Daniel Taken to Babylon
1:1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. 2 And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the vessels of the house of God. And he brought them to the land of Shinar, to the house of his god, and placed the vessels in the treasury of his god. 3 Then the king commanded Ashpenaz, his chief eunuch, to bring some of the people of Israel, both of the royal family1 and of the nobility, 4 youths without blemish, of good appearance and skillful in all wisdom, endowed with knowledge, understanding learning, and competent to stand in the king’s palace, and to teach them the literature and language of the Chaldeans. 5 The king assigned them a daily portion of the food that the king ate, and of the wine that he drank. They were to be educated for three years, and at the end of that time they were to stand before the king. 6 Among these were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah of the tribe of Judah. 7 And the chief of the eunuchs gave them names: Daniel he called Belteshazzar, Hananiah he called Shadrach, Mishael he called Meshach, and Azariah he called Abednego.
8 But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank. Therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself. 9 And God gave Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the chief of the eunuchs, 10 and the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, “I fear my lord the king, who assigned your food and your drink; for why should he see that you were in worse condition than the youths who are of your own age? So you would endanger my head with the king.” 11 Then Daniel said to the steward whom the chief of the eunuchs had assigned over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, 12 “Test your servants for ten days; let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then let our appearance and the appearance of the youths who eat the king’s food be observed by you, and deal with your servants according to what you see.” 14 So he listened to them in this matter, and tested them for ten days. 15 At the end of ten days it was seen that they were better in appearance and fatter in flesh than all the youths who ate the king’s food. 16 So the steward took away their food and the wine they were to drink, and gave them vegetables.
17 As for these four youths, God gave them learning and skill in all literature and wisdom, and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. 18 At the end of the time, when the king had commanded that they should be brought in, the chief of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. 19 And the king spoke with them, and among all of them none was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. Therefore they stood before the king. 20 And in every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters that were in all his kingdom. 21 And Daniel was there until the first year of King Cyrus.
Hebrew of the seed of the kingdom
The Death of Saul
31:1 Now the Philistines were fighting against Israel, and the men of Israel fled before the Philistines and fell slain on Mount Gilboa. 2 And the Philistines overtook Saul and his sons, and the Philistines struck down Jonathan and Abinadab and Malchi-shua, the sons of Saul. 3 The battle pressed hard against Saul, and the archers found him, and he was badly wounded by the archers. 4 Then Saul said to his armor-bearer, “Draw your sword, and thrust me through with it, lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and mistreat me.” But his armor-bearer would not, for he feared greatly. Therefore Saul took his own sword and fell upon it. 5 And when his armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he also fell upon his sword and died with him. 6 Thus Saul died, and his three sons, and his armor-bearer, and all his men, on the same day together. 7 And when the men of Israel who were on the other side of the valley and those beyond the Jordan saw that the men of Israel had fled and that Saul and his sons were dead, they abandoned their cities and fled. And the Philistines came and lived in them.
8 The next day, when the Philistines came to strip the slain, they found Saul and his three sons fallen on Mount Gilboa. 9 So they cut off his head and stripped off his armor and sent messengers throughout the land of the Philistines, to carry the good news to the house of their idols and to the people. 10 They put his armor in the temple of Ashtaroth, and they fastened his body to the wall of Beth-shan. 11 But when the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, 12 all the valiant men arose and went all night and took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons from the wall of Beth-shan, and they came to Jabesh and burned them there. 13 And they took their bones and buried them under the tamarisk tree in Jabesh and fasted seven days.
David’s Wives Are Captured
30:1 Now when David and his men came to Ziklag on the third day, the Amalekites had made a raid against the Negeb and against Ziklag. They had overcome Ziklag and burned it with fire 2 and taken captive the women and all1 who were in it, both small and great. They killed no one, but carried them off and went their way. 3 And when David and his men came to the city, they found it burned with fire, and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive. 4 Then David and the people who were with him raised their voices and wept until they had no more strength to weep. 5 David’s two wives also had been taken captive, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel. 6 And David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because all the people were bitter in soul,2 each for his sons and daughters. But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God.
7 And David said to Abiathar the priest, the son of Ahimelech, “Bring me the ephod.” So Abiathar brought the ephod to David. 8 And David inquired of the LORD, “Shall I pursue after this band? Shall I overtake them?” He answered him, “Pursue, for you shall surely overtake and shall surely rescue.” 9 So David set out, and the six hundred men who were with him, and they came to the brook Besor, where those who were left behind stayed. 10 But David pursued, he and four hundred men. Two hundred stayed behind, who were too exhausted to cross the brook Besor.
11 They found an Egyptian in the open country and brought him to David. And they gave him bread and he ate. They gave him water to drink, 12 and they gave him a piece of a cake of figs and two clusters of raisins. And when he had eaten, his spirit revived, for he had not eaten bread or drunk water for three days and three nights. 13 And David said to him, “To whom do you belong? And where are you from?” He said, “I am a young man of Egypt, servant to an Amalekite, and my master left me behind because I fell sick three days ago. 14 We had made a raid against the Negeb of the Cherethites and against that which belongs to Judah and against the Negeb of Caleb, and we burned Ziklag with fire.” 15 And David said to him, “Will you take me down to this band?” And he said, “Swear to me by God that you will not kill me or deliver me into the hands of my master, and I will take you down to this band.”
David Defeats the Amalekites
16 And when he had taken him down, behold, they were spread abroad over all the land, eating and drinking and dancing, because of all the great spoil they had taken from the land of the Philistines and from the land of Judah. 17 And David struck them down from twilight until the evening of the next day, and not a man of them escaped, except four hundred young men, who mounted camels and fled. 18 David recovered all that the Amalekites had taken, and David rescued his two wives. 19 Nothing was missing, whether small or great, sons or daughters, spoil or anything that had been taken. David brought back all. 20 David also captured all the flocks and herds, and the people drove the livestock before him,3 and said, “This is David’s spoil.”
21 Then David came to the two hundred men who had been too exhausted to follow David, and who had been left at the brook Besor. And they went out to meet David and to meet the people who were with him. And when David came near to the people he greeted them. 22 Then all the wicked and worthless fellows among the men who had gone with David said, “Because they did not go with us, we will not give them any of the spoil that we have recovered, except that each man may lead away his wife and children, and depart.” 23 But David said, “You shall not do so, my brothers, with what the LORD has given us. He has preserved us and given into our hand the band that came against us. 24 Who would listen to you in this matter? For as his share is who goes down into the battle, so shall his share be who stays by the baggage. They shall share alike.” 25 And he made it a statute and a rule for Israel from that day forward to this day.
26 When David came to Ziklag, he sent part of the spoil to his friends, the elders of Judah, saying, “Here is a present for you from the spoil of the enemies of the LORD.” 27 It was for those in Bethel, in Ramoth of the Negeb, in Jattir, 28 in Aroer, in Siphmoth, in Eshtemoa, 29 in Racal, in the cities of the Jerahmeelites, in the cities of the Kenites, 30 in Hormah, in Bor-ashan, in Athach, 31 in Hebron, for all the places where David and his men had roamed.
The Philistines Reject David
29:1 Now the Philistines had gathered all their forces at Aphek. And the Israelites were encamped by the spring that is in Jezreel. 2 As the lords of the Philistines were passing on by hundreds and by thousands, and David and his men were passing on in the rear with Achish, 3 the commanders of the Philistines said, “What are these Hebrews doing here?” And Achish said to the commanders of the Philistines, “Is this not David, the servant of Saul, king of Israel, who has been with me now for days and years, and since he deserted to me I have found no fault in him to this day.” 4 But the commanders of the Philistines were angry with him. And the commanders of the Philistines said to him, “Send the man back, that he may return to the place to which you have assigned him. He shall not go down with us to battle, lest in the battle he become an adversary to us. For how could this fellow reconcile himself to his lord? Would it not be with the heads of the men here? 5 Is not this David, of whom they sing to one another in dances,
‘Saul has struck down his thousands,
and David his ten thousands’?”
6 Then Achish called David and said to him, “As the LORD lives, you have been honest, and to me it seems right that you should march out and in with me in the campaign. For I have found nothing wrong in you from the day of your coming to me to this day. Nevertheless, the lords do not approve of you. 7 So go back now; and go peaceably, that you may not displease the lords of the Philistines.” 8 And David said to Achish, “But what have I done? What have you found in your servant from the day I entered your service until now, that I may not go and fight against the enemies of my lord the king?” 9 And Achish answered David and said, “I know that you are as blameless in my sight as an angel of God. Nevertheless, the commanders of the Philistines have said, ‘He shall not go up with us to the battle.’ 10 Now then rise early in the morning with the servants of your lord who came with you, and start early in the morning, and depart as soon as you have light.” 11 So David set out with his men early in the morning to return to the land of the Philistines. But the Philistines went up to Jezreel.
1 Samuel 24-28 (10.1.22)
Open up your Bibles and let’s go deeper into this week’s chapters of 1 Samuel.
Before we look at chapters 24-28, open up to Samuel chapter two, and let’s read Hannah’s prayer:
1 Samuel 2:1-10
And Hannah prayed and said,
“My heart exults in the Lord;
my horn is exalted in the Lord.
My mouth derides my enemies,
because I rejoice in your salvation.
There is none holy like the Lord:
for there is none besides you;
there is no rock like our God.
Talk no more so very proudly,
let not arrogance come from your mouth;
for the Lord is a God of knowledge,
and by him actions are weighed.
The bows of the mighty are broken,
but the feeble bind on strength.
Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread,
but those who were hungry have ceased to hunger.
The barren has borne seven,
but she who has many children is forlorn.
The Lord kills and brings to life;
he brings down to Sheol and raises up.
The Lord makes poor and makes rich;
he brings low and he exalts.
He raises up the poor from the dust;
he lifts the needy from the ash heap
to make them sit with princes and inherit a seat of honor.
For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s,
and on them he has set the world.
He will guard the feet of his faithful ones,
but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness,
for not by might shall a man prevail.
The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces;
against them he will thunder in heaven.
The Lord will judge the ends of the earth;
he will give strength to his king and exalt the horn of his anointed.”
Hannah really lays down a theme here in this poetic prayer that’s recorded in Samuel. She begins with exultation of God for salvation. This is obviously in the immediate sense of the provision of being able to give birth, but as we go on, we can see the deeper sense of what God will do in providing a savior.
If you remember back to the earlier studies, you will see that Samuel is really telling the story of a new season in the life of the Israelites. Prior to Samuel, the Israelites were ruled by judges, but this system and those judges all proved to be failures. The Israelites wanted a king, and even though this angered Samuel (Hannah’s first-born son and the prophet after whom the book is named), he cried out to God, and God replied to give the people what they want. However, the kings were given this warning, the same warning the judges were given, that as long as the king obeyed and remained humble, God would show him favor and be with him, but if the king became proud, God would not remain with him. We see this here in Hannah’s poem.
Hannah warns people not to speak so proudly or let arrogance come from your mouth, for God is a God of knowledge and by Him, actions are weighed. Essentially, you may talk a big game, but the God of all knowledge will call you to account. Two other ways of saying this are, “Put your money where your mouth is,” or “Don’t let your mouth write checks your body can’t cash.” Hannah goes on to say so clearly why this is the case. God will exult the lowly, but He will bring down the proud. God does this because the lowly or humble are only truly humble if they are so because of their acknowledgment of God. Everything we have comes from Him. Hannah says, “He gives life and He kills.” God is sovereign; therefore, those who become proud have forgotten who they are in relation to who God is. This is where we find Saul in the chapters we have read this week. Beginning in chapter 24, as soon as Saul stops chasing the Philistines (remember last week this was the reason he stopped chasing David), he takes up his pursuit of David again. So Saul grabs a large army to go after David, and when they stop in the area that David was supposed to be in, Saul goes into a cave to relieve himself. Now this happened to be the cave where David and his men were hiding, and while Saul is relieving himself, David cuts off a corner of Saul’s robe to show him that Saul’s very life was in David’s hand, and yet David spared him. So David does not kill Saul, though he so easily could have; in fact, David goes an extra step and keeps his men from killing Saul. David then cries out to Saul and shows him how he could have killed him, but he does not want to harm him, for God had anointed Saul as king.
See the difference between these two men. Saul has become proud and disobeyed God, and God has left Saul. Now in his own strength, as prideful men so often do, Saul is trying to destroy any threat to his greatness, and David has become this threat. Now when David reveals what he has done and how he has spared Saul, even Saul acknowledges that David is a better man then he is. Verses 17-21 in chapter 24 show Saul’s response and then plea to David. One point here is that Saul acknowledges that God has left him and shown favor to David. At this point, you would think, “Well that’s the end; surely Saul understands rightly what’s going on and won’t attempt again to take David’s life.” Well, here comes the ignorance of the proud. Even after acknowledging God’s favor upon David and having his very life spared by the man he was trying to kill, Saul only one chapter later decides he needs to kill David again and starts his pursuit. In between chapters 24 and 26 where Saul attempts to kill David but fails miserably, there is another story of a proud man, and the danger of his pride costs him his life. I hope by now you’re seeing this theme clearly. Prideful men have forgotten that all they have is from God. Remember in Hannah’s poem, she said the Lord makes poor and makes rich. The man in chapter 25 named Nabal was extremely wealthy, and even though he could have easily met the request of David and rightly owed David for the protection David and his men provided for Nabal’s servants, Nabal, in his pride says, “Who are you and why should I give you food?” The interesting part of this story is that Nabal had an attractive and smart wife who saved Nabal’s family (likely some of her own children, for David was planning on killing all the males of Nabal’s house) by intervening and pleading for David to stay his hand. So instead of David killing Nabal and the men of his house, God struck down Nabal, just like Hannah said in her poem. God judges the actions of men–not just their words. He breaks the bows of the mighty, He causes those with many children to be forlorn (abandoned or lonely), He kills, He brings down to Sheol, He makes poor, He brings low, He cuts the wicked off in darkness, He breaks His adversaries to pieces–against them God thunders in heaven. There are some staunch consequences for pride. The infinite God will not allow finite men to exult themselves, when He is the one who has given us life and everything we have.
So, back to Saul. I’ve always been frustrated with this part of Samuel, and I’ve asked myself many times why does Saul repeat this action even after he verbally acknowledged what David had done and how he was wrong? James says something interesting about sin in James chapter one:
James 1:14-15 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
You see, sin is deceitful; it tempts you, and your desire for sin lures you into it. Your sin never tells you honestly that it will lead to death, but when desire conceives with temptation, it gives birth to sin, and fully-grown sin brings forth death. Sin’s aim is always death. Saul’s pride and his desire to be exulted would cause him to pursue David, even after David spared his life. Only sin would cause you to continue to strive against futility, even when that futile aim has clearly withheld its hand from killing you. Sin always aims to bring forth death. Just think about this in your own life: How many times has your own sin convinced you that what you thought had happened didn’t really happen, and you should still be angry? I imagine Saul thinking, “You know what, I bet David found that piece of robe lying in the cave and claimed that he spared my life, but what if he was just saying that?” Just honestly take a second to think about how many times you’ve had an internal dialog that has allowed you to sin or forget that you were shown grace. Many times, we are our own worst enemy, and that is because even after God saves us, we have a real battle to wage against our old self and the sinful desires that remain in us.
So, we see in chapter 26 Saul pursues David again and again. God gives David so much favor that he could have killed Saul in his sleep. Verse 12 says that David was able to do this because the Lord had caused a deep sleep to come over Saul and his men. Afterward, David talks again to Saul, and Saul again sees his error and verbally says he will not do harm to David. Remember what Hannah said in her poem: Don’t speak arrogantly, for God will call you to action. Saul claims he will not hurt David, but his actions prove otherwise. So, David flees, thinking “Of course, this won’t be the last of Saul.” In chapter 28, we see a glimpse of the coming death of Saul, but one thing you do not see is Saul repenting. We will see his final destruction next week, but I want to end on this point today: Do not let your pride keep you from repentance and turning to God, rightly acknowledging Him, and receiving His forgiveness. God has sent a king, the King of kings, to whom all of the kings in the book of Samuel point. In Him–in Christ–we can be humble and rightly acknowledge our utter dependence upon Him. In Christ, we can turn from pride and trying to achieve because He has already achieved all we need. In Christ, we can again and again come to the throne of grace and fight to rightly live according to God’s word. Let us not sow fig leaves as Adam and Eve did in a feeble attempt to hide our sin in our pride; instead, let us run to the God of the Garden of Eden–the God of all creation–to acknowledge our failure and turn from our sin!
By His grace and for His glory,
Pastor Joshua Kirstine