord entered into Saul. So one of his servants suggests that they find someone to play the harp to soothe him. The servant suggests the youngest son of Jesse, who is David!

David travels to see Saul and begins serving him. Saul likes David so much that he has him become his armour-bearer and has him play the harp to soothe the evil spirit when it comes.

 

1 Samuel 13-14

1 Samuel 13-14

Chapter 13: The Lord Chooses Another

Saul reigned over Israel (up to this point for 2 years), 2 mark his 2 years he chose three thousand men, two thousand to stay with him in Michmash and in mount Beth-el and the other thousand men were to reside with Jonathan in Gibeah of Benjamin.  The rest of the men were sent home.

Jonathan decides to really smite the Philistines and sounds a trumpet throughout all the land to let the Hebrews know. The Philistines gather to fight Israel and bring with them 30,000 chariots, 6,000 horsemen and people “numbering the same as the grains of sand in the ocean”. Naturally the Israelites begin to tremble and even hide in caves and high places. So Saul calls for a burnt offering to be made. He makes the offering and is them met by Samuel, who came to salute him.

Samuel tells Saul that he has done foolishly and because of him (and his lack of obedience to the Lord’s commandments) Israel shall be destroyed. Saul quickly goes to find a smith in the land to make weapons, but they are unable to find anyone to make weapons. Because of this they are going to fight the Philistines with absolutely nothing as for weapons.

The Lord rejects Saul and appoints a new captain over the Israelites.

Chapter 14: God does not Always Answer Prayers

Saul and six hundred of his men are in the outskirts of Gibeah with a priest named Ahijah. Jonathan decides to leave one day with is armour-bearer (he doesn’t tell his father or anyone, he just goes!)

Jonathan heads for an outpost on the a hill. Jonathan asks God as to whether or not he should attack the Philistines. They decide to show themselves to the Philistines and if they tell them to stay where they are, they will do it. But if they tell them to go to the top of the cliff, then they will take that as a sign from God to attack the Philistines.

The Philistines ask them to go up, so Jonathan and his armour-bearer attack some 20 armed Philistines in an area of about 1 acre. Because of this the Philistines freak out and start to panic, causing there army to spread across the land. Saul back home doesn’t know what is going on, so he calls the troops to be numbered and prepared for war. This is where they realize that Jonathan and his armour-bearer are missing. Saul calls for the Ark, but in the last minute tells the priest to just summon all the men into battle.

When Saul and his army get to the battle, they find the Philistines so confused that some of them are actually striking each other with their own swords! The Lord rescues Israel. Saul commands a fast in the land until the evening, so that they can defeat the Philistines. He puts death as a punishment for not fasting.

The troops go through a forest where honey is oozing out of hives. Jonathan unaware of this oath tastes some and has one soldier telling him about the oath. Jonathan basically says that he thinks it is stupid and blames Saul for putting this burden on weaken troops, who could have fought better having been full.

They finish their battle with the Philistines and start to plunder, by slaughtering animals to eat. They are so hungry that some of them eat meat with the blood still on it. Saul gets upset and tells them that they are sinning and sets up a stone where they can properly butcher and cook the meat. Saul builds an altar to the Lord.

Saul decides to go back and plunder the Philistines again, the priest that is with them suggests that they ask God first. So, Saul asks God and receives NO ANSWER! (1 Samuel 14:37). Saul gets worried that someone has sinned, and because of this God is not taking any favor in him. So he calls all of the men and finds out that Jonathan had sinned by tasting the honey, when they took an oath to not eat (by fasting).

Saul wants to put Jonathan to death for doing what he did. But the men of Israel won’t let Saul kill Jonathan. The chapter ends by telling us that; Saul’s wife is named Ahinoam, he has three sons; Jonathan, Ishvi, and Malki-Shua. He also has two daughters; Merab and Michal. Saul has an uncle named Ner, and Ner’s son; Abner is the commander of Saul’s army.