After completing our 3 1/2-year cycle of readings in the Torah, we’ve decided to continue with the historical books that follow, beginning with Joshua. We’ll read first about the conquest of the Canaanite tribes, then examine the disappointing time of the Judges – punctuated by the exploits of Gideon and Samson – and the turmoil that led up to the anointing of Saul as King.
When the Philistine army invades, Saul needs a word from God on what to do. But God is silent. So instead, Saul seeks out a medium, someone who can conjure up the dead. He asks her to summon the dead prophet Samuel. But Samuel’s message is devastating for Saul, and predicts defeat and death.
Notes on 1 Samuel 28:1-25
David imagines Saul will never give up pursuing him. In his despair he decides to flee to the Philistine King Achish along with his men and their families, and sign on as mercenaries. This proves to be a disastrous decision in the long run, but provides a lesson in faith for us.
Notes on 1 Samuel 27:1-12
The Ziphites again betray David’s location, and again David spares Saul, this time taking his spear and a jug of water by his side as he sleeps. And again Saul regrets his pursuit of David and blesses him. But regret is not the same as repentance, and Saul’s jealousy of David would continue.
Notes on 1 Samuel 26:1-25
When David’s messengers to Nabal, a wealthy but foolish local herder, are rebuffed, he prepares to avenge his honor with an attack. But Nabal’s wife, Abigail, intercedes, cooling David’s anger and attracting his eye with her beauty and diplomacy. Nabal is struck dumb and immobilized when she explains the situation to him, and he dies 10 days later. David then takes Abigail as his wife.
Notes on 1 Samuel 25:1-44
Saul, in pursuit of David with 3,000 men, enters a cave alone in En-Gedi where David and his men are hiding. David sneaks up and cuts off the corner of Saul’s garment without his knowledge, then later shows it to Saul as proof of his good intentions. Saul repents of his anger and affirms that David will be king. But this good will is short-lived.
Notes on 1 Samuel 24:1-22
The Holy Spirit was poured out on Jesus’ disciples on the Feast of Pentecost, celebrated on the 50th day after Passover. According to Jewish tradition, this was also the day God gave the Ten Commandments to his people. Mount Sinai was the shadow. Pentecost is the reality for us. The law is now written on our hearts (Jeremiah 31:33). The Holy Spirit dwells within us. Pentecost is also associated with baptism: “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:38).
Notes on Pentecost
When David flees to the Wilderness of Ziph, the Ziphites betray him to King Saul. Jonathan finds him first and encourages him. Then Saul surrounds David and his men, but they slip away through a miraculous intervention. David later wrote Psalm 54 about this incident.
Notes on 1 Samuel 23:14-29