Saturday, January 5, 2013

CI - I Samuel 27-29 - Philistines Rise Again

I had a WONDERFUL Christmas.  I hope you did as well.  We will continue our study of I Samuel where we left off in December with Chapter 27.

Chapter 27 opens with David realizing that Saul will never give up his efforts to kill David.  David decides that he must leave Israel for the good of the nation, and decides to locate himself and his army of six hundred men into the land of the Philistines.  {The families of these men moved with the army, which made the total number of people about 2500.}  This plan worked because it says Saul stopped searching for David when he heard David was no longer in Israel (vs 4).  David (again, a very persuasive and charismatic man) convinced Achish, a Philistine king (there were many so-called kings in those days among the Canaanites.  Each major city or territory had its own "king") that he would serve Achish if the king would allow Daivd and his men to live among them.  So David was able to hide himself among the Philistines in Gath.  But David was still a loyal Israelite, knowing that one day he would become king of all of Israel.   So, although David had the confidence of king Achish, David decieved Achish.  David would tell Achish that he and his army were going out to raid Israelites on the border, when in fact David would go out and raid a Philistine strong-hold.  One way he was able to get by with this was that he would kill every member of a particular strong-hold, leaving nobody to testify to Achish as to exactly what David was doing.  He was able to do this for for quite a while as David lived with the Philistines for a year and four months, and Achish considered David a loyal follower (vss 12-13).

Chapter 28 shifts attention back to Saul.  The beginning verses tell of the Philistines mounting another offensive against Israel, and their army was huge.  So huge in fact that Saul became fearful.  {Saul needed a word from God.  At least Saul still had sense enough to know that only God could guide him properly in such a situation.  But remember Samuel had died, so Saul knew of noone with whom he could consult to discern God's will.  Saul had driven out the "diviners" from all of Israel, and made it illegal for any women to practice divination in the land.  Diviners or Mediums were people (generally women) who claimed to bring forth the dead and communicate with them.}  Saul was desparate for help from God.  God had not responded through the Urim and Thummim, leaving Saul in an even more desparate state of mind.  Therefore, Saul ordered his servants to find a medium.  They responded that there were none because they were decreed unlawful, but Saul knew there were bound to be one somewhere in the land, and he was right.  There was one in Endor.  Saul disguised himself and went to meet with this medium.  He asked her to bring up Samuel from the dead.  Samuel actually appeared.  {I will not even attempt to explain how this happened other than God's intervention.}  Samuel's words were not what Saul needed to hear.  Samuel told him that he would lose the battle with the Philistines, and Saul and his sons would be killed the very next day.  This news cast Saul in a depression so deep that he could hardly be revived into full conciousness.  He refused to eat, but was finaly persuaded to do so.

Chapter 29 shifts back to David and the Philistines.  The Philistines had completed their gathering of a massive army to march against the Israelites.  Achish wanted David and his six hundred soldiers to enter the battle with them and David agreed.  But Achish's closest advisors were bitterly opposed, citing that they did not trust "Hebrews helping them fight Hebrews".  They convinced their king that this might be a bad idea, especially knowing that the Philistine army was more than powerful enough without David and his six hundred additional soldiers.  When Achish told David to return to the land of the Philistines, David argued and pleaded, but eventually honored the ruling, and returned as he was intructed.  {I believe David really wanted to go with this army to Israel.  In verse 2 it says David and his men were marching at the rear of the Philistine army.  I think this would have afforded David an opportunity to do the most damage to the Philistines once the battle began.  We know that David had no intentions of doing any harm to Saul and his Israelite soldiers.}

Next Post:  Saul Takes His Own Life

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