King Saul knew his days were numbered. He summoned Samuel from the dead only to hear that he and his sons would soon die. Saul wasn’t a very good king. The people wanted a king because they didn’t want God. Remember how the Book of Judges ended…
In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.Judges 21:25 NLT (c. 1375 BC)
(Gee, we could almost say that regarding the world right now… in Last Days, the world had no God, all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes. That’s what it’s going to be like when God takes all the Christians away in the Rapture! Will you get left behind?)
In the book of the prophet Hosea, written in 753 BC, God looks back at all the kings that ruled over Israel. He says…
In my anger I gave you kings,Hosea 13:11 NLT
and in my fury I took them away.
As we go through the Old Testament in historical sequence, you’ll see there were good kings, not so good kings, bad kings and horrible kings. It all truly shows that going against God’s commandments leads to death and destruction. Thank God that, out of His Mercy and Grace, He gave us His Son and the King of kings to save us from ourselves!
Here we end 1 Samuel and begin 2 Samuel. Once upon a time, it was all one, long book or scroll. Scholars figure that Samuel wrote up until his death in 1 Samuel 25, then the prophet Nathan, whom we’ll meet soon, wrote the rest.
A fair warning, war is never pretty. Nevertheless, it is part of world history and the stories must be told. Let’s dig in…
1 Samuel 31 – Saul’s Final Battle
Now the Philistines attacked Israel, and the men of Israel fled before them. Many were slaughtered on the slopes of Mount Gilboa. 2 The Philistines closed in on Saul and his sons, and they killed three of his sons—Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malkishua. 3 The fighting grew very fierce around Saul, and the Philistine archers caught up with him and wounded him severely.
4 Saul groaned to his armor bearer, “Take your sword and kill me before these pagan Philistines come to run me through and taunt and torture me.”
But his armor bearer was afraid and would not do it. So Saul took his own sword and fell on it. 5 When his armor bearer realized that Saul was dead, he fell on his own sword and died beside the king. 6 So Saul, his three sons, his armor bearer, and his troops all died together that same day.
7 When the Israelites on the other side of the Jezreel Valley and beyond the Jordan saw that the Israelite army had fled and that Saul and his sons were dead, they abandoned their towns and fled. So the Philistines moved in and occupied their towns.
8 The next day, when the Philistines went out to strip the dead, they found the bodies of Saul and his three sons on Mount Gilboa. 9 So they cut off Saul’s head and stripped off his armor. Then they proclaimed the good news of Saul’s death in their pagan temple and to the people throughout the land of Philistia. 10 They placed his armor in the temple of the Ashtoreths, and they fastened his body to the wall of the city of Beth-shan.
11 But when the people of Jabesh-gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, 12 all their mighty warriors traveled through the night to Beth-shan and took the bodies of Saul and his sons down from the wall. They brought them to Jabesh, where they burned the bodies. 13 Then they took their bones and buried them beneath the tamarisk tree at Jabesh, and they fasted for seven days.1 Samuel 31 NLT
2 Samuel 1 – David Mourns
After the death of Saul, David returned from his victory over the Amalekites and spent two days in Ziklag. 2 On the third day a man arrived from Saul’s army camp. He had torn his clothes and put dirt on his head to show that he was in mourning. He fell to the ground before David in deep respect.
3 “Where have you come from?” David asked.
“I escaped from the Israelite camp,” the man replied.
4 “What happened?” David demanded. “Tell me how the battle went.”
The man replied, “Our entire army fled from the battle. Many of the men are dead, and Saul and his son Jonathan are also dead.”
5 “How do you know Saul and Jonathan are dead?” David demanded of the young man.
6 The man answered, “I happened to be on Mount Gilboa, and there was Saul leaning on his spear with the enemy chariots and charioteers closing in on him. 7 When he turned and saw me, he cried out for me to come to him. ‘How can I help?’ I asked him.
8 “He responded, ‘Who are you?’
“‘I am an Amalekite,’ I told him.
9 “Then he begged me, ‘Come over here and put me out of my misery, for I am in terrible pain and want to die.’
10 “So I killed him,” the Amalekite told David, “for I knew he couldn’t live. Then I took his crown and his armband, and I have brought them here to you, my lord.”
11 David and his men tore their clothes in sorrow when they heard the news. 12 They mourned and wept and fasted all day for Saul and his son Jonathan, and for the Lord’s army and the nation of Israel, because they had died by the sword that day.
13 Then David said to the young man who had brought the news, “Where are you from?”
And he replied, “I am a foreigner, an Amalekite, who lives in your land.”
14 “Why were you not afraid to kill the Lord’s anointed one?” David asked.
15 Then David said to one of his men, “Kill him!” So the man thrust his sword into the Amalekite and killed him. 16 “You have condemned yourself,” David said, “for you yourself confessed that you killed the Lord’s anointed one.”
David’s Song for Saul and Jonathan
17 Then David composed a funeral song for Saul and Jonathan, 18 and he commanded that it be taught to the people of Judah. It is known as the Song of the Bow, and it is recorded in The Book of Jashar. (The Book of the Upright)
19 Your pride and joy, O Israel, lies dead on the hills!
Oh, how the mighty heroes have fallen!
20 Don’t announce the news in Gath,
don’t proclaim it in the streets of Ashkelon,
or the daughters of the Philistines will rejoice
and the pagans will laugh in triumph.
21 O mountains of Gilboa,
let there be no dew or rain upon you,
nor fruitful fields producing offerings of grain.
For there the shield of the mighty heroes was defiled;
the shield of Saul will no longer be anointed with oil.
22 The bow of Jonathan was powerful,
and the sword of Saul did its mighty work.
They shed the blood of their enemies
and pierced the bodies of mighty heroes.
23 How beloved and gracious were Saul and Jonathan!
They were together in life and in death.
They were swifter than eagles,
stronger than lions.
24 O women of Israel, weep for Saul,
for he dressed you in luxurious scarlet clothing,
in garments decorated with gold.
25 Oh, how the mighty heroes have fallen in battle!
Jonathan lies dead on the hills.
26 How I weep for you, my brother Jonathan!
Oh, how much I loved you!
And your love for me was deep,
deeper than the love of women!
27 Oh, how the mighty heroes have fallen!2 Samuel 1 NLT
Stripped of their weapons, they lie dead.
Points to Ponder
Those are a couple of heavy chapters. Given that, here are some things to think about….
- Suicide is horrible. I’ve known 2 people personally who died that way. A person who commits suicide is more concerned of peoples’ judgement than God’s judgement. That was Saul’s case. Obviously there are real medical issues that lead people to suicide. Even born-again Christians. But, that’s not my field of expertise by a long shot. If you have someone in your life who’s taken this route of hopelessness, talk to a pastor or a Christian counselor.
- It’s interesting that the Philistines took Saul’s armor to their pagan temple as a war trophy. Remember when they took the Ark of the Covenant and put it in the temple of the pagan god Dagon?
- David cries over the death of Saul, his king, and his best friend, Jonathan. David didn’t have loving marriages. Jonathan was his best friend. He missed him dearly. Earlier this year, I lost two of my best friends, one to cancer and one to COVID. They passed within 4 days of each other. The one good thing is that they were both born-again believers and I KNOW that I will see both of these beautiful ladies in Heaven one day.
- You’d think David would be happy about Saul’s death, as it meant that he now could take his rightful throne. However, recall, that David, a man out of God’s own heart, didn’t kill Saul when he had not one, but two opportunities handed to him.
- Jesus cried over Jerusalem, the city where he was going to be tried, mocked, tortured and crucified. “As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes.” Luke 19:41-42 NIV
- Another similarity is when Jesus told us to love our enemies…
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.Matthew 5:43-48 NIV
35 “Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. 36 You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.Luke 6:35-36 NLT
How about praying for terrorists? Or even the opposing political party? Seriously! When you do this sincerely, bitterness will leave your heart! That’s better than posting insults and arguing on social media.
A Very Appropriate Reading of Scripture…
It just so happens that tonight, Amir Tsarfati and Mike Golay of Behold Israel did their “Public Reading of Scripture” on the Psalms and healing. Our world needs healing!…
Where You Spend Eternity is Your Choice!
Heaven or hell. It is your choice. And it’s a choice you have to make while you’re here, still living, on earth. Once you’re dead, that’s it. A moment after you die you’ll either be with Jesus in Heaven or the furthest away from Him a soul could be in hell. And, yes, it does exist. By the way, there is no such thing as purgatory, that doesn’t exist!
It’s up to you!
If you’re not sure if you’re saved or not, if you truly want to be born again and have the assurance of salvation, receive the Holy Spirit, and get a 1-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven after you die, or that you won’t be left behind at the Rapture, this is what you have to do…