1 Samuel 28-31
- 28:3-7 – When Saul can no longer hear from the Lord he turns to other, unsanctioned ways of learning his future.
- 28:8-19 – Samuel explains the reason God cut Saul off, which would prove it was Samuel since others didn’t know that Saul was cut off or the reason why. Samuel confirms that Saul and his sons will die the next day and will lose to the Philistines. This is a weird story- the Bible typically treats mediums (and yes, these are just like the mediums –or psychics, or whatever else they call themselves- that you see today in terrible reality tv shows) as charlatans, liars, or in some cases as demon-worshippers. Either this woman is the real deal, or this is a special case in which God decided to do something spooky. It’s not entirely clear why God spoke to Saul through Samuel in this way, but it may be that this was the only way Saul would hear him. I think God speaks to us much more frequently than we realize, it’s just that we often aren’t listening. Perhaps God was speaking to Saul all along, but couldn’t get through to him without doing something drastic.
- 30:1-6 – While David and the men were away from their villages, Negeb and Ziklag, the Amalekites, a perpetual enemy of the Israelites, took all the women and children captive. David’s men were furious with him when they returned. As a point of connection, the Amalekites were the people Saul was supposed to destroy completely but didn’t, which was why he was rejected as king.
- 30:7-8 – David, unlike Saul, is faithful in asking God what he wants him to do before he does anything.
- 30:9-25 – David’s men who were too exhausted stayed behind and didn’t fight. Interesting that Scripture refers to the men who, after their victory, didn’t want to return the exhausted men’s property to them, as “wicked and worthless.” These were greedy men who wanted the credit for their hard work and to punish those who couldn’t fight that particular battle. David did not go for their proposition.
- 31:1-7 – As was prophesied, Saul and all his sons died in one day. The Philistines seem to be in complete power at this point. It’s a moment of hopelessness for Israel- the king is dead and their army has been destroyed. And, while you and I know that David is alive and has been building his own private army and accumulating wealth and power this whole time, nobody in Israel knows that- the last any of them heard about David was that he had defected to the Philistines, and they hadn’t seen him since.
- 31:8-10 – Because the Philistines couldn’t capture Saul alive, they torture and dishonor his corpse.
- 31:11-13 – Normally burning a body would be seen as shameful, but it may have been done so the Philistines could not find him and take him back. The bodies weren’t completely burned because, later, David takes Saul and Jonathan’s bones and buries them in their family burial plot.