Saul’s Incomplete Obedience & (King) David

Finger Pointing UpIt doesn’t seem that Saul is bad, but he obviously doesn’t have much faith in You.  If he did he wouldn’t be scared all the time.  Or am I missing something?

1. The Kenites
The Kenites
The Kenites or Cinites were a nomadic clan in the ancient Levant, sent under Jethro a priest in the land of Midian.

They played an important role in the history of ancient Israel.

The Kenites were coppersmiths and metalworkers.

Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro, was a shepherd and a priest in the land of Midian.

Jdg 1:16 says that Moses had a father-in-law who was a Kenite, but it is not clear from the passage if this refers to Jethro.

Certain groups of Kenites settled among the Israelite population, including the descendants of Moses’ brother-in-law, though the Kenites descended from Rechab, maintained a distinct, nomadic lifestyle for some time.

Moses apparently identified Jethro’s concept of God, El Shaddai, with Yahweh, the Israelites’ God.

According to the Kenite hypothesis, Yahweh was historically a Midian deity, and the association of Moses’ father-in-law being associated with Midian reflects the historical adoption of the Midianite cult by the Hebrews.

Saul’s Incomplete Obedience

Samuel reminded Saul that God had made him king over Israel and that God wanted him to go and utterly destroy Amalek, that included both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass (1 Sam 15:3).

Saul took his 12,000 men to the city and laid in wait.  The Kenites were there, but they were good to Israel, so he told them to leave or he would destroy them too, so they left.

Saul smote the Amalekites from Havilah all the way to Shur and all over Egypt.  But he didn’t kill their king, Agag, and they decided to keep the best sheep, ox, lambs, and all that was good.

NOTE: God may seem to be a psycho, but that is not so.  He created everything so He can destroy anything.  God knows where are hearts stand.  Why God told Saul to destroy everything was to see if he would obey Him or not.  As He did when he told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac.

“Then came the word of the LORD unto Samuel, saying,

It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the LORD all night” (1 Sam 15:10-11).

“And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said unto him, Blessed be thou of the LORD: I have performed the commandment of the LORD. 

2. The Amalekites
The Amalekites
The ancient fortress of Arad. During the time of Moses, Arad’s king attacked the Israelites and took captives.

Later, the descendants of Jethro (the Kenites) settled in this area.

During the Iron Age (kingdom period) the fortress protected the border against Edom and the Amelekites.

Arad was destroyed several times in the kingdom period and has produced ostraca (inscriptions on pottery) that reveal something of the development of Iron Age Hebrew.

The fortress has been restored to appear as it did during the time of the kingdom of Judah.

The Amalekites were a people mentioned a number of times in the book of Genesis, and considered to be Amalek’s descendants.

In the chant of Balaam at Num 24:20, Amalek was called the “first of the nations”, attesting to high antiquity.

The name is often interpreted as “dweller in the valley”, and occasionally as “war-like,” “people of prey”, “cave-men”.

In some rabbinical interpretations, Amalek is etymologised as a people, who lick blood, but most specialists regard the origin to be unknown.

In Arabic, the corresponding term for the Biblical Amalek is Imlīq, whose descendants Al-′Amālīq were early residents of the ḥaram at Mecca, later supplanted by the Banu Jurhum, and formed one of the first tribes of ancient Arabia to speak Arabic.

Some interpret Gen 14:7 (which refers to the “land of the Amalekites”) to mean that the Amalekites existed as early as the time of Abraham, in the region that would later become the Roman province of Arabia Petraea.

This view is similar to Nachmanides’ claim of an origin for the Amalekites earlier than Esau’s grandson.

However, the passage in question does not require this interpretation as it may be referring to the region by a name from a later era.

However, the Arab historian Abu al-Hasan ‘Alī al-Mas’ūdī, citing “traditional” Arab history, relates that the Amalekites did indeed exist at this early period having originated in the region of Mecca before the time of Abraham.

“Agag” may have been the hereditary name of the Amalekite kings. The one depicted was killed by Samuel (1 Sam 15).

In the Pentateuch, the Amalekites are nomads who attacked the Hebrews at Rephidim (Ex 17:8-10) in the desert of Sinai during their exodus from Egypt: “smiting the hindmost, all that were feeble behind,” (Deut 25:18).

The Tanakh recognizes the Amalekites as indigenous tribesmen, “the first of the nations”.

In the southern lowlands too, perhaps the dry grazing lands that are now the Negev, there were aboriginal Amalekites who were daunting adversaries of the Hebrews in the earliest times.

“They dwelt in the land of the south…from Havilah until thou comest to Shur” (Num 13:29; 1 Sam 15:7).

At times said to be allied with the Moabites (Jdg 3:13) and the Midianites (Jdg 6:3).

One may consider the hypothesis that each of their kings bore the hereditary name of Agag.

Agag’s death might be expected to have been the end of the Amalekites; however, they reappear in later periods described in the Bible.

Even Samuel said to Agag: “As thy sword hath made women childless, so shall thy mother be childless among women”(1 Sam 15:33) before be “hewed Agag in pieces before the LORD”.

And Samuel said, What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear? 

And Saul said, They have brought them from the Amalekites: for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed.

Then Samuel said unto Saul, Stay, and I will tell thee what the LORD hath said to me this night. And he said unto him, Say on. 

And Samuel said, When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the LORD anointed thee king over Israel? 

And the LORD sent thee on a journey, and said, Go and utterly destroy the sinners the Amalekites, and fight against them until they be consumed. 

Wherefore then didst thou not obey the voice of the LORD, but didst fly upon the spoil, and didst evil in the sight of the LORD?

And Saul said unto Samuel, Yea, I have obeyed the voice of the LORD, and have gone the way which the LORD sent me, and have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. 

But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God in Gilgal.

And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.

3. The Wilderness of Shur Shur
The Wilderness of Shur Shur
Shur Shur is defined as: an enclosure; a wall, a part, probably, of the Arabian desert, on the north-eastern border of Egypt, giving its name to a wilderness extending from Egypt toward Philistia.

The name was probably given to it from the wall (or shur) which the Egyptians built to defend their frontier on the north-east from the desert tribes.

This wall or line of fortifications extended from Pelusium to Heliopolis.

The map above shows “the way to Shur” from Hebron and Beersheba crossing the Sinai and ending in the vicinity of Lake Timsah and the modern city of Ismailia founded circa 1869 at the time of the Suez Canal’s dredging.

The Greek historian Herodotus (circa 425 BC) asked Egyptian priests:

“What lands are Egypt?”

They replied that “Egypt was the land covered in the flood waters of the Nile.”

Maps from the 1800s-1860s, before the Suez Canal was constructed, reveal that the annual Nile inundation reached and filled Lake Timsah.

Thus Wadi Tumilat through which the flood waters flowed to fill Lake Timsah would be regarded to be a part of Egypt for the priests.

Israel camps at a location called Etham which is described as being “at the edge of the wilderness” (Ex 13:20; Num 33:5).

This suggests that Etham is probably Wadi Tumilat and Lake Et-Timsah, also rendered at-Timsah, et-Temsah, an Arabic word meaning “crocodile.”

Crocodile’s existed in the Nile in antiquity and via the Nile’s annual flood waters could wind up in Lake Timsah, “the lake of the crocodile.”

For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.  Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.

And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice” (1 Sam 15:13-24).

Saul then asked Samuel to stay with him so he can continue to be king and worship the Lord, but Samuel wouldn’t.

“And Samuel said unto him, The LORD hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbor of thine, that is better than thou. 

And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent” (1 Sam 15:28-29).

Samuel then told Saul to bring Agag to him and when he did Samuel chopped him up into pieces.  Samuel then went to Ramah and Saul went to his house in Gibeah.  Samuel never saw Saul again until the day of his death, but he mourned for him, and God was sorry that He had made Saul king.

“And the LORD said unto Samuel, How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel?  Fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Beth-lehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons. 

And Samuel said, How can I go?  If Saul hear it, he will kill me.  And the LORD said, Take a heifer with thee, and say, I am come to sacrifice to the LORD. 

And call Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will shew thee what thou shalt do: and thou shalt anoint unto me him whom I name unto thee” (1 Sam 16:1-3).

Samuel went to Beth-lehem and the elders of the town trembled when they saw him, but he told them that he came in peace.  That he came to sacrifice to the Lord and asked them to come with him.

God doesn’t want us to lie, but we can be shrewd if need be, or in other words just don’t disclose all of the facts.  As Abraham had done when he told the king that Sarah was his sister, he just left out that she was also his wife (Gen 20:2).

“And it came to pass, when they were come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, Surely the LORD’S anointed is before him. 

But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.

Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel.  And he said, Neither hath the LORD chosen this. 

Then Jesse made Shammah to pass by.  And he said, Neither hath the LORD chosen this. 

Again, Jesse made seven of his sons to pass before Samuel. And Samuel said unto Jesse, The LORD hath not chosen these.

And Samuel said unto Jesse, Are here all thy children?  And he said, There remaineth yet the youngest, and, behold, he keepeth the sheep.  And Samuel said unto Jesse, Send and fetch him: for we will not sit down till he come hither. 

And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to.  And the LORD said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he.

Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the 1 Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah. 

4. relief of Sargon II
View of the relief of Sargon II of Assyria at the rock cliff of Tang-i Var as seen from below.

The inscription covering the depiction of king Sargon mentions his interaction with Shebitku, king of Kush, and the extradition of Yamani, rebel king of Ashdod.

But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him.

And Saul’s servants said unto him, Behold now, an evil spirit from God troubleth thee.

Let our lord now command thy servants, which are before thee, to seek out a man, who is a cunning player on a harp: and it shall come to pass, when the evil spirit from God is upon thee, that he shall play with his hand, and thou shalt be well.

And Saul said unto his servants, Provide me now a man that can play well, and bring him to me.

Then answered one of the servants, and said, Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Beth-lehemite, that is cunning in playing, and a mighty valiant man, and a man of war, and prudent in matters, and a comely person, and the LORD is with him.

Wherefore Saul sent messengers unto Jesse, and said, Send me David thy son, which is with the sheep.  And Jesse took an ass laden with bread, and a bottle of wine, and a kid, and sent them by David his son unto Saul. 

And David came to Saul, and stood before him: and he loved him greatly; and he became his armor bearer.

And Saul sent to Jesse, saying, Let David, I pray thee, stand before me; for he hath found favor in my sight. 

And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took a harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him”(1 Sam 16:6-23).

5. basalt stele of Sargon II
The three surviving fragments of the basalt stele of Sargon II from Ashdod, excavated in 1963 in two separate locations and in secondary contexts on the acropolis.

The stele was erected in 711 B.C. (or shortly after) when Ashdod was made the centre of an Assyrian province and smashed in 705 B.C. (or shortly after) when Ashdod broke free of Assyrian rule after Sargon’s death.

From M. Dothan (ed.), Ashdod II-III: the second and third seasons of excavations, 1963, 1965, soundings in 1967.

1 That was the Holy Ghost that came upon David.  Before Jesus the Holy Ghost usually came to people on and off, never to stay with them.  Today, once you accept Jesus into your heart the Holy Ghost comes and stays for the rest of your life.

6. Hanunu of Gaza
Hanunu of Gaza, shown on his knees in front of Tiglath-pileser III, formally submits to the king of Assyria.

Stone relief from the wall decoration of Tiglath-pileser’s palace at Kalhu.

“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; Even the Spirit of truth whom the world cannot receive because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you” (Jn 16:17).

“These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you.  But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (Jn 16:26). 

When Jesus said, “Whatsoever I said unto you” He’s not talking about only what He said to His disciples, but what we read in the Bible, His righteousness. 

But also, if you have a personal relationship with Him He will tell you things and if you forget the Holy Ghost is there to remind you.

(King) David

8. King David
King David by Michelangelo

David was the youngest son of Jesse, the great-grandson of Boaz and Ruth, born in Bethlehem in the tribe of Judah. He was handpicked by God, anointed by Samuel, and became Israel’s second, and greatest, king.

7. remains of an Assyrian palatial building at Ashdod
The remains of an Assyrian palatial building at Ashdod, dating to the late 8th century B.C., during excavations in 2003.

David was a shepherd in his early years.  After killing Goliath, with a slingshot, he   joined the entourage of King Saul, Israel’s first king.  Saul eventually became jealous of David’s popularity with the Israelites and tried to kill him several times.  David and his followers had to flee and hide out from Saul, but with the defeat of the Israelites and the death of Saul at the hands of the Philistines, David was anointed King over Judah.

Later, David defeated Ishbosheth the son of Saul, who was King of the northern tribes of Israel.  Thereafter, in his eighth year, David united all the tribes and became King of all Israelites.  He moved the capitol to Jerusalem, and brought the sacred Ark of the Covenant there.

David defeated the Philistines in two decisive battles, at Baal Perazim and at Rephaim, and the Philistines were no longer a serious threat to Israel.  David then defeated Moab, Edom, Damascus, and Ammon, and they all became subjugated.

David committed adultery with Bathsheba and sent her husband Uriah to his death.  For this, God rebuked David through Nathan the prophet, and told David that murder will be a constant threat to his family from this time on. David’s first child by Bathsheba died seven days after birth.  One of David’s sons, Absalom, killed his half-brother Amnon, after Amnon raped Absalom’s sister, Tamar.

9. David Is Anointed King over Judah
If you think national politics are nasty in our day, then take a look at the political intrigue going on behind the scenes that finally resulted in David becoming king of all Israel. Politics was bloody!

David is noted for several things.  He initiated a cultural and literary revival which was continued by Solomon.  He undertook far-reaching reforms in national institutions and administration.  He also began preparations for building a central sanctuary in Jerusalem (the first Temple) and chose the site.  The worship of God became the official state religion, and the priesthood was organized under the chief priests.  He also reorganized the army.

Because the prophets, during the Old Testament times, had proclaimed that the Messiah would be a descendant of King David, people would use the phrase “son of David” as a way to refer to Messianic prophecy or to their hopes that the Messiah would arrive during their lifetime.

Jesus is often called the “son of David.”  A blind man named Bartimaeus, for example, refers to Jesus by that title, in Mark 10:46-52, shortly before Jesus healed him and restored his sight.

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