March 26th

1 Samuel 25-27

  • 25:1-17 – Even though David and his men had been very kind to Nabal’s men, Nabal is hateful and inhospitable to David, which was unusual for their culture. Unless you were enemies, hospitality was expected. Hospitality was one of the most important cultural values in the ancient world- almost everyone, at some point in their lives, would find themselves dependent on someone’s hospitality, not just for comfort or convenience but for survival.
  • 25:18-35 – Abigail, with quick thinking and great hospitality, saves her household from the consequences of her husband’s hatefulness. She also saved David from making a hasty decision and killing Nabal’s household.
  • 25:40-44 – David was married to Michal and now has taken both Abigail and Ahinoam as wives. Saul, though, dissolves David’s marriage to Michal, in his absence, so David now has two wives. This was culturally acceptable.
  • 26:8-10—this is neither the first nor the last time that David will have the opportunity to kill Saul and refuse to do it. Ahimelech is certain that this is a God-given opportunity for David to claim the throne for himself and kill Saul, but David believes that’s not what God wants. What’s so amazing about David’s faith during this time is that it’s been years, decades possibly, since he was anointed by Samuel as the next king of Israel. All this time he must have been wondering when God’s promise to make him king would finally be fulfilled and still, as he’s hiding in the wilderness pursued by the man who has to die before David can be king, he remains patient and trusts in God’s unknowable plan. That’s just amazing- and it shows why God chose David to lead Israel.
  • 26:21-25—Saul appears to have a change of heart here, but David doesn’t return with him to Jerusalem. That’s probably because David has seen Saul do this before- it’s almost as if Saul is two different people: one Saul loves David and is horrified by his own actions, the other despises David and wants to kill him. It’s fair to wonder if Saul was battling some sort of mental illness- a lot of scholars think that any time something like “evil spirits” or “demons” is mentioned in the Bible it’s because a person had schizophrenia, epilepsy or bipolar disorder and ancient people simply didn’t understand what these things were, so they assumed it was the result of demonic activity. Other scholars think every single one of these cases is some sort of supernatural evil, and none of them have anything to do with mental illness. I suspect the truth is somewhere in between. In any case, Saul has become deeply troubled and unpredictable at this point.
  • 27:5-12—David is living in a Philistine city, under the protection of a Philistine king, being fed by Philistines, and he tells the Philistine king that he’s raiding towns and cities in Israel, when in fact he’s destroying a bunch of Philistine towns and cities. Even with no internet or phone, it’s amazing that he was able to keep up this deception for as long as he did.

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