"DAVID'S TRAINING & EXILE! & THE DEATH OF SAUL!"
IN THIS 20TH CHAPTER WE ARE GOING TO HAVE SOME THRILLING STORIES: Some battle stories, war stories, spy stories & intrigue stories.
1. LET'S TAKE A LOOK AT THE MAP, & see what's going on & where it's going on. The Philistines began to wage war. Remember, they lived along the seacoast. They were quite a mighty civilised people. Judah lived up in the mountains of Israel, between the Dead Sea & the Mediterranean Sea.
THE PHILISTINES WOULD COME UP IN THE MOUNTAINS & FIGHT THE JEWS. They fought them this time all the way to Ephesdammim, between Shochoh & Azekah. Saul went to their rescue. The armies met in the Valley of Elah, not far north of Gath.
AFTER DAVID WAS ANOINTED‚ SAUL WAS KING FOR ABOUT 24 YEARS BEFORE DAVID BECAME KING. All that time David was in school learning how to be a king.—Under Saul, especially learning how not to be a king!
2. THIS IS AN ACTUAL PHOTOGRAPH OF THE VALLEY OF ELAH. Israel camped on one side of the valley & the Philistines on the other.
EVERY DAY GOLIATH, A GIANT 9 FEET TALL, CAME OUT TO CHALLENGE ANY SINGLE MAN TO A DUEL—to determine the victors & save further bloodshed by the engagement of the two armies. Though he often became insulting in his challenge‚ no Israelite would dare to combat with the giant.
3. 3 SONS OF JESSE ENLISTED UNDER SAUL, while David returned from Saul's home to help his father. One day Jesse sent the boy David to the front with some special food for his soldier boys. While David was there‚ he beheld the giant & heard his insulting challenges.
4. FOR A LITTLE FLASHBACK OF THE BRAVE DEEDS DAVID HAD DONE: David remembered how he had killed a lion with his own sling, when the beast attacked his flock. He felt confident that with the same weapon he would be more than a match for the champion—confident in the Lord!
DAVID VOLUNTEERED TO MEET THE GIANT. With some reluctance & no doubt some misgivings, even upon the part of the giant, his offer was accepted. It was an insult to the giant to have to go out & fight with this little boy!
5. THE GIANT WAS HEAVILY ARMED. Saul tried his own armour on David‚ but David put it off. He said he wasn't able to fight in that kind of armour! Saul was a lot bigger than David. He wasn't going to trust in Saul's armour!—He was going to trust in the Lord!
HIS ONLY WEAPON WAS A SIMPLE LITTLE SLING! He picked up 5 stones in the brook.—He didn't know how many it would take for the Lord to do it, but he was going to be prepared anyhow! But the Lord was able to do it with just one stone! It was hurled with such precision & force‚ that the stone sank into the forehead of the giant, & he fell to the ground dead!
6. DAVID DIDN'T TAKE ANY CHANCES: He rushed up there & with the giant's own sword & cut off his head! He brought it to king Saul as proof that he had killed the giant.
7. THE MAP. "THE MEN OF ISRAEL & JUDAH AROSE, & SHOUTED, & PURSUED THE FLEETING PHILISTINES, until they came to the gates of Ekron. And the wounded Philistines fell down by the way to Shaaraim‚ even unto Gath & to Ekron."—2 of their capital cities. (1Sam.17:52.) The soldiers of Israel returned to plunder the enemy's camp, that they left behind in Israel.
SAUL RETURNED TO GIBEAH, WHILE ABNER, SAUL'S COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF, BROUGHT DAVID AGAIN TO SAUL'S HOUSE. Now he was not only a musician‚ but he was also a real hero that had saved the armies of Israel! So now Saul had double reason to like him!
8. JONATHAN, SAUL'S SON, ALREADY HAD A VERY OUTSTANDING RECORD FOR BRAVERY & HIS FAITH IN THE LORD. He became so attracted to David, that God's Word says, "their souls were knit together"—like they were stitched together, sewed together, they loved each other so much! (1Sam.18:1.)
JONATHAN, THE KING'S SON, THE PRINCE OF ISRAEL‚ GAVE HIS OWN ARMOUR TO DAVID. These 2 young heroes made a covenant of everlasting friendship together, which they kept to the end of Jonathan's life.
9. DAVID COMES BACK IN TRIUMPH & VICTORY. SAUL'S SELFISHNESS SOON DEVELOPED INTO HATRED & JEALOUSY FOR DAVID. When David came back in triumph, the women sang: "Saul has slain his thousands, but David his ten thousands more!" (1Sam.18:7.)
THE PEOPLE LIKED DAVID! They were going after him & praising him more than they were Saul; & Saul may have gotten some faint rumour about Samuel's anointing him—so he was really jealous & really worried! "Saul eyed David from that day forward", God's Word tells us. (1Sam.18:9.)
10. THE NEXT DAY SAUL PURPORTEDLY HAD ANOTHER FIT, & David was called to soothe him with his harp music. Saul became uncontrollable & violent, & flung a javelin at him‚ a short spear, meaning to drive it through the young harpist & pin him to the wall! The Lord made sure that it missed him! Maybe he saw it coming & dodged the spear. He made his escape fast! He just barely escaped with his life!
11. WITH THE HOPES THAT DAVID MIGHT BE SLAIN‚ or through some blunder bring down the displeasure of the people against him, Saul made him a captain in his army over 1000 men. But in this Saul missed his aim, for David acted very wisely. "All Israel loved him, as he went in & out before them." (1Sam.18:16.)
12. THIS IS A PICTURE OF MICHAL. David is getting to be a young man‚ probably around 20, 21; & he's going to get married. In the hope that David would bring death upon himself,
SAUL NOW OFFERED THAT IF HE WOULD SLAY 100 PHILISTINES, HE WOULD GIVE HIM HIS DAUGHTER, MERAB, the princess, to be his wife. If he had married Merab, the oldest daughter, it means he would be next in line to Jonathan for the throne.
SAUL'S PLAN MISCARRIED AGAIN: For David returned with evidence that he had not slain 100, but 200 Philistines! Instead of giving him Merab, which would have threatened the throne, he gave him Michal, the younger daughter.
13. HERE WE SEE THAT MICHAL LOVED DAVID VERY DEARLY! SHE HELPS PROTECT HIM & SAVES HIS LIFE WHEN HER FATHER WAS TRYING TO KILL HIM. In the meantime David had won several battles over the Philistines. Saul became very much afraid of him, so he decided to slay David with his own hand.
DAVID WAS ORDERED TO MEET SAUL AT THE ROYAL RESIDENCE. David suspected why, therefore, Michal told the messengers that David was sick. Saul sent back, & said‚ "Well, bring him, bed & all!" In the meantime, she helped her husband to escape through the window, & he fled—as you can see in the picture.
14. SAUL NOW TRIED TO GET JONATHAN TO SLAY DAVID. When his son began to plead for his friend, his angry father tried to pin him with a javelin! He got kind of free with his javelins‚ didn't he! He sure was short–tempered! He was full of the Devil every now & then!
WHEN HE WAS IN HIS RIGHT MIND, HE LOVED DAVID VERY MUCH. But whenever the Devil would possess him, he would just turn on him & try to kill him. Jonathan, instead, planned with David a successful escape, & said‚ "Whatsoever thy soul desireth, I will even do it for thee!" (1Sam.20:4.)
15. DAVID THEN WENT TO NOB, THE CITY OF THE PRIESTS, & Ahimelech‚ not knowing that he had broken with Saul, gave him shewbread to eat, & delivered to the fugitive the sword of Goliath. It was his anyhow, wasn't it! David fled from Nob to Gath, which was in the land of the Philistines, where he came in contact with Achish the king.
16. HERE YOU SEE SOME MEN OF MODERN GATH. Achish remembered him as a slayer of their champion Goliath. He might have put David to death had this versatile young man not pretended that he was crazy! The superstitious king then let him escape. David hid himself for a long time with his men at the Cave of Adullam.
17. HERE YOU SEE THE LAND WHERE THE CAVE OF ADULLAM USED TO BE. The life of Jesse's family was evidently jeopardised. Naturally if Saul couldn't catch David, as is common practice amongst cruel men, he probably decided, "He might come home to his folks sometime, so I'll just kill them!"
SO THEY WENT TO MEET DAVID & STAYED WITH HIM IN THE CAVE. David hurried them all to Moab—they went out of the country, because they were afraid! You remember that David was related to the Moabites through Ruth, so the king of Moab received him kindly. David returned to the Wilderness of Judaea–Hareth.
18. HERE WE SEE A MAN OF THAT COUNTRY. Meanwhile, Saul called Ahimelech & 80 other priests to the capital, & compelled Doeg the Edomite to slay them there. Doeg was the traitor who had squealed on David. When they couldn't catch David, they got mad!
BECAUSE THE PRIEST HAD HELPED HIM ESCAPE, THEY SLAUGHTERED 80 PRIESTS! Saul was really getting in a bad way now, wasn't he! Abiathar, the son of Ahimelech, alone escaped & he came to David. God let one of them escape to tell David what happened. He became David's priest in the wilderness, & he ministered there. He had escaped with an ephod, which meant that he was able to carry on worship in the Cave of Adullam with David's men.
19. WHILE DAVID WAS AT THE CAVE OF ADULLAM, HE GATHERED ABOUT HIM 400 MEN, CALLED "MIGHTY MEN". They fought many battles for the kingdom. At this time, he stayed at a city called Keilah. His band now increased to 600, & with these, he dispersed many Philistines which were robbing Keilah.
SAUL MEANWHILE IS IN GIBEAH, Jesse is in Moab‚ & David with Abiathar the priest is at Ziph in the wilderness. Saul heard that David was there & came out with an army to try to capture him in the Wilderness of Ziph.
20. JONATHAN HAD A SECRET MEETING WITH DAVID IN THE HILL OF ZIPH. They renewed their covenant together & swore to everlasting friendship. Jonathan said, "Fear not: For the hand of my father Saul shall not find thee!" (1Sam.23:17.) He believed in God, that David was going to be the king & that the Lord was going to take care of him!
21. HERE WE SEE SOME OF THE MAON COUNTRY. The Ziphites‚ whom David had saved, turned traitor & led Saul to Ziph. David had moved, in the meantime, to the Wilderness of Maon, a few miles south of Ziph. He hid himself among the cliffs. They had to flee quite a bit!
22. THESE ARE SOME OF THE CLIFFS OF EN-GEDI. David takes advantage of Saul's brief fight against some Philistines, & he hides himself in these gorges here in En-gedi, near the Dead Sea. There is a perennial stream here. The mountains are honeycombed with caves‚ which made a good place for him & his 600 men to hide out, where they also had water.
23. SAUL NOW RENEWS HIS PURSUIT OF DAVID WITH 3000 MEN. How many did David have? Only 600. Saul intends to put an end to him as a usurper to the crown. The king came out to where he was & lodged in one of these caves. David entered the cave, as his soldier supposed, to kill his enemy; but instead of killing him‚ he just cut off a little piece of his garment, while he slept. He had a chance to kill him, didn't he! Why didn't he kill him?
24. THIS HAPPENED HERE IN THE VALLEY OF EN–GEDI. When David returned, his soldiers were surprised that he had spared the king's life. They would have gone & killed Saul themselves, but David would not let them stretch forth their hands against him!
HE SAID, "I WILL NOT LIFT MINE HAND AGAINST THE LORD'S ANOINTED! God anointed him! He's God's man! I'm not going to touch him! Let God take care of him!" (1Sam.24:6.) David showed himself very wise!: Even when Saul was trying to kill him, he refused to kill him!
25. HERE IN THIS MOUNTAINOUS REGION‚ David crossed a gorge & waved the garment from a distance. He called Saul & woke him. He had been in his power, but the king need not fear; for he said, "Mine hand shall not be upon thee!" (1Sam.24:10.)
HE WANTED TO PROVE TO SAUL THAT HE LOVED HIM, that he meant him no harm, that he was not trying to kill him. He could have killed him if he'd wanted to. Saul cried back to David: "Thou art more righteous than I: For thou hast rewarded me good, whereas I have rewarded thee evil." "And Saul went home." (1Sam.24:17 & 22.)
THIS SHOWS YOU THE LOVE‚ COMPASSION & MERCY OF DAVID AGAINST HIS ENEMY. Does that teach us anything? "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that despitefully use you!" (Mat.5:44.) You're not to hate, you're not to curse! You're to love, do good & have mercy—like David did on a man who was trying to kill him!
HE PROVED THAT HE LOVED HIM! He practically won his heart, at least he got a confession out of Saul, who said, "Well, I've got to admire you‚ David, you're a better man than I am!" That was almost like witnessing & soul-winning‚ huh!
THIS WENT ON FOR MANY YEARS BEFORE SAUL FINALLY COMMITTED SUICIDE. David could have become king several times, but he refused to! He decided to let the Lord have His way.—The time would come, & it did eventually, as we'll find out in the next story. Remember 2 lessons we learn from this: To love your enemies & wait on the Lord! Let God have His way & God will work things out! Amen!
26. MIZPAH. IN THE MEANTIME, "SAMUEL DIED; & all the Israelites were gathered together, & lamented him, & buried him in his house at Ramah." (1Sam.25:1.)
THERE IS A TRADITION THAT HE WAS BURIED AT MIZPAH, a few miles from the city of Ramah; but his actual tomb is counted as being at Ramah. His burial was in a section of Ramah, at the little village of Mizpah. This mosque is said to mark his burial place.
27. THIS IS CARMEL IN JUDAH. This is a different Carmel from Mount Carmel over near Haifa. David now moves back to Maon country or Moabite country.
DAVID IS STILL OUT IN THE WILDERNESS, STILL HIDING FROM SAUL. He is gathering men around him to help Israel fight her enemies. Saul considers him as a revolutionary who is endeavouring to overthrow the kingdom—although he is really Saul's friend! It was all Saul's fault that he was out there!
DAVID SENT MEN TO THIS RICH FELLOW BY THE NAME OF NABAL, AT CARMEL‚ TO SECURE FOOD FOR HIS MEN. He had about 600 fighting men following him, plus all the rest of the people: Everybody who owed a debt, or had a complaint, or was in trouble with the king or the government gathered around David. They were quite a large group to have to be fed. There may have been a couple of thousand people living out there, besides his fighting men!
NABAL SLANDERED DAVID'S MESSENGERS, VERY SEVERELY MISTREATED THEM & SENT THEM BACK EMPTY-HANDED! David had been protecting Nabal's property & his flocks out there in the wilderness. Now however, David determined to do him some damage for what he did.
DAVID ONLY ASKED WHAT WAS REALLY HIS—HE COULD HAVE TAKEN IT! He could have slaughtered as many sheep as he wanted & taken of the crops of Nabal without even asking‚ but he was polite enough to at least ask him! David‚ to retaliate, prepared to make a raid on Nabal & take whatever they wanted.
28. ABIGAIL, NABAL'S WIFE‚ CHIDED HER HUSBAND, EXPLAINING THAT DAVID HAD PROTECTED HIS PROPERTY & it was a very small thing that he was asking for in return. She took presents & food to David‚ & apologised for her husband's lack of appreciation. David did not avenge himself upon Nabal because of the intercession of beautiful Abigail, who appreciated David & what he had done.
29. WHEN ABIGAIL RETURNED HOME, SHE FOUND HER HUSBAND IN THE MIDST OF A DRUNKEN CAROUSAL—a big drunken orgy. When she told him of his narrow escape from David‚ because of his insult of David's men, "his heart died within him!" God's Word said. (1Sam.25:37.) He was astonied: He was stone-drunk for one thing & stone-scared for another! He never rallied from this condition, like a coma, & he died 10 days later.
HE HAD CALLED DAVID A REBEL. He said, "Many a servant is revolting from his master these days!" (1Sam.25:10.) He was on Saul's side. He was very frightened, because he knew he'd done the wrong thing! Between his drunkenness & his fright, it scared him to death! This was God's judgment upon him—because he had resisted God's man! David was God's man. He had lifted his hand against the man of God!
30. WHEN DAVID HEARD OF THE DEATH OF NABAL, HE SENT FOR ABIGAIL TO COME TO BE HIS WIFE. David had been convinced of the nobility of this wonderful woman‚ Nabal's wife. Evidently she appreciated David & what he had done for them. I wouldn't be surprised, if the whole story was told, that she probably fell in love with David at first sight, when she went to take him food.
(Q:DIDN'T HE ALREADY HAVE ONE WIFE?) Yes, it was not against the Law at that time to marry more than one wife. He had had to leave his wife, Saul's daughter, Michal. She had helped him to escape, but now he has been out here in the wilderness for years.
SAUL WOULD NOT LET MICHAL GO & JOIN DAVID—SO HERE HE WAS OUT IN THE WILDERNESS WITHOUT ANY WIFE AT ALL! So God supplied his need by supplying Abigail! It's not against the Bible to marry more than one wife, particularly in the Old Testament, but it is against the Law for the woman to marry more than one husband. In the Old Testament days‚ they used to do that. There was nothing wrong with it.
A MAN COULD HAVE A NUMBER OF WIVES, if he was able to support them & make them get along with each other—which is also a big problem! "Abigail hasted, & arose, & rode upon her little donkey, with 5 damsels of her's that went after her"—5 handmaidens, she was quite a rich woman!—"and she went after the messengers of David, & became his wife." (1Sam.25:42.) Evidently she was very glad—she ran fast!
WHEN SHE BECAME HIS WIFE, DAVID INHERITED EVERYTHING OF NABAL'S, the whole works—that made David a rich man. That's probably where he got supplies for his soldiers, for the rest of the time he was out in the wilderness.
SAUL IN THE MEANTIME HAD GIVEN MICHAL, DAVID'S FIRST WIFE, TO PHALTI OF LAISH, to try to get revenge on David. Saul himself had disobeyed God's Law: He'd taken his own daughter & made an adulteress of her, made her marry another man—a very terrible thing! He did that to try to get even with David. It must have been hard on poor Michal.
31. THE MAP. SAUL MADE ONE MORE FEEBLE ATTEMPT TO DEFEAT DAVID. When that had failed, he said, "I have played the fool!" (1Sam.26:21.) At last, he confessed that he was acting like a fool!
DAVID & HIS MEN CREPT INTO THE CAMP & TOOK SAUL'S STAFF & WATER BOTTLE FROM HIM. They went back out & called to him again. This time Saul actually weeps, showing that he really did love David at heart. God's Word indicates that it was other people who turned Saul's heart against David.
IT WAS MOSTLY HIS OWN JEALOUS MEN WHO HATED DAVID & KEPT PREJUIDICING HIM AGAINST DAVID, criticising David‚ & making him mad at David! Of course, the Devil had a lot to do with it, too, inspiring this attitude!
NOW SAUL SEES DAVID FOR THE LAST TIME. He said again that David was more righteous than he. He never bothered David again! David still didn't feel safe: Though Saul had come out to see him several times before to catch him & gone home, he had always come back again!
DAVID WENT TO ACHISH THE KING OF GATH. Remember he had fled to Achish once before & had pretended to be insane. This time the king felt that David & his army would be of value to him. Knowing that he had completely broken with Saul, that Saul was out to kill him, he received David gladly & gave him the city of Ziklag. Ziklag was a border town south of Judah, near the bottom of the map, south of Gaza.
HE GAVE DAVID THAT CITY FOR HIS PEOPLE TO LIVE IN. It was on the border of the Israelites; but not too close, so he would not have too much trouble with them. By various outstanding miraculous events‚ God spared David from having to fight with the Philistines, their enemies, against his own people. He was employed by this heathen enemy king.
GOD TOOK DAVID OUT OF THE COUNTRY‚ SO THAT HE COULD BRING SAUL TO HIS END & DAVID COULD HAVE THE KINGDOM: As long as David stayed, God had to bless David & He had to bless Israel! He had to give them the victory continually over their enemies! But the minute the Lord led David out of Israel, then Israel immediately went to its defeat & so did Saul! Of course, it was God's way of putting David on the throne!
32. THE PHILISTINES HAD DECIDED TO MAKE ONE MASTER STROKE AGAINST ISRAEL, with a great army. This was evidently of the Lord also! This was another case where God seems to be upon the side of the enemy, at least temporarily, in order to accomplish His purpose.
THEY DECIDED TO DIVIDE ISRAEL & CUT THROUGH THEIR TERRITORY ON THE PLAIN OF ESDRAELON. This, incidently, is the same valley as Megiddo, where Sisera & others of old had fought.—A very famous battlefield, that Valley of Megiddo‚ where Armageddon will be in the Last Days.
BECAUSE DAVID HIMSELF REFUSED TO RAISE HIS HAND AGAINST SAUL, THE LORD HIMSELF WOULD HAVE TO TAKE CARE OF SAUL‚ & show the people that Saul was incapable of being king! Saul had been God's anointed, but he had certainly lost the anointing of the Lord—because of his disobedience against the Lord!
THE STORY OF SAUL ALWAYS TOUCHES MY HEART! Because he was a man of God to begin with, yet he ran ahead of the Lord & did things that were not according to God's will. He disobeyed the Lord & got himself in constant trouble & finally lost the kingdom as a result!
DAVID WAS GOD'S CHOICE NOW, & indeed, a man after God's own heart! God has to remove David from the kingdom temporarily, so that He can remove Saul permanently!
33. SO THE LORD ALLOWS THE PHILISTINES TO CREATE A MIGHTY ARMY TO COME UP AGAINST SAUL, here at Mount Gilboa. Saul camped on Mount Gilboa‚ which was in sight of Shunem, where the Philistines were encamped about 10 miles away.
34. THERE WAS A WITCH IN EN-DOR, a fortune-teller, or a spiritualistic medium. En-dor is a city, which you see here, on the northeast slope of Mount Moreh. Saul sought this princess of spirits, this witch, for information regarding the results of the impending battle. He came to her late one night. He wanted to know whether he was going to win the battle or not.
WHY DID HE HAVE TO GO TO THE WITCH AT EN-DOR? He was out of touch with God! He couldn't get through to the Lord anymore, & dear old Samuel, the prophet that he used to go to for advice, was dead. Too often he failed to seek advice, & when he failed to seek advice from God—God eventually left him! Now when he wants advice, he has to get it from the Devil instead! A very sad‚ sad picture of poor Saul!
35. THE WITCH OF EN-DOR. SAUL REQUESTED THAT SHE BRING FORTH THE SPIRIT OF SAMUEL, which according to God's Word, she is said to have done. Maybe she didn't have too much to do with it! The Lord had something to do with it! According to the Bible Story, she seemed to be almost as surprised as Saul was that Samuel actually showed up!
SAMUEL TOLD SAUL THAT HIS KINGDOM WAS DONE FOR, that Israel should be delivered into the hands of his enemy, the Philistines, & that the kingdom had been given to David. Saul was completely overcome, at these words, by astonishment, grief & shame!
THE SPIRITS OF THE DEPARTED ONES ARE ANYTHING BUT DEAD OR SLEEPING! This was actually Samuel's spirit & he was voicing the Words of God, when he told Saul these things. This is no fairy tale!: This is the spirit of a departed dead person being called back to talk!
SAMUEL HAD TO RETURN FROM PARADISE TO REVISIT THE EARTH HERE & GIVE SAUL THIS MESSAGE. He didn't particularly like the idea either, from what he said: "Why disquietest thou me?" (1Sam.28:15.) "I've been in this beautiful place of paradise & I have to come back to this awful world of yours‚ & have to talk to you one more time!
"AFTER ALL THE TIMES THAT YOU WOULDN'T LISTEN TO ME BEFORE; NOW AFTER I'M DEAD, YOU WANT TO LISTEN TO ME!" He had compassion on him though, & he came back! Dear old Samuel still loved Saul. Remember he wept over Saul many many days—he felt so bad about Saul failing the Lord! Talk about a picture of a failure!:
POOR SAUL WAS ONE OF THE MOST PITIFUL FAILURES IN THE WORD OF GOD!—A man whom God had to put on the scrapheap, because he really failed the Lord time & again! Someone asked if Saul went to Heaven. We are not saved by our works, we're saved by faith! Saul definitely believed in the Lord.
I'M SURE HE MUST HAVE GONE TO HEAVEN. He was a disobedient child, a wilful, stubborn, rebellious child, & he was certainly punished for it. This kind of Christian will get his punishment here in this life for his sins! In the life to come, he will be punished through his lack of reward; he would be in one of the lowest classes in the Kingdom of God!
36. NOW ISRAEL CAME DOWN THE STEEPS OF MOUNT GILBOA, TO THE FOUNTAIN OF JEZREEL. In those days, the Israelites were not considered a very great & mighty people—just rough savage tribes living up in the mountains. They fought guerilla warfare usually. They couldn't possibly fight these great big kingdoms, that were around them, in any other way.
THEY HAD TO MAKE SAVAGE FORAYS, DOWN OUT OF THE MOUNTAINS‚ with quick commando hit-&-run tactics most of the time! Sometimes God gave them the victory over tremendous armies—when many times outnumbered by these more seemingly civilised enemies. He'd give them great victories over them, if He was with them! If He wasn't with them, why, then they had problems!
ISRAEL, WITH SAUL LEADING THEM COMES DOWN THE MOUNTAIN to the Fountain of Jezreel or Gideon's Fountain. Remember, this is where Gideon fought a big battle once upon a time. The Philistines camped at Aphek. The battle was about to be waged in the very plain where Gideon routed the Midianites.
37. HA! LOOK AT ONE OF THEIR TANKS ALL BLOWN UP‚ HERE in Ziklag country. This is the remains of a battle. This is an old tank that had been used back in the days when Israel was fighting with the Arabs. This doesn't happen to be one of Saul's tanks or one of the Philistines' tanks!
THEY HAD A LITTLE DIFFERENT STYLE TANKS, CALLED CHARIOTS IN THOSE DAYS! David returned to Ziklag just before the battle. This is where David lived.
ACHISH THE KING OF GATH HAD PERFECT CONFIDENCE IN DAVID—he trusted him. But Achish's officers & the other 4 kings feared that David might be tempted to join Israel, at a strategic moment in the battle, & deliver them into the hands of Saul. If you didn't trust a man, you certainly wouldn't want him fighting, with a big army, on your side—because he would be in a position to suddenly turn on you & kill you!
THESE MEN DIDN'T TRUST DAVID TO FIGHT WITH THEM, & THEY PERSUADED ACHISH TO SEND DAVID BACK to his own city of Ziklag. If David had come along, it would have created a very embarrassing situation for everybody concerned: Not only for the Philistines, but for the Lord & for the Israelites too, & David especially!
GOD SPARED HIM, THEREFORE, FROM HAVING TO ACTUALLY FIGHT AGAINST HIS OWN PEOPLE. The Lord works everything out! That's the way He did it for David: He eliminated him from the only big battle that these Philistines were going to fight with his own people while David was with them.
38. THE MAP. DAVID WAS, NO DOUBT, VERY GLAD OF THIS. In fact‚ judging from his many opportunities to finish Saul, at which he didn't avail himself‚ it's questionable what he would have done. But we don't have to worry about it, because God eliminated that possibility, & he didn't have to fight against his people! So, David returned down to Ziklag, just to the south of Gaza on the map.
39. IT WAS VERY GOOD THAT DAVID DID TURN BACK. The Amalekites were particularly bitter enemies against the Israelites—even more than the Philistines! During his short absence, they had plundered the homes of his helpless women‚ children & old men who had stayed behind.
THEY HAD CARRIED DAVID'S PEOPLE AWAY & ALL OF HIS GOODS, WHILST HE WAS GONE. David pursued them hotly & annihilated all but 400 of them, who escaped on fleet–footed camels. He recovered all that had been taken & took the spoil of the Amalekites. The Lord is continually making David richer all the time. "All things work together for good to them that love the Lord!" (Rom.8:28.) David wept when he came back & found that his precious wives & children, all of his men's wives, children, & goods had been stolen.
WHEN THIS HAPPENED, SOME OF THEM COMPLAINED. They murmured against David‚ when they lost everything like that! They said, "This guy doesn't look like he's going to make a very good king after all!" That's what they were really saying in their hearts. David chided them & scolded them for lacking faith in God.
BY LACKING FAITH IN HIM, THEY REALLY LACKED FAITH IN GOD!: By not trusting the Lord that he was going to come through this! David was stripped of everything he had in almost a moment, except a few fighting men. But God recoups everything & even more! PTL! That's the way the Lord works!
40. NOW THE DEATH OF SAUL—ONE OF THE SADDEST EVENTS IN THE BIBLE! While David was slaughtering the Amalekites in the Wilderness of Shur, the Philistines were slaughtering the Israelites‚ his brethren. Jonathan, Abinadab & Melchishua, the 3 sons of Saul, all in line for the throne of Israel, together with thousands of Israelitish soldiers, were slaughtered in the battle of the Philistines.
SAUL, SEEING HIS PEOPLE FLYING IN CONFUSION, & being sore wounded by the archers, asked his armourbearer to slay him. His armourbearer refused. So he took the sword himself, & he fell upon his own sword & was thrust through. The Philistines' victory was very decisive. A very sad & pitiful thing this was, but
GOD ALLOWED IT, BECAUSE OF SAUL'S SINS! At the same time, Jonathan & the other sons of Saul had to be eliminated or they would have inherited the throne. Jonathan probably went knowing that David was going to become king. The last time he saw David, he said he knew that some day he would become king of Israel.
I'M SURE JONATHAN DIED HAPPY IN THE LORD, because he knew that David was a greater man than he was & better able to become king. Jonathan & all of them went to be with the Lord—so it was sad in a way, but at least, poor old Saul's troubles were over!
41. SAUL & HIS SONS WERE BEHEADED BY THE CRUEL PHILISTINES. They pinned their bodies on the walls of Bethshan with spears. Their headless bodies were hanging there in shame & disgrace—very horrible! The Philistines were trying to do everything they could to disgrace them.
THEY ALSO WANTED TO SHOW THE ISRAELITES THAT THEY WERE COMPLETELY DEFEATED! What they were preaching by this awful illustration, these bodies hanging on the wall, was: You have no more king, no more king's sons, your government is gone, & now you've got to be subject to us Philistines!
SAUL'S FIRST COMBAT WAS FOR THE PURPOSE OF LIBERATING JABESH-GILEAD. Now‚ while his body & the bodies of his sons were hanging on the wall, these people of Jabesh-gilead didn't forget his favour. They crossed the Jordan by night & cut down the bodies, & cremated them in Jabesh‚ where their ashes were buried.
THEY CELEBRATED A VERY GREAT MOURNING FOR 7 DAYS FOR SAUL & HIS SONS. There was an expression of appreciation by some who didn't forget the kindness to them. Saul had been kind to them many years ago; now they were kind to him & his sons in their death. That's the end of the 20th Chapter in our Bible in Pictures.
Review Questions for Chapter 20.
1. What old enemy now waged war with Saul?
2. Where did the armies meet?
3. Name a Philistine giant.
4. What did Goliath do?
5. Was there an Israelite who would fight him?
6. Where was David at this time?
7. Why was David sent to the battlefield?
8. What did he do when he heard the giant's challenge?
9. What did Saul now give David?
10. What were David's weapons?
11. Did he slay the giant?
12. What became of the Philistine army?
13. Were Jonathan & David friends?
14. What act peeved Saul?
15. How did Saul try to destroy David?
16. Name David's wife & her father.
17. Did Saul try again to slay David?
18. Who helped to save David?
19. Where did David then go?
20. Who did Saul implore to slay David?
21. What did he do when Jonathan refused?
22. Who was a priest of Nob?
23. What did Ahimelech do for David?
24. Where did David then go?
25. How did he save his life from Achish?
26. Where did David then go?
27. How many men volunteered with him?
28. What became of Ahimelech?
29. What priest fled to David?
30. Where did Saul seek David?
31. Who secretly met him at Ziph?
32. Tell of the narrow escape that Saul had at En-gedi.
33. Where was Samuel buried?
34. What did David ask of Nabal?
35. Who brought food to David when Nabal refused?
36. How did Nabal die?
37. Whom did David now join?
38. What land did King Achish give to him?
39. Who wages war on Saul on the Plain of Esdraelon?
40. Who went with the Philistines to Shunem?
41. Why did David return?
42. What happened at Ziklag during David's absence?
43. Did he recover his people & goods?
44. What happened to Saul in the battle?
45. What became of his sons?