1 Samuel 29 Ė 31 part 13

 

Tonight we will finish up the book of first Samuel as we cover chapters 29 thru 31. Now before we begin we must back track just a little bit. If you will remember in one our past lesson David was tired of running from Saul so he finally joined himself with the Philistines under King Achish. This King gives David and his men the place called Zigalag. We talked about how David was quite the actor and liar to make things go his way. David had went around killing the enemies of the children of Israel and he left no one alive so that King Achish would not find out his little secret and when Achish would ask David who he was fighting he gave the king the impression that he was fighting against the children of Israel and because of this, Achish thought David would be his servant forever because who would ever take back a man who turned on his own people and killed the continually. So this sets the stage for what is said in the first 2 verses of chapter 28 which leads right into chapter 29.

 

1 Samuel 28:1 Now it happened in those days that the Philistines gathered their armies together for war, to fight with Israel. And Achish said to David, "You assuredly know that you will go out with me to battle, you and your men."2 And David said to Achish, "Surely you know what your servant can do." And Achish said to David, "Therefore I will make you one of my chief guardians forever."

 

You see David had been completely successful in pulling the wool over the Achishís eyes because now he trust David enough for him to go battle with him against his own people and we can see that he was going to make David his chief guardian forever. Here is where we can see that living a lie can get you into a situation that you donít want to be in. Now because of his lie David and his men were going to have to go battle against the children of Israel that is if he still wanted keep the lie up. This example shows us that on one hand telling lies may bring forth temporary benefits in the long run many times living a lie will put you a situation or a position that you donít want be in and even if you manage to pull your lie off without any real consequences on this earth you will still have to own up to your sin of lying when you stand before the judgment seat of God. David knew it wrong to lie he even expressed this by stating what the character of a person must be in order stand before God.

 

Psalm 15:1 A Psalm of David. LORD, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill?2 He who walks uprightly, And works righteousness, And speaks the truth in his heart;

 

So how is David going to get out of this one? Well lets see as we read in,

 

1 Samuel 29:1 Then the Philistines gathered together all their armies at Aphek, and the Israelites encamped by a fountain which is in Jezreel.2 And the lords of the Philistines passed in review by hundreds and by thousands, but David and his men passed in review at the rear with Achish.3 Then the princes of the Philistines said, "What are these Hebrews doing here?" And Achish said to the princes of the Philistines, "Is this not David, the servant of Saul king of Israel, who has been with me these days, or these years? And to this day I have found no fault in him since he defected to me."4 But the princes of the Philistines were angry with him; so the princes of the Philistines said to him, "Make this fellow return, that he may go back to the place which you have appointed for him, and do not let him go down with us to battle, lest in the battle he become our adversary. For with what could he reconcile himself to his master, if not with the heads of these men?5 "Is this not David, of whom they sang to one another in dances, saying: 'Saul has slain his thousands, And David his ten thousands'?"

 

Here we learn how all these men were coming together to fight King Saul and his men including David and his men who were bringing up the rear. However there was a problem these other Philistine men didnít want the Hebrews especial David being part of this battle. They were still very bitter about David and how he kill so many of their people and defeated their champion Goliath. They were afraid that David and is men would help King Saul defeat them so that he could become reconciled with the King.

 

Again we see just how much confidence David had instilled in Achish as he defended David and his men and tried to convince the other Philistineís that he should be allowed to fight in battle with them. Just a side note you can read more about how David added more men to his army during this time in 1 Chron. 12 and a few more details about what goes on here in chapter 29.

 

1 Samuel 29:6 Then Achish called David and said to him, "Surely, as the LORD lives, you have been upright, and your going out and your coming in with me in the army is good in my sight. For to this day I have not found evil in you since the day of your coming to me. Nevertheless the lords do not favor you.7 "Therefore return now, and go in peace, that you may not displease the lords of the Philistines."

 

Achish almost comes before David in a very cautious and in apologetic way as he explains why he and his men cannot take part in this battle. Once again we see that David has been provided away out of his difficult situation. But notice how he plays his part well in,

 

1 Samuel 29:8 So David said to Achish, "But what have I done? And to this day what have you found in your servant as long as I have been with you, that I may not go and fight against the enemies of my lord the king?"9 Then Achish answered and said to David, "I know that you are as good in my sight as an angel of God; nevertheless the princes of the Philistines have said, 'He shall not go up with us to the battle.'10 "Now therefore, rise early in the morning with your master's servants who have come with you. And as soon as you are up early in the morning and have light, depart."11 So David and his men rose early to depart in the morning, to return to the land of the Philistines. And the Philistines went up to Jezreel.

 

Here we see David hams it up and pretends like he disappointed that he canít be in the battle and so after adding the finishing touches to reaction he and his army depart to go back to the land of the Philistines. As I looked at this section of scripture I couldnít help but wonder what David would have done if he Achish had been successful in convincing the other men to allow David to stay. Would he have found against Saul or would he have fought against the Philistines?Of course we will never know the answers to these what if questions but doesnít stop me from wondering what he would have done. Now when David returns he finds out a nasty little surprise.

 

1 Samuel 30:1 Now it happened, when David and his men came to Ziklag, on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the South and Ziklag, attacked Ziklag and burned it with fire,2 and had taken captive the women and those who were there, from small to great; they did not kill anyone, but carried them away and went their way.3 So David and his men came to the city, and there it was, burned with fire; and their wives, their sons, and their daughters had been taken captive.4 Then David and the people who were with him lifted up their voices and wept, until they had no more power to weep.5 And David's two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the widow of Nabal the Carmelite, had been taken captive.6 Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God.

 

This was as devastating blow to David and his men. Their women, children and their possessions were all gone and their was burned with fire. The only way that you and can come close to understanding the fear and the anguish they were feeling is for us to imagine to the best of our ability coming home and seeing our house burnt down and our family not being anywhere in site. Its bad enough to lose all that you own but it can replaced but your loved ones can never be replaced and not knowing if your family is dead or alive will eat away at your sanity and we can see this is what the men experiencing at this time. They had cried so hard and stressed themselves out so much that they didnít have any strength left in them not even enough to weep.

 

Then we see that some of them were talking about stoning David to death. You see many times when bad things happen or things to go according to plan the leaders are the ones that get blamed even if they had not control over the situation. This happens in congregations sometimes. If attendances goes down or problems arise people want someone to blame and many times the preacher or even the elders are sited as the source of the problem even though they may not of had anything to do with the problem. Well, instead of drowning is self pity David strengthened himself in Lord. You see even though this was a bad circumstance because of David faith in God he was able to recover from his grief. This is the same power that every Christian has today because no matter what we may go through we can always rise above it knowing that God loves us and that we can put our faith in him to make everything work out for the best.

 

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

 

Now notice what David does.

 

1 Samuel 30:7 Then David said to Abiathar the priest, Ahimelech's son, "Please bring the ephod here to me." And Abiathar brought the ephod to David.8 So David inquired of the LORD, saying, "Shall I pursue this troop? Shall I overtake them?" And He answered him, "Pursue, for you shall surely overtake them and without fail recover all."

 

The first thing that David does is to what God has to say on this matter. Again, this is great example for us to follow. Before lash out at someone and do something on our own I thinks it important that we go to God in prayer first asking for wisdom on what we should do and at the same time we should search Godís Word to find an answer on how to deal with our situation at hand. When David ask his question he gets an answer that must have given him renewed strength because now he knows that no one has been killed and that he will recover all the people and their possessions. Now it surprising that none of them had been killed but the Bible implies that these Amalekites were probably going to use Davidís people as slaves or even possible sell them to others as slaves because you see in just a minute that they had a Egyptian slave.

 

1 Samuel 30:9 So David went, he and the six hundred men who were with him, and came to the Brook Besor, (bee-sawr) where those stayed who were left behind.10 But David pursued, he and four hundred men; for two hundred stayed behind, who were so weary that they could not cross the Brook Besor.11 Then they found an Egyptian in the field, and brought him to David; and they gave him bread and he ate, and they let him drink water.12 And they gave him a piece of a cake of figs and two clusters of raisins. So when he had eaten, his strength came back to him; for he had eaten no bread nor drunk water for three days and three nights.13 Then David said to him, "To whom do you belong, and where are you from?" And he said, "I am a young man from Egypt, servant of an Amalekite; and my master left me behind, because three days ago I fell sick.14 "We made an invasion of the southern area of the Cherethites, (ker-ih-thites) in the territory which belongs to Judah, and of the southern area of Caleb; and we burned Ziklag with fire."15 And David said to him, "Can you take me down to this troop?" So he said, "Swear to me by God that you will neither kill me nor deliver me into the hands of my master, and I will take you down to this troop."

 

Ok we see that 200 men remained behind with the supplies and David and 400 pressed on looking for the Amalekites and they just happen to find this Egyptian servant who was left behind to die. You see to the Amalekites this servant was no different than a horse or any other animal that became sick they would simply just leave them to die. Now once this servant was feed and given water he was willing to show David where the Amalekites were. Now to me personally this has this providence of God written all over it.

 

1 Samuel 30:16 And when he had brought him down, there they were, spread out over all the land, eating and drinking and dancing, because of all the great spoil which they had taken from the land of the Philistines and from the land of Judah.17 Then David attacked them from twilight until the evening of the next day. Not a man of them escaped, except four hundred young men who rode on camels and fled.18 So David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away, and David rescued his two wives.19 And nothing of theirs was lacking, either small or great, sons or daughters, spoil or anything which they had taken from them; David recovered all.20 Then David took all the flocks and herds they had driven before those other livestock, and said, "This is David's spoil."

 

Just as God had promised David wasable to recover all. Every time God make a promise he always keeps it and we can see this over and over again throughout the Bible and this should give each of us assurance that God will keep his promise to us that Jesus will return one day and give all the faithful a home in heaven and a crown of righteousness.

 

1 Samuel 30:21 Now David came to the two hundred men who had been so weary that they could not follow David, whom they also had made to stay at the Brook Besor. So they went out to meet David and to meet the people who were with him. And when David came near the people, he greeted them.22 Then all the wicked and worthless men of those who went with David answered and said, "Because they did not go with us, we will not give them any of the spoil that we have recovered, except for every man's wife and children, that they may lead them away and depart."23 But David said, "My brethren, you shall not do so with what the LORD has given us, who has preserved us and delivered into our hand the troop that came against us.24 "For who will heed you in this matter? But as his part is who goes down to the battle, so shall his part be who stays by the supplies; they shall share alike."25 So it was, from that day forward; he made it a statute and an ordinance for Israel to this day.26 Now when David came to Ziklag, he sent some of the spoil to the elders of Judah, to his friends, saying, "Here is a present for you from the spoil of the enemies of the LORD" Ė

 

It continues on naming some those who shared in these spoils. Now we learn from this text that some of Davidís men were greedy and did not want share with those who did not fight for them but David convinced them that they would share their spoils with all. Now David did not come up with this on his own instead he was just teaching what had already been taught by the law of God and others. For instance look at,

 

Numbers 31:26 "Count up the plunder that was taken -- of man and beast -- you and Eleazar the priest and the chief fathers of the congregation;27 "and divide the plunder into two parts, between those who took part in the war, who went out to battle, and all the congregation.

 

Joshua 22:8 Ö"Return with much riches to your tents, with very much livestock, with silver, with gold, with bronze, with iron, and with very much clothing. Divide the spoil of your enemies with your brethren."

 

This isvery similar to the principle that that the Christians used in the first century as they shared with one another so that now one was without. Now in our finally chapter we learn about a very brutal scene.

1 Samuel 31:1 Now the Philistines fought against Israel; and the men of Israel fled from before the Philistines, and fell slain on Mount Gilboa.2 Then the Philistines followed hard after Saul and his sons. And the Philistines killed Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malchishua, (mal-kye-shoo-uh) Saul's sons.3 The battle became fierce against Saul. The archers hit him, and he was severely wounded by the archers.4 Then Saul said to his armorbearer, "Draw your sword, and thrust me through with it, lest these uncircumcised men come and thrust me through and abuse me." But his armorbearer would not, for he was greatly afraid. Therefore Saul took a sword and fell on it.5 And when his armorbearer saw that Saul was dead, he also fell on his sword, and died with him.6 So Saul, his three sons, his armorbearer, and all his men died together that same day.

 

Here learn about the death of Saul and his sons. We see that the Philistines were hot on his trail and had already shot him with their arrows and out desperation of not being caught and made a slave Saul tries to get his armor bearer to him but he is to afraid to do so. Now we are not told who his armor bearer is but Jewish tradition says that it was Doeg the man who spilled the beans about the priest giving David and his men the holy bread to eat. Since Saulís armor bearer wouldnít kill him we see that Saul literally takes matters into his owns hands and fall on his sword committing suicide and when his armor bearer saw that Saul was dead he also fell on his sword. What a way to go out. Now there is more to this story on Saulís death but I will save that information when I start in 2 Sam.

 

7 And when the men of Israel who were on the other side of the valley, and those who were on the other side of the Jordan, saw that the men of Israel had fled and that Saul and his sons were dead, they forsook the cities and fled; and the Philistines came and dwelt in them.8 So it happened the next day, when the Philistines came to strip the slain, that they found Saul and his three sons fallen on Mount Gilboa.9 And they cut off his head and stripped off his armor, and sent word throughout the land of the Philistines, to proclaim it in the temple of their idols and among the people.10 Then they put his armor in the temple of the Ashtoreths, and they fastened his body to the wall of Beth Shan.

 

Once the King Saul was dead there no more fight left in the children of Israel so they gave up and the Philistines occupied their cities. Now what seems very barbaric to us today was common place back then. We see that they made a trophy out Saul and armor.

They put his armor in their temples and they even stuck his head in temple of Dagon. They also put his body on the wall of Beth Shan as a display.

 

11 Now when the inhabitants of Jabesh Gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul,12 all the valiant men arose and traveled all night, and took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons from the wall of Beth Shan; and they came to Jabesh and burned them there.13 Then they took their bones and buried them under the tamarisk tree at Jabesh, and fasted seven days.

 

Now if you remember in 1 Sam 11 Saul had protected the people at Jabesh Gilead where Nahash the Ammonite was going to force them to become his servant and he was going to put everyone of their right eyes. So out of respect for Saul they take his body and the bodies of his sons down from the wall and they burn them and they bury their bones under a tamarisk tree. So ends the life of Saul.

 

One think we learn from the life of Saul is that a person can start out as humble servant to the Lord but by taking the wrong path they can end there life being full of themselves and separated from God. We have seen this happen to many Christians. We have seen faithful preachers and elders start out very strong in the faith and then we find them falling away from God later on in their life. So as Christians we must always be on guard and try to do our best to always try and love God enough to hold fast to his word and to remain humble faithful servants to the end of our days. If we become lax in Christianity or we start convincing ourselves to start comprising Godís truth then we can certainly end up like Saul separated from God.