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Saturday Study

1 Samuel 19-23 (9.24.22)

Last week, we saw God bring about a new king for Israel named David. For those of us familiar with David, we know God used him in mighty ways for God’s people and, more importantly, to point toward the truer King of kings, namely Jesus. Interestingly enough, as this week’s chapters in 1 Samuel show us, even though David was anointed king and prior to taking the throne brought about great victories for Saul, Saul greatly despised David and sought to kill him. Isn’t it crazy that the depth of our sin can run so great that we would, even at the cost of another life, go to such great lengths to keep the idols of our hearts? What’s really interesting here is the theme of the story in Samuel. Saul was raised up to position of king, and through all outward appearances, he seemed to be a great fit to lead the people of God. But as we all know and the Bible has declared, the outward appearance is not always trustworthy. Saul rises to power and quickly begins to trust in himself rather than obey God. Last week’s reading shows us Saul blatantly disobeying God in the destruction of the Amalekites and God punishing Saul for his disobedience. When this happens, we see the gears shift from Saul being the great king of the people of God to David, who from all outward appearances is the opposite of Saul. A major theme is that God looks upon the heart of man and not upon their appearance.   

Looking back, we see the verse where Saul’s heart is hardened against David:

1 Samuel 18:6-9 As they were coming home, when David returned from striking down the Philistine, the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with songs of joy, and with musical instruments. And the women sang to one another as they celebrated, “Saul has struck down his thousands, and David his ten thousands.” And Saul was very angry, and this saying displeased him. He said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed thousands, and what more can he have but the kingdom?” And Saul eyed David from that day on.

When the passage reads that “Saul eyed David from that day on,” it is intending for us to see Saul’s focus and desire to kill this threat to his “greatness.” You see, even though David was anointed as king, he did not attempt to overthrow Saul and was still striving to serve under him. David was not attempting to make much of himself; it was women in the town singing songs that caused Saul’s anger to rise. But notice what Saul said following this little song: “They are ascribing more praise to David. What more can he have but the kingdom?” You see, Saul had forgotten something very important here: The kingdom did not belong to him; it was entrusted to his leadership, but it was not his to own. Here we see the idolatry of Saul claiming something that was God’s to be his own. Unfortunately, here we see the effects of idolatry. When someone becomes a threat to your idols, if God does not grant you repentance from this sin, it can become a very dark and dangerous hole to travel down. Saul is now willing to stop at nothing to remove this threat to his supposed rule, and yet all the while he acknowledges that God has given David favor and left him. It seems crazy to us that someone like Saul could witness the very things he witnessed because of God’s work, and yet turn around and think he could change or stop or even affect something that God has decided to do. We even see Saul require priests who he believed conspired with David to be put to death.

Now in case you’ve missed it, pause here for a second and consider what lengths you have gone to protect and pursue the idols of your heart. Not many of us would likely say that we’ve killed to protect our idolatry, but perhaps some have. What I want to draw our attention to is that Jesus has claimed hating someone in your heart to be a form of murder, and I am quite confident that we’ve all done that in pursuit of our idols. In 2 Samuel, we will see an interaction between David and a prophet named Nathan. After David had pursued his sin with Bathsheba and had Uriah killed, Nathan the prophet comes to visit and tells David a little parable of two men in the same town. One was rich and one was poor. The poor man had a sheep he dearly loved, and it was his family’s only sheep. This sheep would sleep inside, as if it was part of the family. Well one day, the rich man who had many sheep had an unexpected visitor show up, and instead of killing one of the many sheep he had to feed the visitor, he took the poor man’s only sheep, slaughtered it, and fed the visitor. Nathan then asks King David what should be done to the rich man, and David says, “As surely as the Lord lives, the rich man deserves death!” This is where the tables turn, and Nathan says to David, “YOU ARE THE MAN!”

So I want to play the part of Nathan with you reading this today. Here’s my point: We can so easily see the pitfalls that Saul dives into and sit back shaking our head. Even though Saul was a true historical figure, the writer of Samuel wants us to be able to consider the figure’s character and how we might struggle in the same ways with the same things. So consider yourself: How many times have you wanted bad things for someone who never hurt you, just because they were more popular or people seemed to enjoy them more? How many times have we shaken our heads at wealthy people for the way they live, and yet we would do the same thing if only we had the chance? How many times have we judged others for doing the very same thing we ourselves do? My simplest example is texting or looking at your phone while driving. This is an unsafe practice, but I have certainly done it many times. The other day I was yelling at a person who did not see the green light because he was busy texting someone and looking down at his phone. In that moment, I was David, and Nathan the prophet could have said, “You are the man!” You see, we don’t even live up to our own standards. How desperate are we for a Savior?

Christ did not come to be the true King of kings and the sacrificial Lamb without reason. We are desperate for our Savior, and we long for the coming King to make all things new! Consider the present age and darkness; don’t be fooled by the idols of your heart into chasing more and more sin. Repent of these things, love others well, and remember your desperate need of a Savior and the answer we have in Christ Jesus.

**Special thanks to a faithful brother in Christ, Steven Obert, for his work on this week’s study.

By His grace and for His glory,

Pastor Joshua Kirstine

Disciples Church

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Scripture

Kingdom Era-1 Samuel 23

1 Samuel 23

David Saves the City of Keilah

23:1 Now they told David, “Behold, the Philistines are fighting against Keilah and are robbing the threshing floors.” Therefore David inquired of the LORD, “Shall I go and attack these Philistines?” And the LORD said to David, “Go and attack the Philistines and save Keilah.” But David’s men said to him, “Behold, we are afraid here in Judah; how much more then if we go to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines?” Then David inquired of the LORD again. And the LORD answered him, “Arise, go down to Keilah, for I will give the Philistines into your hand.” And David and his men went to Keilah and fought with the Philistines and brought away their livestock and struck them with a great blow. So David saved the inhabitants of Keilah.

When Abiathar the son of Ahimelech had fled to David to Keilah, he had come down with an ephod in his hand. Now it was told Saul that David had come to Keilah. And Saul said, “God has given him into my hand, for he has shut himself in by entering a town that has gates and bars.” And Saul summoned all the people to war, to go down to Keilah, to besiege David and his men. David knew that Saul was plotting harm against him. And he said to Abiathar the priest, “Bring the ephod here.” 10 Then David said, “O LORD, the God of Israel, your servant has surely heard that Saul seeks to come to Keilah, to destroy the city on my account. 11 Will the men of Keilah surrender me into his hand? Will Saul come down, as your servant has heard? O LORD, the God of Israel, please tell your servant.” And the LORD said, “He will come down.” 12 Then David said, “Will the men of Keilah surrender me and my men into the hand of Saul?” And the LORD said, “They will surrender you.” 13 Then David and his men, who were about six hundred, arose and departed from Keilah, and they went wherever they could go. When Saul was told that David had escaped from Keilah, he gave up the expedition. 14 And David remained in the strongholds in the wilderness, in the hill country of the wilderness of Ziph. And Saul sought him every day, but God did not give him into his hand.

Saul Pursues David

15 David saw that Saul had come out to seek his life. David was in the wilderness of Ziph at Horesh. 16 And Jonathan, Saul’s son, rose and went to David at Horesh, and strengthened his hand in God. 17 And he said to him, “Do not fear, for the hand of Saul my father shall not find you. You shall be king over Israel, and I shall be next to you. Saul my father also knows this.” 18 And the two of them made a covenant before the LORD. David remained at Horesh, and Jonathan went home.

19 Then the Ziphites went up to Saul at Gibeah, saying, “Is not David hiding among us in the strongholds at Horesh, on the hill of Hachilah, which is south of Jeshimon? 20 Now come down, O king, according to all your heart’s desire to come down, and our part shall be to surrender him into the king’s hand.” 21 And Saul said, “May you be blessed by the LORD, for you have had compassion on me. 22 Go, make yet more sure. Know and see the place where his foot is, and who has seen him there, for it is told me that he is very cunning. 23 See therefore and take note of all the lurking places where he hides, and come back to me with sure information. Then I will go with you. And if he is in the land, I will search him out among all the thousands of Judah.” 24 And they arose and went to Ziph ahead of Saul.

Now David and his men were in the wilderness of Maon, in the Arabah to the south of Jeshimon. 25 And Saul and his men went to seek him. And David was told, so he went down to the rock and lived in the wilderness of Maon. And when Saul heard that, he pursued after David in the wilderness of Maon. 26 Saul went on one side of the mountain, and David and his men on the other side of the mountain. And David was hurrying to get away from Saul. As Saul and his men were closing in on David and his men to capture them, 27 a messenger came to Saul, saying, “Hurry and come, for the Philistines have made a raid against the land.” 28 So Saul returned from pursuing after David and went against the Philistines. Therefore that place was called the Rock of Escape.1 29 2 And David went up from there and lived in the strongholds of Engedi.

Footnotes

[1] 23:28 Or Rock of Divisions

[2] 23:29 Ch 24:1 in Hebrew

(ESV)

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Scripture

Kingdom Era-1 Samuel 22

1 Samuel 22

David at the Cave of Adullam

22:1 David departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam. And when his brothers and all his father’s house heard it, they went down there to him. And everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was bitter in soul,1 gathered to him. And he became commander over them. And there were with him about four hundred men.

And David went from there to Mizpeh of Moab. And he said to the king of Moab, “Please let my father and my mother stay2 with you, till I know what God will do for me.” And he left them with the king of Moab, and they stayed with him all the time that David was in the stronghold. Then the prophet Gad said to David, “Do not remain in the stronghold; depart, and go into the land of Judah.” So David departed and went into the forest of Hereth.

Saul Kills the Priests at Nob

Now Saul heard that David was discovered, and the men who were with him. Saul was sitting at Gibeah under the tamarisk tree on the height with his spear in his hand, and all his servants were standing about him. And Saul said to his servants who stood about him, “Hear now, people of Benjamin; will the son of Jesse give every one of you fields and vineyards, will he make you all commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds, that all of you have conspired against me? No one discloses to me when my son makes a covenant with the son of Jesse. None of you is sorry for me or discloses to me that my son has stirred up my servant against me, to lie in wait, as at this day.” Then answered Doeg the Edomite, who stood by the servants of Saul, “I saw the son of Jesse coming to Nob, to Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, 10 and he inquired of the LORD for him and gave him provisions and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine.”

11 Then the king sent to summon Ahimelech the priest, the son of Ahitub, and all his father’s house, the priests who were at Nob, and all of them came to the king. 12 And Saul said, “Hear now, son of Ahitub.” And he answered, “Here I am, my lord.” 13 And Saul said to him, “Why have you conspired against me, you and the son of Jesse, in that you have given him bread and a sword and have inquired of God for him, so that he has risen against me, to lie in wait, as at this day?” 14 Then Ahimelech answered the king, “And who among all your servants is so faithful as David, who is the king’s son-in-law, and captain over3 your bodyguard, and honored in your house? 15 Is today the first time that I have inquired of God for him? No! Let not the king impute anything to his servant or to all the house of my father, for your servant has known nothing of all this, much or little.” 16 And the king said, “You shall surely die, Ahimelech, you and all your father’s house.” 17 And the king said to the guard who stood about him, “Turn and kill the priests of the LORD, because their hand also is with David, and they knew that he fled and did not disclose it to me.” But the servants of the king would not put out their hand to strike the priests of the LORD. 18 Then the king said to Doeg, “You turn and strike the priests.” And Doeg the Edomite turned and struck down the priests, and he killed on that day eighty-five persons who wore the linen ephod. 19 And Nob, the city of the priests, he put to the sword; both man and woman, child and infant, ox, donkey and sheep, he put to the sword.

20 But one of the sons of Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped and fled after David. 21 And Abiathar told David that Saul had killed the priests of the LORD. 22 And David said to Abiathar, “I knew on that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would surely tell Saul. I have occasioned the death of all the persons of your father’s house. 23 Stay with me; do not be afraid, for he who seeks my life seeks your life. With me you shall be in safekeeping.”

Footnotes

[1] 22:2 Or discontented

[2] 22:3 Syriac, Vulgate; Hebrew go out

[3] 22:14 Septuagint, Targum; Hebrew and has turned aside to

(ESV)

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Kingdom Era-1 Samuel 21

1 Samuel 21

David and the Holy Bread

21:1 1 Then David came to Nob, to Ahimelech the priest. And Ahimelech came to meet David, trembling, and said to him, “Why are you alone, and no one with you?” And David said to Ahimelech the priest, “The king has charged me with a matter and said to me, ‘Let no one know anything of the matter about which I send you, and with which I have charged you.’ I have made an appointment with the young men for such and such a place. Now then, what do you have on hand? Give me five loaves of bread, or whatever is here.” And the priest answered David, “I have no common bread on hand, but there is holy bread—if the young men have kept themselves from women.” And David answered the priest, “Truly women have been kept from us as always when I go on an expedition. The vessels of the young men are holy even when it is an ordinary journey. How much more today will their vessels be holy?” So the priest gave him the holy bread, for there was no bread there but the bread of the Presence, which is removed from before the LORD, to be replaced by hot bread on the day it is taken away.

Now a certain man of the servants of Saul was there that day, detained before the LORD. His name was Doeg the Edomite, the chief of Saul’s herdsmen.

Then David said to Ahimelech, “Then have you not here a spear or a sword at hand? For I have brought neither my sword nor my weapons with me, because the king’s business required haste.” And the priest said, “The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you struck down in the Valley of Elah, behold, it is here wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you will take that, take it, for there is none but that here.” And David said, “There is none like that; give it to me.”

David Flees to Gath

10 And David rose and fled that day from Saul and went to Achish the king of Gath. 11 And the servants of Achish said to him, “Is not this David the king of the land? Did they not sing to one another of him in dances,


  ‘Saul has struck down his thousands,
    and David his ten thousands’?”

12 And David took these words to heart and was much afraid of Achish the king of Gath. 13 So he changed his behavior before them and pretended to be insane in their hands and made marks on the doors of the gate and let his spittle run down his beard. 14 Then Achish said to his servants, “Behold, you see the man is mad. Why then have you brought him to me? 15 Do I lack madmen, that you have brought this fellow to behave as a madman in my presence? Shall this fellow come into my house?”

Footnotes

[1] 21:1 Ch 21:2 in Hebrew

(ESV)

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Scripture

Kingdom Era-1 Samuel 20

1 Samuel 20

Jonathan Warns David

20:1 Then David fled from Naioth in Ramah and came and said before Jonathan, “What have I done? What is my guilt? And what is my sin before your father, that he seeks my life?” And he said to him, “Far from it! You shall not die. Behold, my father does nothing either great or small without disclosing it to me. And why should my father hide this from me? It is not so.” But David vowed again, saying, “Your father knows well that I have found favor in your eyes, and he thinks, ‘Do not let Jonathan know this, lest he be grieved.’ But truly, as the LORD lives and as your soul lives, there is but a step between me and death.” Then Jonathan said to David, “Whatever you say, I will do for you.” David said to Jonathan, “Behold, tomorrow is the new moon, and I should not fail to sit at table with the king. But let me go, that I may hide myself in the field till the third day at evening. If your father misses me at all, then say, ‘David earnestly asked leave of me to run to Bethlehem his city, for there is a yearly sacrifice there for all the clan.’ If he says, ‘Good!’ it will be well with your servant, but if he is angry, then know that harm is determined by him. Therefore deal kindly with your servant, for you have brought your servant into a covenant of the LORD with you. But if there is guilt in me, kill me yourself, for why should you bring me to your father?” And Jonathan said, “Far be it from you! If I knew that it was determined by my father that harm should come to you, would I not tell you?” 10 Then David said to Jonathan, “Who will tell me if your father answers you roughly?” 11 And Jonathan said to David, “Come, let us go out into the field.” So they both went out into the field.

12 And Jonathan said to David, “The LORD, the God of Israel, be witness!1 When I have sounded out my father, about this time tomorrow, or the third day, behold, if he is well disposed toward David, shall I not then send and disclose it to you? 13 But should it please my father to do you harm, the LORD do so to Jonathan and more also if I do not disclose it to you and send you away, that you may go in safety. May the LORD be with you, as he has been with my father. 14 If I am still alive, show me the steadfast love of the LORD, that I may not die; 15 and do not cut off2 your steadfast love from my house forever, when the LORD cuts off every one of the enemies of David from the face of the earth.” 16 And Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, “May3 the LORD take vengeance on David’s enemies.” 17 And Jonathan made David swear again by his love for him, for he loved him as he loved his own soul.

18 Then Jonathan said to him, “Tomorrow is the new moon, and you will be missed, because your seat will be empty. 19 On the third day go down quickly to the place where you hid yourself when the matter was in hand, and remain beside the stone heap.4 20 And I will shoot three arrows to the side of it, as though I shot at a mark. 21 And behold, I will send the boy, saying, ‘Go, find the arrows.’ If I say to the boy, ‘Look, the arrows are on this side of you, take them,’ then you are to come, for, as the LORD lives, it is safe for you and there is no danger. 22 But if I say to the youth, ‘Look, the arrows are beyond you,’ then go, for the LORD has sent you away. 23 And as for the matter of which you and I have spoken, behold, the LORD is between you and me forever.”

24 So David hid himself in the field. And when the new moon came, the king sat down to eat food. 25 The king sat on his seat, as at other times, on the seat by the wall. Jonathan sat opposite,5 and Abner sat by Saul’s side, but David’s place was empty.

26 Yet Saul did not say anything that day, for he thought, “Something has happened to him. He is not clean; surely he is not clean.” 27 But on the second day, the day after the new moon, David’s place was empty. And Saul said to Jonathan his son, “Why has not the son of Jesse come to the meal, either yesterday or today?” 28 Jonathan answered Saul, “David earnestly asked leave of me to go to Bethlehem. 29 He said, ‘Let me go, for our clan holds a sacrifice in the city, and my brother has commanded me to be there. So now, if I have found favor in your eyes, let me get away and see my brothers.’ For this reason he has not come to the king’s table.”

30 Then Saul’s anger was kindled against Jonathan, and he said to him, “You son of a perverse, rebellious woman, do I not know that you have chosen the son of Jesse to your own shame, and to the shame of your mother’s nakedness? 31 For as long as the son of Jesse lives on the earth, neither you nor your kingdom shall be established. Therefore send and bring him to me, for he shall surely die.” 32 Then Jonathan answered Saul his father, “Why should he be put to death? What has he done?” 33 But Saul hurled his spear at him to strike him. So Jonathan knew that his father was determined to put David to death. 34 And Jonathan rose from the table in fierce anger and ate no food the second day of the month, for he was grieved for David, because his father had disgraced him.

35 In the morning Jonathan went out into the field to the appointment with David, and with him a little boy. 36 And he said to his boy, “Run and find the arrows that I shoot.” As the boy ran, he shot an arrow beyond him. 37 And when the boy came to the place of the arrow that Jonathan had shot, Jonathan called after the boy and said, “Is not the arrow beyond you?” 38 And Jonathan called after the boy, “Hurry! Be quick! Do not stay!” So Jonathan’s boy gathered up the arrows and came to his master. 39 But the boy knew nothing. Only Jonathan and David knew the matter. 40 And Jonathan gave his weapons to his boy and said to him, “Go and carry them to the city.” 41 And as soon as the boy had gone, David rose from beside the stone heap6 and fell on his face to the ground and bowed three times. And they kissed one another and wept with one another, David weeping the most. 42 Then Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, because we have sworn both of us in the name of the LORD, saying, ‘The LORD shall be between me and you, and between my offspring and your offspring, forever.’” And he rose and departed, and Jonathan went into the city.7

Footnotes

[1] 20:12 Hebrew lacks be witness

[2] 20:15 Or but if I die, do not cut off

[3] 20:16 Septuagint earth, 16let not the name of Jonathan be cut off from the house of David. And may

[4] 20:19 Septuagint; Hebrew the stone Ezel

[5] 20:25 Compare Septuagint; Hebrew stood up

[6] 20:41 Septuagint; Hebrew from beside the south

[7] 20:42 This sentence is 21:1 in Hebrew

(ESV)