1 Samuel 15: Saul doesn’t kill Agag and God gets mad

Synopsis:

Samuel tells Saul – God wants you to kill the Amaleks – all of them, including their sheep. Leave nothing alive. So Saul musters an army, defeats the Amaleks and takes their king Agag prisoner. The people take the best of the sheep to offer as sacrifice to God. God has a word with Samuel and tells him, I’m not happy. I told them to kill everything. So Samuel goes to Saul and asks – why do I hear bleating sheep?  Saul says – well, we were going to sacrifice them to God.  Samuel reminds Saul – God told you to kill everything. He would rather you obey him then offer sacrifice, even though he REALLY likes the smell of burning flesh.  Saul says – well – yeah, but the people REALLY wanted the sheep and I was afraid to go against them. Please help me repent. So Samuel prays with Saul. The next day Agag is brought to Samuel who hews Agag into peices. He leaves, never to see Saul again, since the Lord repented in making Saul king.

In other words:

God orders Saul to kill all the Amaleks, but because Saul leaves the king and the best sheep alive, God repents having named Saul king.

Favorite bit:

1 Samuel 15:14: What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?

2nd favorite bit:

1 Samuel 15:22,23 – And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delighyt 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. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou has rejected the word of the Lod, he hath also rejected thee from being king.

Least favorite bit:

1 Samuel 15:33 – where Samuel hews Agag with a sword. On the one hand – Samuel was not to be messed with. On the other, was it really necessary?

My impression:

Samuel didn’t like the fact that Saul wasn’t doing what he told him to. God had nothing to do with it.  He just didn’t like sharing power.

Moral Lesson Learned:

You can’t control the actions of other people. (1 Samuel 15)

1 Samuel 16: Samuel & God plot against Saul

Synopsis:

Samuel looks for someone to replace Saul as king. God tells him to go to Jesse and choose one of his sons. Samuel says – Saul will have me killed if I do that. So God tells him, well – pretend you are going to make sacrifice. Samuel then looks at all the sons and annoints the youngest, David. At this point, the spirit of the Lord leaves Saul and an evil spirit starts to annoy him. So his aids say – get someone to play some music for you, and you will feel better. So Saul sends for David, who was known as a good lute player. When he sees David, he likes him at once. As soon as David started playing, Saul felt at ease.

In other words:

Samuel anoints David as the new king. In the meantime Saul decides he really likes David’s lute playing and asks him to be his armor bearer, not knowing that David is chosen by Samuel to replace him.

Favorite bit:

1 Samuel 16:18-23 – that unbeknownst to Saul – he takes Samuel’s chosen replacement for him into his inner circle.

Least favorite bit:

That Samuel understood that crossing Saul would be bad. (1 Samuel 16:1-5) I don’t like this because Saul starts out so good and he turns into a typical despot pretty quickly.

Moral Lesson Learned: 

Plotting to overthrow a government? Even if you have god on your side, you need to be a bit sneaky. (1 Samuel 16)

1 Samuel 13: Saul and Samuel don’t get along

Synopsis:

Saul rules for a couple of years and then his son Jonathon smote a garrison of Philistines in Geba. So the Philistines gather 30,000 chariots and 6,000 horseman to fight back. The Israelis panic. Saul is in Gilgal 7 days, but Samuel never comes.  So Saul prepares a burnt offering and Samuel is upset and shows up – what are you doing?!?  Saul says – trying to rally the troops. Where were you?  Samuel lectures Saul on how he has not done what God wants and his kingdom will not stand. So Saul and his son Jonathon go with 600 men who remained with them to Michmash to meet the philistines and since there were no smiths to be found to help them, they had to sharpen farming implements to fight with.

In other words:

Saul’s son Jonathon picks a fight with the Philistines who outnumber them 36,000 to 600. Samuel does not support this campaign.

Favorite bit:

1 Samuel 13:11 – And Samuel said, What hast thou done?   I love that Samuel doesn’t support Saul and then blames him for trying to put together an offering to God on his own.

2nd favorite bit:

1 Samuel 13:20 – All the Israelites went down to the Philistines to sharpen every man his share, and his coulter, and his axe and his mattox. Basically – they are going to fight a well armed army – with farming tools. Awesome!

Least favorite bit:

The entire chapter. Apparently god is not a very good judge of character. He chooses this guy to be king and then doesn’t support him when he goes about his kingly business- which is to protect the people of Israel from attack.  Though, in God’s defense – Saul and his son Jonathon did attack first – so ... yeah.

Moral Lesson Learned:

Pre-emptive attacks are stupid and immoral and god doesn't like them. (1 Samuel 13)

1 Samuel 14: Jonathon causes trouble but also saves everyone

Synopsis:

They are at Michmash waiting for the fight with the Philistines. Jonathon and his armor bearer go and sneak up on a Philistine garrison. They enter it and slay 20 men in a ½ acre of land. And this caused the Philistines to freak out and retreat in a rather disorderly fashion.  Saul took the opportunity to press the fight. And even those Israelis who had supported the Philistines came to his aid. Saul commanded that no one eat until all their enemies had been defeated, but Jonathon didn’t hear the order. So when he came upon some honey – he ate it. At the end of the day the people flew upon the spoil and started eating all the sheep and oxen in sight, WITH the blood. Saul was horrified. At least come to the alter I build so we can slaughter and drain them properly. Saul considered going after the Philistines. He tried to ask God, but god didn’t answer him. Assuming someone had sinned, they drew lots and it was clear it was either Saul or Jonathon who had sinned. The next lot – it was clear it was Jonathon. Saul was prepared to kill his son but the people intervened, how can you kill the man who saved us all?  Jonathon is spared. Saul goes on to fight with pretty much everyone around them and his entire reign was one big ongoing battle.

In other words:

Saul and his son go to battle against everyone.


Favorite bit:

1 Samuel 14:6-14 – Jonathon and his armor bearer sneak off and start a war. It doesn’t sound cool – but it kind of is because in 8 -11 – they decide to show themselves to the Philistine garrison and depending on how they are received, dictates what their response will be.

2nd favorite bit:

1 Samuel 14:45 – Don’t kill Jonathon!! He saved us all!!!

Least favorite bit:

That Saul declares war on pretty much everybody. (1 Samuel 14:47&52)

Overall impression:

Saul is originally a pretty upstanding guy – but give him a little power and he goes crazy. Constant pre-emptive war against HIS enemies. Not the enemies of Israel – his enemies. Clearly the power went to his head. This guy literally becomes the worst sort of king ever.


Moral Lesson Learned:

If you want peace, don’t appoint a man of war to rule over you. (1 Samuel 14)