I Samuel 31

Sunday, April 19th, 2015

THE DEATH OF SAUL

INTRODUCTION:

I remind you that God confirmed Saul's kingship to Israel in I Samuel 12:13-15 .

I Samuel 12:13-15 - (13) Now therefore behold the king [i.e. Saul] whom ye [i.e. Samuel is addressing the Israelites - whom you Israelites] have chosen, and whom ye have desired! and, behold, the Lord hath set a king over you. (14) If ye will fear the Lord, and serve him, and obey his voice, and not rebel against the commandment of the Lord, then shall both ye and also the king that reigneth over you continue following the Lord your God: (15) But if ye will not obey the voice of the Lord, but rebel against the commandment of the Lord, then shall the hand of the Lord be against you, as it was against your fathers.

According to I Samuel 13:8-14 , Saul intruded into the priest's office and was rejected by God.

I Samuel 13:8-14 - (8) And he tarried seven days, according to the set time that Samuel had appointed: but Samuel came not to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him. (9) And Saul said, Bring hither a burnt offering to me, and peace offerings. And he offered the burnt offering. (10) And 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 salute [i.e. greet] him. (11) And Samuel said, What hast thou done? And Saul said, Because I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that thou camest not within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered themselves together at Michmash; (12) Therefore said I, The Philistines will come down now upon me to Gilgal, and I have not made supplication unto the Lord: I forced myself therefore, and offered a burnt offering. (13) And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the Lord thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the Lord have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever. (14) But now thy kingdom shall not continue [This was somewhat definite, wasn't it?]: the Lord hath sought him a man after his own heart [Reading between the lines we conclude, and you, Saul, are not a man after God's own heart!], and the Lord hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the Lord commanded thee [Note the emphasis on obedience to the Word of God!] (emphasis added).

According to I Samuel 15 , Saul did not obey the commandment of the Lord and was rejected by God.

I Samuel 15:1-2 - (1) Samuel also said unto Saul, The Lord sent me to anoint thee to be king over his people, over Israel: now therefore hearken thou unto the voice of the words of the Lord. (2) Thus saith the Lord of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him [i.e. ambushed him] in the way [i.e. on the way], when he came up from Egypt [This was at the time of the Exodus.].

I remind you of -

Deuteronomy 25:17-19 - (17) Remember what Amalek did unto thee by the way, when ye were come forth out of Egypt; (18) How he met thee by the way, and smote the hindmost of thee, even all that were feeble behind thee [i.e. he attacked the stragglers at your rear], when thou wast faint and weary; and he feared not God. (19) Therefore it shall be, when the Lord thy God hath given thee rest from all thine enemies round about, in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance to possess it, that thou shalt blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven; thou shalt not forget it.

We return to Samuel's instruction to Saul in I Samuel 15

I Samuel 15:3-11 - (3) Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass. (4) And Saul gathered the people together, and numbered them in Telaim, two hundred thousand footmen, and ten thousand men of Judah. (5) And Saul came to a city of Amalek, and laid wait in the valley. (6) And Saul said unto the Kenites, Go, depart, get you down from among the Amalekites, lest I destroy you with them: for ye shewed kindness to all the children of Israel, when they came up out of Egypt. So the Kenites departed from among the Amalekites. (7) And Saul smote the Amalekites from Havilah until thou comest to Shur, that is over against Egypt. (8) And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword. (9) 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 every thing that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly. (10) Then came the word of the Lord unto Samuel, saying, (11) It repenteth me [i.e. I regret] that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the Lord all night.

I Samuel 15:16-23 - (16) Then Samuel said unto Saul, Stay, and I will tell thee what the Lord hath said to me this night. And he said unto him, Say on. (17) And Samuel said, When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the Lord anointed thee king over Israel? (18) And the Lord sent thee on a journey, and said, Go and utterly destroy the sinners the Amalekites, and fight against them until they be consumed. (19) Wherefore then didst thou not obey the voice of the Lord, but didst fly upon the spoil, and didst evil in the sight of the Lord? (20) And Saul said unto Samuel, Yea, I have obeyed the voice of the Lord, and have gone the way which the Lord sent me, and have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. (21) But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the Lord thy God in Gilgal. (22) And Samuel said, Hath 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 hearken than the fat of rams. (23) For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king (emphasis added).

I Samuel 16:12-13 , David was anointed king.

I Samuel 16:12-13 - (12) And he sent, and brought him [i.e. David] in. Now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to. And the Lord said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he. (13) Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren (i.e. of his brothers): and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah.

Saul sought to kill David on many occasions but was not successful, but David refused to put forth his hand against Saul, the Lord's anointed. There was the incident in the cave of Engedi in I Samuel 24 where David and his men were hiding and Saul came into the same cave and was close enough to them that David was able to cut off a portion of Saul's skirt. There was also the incident in I Samuel 26:7-12.

I Samuel 26:7-12 - (7) So David and Abishai came to the people by night: and, behold, Saul lay sleeping within the trench [i.e. in the circle of the camp], and his spear stuck in the ground at his bolster (i.e. at his head): but Abner and the people lay round about him. (8) Then said Abishai to David, God hath delivered thine enemy into thine hand this day: now therefore let me smite him, I pray thee, with the spear even to the earth at once, and I will not smite him the second time. (9) And David said to Abishai, Destroy him not: for who can stretch forth his hand against the Lord's anointed, and be guiltless? (10) David said furthermore, As the Lord liveth, the Lord shall smite him; or his day shall come to die; or he shall descend into battle, and perish. (11) The Lord forbid that I should stretch forth mine hand against the Lord's anointed: but, I pray thee, take thou now the spear that is at his bolster [i.e. at his head], and the cruse [i.e. jug] of water, and let us go. (12) So David took the spear and the cruse [i.e. jug] of water from Saul's bolster; and they gat them away, and no man saw it, nor knew it, neither awaked: for they were all asleep; because a deep sleep from the Lord was fallen upon them.

In I Samuel 28:15-20 , Samuel revealed that Saul would die on the next day and join him in the grave.

I Samuel 28:15-20 - (15) And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted [i.e. disturbed] me, to bring me up? And Saul answered, I am sore distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God is departed from me, and answereth me no more, neither by prophets, nor by dreams: therefore I have called thee, that thou mayest make known unto me what I shall do. (16) Then said Samuel, Wherefore then dost thou ask of me, seeing the Lord is departed from thee, and is become thine enemy? (17) And the Lord hath done to him, as he spake by me: for the Lord hath rent [i.e. The Lord has torn] the kingdom out of thine hand, and given it to thy neighbour, even to David: (18) Because thou obeyedst not the voice of the Lord, nor executedst his fierce wrath upon Amalek, therefore hath the Lord done this thing unto thee this day. (19) Moreover the Lord will also deliver Israel with thee into the hand of the Philistines: and to morrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me [i.e. with me in the grave]: the Lord also shall deliver the host of Israel into the hand of the Philistines. (20) Then Saul fell straightway all along on the earth [i.e. full length upon the ground], and was sore afraid [i.e. greatly afraid, very afraid], because of the words of Samuel: and there was no strength in him; for he had eaten no bread all the day, nor all the night.

Thus, God promised that Saul would die as a result of his failure to do what he was supposed to do. And God always keeps His word.

In keeping with what Samuel said, we see -

I. THE DEATH OF SAUL AND HIS THREE SONS - 31:1-6

I Samuel 31:1-6 - (1) Now the Philistines fought against Israel: and the men of Israel fled from before the Philistines, and fell down slain in mount Gilboa. (2) And the Philistines followed hard upon [i.e. overtook or closed in on] Saul and upon his sons; and the Philistines slew Jonathan, and Abinadab, and Melchi-shua, Saul's sons. (3) And the battle went sore [i.e. the battle grew fierce] against Saul, and the archers hit him; and he was sore [i.e. severely] wounded of the archers. (4) Then said Saul unto his armourbearer, Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith [i.e. with it]; lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and abuse me. But his armourbearer would not; for he was sore afraid [i.e. greatly afraid]. Therefore Saul took a sword, and fell upon it. (5) And when his armourbearer saw that Saul was dead, he fell likewise upon his sword, and died with him. (6) So Saul died, and his three sons, and his armourbearer, and all his men, that same day together (emphasis added).

Note that the text states clearly how Saul died. You will need this information again before the end of this message.

In keeping with what Samuel said, we also see -

II. THE FLIGHT OF THE ISRAELITES - 31:7

I Samuel 31:7 - (7) And when the men of Israel that were on the other side of the valley, and they that were on the other side Jordan, saw that the men of Israel fled, and that Saul and his sons were dead, they forsook the cities, and fled; and the Philistines came and dwelt in them.

We see furthermore -

III. THE DESECRATION OF THE BODIES OF SAUL AND HIS THREE SONS - 31:8-10

I Samuel 31:8-10 - (8) And it came to pass on the morrow, when the Philistines came to strip the slain, that they found Saul and his three sons fallen in mount Gilboa. (9) And they cut off his head, and stripped off his armour, and sent into the land of the Philistines round about, to publish it in the house of their idols, and among the people. (l0) And they put his armour in the house of Ashtaroth: and they fastened his body to the wall of Bethshan.

Next, we see -

IV. THE VALIANCE OF THE INHABITANTS OF JABESH GILEAD - 31:11-13

I Samuel 31:11-13 - (11) And when the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead heard of that which 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 Bethshan, and came to Jabesh, and burnt them there. (13) And they took their bones, and buried them under a tree at Jabesh, and fasted seven days.

Perhaps the men of Jabesh Gilead remembered Saul's rescuing them from the Ammonites 40 years earlier.

I remind you of this event which occurred in I Samuel 11 . It was not long after Saul had become king -

I Samuel 11:1-2 - (1) Then Nahash the Ammonite came up, and encamped against Jabeshgilead: and all the men of Jabesh said unto Nahash, Make a covenant with us, and we will serve thee. (2) And Nahash the Ammonite answered them, On this condition will I make a covenant with you, that I may thrust out all your right eyes, and lay it for a reproach upon all Israel.

After he heard about it, Saul gathered an army and came to their aid -

I Samuel 11:11 - And it was so on the morrow, that Saul put the people in three companies; and they came into the midst of the host in the morning watch, and slew the Ammonites until the heat of the day: and it came to pass, that they which remained were scattered, so that two of them were not left together.

CONCLUSION:

Thus, Saul died in accordance with God's word. God always keeps His word. He will also keep His word as far as we are concerned, too.