1 Sam 27-2 Sam 4
Recap the context. ~1000 BC. David on the run. Saul’s erratic behavior of attack and apologize. Periodically Saul drunk dials David and tells him what an awful friend he’s been and how great David is.
1 But David kept thinking to himself, “Someday Saul is going to get me. The best thing I can do is escape to the Philistines. Then Saul will stop hunting for me in Israelite territory, and I will finally be safe.”
2 So David took his 600 men and went over and joined Achish son of Maoch, the king of Gath. 3 David and his men and their families settled there…
David went to Achish earlier in 1 Sam, but got rejected when Achish’s generals complained that David had slain his 10,000s. David pretended to be insane to get out of that one. This time Achish accepts him. He knows David is an outlaw and he probably thinks David’s troops could be useful.
So David and his men bring their families with them (important later – chapter 29). Later they get permission to move south to Ziklag under the pretense of guarding the Philistines rear as they attack the Israelites. But…
8 David and his men spent their time raiding the Geshurites, the Girzites, and the Amalekites—people who had lived near Shur, toward the land of Egypt, since ancient times.
Saul was supposed to wipe out the Amalekites but didn’t. So now David has to take care of business as these guys keep harassing the Israelites. The Bible doesn’t say whether what David did was good or not. It just narrates what he did.
When Achish asks for status updates David says he’s raiding the towns of Judah
Here we gear up for Saul’s third and final encounter with the Philistines (1 Sam 13-14 & 1 Sam 17).
Map taken from James E. Smith, The Books of History, Old Testament Survey Series (Joplin, MO: College Press, 1995), 1 Sa 27:7–12.
1 About that time the Philistines mustered their armies for another war with Israel. King Achish told David, “You and your men will be expected to join me in battle.”
2 “Very well!” David agreed. “Now you will see for yourself what we can do.”
Then Achish told David, “I will make you my personal bodyguard for life.”
Reference to The Bodyguard or Whitney Houston song?
3 Meanwhile, Samuel had died, and all Israel had mourned for him. He was buried in Ramah, his hometown. And Saul had banned from the land of Israel all mediums and those who consult the spirits of the dead.
Another vow from Saul. But this was a good one that God himself had commanded in Deut 18:9-14
- Q: Why do you think God would be against them consulting fortune tellers and trying to contact spirit beings?
Saul and his army camp at Gilboa.
5 When Saul saw the vast Philistine army, he became frantic with fear. 6 He asked the Lord what he should do, but the Lord refused to answer him, either by dreams or by sacred lots or by the prophets. 7 Saul then said to his advisers, “Find a woman who is a medium, so I can go and ask her what to do.”
His advisers replied, “There is a medium at Endor.”
8 So Saul disguised himself by wearing ordinary clothing instead of his royal robes. Then he went to the woman’s home at night, accompanied by two of his men.
“I have to talk to a man who has died,” he said. “Will you call up his spirit for me?”
9 “Are you trying to get me killed?” the woman demanded. “You know that Saul has outlawed all the mediums and all who consult the spirits of the dead. Why are you setting a trap for me?”
Also you seem rather tall.
10 But Saul took an oath in the name of the Lord and promised, “As surely as the Lord lives, nothing bad will happen to you for doing this.”
11 Finally, the woman said, “Well, whose spirit do you want me to call up?”
“Call up Samuel,” Saul replied.
12 When the woman saw Samuel, she screamed, “You’ve deceived me! You are Saul!”
“I knew you reminded me of someone. You’re so tall!”
It seems that as soon as Saul said “Samuel” that Samuel appeared to the woman.
13 “Don’t be afraid!” the king told her. “What do you see?”
“I see a god coming up out of the earth,” she said…
15 “Why have you disturbed me by calling me back?” Samuel asked Saul.
Then Samuel talks directly to Saul without using the woman as a medium.
He’s coming from a peaceful place and doesn’t like being disturbed. Scripture says the afterlife is a conscious place. Not a place of sleep. In the OT it appears that believers when to “Abraham’s bosom” and non-believers went to a place of torment called “Hades.” (Luke 16) Sometimes the whole thing is called “Sheol.”
Moses and Elijah came back to talk to Jesus in Matt 17.
“Because I am in deep trouble,” Saul replied. “The Philistines are at war with me, and God has left me and won’t reply by prophets or dreams. So I have called for you to tell me what to do.”
16 But Samuel replied, “Why ask me, since the Lord has left you and has become your enemy? 17 The Lord has done just as he said he would. He has torn the kingdom from you and given it to your rival, David…
19 What’s more, the Lord will hand you and the army of Israel over to the Philistines tomorrow, and you and your sons will be here with me. The Lord will bring down the entire army of Israel in defeat.”
Samuel doesn’t change his message at all from their last meeting (1 Sam 15)
“you… will be here with me” – i.e. dead. Not necessarily that he’d go to Abraham’s bosom.
God doesn’t want us to pray to dead saints. Samuel: “Why ask me…”
20 Saul fell full length on the ground, paralyzed with fright because of Samuel’s words. He was also faint with hunger, for he had eaten nothing all day and all night.
Saul, hardcore until the end. Consulting a medium, but still holding to his fast. Won’t eat at first but finally relents.
Meanwhile back in Shunem…
2 As the Philistine rulers were leading out their troops in groups of hundreds and thousands, David and his men marched at the rear with King Achish. 3 But the Philistine commanders demanded, “What are these Hebrews doing here?”…
5 Isn’t this the same David about whom the women of Israel sing in their dances,
‘Saul has killed his thousands,
and David his ten thousands’?” …
1 Three days later, when David and his men arrived home at their town of Ziklag, they found that the Amalekites had made a raid into the Negev and Ziklag; they had crushed Ziklag and burned it to the ground. 2 They had carried off the women and children and everyone else but without killing anyone. [Including David’s family]…
6 David was now in great danger because all his men were very bitter about losing their sons and daughters, and they began to talk of stoning him.
David is in a bad spot. Seems like this is never going to end. His family has been taken. Now even his men hate him.
6b But David found strength in the Lord his God.
But he finds strength in the Lord. Little does he know he’ll be king in less than a week. I’ll bet there’s a Psalm about this
7 Then he said to Abiathar the priest, “Bring me the ephod!” So Abiathar brought it. 8 Then David asked the Lord, “Should I chase after this band of raiders? Will I catch them?”
And the Lord told him, “Yes, go after them. You will surely recover everything that was taken from you!”
[They get everything back and even share with the guys who were too tired to continue the pursuit]
26 When he arrived at Ziklag, David sent part of the plunder to the elders of Judah, who were his friends. “Here is a present for you, taken from the Lord’s enemies,” he said.
Good diplomatic move by David here. Gaining favor with the people he was going to lead someday.
1 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…
And thus the life of Saul comes to an end – with a visit to a witch and perishing in battle along with his sons.
Q: What’s your reaction to these final episodes in Saul’s life?
Q: What are some lessons that we can take away from the story of Saul’s life?
Three days after Saul’s death a guy shows up from the battle, reporting Saul and Jonathan’s death. David asks how this guy knows for certain and he says that he saw the king lying there, mortally wounded.
9 “Then he [i.e. Saul] 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.”
Q: What do you think about David’s reaction here? Was this good or bad?
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…
19 Your pride and joy, O Israel, lies dead on the hills!
Oh, how the mighty heroes have fallen! …
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!
Stripped of their weapons, they lie dead.
Not that they were gay lovers. He’s saying that they had a depth that was different than sexual intimacy. The closeness that comes from two friends committed to going all out for God. This is truly one of the greatest benefits of following God. It’s what we all want.
Band of Brothers Quotes:
They thought the Army was boring, unfeeling, and chicken, and hated it. They found combat to be ugliness, destruction, and death, and hated it. Anything was better than the blood and carnage, the grime and filth, the impossible demands made on the body–anything, that is, except letting down their buddies.
They also found in combat the closest brotherhood they ever knew. They found selflessness. They found they could love the other guy in their foxhole more than themselves. They found that in war, men who loved life would give their lives for them.
Stephen Ambrose, Band of Brothers (Simon and Schuster, 2001), p. 289
The result of sharing all that stress throughout training and combat has created a bond between the men… that will last forever.
Stephen Ambrose, Band of Brothers (Simon and Schuster, 2001), p. 291
What’s awesome is that we know that death is not the end for a spiritual friendship. That thanks to Jesus there is hope beyond the grace. GOSPEL
But David has to go on. Without Jonathan.
1 After this, David asked the Lord, “Should I move back to one of the towns of Judah?”
David is always asking God what he should do next. He really expected God to answer. And God did.
God tells him to move to Hebron
4 Then the men of Judah came to David and anointed him king over the people of Judah…
So now at long last David is finally king! All of his problems are over, right? Wrong!
8 But Abner son of Ner, the commander of Saul’s army, had already gone to Mahanaim with Saul’s son Ishbosheth. 9 There he proclaimed Ishbosheth king…
10 Ishbosheth, Saul’s son, was forty years old when he became king, and he ruled from Mahanaim for two years. Meanwhile, the people of Judah remained loyal to David. 11 David made Hebron his capital, and he ruled as king of Judah for seven and a half years.
A lengthy time of war between Israel (north) and Judah (south). 7.5 years.
12 One day Abner led Ishbosheth’s troops from Mahanaim to Gibeon. 13 About the same time, Joab son of Zeruiah led David’s troops out and met them at the pool of Gibeon. The two groups sat down there, facing each other from opposite sides of the pool.
Both armies show up at the drinking fountain at the same time. Showdown. David’s troops are led by his three nephews, all brothers: Joab, Abashai and Asahel
14 Then Abner suggested to Joab, “Let’s have a few of our warriors fight hand to hand here in front of us.”
“All right,” Joab agreed. 15 So twelve men were chosen to fight from each side—twelve men of Benjamin representing Ishbosheth son of Saul, and twelve representing David. 16 Each one grabbed his opponent by the hair and thrust his sword into the other’s side so that all of them died.
This was awkward. A tie. All 24 died at once. Everybody looks up and decides to attack each other anyway.
18 Joab, Abishai, and Asahel—the three sons of Zeruiah—were among David’s forces that day. Asahel could run like a gazelle, 19 and he began chasing Abner. He pursued him relentlessly, not stopping for anything. 20 When Abner looked back and saw him coming, he called out, “Is that you, Asahel?”
“Yes, it is,” he replied.
21 “Go fight someone else!” Abner warned. “Take on one of the younger men, and strip him of his weapons.” But Asahel kept right on chasing Abner.
22 Again Abner shouted to him, “Get away from here! I don’t want to kill you. How could I ever face your brother Joab again?”
23 But Asahel refused to turn back, so Abner thrust the butt end of his spear through Asahel’s stomach, and the spear came out through his back. He stumbled to the ground and died there.
Joab and Abishai and their troops eventually call off the battle. But Joab would have his revenge.
1 That was the beginning of a long war between those who were loyal to Saul and those loyal to David. As time passed David became stronger and stronger, while Saul’s dynasty became weaker and weaker.
David takes more wives and has several sons at Hebron (v. 2-5)
6 As the war between the house of Saul and the house of David went on, Abner became a powerful leader among those loyal to Saul. 7 One day Ishbosheth, Saul’s son, accused Abner of sleeping with one of his father’s concubines, a woman named Rizpah, daughter of Aiah.
Abner gets angry and vows to make David king and sends a message to David to negotiate. David says, “I want my wife, Michal, back first.”
15 So Ishbosheth took Michal away from her husband, Palti son of Laish. 16 Palti followed along behind her as far as Bahurim, weeping as he went. Then Abner told him, “Go back home!” So Palti returned.
Picture this scene. Sad but also humor opportunity. I think this is messed up. Makes you wonder if David is going to have problems with this in the future. Just taking another guy’s wife like this! I’m sure he’ll never do THAT again!
Abner shows up in Jerusalem and cuts a deal with David over a great feast.
21 Then Abner said to David, “Let me go and call an assembly of all Israel to support my lord the king. They will make a covenant with you to make you their king, and you will rule over everything your heart desires.” So David sent Abner safely on his way.
But Joab returns and finds out that Abner was there and that David let him get away.
24 Joab rushed to the king and demanded, “What have you done? What do you mean by letting Abner get away?
David just takes it from Joab.
26 Joab then left David and sent messengers to catch up with Abner, asking him to return…
27 When Abner arrived back at Hebron, Joab took him aside at the gateway as if to speak with him privately. But then he stabbed Abner in the stomach and killed him in revenge for killing his brother Asahel.
28 When David heard about it, he declared, “I vow by the Lord that I and my kingdom are forever innocent of this crime against Abner son of Ner. 29 Joab and his family are the guilty ones. May the family of Joab be cursed in every generation with a man who has open sores or leprosy or who walks on crutches or dies by the sword or begs for food!”
But he leaves Joab in charge of the army!
36 This pleased the people very much. In fact, everything the king did pleased them! …
38 Then King David said to his officials, “Don’t you realize that a great commander has fallen today in Israel? 39 And even though I am the anointed king, these two sons of Zeruiah—Joab and Abishai—are too strong for me to control. So may the Lord repay these evil men for their evil deeds.”
Q: What do you think about David’s leadership here?
1 When Ishbosheth, Saul’s son, heard about Abner’s death at Hebron, he lost all courage, and all Israel became paralyzed with fear.
Two of Ishbosheth’s generals sneak into his room, kill him, cut off his head and travel by night to show the head to David. David says, “That’s messed up.”
12 So David ordered his young men to kill them, and they did. They cut off their hands and feet and hung their bodies beside the pool in Hebron. Then they took Ishbosheth’s head and buried it in Abner’s tomb in Hebron.
Saul’s life has come to a tragic, pitiful end.
Spiritual friendship can have eternal impact (restate the quote about “forever”)
David patiently suffers and finally takes the throne in God’s timing. Just like God predicted.
- With God, sometimes things don’t seem to happen as quick as you want them to
- But the waiting can come to an end relatively quickly
Now that David is king, his struggles aren’t over.
- If you want to hear how David does as King of Israel, you’ll have to come back next week