March 21st

1 Samuel 9-12

  • 9:2—In other words, Saul is unusually large. Here, he’s described as taller than all the other Israelites. This is a detail we often forget in the later story of David and Goliath: Saul was present at that battle, and he was bigger than any of the soldiers in his army, yet he refused to go out and fight.
  • 9:21 – This culture put emphasis on shame and honor. Someone from the smallest clan in the least of the tribes would not normally be honored by getting to eat with a prophet. Saul was surprised why he was receiving such an honor.
  • 9:25 – Roofs were sturdy and used as an open second floor in many ancient, middle-eastern homes. It was quite common for people to sleep on the roof.
  • 10:1-8 – Samuel anoints Saul as ruler of Israel and explains to him what God will do to confirm that this is all true. It would be pretty hard to believe that you were being anointed as the king of Israel when there had never been one and you weren’t seeking to be king.
  • 10:9-13 – Though Saul’s anointing hadn’t been made public yet, he was quickly revealed to some people who knew him as a prophet.
  • 10:20-24 – Though Saul was reluctant, the people of Israel accepted him immediately as king. He looked the part, being tall and handsome. I sometimes wonder if that’s why chose him as the first king- Saul will prove himself, eventually, to be pretty bad at ruling. God knows this, but perhaps God wanted to show the Israelites that the best leaders weren’t necessarily going to be the ones who looked the part.
  • 11:1-15 – This story is a little confusing without context. The Ammonites attacked the Israelites in Jabesh-gilead (also known as Jabesh). The men of Jabesh are willing to make a treaty with the Ammonites to serve them. Note that they never seek God’s help throughout the story. The Ammonites want to gouge out an eye because it disgraces the Israelites and renders them unable to fight in battles. The men of Jabesh send for help and the plea reaches Saul. Saul’s army defeats the Ammonites and Saul’s position is solidified with the people
  • 12:1-5 – Some Bible scholars say that Samuel is the most boring character in Scripture. Basically, he never turns from God or is involved in a scandal of any sort. He is just steady. Not even his constituents can find fault with him.
  • 12:8-14 – The Lord was continuously faithful in protecting and providing for the Israelites, but people are fickle, and when things got scary, they lost trust. They convinced themselves that a human king could protect them from other nations best.
  • 12:20-22 – A good reminder that just because we’ve been sinful doesn’t mean we should keep on sinning and assume God is no longer for us. God redeems and restores over and over.

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