1Samuel 7-9

Sunday Evening Bible Study

January 13, 2002

Introduction

Last week we saw the Israelites facing a war with the Philistines.  When they lost the first battle, they thought they needed some help, so they brought the Ark of the Covenant from Shiloh to their battlefield as a sort of “good luck charm”.  God wasn’t too pleased with this and as a result they people lost the battle and lost the Ark.  The Ark was taken by the Philistines who first tried to put the Ark in the temple of their god Dagon, but kept finding Dagon fallen down on the ground before the Ark.  The Philistines were also struck with some kind of plague involving possibly hemorrhoids and a mice infestation.  As a result, the Philistines sent the Ark back to Israel by way of a driverless ox-cart.  When the Ark arrived in a field at Bethshemesh, some of the Israelites peeked inside the Ark, and some of them were killed as well.  As a result, the people of Bethshemesh asked for help from the people of Kirjathjearim, asking that they could come and take the Ark off of their hands.

1Samuel 7

:1-12  Ebenezer

:1  And the men of Kirjathjearim came, and fetched up the ark of the LORD, and brought it into the house of Abinadab in the hill, and sanctified Eleazar his son to keep the ark of the LORD.

KirjathjearimQiryath [email protected]‘ariym = “city of forests”.  A city eight miles northeast of Bethshemesh, up in the hills. See map

Why wasn’t the ark returned to Shiloh?

Ryrie:  “The ark was not returned to Shiloh, for archaeological data indicates that the city was destroyed about 1050 bc (cf. Jer. 26:9), perhaps after the battle at Aphek (1 Sam. 4).”

Abinadab ‘Abiynadab – “my father is noble” or “my father is willing”.  There are a couple of Abinadabs in the Bible.  We don’t know much about this man at all, except he was willing to take the Ark.

sanctified Eleazar – I think it would be safe to assume that this was a family of Levites, perhaps even priests.

:2  the ark abode in Kirjathjearim …twenty years

The Ark would actually be in Kirjathjearim for a lot longer than this.  During the reign of King Saul, the Ark would be brought to Gibeah (1Sam. 14:18), and then when David becomes king over all Israel, he will bring the Ark to Jerusalem (2Sam. 6).  It would be about a hundred years from this time in Kirjathjearim until it lands in Jerusalem.  But it would be at Kirjathjearim for twenty years before Samuel speaks to the nation.

:2  and all the house of Israel lamented after the LORD.

lamentednahah – to wail, lament; (Niphal) to go mourning after

(1 Sam 7:2 NLT)  The Ark remained in Kiriath-jearim for a long time--twenty years in all. During that time, all Israel mourned because it seemed that the LORD had abandoned them.

The people are bummed with all the trouble that has happened in their life.

:3 If ye do return unto the LORD with all your hearts, then put away the strange gods and Ashtaroth from among you, and prepare your hearts unto the LORD, and serve him only: and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.

returnshuwb – to return, turn back

strange gods – it’s not that there are some “gods” that are strange and others that aren’t “strange”.  Anything other than Yahweh is a “strange” god.

Ashtaroth‘Ashtarowth = “star”.  This is the plural form, the singular is “Ashtoreth”.  This was the main female goddess that was worshipped by just about everybody at the time in some shape or form.  She was called Ashtoreth by the Phoenicians, Ishtar by the Assyrians, and Aphrodite by the Greeks.  She was considered the “moon goddess” and was thought to be married to some form of Baal, the sun-god.  Solomon brought the worship of her into Israel (1Ki. 11:33), Jezebel had 400 priests dedicated to serve her (1 Ki. 18:19), and she would still be a part of Israelite culture right up to Jeremiah’s day when she was called the “queen of heaven” (Jer. 44:25).

If we were to summarize the worship of Ashtoreth, it is everything pornographic.  They didn’t need Playboy magazine or Internet pornography, they had Ashtoreth.

During the twenty years that the Ark is at Kirjathjearim, Samuel doesn’t speak.  But now it’s time to say something, and when he does, it is to point out something about their “mourning”.

Lesson

Repentance means action, not just sorrow

The people had been upset over their spiritual condition and the fact that it seemed that God was against them.  But they weren’t doing anything to change.
The church in Corinth was sort of Paul’s “problem child”.  In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, he had to write some pretty harsh things.  But his message got through.
(2 Cor 7:8-11 NLT)  I am no longer sorry that I sent that letter to you, though I was sorry for a time, for I know that it was painful to you for a little while. {9} Now I am glad I sent it, not because it hurt you, but because the pain caused you to have remorse and change your ways. It was the kind of sorrow God wants his people to have, so you were not harmed by us in any way. {10} For God can use sorrow in our lives to help us turn away from sin and seek salvation. We will never regret that kind of sorrow. But sorrow without repentance is the kind that results in death. {11} Just see what this godly sorrow produced in you! Such earnestness, such concern to clear yourselves, such indignation, such alarm, such longing to see me, such zeal, and such a readiness to punish the wrongdoer. You showed that you have done everything you could to make things right.

Sorrow without change is worthless.

Lesson

Victory comes from true repentance

If Israel wanted to have victory over the Philistines, they needed to get rid of the Ashtaroth.
You can’t make half-way changes.  God wants all of your heart.
The guys couldn’t feel sorry during church and just wish things were better.  They needed to go home and throw away the Ashtaroth.
If you are really returning to the Lord, then make the appropriate changes.
Victory in one area of your life will affect other areas of your life.
God didn’t just promise them victory over the Ashtaroth, but victory over the Philistines.  Getting rid of the Ashtaroth brought victory over the Philistines.

:4 Then the children of Israel did put away Baalim and Ashtaroth, and served the LORD only.

I guess for twenty years the people were caught in that cycle of “mourning” but never really changing.

This time they finally get it and they turn to the Lord.

They finally throw out the magazines they shouldn’t be reading.  They finally put a block on the Internet pornography.  They finally put away the things that tempt them.

:5 And Samuel said, Gather all Israel to Mizpeh, and I will pray for you unto the LORD.

MizpehMitspeh – “watchtower”; also called “Mizpah”. About three miles south of where Israel gathered last time for battle, at Ebenezer.  About seven miles north of Jerusalem.  See map.  It seems to be a common place of gathering the nation. This was the place in Judges 20-21 where Israel gathered to battle against the tribe of Benjamin.  It would be the place where Saul would be presented to the people as king (1Sam. 10:17).

:6  drew water, and poured it out before the LORD …We have sinned against the LORD.

drew water, and poured it out – it seems that this is somehow tied to their confession as a people.  It could be a symbol of their weeping before the Lord. The Jewish Targum, which is a sort of paraphrased translation states “they poured out their heart in repentance, as water”.

Lesson

Confession

Don’t make excuses or blame it on others.
Own your own sin.  Acknowledge that you are to blame.

:6  And Samuel judged the children of Israel in Mizpeh.

This is the beginning of Samuel’s ministry as the last “judge” over Israel.  He is God’s leader, giving instruction and leadership to the nation.  His “judging” is demonstrated in his calling the people to repentance.

:7  the Philistines heard that the children of Israel were gathered together to Mizpeh

The Philistines aren’t going to let the Israelites have these national gatherings.  They smell trouble.  They want to stop things before they get out of hand.

:8  Cease not to cry unto the LORD our God for us

ceasecharash – (Hiphil) to be silent, keep quiet.  “Don’t be silent before God”

Samuel had told the people (vs. 5) that when they got to Mizpeh, he would pray for them.  Now they say to him, “Whatever you do, don’t stop praying for us!!!”

Lesson

Victory comes in much prayer

God works through prayer.
(James 5:16 KJV)  Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
Prayer is the way in which God becomes involved in the solving of our problems.
Illustration
Why God Loves Prayer by E.M. Bounds
God has ordained prayer as a means through which He will carry out His gracious designs on earth and execute and make efficient His plan of redemption.  Prayer is a specific divine appointment whereby God will do things through His people as they pray that He would not otherwise do.  While we in our weakness and poverty wait, trust, and pray, God undertakes the work.  But if prayer moves God to work in this world’s affairs, then prayerlessness leaves us the mere creatures of circumstances.  It leaves us in this world with its tremendous responsibilities and difficult problems, and with all of its sorrows, burdens and afflictions, without help from God.
Jesus Christ commits Himself to the force of prayer.  “Whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  If you ask anything in My name, I will do it” (John 14:13-14).  And again:  “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you” (John 15:7).  To no other energy is the promise of God committed as to that of prayer.  Upon no other force are the purposes of God so dependent as upon that of prayer.  Christ presses us into the presence of God with these prayer promises, not only by the assurance that God will answer, but that no other being but God can answer.  He said:  “Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you” (John 16:23b).  This all-comprehensive declaration not only urges us to pray for everything great and small, but it focuses all our attention on God – for who but God can cover the unlimited scope of universal things and can assure us of receiving the very thing for which we pray?  It is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who makes demands on us to pray, and it is He who puts Himself and all He has so fully in the answer.
Prayer puts God’s work in His hands and keeps it there.  It looks to Him constantly and depends on Him implicitly to further His own cause.  Prayer is but faith resting in, acting with, leaning on, and obeying God.  This is why God loves it so well and why He so highly esteems people of prayer.
Problems at home – I wonder how many marriages could be turned around if we just learned how to pray together more.  I wonder how many problems with difficult children would melt away if we could really learn to pray together and for each other.
Yet sometimes the hardest person to pray with is the one closest to you.  Satan doesn’t want you coming to God together on your knees.  He will make it as hard as he can.

:9 And Samuel took a sucking lamb, and offered it for a burnt offering wholly unto the LORD:

sucking lamb – a lamb that is still nursing, literally a “milk lamb”

Lesson

Victory comes with complete dedication

burnt offering – a picture of complete dedication to the Lord.  With other sacrifices, only certain parts of the animal were burnt on the fire, and the rest was eaten by those bringing the sacrifice.  But with the burnt offering, the complete animal was burnt, the complete animal was given to the Lord.
(Rom 12:1-2 KJV)  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. {2} And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Illustration
In 1954, a man named Robert Boyd Munger wrote a little booklet/tract called, “My Heart Christ’s Home”:
In the story, he describes what it’s like after you invite the Lord Jesus into your life.  He talks about Jesus coming to settle down and be comfortable in our lives like a guest staying in our house.
As a guest, Jesus visits different rooms in the house, such as when He goes into the “study”.  Munger writes,

“In a sense, it is the control room of the house. He entered with me and looked around at the books in the bookcase, the magazines upon the table, the pictures on the walls. As I followed His gaze I became uncomfortable. Strangely, I had not felt self-conscious about this before, but now that He was there looking at these things I was embarrassed. Some books were there that His eyes were too pure to behold. On the table were a few magazines that a Christian had no business reading. As for the pictures on the walls - the imaginations and thoughts of the mind - some of these were shameful. Red-faced, I turned to Him and said, “Master, I know that this room needs to be cleaned up and made over. Will You help me make it what it ought to be?” “Certainly!” He said. “I’m glad to help you. First of all, take all the things that you are reading and looking at which are not helpful, pure, good and true, and throw them out! Now put on the empty shelves the books of the Bible. Fill the library with Scripture and meditate on it day and night. As for the pictures on the walls, you will have difficulty controlling these images, but I have something that will help.” He gave me a full-size portrait of Himself. “Hang this centrally,” He said, “on the wall of the mind.””

Then Mr. Munger describes Jesus going through other rooms, the “dining room” where all his appetites and desires are met.  Jesus then goes into the “Living Room”, a quiet secluded place where he and Jesus spend time together in the morning, until Munger finds himself too busy and starts neglecting his guest.  Then Jesus goes into the “Work Room” and the “Rec Room”, cleaning up other parts of our lives until He gets to the “hall closet”, where a foul odor is coming from.  That’s where we hide things from Jesus, pretending they don’t exist in our lives.  But Jesus wants to clean out the closet.  Jesus wants free reign in the whole house.  Complete dedication.

:9  and Samuel cried unto the LORD for Israel; and the LORD heard him.

God heard Samuel’s prayers.  God will hear your prayers.

David wrote,

(Psa 34:6 KJV)  This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.

David also wrote,

(Psa 32:6-7 KJV)  For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him. {7} Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah.

Call on Him now.  He is near.

:10 And as Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel:

The Philistines don’t want to give the Israelites a chance to get their army together and they attack while Samuel is in the middle of offering up his sacrifice.

Lesson

The enemy loves to distract you.

He loves to interrupt this message with thoughts of what you have to do when church is over.  He loves to interrupt your prayer time with phone calls, things to distract you.

:10  but the LORD thundered with a great thunder on that day upon the Philistines, and discomfited them; and they were smitten before Israel.

discomfitedhamam – to move noisily, confuse, make a noise, discomfit, break, consume, crush, destroy, trouble, vex

God stepped in because of Samuel’s prayers and brought the victory.

:11 And the men of Israel went out of Mizpeh, and pursued the Philistines, and smote them,

There are going to be times that God will bring the victory all by Himself.  But there are also going to be times that we have a part in the victory, in “chasing those Philistines” out of our life.

:11  until they came under Bethcar.

BethcarBeyth Kar – “house of the ram” or “house of the lamb”

They had sacrificed a lamb.  Now they pursue the Philistines as far as the “house of the lamb”

Lesson

Victory in the Lamb

It may not seem to make sense that something as harmless as a Lamb could ever bring victory to anyone.
Satan will be defeated by the Lamb.
(Rev 12:10-11 KJV)  And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. {11} And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
The antichrist and his kingdom will one day be defeated by the Lamb.
(Rev 17:14 KJV)  These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.
Victory comes from Jesus.  He is the Lamb.

:12 Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Ebenezer, saying, Hitherto hath the LORD helped us.

ShenShen – “crag”

Ebenezer‘Eben ha-‘ ezer – “stone of help”

Lesson

Remember the Lord’s victories

Let today be one of those markers.

Lesson

God wants to take you past today

God’s victory doesn’t end with “hitherto”.  He isn’t finished with us.
(Phil 1:6 KJV)  Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
Illustration
At one time Andrew Carnegie was the wealthiest man in America. He came to America from his native Scotland when he was a small boy, did a variety of odd jobs, and eventually ended up as the largest steel manufacturer in the United States.  At one time he had forty-three millionaires working for him.  In those days a millionaire was a rare person; conservatively speaking, a million dollars in his day would be equivalent to at least twenty million dollars today.
A reporter asked Carnegie how he had hired forty-three millionaires.  Carnegie responded that those men had not been millionaires when they started working for him but had become millionaires as a result.
The reporter’s next question was, “How did you develop these men to become so valuable to you that you have paid them this much money?” Carnegie replied that men are developed the same way gold is mined. When gold is mined, several tons of dirt must be moved to get an ounce of gold; but one doesn’t go into the mine looking for dirt—one goes in looking for the gold.
That’s how God views us.  He isn’t focused on all the dirt that needs to be moved, though it still needs to be moved.  He knows what He’s making of us.  He’s looking for the gold.
(Jude 1:24 KJV)  Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,

:13-17 Samuel’s ministry

:14  the cities which the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel

Lesson

Victory leads to restoration

Because Israel had victory over the Philistines, they regained the cities that they had lost.
I think that God’s heart is that when we’ve fallen, but we repent and come back to Him, that there be a measure of restoration.
(Gal 6:1 KJV)  Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.

This may not always be the case in every situation.  Sometimes a full restoration isn’t possible.  But I think it’s God’s heart.

:14  And there was peace between Israel and the Amorites.

Amorites – this was a term used to describe the people in the land of Israel, the Canaanites.

:16 And he went from year to year in circuit to Bethel, and Gilgal, and Mizpeh, and judged Israel in all those places.

BethelSee map

GilgalSee map

This was Samuel pattern, moving between these three places and his home in Ramah.

:17 And his return was to Ramah; for there was his house

Today, on a hill in Ramah you can see a large building that they say is the tomb of Samuel.  But there is another church that figured that wasn’t the proper site, so they built another church on another hillside, and they say that’s the tomb of Samuel.  So you have a problem, there are two tombs of Samuel.  One guide in Israel solved it: he said, “Well, that’s First Samuel, and that’s Second Samuel.”

:17  there he built an altar unto the LORD.

Chuck Smith: “The work of God should always lead us to the worship of God.”

1Samuel 8

:1-5  We want a king

:1  And it came to pass, when Samuel was old, that he made his sons judges over Israel.

It is thought that Samuel may be 65-70 years old at this time. It’s harder for Samuel to get around.  He wants to pass on his ministry to his sons.

:2 Now the name of his firstborn was Joel; and the name of his second, Abiah: they were judges in Beersheba.

Beersheba – The city at the far south of Israel.  See map

Though Samuel’s sons were bad, his grandson would be good.

(1 Chr 6:31-34 KJV)  And these are they whom David set over the service of song in the house of the LORD, after that the ark had rest. {32} And they ministered before the dwelling place of the tabernacle of the congregation with singing, until Solomon had built the house of the LORD in Jerusalem: and then they waited on their office according to their order. {33} And these are they that waited with their children. Of the sons of the Kohathites: Heman (“hey-mawn”, sounds Jamaican!) a singer, the son of Joel, the son of Shemuel, {34} The son of Elkanah, the son of Jeroham, the son of Eliel, the son of Toah,

Heman was one of the worship leaders in the temple.
(1 Chr 25:1 KJV)  Moreover David and the captains of the host separated to the service of the sons of Asaph, and of Heman, and of Jeduthun, who should prophesy with harps, with psalteries, and with cymbals: and the number of the workmen according to their service was:
Heman’s descendants were to “prophesy with harps …”.  You could either look at this as if they were to prophesy and also play instruments.  Sometimes I kind of wonder if a person can’t speak for God while playing instrumentally, to “prophesy through the instrument …”
(1 Chr 25:4-5 KJV)  Of Heman: the sons of Heman; Bukkiah, Mattaniah, Uzziel, Shebuel, and Jerimoth, Hananiah, Hanani, Eliathah, Giddalti, and Romamtiezer, Joshbekashah, Mallothi, Hothir, and Mahazioth: {5} All these were the sons of Heman the king's seer in the words of God, to lift up the horn. And God gave to Heman fourteen sons and three daughters.
Perhaps Heman’s family was in charge of the trumpets?

:3 And his sons walked not in his ways

Lesson

Raising bad kids

Just like his mentor, Eli, Samuel’s sons do not follow the Lord.
We could look at this and point a finger and condemn Samuel.

Perhaps he spent too much time at church.  Perhaps he didn’t have family devotions with his children.  Perhaps he didn’t spank his boys enough.

I’m not sure that’s the point.

I think the point is, even the godliest people can have rebellious children.

:3  but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment

Lesson

Bribes

When a person is in a place of authority, yet they will twist their judgment to help the one who pays them the most is wicked.
(Exo 23:8 NLT)  "Take no bribes, for a bribe makes you ignore something that you clearly see. A bribe always hurts the cause of the person who is in the right.
(Prov 15:27 NASB)  He who profits illicitly troubles his own house, But he who hates bribes will live.

Samuel’s sons brought trouble to their family because they took bribes.

(Prov 29:4 NASB)  The king gives stability to the land by justice, But a man who takes bribes overthrows it.

:5 And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways:

Perhaps the people were afraid that Samuel’s sons were going to end up being like Eli’s sons.  Nobody wanted to go back to that.

:5  now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.

The idea of a king was not a bad one.  God had thought of it a long time ago.

(Deu 17:14-20 KJV)  When thou art come unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me;

This is exactly what is happening with the people and Samuel.  I think perhaps that the idea of “like all the nations” isn’t what the problem is.  God doesn’t seem to think it’s a problem here in Deuteronomy.

{15} Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the LORD thy God shall choose:

God is concerned that whatever happens, the people would pick the king that God would choose.  And God would be picking the king.

one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother.

The Israelite king should be an Israeli.

{16} But he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses: forasmuch as the LORD hath said unto you, Ye shall henceforth return no more that way. {17} Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold.

The king needs to be careful that he isn’t carried away with power (horses), women or wealth.  These would be the very things that would bring Solomon down.

{18} And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: {19} And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: {20} That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.

The king was to make his own handwritten copy of the Scriptures and to study God’s Word every day of his life.  He was to guard himself from pride (something that would be Saul’s downfall).

:6-9  Samuel upset at the king idea

:6 But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the LORD.

Samuel is having a hard time with the king thing.  I imagine he’s taking this a bit personally.  He thinks that the people are making a judgment on his ministry.

Samuel does respond correctly.  He takes his problem to the Lord.

:7  they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.

Lesson

Don’t take it personally

I think that sometimes people treat us differently simply because we are Christians, simply because we are following the Lord.
You may not be the one they have a problem with.  It may be the Lord.

Lesson

God wants to rule

This was the real problem with what was happening.  It’s not that the people wanted a king, it’s not that they wanted to be like other kingdoms, but it’s that they were rejecting God’s leadership over their nation.
God wants to be the King of your life.  That’s what it means for Jesus to be “Lord”.
Illustration
It is said that a certain guide lived in the deserts of Arabia who never lost his way.  He carried with him a homing pigeon with a very fine cord attached to one of its legs.  When in doubt as to which path to take, he threw the bird into the air.  The pigeon quickly strained at the cord to fly in the direction of home, and thus led the guide accurately to his goal.  Because of this unique practice he was known as “the dove man.”
God wants us to learn to let Him lead us.  He wants to prompt us through the leading of the Holy Spirit.  He wants to rule and reign in our lives.

:9 Now therefore hearken unto their voice

Lesson

God won’t force you

God is giving in to the demands of the people. 
God will not force you against your will to serve Him. 
If you don’t want to serve God, He’s not going to force you to serve Him. 

:10-22  Samuel warns what a king is like

:10 And Samuel told all the words of the LORD unto the people that asked of him a king.

Samuel tells the people just what it’s going to be like having a king.

:11  He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself

The draft – men would be forced to be in the king’s army.

(1 Sam 14:52 KJV)  And there was sore war against the Philistines all the days of Saul: and when Saul saw any strong man, or any valiant man, he took him unto him.

:12  will set them to ear his ground

ear his ground – plow his fields

:13 And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers.

confectionariesraqqachah – ointment-maker (female), perfumer (female)

:15 And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards

There will be taxes, taxes, and more taxes.

There is a great benefit with government.  It provides order, protection.  But there’s a cost as well.

:18 And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day.

They’ve been warned what it will be like being ruled by man rather than God.  If they complain, God isn’t going to listen.

1Samuel 9

:1-10  Saul looks for donkeys

:1  Now there was a man of Benjamin

a man of Benjamin – the tribe of Benjamin was different from the other tribes in that it was very, very small at this time.  Back in the book of Judges, it was the tribe of Benjamin that stood up to protect the wicked men of Gibeah.  As a result, they had lost all but 600 of their men.  Interestingly enough, Saul will even be from the rebuilt city of Gibeah.

:1  a mighty man of power.

Saul’s father, Kish, was a wealthy, powerful man.

:2 And he had a son, whose name was Saul, a choice young man, and a goodly

Saul was a handsome man with great physical appeal, big and handsome.  He would make a sharp looking king.

:3  Take now one of the servants with thee, and arise, go seek the asses.

NOTE:  David became king after having been a keeper of sheep.  Saul became king after having been a keeper of donkeys.

Also, don’t get confused with Saul following after his father’s wishes.  Saul is probably about 37 years old. 

As soon as he was anointed king, he forms an army.  He takes 2000 men under his leadership, and to his son Jonathan, 1000 men under his leadership.  So just shortly after his becoming king, his son Jonathan was old enough to take leadership of a 1000 men army.  So Jonathan would have to be at least 20 years old, making Saul around thirty seven years old. 

:4 And he passed through mount Ephraim, and passed through the land of Shalisha, but they found them not: then they passed through the land of Shalim, and there they were not: and he passed through the land of the Benjamites, but they found them not.

Ephraimsee map

ShalishaShalishah – “third”; see map

ShalimSha‘aliym – “foxes”; see map

Benjaminsee map

:5  the land of Zuph

ZuphTsuwph = “honeycomb” see map

:6 Behold now, there is in this city a man of God

a man of God – this will be Samuel

:7  there is not a present to bring to the man of God: what have we?

It was customary to bring something to pay the prophet for his ministry.

:8  I have here at hand the fourth part of a shekel of silver

I think it’s interesting that Saul’s servant seems to know more about Samuel than Saul does.  The servant even seems to be a better equipped person than Saul.

:9  he that is now called a Prophet was beforetime called a Seer.

The writer is giving us a little historical background.

seerra’ah – to see, look at, inspect, perceive, consider.  The emphasis is on “seeing”, on having visions.

prophetnabiy’ – spokesman, speaker, prophet.  The emphasis is more on speaking for God.

:10  So they went unto the city where the man of God was.

the city – we’re not sure just which city this was.

Lesson

God uses circumstances to move us

God is using something as silly as lost donkeys to get Saul to meet Samuel.  God will often use our circumstances to direct our life.
The Bible says,
(Prov 3:5-6 KJV)  Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. {6} In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Sometimes we can fall into the idea that when God “leads us”, it must be with some sort of mystical trance, that our eyes roll back inside our head and we quiver and shake.  Sometimes God will work in a very natural, simple way.

I think the challenge is often to recognize how God is leading.

:11-14  The seer is sought

:13  he doth bless the sacrifice

This would be a feast involved with a “peace offering”.

It has been suggested that this is where the practice of saying a “blessing” before the meal comes from.

:15-27  Samuel meets Saul

:15 Now the LORD had told Samuel in his ear a day before Saul came, saying,

I like the picture this paints of intimacy between the Lord and Samuel.

:16  for I have looked upon my people, because their cry is come unto me.

There is a sense in which it is the right time for a king.  A king will provide unification to the nation.  A king will provide protection.

:20 And as for thine asses that were lost three days ago …

Samuel is demonstrating the “word of knowledge”, having been given knowledge about something that he wouldn’t have otherwise known about unless God told him.

God sees.  God knows.

And He can tell someone else about it.

God is using this to reassure Saul that something is different about Samuel.  He is a prophet.

:20  And on whom is all the desire of Israel?

Saul, you’re going to be the king.

:21  Am not I a Benjamite, of the smallest of the tribes of Israel?

Saul’s initial humility is good.

:24 set it before thee, and eat: for unto this time hath it been kept for thee

Samuel had known about Saul’s coming and had even given special instructions to the cook to keep a special piece of meat aside for this special guest.

Some have suggested that this was the right shoulder, the piece of meat reserved for the priest, Samuel.

:27  stand thou still a while, that I may show thee the word of God.

Lesson

Stand still to receive

Sometimes if we want to hear what God has for us, we need to stop and be still.
(Luke 10:38-42 KJV)  Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. {39} And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word. {40} But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. {41} And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: {42} But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

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