Reading 79/341, 1 Samuel 13-15

[A] This first line is strange. It is probably textual errors, but there are some who interpret it to mean that Saul was anointed for 1 year when he became king, and that he then reigned for 2 years before Samuel deposed him, but this was in word only. Saul reigned for about 40 years.
[B] Samuel informs Saul that God has rejected him. More on this tomorrow. But since Christ always was a descendant of David, Saul was always going to be rejected. David was always meant to be king, but he was not born yet when the people demand a king, so Saul fills the place. Saul's reign starts off well, but gets worse as time goes on. He will soon be the bad guy of these readings. His main problem is that he is overly religious. Samuel criticizes him today for performing a sacrifice when he had no mandate to do that as king. In various ways, Saul's religiosity will trip him up in the years to come. It is a hypocritical religiosity. He will not go into battle without sacrifice, but rather than wait for the priest, he does it himself. He declares an ill-thought out fast that was not required by God. He expels all the witches from Israel, but when he is in a desperate situation, he goes to one himself. He is religious without being obedient.
...1 Samuel...

Saul was one year old when he began to reign, and he reigned two years over Israel. Saul chose three thousand men of Israel. Two thousand were with Saul in Michmash and in the hill country of Bethel, and one thousand were with Jonathan in Gibeah of Benjamin. The rest of the people he sent back, every man to his tent. Jonathan defeated the garrison of the Philistines that was in Geba, and the Philistines heard of it. Saul blew the trumpet throughout all the land, saying, “Let the Hebrews hear.” All Israel heard that Saul had struck the garrison of the Philistines, and also that Israel had become a stench to the Philistines. The people were gathered together with Saul at Gilgal. The Philistines assembled themselves together to fight with Israel: thirty thousand chariots, six thousand horsemen, and as many people as the sand which is on the seashore, and they came up, and encamped in Michmash, east of Beth-aven. When the men of Israel saw that they were in trouble (for the people were distressed), the people hid themselves in caves, and in thickets, and in rocks, and in tombs, and in pits. Some of the Hebrews had gone over the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead. Saul was still in Gilgal, and all the people followed him trembling. He waited seven days, according to the time that Samuel had appointed, but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and the people were scattering from him. Saul said, “Bring here the burnt offering to me, and the peace offerings.” He offered the burnt offering. It came to pass that as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came, and Saul went out to meet him, that he might greet him. Samuel said, “What have you done?” Saul said, “Because I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines assembled themselves together at Michmash, I said, ‘Now the Philistines will come down on me at Gilgal, and I have not entreated the favor of the Lord.’ So I forced myself, and offered the burnt offering.” Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly; you have not kept the commandment of the Lord your God, which he commanded you. The Lord would have established your kingdom in Israel forever, but now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought a man after his own heart, and the Lord has appointed him to be prince over his people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.”

Samuel arose, and went up from Gilgal to Gibeah of Benjamin. Saul numbered the people who were present with him, about six hundred men. Saul, and Jonathan his son, and the people who were present with them, dwelt in Geba of Benjamin, but the Philistines encamped in Michmash. The raiders came out of the camp of the Philistines in three companies, one company turned to the way that leads to Ophrah, to the land of Shual, and another company turned the way to Beth Horon, and another company turned the way of the border that looks down on the valley of Zeboim toward the desert. Now there was no smith found throughout all the land of Israel; for the Philistines said, “Lest the Hebrews make themselves swords or spears”, but each one of the Israelites went down to the Philistines to sharpen his plowshare, mattock, axe, and sickle, and the charge was two-thirds of a shekel for the plowshares and for the mattocks, and a third of a shekel for sharpening the axes and for setting the goads.. So it came to pass in the day of battle, that there were neither swords nor spears found in the hand of any of the people who were with Saul and Jonathan, but Saul and Jonathan his son did have them. The garrison of the Philistines went out to the pass of Michmash.

One day, Jonathan the son of Saul said to the young man who bore his armor, “Come; let us go over to the Philistines' garrison that is on yonder side.” But he did not tell his father. Saul dwelt in the uttermost part of Gibeah under the pomegranate tree which is in Migron, and the people who were with him were about six hundred men, and Ahijah, the son of Ahitub, Ichabod's brother, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eli, the priest of the Lord in Shiloh, wearing an ephod. The people did not know that Jonathan was gone. Between the passes, by which Jonathan sought to go over to the Philistines' garrison, there was a rocky crag on the one side, and a rocky crag on the other side, and the name of the one was Bozez, and the name of the other Seneh. The one crag rose up on the north in front of Michmash, and the other on the south in front of Geba. Jonathan said to the young man who bore his armor, “Come, and let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised. It may be that the Lord will work for us, for it causes the Lord no extra difficulty to save by many or by few.” His armor bearer said to him, “Do all that is in your heart. Dot it. Behold, I am with you according to your heart.” Then said Jonathan, “Behold, we will cross over to the men, and we will disclose ourselves to them. If they say to us, ‘Wait until we come to you, then we will stand still in our place, and will not go up to them, but if they say, ‘Come up to us’, then we will go up, for the Lord has delivered them into our hand, and this shall be the sign for us.” Both of them disclosed themselves to the garrison of the Philistines, and the Philistines said, “Behold, the Hebrews come forth out of the holes where they have hidden themselves.” The men of the garrison hailed Jonathan and his armor bearer, and said, “Come up to us, and we will show you a thing.” Jonathan said to his armor bearer, “Come up after me, for the Lord has delivered them into the hand of Israel.” Jonathan climbed up on his hands and on his feet, and his armor bearer after him, and they fell before Jonathan, and his armor bearer killed them after him. That first slaughter, which Jonathan and his armor bearer made, was about twenty men, within as it were half a furrow's length in an acre of land. There was a trembling in the camp, in the field, and among all the people; the garrison, and even the raiders trembled, and the earth quaked, so there was an exceeding great panic.

The watchmen of Saul in Gibeah of Benjamin looked, and behold, the multitude melted away, and they went here and there. Then said Saul to the people who were with him, “Number now, and see who has gone from us.” When they had numbered, behold, Jonathan and his armor bearer were not there. Saul said to Ahijah, “Bring the ark of God here.” For the ark of God went at that time with the children of Israel. It happened, while Saul talked to the priest, that the tumult that was in the camp of the Philistines went on and increased, and Saul said to the priest, “Withdraw your hand.” Saul and all the people who were with him were gathered together, and came to the battle, and behold, every man's sword was against his fellow, and there was a very great confusion. Now the Hebrews who had been with the Philistines before, and who had gone up with them into the camp, from the country round about, also turned to be with the Israelites who were with Saul and Jonathan. Likewise all the men of Israel who had hid themselves in the hill country of Ephraim, when they heard that the Philistines fled, also followed hard after them in the battle. So the Lord saved Israel that day, and the battle passed over Beth-aven.

The men of Israel were distressed that day, for Saul had adjured the people, saying, “Cursed be the man who eats any food until evening, and I am avenged on my enemies.” So none of the people tasted food. All the people came into the forest, and there was honey on the ground. When the people had come to the forest, behold, the honey dripped, but no man put his hand to his mouth, for the people feared the oath. But Jonathan did not hear when his father charged the people with the oath, therefore he put forth the end of the rod which was in his hand, and dipped it in the honeycomb, and put his hand to his mouth, and his eyes lit up. Then one of the people said, “Your father directly charged the people with an oath, saying, ‘Cursed be the man who eats food this day.’” The people were faint. Then Jonathan said, “My father has troubled the land. Please look how my eyes have lit up, because I tasted a little of this honey. How much better, if perhaps the people had eaten freely today of the spoil of their enemies which they found? For now there has been no great slaughter among the Philistines.” They struck of the Philistines that day from Michmash to Aijalon. The people were very faint, and the people flew on the spoil, and took sheep, and oxen, and calves, and killed them on the ground, and the people ate them with the blood. Then they told Saul, saying, “Behold, the people sin against the Lord, in that they eat the blood.” He said, “You have dealt treacherously, roll a great stone to me this day.” Saul said, “Disperse yourselves among the people, and tell them, ‘Bring me here every man his ox, and every man his sheep, and kill them here, and eat, and do not sin against the Lord in eating the blood.” All the people brought his ox with him that night, and killed them there. Saul built an altar to the Lord. It was the first altar that he built to the Lord.

Saul said, “Let us go down after the Philistines by night, and plunder them until the morning light, and let us not leave a man of them.” They said, “Do whatever seems good to you.” Then the priest said, “Let us draw near here to God.” Saul asked counsel of God, “Shall I go down after the Philistines? Will you deliver them into the hand of Israel?” But he did not answer him that day. Saul said, “Draw near here, all you chiefs of the people, and know and see how this sin has arisen today. For, as the Lord lives, who saves Israel, though it be in Jonathan my son, he shall surely die.” But there was not a man among all the people who answered him. Then said he to all Israel, “You shall be on one side, and I and Jonathan my son will be on the other side.” The people said to Saul, “Do what seems good to you.” Therefore Saul said, “O Lord God of Israel, why have you not answered your servant this day? If this guilt is in me or in Jonathan my son, O Lord, God of Israel, give Urim. But if this guilt is in your people Israel, give Thummim.” Jonathan and Saul were taken, but the people escaped. Saul said, Cast the lot between me and Jonathan my son. Jonathan was taken. Then Saul said to Jonathan, “Tell me what you have done.” Jonathan told him, and said, “I tasted a little honey with the end of the rod that was in my hand, and behold, I must die.” Saul said, “God do so and more also, for you shall surely die, Jonathan.” The people said to Saul, “Shall Jonathan die, who has worked this great salvation in Israel? Far from it, as the Lord lives, there shall not one hair of his head fall to the ground, for he has worked with God this day.” So the people ransomed Jonathan, so he did not die. Then Saul went up from following the Philistines, and the Philistines went to their own place.

Now when Saul had taken the kingdom over Israel, he fought against all his enemies on every side, against Moab, and against the children of Ammon, and against Edom, and against the kings of Zobah, and against the Philistines. Wherever he turned himself, he routed them. He did valiantly, and struck the Amalekites, and delivered Israel out of the hands of those who plundered them. Now the sons of Saul were Jonathan, and Ishvi, and Malchishua, and the names of his two daughters were these: the name of the firstborn Merab, and the name of the younger Michal. The name of Saul's wife was Ahinoam the daughter of Ahimaaz. The name of the captain of his army was Abner, the son of Ner, Saul's uncle. Kish was the father of Saul, and Ner the father of Abner was the son of Abiel. There was hard war against the Philistines all the days of Saul, and when Saul saw any mighty man, or any valiant man, he drafted him. Samuel said to Saul, “The Lord sent me to anoint you to be king over his people, over Israel. Now therefore listen to the voice of the words of the Lord. Thus says the Lord of Hosts, ‘I have marked what Amalek did to Israel, how he set himself against him on the way, when he came up out of Egypt. Now go and strike Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.” Saul summoned the people, and numbered them in Telaim, 200,000 footmen, and 10,000 men of Judah. Saul came to the city of Amalek, and laid wait in the valley. Saul said to the Kenites, “Go, depart, go down from among the Amalekites, lest I destroy you with them; for you showed kindness to all the children of Israel, when they came up out of Egypt.” So the Kenites departed from among the Amalekites. Saul struck the Amalekites, from Havilah as you go to Shur, that is before Egypt. He took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword. But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them, but everything that was vile and worthless, they destroyed utterly.

Then the word of the Lord came to Samuel, saying, “It grieves me that I have set up Saul to be king, for he is turned back from following me and has not performed my commandments.” Samuel was angry, and he cried to the Lord all night. Samuel rose early to meet Saul in the morning, and it was told to Samuel, “Saul came to Carmel, and behold, he set up a monument for himself, and turned, and passed on, and went down to Gilgal.” Samuel came to Saul, and Saul said to him, “Blessed be you by the Lord! I have performed the commandment of the Lord.” Samuel said, “What then is this bleating of sheep in my ears? And the lowing of the oxen which I hear?” Saul said, “They have brought them from the Amalekites, for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice to the Lord your God, and the rest we have devoted to destruction.” Then Samuel said to Saul, “Stop! I will tell you what the Lord has said to me this night.” He said to him, “Speak.” Samuel said, “hough you were little in your own sight, were not you made the head of the tribes of Israel? The Lord anointed you king over Israel, and the Lord sent you on a mission, and said, ‘Go, and devote to destruction the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are consumed.’ Why then did not you obey the voice of the Lord? Why did you pounce on the spoil and do what was evil in the sight of the Lord?” Saul said to Samuel, “Yes, I have obeyed the voice of the Lord, and have gone the way which the Lord sent me. I have brought Agag the king of Amalek and have devoted the Amalekites to destruction. But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the best of the devoted things, to sacrifice to the Lord your God in Gilgal.” Samuel said, “Has 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 listen than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has also rejected you from being king.” Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord, and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice. Now therefore, please pardon my sin, and turn again with me, that I may worship the Lord.” Samuel said to Saul, “I will not return with you, for you have rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord has rejected you from being king over Israel.” As Samuel turned about to go away, Saul held onto the skirt of his robe, and it tore. Samuel said to him, “The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you this day, and has given it to a neighbor of yours who is better than you. Also the Glory of Israel will not lie nor repent; for he is not a man, that he should repent.” Then he said, “I have sinned, yet honor me now, please, before the elders of my people, and before Israel, and return with me, that I may worship the Lord your God.” So Samuel turned back after Saul, and Saul worshiped the Lord. Then Samuel said, “Bring here to me Agag the king of the Amalekites.” Agag came to him cheerfully. Agag said, “Surely the bitterness of death is past.” Samuel said, “As your sword has made women childless, so shall your mother be childless among women.” Samuel hacked Agag in pieces before the Lord in Gilgal. Then Samuel went to Ramah, and Saul went up to his house to Gibeah of Saul. Samuel no longer saw Saul, until the day of his death, but Samuel mourned for Saul, and the Lord grieved that he had made Saul king over Israel.

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