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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

1 July 2024

MARKSWATSON.COM

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 67
- 1 Samuel Part 66
- 1 Samuel Part 65
- 1 Samuel Part 64
- Encouragement
- 1 Samuel Part 63
- 1 Samuel Part 62
- 1 Samuel Part 61
- 1 Samuel Part 60
- Greetings!
- 1 Samuel Part 59
- 1 Samuel Part 58
- 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...

1 July

1 Samuel Part 67


And they told David, saying,
Behold, the Philistines are fighting against Keilah,
and are robbing the threshing-floors.
Therefore David inquired of Jehovah,
saying, Shall I go and smite these Philistines?
And Jehovah said unto David,
Go, and smite the Philistines,
and save Keilah.
(1 Samuel 23:1-2 - ASV)

We left off last time with David and the surviving priest, Abiathar, who had survived Saul's massacre, fled and met up with David. The two make a compact that would last for the rest of David's life. Both men survived assassination attempts by a King who had turned on God.

In the above passage, information comes to David about trouble in Keilah. Who exactly told him of this is not clear, but it may have been those who warned him of the mass murder at Nob. The impression I get here is that there may already be simmering discontent in the Kingdom and those who reported these things to David were slowly beginning to side with the 'David faction'. I say this because they did not go to the King regarding this, but to the man whom the king was trying to get rid of. But in this passage we note a big difference between Saul and David. One was killing God's anointed representatives and the other was seeking guidance from the same. This is an important contrast in the character of these men. David, I think realized after his earlier panic, that he had to put his full faith and confidence in God and seeking his guidance was rule number one.

David then asks the Lord if should he go and deal with the Philistines who were causing so much trouble in Keilah. What the Philistines were doing was no little thing. We should keep in mind that the harvest that they gathered would be brought in to be threshed. If the harvest was stolen or destroyed, it could mean a food shortage.

I think it important to try and figure out why the Philistines chose now to do this. Matthew Henry (1662-1714) in his commentary makes a rather striking observation. Now that Saul and turned on God and the mighty warrior David was no longer in royal favor, this was a perfect time for them to wreck havoc on Israel. Let us keep in mind that the Philistines in the past had reason to fear the God of Israel (remember the incident with Dagon). They may have heard that Saul had killed all the priests of the Lord and so in their minds, this was the time to go in, for the fearsome God of the Israelite's had forsaken their king. If they knew of events in Israel and they probably did, their raid makes military sense.

David gets the divine go-ahead to smite the Philistines and save the city of Keilah.

And David's men said unto him, Behold,
we are afraid here in Judah:
how much more then if we go to Keilah
against the armies of the Philistines?
(1 Samuel 23:3 - ASV)

David here is running into a little resistance. David is prepared to go and deal with the Philistines, but his men, well... they are not so sure. They saw it as leaping out of the frying pan right into the fire. David probably did not have that many men with him, so going against the Philistines would seem like folly. But David now was demonstrating that one key trait that God really honors in men - faith. He has the go ahead from God, and that was enough for him.

Then David inquired of Jehovah yet again.
And Jehovah answered him,
and said, Arise, go down to Keilah;
for I will deliver the Philistines
into thy hand.
(1 Samuel 23:4 - ASV)


David again sought the Lord and got the same answer. We are not certain how this word came about, but probably either from the prophet Gad or perhaps Abiathar had the Urim and Thummim with him which some commentators think Abiathar brought with him after escaping from Saul. However it was accomplished, the answer was the same.

And David and his men went to Keilah,
and fought with the Philistines,
and brought away their cattle,
and slew them with a great slaughter.
So David saved the inhabitants of Keilah.
(1 Samuel 23:5 - ASV)


Faith will take you a long way when one is in the Lord's favor. When God gives you a word and a job to do, he will give you victory. Sometimes it's not as quick as what we find here. Joshua was given a job to do, but that one took a long time with many troubles along the way. The key for us is to trust God, do what he tells us to do and keep faith.

And it came to pass,
when Abiathar the son of Ahimelech
fled to David to Keilah,
that he came down with an ephod in his hand.
(1 Samuel 23:6 - ASV)

This passage is why some commentators think David's inquiry of the Lord was with the Urim and Thummim. John Gill (1697-1771) notes in his commentary that this was the ephod that had them on it, the ephod of the High Priest.

And it was told Saul that David was come to Keilah.
And Saul said, God hath delivered him into my hand;
for he is shut in, by entering into a town
that hath gates and bars.
And Saul summoned all the people to war,
to go down to Keilah,
to besiege David and his men.
(1 Samuel 23:7-8 - ASV)

Saul gets word of where David was and continues in his delusional thinking, believing that God was actually going to deliver David into his hands, after he just murdered the Lord's priests! He thinks that he's got David in a trap, in a place that can be besieged. The name Keilah (7084 in Strong's Hebrew Bible Dictionary - 1890) actually means enclosing; it could also mean fortress. Thus, Saul gathers his army and prepares to take David.

Now the nation can be said to be in a state of civil war and Saul's open hostility with David was there for all to see. What had David done wrong? I will tell you in one word - nothing. Saul it seems, just never came to terms with the fact that God had rejected him for his flagrant disregard for God's commandments. All the service David did for Saul and Israel, like getting rid of Goliath was repaid with this kind of dealing from the King. It reminds me of the Psalm...

Put not your trust in princes,
Nor in the son of man,
in whom there is no help.
(Psalms 146:3 - ASV)


Back to the text.

And David knew that Saul
was devising mischief against him;
and he said to Abiathar the priest,
Bring hither the ephod. Then said David,
O Jehovah, the God of Israel,
thy servant hath surely heard that Saul
seeketh to come to Keilah,
to destroy the city for my sake.
Will the men of Keilah deliver me up into his hand?
will Saul come down, as thy servant hath heard?
O Jehovah, the God of Israel,
I beseech thee, tell thy servant.
And Jehovah said, He will come down.
 Then said David, Will the men of Keilah
deliver up me and my men into the hand of Saul?
And Jehovah said, They will deliver thee up.
(1 Samuel 23:9-11 - ASV)


This passage is self explanatory. David wants some guidance from the Lord. Is Saul coming, can he trust the people of the city he is in? The news was not good on either count. Saul was coming and the people of the city would give him up. Think about it, David came down the city to save the people from the Philistines and now they were getting ready to hand David over to his enemies! Don't say David did not know or understand ingratitude and treachery. But David put his trust on the only one that can truly be relied upon in good times and bad, God.

We will continue our look at Samuel in the not too distant future, God willing!

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17 June

1 Samuel Part 66


Then Ahimelech answered the king, and said,
And who among all thy servants is so faithful as David,
who is the king's son-in-law, and is taken into thy council,
and is honorable in thy house?
(1 Samuel 22:14 - ASV)

We left off last time and King Saul was ranting against his own tribesmen, Benjamin and later against the priesthood whom it was reported to him, had assisted David in his flight. The above passage are the first words uttered by Ahimelech in response to the Kings accusations. Ahimelech speaks up for David and says the King does not have a more loyal subject than David, at least that is the impression he had of him. Why should he treat him otherwise than he had? Here he is claiming in essence that he was unaware of any trouble between David and the King.

Have I to-day begun to inquire of God for him?
be it far from me: let not the king impute
 anything unto his servant,
nor to all the house of my father;
for thy servant knoweth nothing of all this,
less or more.
(1 Samuel 22:15 - ASV)


Here the Priest seems to be saying, 'look, he often comes and seeks a word from the Lord. What of it? If he seeks the Lord, it's my job to guide him'. He makes it plain that he and his house are innocent of any wrong.

And the king said, Thou shalt surely die,
Ahimelech, thou, and all thy father's house.
And the king said unto the guard that stood about him,
Turn, and slay the priests of Jehovah;
because their hand also is with David,
and because they knew that he fled,
and did not disclose it to me. But the servants
of the king would not put forth their hand
to fall upon the priests of Jehovah.
And the king said to Doeg, Turn thou,
and fall upon the priests. And Doeg the Edomite turned,
and he fell upon the priests,
and he slew on that day fourscore and five persons
that did wear a linen ephod.
(1 Samuel 22:16-18 - ASV)


The passage is self explanatory. Saul had 'lost it' and clearly now was fully working under dark spiritual influences. He demanded that the priests be slain, but his guard would not do it. They would not take such a sin upon their souls. This shows, I think that clearly there was increasing reticence in those whom the king depended on for his power to follow their master's orders.

It seems to me that what is happening here is that they would follow his orders, but not into God's wrath. A king whose orders are not obeyed is not likely to remain king for long. So Saul gets the foreigner to do this dreadful deed, Doeg, the Edomite. But the bloodbath is not finished yet.

And Nob, the city of the priests,
smote he with the edge of the sword,
 both men and women, children and sucklings,
and oxen and asses and sheep,
with the edge of the sword.
(1 Samuel 22:19 - ASV)


When the devil gets into the King's soul, there is not much men can do. I cannot help but recall Tudor England, when Henry VIII cut down priests who would not acknowledge his authority over the Church and his putting away of his wife Catherine, in order to marry Anne Boleyn. Thomas More, Bishop Fisher, the Carthusian Monks, these all suffered under Henry's wrath.

It was pretty sad and some scholars have suggested that Henry's acts may have been incited by syphilis, though there does not appear to be much evidence to back that up. I suspect he had just like Saul, let power go to his head and ceased to think about God, Justice and the overall peace and security of the realm as much as his own personal gratification and petty vengeance.

Both could at one time I think be called men of God (or who genuinely sought him), who once given power, turned on God in favor of base, worldly desires. Both I think, let their passions govern them rather than God and a desire for good government and justice. Once God was no longer the foundation for their rule, something else took its place.

If you did not know, Psalm 52 was written by David about this whole affair.

For the Chief Musician. Maschil of David;
when Doeg the Edomite came and told Saul,
and said unto him, David is come
to the house of Ahimelech.

Why boastest thou thyself in mischief,
O mighty man? The lovingkindness of
God endureth continually. Thy tongue deviseth
 very wickedness, Like a sharp razor,
working deceitfully. Thou lovest evil more than good,
And lying rather than to speak righteousness. Selah.
Thou lovest all devouring words, O thou deceitful tongue.
God will likewise destroy thee for ever;
He will take thee up, and pluck thee out of thy tent,
 And root thee out of the land of the living. Selah.
The righteous also shall see it, and fear,
And shall laugh at him, saying,
Lo, this is the man that made not God his strength,
But trusted in the abundance of his riches,
And strengthened himself in his wickedness.
But as for me, I am like a green olive-tree
in the house of God: I trust in the lovingkindness
of God for ever and ever. I will give thee thanks
for ever, because thou hast done it;
 And I will hope in thy name, for it is good,
in the presence of thy saints.
(Psalms 52:1-9 - ASV)



Back to the text.


And one of the sons of Ahimelech,
the son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped,
 and fled after David. And Abiathar
told David that Saul had slain Jehovah's priests.
(1 Samuel 22:20-21 - ASV)


Yet one escaped, Abiathar who would remain with David throughout his reign but later fell out of favor during a succession controversy. He goes to David and gives him this horrible report on the doings of King Saul. Later we find that he was also able to gather some official priestly garments and bring them with him (1 Samuel 23:6).

And David said unto Abiathar,
I knew on that day,
when Doeg the Edomite was there,
that he would surely tell Saul:
I have occasioned the death
of all the persons of thy father's house.
 Abide thou with me, fear not;
for he that seeketh my life seeketh thy life:
for with me thou shalt be in safeguard.
(1 Samuel 22:22-23 - ASV)


David then tells the priest of his fears. He knew Doeg was trouble and now what he feared would happened, has happened. Then he blames himself. Not with deliberately causing their death, but by his actions earlier. Perhaps on one level he was to blame, he did go to Nob and ask for assistance in a rather deceitful fashion. But by his deception he put the Priests in jeopardy (hence the tongue theme in the above Psalm). Deceit is never a good policy. One may start off with decent intentions, but one never knows who will ultimately get hurt when a lie is told. When a person tells lies, he does damage to some part of God's creation. For our God is a God of truth and no lie is of the truth (1 John 2:21).

Speaking and living the truth is always the best long term policy. Sure, a short term benefit may seem to be gained by lying, but the long term effects of lies on many levels can last a very long time and be utterly disastrous. Look at what happened above.

I try and always to speak truth and if the whole truth can really hurt someone or cause unforeseen events, I find that it's often better to keep silent. God loves truth and honors those that behave honorably. I try and make my words few and when I do speak, I endeavor to speak the truth; say what I mean and mean what I say.

So here David offers a compact with the Priest. Both have been targeted by King Saul for death. So from here on, the two should work together. David here offers his protection and tells him not to be afraid. In this we see a simple, but perhaps overlooked contrast between Saul and David. David, was going to protect the priest of the Lord, Saul was out to kill them.

We will continue our look at this book soon, God willing!


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7 June

1 Samuel Part 65

And Saul heard that David was discovered,
and the men that were with him:
now Saul was sitting in Gibeah,
under the tamarisk-tree in Ramah,
with his spear in his hand,
and all his servants were standing about him.
And Saul said unto his servants
that stood about him, Hear now,
ye Benjamites; will the son of Jesse
give every one of you fields and vineyards,
will he make you all captains of thousands
and captains of hundreds,
 that all of you have conspired against me,
 and there is none that discloseth to me
when my son maketh a league
with the son of Jesse, and there is none
of you that is sorry for me, or discloseth
unto me that my son hath stirred up
my servant against me, to lie in wait,
as at this day?

(1 Samuel 22:6-8 - ASV)

We left off last time and David had just been given a word by the prophet Gad to not remain in his stronghold but to return to Judah.

David had become one of those men who are mentioned in the great Faith Hall of Fame (Hebrews Chapter 11); those who stuck with God even when the chips were down, they were in deep distress and it seemed that God had forsaken them.

Women received their dead by a resurrection:
and others were tortured,
not accepting their deliverance;
that they might obtain a better resurrection:
and others had trial of mockings and scourgings,
yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:
they were stoned, they were sawn asunder,
they were tempted, they were slain
with the sword: they went about in sheepskins,
 in goatskins; being destitute, afflicted,
ill-treated (of whom the world was not worthy),
wandering in deserts and mountains and caves,
and the holes of the earth.
(Hebrews 11:35-38 - ASV)


The above passage (in Samuel) shows that Saul's intelligence network had located the 'enemy of the state', aka David. Saul was underneath a tree or perhaps in some grove (see 815 in Strong's Hebrew Bible Dictionary). This appears to be some kind of meeting place or perhaps an open air conclave where Saul could meet with key people and consult. It may very well be the same place we find in the book of Judges 4:5, as it was where Deborah, the prophetess and judge met. The fact that he had the spear in his hand has been interpreted, probably correctly, that it may have been a symbol of regal power and authority.

So he starts to harangue those around him and it appears that for the most part, it seems that only those of his own tribe are here, Benjaminites. What seems clear is that the kingdom, was still very much divided along tribal lines. But even here, he is upset with his own tribe and accuses them of conspiring against him and not telling him of the covenant that Jonathan made with David. Somehow, Saul had found out about it.

What seems clear is that Saul's mind is writhing with suspicion, perhaps bordering on paranoia. But I think in the back of his troubled mind he had to recall the word's of the prophet Samuel, that God had rejected him from being king over Israel.

Then answered Doeg the Edomite,
who stood by the servants of Saul,
and said, I saw the son of Jesse coming to Nob,
to Ahimelech the son of Ahitub.
And he inquired of Jehovah for him,
and gave him victuals,
and gave him the sword
of Goliath the Philistine.
(1 Samuel 22:9-10 - ASV)


Doeg was not an Israeli, he came from Edom but he was set over at least some of Saul's servants (21:7). He speaks up to show his loyalty to the King by reporting on what he saw when David was in Nob. Doeg's motive for reporting this may have been to avert suspicion from himself and members of Saul's Royal Court onto the Priesthood.

Then the king sent to call Ahimelech the priest,
the son of Ahitub, and all his father's house,
the priests that were in Nob:
and they came all of them to the king.
And Saul said, Hear now, thou son of Ahitub.
And he answered, Here I am, my lord.
And Saul said unto him,
Why have ye conspired against me,
thou and the son of Jesse,
in that thou hast given him bread,
and a sword, and hast inquired of God for him,
that he should rise against me,
to lie in wait, as at this day?
(1 Samuel 22:11-13 - ASV)


Clearly, Saul bought the story and suspicion was diverted onto the priesthood. He sends for the Priests and the passage seems pretty clear that the whole familial house was there, the family of Ahitub, who was the grandson of Eli. Remember him? This was the house God had a controversy with over the conduct of his sons. Ahitub was the brother of Ichabod, son of Phineas.

So they are all now assembled before this king who was clearly operating on the fringes of sanity. Ahimelech is directly accused by the King of conspiring against him and of being in league with the King's enemy; feeding and arming him.

Back in those days, there was no due process of law as we understand it, not when one is directly accused by the King. Were the Priests directly answerable to the King in such matters? It's probably not a legal point to consider in those days, but the idea of ecclesiastical courts that tried Priests and Monks was something that developed much later. It was an important distinction and privilege. This was one key bone of contention between King Henry II of England and Archbishop Thomas Becket, who not totally unlike the events to come, was murdered, probably on orders of that King. FYI, if you have never seen it, there is an old movie staring Richard Burton and Peter O'Toole called Becket that I thought was really quite good and won several awards.

The charges stated. How will the Priest answer these most grave charges? We'll get to that soon, God willing.

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23 May

1 Samuel Part 64


And the servants of Achish said unto him,
Is not this David the king of the land?
did they not sing one to another of him in dances,
saying, Saul hath slain his thousands,
And David his ten thousands?
(1 Samuel 21:11 - ASV)

We left off last time and David had fled the city of the priests (Nob), to the Philistines. It should have come to no surprise to David that someone of his notoriety was going to be recognized. This is exactly what the above passage is saying. The kings servants said (in my very rough translation), 'wait a minute, ain't that David, the dude they were singing and going on about in Saul's court about killing Philistines? The short answer (not stated in the text) was yes, it sure was. Note that they call him king of the land, so clearly his personal exploits had overshadowed those of Saul to a high degree.

And David laid up these words in his heart,
 and was sore afraid of Achish the king of Gath.
And he changed his behavior before them,
 and feigned himself mad in their hands,
and scrabbled on the doors of the gate,
and let his spittle fall down upon his beard.
(1 Samuel 21:12-13 - ASV)


David probably is just now figuring out that heading directly to the enemy like this was not a very smart move. He understands now that they know who he is and if they catch him, his life may not be worth a wooden nickel. So he thinks quick and pretends to be a mad man. He starts to scratch at the gate and let's spit run down his beard. He must have been a fairly good actor because...

Then said Achish unto his servants,
Lo, ye see the man is mad;
wherefore then have ye brought him to me?
Do I lack madmen, that ye have brought
this fellow to play the madman in my presence?
shall this fellow come into my house?
(1 Samuel 21:14-15 - ASV)


The King was fooled, he appears to have bought David's ruse and David was at least for the present, safe behind his crazy man facade.

David therefore departed thence,
and escaped to the cave of Adullam:
and when his brethren and all his father's house heard it,
they went down thither to him.
(1 Samuel 22:1 - ASV)

This is a cave that was not far from David's hometown of Bethlehem. Commentators say that this was a strong fortress like place, probably for the Tribe of Benjamin. Commentators have placed this near Beit-Jibrin and Deir-Dubban. When his family heard about what was happening with David, they band together in this place. David needed to rest, get his bearings and be around those who supported him. But probably just as importantly, it is certainly quite possible that Saul's anger and madness could be directed at the whole house of Jesse. This is may be why they all came down to the cave. They realized that because they were of the same house-family as David, they could easily be picked up (perhaps held as hostages) or even killed.

And every one that was in distress,
and every one that was in debt,
and every one that was discontented,
gathered themselves unto him;
and he became captain over them:
and there were with him
about four hundred men.
(1 Samuel 22:2 - ASV)

Along with his family came many who were in distress. They all had problems and each had some kind of a bone to pick with the King and his rule. David's band of men numbered about four hundred and as we can see, they now formed a kind of army - a rebel force against a King who had outstayed his welcome on the throne. These people were probably angry and ready to risk their lives to be free from Saul's oppressive and misguided rule. David was going to be their captain (commander). This was in short, this was an army against a king who had lost his God given anointing (1 Samuel 15:23). It was led by a man whom God had chosen in his stead.

And David went thence to Mizpeh of Moab:
and he said unto the king of Moab,
Let my father and my mother, I pray thee,
come forth, and be with you,
till I know what God will do for me.
And he brought them before the king of Moab:
and they dwelt with him all the while
that David was in the stronghold.
(1 Samuel 22:3-4 - ASV)

So now David goes to the King of Moab and seeks shelter for his mother and father. His brothers are probably part of his army. Let us recall that David's great grandmother was from Moab - Ruth, a book I spent several months with commentary a few years ago. The city he went to was Mizpeh. The name means watchtower (4708 in Strong's Hebrew Bible Dictionary). David was not sure what God was going to do so he felt this was a safe place for his family to be as it was out of the reach of Saul and his henchmen. From verse four we can gather that the place at Adullam was both a cave and a stronghold, probably naturally fortified against attack and easy discovery. But some commentators think this was a different place, perhaps in Moab (John Gill's [1697-1771] Exposition of the Entire Bible). David is clearly making preparations for big trouble ahead with the King.

And the prophet Gad said unto David,
 Abide not in the stronghold;
depart, and get thee into the land of Judah.
Then David departed, and came
into the forest of Hereth.
(1 Samuel 22:5 - ASV)

A prophet now appears to David whose name is Gad. We don't know much about him, but commentators remark that he may have been one of the prophets in the Samuel's school of the prophets and was sent by Samuel to assist David and give him prophetic guidance. In the book of 1 Chronicles, he is called "David's Seer" (1 Chronicles 21:9). He is also one of those who wrote down the events of David's life and probably wrote a book that has now since been lost (1 Chronicles 29:29), though there is a book bearing that name that probably dates back as perhaps far as the first Century that was in the care of the Cochin Jews in India.

The prophet tells David not to remain in the stronghold but to go to the land of Judah. This to the natural mind may be too close to the king, who could command tens of thousands. But a future King should not be living in a foreign land. 

This was the same kind of dilemma that the Catholic princess Mary Tudor (later Queen Mary I; aka Bloody Mary) had to face when she nearly fled the realm under the rule of her brother, Edward VI and his militantly protestant council. If she had fled, she almost certainly would have abdicated her place in the royal succession. David did as he was told, but we don't know exactly where the forest of Hereth was but it may have been just outside of Jerusalem. 

I think the prophet was basically re-directing David to cease to run from his problem but to turn and face it. The first step in doing that was to go back to Israel and begin to make moves to deal with this problem directly. In short, he had to make the move back to Saul's kingdom based upon his faith in God, rather than the fear that sent him to Gath.

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13 May

Encouragement

God's grace and peace to each of you who reads this. In these difficult times I always want to make sure that I do my best to encourage each of you who come by the site. I know how hard life can be and this walk of faith can at times be difficult and the last thing I want to be is one of those sites that harp on the negative, the disasters and casting a dark light on everything, as is the habit of some. 

We can often become discouraged and confused when things don't turn out the way we wanted or hoped. In such times we need to remember the proverb.

Trust in Jehovah with all thy heart,
And lean not upon thine own understanding:
In all thy ways acknowledge him,
And he will direct thy paths.
Be not wise in thine own eyes;
Fear Jehovah, and depart from evil:
It will be health to thy navel,
And marrow to thy bones.
(Proverbs 3:5-8 - ASV)


In times when we don't understand why something is happening to us, this is what we need to do. Trust in the Lord - with all of our hearts. It's what David is now having to do (as we go through the Book of Samuel) and it's what Job had to do. Both had to have, at sometime, felt almost betrayed and abandoned by the God in whom they trusted. But each hung in there - through thick and thin and kept faith with God. Job was restored and doubly blessed and David did ascend to the throne, according to God's promise. But they had to wade through a proverbial  swamp full of 'crocodiles' and that burning desert with 'vultures' circling above. But they kept moving forward, did not look back and kept faith with God, despite the dangers.

What? You think its has been easy doing this blog? It's not as hard as it used to be, but there are times it has been exceptionally difficult. But I had my orders from the Lord and I carried them out. I say this to each of you so that you won't get discouraged when the harsh realities of life come crashing in your front door. A major illness in the family, a death, the loss of a job, a major expense you simply cannot pay for, you get very sick or maybe you have to do time for a crime you never even thought about committing - these things happen - they can happen to anyone.

But your job is to not give into despair and bitterness. We must never rail against God and put the blame on him for the troubles in our life. Chances are there is something in our trials he wants to teach us and we won't realize what the lesson is until it's over. It's often that way with me. I had to learn some things the hard way and as the last big trial I had was ending, the Lord just spoke to me and let me know that if I had learned one key lesson, the trial would come to an end. I did and it did. There is no chance I will forget that lesson as I think I will have to go through a 'remedial' course in the school of hard knocks if I ever do.

Such a lesson does not appeal to me!

The key for each of us is this. We all have to go through trials. There is no way around it. So if it happens to you, don't be shocked or dismayed. It goes with God's plan.

fear thou not, for I am with thee;
be not dismayed, for I am thy God;
I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea,
I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
Behold, all they that are incensed
against thee shall be put to shame and confounded:
they that strive with thee shall be as nothing,
and shall perish. Thou shalt seek them,
and shalt not find them, even them that contend with thee:
they that war against thee shall be as nothing,
and as a thing of nought. For I, Jehovah thy God,
will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee,
Fear not; I will help thee.
(Isaiah 41:10-13 - ASV)


Things gone awry? Feel like a hundred boulders just landed right on top of you? Brothers we have a God who loves us and will take care of us if we fully put our trust in him. You got enemies? The passage above makes it plain that they won't be around long. Just hang tough, God see's what they are doing. He has not forgotten about you or their deeds. Let them finish digging their own graves - they may be only 5-and-a half feet down - let them get that extra six inches of digging completed. Save the manual laborers the sweat needed to do it. Your God is indeed looking out for you. But you must - absolutely MUST put your trust in him and do what he tells you.

So no matter what you are going through, keep faith with God. Don't get discouraged and don't whatever you do throw in the towel on your faith. That is exactly what the devil wants you to do. Invariably, he is targeting your faith - the key ingredient in our salvation.

God bless and keep all who love our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Amen.


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6 May

1 Samuel Part 63

Then came David to Nob to Ahimelech
the priest: and Ahimelech came
to meet David trembling,
and said unto him, Why art thou alone,
and no man with thee? And David said
unto Ahimelech the priest,
 The king hath commanded me a business,
and hath said unto me, Let no man know anything
of the business whereabout I send thee,
and what I have commanded thee:
and I have appointed the young men
to such and such a place.
(1 Samuel 21:1-2 - ASV)

We left off last time and Jonathan had given David the secret signal that he needed to flee because the king had determined to kill him. The above passage is the first passage that describes David's escape as the 'enemy of the state', if you will, in Saul's kingdom.

Nob was known as the city of the priests (1 Samuel 22:19) and according to some commentators was located just outside of Jerusalem, though there is some debate about the exact location. David having fled the king is now seeking help from the Priesthood, the representatives of God.

The High Priest Ahimelech was in dismay that David should be alone without any attendants. David answers him, but with a complete untruth, he lies to the Priest and tells him he's on some secret mission of the King and charges the priest to keep quiet about the task he is about to give him. It appears that David really was alone, at least up until now and that he made up a story about his attendants being elsewhere to be met later. The Priest had reason to be afraid, particularly if he knew that there was some tension between him and Saul and he might very well have known this.

What's going on here? I think it is pretty clear that David's faith was faltering. David after having received the promise from Samuel and defeating Goliath and becoming a great warrior was beginning to bend under the weight of the adversities that had befallen him. He's now alone and being hunted, by the king no less.

Now therefore what is under thy hand?
give me five loaves of bread in my hand,
or whatsoever there is present.
And the priest answered David, and said,
There is no common bread under my hand,
but there is holy bread; if only the young men
have kept themselves from women.
(1 Samuel 21:3-4 - ASV)


Then he asks the priest for bread and Ahimelech explains that what is available is only the holy bread. He makes it plain that the men who eat of it had to have abstained from sex in order for it to be consumed.
 
And David answered the priest,
and said unto him, Of a truth women
have been kept from us about these three days;
when I came out, the vessels of
the young men were holy, though it was
but a common journey; how much more
then to-day shall their vessels be holy?
So the priest gave him holy bread;
for there was no bread there
but the showbread, that was taken
from before Jehovah, to put hot bread
in the day when it was taken away.
(1 Samuel 21:5-6 - ASV)


David confirms that the 'men' with him had not been with women for those three days, although these men appear to be imaginary - David appears to be alone, at least from my reading of the text and will not be joined by others until a little later.

David receives the holy bread. It's interesting to note that this whole episode was referred to by the Lord in the books of Mark (2:25) and Matthew (12:1-8). The Lord concludes that the sabbath was made for man, not vice versa (Mark 2:27).

What seems odd is that there is no other bread around where the priests were other than the holy bread. This perhaps may show us that the Priesthood under Saul was impoverished and not well respected.

Now a certain man of the servants of Saul
was there that day, detained before Jehovah;
and his name was Doeg the Edomite,
the chiefest of the herdsmen that belonged to Saul.
(1 Samuel 21:7 - ASV)

There is a slight problem, one of Saul's men was there. He was 'detained' here (6113 in Strong's Hebrew Bible Dictionary - 1890). The passage is not clear as to why. There might have been some ceremonial uncleanliness, or to fulfill some vow, or merely because this was the sabbath day; or he may have been detained because he committed some offense as the Hebrew word can also mean to restrain or shut up. It isn't possible to tell from the text. With Doeg there, he knew that a report of David's presence would certainly be made to Saul.

And David said unto Ahimelech,
And is there not here under thy
hand spear or sword? for I have neither
brought my sword nor my weapons with me,
because the king's business required haste.
And the priest said, The sword of Goliath
the Philistine, whom thou slewest in the vale of Elah,
behold, it is here wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod:
if thou wilt take that, take it;
for there is no other save that here.
And David said, There is none like that;
give it me.
(1 Samuel 21:8-9 - ASV)

David after having received bread, now makes an attempt to get a weapon. Using the same ruse about being on the kings business, he is able to get Goliath's sword, the very one he got from Goliath in battle.
And David arose,
and fled that day for fear of Saul,
and went to Achish the king of Gath.
(1 Samuel 21:10 - ASV)

This, I don't think was a very smart move on David's part. I just think he was panic stricken and was no longer thinking clearly. Panic will do that to a person and I suspect that was his state of mind or close to it. He makes this decision to go to... the Philistines? Could you think of a worse place for him to go, having defeated them time and again in battle as well as Goliath? I can't. But there he is. Perhaps he was thinking that this was the last place, absolutely the last place Saul would look for him. It may also be that since there was enmity between Israel and the Philistines, he did not think they would hand him over to Saul as some of the other kingdoms around Israel might.

I think it is a real testament to the writers of these books that they don't paper over the mistakes, weaknesses and sins of the saints, even men of God like David. It helps us to remember one key facet of these men who served the Lord, they were human. They made mistakes and could be overcome with fear, dread, lust, anger and like here, just make some very questionable decisions.

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

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29 Apr

1 Samuel Part 62


So Jonathan arose from the table in fierce anger,
and did eat no food the second day of the month;
for he was grieved for David, because his father
had done him shame.
(1 Samuel 20:34 - ASV)
We left off last time and Saul had deeply insulted Johnathan and he realized that Saul was determined to kill David. The passage above tells us what Jonathan did afterwards. He got up from the table without eating anything. This was the second day of the full moon feast (20:27) so it seems that after the insult, he just got up and left without eating. At such a feast, the whole kings court was almost certainly present and for the king to insult his son like this was a very great wrong and it had to have been noticed by all.

And it came to pass in the morning,
 that Jonathan went out into the field
at the time appointed with David,
 and a little lad with him. And he said unto his lad,
Run, find now the arrows which I shoot.
And as the lad ran, he shot an arrow beyond him.
And when the lad was come to the place
of the arrow which Jonathan had shot,
Jonathan cried after the lad, and said,
Is not the arrow beyond thee? And Jonathan
cried after the lad, Make speed, haste, stay not.
And Jonathan's lad gathered up the arrows,
and came to his master. But the lad knew not anything:
only Jonathan and David knew the matter.
(1 Samuel 20:35-39 - ASV)

The long and short of this passage that it was time for them to use the prearranged code that they had set up before Jonathan left for the new moon feast. The boy who went and fetched the arrow and was the unwitting deliverer of the message, was none the wiser.
And Jonathan gave his weapons unto his lad,
 and said unto him, Go, carry them to the city.
And as soon as the lad was gone,
David arose out of a place toward the South,
and fell on his face to the ground, and bowed
himself three times: and they kissed one another,
and wept one with another, until David exceeded.
And Jonathan said to David, Go in peace,
forasmuch as we have sworn both of us
in the name of Jehovah, saying,
Jehovah shall be between me and thee,
and between my seed and thy seed,
for ever. And he arose and departed:
and Jonathan went into the city.
(1 Samuel 20:40-42 - ASV)

Jonathan here dismisses his attendant and then meets David who comes out of his hiding place. He does the heir to the throne and his friend great honor by bowing before him. David now was wholly dependent on God and the faithfulness of his friend. They kissed each other and then both wept. It looks here as though David was overcome with grief over what had happened to him, hence the phrase 'until David exceeded' (vs. 41). Then Jonathan delivers the bad news, that David had better go, but strictly charges him to recall the covenant that now exists between them and its eternal nature. He then goes back to the city and the king. Jonathan was still loyal to his father, but I don't think he would ever forget the horrible words he said against him. But he had a duty to the king, the realm and his father.
Survival and Faith Mode

From here on we are going to see David in what can only be termed survival mode. He's going to do some things that will make many of us scratch our heads. So keep that in mind going forward. After having received the prophecy of becoming king, he's now alone, hunted and is on the King's 'kill list'.

But more than going into survival mode, I think it important that we take a moment and see David as a type for we Christians. We too have been promised a throne and to be a king and a priest of God in his kingdom. But none of us just put on those holy robes and fly up to heaven and start to reign with a scepter in our hands. As it has been said before, there is a cross we have to bear before we sit on a throne. David got the promise, but though he did everything right, he now basically is homeless; a vagabond and a wanted man - this after having served the king and kingdom so well, by slaying Goliath and the enemies of the realm.

But David kept faith with God. He trusted in God in all things and the troubles awaited him. But this is true for all of us as well. Christ had to go to the cross before he ascended to heaven, Paul was martyred, so was Peter. Time would fail me to go into Stephen and many of the other men and women who had to suffer, often enormously before they could wear the crown of life (James 1:12; Revelation 2:10) and the other crowns and rewards God plans on giving those who demonstrate that they love him. Do you want to be a friend of God? A true friend of God? Let me tell you what they may one day mean.

Greater love hath no man than this,
that a man lay down his life
for his friends.
(John 15:13 - ASV)


Now Christ used this to show you how much he loved his friends, he laid down his life for them. But if we want to demonstrate our love in return, our lives may one day be required of us. It is the way we can demonstrate just how much we love our Lord.

Many of us are having all kinds of trials and troubles these days. We often wonder where God is in them all. Well, how do you think David felt? Even Christ felt that way on the cross, when he said, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" (Matthew 27:46). The key for all of us is that we are not alone. Such suffering and even seeming 'forsakeness' is something that I think every saint that is going to be of any real use to God must endure for a season.

Now think about Job. How do you think he felt after all the mess the devil put him through? I think it is part of our training and testing. There is something God wants out of us that we may never be certain what that something is while we live down here in the body. Perhaps it is moving us from the role of servant to the role of 'friend' that is at issue
(see John 15:15), I don't know. But this I do know, many a saint has gone through this kind of thing and one thing I can tell you this kind of trial does is it tests both your faith-endurance and your character. It will often also tell you who your friends are and who you can and cannot trust in the future. It's a trial of your faith and David was now having his tried.

Wherein ye greatly rejoice,
though now for a little while,
if need be, ye have been put to grief in manifold trials,
that the proof of your faith, being more precious
 than gold that perisheth though it is proved by fire,
may be found unto praise and glory and honor
at the revelation of Jesus Christ:
(1 Peter 1:6-7 - ASV)

Do you feel alone and forsaken in your trial? Wonder where the promise a prophet gave you years ago is and why it has not happened yet? David went through the same thing. David continued to steer his course towards God. Job never lost his faith or confidence in God, but stubbornly (sometimes it comes down to that!) held on to his faith in God. He was not going to forsake God, even if it killed him.

Steel in our souls is what is going to be required. We are going to have to toughen up and be strong in the days ahead. We who genuinely know our God and have not forsaken him, we must not melt like a snowflake when the fires of persecution start to rise. It's going to take faith and an inner toughness to deal with what many of us will have to face and indeed, many believers are even now facing in many parts of the world.

So as we move forward in the last few chapters of Samuel, let us keep these things in mind. David was traveling a very tough road. But for some of us, we understand this because we have traveled such a road ourselves or if we have not yet, will one day.

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

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19 Apr

1 Samuel Part 61

Then said David to Jonathan,
Who shall tell me if perchance thy father
answer thee roughly? And Jonathan said unto David,
Come, and let us go out into the field.
And they went out both of them into the field.
(1 Samuel 20:10-11 - ASV)

We left off last time and David and Jonathan were working out a plan so that David would not have to return to the King's court to celebrate the New Moon festival. They said that David as going to return to his home town, Bethlehem to celebrate it with his family. They are trying to figure out a plan how to deal with it if Saul takes the news badly.
And Jonathan said unto David, Jehovah,
the God of Israel, be witness: when I have sounded
my father about this time to-morrow, or the third day,
behold, if there be good toward David,
shall I not then send unto thee, and disclose it unto thee?
Jehovah do so to Jonathan, and more also,
should it please my father to do thee evil,
if I disclose it not unto thee, and send thee away,
that thou mayest go in peace: and Jehovah be with thee,
as he hath been with my father.
(1 Samuel 20:12-13 - ASV)

Jonathan here reassures his friend that there is no way he is going to leave David in a lurch. He is going to find a way to let David know what Saul determines, one way or another. He does this in the Old Testament way, with an oath that harm would come upon himself if he did not do this. Some commentators see here (the second part of verse 13) that Jonathan must have known the Lord had appointed David to be king one day. I think this very likely. I also think he probably knew that the kingdom right now needed David running things, not his unstable father.

And thou shalt not only while yet I live
show me the lovingkindness of Jehovah,
that I die not; but also thou shalt not cut off
thy kindness from my house for ever; no,

not when Jehovah hath cut off the enemies
of David every one from the face of the earth.
(1 Samuel 20:14-15 - ASV)
Jonathan here makes a covenant with David. Clearly he knows God is with him and that David is going to ascend to the throne. So he asks him that whatever happens in the future, that David will take care of his family. This may seem like an odd request, but Jonathan may have been deeply concerned with this fathers spiritual direction and was afraid the Lord would deal not just with Saul, but the whole bloodline. He did not want David moving against his house because of the sins of his father. I think what Jonathan was trying to do here was prevent a blood feud that could split up their friendship and respective houses. But this is a powerful testimony of faith as well as friendship, that even though David's life was sought by the King and he had to flee, that Jonathan somehow knew David would be victorious over his enemies because of the Lord.

So Jonathan made a covenant
with the house of David, saying,
And Jehovah will require it at the hand of David's enemies.
And Jonathan caused David to swear again,
for the love that he had to him;

 for he loved him as he loved his own soul.
(1 Samuel 20:16-17 - ASV)


So a covenant, a divine 'pact' was sealed between these two young men. He was asking for long term constancy between the two houses. But the last part of verse 16, 'And Jehovah will require it at the hand of David's enemies', could perhaps be rendered "And the Lord required it..." and is something the author of the book wrote after these events and comments upon after it had already been fulfilled. See Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament [1868(?)] - 1Samuel volume on this.
And Jonathan caused David to swear again,
for the love that he had to him;
for he loved him as he loved his own soul.
Then Jonathan said unto him, To-morrow is the new moon:
and thou wilt be missed, because thy seat will be empty.
And when thou hast stayed three days,
thou shalt go down quickly, and come
to the place where thou didst hide thyself
when the business was in hand,
and shalt remain by the stone Ezel.
And I will shoot three arrows on the side thereof,
as though I shot at a mark.
And, behold, I will send the lad, saying, Go,
find the arrows. If I say unto the lad,
Behold, the arrows are on this side of thee; take them,
and come; for there is peace to thee and no hurt,
as Jehovah liveth. But if I say thus unto the boy,

 Behold, the arrows are beyond thee; go thy way;

 for Jehovah hath sent thee away.
(1 Samuel 20:17-22 - ASV)
So they set up a secret 'code' to let David know if it was safe to come or not. The stone Ezel is not mentioned anywhere else in scripture. The word means 'departure' (237 in Strong's Hebrew Bible Dictionary - 1890)
And as touching the matter
which thou and I have spoken of, behold,
Jehovah is between thee
and me for ever.
(1 Samuel 20:23 - ASV)
Jonathan here once again wants to make sure that this covenant is understood and that God will bear witness. One almost gets the impression that Jonathan may have had some kind of dream or vision of a future where such a promise would be necessary as he is most insistent.
So David hid himself in the field:
and when the new moon was come,
the king sat him down to eat food.
And the king sat upon his seat,
as at other times, even upon the seat by the wall;
and Jonathan stood up, and Abner sat by Saul's side:
but David's place was empty. Nevertheless Saul spake
not anything that day: for he thought,
Something hath befallen him, he is not clean;
surely he is not clean. And it came to pass
on the morrow after the new moon,
which was the second day, that David's place was empty:
and Saul said unto Jonathan his son,
Wherefore cometh not the son of Jesse to meat,
neither yesterday, nor to-day?
(1 Samuel 20:24-27 - ASV)
It appears here that David just hid himself and was not going to go to back to his fathers house and the whole story about going there was a ruse. But it may be that he did go back to his fathers house and then returned to the hiding place. The passage is not clear.

The King sits down for his meal and notices that David's place is empty; Abner was there, but no David. At first he says nothing. But the passage shows that he thinks that David perhaps was unclean. This was a religious feast and it would have not been correct to come to it and eat being in a spiritually unclean state, so goes Saul's reasoning.

On the second day, the same thing, David was not present. But this time he asks Jonathan where David is. Jonathan gives his father the prearranged cover story about going to Bethlehem.

Then Saul's anger
was kindled against Jonathan, and he said unto him,
Thou son of a perverse rebellious woman,
do not I know that thou hast chosen
the son of Jesse to thine own shame,
and unto the shame of thy mother's nakedness?
For as long as the son of Jesse liveth upon the ground,

 thou shalt not be established, nor thy kingdom.
Wherefore now send and fetch him unto me,
for he shall surely die.
(1 Samuel 20:30-31 - ASV)
The King somehow knows Jonathan is not telling him the truth and is absolutely livid with his son, calling him names and dishonoring his mother. This kind of insult is one of the worst in this culture and Saul levels it at his son. On a purely secular political level Saul had a point, he was favoring a rival to the throne over his own father. The crown would ordinarily come to Jonathan after Saul's death, but here he was favoring David. He warns his son that as long as David is alive, his kingdom will not be established. So he asks him to go and fetch him so that he can kill him. It seems to me that Saul is trying to get Jonathan on his side, knowing how close he was to David he seems to be saying - 'you want the throne don't you? Then David's gotta go. Bring him here and we can get rid of him'.

And Jonathan answered Saul his father,
and said unto him, Wherefore should he be put to death?
what hath he done? And Saul cast his spear
at him to smite him; whereby Jonathan
knew that it was determined of his father
to put David to death.
(1 Samuel 20:32-33 - ASV)
Jonathan isn't going for it. A throne purchased on innocent blood and blood that was anointed by God? Jonathan was having no part of it. Saul once again flips out and then tries to kill his own son. Saul had clearly gone 'round the bend. Jonathan left, knowing the King had made up his mind to kill David.

A godly son, a flipped out king and David in hiding. That is where we will leave off today and take up again soon, God willing!


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8 Apr

1 Samuel Part 60


And David fled from Naioth in Ramah,
and came and said before Jonathan,
What have I done? what is mine iniquity?
 and what is my sin before thy father,
 that he seeketh my life? And he said unto him,
Far from it; thou shalt not die: behold,
my father doeth nothing either great or small,
but that he discloseth it unto me;
and why should my father hide this thing from me?
it is not so.
(1 Samuel 20:1-2 - ASV)


David now flees from the school of the prophets at Naioth after Saul seeks his life there. If you remember the spirit of prophecy fell upon Saul in the last chapter and he was constrained by the spirit that had overcome him and his messengers.

But David is very confused and understandably upset. He seems to be saying, 'What have I done to get on the kings nasty list?; 'Why is he trying to kill me'? It was a case of doing everything right and everything wrong happening as a result. Kind of like Job, a righteous man who caught 'hell' from the devil because of it. Or Joseph, who wound up in prison because he wasn't going to play gigolo to a bored housewife. This is often the path the righteous have to take. Doing right often has bad short-term consequences in an evil world.

But David was fortunate, unlike Job, he had a true friend in Jonathan who was looking out for his interests. Jonathan was going to report back the King's plans to David, as he was still very much in the King's confidence.

And David sware moreover,
and said, Thy father knoweth well
that I have found favor in thine eyes;
and he saith, Let not Jonathan know this,
lest he be grieved: but truly as Jehovah liveth,
and as thy soul liveth,
there is but a step between me and death.
Then said Jonathan unto David,
Whatsoever thy soul desireth,
I will even do it for thee.
(1 Samuel 20:3-4 - ASV)


David here shows how deeply he appreciates the favor of the King's son. It clearly meant a lot to him. But his words show he is unconvinced of the degree he could depend on Jonathan's intelligence from the Kings Court. Saul knew they were friends and consequently he figured that the king would hide things from him. David was very much concerned for his life. From a purely temporal perspective, he had cause to. A subject, any subject whose life was sought for by the king? He could probably hear the imaginary sound of shovels digging his grave when he went to bed at night.

It is most disconcerting when powerful men are after you. They have ways of getting you and getting away with it. I also know that when God decides they can't have that person, none of their tricks or traps will work. But Saul was going off the rails, him going to where Samuel the prophet was teaching in order to do mischief? I mean, Samuel was the one who anointed him not so long ago. This is so tragic.

But Jonathan basically puts himself at David's service. This is most amazing that the presumptive heir to the throne would do this.

And David said unto Jonathan,
Behold, to-morrow is the new moon,
and I should not fail to sit with the king at meat:
but let me go, that I may hide myself
in the field unto the third day at even.
If thy father miss me at all, then say,
David earnestly asked leave of me
that he might run to Beth-lehem his city;
for it is the yearly sacrifice there for all the family.
If he say thus, It is well; thy servant
shall have peace: but if he be wroth,
then know that evil is determined by him.
Therefore deal kindly with thy servant;
for thou hast brought thy servant
into a covenant of Jehovah with thee:
but if there be in me iniquity,
slay me thyself; for why shouldest
thou bring me to thy father?
(1 Samuel 20:5-8 - ASV)


The feast of the new moon was going to be another test to see if Saul still really planned to kill David. David was expected to be there at the King's table for such a feast and would certainly be missed, particularly after recent events. The two make up a story about David going to be with his family for this particular feast and design a way to discover the kings intentions. David, nevertheless would be in hiding while Jonathan discovered this. The New Moon was celebrated regularly as Israel was on a Lunar calendar. But this appears to have been the annual family celebration (vs. 6) and it might have been expected that the whole family should be together to celebrate and sacrifice to the Lord.

Here their friendship is deemed a covenant with the Lord. David knew he was to be king, though things weren't looking too good along those lines right now. But he kept faith with God. But he clearly wanted it understood by Jonathan that he had committed no crime against Saul; neither any act of treachery or treason and that if there was such a crime or sin, David asks Jonathan to kill him himself. 'Don't bother handing me over to the King, you can do it now', is one way to look at this.

And Jonathan said,
Far be it from thee;
for if I should at all know
that evil were determined by
my father to come upon thee,
then would not I tell it thee?
(1 Samuel 20:9 - ASV)


Jonathan rejects this notion. What he suggested was out of the question, as far as he was concerned.

David here probably learned a valuable lesson. That son's and fathers should not be held guilty for each others crimes. Saul may have forsaken following after the Lord, but Jonathan was David's friend and very useful to both David and David's God.


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25 Mar

Greetings!

Hello all, I do hope readers here are doing well and prospering in the Lord (as opposed to just material wealth). It has indeed been some time since I wrote something here that was not just Bible commentary on this particular page.

For those of you wondering, yes, the site is still getting regular updates for insiders. We deal with many of the issues of the day from Christian affairs, Church affairs, Global affairs, Tech affairs, War/Geopolitical affairs as they effect our walk with God and Bible Prophecy. I don't deal with fake news, fake facts, dis or misinformation (even the elite and/or government sponsored kind). To the contrary, I do my best to deal with those issues when necessary and strip away the fake so that the real can be ascertained.

Nothing has really changed all that much, though updates are no longer everyday. Hey... I'm getting older and just have to manage the time I spend on the computer.

Before anyone asks, no I am still not accepting new insiders.

But the world is rapidly changing and as you who know our Lord can see, the truth (the real, whole truth) is not very easy to find these days. These are days when facts can be called 'misinformation' and half-truths are often put forward as the acceptable narrative. Governments from the eastern block as well as the western bloc, have worked overtime to bring the informational landscape what some may see as being 'under control' - that being to the point it is now. But none of this should shock anyone who knows both the Bible, the times and history. Deceit is going to be the order of the day in the last days. Our Bibles make that abundantly clear in many places. So don't expect it to get better. It's going to get worse. Much worse.

Years ago, my God made it very clear to me after some minor chastisement that I was going amiss. Why? I was casting pearls before the swine, to use the biblical expression. I did not understand why he was so upset about it but God was and wanted me to stop. So I did and the whole emphasis of the site changed and from a personal perspective, it was certainly for the better.

I will continue to do as I am commanded.

But I will be totally honest with you. I often 'chafe at the bit' when things happen in our world. I feel I should stand on the mountain top and shout out! But almost always, God would and will not let me. There is a time to speak out and a time to shut one's mouth. This was a key lesson I had to learn - to stop sharing gold nuggets with those who don't know the difference between a nugget of gold and its equivalent size in horse dung.

Please, I don't want to sound insulting, really I don't. But you see, Christ told us the same thing clearly to not cast our pearls around those who don't know their value. By the way, those words were not a request, they were a command (Matthew 7:6). Those who don't know the difference will only hate you the more for tossing them in their direction. You really can't help a person with such profound intellectual limitations.

Moreover, I just got out of the 'convincing business'. I am not trying to convince anyone they should or should not do this or that.

You see, I am not one who thinks most people can really be convinced of much of anything if it does not put food in their belly, get them a bigger house to live in, more money in the bank or a prettier partner to have sex with. Most consumers? I just don't think are much concerned with the truth. They are concerned with getting what they want and if acknowledging a pretty clear truth is going to interfere with a significant pay raise or tonight's steak dinner and sex with the gorgeous looker across the table, then they are never go to even look at the truth. It's not on their list of things to do today. Yes, a lot of folks are willfully blind. They don't see because they don't want to see and will attack you for trying to pry off their blindfold.

In fact, I will confess, I was pretty upset with the Lord during the pandemic because what happened was something I was near certain was going to happen (many long years before) and it did transpire pretty much the way I figured it would, though thankfully, the lethality of the virus was not as potent as I suspected a (then) future pandemic's could have been. I was not shocked nor surprised in the least by what happened. In fact, my view is that what we saw during the pandemic was about 10 years overdue. Moreover, I see another major, global pandemic within the next 20 years as a near forgone conclusion... perhaps sooner.

But you know what? During the pandemic the Lord said to me 'Sit down and shut up' (not exactly, but in so many words). I got the impression that this had to play out. I suspect it was a test for both saint and sinner. Who would they trust and believe? Whose advice would they act on? I was to get out of the way and stay out of the way. No if's, no and's or no but's about it. The only thing God would allow me to say was to exhort Christians to get into their prayer closet and take some real quality prayer time and get God's guidance.

But, I have a confession to make - I almost rebelled once and wrote a very long piece on the pandemic, edited it, cleaned it all up, got it ready to upload and was just about to hit the 'transfer' button to the site and my God said to me... Did I tell you to upload that? He did not and the Lord did not need to say another word.

The piece did not get uploaded.

But you know what? There were many sites out there that did an excellent job at informing people, given the limited information and 'informational landscape' many had to deal with. So I just stepped back and let them be the 'internet star' of the day. Many of those folks were extremely knowledgeable in their fields and can only be admired for both their hard work and courage. Me? Again, I was told to sit down and shut up.

I have learned (sometimes the hard way) to be obedient. Moreover, God has shared some things with me that really opened my eyes about the spiritual condition of a large part of America. What do I mean?

Several years ago, there were a few decent prophets out there who were telling it like it is. But those prophetic voices (at least the ones who were spot on), for the most part are gone. When the prophets are silent and the sins and rebellion grow and there is not any sign of repentance, that is a very dangerous sign. It could very well mean that God is about to or has given a people over.

Let the reader beware - God is not always going to strive with men. That was the principle noted in the days of Noah. There comes time when he will give a person, nation and mankind in general exactly what they want. Want sin and evil? Is that what men really want? He'll give it to us - a double portion and compel such a people to drink the cup right down to the dregs. How was it in the days of Noah?

And Jehovah saw
that the wickedness of man
was great in the earth,
and that every imagination
of the thoughts of his heart
was only evil continually.
(Genesis 6:5 - ASV)


Is that where we are as a nation today? I will let you each ponder that one. No, I don't personally think the nation or world are quite there yet but things do seem to be moving at a pretty good pace in the wrong direction, spiritually speaking.

So the focus of the site is to help a few to better understand and to help engage in more effective prayer on things that many of the world's people (including most Christians) just don't know about and for many, don't want to know about. They are too busy making money, climbing the corporate ladder, playing politics, engaging in the social/cultural war, entertaining themselves, getting married, getting divorced, dragging other Christians through the courts, etc.

The real issues for those who are members of a spiritual kingdom are spiritual issues - the Kingdom of Heaven, not the Kingdoms of this earth.

Those few I think will be equipped with what they need to be of great use to the Kingdom of Heaven when the major end-time changes take place. Notice I did not say great use to Corporate Christianity (the visible/administrative/financial part of the Church) or large religious corporations. No, I said the Kingdom of Heaven; a kingdom not made with human hands of which I am just one humble and at times a little wayward servant.

Let me make this plain to those of you who seek God and his kingdom FIRST and FOREMOST in your lives. Don't expect to get to understand the times from the 'low hanging fruit' (easy to find) sites on the internet. Many of them have to be careful, very careful about what they say or what narratives they put forward or allow to be put forward. If they are not, they can come across 'opposition'. That opposition could take forms that you or I (or they for that matter) will never expect and that opposition can be most effective. Why is this so?

Spiritually speaking, there is no more potent weapon against the devil and his lies than the truth and those who speak it and deal in it. Hence the so called 'information war' has a deep and most important spiritual dimension. How can you know you are being effective against Satan and his kingdom? When the devil lobs a (or several) spiritual 'cruise missiles' at you, your person, your ministry, your family, your paycheck, your place of employment; uses your neighbors against you, your friends, your business partners or even your wife and kids.

There are no rules
in the devil's playbook. Let the readers here take what I say most seriously. Kicking you or me below the belt when we least expect it is the devils standard operating procedure. Remember Job's ordeals and what the devil put him through? His only 'crime' was serving the Lord faithfully.

Just keep this in mind. The 'narrative' is going to be key in the days ahead. Powerful forces are going to use many methods to make sure that the 'narrative' is not effectively opposed or de-constructed, particularly if that narrative is a false one and gives those with considerable power either money or yet more power.

The 'low hanging fruit' (easy to find) stuff on the internet is probably not going to be the best place to get to the real heart of key matters facing our world. You are going to have to dig deep, climb high up the 'tree', check in the hidden out of the way places, and (this is key) put on your thinking cap and know your Bibles if you are ever going to escape the rising tide of 'crazy', violence and deceit that is now enveloping our world.

If you want better answers, you (don't expect anyone out there to do this for you) are going to have to ask better questions and having asked them, find places that do their best to give you those answers or at the very least, point you in the right direction to find them.

If you can't or won't do that. You can be assured that you have taken the first few and most important steps on the road of deception whose final destination is the kingdom of lies. No one saved or sane lives there.

I pray God that is not anyone who reads this today.

But the Gospel must continue to be preached and even though we as a nation, yes, even the western world in general are falling pretty fast spiritual and morally. Yet God still holds his hand of fellowship open to the sons of men.

At the close of the book of Revelation we find this passage I feel led to post today.

Blessed are they that wash their robes,
that they may have the right to come to the tree of life,
and may enter in by the gates into the city.
Without are the dogs, and the sorcerers,
and the fornicators, and the murderers,
 and the idolaters, and every one that loveth
and maketh a lie.
I Jesus have sent mine angel
to testify unto you these things for the churches.
I am the root and the offspring of David,
the bright, the morning star.
And the Spirit and the bride say,
Come. And he that heareth, let him say,
Come. And he that is athirst, let him come:
he that will, let him take the water of life freely.

(Revelation 22:14-17 - ASV)


When we talk about the informational landscape today, take special notice of what the above passage says about lies and liars.

God bless and keep all who love our Lord and may he shine his light on those who don't know him and are in darkness and do not know it.


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1 Samuel Part 59

And it was told Saul, saying,
Behold, David is at Naioth in Ramah.
And Saul sent messengers to take David:
and when they saw the company of the prophets prophesying,
and Samuel standing as head over them,
the Spirit of God came upon the messengers of Saul,
and they also prophesied.
(1 Samuel 19:19-20 - ASV)

We left off last time and David had fled to Samuel, who was living in Naioth, probably in semi-retirement running a school for the prophets.

Saul hears about this and sends his messengers (probably hired kidnappers or assassins) to go and get or perhaps kill David. But when they arrive and see Samuel with them, the messengers started to prophesy as well. They may have been sent on an evil mission, but God got hold of them.

And when it was told Saul,
he sent other messengers,
and they also prophesied.
And Saul sent messengers
again the third time,
and they also prophesied.
(1 Samuel 19:21 - ASV)


It happened again. Saul sends in his agents and instead of capturing David, they start to prophesy. The Lord can work wonderful miracles when he wants or needs to. He can do some of the most unusual things and this is one of them.

This incident reminds me just a bit about Elijah and the men who were sent to take him. But instead of those sent starting to prophesy, the Lord sent fire from heaven to consume the King's messengers (2 Kings 1:1ff). This too was repeated. It is amazing to me how God protects those who serve him. You don't want to mess with God's servants - his true ones - when they are on the job. They are in God's special service and he will protect them. Sometimes gently, sometimes not. But he will protect those whom he has sent until such time as their ministry is complete.

Here God performs a positive miracle for Saul's messengers, rather than a negative one as he did for Ahaziah's (in 2 Kings) messengers.

I think what this shows is the power of God's spirit when it comes upon someone. Even those who are about to do evil, God can move into their hearts as he did here... powerfully. Hired agents sent to do the kings dirty work started to utter prophecies instead!

Then went he also to Ramah,
and came to the great well that is in Secu:
and he asked and said, Where are Samuel and David?
And one said, Behold, they are at Naioth in Ramah.
And he went thither to Naioth in Ramah:
and the Spirit of God came upon him also,
and he went on, and prophesied,
until he came to Naioth in Ramah.
(1 Samuel 19:22-23 - ASV)

Now the king himself gets involved. He has sent messengers thrice and David is still running around loose, despite the King's best efforts. So the king himself goes to Ramah and asks where these two men of God are, finds out, goes there and he too starts to prophesy!

And he also stripped off his clothes,
and he also prophesied before Samuel,
and lay down naked all
that day and all that night.
Wherefore they say,
Is Saul also among the prophets?
(1 Samuel 19:24 - ASV)

Saul as well caught the spirit of prophecy. He seems to have been hit doubly hard by God's power as we can see. His actions caused others to ask if Saul now was among the prophets.

We cannot forget that this is not the first time Saul had the Spirit of God come upon him - see 1 Samuel 10:11.

So Saul who was coming after David wound up laying all day and all night in a prophetic 'trance'.

This shows I think that while Samuel was in his semi-retirement, he was still building something very important for God. He was building a spiritual 'army' if you will, that clearly had God's powerful (as demonstrated in these passages) approval. Israel may have rejected Samuel and his leadership over them and chosen Saul (who was turning out to be a big disappointment), but God was not finished with Samuel.

This 'spiritual army' plays a key role in the future. It seems that this was probably the first such school. There were later ones that were associated with and Elisha (2 Kings 2:3;4:38) and probably Elijah as well. But this was the first and it was established by Samuel. 

It was an important work, for ahead lay Kings who would openly embrace idolatry and the gods of Israel's enemies. This school seems to have been devoted to religious, musical and prophetic instruction. They were a powerful tool of God in the coming religious troubles in the Kingdom and would engage in spiritual battle against idolatry, apostasy and wicked rulers.

Coming against God's men is a bad business. Moreover when a man of God like Samuel moves from one ministry, God can and often does find him another, provided there was not some malfeasance in his prior office. Samuel may have been old, but he could pass on his wisdom and his training to younger men who could carry on the task of serving God in the prophetic realm.

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


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4 Mar

1 Samuel Part 58

And there was war again:
and David went out, and fought with the Philistines,
and slew them with a great slaughter;
and they fled before him.
(1 Samuel 19:8 - ASV)

We left off last time and we saw how loyal Jonathan had been with David. He ran some pretty dangerous 'political interference' on David's behalf to protect him from the Kings violence prone double dealing. I should have added last week that apparently based on the last part of verse 19:7, it appears that David was invited back to court.

After his reception back at court it seems clear that David remained one of Saul's military commanders. The passage above shows that David again went to war and was victorious... quite victorious.

And an evil spirit from Jehovah was upon Saul,
as he sat in his house with his spear in his hand;
and David was playing with his hand.
And Saul sought to smite David even
to the wall with the spear; but he slipped
away out of Saul's presence, and he smote
the spear into the wall: and David fled,
and escaped that night.
(1 Samuel 19:9-10 - ASV)

Now Saul gets hit again with this evil spirit. Again, I don't want to get too much into any study of demonology here. But there are a couple of things that should be kept in mind. First, any study or understanding of demons was nearly non-existent in the Old Testament. It was only much later that any reliable theology about the kingdom of darkness became known. So this spirit that came upon him was allowed to do so by the Lord, but was almost certainly some kind of demonic spirit that the Lord allowed to come and trouble Saul and recompense him for his pattern of rebellion. 

Second and more importantly demons usually need some kind of 'hook' to get into a person's mind and soul. Those hooks can be hate, lust, greed, violence, cruelty, spite, ambition, revenge, etc. In this case, it appears there are two. One is envy of David and his victory's and the other is fear... fear that Saul may soon lose the crown. I suspect these are the 'hooks' that were being used against Saul to get him to commit such evils and remember, demons always want men to commit crimes and sins. As they are part of the kingdom of darkness, they are dedicated to the overthrow of the kingdom of light; God's kingdom and thus seek to overthrow righteousness, justice and God's express commands.

God had chosen David to be king and while it is not 100% clear Saul knew of his anointing by Saul years before, the evil spirit that troubled Saul knew. Hence we see yet another attempt by Saul on the life of David. This time was the same way as before, David is strumming a tune and Saul throws a spear at him. This demon may not have been very creative in its methodology, but it was both consistent and persistent.

David figures out it was time to get out of town and that is what he did. Again, we must keep in mind that David was doing everything right. He was doing good and getting victories and was repaid with murder attempts.

This is how the devil destroys kingdoms and organizations. He gets his people (those under his demonic influence) into place to root out the good so that only the bad remains. Like some pests, they eat up a system from the inside out. They play on things like envy, treachery, malice, ambition, revenge and greed. At the end you have treacherous, malicious and violent people running the show whose only goal is to destroy the system that they have taken over. Later, they eventually turn and destroy each other. This may have been the 'demonic stratagem' during the early days of the Kingdom of Israel - keep a violent, unstable man on the throne and kill the good commanders so that the Philistines could get some victories over Israel.

And Saul sent messengers unto David's house,
to watch him, and to slay him in the morning:
and Michal, David's wife, told him,
saying, If thou save not thy life to-night,
to-morrow thou wilt be slain.
So Michal let David down through the window:
and he went, and fled, and escaped.
(1 Samuel 19:11-12 - ASV)

This time Saul was determined to get David and put him six feet underground. He sent his assassins to carry out the task of murder. The good news is that David's wife took it upon herself to help her husband whom her own father was now trying to kill. Clearly the King had lost the confidence of two of his kids, Jonathan and Michal. They had to have seen as certainly many in the Royal court had seen, that the king had flipped out. With the help of his wife, David escaped.

And Michal took the teraphim,
and laid it in the bed, and put a pillow
 of goats' hair at the head thereof,
and covered it with the clothes.
And when Saul sent messengers to take David,
she said, He is sick. And Saul sent
the messengers to see David, saying,
Bring him up to me in the bed,
 that I may slay him.
(1 Samuel 19:13-15 - ASV)


Michal had taken a teraphim and hid it in the bed in order to deceive someone who took a look. What is a teraphim? It's a family idol, image or statute (8655 in Strong's Hebrew Bible Dictionary - 1890). They denoted some kind of household god that was common in those times by the heathen and apparently by those who either did not know or did not obey the Lord. Michal may have had her own idols in her house and this may not have been uncommon in Israel, who had a long history of idolatry.

Rebellion and idolatry usually start off with small things, little things and grows with time. The theologian Albert Barnes (1798-1870) in his commentary notes that this was common among women in Israel in those days. The whole image adoration thing is a question that was part of a major controversy in the Church as well and continued long into the Middle Ages. In Byzantium (the late Roman Empire), the whole image/icon controversy was the cause of much civil strife. A search on the words 'iconoclast' and 'Byzantium' will yield up many most informative and interesting results on the web, particularly as it relates to the the Empress Irene.

We must also keep in mind that we don't know how well the Mosaic Law was known to ordinary Israelite's in those days. There were no bible book stores or internet back then. One had to hear the word from the priests and how often she heard it is not known. Moreover, if many of the priests were like the sons of Eli, we can better understand why she may have been ignorant of the commandment on having them. What is known is that in this one instance, it came in handy. Michal's deception probably did give David some much needed time to get away. Michal was determined to protect her husband from this king who clearly was losing it.

And Saul said unto Michal,
Why hast thou deceived me thus,
and let mine enemy go, so that he is escaped?
And Michal answered Saul, He said unto me,
Let me go; why should I kill thee?
(1 Samuel 19:17 - ASV)

Saul was quite upset over this deception. Michal used her powers of deceit once again and said David threatened her. Three 'little sins' we see here in Michal. The keeping of an idol, the deception of her father and this lie about David. Perhaps on one level we can excuse her for she was indeed showing loyalty to David, so we probably should not be hard on her. Still such a pattern of behavior can possibly be indicative of a deeper character flaw.

Now David fled, and escaped,
 and came to Samuel to Ramah,
and told him all that Saul had done to him.
And he and Samuel went
and dwelt in Naioth.
(1 Samuel 19:18 - ASV)


Thanks to Michal's help, David got away. He then heads over to Ramah, where Samuel lives. He reports back to the prophet and they both go together to Naioth. This appears to be a place associated with the prophets, probably the school of prophets. The Targum translates this the house of doctrine, according to the theologian John Gill - (1697-1771) and his commentary. In short, David fled the Kings Court and now is living with the prophets.

We will continue our look at the book of Samuel soon, God willing!!

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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 - 1890). 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 word 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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