Dr. Ted Hildebrandt,
OT History, Lit., and Theology, Lecture 23
© 2012, Dr. Ted Hildebrandt
This is Dr. Ted Hildebrandt in his Old Testament History, Literature and Theology course lecture 23 on the book of 1 Samuel: the demise of Saul and the early stories of King David.
A. Quiz Preview [0:00-4:46]
don’t we get started? We’ve got the speaker back today. Welcome back from Thanksgiving,
and I hope you had a great Thanksgiving having time with friends and family and
just a good time. Probably, like me, you come back exhausted. So now, we’ve
got two weeks of school left. I think Friday is reading day right? Couple
things with this class: Thursday, we’ve got a quiz, by the way. Go from the
quiz material listed online. Let me just kind of run through that. There is an
article on there on the imprecatory Psalms. There are certain psalms called “imprecatory
psalms,” they’re the ones that say, “may they cast your baby against the rocks,”
“may someone strike you in the jaw and break your head,” that kind of thing. Those
are imprecatory psalms. John Day writes an article on how to understand those
imprecatory psalms. I think it will be helpful in terms of understanding. There
is one memory verse from Job. Then selected psalms, most of the psalms that
you’re going read, you’ll be familiar with them. Then Ezra, Nehemiah, and
Esther, but in Ezra, there are only select chapters. In Nehemiah there are only
select chapters as well. I’d like you to read the whole book of Esther. It’s
not that big. You need the whole book of Esther to make the story flow. So
selected parts of Ezra, selected parts of Nehemiah, and for Esther, read the
whole thing. Then the article and the memory verse and there are select psalms.
So it shouldn’t be too bad, it should be an interesting week with those readings.
The other thing, if any of you guys are doing extra credit transcriptions, all of those are due on Thursday. That’s a hard date. If you don’t get them in by then, you don’t get them in. So it’s a hard date, you have got to get it in by Thursday, you had all semester to work on this, so that’s it. I have got to have them all in by Thursday.
The other thing is, some of you were not here on Thanksgiving for our wonderful Tuesday quiz. You flew out or whatever and hopefully you had a great time. I’m going stay after this class. Class ends at about 4:30, give me 5 minutes to talk to people and just square up things at the end of class, and then if anybody who wants to stay at 4:35, we’ll do the quiz here. If you don’t want to do the quiz here, you can come up to my office. I’ll be in tomorrow, Wednesday, from 9 o’clock in the morning until 2 up in Frost 304, except for chapel time. I’ve got a meeting at chapel time, faculty meetings, people like to yak and yak. I’m sorry, but the meetings run over sometimes, so if you come back from chapel, give me a couple minutes. Sometimes the meetings run over just a few minutes, but I’ll be back right after. But chapel time I won’t be there, but I will be there from 9 until 2 except for chapel time.
That’s for tomorrow, and Thursday, and then we’ll have one more quiz on the following Thursday, and after that we’ll be up for the final exam. The final will not be comprehensive. It’ll cover material just form the last exam. So hopefully that will be a good thing.
Let’s open with a word of prayer, and then we’ll get into David today. Let’s begin with a word of prayer. Father, we thank you for Thanksgiving. It’s a wonderful time of the year back with family and friends and back to our roots. We thank you that you’ve told us “to rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice,” to be thankful, to give thanks over all things. And we thank you most of all for the gift you have given us in your son Jesus Christ. We thank you that as we go over the book of 1 Samuel today and we look at David, that we can see some likenesses of Christ in David, who is a man after your own heart. Even Jesus Christ, your son, came as the son of David. So I pray you may help us as we explore the life of David today. I thank you once again for your son Christ and for giving us your word. In his precious name we pray, Amen.
B. Saul’s trouble: Gilgal Sacrifice [4:47-11:05]
going to pick up where we left off last time. Before we get to David, we’ve got
to do Saul. So we have got to wind Saul down. He was the first king of Israel,
now we are going to see the downside of Saul. This is Saul’s mistake which
takes place then in chapter 13 at Gilgal. Now, there’s a quite a bit of a
detail, actually in the first class, this is after Thanksgiving, and I could
just see people fading out. I think everybody is tired after Thanksgiving. I
thought maybe everybody would come back refreshed. So, Saul is scared. Why is
Saul scared? You guys are Jordan, you guys are Israel, Sea of Galilee, Jordan
River, Dead Sea. This is the canyon between the two countries, between Jordan
and Israel, called the Rift Valley. He goes to Gilgal. Why is Saul scared?
Because Gilgal is located down by Jericho in the base of this Rift Valley. He’s
worried that the Philistines are going to attack them. Now where did the
Philistines usually hang out? If this is Israel, the mountains of Israel, you
guys are the Mediterranean Sea, the Philistines are where? Out along the Philistine
coast. They were along the coastline. It’s flat out there. They like it for
their chariots. So the Philistines live on the coastal plain. If Saul is over
here in the valley and he is worried about the Philistines attacking him,
what’s the problem? That means the Philistines had come through the mountains
of Israel and are all the way through and are ready to attack them here. Is
that a really dangerous position to be in when the Philistines have actually
gone through Israel and now are coming out to Jericho.
It would be like Cuba attacking Montana? You guys would say, “Let them have it.” If Cuba attacked Montana, would that mean that Cuba has come up and gone though much of America to get to Montana. Is it game over? Most of the places of serious defense would have been taken already? That’s what this is like. The Philistines have come through the mountains and Saul’s scared to death. He should be scared to death.
What Samuel tells him in chapter 13 is, Samuel says, “Okay, you go down to Gilgal, and I will be there seven days later, and I will offer up a sacrifice and we’ll get the Lord’s blessing on this.” Well, seven days later, where is Samuel? All of a sudden, the prophet Samuel doesn’t show. These prophets are always late to meetings. So it says in chapter 13, “Saul remained at Gilgal, and all the troops with him were quaking with fear. He waited seven days.” When you’re fearful, what does fear make you want to do? Do you want to stay put when you’re afraid or do you want to run? Fright leads to flight, you want to run.
So these guys are down there quaking in fear but Samuel had not come to Gilgal and Saul’s men began to scatter. So he said, “Bring me a burnt offering and a fellowship offering, I’m going to offer the burnt offering.” Now what’s the problem? He’s a king. Is he a priest? No, he’s not. Do you see what power does to a person? He is the king, and now he’s expanding his power. Do people in positions of power like to expand their powers? So now he’s expanding his power, he’s taking over priestly functions saying, “I’ve got to do this or my guys are all going to scatter.”
By the way, as soon as he starts to offer the sacrifice, guess who shows up? Sure enough, he starts offering the sacrifice and Samuel shows up. This is chapter 13, “‘When I saw that the men were scattering,’ Saul said, ‘and that you did not come at the set time and the Philistines were assembling at Michmash, I thought now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the Lord’s favor. So I felt compelled to make a burnt offering.’” Samuel’s response: “‘You have acted foolishly,’ said Samuel, ‘you have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you. If you had kept the Lord’s command, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time.’” That is a very interesting statement. “Saul, if you have kept the Lord’s command, he would have set you up for all time.” Saul says, “O but I wanted to offer a sacrifice to God.” That was a pious cover-up. He uses piety, he uses religion to cover his sin. Is that move very common?
So Samuel isn’t fooled by that, and Samuel rebukes him, but in the process of rebuking him, he says, “If you had kept the commandment, God would have made you and your line kings forever over Israel.” This means then, is there an “if” with God? God said, “If you had obeyed, I would have made you king forever.” That means that there is a possibility that God was open to, but Saul made a decision contrary that and God responded to that. So there is an “if,”’ a possible “if” that never happened God said, “If you had done the other, I would have made you king forever.” So this is one of the cases where you see possible futures, multiple possible futures. Here is Saul, if you had, then he would have made it. So everything is not fixed. It’s not determinism where everything is fixed and fossilized, and God saying we’re going to move from point A to B to C to D, and everything is fixed. No, God said, “If you have done that, I would have made you king forever.” So this is my reaction against determinism. I think that passage is against that kind of determinism that everything is fixed in the future. It seems like the future is more flexible and more able to be impacted.
Story in chapter 14 [11:06-18:59]
Now, what’s beautiful with this literature…1 Samuel is beautiful literature. Let me just kind of set this up. Saul in chapter 13 disobeys by offering up the sacrifice. Saul goes down in chapter 13. In chapter 15, Saul’s not going to kill the Amalekite king which God told him to do. So Saul in 15 is going to go down also. So in chapter 13, Saul goes down, and chapter 15, Saul goes down again. What’s housed right between chapters 13 and 15? Well, chapter 14! Chapter 14 is in the middle and chapter 14 is about Jonathan. So what you get is, Saul down in 13, down in 15, and then in the middle of this, Jonathan emerges as this wonderful young man by contrast. I just want to run through Jonathan’s story in chapter 14.
There’s not too much about Jonathan. I always tell people, in the Old Testament, there are two heroes in the OT that are flawless: Joseph and Daniel. Those two guys are above reproach. Everything said about Jonathan is good. The problem with Jonathan’s story is that he’s only got a few verses. You don’t get a long description about Jonathan. Chapter 14 is the longest, so he’s not on the same level as the lengthy narratives on Daniel or Joseph.
But the story goes like this: Jonathan and his armor bearer are out in the field. They’re walking to the east of Michmash, where the Philistines were. What you need to understand is, and I’ve been to the place, Wadi Suwenit. The cliffs on both sides are about 250 feet high. On both sides you have cliffs. Jonathan and his armor bearer are walking in the valley.
Why do they tell you in Israel never to walk in the valley? I think I’ve mentioned this before. When we were east of Bethlehem out in the Judean desert, there were three of us all about my size or a little bit bigger, and this 12 year old Arab kid was sitting up on the top. We were walking in the valley and we didn’t know this rule that you never walk in the valley. This 12 year old kid starts throwing rocks down at us. When a stone comes down 200-300 feet, question, do you have to run? So basically, the kid is up there, laughing his head off as three big American guys are trying to dodge this kid’s stones because, I mean they were coming hard and fast and the stones were rocks. It would have taken off your head. He was just laughing his head off. We were furious but could we get the kid? By the time we would have gotten up there, he would have been long gone, so we ran for our lives. We learned a lesson that day, you don’t walk in the valley.
Where is Jonathan? He’s in the valley. Is he vulnerable? Where are the Philistines? The Philistines are 250 feet up. Have they got plenty of rocks up there? Yes. Listen to what Jonathan says here, it’s really interesting. Jonathan said to his young armor bearer, “come let’s go to the outpost of those uncircumcised fellows. Perhaps the Lord will act in our behalf.” Check this out: “Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving whether by many or by few.” Where do we get something similar to that where the Lord gives deliverance by the many or by the few? Does anybody remember Gideon, having all those troops and sending all those guys home. God says, “Hey, it just takes 300. 300 is all I need, and we’ll take on the whole Midianite group.” The Lord saves by many or few. This a wonderful statement. “The Lord can save by many or by few. So just my armor bearer and me, we can do this.” “Do all that’s in your mind,” his armor bearer said, “go ahead, I am with you with heart and soul.” Did that armor bearer trust Jonathan?
My son came back from war and he talked about you have some people that lead you into war that you would follow into the thickest battle. You would follow them to the death. Yes, have you got other guys you wouldn’t follow across the street? One of the problems my son had, he was a group leader. The guys that followed him, would they have gone to death with him? Yes. Because they knew who would go first. When the door had to be knocked down, when they had to find the IED, who would go first, would my son be the first one through? That’s very stupid. Anyway, so he’d be the first one. My wife and I knew that so that’s why we were happy when he got shifted to another assignment. We were just happy because some of his friends did not come back because they had led by going first.
This armor bearer says, “Jonathan, there’s a bunch of Philistines up there, there’s over 20 Philistines up there, there’s only two of us against 20. Guess who wins? By the way, do we have to climb a 250 feet cliff? You climb a 250 foot cliff and then you do a hand-to-hand combat, with 20 guys? What do the Philistines say? The Philistines are reacting to this too. “Both of them showed themselves to the Philistine outpost. “‘Look,’ the Philistines said, ‘the Hebrews are crawling out of their holes they’re hiding in.’ The men of the outpost shouted to Jonathan’s armor bearer, ‘come up to us and we’ll teach you a lesson.’”
Now, what did Jonathan tell the Lord? If they say come up, then we’ll know God has given them into our hands. If they say stay down, then we’ll know the Lord’s not given them to us. They say, “come on up here Jew boys, we’re going to teach you a thing or two up here.” They’ve got 20 guys. They’re going to clean these guys out. So they come up. By the way, could they have taken them out when they’re climbing the cliffs? All you’ve got to do is throw some rocks down there, it’s going to knock them off the cliff.
But they let them get up there and what happens? Jonathan said to his armor bearer, “climb up with me, the Lord has given them into our hands.” So they get up there and basically, the Philistines fell before Jonathan and his armor bearer, and they killed behind them in the first attack, Jonathan’s armor bearer killed some 20 men. Two guys against 20, Jonathan and his armor bearer take out 20 guys. Is Jonathan a warrior? Sometimes you get in scripture you think, “O Jonathan is just a meek little king’s son.” Is this guy a warrior? Yes. Two guys take out 20, and then what happens? God gets involved and panic struck the whole army because God basically causes the ground to shake. It was panic sent by God. So God shakes the ground. All of a sudden the Philistines realize what? These Jews have got this God who split the Red Sea and now the ground is shaking, we’re going to get out of here. So the Philistines are basically terrified from what happens.
Here’s something that I didn’t realize when I was younger. In the Philistine army there were Jewish mercenaries. How did Jonathan win the day? Well, Jonathan is a hero; Jonathan is a mighty warrior. I don’t want to take that away from him. But were there Jews in the Philistine armies? Who, later on, will join the Philistine armies? David does that. At this time with Jonathan the ground shook, the Philistines freaked, and then if you go down to verse 20 it says, “Saul and his army assembled, went to battle. When they fought the Philistines they were in total confusion, striking each other with swords. Those Hebrews who had previously been with the Philistines had gone up with them to their camp went over to the Israelites.” So the Israelites who were mercenaries in the Philistine army, when the Israelites attacked, those Israelites flipped sides and actually went against the Philistines. So that was the part of the battle too. The Israelites who were mercenaries flipped sides and Jonathan wins the day.
D. Saul’s Vow and Jonathan’s defended by the people [19:00-27:30]
So a great victory at the hands of Jonathan and the Lord wins the victory. It’s a big deal. Now, what’s the problem? Saul gets involved. Now, what’s Saul’s thing? Saul makes a vow that no one should eat any food, before they defeat their enemy. So Saul makes a vow. Saul had bound the people under oath saying, “cursed be the man who eats food before evening comes.” Basically, “we’re going to chase after those Philistines and totally defeat them. Nobody can stop for food.”
Now what’s Jonathan’s problem. Jonathan just climbed a cliff of 250 feet and hand to hand combat fought 20 guys, is Jonathan hungry, do you think? Yes, the guy is starving. So what happens is he’s going through the woods, he scoops, he sees some honey, he scoops it, he eats and feels better and encouraged by that, and then what happens afterwards? All of a sudden, somehow the thing turns against him and they cast lots and it comes down to the lot falling on Jonathan as having broken his father’s vow. His father then, is going to do what to his hero son? By the way, did Jonathan know that his father made that stupid vow? Jonathan had no idea that his father had made that vow. He was just starving going through the woods, he didn’t know about that. So Jonathan was totally innocent, and yet his father was going to kill him. Is that wicked? Jonathan is a hero.
Who saves Jonathan’s life? It says, Saul says, “You will die.” So the men, Jonathan’s troops rescue him from the hands of his father. His war buddies rescue him from the hand of the king, his own father. What is one of the fundamental roles of the father? One of the fundamental roles of a father is to do what to his children? To protect his children. Here Saul is going to kill his kid.
Yes, Hannah? (student asks) Does everybody hear she’s ahead of me on the narrative here, does everybody hear what she’s suggested? The next chapter, Saul is going to spare the king of the Amalekites which God told them to kill, and yet here, he’s going to kill his own son. What I’m saying is, this whole thing is upside down. So he spares the foreign king, but he’s going to kill his own son.
Once upon a time, I had two daughters. I was in the house and I was doing dishes. I was the father of two young daughters and they were out playing trucks in the back yard. My daughters’ got these two trucks, they fill them up with stones and they haul them, dump them. I didn’t do the doll thing, I like trucks better, but anyways. So they’re playing out back. I’m doing the dishes, and I’m looking out the back, watching my kids playing in the dirt, they were about from here to the pole.
As I’m doing the dishes, this guy comes down. There was a walkway down through the woods, there were woods on both sides. There was a walkway down, and then it went down to the beach. There was a beach across the street and over the way from us so people used to travel on it all the time. So I’m doing the dishes and all of a sudden his guy, about 40 year old guy, comes down, he’s bear-chested, big beer belly, actually, I better be careful about that, he comes down. Then I noticed about half way down all of a sudden, he stops. He starts staring at my daughters. Now I’m sitting there thinking, “well, everybody walks through here and it’s okay” but he stops and I am still doing the dishes, but am I watching that guy like a hawk. So what are you watching my daughters for? Get down to the beach, continue going. And the next thing, the guy climbed over the guard rail. He climbs over the rail and I see him going through the woods and I see him creeping up on my daughters in the woods.
Something went off of me, I’ve never experienced anything like it. In high school, I played football, I played everything, Basketball, I played, all the sports. I’ve been in conflictual settings, if you know what I mean. To be honest, I’ve never lost it, I mean it was tight, things were happening, but I never totally lost it. All the sudden when I was doing the dishes, I just totally lost it. I dropped those dishes and I went running out the back door. I was totally, I want to say I was insane, I mean it was total, I was freaked. I go running up into the woods, that dude got away. I don’t know how he got away, but praise God he did get away because I know what would have happened. I wouldn’t have killed him but I would have busted every rib on both sides.
So I called the cops. When you’re in the small town, what’s one of the benefits of a small town? Yes, so I called the cops, so Terry comes over, probably shouldn’t say this in tape, but Terry comes over. I said, Terry, I never had this happen in all my life, I was out of control. I was totally out of control. I was just about to kill that guy, Terry.” I called the cops now, would you guys put me in jail or something, what would happen? I was totally out of control. It scared me, I was actually shaking. Terry said, “Ted just calm down, I’m the one who writes the report. I’ll take care of you.” You guys say “that’s not justice and you kind freak out like that” it’s good to have a friend like that, he said “we’ll take care of you.” About three days later, the guy was, in our generation we called them “flashers,” but I don’t know what that means in your generation. This guy’s down by the bushes and there were some girls walking by, and he’s ready to flash these girls. Andy Galvin who is about 6’4” weights about 260-270 pounds sees this guy getting ready to do his thing. Andy then runs out starts chasing this guy down. It was the same guy that I had chased. This time, he’s chasing him, all of a sudden the pastor of our church is in a passing car and sees Andy, who’s a member of his church, chasing this guy. The pastor of the church gets out of the car, goes out and tackles the guy. Then Andy sits on him. When Andy sits on you, you aren’t going anywhere. So he sits on him, and then they called Terry who was the cop. They were hunting for him because he did this to couple other towns around the neighborhood. But I was glad that I didn’t catch him.
My point is this: is one of the deep down roles of the father to protect his children. Is that so deep in someone that when you see your children threatened, would your parents freak out if anybody was going to hurt you? Some of your parents would go right through the roof?
What I’m saying is: do you see what Saul’s doing? Saul is the father now and the father is going to hurt his own son. Do you see how messed up Saul is? It’s totally against everything that should be in a father who should love and protect his son. Saul was the major jerk. I guess that’s my proof: Saul is a jerk. I don’t know what else to say. Saul is a jerk when he comes at his son like that.
Now, what happens? The irony here, and this is what Hannah pointed out before, Saul will kill his own son because his ego is violated, and yet when it comes to God, God ordered him to kill Agag, the king of the Amalekites, yet Saul won’t do what God commanded him to do. So for Saul if you violate Saul’s word, it means death. If you violate God’s word, no big deal. This is God’s word, “Well I did capture him, I just didn’t kill him,” and he makes excuses. So here’s the great irony.
So I think chapters 14 and 15 are linked through this irony. His own word he takes so seriously he was going to kill his son. But God’s word, he won’t do it. So there’s this great irony between these two chapters. Well, that’s Jonathan. Jonathan’s a hero, a good guy.
E. Saul’s disobedience with the Amalekites [27:31-31:39]
Now Saul, this is chapter 15. Chapters 13 and 15 are when Saul botches it up and this is when God gets on him on chapter 15. There is an interesting statement from God in chapter 15:11 it says this, “The word of the Lord came to Samuel. I am grieved that I have made Saul king because he has turned away from and has not carried out my instructions.” God says, “I am grieved.” What does it mean for God to grieve? God says, “I am grieved that I made Saul king.” Does God have any regrets? God says, “I’m grieved that I made Saul king.” Now, I don’t know, what does that mean. I don’t know exactly what that means but it just means God reflects on this thing. I want to bring out the notion, is there grief in heaven? Here it says, God says, “I am grieved that I made Saul king.” It is a very interesting statement about what goes on in heaven. So I always come back to that song. Are there “tears in heaven”? Yes, Eric Clapton was right, there are tears in heaven. God says, “I was grieved that I made Saul king.”
Now, what happens here. God tells Saul to go out and wipe out the Amalekites. Why did God tell him to go wipe out the Amalekites? What had the Amalekites done to the Jews? When the Jews were passing through the wilderness, there were people that were weak, stragglers behind. There were stragglers who were weak and they were straggling behind and the Amalekites snuck up on the Jews from behind and killed the stragglers, the weak ones. So what happened is, God said because the Amalekites took advantage of the poor and the oppressed, the Amalekites are to be wiped out. He tells Saul then, “This is the time and you’ll be the one that does it.” So Saul goes and then Saul doesn’t do it.
In chapter 15, verse 14, when Samuel meets Saul, “the Lord bless you, I carried out the Lord’s instruction.” Well, that wasn’t true, but Samuel said, “what is this bleeding of sheep in my ears?” God told you to wipe out their goats, their sheep, everything were to be destroyed, including the king. Why do I hear this bleating of sheep?” Saul answered, “the soldiers brought them from the Amalekites, they spared the best of the sheep and the cattle.” Why did they spare the best of them? To sacrifice them to the Lord. So he gives this pious cover-up, but God said to wipe them out. He says, “O, no, we saved the best so we can sacrifice them to the Lord.” Samuel is frosted because Saul uses this pious kind of cover-up in order “to sacrifice them to the Lord, your God at Gilgal.”
Samuel replied, “does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord?” Sound familiar? [It’s our memory verse]. That’s the context for that passage. Does the Lord delight in sacrifice? Saul was saying, we saved the best sheep for the sacrifice. But God says, he doesn’t want your sacrifices, “to obey is better than sacrifice, to heed is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination, arrogance, like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has rejected you as king.”
In chapter 15 now, Saul knows it’s over. God has rejected him. So God has rejected him and then God is going after man after his own heart here. As long as your heart is right, it doesn’t matter what you do, is that true? No. Saul said “My heart’s right and I was going to offer this up to God.” God says, “No, what you did was wrong.” What you do matters, not just what your heart is saying. Well, my heart was right. It doesn’t matter sometimes whether “your heart” is right or not, it’s what you do, as well as your heart. It is not one or the other, it’s both “and.” You’ve got to have both right. What you do has got to be right as well as the motives of your heart.
F. God and change [31:40-32:54]
God’s desire down in verse 22, is “to obey is better than the sacrifice,” that’s what we just looked at.” Now, what’s interesting down at chapter 15 verse 29, here’s a beautiful verse, “for he who is the glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind. For he is not a man that he should he should change his mind.” Does anybody remember, wait a minute, didn’t you just say God can change his mind? How does this work? I guess I go back to the thing, can God change his character, is his character firm? His character doesn’t change. When God gives his word, does God keep his word? God is a promise keeper. Is God able to say things in the future that never happen? Is God able to change his mind, I’m going to destroy them, Moses prays, and then God spares them. So be careful. It doesn’t mean God can’t think. By the way, does thinking mean change? God thinks, so be careful. It’s his character that doesn’t change, his word doesn’t change, but you’ve got to be careful about mapping that into a universal.
G. David is anointed [32:55-34:27]
we finally break into David. So here comes David now, Saul’s said to be
history, in 1 Samuel 15. Saul goes down, and now we know that there’s going to
be a new guy. But what happens in chapter 16? The first verse in chapter 16’s
got a problem. “The Lord said to Samuel, how long will you mourn for Saul since
I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil.” Now when a
prophet fills his horn with oil, what does he do with the oil? He anoints
people and who does he anoint, usually or very often? The king. So he’s got a
horn of oil, he’s going to anoint something. He’s going to anoint the next
king. So he says, “Fill your horn with oil [olive oil], and be on your way. I
am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem.” So David is going to be from the town of
Bethlehem. Beth-lehem, beth means “house of,” lehem means “bread.”
So Bethlehem means “house of bread.” This is where David’s home was and who is
the other famous person from Bethlehem? Jesus is going to be born there. It’s
the city of David where David was born too. “I’m sending you to Jesse to
Bethlehem, I’ve chosen one of his sons to be king.” Then Samuel says, “how can
I go? Saul will hear about it and kill me.” The Lord said, “take a heifer with
you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord,’ and invite Jesse to the sacrifice.”
H. God and the deception of Saul [34:28-37:48]
Was that heifer taken purposely to deceive Saul? He’s got a horn of oil, why is he going down to Bethlehem? He’s going to anoint the next king. God says take a heifer and tell Saul you’re going down to sacrifice. Is that heifer purposely meant to deceive Saul so that Saul doesn’t kill Samuel. By the way, would Saul kill Samuel? Would Saul kill his own son? Later on, would Saul try to kill David repeatedly? So would Saul kill Samuel? Of course he would have. God says take a heifer. Now this story should remind you of two other stories we already have had in the Old Testament. Who’s involved here? Who sets up this deception, does God himself set it up? He says, take a heifer. Tell him you’re going down there for a sacrifice. So God’s involved and plans in this one.
Now, where were two other stories where this has happened? We’ve seen this twice before, does anybody remember that? Yes, remember the Hebrew midwives in Exodus the early chapters? “All the Jewish woman have the children before we get there because they’re not like the Egyptian women, when they have their babies.” So the Hebrew midwives lied to cover that. By the way, did God allow the Hebrew midwives to go out with the Jews and become part of Israel? Yes.
Does anybody remember the other story where there was a deception used and God approved of it? Yes, Rahab the harlot. The king’s men come and she says, “O they were here but they left, they went that way. You better go real fast to catch them.” She was hiding them up on the roof, and the Rahab was accepted into Israel. Remember the red chord and the window by which Rahab and her family were spared? Actually, Rahab appears in whose genealogy, by the way? Rahab the harlot is in Jesus Christ’s genealogy (Mat.1).
So what I tried to suggest earlier was with this kind of deception to move it out of the category of evil, and put it into the term of shrewdness. When you’re dealing with evil, do you have to be shrewd? Let me put it in a different way. The Hebrew word for shrewdness is the word arum, arum is also translated, “wisdom.” So the word that’s translated, depending on translation, sometimes is translated “shrewd” and actually the word in Proverbs and other places is translated “wisdom.” When you’re dealing with evil, do you have to be wise, do you have to be shrewd? By the way, this isn’t just me making this up, Jesus says, “be wise or shrewd as serpents and harmless as doves”—“as innocent as doves.” So “be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” I think what you’ve got here is that God is being shrewd because he knew Saul would kill Samuel. So he’s saying, “Okay, we’ve got to outfox him,” and they did. Some people get bent out of shape, I don’t think it’s a big issue. Lying to save life in a war or evil context is okay.
I. David’s anointing [37:49-39:51]
Samuel is anointing Jesse’s son, and who does Jesse bring out, but his first born. “Here’s my first born.” God says, “No, I don’t want his first born.” His second born, his third born, he brings out all his sons and finally it’s, “Hey, I don’t have any more sons,” and he says, “O, yeah, there is the young guy, but he’s the baby of the family, he’s watching the sheep, bring him in.” But the Lord said to Samuel, chapter 16 verse 7, “do not consider his appearance or his height.” Now in Saul’s case, did they consider his height? “Do not consider his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance but God looks at the heart.” It’s no joke, I heard somebody take this passage once, and say to young women this, “‘man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart,’ but man does look at the outward appearance, so honey, you better take care.’” I’m dead serious. I heard somebody say that. I just about croaked. Is that totally against everything this verse is meaning. Is the whole point of the verse the opposite of that? Does God care about the heart? Do people take the Bible and twist the Bible? And this is one of those cases, I’ll just never forget it, it was one of the dumbest things I can’t believe I heard this, because the point of this passage is “God looks at the heart.” Question, does that give us the clue about David? Is David going to be the man after God’s own heart? David is going to be the man after God’s own heart. By the way, does that mean David is perfect? Is David going to have his problems? He’s going to have his problems too, but notice he’s a man after God’s own heart. So that sets up David then. We know his heart.
J. Saul and the evil spirit from the Lord [39:52-45:41]
Now what happens in chapter 16 verse 13, it says, “so Samuel took the horn of oil [olive oil], and anointed him [David], in the presence of his brothers. From that day on, the Spirit of the Lord came on David in power.” You get this association of anointing with oil and the Spirit of God coming on David. You see that this anointing with oil and the coming of the Spirit is poured out on David. Does anybody ever talk about being anointed with the Spirit? In being anointed with the Spirit, that oil represents the Spirit of God and being anointed. When David is anointed king, the Spirit of God comes on David.
But then the next verse says, “now the Spirit of the Lord had departed from Saul and an evil spirit from the Lord tormented him.” When Saul lost the Spirit of God, did he lose his salvation? The Spirit goes off Saul. Does he lose his salvation because the Spirit is no longer with him. Does God sick evil spirits on people? It says “an evil spirit from the Lord came on and tormented Saul.” Does God sick evil spirits on people?
Now I want you to think about this first of all. In the Old Testament so far, have you seen many demons running around? Now, by the way, you go into the New Testament, Jesus and demons, do you have a lot of that? In the New Testament, you have Jesus and the demons, all the time. In the Old Testament, have you guys read much of that? Have we seen demons? In and with Genesis, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph, did you see any demons? Moses, demons? Joshua, demons? Judges, demons? You kind of work through this. There’s not much demonic activity. Is this saying God’s sicking demons on people? Is that totally out of context for the Old Testament? It really is. What’s the problem, the evil spirit came on Saul. Does the word “spirit” mean different things? Actually even in English does the word “spirit” mean different things in English? You say, “that school has spirit.” Do you mean that school has the Holy Spirit? Maybe that’s true at Gordon College. Actually that was really stupid. Let me back off that, sorry I said that, that was wrong. What I’m saying is, “a school has spirit,” you meant what? They have enthusiasm, right? They have spirit. Do we even use the word “spirits” for other things? Somebody’s had a party and someone brought spirits there. We talk about the spirits as alcohol. Will we ever say a person is down in spirits today? We would mean what? Their spirit’s down. Is the person depressed? Will we use that? The Hebrew term ruach can be used for many many things including wind and breath, but it can also be used for various kinds of spirits.
Let me read the rest of this context. I don’t think this is God’s sicking demons on Saul. I think the rest of this will explain this. Saul’s attendant said to him, “see an evil spirit from God is tormenting you.” Now, what is the solution to this evil spirit problem? “Let our lord command his servants here to search for someone who can play the harp.” Now what’s the deal with playing the harp? Demons don’t like harp music, it reminds them of heaven and they freak out? They say, “I’ve got to have my what is it called, heavy metal music,” or “I’ve got to have, what’s the demon music, they feel comfortable with? Rap and other music like that or whatever you guys use. But, of course, but if you play country music, it drives them crazy. So harp music…Is that really what’s being said here? No.
But notice this, when the evil spirit comes on him, then find someone who can play the harp. I ask you, how many of you, when you’re down, listen to music? That’s what’s happening here. Saul is down in spirits, why is he down in spirits? Because God’s Spirit is off of him and he realizes he’s no longer going to be king. He is losing power as king and he’s depressed about it. So he is depressed and when he’s depressed what happens? They call for a musician to come to make him feel better, so I think that’s what it is. It’s not an evil spirit so much as he is depressed. This depression comes from the Lord.
(Student asks question) When I was reading it, it makes me think of Job and how God allowed the devil to touch him. So it made me think not necessarily from God, but the evil spirit that God allowed to come to him.
Hildebrandt’s response: So everybody see, she jumped into Job 1 and 2 where the satan’s going up and down. Is that possible? Is that really rare in Old Testament though? I mean outside of Job, it’s really rare. With the music thing, I’m associating the music when I say he’s down in spirits because God has removed the kingship and he’s depressed, and so he gets the harp player. Who’s going to play the harp by the way? David. Is David going to write a lot of Psalms then? He is a musician. So you’re going to see a lot of David in the Psalms. But that is an interesting connection with Job 1 and 2. Now, does God send evil spirits on people? What we tried to say is, no, this is more like depression with the music lifting his spirit. So that’s what’s happening here.
K. Spirit of God in the Old Testament [45:42-46:23]
people in the Old Testament have a relationship with the Spirit of God? The Spirit
was on Saul and the Spirit left him. Was that a spirit of salvation or was that
the spirit of kingship? It was the Spirit coming on the person, anointing the
person with the endowment of kingship. So when it leaves Saul, it means the
kingship is leaving Saul and the kingship is going on David. The Spirit is
endowing David with the gifts he’ll need for kingship. So it’s not salvation
like the endowing of the Holy Spirit as you would have in the New Testament.
But the Spirit of God was very active in the Old Testament. Here’s a case in
point and there are many others.
L. David’s first victory as the new leader [46:24-58:02]
What has David got to do with it? He’s now become king, what’s the first thing he’s got to do? He’s got to win a victory. The story of David and Goliath is David’s first victory. He gets anointed in chapter 16, and what is chapter 17? David and Goliath. So it follows. David is the anointed king, and then David and Goliath in chapter 17 immediately following.
I just want to bring up this map. First of all, Jerusalem and Bethlehem. David is going to be from Bethlehem. Where is Goliath from? Goliath of Gath. The Philistines are going to go from here, Gath, and they’re going to basically go up here, Goliath and his boys will go up here, past Azekah, up unto the valley of Elah. This valley of Elah is there until this day. Are the Jews on the plains or are the Jews hiding in the mountains? The Jews hide in the mountains because the Philistines have chariots. So the Philistines will come up in the valley, and the Jews will hide in the mountains. Then Goliath’s going to go out and taunt the Jews. The Jews are in the mountains, Goliath is come out and challenges them to come down and fight them.
David is going to go out and he’s going to have a sling shot. He’s going to pick up five stones. Why did David pick up five stones, rather than just one? Okay now, she said it with a straight face, but it’s actually a joke I heard. David picked up five stones, because he heard that Goliath had four brothers. That’s a joke, okay? You should smile. Actually she’s better at telling jokes than I am.
He picks up five stones, we don’t know why he picked up five stones. By the way, if you ever go to Israel with Dr. Elaine Philips and her husband Dr. Perry Philips, you’ll go to the valley of Elah, and you’ll actually cross the stream and you can pick up five stones from the stream. When I say a stream, how wide is a stream? This stream is about this [4 feet] wide, you just walk right across it. So David goes out with this, let’s get over to David’s victory here.
David goes out, and David comes down, he’s supposed to bring some food to his brothers. His brothers are in battle and David’s coming down with the food, from home to feed them. Do you ever send troops food to eat? Have you ever eaten k-rations? Do the troops need food? Yes, sometime ask me about my son and what they did for food.
David asked the man standing near, “what would be done for the man that kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?” This is a 16 year old kid speaking. Goliath – big, Shack kind of character. David is a 16 year old, little kid. “They repeat it to him, … when Eliab, David’s oldest brother, speaking with the man, he was burned with anger at him and asked, “why have you come down here, and with whom did you leave the few sheep.” Why don’t you go back to the sheep, David and take care of them in the desert? Eliab, his older brother says this, “I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is. You’ve only come down to watch the battle.” Do little kids like to watch the battle? Do the older kids have to fight the battle, they’re scared to death and may die. The little kid comes down to watch the battle.
Notice he accuses David of being conceited. Is David conceited? Are his words very courageous and very much in your face? But is he conceited? I want to suggest he is not. His older brother doesn’t know David’s heart. David’s confidence is in the Lord, not himself. So David comes off or at least his brother accuses him of being conceited, but David is actually dependent on the Lord. On the other hand, did Saul initially looked humble? But was Saul really humble? No, Saul was insecure. So what I’m saying is, is it possible for somebody to look like they’re humble but not be humble? Is it possible for somebody to look like they’re proud and not be proud? In other words, can we judge another individual’s heart? They may come off as really arrogant but may not be. David here comes off with these really arrogant statements.
Do you remember what happened? He goes up to Saul, and Saul says, “Hey, put on my armor.” David puts on the armor but he’s a little kid. “I can’t fight in this flak jacket, it weighs 60 pounds, I’m not going to do that.” So he takes it off and he says to Saul, “I killed a lion, I killed the bear when they attacked my sheep, and I’ll kill the Philistine too.” By the way, killing a lion and a bear, is that a pretty big deal? Without a 30-06 or something like that, is that a pretty big deal? That’s a big deal. So David goes out.
Now he goes out, but how does he go out? He goes out with no armor, with a sling shot and stones, against this giant. Actually the giant in chapter 17 verse 41, interacts with David. Meanwhile, the Philistine comes out with the shield bearer, so he’s got the guy carrying his shield, “in front of him kept coming closer to David. He looked David over and saw that he was only a boy.” So here you’ve got this big huge guy coming out and they send a boy out to fight him? When you’re a warrior, do you want a worthy opponent? Yes. My son has talked to me often about this. When he was in Iraq, one of the reasons he hated being in Iraq was he said there were no worthy opponents. The people were whimpish; there was nothing to them. When he got to Afghanistan, did they have worthy warriors there? Yes, indeed. In Afghanistan, they have warriors there.
Anyway, he looks David over and he says, “They sent a kid out to fight me?” “He was only a boy, ruddy and handsome, and he despised him, and he said to David, ‘am I a dog, that you come out,’ little kid, sticks and stones, are you going to break my bones?” This giant is just floored, and “the Philistine cursed David by his gods, he says, ‘come here, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field.’” The big guy is speaking to David.
By the way, is this a great story to tell to the kids? Why does this story work so well with kids? Are kids little people with giants all around them? No, I’m serious. Did you ever see that movie, “Big”? But anyways, it’s kind of like it is, little kids and big bodies all around them. So for little kids, it’s a great story.
Now David’s going to respond to the Philistine, here’s David now, this big guy’s just finished bellowing out, now David said to the Philistine: “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin but I come against you in the name of the Lord almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will hand you over to me and I will strike you down and cut off your head.” Okay, those are pretty strong words, and “today I will give the carcass of Philistines,” he goes on “the whole world will know there’s a God in Israel.” The guy moves closer and what does David do? He takes out his sling shot, and hits him in the forehead, and takes him down. Now whether the stone in his forehead killed him or not, it took him down. David then does what? He goes up, by the way, did the Jew have swords? Do you realize that the Philistines had a monopoly on the iron producing? So the weapons were made by the Philistines, the Jews had a lack of metal and metallurgical know-how. So David takes Goliath’s own sword and lops off his head.
Now, what’s the deal? This is going to sound really weird, but this is the truth. Archeologists have found a large head, just the head, with a stone that cracked the skull and split the skull. This is the honest truth, I’m not making this up. A stone, dead center in the guy’s forehead, and it cracked his skull and they’ve actually found it. I’m not sure what the exact date of this is, but they found just a head, a very large head with a stone, right dead center in the head. Now, you’re saying, Hildebrandt, you aren’t saying that’s Goliath they found? No, no. I’m backing off from that. Isn’t it interesting that they found a guy with a cracked skull, busted his skull open with the stone and they actually found one archeologically. I’m not saying this is Goliath. Would that be really dumb to say it’s Goliath? That would be really dumb to say it’s Goliath. Now, all I’m saying is that you can see people with sling shots did take down big people with stones cracking their skulls. This is fascinating, it is absolutely fascinating, they found somebody like that, I’m not saying it’s Goliath though, so you’ve got to back off.
Hannah? (student asks) Yes, you’ve got to be careful, yes there are some debate on the figures. The figures in the Scripture here is he is 9 feet tall or something like that. I mean even Shack isn’t that tall. What most people think is what it’s measuring is him with his head piece and his whole military equipment, which may have gone up higher than that. But I do want to say that this guy is big. It’s probably to the top of his head dress that they were measuring to.
So David’s righteous anger and the sibling’s jealousy accuse him of wrong motives that he just wanted to see the battle. Then we just read the story of the giant coming out and David taking the giant down with the sling shot, and taking off his head. By the way, is that sword going to be special for David? David killed Goliath, and later on David is going to come back to that sword. We’re going to see that happen just shortly here.
So, what happens? David wins the battle, the women always cause trouble. So they go out singing a victory song. The victory song they were singing is chapter 18 verse 7: “Saul has slain thousands, and David his” what? “Tens of thousands.” Saul hears that and what happens with Saul? “Saul kills thousands and David is tens of thousands.” Saul gets jealous of David. Does jealousy lead to murder? I think I’ve told you guys I’ve taught in a maximum security prison for 10 years. There’s a guy named Brian in there, who basically was about 19 years old and his girl ran off with somebody else. What did the young man do? The young man was jealous of this guy, he got a gun and blew him away, killed him. He spent 25, I think it was years in prison. He’s out now, actually he’s a wonderful believing person, really a dynamite person. But does jealousy cause people to kill people? So Saul gets jealous of David because “Saul’s killed his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.” Saul gets jealous, and the song drives Saul bananas and he goes after David.
M. Saul’s attempts to kill David [58:03-62:27]
Now here’s how the old leader’s going to go down now. Saul attempts to kill David. He’s going to try to kill David in several ways. The first way, he tries through his daughter Michal. How would you guys pronounce her name? I don’t know how it’s pronounced in English so I’ll just say Michal, like the Hebrew, Michal. They used to have a song, Michal [Michal, my belle] anyways.
So Saul’s daughter Michal was in love with David. Beautiful thing. When Saul was told about it, it pleased him, he said, “I will give her to him,” he thought, “so that she may be a snare to him.” He is going to use his daughter’s love for David to kill David. Is this guy wicked?
So what does he do? David comes up and realizes it’s a big thing, when you marry the king’s daughter. What do you have to have when you get married? All guys know this, you’ve got to have the same thing. When a guy gets married, he’s got to have money to marry someone. You have to have a dowry to pay. So basically, David comes up, David’s a poor man, and so in the words of Simon and Garfunkel, also in chapter 18 verse 23, they repeated these words. David said, “do you think that a small man will become a king’s son-in-law. ‘I am just a poor boy and my story’s seldom told,’” and he goes off. I’m sorry, that was actually paraphrased from Simon and Garfunkel. He said, “I’m only a poor man and little known,” and David says, “I don’t have any money to pay this king, how can I come up with the king’s dowry for the king’s daughter?”
The king says, “No problem David, I’ll take care of it. I just want a 100 Philistine foreskins.” So David goes out, sets up a little bucket and a little bell, and he says, “donations, donations! Philistine foreskins, Philistine foreskins!” And the Philistines come up and donate all these foreskins and David goes back. Ah, no. You say, “Hildebrandt, that’s really bad.” I got this imagination, I don’t know. I was born this way.
Now, Saul knows, what is the only way David is going to be able to get a Philistine foreskin? There is only one way he’s going to be able to get that. He’s going to have to do what? He’s going to have to kill a Philistine. He has to come up with a hundred Philistine foreskins, does that mean that David goes against 100 guys? Is that a problem? Will one of those guys take him out? That’s what Saul figures from 100 Philistines. What does David do? David comes back with not a hundred, but he comes back with 200. Is this really gross? Now somebody, I forget, it was a couple years ago, student sat in the back row, most of the time the kid skipped the class, knew nothing of what went on in the course and he pops in and said, “David killed Philistines like that, that’s wicked, he just killed them and threw their foreskins, the Bible wicked for David’s doing this….” Question, is everything David’s does sanctioned by God? Did David do a whole bunch of stuff, that was good and some of the stuff that was bad? Are they at war with the Philistines? They’re at war with the Philistines, so I don’t know how much we need to justify. It’s what happened, it’s what the king required, it’s what David did. There’s no commentary, it’s just history, people do bad stuff. You got to chill out on some of that.
Now, another way Saul tries to kill David. David’s playing the harp. Saul’s feeling down, and David’s playing the harp, Saul grabs his spear and what does he do? He chucks his spear at David, is David a warrior? David plays the harp but can he also dodge spears at the same time. This guy is quick, the spear comes at him, he dodges the spear, dodges the bullet, so to speak. Now what happens? So he dodges it in chapter 19 where Saul actually tries to spear him to death.
Then Michal, his wife, puts an idol in his bed, covers it up with sheets, Saul comes in, he’s going to kill David, he pulls the covers back, and what’s there? This idol. What does this tell you about Michal? Did she have idols? Did Saul’s family have idols there? It just tells you, was Jehovah worship pure or are these families all messed up? So you have Michal’s idol hiding which she uses the idol to hide David, and David gets away from Saul. So Saul tried to kill him, at least those times.
N. Jonathan warns David [62:28-65:52]
Now this is one of the most beautiful stories in the Scripture concerning David and Jonathan. Jonathan knows that his father is going to try to kill David. Jonathan has suspicions. “Never,” Jonathan replied, “you are not going to die. Look, my father doesn’t do anything great or small without confiding in me,” Jonathan says, “Why would he hide this from me? It is not so.” David says, “and yet, surely as the Lord lives, and as you live, there is only one step between me and death.” So basically David and Jonathan go out there.
Let me just set the story up. Jonathan is known for his bow and arrow. David is a sling shot guy. Jonathan goes out, he’s going to practice shooting the bow. When he practices shooting the bow, he tells David, and they set up the signal. Do friends ever set up signals? He says, “if I tell the kid to go beyond it, I missed, you’ve got to go back to get the arrow, the kid’s going to go out and get the arrow.” He’s going to shoot the bow, the kid’s going to chase the arrow down and bring it back. “If I tell the kid, go beyond, he said if I go like that, you know that my father is going to try to kill you.”
So they set up the signal. Jonathan goes in and talks to his father. You know what his father does? His father picks up a spear and chucks it at Jonathan, he’s so angry at Jonathan. So now, Jonathan goes and he says, “he’s going to try to kill David.” So he goes out, shoots the bow, the arrow goes, Jonathan tells the boy, “go beyond,” and David knows it’s over. Their friendship’s at an end at this point. So David and Jonathan know that David’s got to take off. They’re not going to see each other. After the boy had gone, this is chapter 20 verse 41, “after the boy had gone, David got up from the south side of the stone and bowed before Jonathan three times with his face to the ground. Then they kissed each other and wept, but David wept the most.” So you get this kind of comment on David, they kissed each other and wept, and David wept the most. Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, for we have sworn friendship with each other in the name of the Lord, and the Lord is witness between you and me, between your descendants and my descendants forever.”
Would David later on be true to this vow, that he made with Jonathan to take care of Jonathan’s descendents? Does anybody remember Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s son who was lame in both legs? David takes care of Jonathan’s son after Jonathan is long dead. David takes care of this. Have you guys ever heard of blood brothers? Now you guys don’t do it in your age, because no one should share blood with anybody, I don’t recommend this, but when I was young, we just didn’t have it that way. So Dave Remes is my blood brother. So when we were young, you basically cut yourself, and then you share blood with one another. Then he’s like my blood brother for life. No seriously and so you have this. David and Jonathan are really tight, male friendship (cf. Ruth).
Now what’s going to be the problem with the story here is, they split up at this point. The next time we’re going to see Jonathan is when he’s dying. It’s kind of sad, but it’s what friends are for. He’s trying to warn David.
O. David’s flight and hiding from Saul [65:53-68:23]
Now, David is going to flee. David realizes that Jonathan’s told him, Saul’s going to try to kill you. David’s going to flee, so David starts running. There’s a map here that I want to go through four places David’s going to run to and we’ll chase this down later with the narrative. Let me just show you on the map where it is. First of all, David’s go up to Anathoth, in your Bible’s it’s called Nob. Does anybody remember the priests of Nob, who protected David? So David is going to go to the priests of Nob. Saul’s from over here, David goes to the priests of Nob, they’re going to give him the sword of Goliath and they’re going to protect him. But then the priests of Nob are all going to get killed, 85 of them are going to get killed.
David then flees from there, he flees down to Gath. Now why was that really stupid? That’s Goliath’s hometown. You just took out the big guy from their town. He’s the biggest guy they’ve had probably ever, and David just took that guy out and chopped off his head. David goes down to Gath and then goes into the town and says, “Hey, I want to be a Jewish mercenary with the Philistines now.” I just want to say, not too bright, I don’t know. There’s a problem, I don’t think that was the brightest move that David ever made. So he goes to Gath, that doesn’t work out for various reasons.
So David then hightails it up the place called Keilah. The city of Keilah, this is where I gained insight the first time in Scripture on some things. You know how I always push that thing that there are possible futures? I will show you in the text at Keilah. David is going to ask God whether Saul comes down and he asks God some things about the future, and there seems to be multiple futures here at Keilah. We’ll look at that in a minute. Saul is going to come down here, the Philistines went up and attacked Keilah. David protects the city of Keilah from the Philistines. So David should be the town hero but they would betray him if they had the chance.
Lastly, David goes up to Carmel that’s in the Judean desert. There is a guy named Nabal who has a wife named, does anybody remember the wife’s name? Abigail. This is where Nabal and Abigail and that whole situation takes place with David up at Carmel.
So David is going to run away from Saul because Saul is trying to kill him and David is going to flee to these four places. What I would like to do is just go through the places and hit each one of them and just give a summary of the stories rather than going over them in detail.
P. Nob [68:24-70:27]
chapter 21, David goes to this city, city of Nob. Nob could fit on the quad. These
are small towns. He goes to Nob, which is a priestly town. They have the sword
of Goliath. Does David have all sorts of swords? David doesn’t have all sorts
of swords because of Philistines control iron working, so there’s not too much
metal going around. David gets the sword of Goliath. His troops get food from
the priests. What kind of bread did the priests have? The priests have the holy
bread and so the priests of Nob give David’s men who were kind of unclean-ish
kind of people, they give them the food that only the priests should eat, and
then what happens? When David leaves, he’s been fed, he’s got the sword of
Goliath now, and when he leaves, who shows up? Saul is actually just down the
road from there, I don’t know, 5 to 10 miles from there. Saul shows up. There’s
85 priests of Nob, he ordered his troops, “you go in there and kill those
priests. Those priests helped David and David’s against me.” What did Saul’s
troops say? “We’re not doing that Saul, these guys are priests of God. We’re not
going to go in there and kill these guys.” So his troops refused to go in.
So what does Saul do? He talks to Doeg the Edomite, one guy and he says, “you go in and kill the 85 priest of Nob.” The priests were helpless. The Edomite, is whose descendent? You should know that by now. Esau’s descendent. Whenever you see Edomite in the Scripture, what did the Edomites do to Jews? They killed them. Who’s the most famous Edomite you know? You all know this person, Herod. King Herod that killed the infants in Bethlehem, he was an Idumaean which were the descendants of the Edomites. So Doeg the Edomite kills the 85 priests of Nob, really bad scene. David flees, he gets away, but the priests are dead at Nob.
Q. David at Gath [70:28-73:24]
David then runs to Gath. He goes into Gath and this is a funny story actually, in the second part of chapter 21 here in 1 Samuel. David gets into town, he comes marching in with these guys, he’s got all these warriors with him, “hey, we want to join you Philistines. We will be mercenaries for you guys.” The women in town remember the song, “Saul has killed thousands, and David his tens of thousands.” So they say, isn’t this the David that they said had killed the tens of thousands and you’re going to let him be in our army?
All of a sudden David realizes this is going badly so what does he do? He pretends he’s like crazy. It says saliva goes down his beard and he’s spitting out on himself kind of like, I’m a doing up here. It’s coming down on his face, and they say this guy’s crazy, this guy is out of his gourd, why would we mess with him? By the way, do people ever use insanity like that, was that a very smart move on David’s part? Yes, because things were going against him and he probably would have gotten killed there.
When he pretends he’s insane, let me just tell you another story from the prison. This is a maximum security prison. The walls are 40 feet high with barbed wire on the top, they were about 10 feet thick. It was built in the 1800’s. There’s one guy in the prison who would go up to the wall, this is no joke, every day, this guy would go up and scream at the wall. He go up to the prison wall and he would scream at the wall. All the guys in there in the prison, everybody in there is crazy okay, but is there cra-zy? This guy was cra-zy. You don’t go up and scream at a wall all day and do that day after day. So everybody in the prison knew this guy is like cra-zy. Now question, do you mess with cra-zy people? You’re a big guy, “I lift weights 8 hours a day, I’m a big and strong guy.” Question, he’s cra-zy, do you mess with him? Can you intimidate a cra-zy person? Question, suppose he’s just a little guy, a crazy little guy, is it possible he might pull out some sort of weapon and stick you because he’s absolutely crazy. He doesn’t care how big you are because he’s crazy. He doesn’t know fear because he’s stupid. So it turns out people don’t mess with crazy people, even in the prison. Actually, I had some people in my class that thought this guy wasn’t crazy at all. They thought that he was just pretending to be crazy because he didn’t want to be messed with.
Now David pretends to be crazy and by the way, does it work? Question: if you kill a crazy person, what happens? In ancient days, they were very superstitious. If he’s crazy and you kill him, what he’s got can come on you. So you leave crazy people alone. You don’t want to get what they got, so you don’t hurt them, lest whatever they got comes on you. So it’s kind of this assumption of sympathetic magic. You leave it alone so that it doesn’t come on you. So David actually has a pretty smooth move there but he’s kind of dumb to go there in the first place in my opinion.
R. David at Keilah: God and multiple futures [73:25-77:41]
Next he goes to Keilah, and this is in chapter 23. In the city of Keilah, and let me just narrate the story. The city of Keilah is being attacked by the Philistines, so the Philistines are beating up on this small town of Keilah. David and his boys go up there and they deliver this town from the Philistines. So David frees this city from the Philistines domination and delivers the city.
Now David then comes to the Lord, and says, “Bring out the ephod” and he says, “I’ve got something I want to ask you.” “O God of Israel,” this is chapter 23 verse 10, “O God of Israel, you servant has heard definitely that Saul plans to come down to Keilah and destroy the town of Keilah on account of me. Will the citizens of Keilah surrender me to him? Will Saul come down as your servant has heard?” So David said, “God, I’ve got two questions. Will Saul come down here to try to kill me?” And secondly, “If he comes down, will the city deliver me up to Saul or will they try to protect me?” God says, “David, Saul will come down. Number two, they will deliver you up to Saul.” What’s David say? “Thanks God, I’m out of here.” David takes off. But God said, “Saul will come down and they will deliver you up.” Did that ever happen? Saul did come down, did they deliver David up? No, because David skedaddled and got out of there.
So did God tell David something that never happened? Had David stayed in the city, would he have been delivered up? Yes. But David said, “Okay, now that I know that they’ll deliver me up, I’m getting out of here.” So God told him something that was possible in the future, but David chose a different direction so that that never happened. Does God know possibilities that never happen? Now had David stayed there, it would have happened. But David said, “I’m not stupid, I’m not staying here if they’re going to deliver me up, I’m getting out of here.” So God told him here something that never happened, so this is the thing at Keilah. I think this shows God knew things that never happened. He knows things in the future that are contingent. In other words, they depend upon what happens and there are apparently multiple futures. David chose to interact, not by staying there, but by getting out of there and thereby avoiding being delivered over to Saul.
So does God know only what is or does God know what is possible? And what I’m suggesting is that God knows not only what is but he also knows what is possible. There are millions of possibilities. So that God’s omniscience is not just singular in knowing of a singular future, but God’s omniscience is incredible--multiple possibilities of future, millions of possibilities – God knows them all.
So I ultimately, and at this point, you can obviously disagree with me, some people have a more deterministic way of looking at the future. I think that this leads to the open possibility for choice and freedom and that human beings can make choices and that human beings can help shape the future.
I love Isaiah chapter 40 verse 28. God says this: “no one understands my understanding.” Do we know how God knows the future? Can God choose to know the future in all of its richness of possibilities? Can God choose to know the future as singular? So what I’m saying is, we don’t know how God knows the future, and I just want to back people off because some people are so dogmatic on this. They say God knows every…and they think they know what God knows. What I’m saying is we don’t know how God knows the future. Here he knew something that never happened and yet he knew what would have happened had David stayed there. So be careful with that.
S. David at Carmel: Abigail and Nabal [77:42-81:36]
Now Abigail and Nabal are in chapter 25. It is an interesting story here with Nabal and Abigail. Let me just kind of run through it quickly so we can make sure we finish the book today. The story introduces David out in the desert and David is protecting Nabal’s sheep. Nabal is a rich guy, he’s got many sheep and goats. David is protecting the guy’s sheep. Who hangs out in the desert? In the desert, that’s where the banditos are; that’s where the criminals are. So basically it’s criminals out there. David is protecting Nabal’s sheep from these criminals, thieves and various people that would’ve hung out there. David sees that Nabal is shearing sheep and he’s going to kill some of the sheep and have some of the meat. So David sends down to Nabal and says, “Hey, I’ve been protecting sheep, how about we kill a couple of sheep too and have some food.” Nabal says, “who’s David?” and blows David off. He says, “David get out of here” and pushes David off. David says to his guys, “get your swords on, we’re going to go down and take that Nabal out. We’ve been out here working our tails off for this guy.” So David gets real serious about it, and then what happens?
In the first verse it describes this woman Abigail and it says, “She was an intelligent and beautiful woman.” By the way, is the narrative setting you up for what’s coming later? Is David going to marry this woman? She’s intelligent and she’s beautiful, what happens? She’s married to Nabal, that’s a problem. What’s his names mean? “Nabal” means “fool.”
So Abigail finds out that David’s coming to kill her husband, what does Abigail do? Abigail gets all sorts of food and brings the food out on donkeys to David. Then David says this, “May God deal with David, be it ever so severely if by mourning that one male is left alive.” Then she fell at his feet and said, “My lord, let the blame be on me alone.” Does she sacrifice herself on behalf her husband? Have you ever see a woman sacrificing herself trying to protect her husband? She does it. “Let it be on me alone, please let your servant speak to you. Hear what your servant has to say. May my lord pay no attention to that wicked man Nabal.” Who is she referring to? That’s her husband. Does she know her husband? She knows the guy. “He is just like his name, his name is fool.” This woman, she’s intelligent, and she’s beautiful. Does she know her husband’s a fool? Yes. Are many women married to husband that are fools? Don’t ask my wife. What happens? Does she sacrifice herself, does she lay herself down and say, David, let it all fall on me, spare Nabal, her husband. Is this woman noble?
David then takes the food, backs off, and then let me just finish the story with her. Do you see what happens? She goes back to Nabal, what’s Nabal doing? Nabal’s partying, he’s drunk. Do you tell a drunk man anything? No. She does not talk to him when he’s drunk. When he wakes up the next morning and he’s sober, she tells him what she’s done and it says, “his heart failed.” She tells him and “his heart failed and ten days later, the Lord took him.” Ten days later, who did it? Did David do it? David didn’t do it. The Lord took him.
Now Abigail is what? She’s a widow. Can David marry her without having to kill her husband, since the Lord took him. So David then marries Abigail. By the way, what happened to David’s earlier wife, Michal, does anybody remember that? Yes, exactly, she was given to one of David’s friends, like his best man, we’ve seen that before with Samson. She was given to his best man and now David marries Abigail. David is going to have problems in this area, I don’t mean to say David’s perfect.
T. David at Ziklag and the Philistines [81:37-82:33]
Now David just goes to Ziklag to the Philistines. It’s a city in the far south called Ziklag. It’s out of the way. David does down there and actually joins the Philistines. It’s real interesting in chapter 27 it mentions this, “So on that day, Achish gave to David Ziklag, it has belonged to the kings of Judah ever since.” That statement in chapter 27 verse 6 actually indicates, “Ziklag has belonged to the kings of Judah ever since.” “The kings of Judah,” does that show that this verse was written after the kingdom split? Do you remember after Solomon, the kingdom split north and south (ca. 931 BC). This verse indicates that 1 Samuel was written after the time of Solomon, when the kingdom split. So this is a little indication of that. It’s not a big deal and I don’t want to you know it but it does occur there.
U. David Spares Saul [82:34-84:52]
David spares Saul, we’ll have to do this quickly. Saul goes into a cave, what’s
Saul doing? Saul’s taking a dump in a cave, turns out David is in the cave. David
is in the cave, David’s got his knife. Saul, when he’s doing that, is he
totally vulnerable? David could take him out, yet David only cuts a little
piece of his robe off. Saul comes out of the cave. David comes out and says, “Hey,
Saul, you missing a little something?” And then what’s he do. Do you remember
how Saul changes? He’s, “O David, my son David, I love you David.” You know,
this is all baloney, but is Saul bipolar you know what I’m saying? So Saul
comes out, pants down in the cave, “David, my son.”
A second time, David’s out there with his guys at night, and they’re up on a hill, Saul’s down in the valley. Who’s Saul’s general who was supposed to protect Saul? Abner. Who’s David’s general? Joab. Does anybody remember that David’s general is Joab. What does Joab do in the narrative? Joab does what to people? David’s general Joab kills people. Saul’s general Abner, is actually a pretty good guy. Saul’s general is Abner.
So what happens is David comes down into the area where Saul’s sleeping and steals Saul’s spear and his water jug and takes it back up on the hill and he says, “Hey Abner, you’re supposed to be protecting king Saul. Hey, Saul, you missing a little something?” And Saul’s spear and his water jug are gone and Saul does this again, “O David, my son, David.” He goes off like that again.
What does David say, and this the important line here. David respects the king and he says what? Don’t touch the Lord’s what? Don’t touch the Lord’s anointed. David is really careful not to hurt Saul. God to take care of Saul, David would not strike Saul even though he had opportunity and even though his own guys are telling him strike him through, David won’t do it. He won’t touch the Lord’s anointed.
V. Saul and the Witch at Endor [84:53-90:21]
Now, chapter 28 and this is good. This is a really important passage. Saul in 1 Samuel chapter 28, Saul is going to fight the Philistines in the valley of Jezreel. The valley of Jezreel is what, 20-30 miles wide, it’s flat. Question, did the Philistine love the Valley of Jezreel because it was flat and they had chariots. Saul’s going out against the Philistines, he is scared to death. He knows he’s going to be defeated one of these times. So he goes to the Lord and he asks the Lord, but the Lord will not answer him by dreams or by the Urim and Thummim. Have I talked about the Urim and Thummim at all? The Urim and Thummim were, people believe, like two sticks that the priest had his breast plate. The breast plate was like a pouch, the priest took out the Urim and Thummim and they were cast down, and the Urim and Thummim would give answers from God through the priest. It was like casting lots. People believed that the sticks could give two answers, if they both came up the same color, then it would be, yes. If they both came up the other colors, it would be, no. If they came up mixed color it would be, no answer from God. So you’ve got to get three answers out of the Urim and Thummim, these lots they would cast: a yes answer, a no answer and no answer from God, in other words, God’s not answering. So they cast the Urim and Thummim, and there was no answer from God.
So what Saul does is, I’ve got to find out something about what’s going to happen, so he goes to this witch, the witch of Endor. He goes to this witch and the witch says to him, let me just narrate the story to do it quickly. He goes to the witch and she communicates with the dead. By the way, do we have any people in our day and age which communicate with the dead, what city are they from? So this woman says she can speak to the dead so Saul says, “Bring up Samuel.” The woman then all of a sudden is startled. She freaks out and says, “Holy cow, there’s Samuel” and she sees Samuel. As soon as she sees Samuel, she knows that this is not her power doing this, that Samuel is coming up. She screams then and she says, “You’re Saul, you’re Saul, you tricked me, you’re Saul.”
Then Samuel addresses Saul directly, and Saul asks, “what’s going to happen, in the future.” Samuel replies, “Saul, why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?” Was Samuel was happier where he was, on the other side of death? Why is this passage is so important? Do you ever wonder what’s on the other side of death? This passage, 1 Samuel 28 tells you some of that? Samuel says, “why did you disturb me by bring me back, bringing me up?” Saul says, “the Philistines are after me and they’re going to kill me, and I want to find out what will happen.” Samuel says it’s no problem Saul, “you and your sons will be with me tomorrow.” Saul says, “Yeah! We’ll be Samuel.” What’s the problem? Where’s Samuel? Dead. So Saul goes into battle knowing that he’s going to die.
Now, what’s the problem? Are people on the other side of death aware of what’s going on in this world? Was Samuel aware of what was going on in Saul’s life? Was dead Samuel, aware of what’s going on in Saul’s life? Samuel not only was aware of what’s going on but Samuel was able to tell him what would happen the next day, that he was going to die.
My statement to you is this, when people die, are they aware what’s going on in your life? Your grandfather, your grandmother, your parents even, that have passed on, are they aware of what’s going on in this world? I want to tell you, I think on the basis of this passage, Samuel was very aware of what was going on. I think, for example, my dad passed away a number of years ago. I think he’s aware of what I’m doing now, probably thinking, that kid still doesn’t get it right, but anyways, you’ve got to be careful about.
What I’m saying is that the people on the other side. How I think about it, does anybody remember the movie The Matrix, they had it in the old days, the movie called The Matrix where there are two parallel worlds. I’m saying that there’s two worlds, and the two worlds interact with each other? I think something like that’s going on. So what I’m suggesting is, based on this passage, the people on the other side of death are basically aware of what’s going on here.
Can witches bring back people back from the dead? No. This witch did not bring Samuel back, Samuel came back from God, not from this witch. Dead people are aware of this life. The implication multi-generationally is your grandparents and your great grandparents aware of what’s going on in your life.
Does that change the way you think about things? If you know people are aware of what’s going on in your life, does that change things? I think it does, it’s something to think about. Anyway, enough on witches, let’s get out here, take the our broomsticks and go.
This is Dr. Ted Hildebrandt in his Old Testament History, Literature and Theology course lecture 23 on the book of 1 Samuel: the demise of Saul and the early stories of King David.
by Daniel Kim
Rough edited by Ted Hildebrandt 2