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And Jehovah answered me, and said, Write the vision,
and make it plain upon tablets, that he may run that readeth it.
(Habakkuk 2:2 - ASV)

Last Updated

  22 February 2024


Watson's Web

Biblical and Prophetic Perspective For Our Times

For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words,
of him shall the Son of man be ashamed,
when he cometh in his own glory,
and the glory of the Father,
and of the holy angels.
(Luke 9:26 - ASV)

I have set Jehovah always before me:
Because he is at my right hand,
I shall not be moved.
(Psalms 16:8 - ASV)

Contents On This Page

- 1 Samuel Part 57
- 1 Samuel Part 56
- 1 Samuel Part 55
- 1 Samuel Part 54
- 1 Samuel Part 53
- 1 Samuel Part 52
- Quick Jump to Misc. Links (ToS/Privacy Policy/Email/Who Am I)

We continue this commentary on the Book of Samuel...

22 Feb

1 Samuel Part 57

And Saul saw and knew
that Jehovah was with David; and Michal,
Saul's daughter, loved him.
And Saul was yet the more afraid of David;
and Saul was David's enemy continually.
(1 Samuel 18:28-29 - ASV)

David was having considerable success, both on the battlefield but also in his love life. The King's daughter was clearly smitten with David. If you recall, David had just won a victory over the Philistines in order to get his dowry. David and Michal were married. So on the surface, things are going pretty well for David, except the King sees David growing popularity and treats him like an enemy. But this is typical and as we have seen, Saul was either being strongly oppressed by an evil spirit. God, it looks like, had handed Saul 'over' to entities in the  kingdom of darkness and now, he is under their spiritual and mental sway.

The idea of possession and oppression are not much talked about and as you all know, I did a series on this a few of years ago called Know Your Enemy and it dealt with some of this. Often our troubles like this can be traced back to the devil and spiritual beings in his kingdom.

Enemies who suddenly rise up against us with no cause? If you are a saint, this could very well be the devil working through someone who is under his influence, though almost always unwittingly. They don't know the devil is guiding them, they just know they have to 'get' you and often it's for no rational reason. The real reason is spiritual and it's hidden from those so oppressed/possessed - they become 'mad' and this looks like what is happening to Saul

Next time you have enemies that act this way, keep this in mind. A person who has an enemy at work who is always sniping at them and trying to get them into trouble? Someone to whom they never did any harm? This could be what the issue is, some kind of spiritual stronghold operating through the person. I think we should keep that in mind when we begin to have issues at work, at home or in our associations - the devil often works through people who have no clue the devil is working through them.

Then the princes
of the Philistines went forth:
and it came to pass, as often as they went forth,
that David behaved himself more wisely
than all the servants of Saul;
so that his name was much set by.
(1 Samuel 18:30 - ASV)
The Philistines clearly were still conducting raids on Israel in order to get spoil and probably 'revenge' for their stunning defeats. David was still doing quite well against them. Again as stated in an earlier section of this study, the word wisely has other connotations like skillfully, intelligently or successfully (7919 in Strong's Hebrew Bible Dictionary). The passage indicates he was getting victories over them and was clearly showing up the 'Saul faction' on the battlefield.

His success was bringing him fame and his name was now greatly honored in Israel. He defeats Goliath, continually has military success against the Philistines and thus, was clearly held in very high regard in the nation.

And Saul spake to Jonathan his son,
and to all his servants,
that they should slay David.
But Jonathan, Saul's son,
delighted much in David.
And Jonathan told David,
saying, Saul my father seeketh to slay thee:
now therefore, I pray thee,
take heed to thyself in the morning,
and abide in a secret place,
 and hide thyself:
(1 Samuel 19:1-2 - ASV)

Murder and the devil. They go hand in hand. David does good, is pleasing to God and because of that, Saul seeks to murder him. It reminds me of a verse in the Gospel of John.

Jesus answered them,
Many good works
have I showed you from the Father;

for which of those works
do ye stone me?
(John 10:32 - ASV)
Do right and the devil will come after you. Become favored of God and the devil will come after you. Remember the trials of Job and the reasons for them.

Jonathan and David were friends and clearly respected one another. Jonathan after hearing Saul's command to kill David alerts David to this new threat. It appears that Saul may have been hoping one of his or even one of David's servants or sub-commanders would kill David in return for some favor. Saul was smiling up in David's face (1 Samuel 18:22) saying how much he delighted in David and was nevertheless, plotting his murder.

This on one level is rather amazing. Consider. Jonathan was heir to the throne and more and more with David's fame, he was possibly becoming a competitor for the succession. One would ordinarily think that Jonathan would have just gone ahead and done what his father wanted, but he didn't. Rather he went out to warn David. This is a rare kind of friend David has here. Many 'friends' would have ditched David, set him up or just stood aside while the murder plan was executed and thus eliminate a potential rival.

I have always felt that the best test of a person's character is when money or power is given or offered. It's then you discover just what people are made of. Jonathan decides to do the right thing - warn David about his mad fathers designs.

So Jonathan has a plan to save David and tells him to go and hide himself in a prearranged location.

and I will go out and stand beside my father
in the field where thou art,
and I will commune with my father of thee;
and if I see aught, I will tell thee.
And Jonathan spake good of David
unto Saul his father, and said unto him,
Let not the king sin against his servant,
against David; because he hath not sinned against thee,
and because his works have been to thee-ward very good:
for he put his life in his hand, and smote the Philistine,
and Jehovah wrought a great victory for all Israel:
 thou sawest it, and didst rejoice;
wherefore then wilt thou sin against innocent blood,
 to slay David without a cause?
(1 Samuel 19:3-5 - ASV)

So Jonathan behaves most honorably and intercedes for David to his father. Why should he slay David who has done so much good? Why should he shed innocent blood of someone who has done so much good to for the kingdom?

And Saul hearkened
unto the voice of Jonathan: and Saul sware,
As Jehovah liveth, he shall not be put to death.
And Jonathan called David,
and Jonathan showed him all those things.
And Jonathan brought David to Saul,
and he was in his presence, as beforetime.
(1 Samuel 19:6-7 - ASV)

Saul listened and then Jonathan arranged a reconciliation. This was good news that Saul listened to reason. One can only hope and pray that God will bring such a friend like Jonathan into our lives. Jonathan clearly was an exceptional person, an honorable one who was not going to descend into the bloody envy, treachery and wickedness of court politics. He was going to do right and be loyal.

We all often have to make such choices. Even if those choices make things hard for us we still must, absolutely must do the right thing.

Personally? These passages tell us about true friendship and about false dealing as well. It tells us of treachery and loyalty. It tells us of selfishness and selflessness. In our times, treachery abounds and friends... real friends are often few and hard to be found. I can tell you it isn't going to get any better as the Day of the Lord approaches.

But know this,
that in the last days grievous times shall come.
For men shall be lovers of self,
lovers of money, boastful, haughty, railers,
disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
without natural affection, implacable,
slanderers, without self-control, fierce,
no lovers of good, traitors, headstrong,
puffed up, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God;
holding a form of godliness,
but having denied the power thereof:
from these also turn away.
(2 Timothy 3:1-5 - ASV)

In the western world and particularly America, I think our selfish, pleasure seeking, fame, money and glory worshiping society, friends are few because the people lack the character to be good friends. Too often 'friends' are only people who can do something for us, get us this or help us with that. They want something and when you can't give them what they want or no longer can, those 'friends' become scarcer than a drop of water in a fully heated oven - even if its there, it won't be for long.

I think this is just part of the cultural decay that is part of the western world. We saw much of the same kind of self seeking, false friendship and backstabbing in the days of Rome when she was becoming increasingly violent and decadent.

But I think this is what too much wealth and pleasure does to people. It makes them unreliable, inconstant, untrustworthy and sometimes just down right treacherous. Too easily they can be enticed to betray for a promotion, some money or some worldly honor so they can be 'loved' by others who share many of the same unpleasant personal characteristics.

These are times when we should be more careful and keep episodes like this in our mind at our places of work, our Churches and even in some of our homes. Christ warned us of treachery in the last days and we would be most foolish to ignore those clear and direct warnings.

We will continue our look at Samuel next week, God willing!

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15 Feb

1 Samuel Part 56

But all Israel and Judah loved David;
for he went out and came in before them.
And Saul said to David, Behold,
 my elder daughter Merab,
her will I give thee to wife:
 only be thou valiant for me,
and fight Jehovah's battles.
For Saul said,
Let not my hand be upon him,
but let the hand of the Philistines
 be upon him.
(1 Samuel 18:16-17 - ASV)

David now is invited to become part of the royal family and now has to play the royal court 'games'. The stakes are very high in royal court politics and so are the consequences of winding up on the wrong side. I like, no love to study history and royal court politics always interested me. From England's War of the Roses to the Tudor Dynasty; before and after these periods is informative and entertaining, if at times a somewhat bloody history of palace intrigue, treason, favor, disfavor, battles, royal depositions and conflict. Such things can also be found in the historical books of the Bible like Kings and Chronicles.

What appears to be happening is that now there is a 'Saul faction' and a slowly growing 'David faction'. Saul here offers his eldest daughter Merab, to David, both as a reward (and to fulfill a promise), but perhaps to more closely ally himself with David, who has much popularity as well as to put off any popular suspicion of his real intentions towards David. This particular marriage did not take place but was clearly the result of the earlier promise the King made to any who slew Goliath.

But in this gift as with many 'princely gifts', intrigue is the wrapping in which it is encased. Saul's true intentions are revealed in second part of verse 17, he is hoping David gets himself killed in a new battle with the Philistines. In short, he is indirectly arranging the killing of David.

And David said unto Saul,
Who am I, and what is my life,
or my father's family in Israel,
that I should be son-in-law
to the king?

(1 Samuel 18:18 - ASV)

David has measured his worth in the eyes of men and shows the proper humility. He knows that for the most part, he is a 'nobody' and such an honor being extended him is a very high one for such a 'low born' person as himself.

This is the mark of a man who has truly been touched by God. He is marked by humility, not pride. Do you see a proud man, a self-seeking man who claims to know God? He probably doesn't and certainly won't unless he changes his attitude.

A godly man knows his place and accepts it. He knows he deserves nothing in this world as we are all stamped with the guilt of sin from our birth and by our actions. Whatever God chooses to bestow upon us is in his gift, not because of our deserts. I have heard it said that if we all got what we deserved, there would not be a man left alive. So let us all be and stay humble and accept what gifts, honors, recompense and payment that God, rather than we choose. God knows our abilities and if we yield to him, he will use us to his glory as he will one day use David.

But it came to pass
at the time when Merab, Saul's daughter,
should have been given to David,
that she was given unto
Adriel the Meholathite to wife.
(1 Samuel 18:19 - ASV)

The way the passage reads, it appears Saul is double dealing, as here he broke his promise. Why this promise was broken is not clear and may have been because Merab was personally not disposed to the arrangement. Or it may have been because the King wanted to humiliate David before all with a show of disfavor - perhaps part of court intrigue.

But I think it likely it was because her younger sister was smitten with David (next verse). To me, this is the most likely explanation. Merab may have been previously engaged to Adriel and Michael loved David so this arrangement may have been made. We know little about Adriel but the five children born of the marriage came to tragedy.
And Michal, Saul's daughter,
loved David: and they told Saul,
and the thing pleased him.
And Saul said, I will give him her,
that she may be a snare to him,
and that the hand of the Philistines
may be against him. Wherefore
Saul said to David,
Thou shalt this day
be my son-in-law
a second time.
(1 Samuel 18:20-21 - ASV)
As we see here, Saul is scheming against David of whom he is clearly now supremely jealous. He is going to use this marriage as a tool to try and get rid of David. The method will be in the 'details' of the marriage arrangement. In olden times a dowry was to be paid to the family and Saul's dowry demand was supposed to prove to be fatal to David.

And Saul commanded his servants,
saying, Commune with David secretly,
and say, Behold, the king hath delight in thee,
and all his servants love thee:
now therefore be the king's son-in-law.
And Saul's servants spake those words
in the ears of David. And David said,
Seemeth it to you a light thing
to be the king's son-in-law,
seeing that I am a poor man,
and lightly esteemed?
And the servants of Saul told him,
saying, On this manner spake David.
(1 Samuel 18:22-24 - ASV)

Saul sends in his 'secret agents' to David. They probably feigned that they were talking to David behind the King's back, but in reality were on a mission from him. David may have not accepted the offer of marriage formally because of his poverty. Where was he going to come up with the cash for a dowry for the daughter of a king? This may have been one of his key concerns. So here they come to 'feel out' David and put him off his guard trying to tell him something that was wholly untrue, that the King delighted in David, when in reality he was plotting his murder.

Don't you hate smiling people with two faces? I can't stand them. I would rather deal with an enemy who hates me and says so than a two-faced devil, any day of the week.

But this is the peril of court politics. It's no different today. I never went into politics for this very reason. Politics can be a rough, tough business and it can often be full of the most unpleasant kinds of people. I don't want to work in an environment or even spend too much time in a place full of such people.

And Saul said, Thus shall ye say to David,
The king desireth not any dowry,
but a hundred foreskins of the Philistines,
to be avenged of the king's enemies.
Now Saul thought to make David
fall by the hand of the Philistines.
And when his servants told David
these words, it pleased David well
to be the king's son-in-law.
And the days were not expired;
(1 Samuel 18:25-26 - ASV)

Now the trap. He's got to go and do battle before he can marry, and Saul's hope is that he gets himself killed. But David was happy with the idea and the last phrase in verse 26 indicates he did this right away and that there may have been some kind of time limit for him to accept or decline the offer from the King.

This whole episode shows you how far Saul had fallen, he was trying to trick and trap David so that he could be murdered. But when a person arrays himself against the Lord's anointed or any person who truly serves him, he finds that God has a plan to deal with that person. Often he will turn his own devices back upon them.

and David arose and went,
he and his men, and slew of the Philistines
two hundred men; and David brought their foreskins,
and they gave them in full number to the king,
 that he might be the king's son-in-law.
And Saul gave him Michal his daughter to wife.
(1 Samuel 18:27 - ASV)

Saul's plot failed and David could only be even more esteemed in the eyes of the people as both a warrior and a man with whom God was with!

Saul finally keeps his word and gives him his daughter Michal, to wife.

There are many lessons in this passage but two stand out. The admonition against plotting against the Lord's anointed is probably key. When God is with someone, it is folly to come against them - you may shoot your arrow at them, but it could very well return upon you. Second is humility. David was always humble and ready to serve. It does not appear David was even a little suspicious of Saul, though after being missed by a spear twice, it should have alerted him that trust should not be the operative word when dealing with this spiritually troubled King.

I think another thing that we should all remember is this. David so far was doing everything right, yet people plotted evil for him. This is often the case. I think of Joseph and how he did everything right and God was with him and then Potiphar's lust filled wife wanted him to sleep with her (Gen 39:7) and when he would not, was falsely accused of attempted rape. He had to go to jail for something he did not do.

What happens to those who throw stumbling blocks in front of his people in our age?

but whoso shall cause one of these little ones
that believe on me to stumble,
it is profitable for him that a
great millstone should be hanged
about his neck, and that he should
be sunk in the depth of the sea.
Woe unto the world because of
occasions of stumbling!
for it must needs be that the occasions come;
but woe to that man through
whom the occasion cometh!
(Matthew 18:6-7 - ASV)

My point is this - if you are doing God's will, things don't always turn out the way we would like or think they should, but they do turn out for good as long as we stay on the straight and narrow and never depart from faith in our God and his son Christ Jesus.

Don't take revenge on your enemies, Let the Lord handle it - he can do it much more effectively than we can.

We will continue our look at Samuel next week, God willing!

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2 Feb

1 Samuel Part 55

And Saul was very wroth,
and this saying displeased him; and he said,
They have ascribed unto David ten thousands,
and to me they have ascribed but thousands:
and what can he have more but the kingdom?
And Saul eyed David from that day and forward.
(1 Samuel 18:8-9 - ASV)
These new songs that were being sung (last section) did not please Saul in the least. In fact, as we see above he was very angry as the glory, the real glory for the victory is being ascribed to David.

King's generally don't like this kind of thing... at all, particularly warrior kings which is what Saul was. The problem here is that the singers were right, David was the real reason for victory, David and his faith in God. It does not appear that Saul in his current mental and spiritual state was able or willing to see God in this thing. He probably was only thinking about himself and his hold on power.

Saul now viewed David as a possible rival to the throne and this is what makes David's friendship with Johnathan so interesting. Jonathan would be the natural successor to his father when he died. But now, Saul see's David as a threat.

And it came to pass on the morrow,
that an evil spirit from God came mightily upon Saul,
and he prophesied in the midst of the house:
and David played with his hand,
as he did day by day.
And Saul had his spear in his hand;
(1 Samuel 18:10 - ASV)

After Saul hears these songs, the next day the Lord sent a spirit to trouble him. The Spirit of the Lord had already departed from him (16:14). Now the Lord had allowed an evil spirit to come upon him - this time in a mighty fashion. What is meant here by prophesying? This is a little more difficult. One usually expects it to mean prophecy in God's name, but clearly this is not what's going on here. Some commentaries suggests the possibility that he may have been raving. Saul may have been 'given over' for his past rebellion and now his suspicion of David, God's new anointed. Saul may have been making vain, wild utterances, asking God strange and perverse things... who knows what his troubled mind was conjuring up? Whatever it was, it was not good.

Sometimes I hate to tell you this, but sometimes God will indeed let us drink from the cup of the fruit of our own doings... right down to dregs. This appears to be where Saul is at. Saul may have been uttering all manner of nonsense as prophecy as this evil spirit that was on him gave him utterance.

The sense of the passage seems to be that David would be playing his instrument and Saul would rave because he was under the influence of this evil spirit. But the last passage is a bit more ominous, he's got a weapon in his hand.

and Saul cast the spear; for he said,
I will smite David even to the wall.
And David avoided out of his presence twice.
(1 Samuel 18:11 - ASV)

This is so tragic. Now the king clearly is losing his marbles. He is going to cast a spear at the man who killed Goliath and gave Israel such a victory.

Adam Clarke (1762-1832) in his commentary makes an interesting point and says that the language suggests that Saul was using these prayers/prophecy as a kind of distraction to hide his real intentions. Saul was in his home perhaps conducting some kind of religious services with David leading the music and Saul then throws a spear at him. This seems to have happened on two separate occasions.

I think the lesson here is that when God has a call on a person, the enemy will always move in to destroy that person. In this instance, it was Saul and the evil spirit that oppressed/possessed him.

Saul's troubled mind was probably worried that David would try and steal the crown from Saul, since he was so popular.

And Saul was afraid of David,
because Jehovah was with him,
and was departed from Saul.
(1 Samuel 18:12 - ASV)

David just got his first lesson in 'Royal Court Politics'. It was time to go before further lessons had an adverse effect on his health. God had forsaken Saul and was now with David and now Saul knew it. Saul had enough sense to know the power of the Lord and this made him afraid. I strongly suspect that others in the court saw all of these things as well and noted that the Lord was with David.

Therefore Saul removed him from him,
and made him his captain over a thousand;
and he went out and came in before the people.
(1 Samuel 18:13 - ASV)

Upon seeing God's hand with David and his own declining popularity and God's departure from him, Saul gets David away from his home and puts him in the field with an army. In the middle ages, this was not always a wise thing to do as a potential rival to the throne could start a civil war and try and seize the crown by force. The reasons for such a promotion could be several. To appease the people who clearly preferred David, to get David away from the court, or to get him out of the way in the hopes he gets himself killed in battle. But I would add the darkness hates light and as Saul continues his spiritual descent, David's divine favor probably troubled him deeply on a spiritual level as well.

It never fails when you are favored by God. I have seen people turn from him and change their whole composure and attitude towards those who continued to serve Christ and are favored by him. Their behavior was like night and day. As with this situation, God may very well put distance between you and them and give you solemn warning about dealing with them ever again.

I should say this as well because it is important. Not all backsliders will come back, and some simply can't (Hebrews 10:26ff). There are some forms of apostasy that preclude any possibility of return. The Holy Spirit just stops dealing with them. God's spirit will not always strive with man. This is may be what is transpiring here. God is removing David from the danger that Saul now presents who clearly, has murder in his heart. What has happened to Saul... I mean spiritually?

[Bold emphasis mine]

Ye are of your father the devil,
and the lusts of your father it is your will to do.
He was a murderer from the beginning,
 and standeth not in the truth,
because there is no truth in him.
When he speaketh a lie,
he speaketh of his own:
for he is a liar,
and the father thereof.
(John 8:44 - ASV)

The spirit of murder, an evil spirit was upon him. That is what happened to Saul. He rebelled against the Lord, was warned and did it again. Lesson? Don't rebel against the Lord and don't expect the Lord to automatically receive you back.

Saul never came back and you and I, if we rebel, might not either.

And David behaved himself wisely
 in all his ways;
and Jehovah was with him.
And when Saul saw
that he behaved himself very wisely,
he stood in awe of him.
(1 Samuel 18:14-15 - ASV)

The word wisely can also mean to prosper and to have success. David was doing quite well by his God and in his office and because of this, Saul became afraid of him. The word translated 'awe' in the ASV is 1481 in Strong's Hebrew Bible Dictionary (1890) and has the connotation of fear - to be afraid of. Saul was afraid of David.

Clearly what is going on here is that Saul, having been rejected by the Lord has become jealous and envious of David, who clearly had God's favor. Jealousy will lead to spite and spite to murder. David was the light and Saul was descending into spiritual darkness. As darkness hates light, so Saul sought to extinguish David.

Have you been favored by God? Has he put you in a position where you are a light? Expect to find new enemies and old friends who turn and become your enemy. It never fails. Put a man on any kind of pedestal and a thousand knives are drawn against him, often out of jealousy and envy.

With we Christians, we have spiritual enemies who know our inheritance and their own horrible fate. They are moved to extreme jealousy of us and who we are now in Christ. Expect the devil to do what he has always done to those who serve Jesus. He will try and kill you.

Then shall they deliver you up unto tribulation,
and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated
of all the nations for my name's sake.
And then shall many stumble,
and shall deliver up one another,
and shall hate one another.
(Matthew 24:9-10 - ASV)

The devil, the world and his servants hating us? Get used to it. It goes with the territory.

We will continue our look at Samuel next week, God willing!

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26 Jan

1 Samuel Part 54

And David took the head of the Philistine,
and brought it to Jerusalem;
but he put his armor in his tent.
 And when Saul saw David go forth against the Philistine,
he said unto Abner, the captain of the host,
Abner, whose son is this youth? And Abner said,
As thy soul liveth, O king, I cannot tell.
 And the king said, Inquire thou
whose son the stripling is.
(1 Samuel 17:54-56 - ASV)
David took Goliath's head and sent it to Jerusalem. When referring to his armor, it's not clear that this was indeed 'his' tent as he probably did not have one. It's not clear what is meant. Some think it was taken back to his home in Bethlehem and others think he took it to the tent where the Ark was.

How is it that Saul did not know who David was? He was his musician and armor bearer. This is not so difficult a question as some make out. Saul saw many people day in and day out. And Saul's reaction may have been more out of incredulity and wanted to know who this kid was - his mind weighed down with troubles (like the war) may not have connected up the kid he knew with this tremendous act of military valor. Keep in mind he had to be continually interacting with his commanders and underlings and may have just plain old forgot who this was and would never in a million years thought it was that kid who could sing so well. But I think there is a better answer and it follows.

It's clear he really did not know who he was. So he asks Abner, his cousin (14:51) to go and find out.

And as David returned from the slaughter of the Philistine,
Abner took him, and brought him before
Saul with the head of the Philistine in his hand.
And Saul said to him, Whose son art thou,
thou young man? And David answered,
I am the son of thy servant
Jesse the Beth-lehemite.
(1 Samuel 17:57-58 - ASV)

Abner here fulfills his task and makes known to the King who it was. How Saul could not recognize him is still a question that puzzles some commentators.

I will leave you with this thought. Saul had been vexed by an evil spirit before (16:23) and he may have had long bouts of deep mental distraction and melancholy and may have been unable to remember things. This is not unheard of. In fact, in England there was a King who fell into a kind of melancholia for many months and never spoke a word. When he recovered, he could not remember a thing that happened. That was King Henry VI who was the grandson of the French King, Charles the VI who had a similar mental malady.

And it came to pass,
when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul,
that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David,

 and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.
And Saul took him that day, and would let him
go no more home to his father's house.
Then Jonathan and David made a covenant,

 because he loved him as his own soul.
(1 Samuel 18:1-3 - ASV)

Saul wants David now to remain with him and won't let him go back to Bethlehem. David is now compelled, by royal command, to stay with him.

The following passages deal with the deep friendship that arose between Jonathan and David. This was a deep and enduring friendship and one that lasted until Jonathan's death at Gilboa. These two formed a covenant between each other. This was probably like the friendship that sprang up between Ruth and Naomi. They were closer than siblings and were honor bound to remain faithful to each other. This is probably the kind of covenant they made.
And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe
that was upon him, and gave it to David,
and his apparel, even to his sword,
and to his bow, and to his girdle
(1 Samuel 18:4 - ASV)
David's courage, faith and probably his whole manner drew the two men together and this act above is clearly a symbol of the deep respect that Jonathan had for David. Let us keep in mind here that David was being greatly honored by a Royal Prince and possible heir to the throne, from a hereditary point of view.
And David went out whithersoever Saul sent him,
and behaved himself wisely:
and Saul set him over the men of war,
and it was good in the sight of all the people,
and also in the sight of Saul's servants.
And it came to pass as they came,
when David returned from the slaughter
of the Philistine, that the women came out
of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing,
to meet king Saul, with timbrels,
with joy, and with instruments of music.
And the women sang one to another as they played,
and said, Saul hath slain his thousands,
And David his ten thousands.
(1 Samuel 18:5-7 - ASV)

We find that after receiving these honors from the King, David behaved himself. He did not get arrogant and did not seek power, he behaved wisely 7919 in Strong's Hebrew Bible Dictionary (1890). The world means circumspectly, intelligently, with understanding, etc. But that often is just not enough to keep oneself out of trouble and trouble as we will see, is on its way.

The King set David up as one of his military commanders. It's not clear if he had supreme command, but the text certainly could be read that way. But this would have displaced Abner. I suspect this did not happen. Their respective positions in the military are not clear from this passage.

The people when hearing of David's victory naturally were overjoyed. As was the custom in the olden times, songs were sung about kings, military commanders and their exploits. Minstrels were often one of the ways people found out about the goings on in the kingdoms of Europe during the middle ages. These songs however, as well as their meaning, were going to be a source of trouble between David and the King.

Clearly David had become a popular hero, a 'pop icon' of his times. But this fame as the songs that were sung show, would overshadow Saul and his royal preeminence. The key here was that Saul slayed thousands and David tens of thousands. This put David on a higher plane in the eyes of the people as a warrior. Needless to say, trouble was brewing.

We will continue out look at Samuel soon, God willing!

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12 Jan

1 Samuel Part 53

And the Philistine came on
and drew near unto David;
and the man that bare the shield went before him.
And when the Philistine looked about,
and saw David, he disdained him;
for he was but a youth, and ruddy,
and withal of a fair countenance.
(1 Samuel 17:41-42 - ASV)
We left off last time and David had picked up five smooth stones from a nearby brook and put them in his bag after saying he wanted to have a 'go' at fighting Goliath. Now comes the battle scene. Goliath drew close to David and apparently Goliath had someone to go before him who bore his shield, as also seen in verse seven.

When he came out and saw this 'kid' as an adversary he had little regard for him. The word disdain is 959 in Strong's Hebrew Bible Dictionary (1890) and it means just that, to despise or to scorn. Clearly Goliath had little regard for David and probably thought he would defeat David easily. As a warrior by appearance, David did not look very impressive.

And the Philistine said unto David,
Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves?
And the Philistine cursed David by his gods.
And the Philistine said to David, Come to me,
and I will give thy flesh unto the birds of the heavens,
and to the beasts of the field.
(1 Samuel 17:43-44 - ASV)

Goliath asks David what in the world did he think he was? Was he a dog that he was going to be beaten with his shepherds staff (17:40). Clearly Goliath was mocking David's most unimpressive weaponry. Then he cursed David by the God's of the Philistines. Big mistake.

I think what is noteworthy here is that unlike the others, David seemed to understand the deeper spiritual nature of the battle with the Philistines (vs. 26). This seems now to come out in this passage - the real face, the spiritual face of Goliath is now revealed as he curses God's servant by his gods. Dagon, if we remember was one of them.

He then goes on to boast, warning David that his death is imminent and his body is going to be tonight's dinner for the beasts and birds after he finishes with him; or so his boasting proclaims. 

Let me tell you a real sure way to get on God's bad side. Begin to mock, mistreat, revile or otherwise wrong one of those whom he loves and has chosen. Continue on in it and rest assured, you are going to get his full attention - and not in a positive fashion. Goliath here both mocked God and his servant. What he did not know, was that today was payday. He was going to collect his spiritual 'earnings' today from this Jewish kid.

Then said David to the Philistine,
Thou comest to me with a sword,
and with a spear, and with a javelin:
but I come to thee in the name of
Jehovah of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel,
whom thou hast defied. This day will Jehovah
deliver thee into my hand;
and I will smite thee,
and take thy head from off thee;
and I will give the dead bodies
of the host of the Philistines this day
unto the birds of the heavens,
and to the wild beasts of the earth;
that all the earth may know that
there is a God in Israel, and that
all this assembly may know that
Jehovah saveth not with sword and spear:
for the battle is Jehovah's,
and he will give you into our hand.
1 Samuel 17:45-47 - ASV)

David turns right around and tells him just the opposite. It's Goliath who shall be defeated, beheaded and his body along with those of the whole host of the Philistines will be fodder for the animals. David gives glory to the Lord whom he makes clear, Goliath has defied.

Also keep something in mind here, David does not come in his own name or for his own glory, but comes to face him in the name of Jehovah of Hosts (vs. 45). He is not glorifying himself or his arms, but the God of Israel and this battle is not about David, but to show everyone who is there that this battle belongs to God - the God of Israel.

We should all note the faith and courage of David. At the end he says that it's not going to be the weapons of war that are used, but God who is going to deliver this well known Philistine warrior into David's hand.

This is faith and David was putting his very life where his faith was. He trusted in the Lord to deliver him and deliver him he will.

David clearly has earned a top place in God's hall of faith.

And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose,
and came and drew nigh to meet David,
that David hastened,
and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine.
And David put his hand in his bag,
 and took thence a stone, and slang it,
and smote the Philistine in his forehead;
and the stone sank into his forehead,
and he fell upon his face to the earth.
So David prevailed over the Philistine
with a sling and with a stone,
and smote the Philistine,
and slew him;
but there was no sword
in the hand of David.
1 Samuel 17:48-50 - ASV)

David wins this battle without the need of ordinary weapons of war. He did it with a smooth stone, something that probably could fit in the palm of ones hand. It does not appear that Goliath had any idea that David had a sling... a 'secret weapon' packed in that shepherd's bag of his.

Goliath found out that he did... the hard way, delivered it right to his heathen skull in the form of a high impact, small smooth stone.

I suspect that David, with his many long hours alone tending sheep, may have practiced that skill a lot. There was not much else to do but watch the sheep eat, so he may have learned this in those many hours of solitude. It was something to do to pass the time. God prepares his people often in the most unusual of places.

But to each of you I hope you take note of this, if nothing else. There would not have been any victory if there had not been faith, real faith - action based on belief and trust in God. We must overcome our natural fear and place our trust in God in the various circumstances that confront us or when God gives us a charge. Sometimes, often that divine charge flies in the face of our natural understanding, so obeying it requires faith and a sure knowledge that it is God who is giving you that charge and will do his part if we do ours.

Now it was time for David to finish the job he had started. When God gives us a job to do, we cannot leave it half completed. Remember this was Saul's big mistake when he did not do away with Agag (15:8ff). When God gives us a job, we must finish it through to the end.

Then David ran,
and stood over the Philistine,
and took his sword, and drew it
out of the sheath thereof, and slew him,
and cut off his head therewith.
 And when the Philistines saw that
their champion was dead, they fled.
And the men of Israel and of Judah arose,
and shouted, and pursued the Philistines,
until thou comest to Gai,
and to the gates of Ekron.
And the wounded of the Philistines
fell down by the way to Shaaraim,
even unto Gath, and unto Ekron.
And the children of Israel returned
from chasing after the Philistines,
and they plundered their camp.
1 Samuel 17:51-53 - ASV)

One irony here is that David took Goliath's own sword and killed him. God can often use the enemies own weapons against him. Because Goliath was their battle 'inspiration' his sudden death was a real blow to their morale and when they saw it, they fled.

Israel pursued them all the way to Philistia (Ekron, Gath). After this rout they came back, they spoiled the camp of the Philistines.

To cut off the head of ones enemy like this seems a ghastly thing. Well, there is no denying that it is. Some would ask how could God allow or countenance such a thing. People who say that are not fully in touch with God and who he is. When we talk about the Lord of Hosts he is talking about armies and armies take life. God does not do this lightly. He does it when there is a necessity or someone is just begging for it. A person who speaks and comes against God and his majesty is a person who has put a target on his own back and does not know it. Think about the spirit of blasphemy that is embodied in the system of the last days (Revelation 13:5-6) and the end of that system and those who partake of it and its mark and what happens to them (Revelation 14:9-12). Men can mock and blaspheme God once too often.

With the rise of AI, digital money and biometrics... the hour is later than most think.

We will continue our look at Samuel, next week God willing!!

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4 Jan

1 Samuel Part 52

And Saul said to David,
Thou art not able to go against this Philistine
to fight with him; for thou art but a youth,
 and he a man of war from his youth.
(1 Samuel 17:33 - ASV)
As we left off way back in the year 2023 (!), David offered his services to King Saul to go and fight the Philistine Goliath. David was still pretty young (some commentators put him in his early 20's, though others in his mid teens). He was not really the right person, if one only looked at what the eye see's and not what God had in store.
And David said unto Saul,
Thy servant was keeping his father's sheep;
and when there came a lion, or a bear,
and took a lamb out of the flock,
I went out after him, and smote him,
and delivered it out of his mouth;
and when he arose against me,
I caught him by his beard,
and smote him, and slew him.
Thy servant smote both the lion and the bear:
and this uncircumcised Philistine
shall be as one of them,
seeing he hath defied
the armies of the living God.
(1 Samuel 17:34-36 - ASV)
David here relays to Saul the things he has done in the past. David used to keep sheep and from this passage we can see, there was a little more to it than just sitting on a rock with a shepherds staff in ones hand, all by oneself while the sheep grazed. No, there was a little more to it. In this passage we can see that God has some rather unusual places that he trains up and 'tempers' the instruments he plans to use in the future.

One would have thought that as a shepherd, there was not any real danger, but David lets all know that he too, knew how to have courage and to fight and yes to kill. This Shepherd boy was showing more courage than those in Saul's army. But this often is how God works, lest we should boast in our own strength, he uses what seems weak to show his, rather than mankind's power.

This speech by David does not say that he smote these animals together, though some seem to think the passage implies it. No, I think what David is relaying is that he neither lacks courage nor the 'fighting spirit' needed to take on this giant. David has a real zeal for God here and it is expressed in the last verse above. Moreover...

And David said,
Jehovah that delivered me
out of the paw of the lion,
and out of the paw of the bear,
he will deliver me
out of the hand of this Philistine.
And Saul said unto David,
Go, and Jehovah shall be with thee.
(1 Samuel 17:37 - ASV)

Now David attributes his victory over those ferocious beasts, not so much to his prowess, but to the Lord, who delivered him. This is faith - raw, uncompromising faith in God. It is evidenced not just in his words but in the face of the tremendous odds against him (from a natural perspective), against Goliath. This cemented David's place in God's great hall of faith of which some are recounted in Hebrews Chapter 11 (vs 11:33?). God honors and rewards faith and the only way to have any success in your walk with God is to have faith - belief followed by deeds based upon that belief. Either one has it or one does not, but you will never enter into God's kingdom without it. King Saul here recognizes David's faith and sends him on his way asking God to be with him.

And Saul clad David with his apparel,
and he put a helmet of brass
upon his head, and he clad him
with a coat of mail. And David girded
his sword upon his apparel,
and he assayed to go;
for he had not proved it.
And David said unto Saul,
I cannot go with these;
for I have not proved them.
And David put them off him.
(1 Samuel 17:38-39 - ASV)

David here as the passage seems to read, is given Saul's armor before he goes to battle. But it may have been that there was some more in the armory that belonged to Saul and pieces were given to him that he wore. If nothing else it seems to confirm that David was not just a teen but was probably in his 20's in order for Saul's armor to fit. Saul if we remember, was of unusually tall stature (1 Samuel 9:2). The coat of mail? We don't know what it was made of, but may have been brass. This is the conclusion of some commentators. But Iron was discovered around 1200BC and David probably lived around 1000BC. However, knowing that Goliath's weapons were of brass (17:5-6), probably makes brass still the metal of choice in those times. Iron had indeed been discovered, but may not have been widely 'weaponized' until many centuries later (Wikipedia's Iron Age article may be of interest for more information on this).

David decided not to use Saul's armor as he had not tested it out yet (proved - 5254 in Strong's Hebrew Bible Dictionary [1890]). Warriors are very careful about their weapons. If you want to survive a battle, you check your guns first and know how to use it and be familiar with it. Can't win a battle with a gun full of blanks.

Why? Your life will depend on it. This appears to be the sentiment here. A Knight would not go into single combat with chain-mail made of cobwebs, or a sword made of wood. He's asking for a quick route to an early grave. David here relies on God for victory but also knows that he has to do his part to attain that victory as well. The same goes for us in our battles. We have to do our part, then God will do his.

And he took his staff in his hand,
and chose him five smooth stones
out of the brook, and put them
in the shepherd's bag which he had,
even in his wallet; and his sling
was in his hand: and he drew near
to the Philistine.
(1 Samuel 17:40 - ASV)

It appears here that David has another plan in mind. Rather than fight his enemy using the weapons they are familiar with, he is going to use a new tactic. Rather than slog it out on an open plain, David got his shepherds staff and went down to the brook and got five smooth stones and put them into his bag, with his sling. David's plan was probably not something anyone was expecting.

Next week, God willing we will look at exactly David planned.

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Note: The Bible version usually quoted from on this site is now the American Standard Version, which according to Wikipedia, the Sword Project and various other Bible sites, was published in 1901 and is now in the Public Domain.

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