The End of a Reign

*image originated here

1 Samuel 26 – 31

Saul again chases after David in the desert of Ziph. There Saul sleeps in the middle of his encampment of soldiers. David sneaks all the way up to Saul, takes his spear and water jug but doesn’t harm him. In the morning he calls out to Saul letting him how close he came to death. David asks Saul how he has wronged the king to be treated this way. Saul answers him that Saul is the one who has sinned. Then Saul blesses David and returns home.

“…Saul said to David,’May you be blessed, my son David; you will do great things and surely triumph.”‘

-1 Samuel 26:25

Once again David and his men live among the Philistines serving their king, but David and his men destroy all the enemies of Israel leaving not one to tell the Philistine king what they are doing. When this king goes up against the Israelites he asks David to come with him but the other leaders aren’t as pleased. They still remember Goliath and all the other battles David won against them.

Saul going down to his final battle with the Philistines is afraid because God will not answer him about whether or not they will have victory. So Saul finds one of the few remaining witches in Israel and asks to bring back Samuel so he can him a question. She is greatly afraid because Saul has been killing all of the witches, but he promises he won’t harm her for helping him.

“Samuel said to Saul, ‘Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?’ ‘I am in great distress,’ Saul said. ‘The Philistines are fighting against me, and God has turned away from me. He no longer answers me, either by prophets or by dreams. So I have called on you to tell me what to do.’ Samuel said, ‘Why do you consult me, now that the LORD has turned away from you and become your enemy? The LORD has done what he predicted through me. The LORD has torn the kingdom out of your hands and given it to one of your neighbors–to David. Because you did not obey the LORD or carry out his fierce wrath against the Amalekites, the LORD has done this to you today. The LORD will hand over both Israel and you to the Philistines, and tomorrow both you and your sons will be with me. The LORD will also hand over the army of Israel to the Philistines.'”

-1 Samuel 28:19

Saul is terrified because of what Samuel told him. In the battle, Saul is gravely wounded and begs his armor bearer to kill him, but the armor bearer won’t raise a hand against him so Saul dies by his own sword.

Meanwhile, David and his men have returned to the home the Philistines gave them in Ziklag only to discover the Amalekites have raided. All the women and children have been carried off and their homes plundered. David’s men are upset and questioning his leadership, but David trusts God.

“David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the LORD his God.”

-1 Samuel 30:6

Notice the incredible difference between Saul and David here. For both men in these chapters, it says they were greatly distressed because of their circumstances. Saul no longer trusted God to keep His promises, especially the bad ones and because Saul dishonored God, God will no longer honor him. David who has had only God to trust in since his boyhood turns to God when his own men are ready to stone him because they have lost everything. When he turns to God not only does God answer him He gives David strength.”

David utterly destroys the Amalekites and the families they left in Ziklag are rescued. Some of the men were exhausted before they reached the battle and stayed with the supplies so once it was finished the men who had gone into battle didn’t want to share the plunder with them. They were simply going to give the men their families and nothing else, David disagrees. The men who stayed with the supplies were just as important as the ones who went into battle, everyone gets a share of the plunder.

Saul and his sons are dead. The Philistines hung their bodies from the walls of their city. Valiant men from Israel go out and retrieve the bodies to burn them at Jabesh where they then bury the King and his sons beneath the tamarisk tree. All of Israel mourns.

God has done all He promised Saul He would do because of Saul’s disobedience.

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