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Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

I Samuel 28-31

Chapter 28

In those days the Philistines gathered their troops for war in order to fight Israel. Achish said to David, “You should fully understand that you and your men must go with me into the battle.” 2 David replied to Achish, “That being the case, you will come to know what your servant can do!” Achish said to David, “Then I will make you my bodyguard from now on.”

3 Now Samuel had died, and all Israel had lamented over him and had buried him in Ramah, his hometown. In the meantime Saul had removed the mediums and magicians from the land. 4 The Philistines assembled; they came and camped at Shunem. Saul mustered all Israel and camped at Gilboa. 5 When Saul saw the camp of the Philistines, he was absolutely terrified. 6 So Saul inquired of the Lord, but the Lord did not answer him – not by dreams nor by Urim nor by the prophets. 7 So Saul instructed his servants, “Find me a woman who is a medium, so that I may go to her and inquire of her.” His servants replied to him, “There is a woman who is a medium in Endor.”

8 So Saul disguised himself and put on other clothing and left, accompanied by two of his men. They came to the woman at night and said, “Use your ritual pit to conjure up for me the one I tell you.”

9 But the woman said to him, “Look, you are aware of what Saul has done; he has removed the mediums and magicians from the land! Why are you trapping me so you can put me to death?” 10 But Saul swore an oath to her by the Lord, “As surely as the Lord lives, you will not incur guilt in this matter!” 11 The woman replied, “Who is it that I should bring up for you?” He said, “Bring up for me Samuel.”

12 When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out loudly. The woman said to Saul, “Why have you deceived me? You are Saul!” 13 The king said to her, “Don’t be afraid! What have you seen?” The woman replied to Saul, “I have seen one like a god coming up from the ground!” 14 He said to her, “What about his appearance?” She said, “An old man is coming up! He is wrapped in a robe!”

Then Saul realized it was Samuel, and he bowed his face toward the ground and kneeled down. 15 Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?” Saul replied, “I am terribly troubled! The Philistines are fighting against me and God has turned away from me. He does not answer me – not by the prophets nor by dreams. So I have called on you to tell me what I should do.”

16 Samuel said, “Why are you asking me, now that the Lord has turned away from you and has become your enemy? 17 The Lord has done exactly as I prophesied! The Lord has torn the kingdom from your hand and has given it to your neighbor David! 18 Since you did not obey the Lord and did not carry out his fierce anger against the Amalekites, the Lord has done this thing to you today. 19 The Lord will hand you and Israel over to the Philistines! Tomorrow both you and your sons will be with me. The Lord will also hand the army of Israel over to the Philistines!”

20 Saul quickly fell full length on the ground and was very afraid because of Samuel’s words. He was completely drained of energy, not having eaten anything all that day and night. 21 When the woman came to Saul and saw how terrified he was, she said to him, “Your servant has done what you asked. I took my life into my own hands and did what you told me. 22 Now it’s your turn to listen to your servant! Let me set before you a bit of bread so that you can eat. When you regain your strength, you can go on your way.”

23 But he refused, saying, “I won’t eat!” Both his servants and the woman urged him to eat, so he gave in. He got up from the ground and sat down on the bed. 24 Now the woman had a well-fed calf at her home that she quickly slaughtered. Taking some flour, she kneaded bread and baked it without leaven. 25 She brought it to Saul and his servants, and they ate. Then they arose and left that same night.

Chapter 29

The Philistines assembled all their troops at Aphek, while Israel camped at the spring that is in Jezreel. 2 When the leaders of the Philistines were passing in review at the head of their units of hundreds and thousands, David and his men were passing in review in the rear with Achish.

3 The leaders of the Philistines asked, “What about these Hebrews?” Achish said to the leaders of the Philistines, “Isn’t this David, the servant of King Saul of Israel, who has been with me for quite some time? I have found no fault with him from the day of his defection until the present time!”

4 But the leaders of the Philistines became angry with him and said to him, “Send the man back! Let him return to the place that you assigned him! Don’t let him go down with us into the battle, for he might become our adversary in the battle. What better way to please his lord than with the heads of these men? 5 Isn’t this David, of whom they sang as they danced,
‘Saul has struck down his thousands,
but David his tens of thousands’?”

6 So Achish summoned David and said to him, “As surely as the Lord lives, you are an honest man, and I am glad to have you serving with me in the army. I have found no fault with you from the day that you first came to me until the present time. But in the opinion of the leaders, you are not reliable. 7 So turn and leave in peace. You must not do anything that the leaders of the Philistines consider improper!”

8 But David said to Achish, “What have I done? What have you found in your servant from the day that I first came into your presence until the present time, that I shouldn’t go and fight the enemies of my lord the king?” 9 Achish replied to David, “I am convinced that you are as reliable as the angel of God! However, the leaders of the Philistines have said, ‘He must not go up with us in the battle.’ 10 So get up early in the morning along with the servants of your lord who have come with you. When you get up early in the morning, as soon as it is light enough to see, leave.”

11 So David and his men got up early in the morning to return to the land of the Philistines, but the Philistines went up to Jezreel.

Chapter 30

On the third day David and his men came to Ziklag. Now the Amalekites had raided the Negev and Ziklag. They attacked Ziklag and burned it. 2 They took captive the women who were in it, from the youngest to the oldest, but they did not kill anyone. They simply carried them off and went on their way.

3 When David and his men came to the city, they found it burned. Their wives, sons, and daughters had been taken captive. 4 Then David and the men who were with him wept loudly until they could weep no more. 5 David’s two wives had been taken captive – Ahinoam the Jezreelite and Abigail the Carmelite, Nabal’s widow. 6 David was very upset, for the men were thinking of stoning him; each man grieved bitterly over his sons and daughters. But David drew strength from the Lord his God.

7 Then David said to the priest Abiathar son of Ahimelech, “Bring me the ephod.” So Abiathar brought the ephod to David. 8 David inquired of the Lord, saying, “Should I pursue this raiding band? Will I overtake them?” He said to him, “Pursue, for you will certainly overtake them and carry out a rescue!”

9 So David went, accompanied by his six hundred men. When he came to the Wadi Besor, those who were in the rear stayed there. 10 David and four hundred men continued the pursuit, but two hundred men who were too exhausted to cross the Wadi Besor stayed there.

11 Then they found an Egyptian in the field and brought him to David. They gave him bread to eat and water to drink. 12 They gave him a slice of pressed figs and two bunches of raisins to eat. This greatly refreshed him, for he had not eaten food or drunk water for three days and three nights. 13 David said to him, “To whom do you belong, and where are you from?” The young man said, “I am an Egyptian, the servant of an Amalekite man. My master abandoned me when I was ill for three days. 14 We conducted a raid on the Negev of the Kerethites, on the area of Judah, and on the Negev of Caleb. We burned Ziklag.” 15 David said to him, “Can you take us down to this raiding party?” He said, “Swear to me by God that you will not kill me or hand me over to my master, and I will take you down to this raiding party.”

16 So he took David down, and they found them spread out over the land. They were eating and drinking and enjoying themselves because of all the loot they had taken from the land of the Philistines and from the land of Judah. 17 But David struck them down from twilight until the following evening. None of them escaped, with the exception of four hundred young men who got away on camels. 18 David retrieved everything the Amalekites had taken; he also rescued his two wives. 19 There was nothing missing, whether small or great. He retrieved sons and daughters, the plunder, and everything else they had taken. David brought everything back. 20 David took all the flocks and herds and drove them in front of the rest of the animals. People were saying, “This is David’s plunder!”

21 Then David approached the two hundred men who had been too exhausted to go with him, those whom they had left at the Wadi Besor. They went out to meet David and the people who were with him. When David approached the people, he asked how they were doing. 22 But all the evil and worthless men among those who had gone with David said, “Since they didn’t go with us, we won’t give them any of the loot we retrieved! They may take only their wives and children. Let them lead them away and be gone!”

23 But David said, “No! You shouldn’t do this, my brothers. Look at what the Lord has given us! He has protected us and has delivered into our hands the raiding party that came against us. 24 Who will listen to you in this matter? The portion of the one who went down into the battle will be the same as the portion of the one who remained with the equipment! Let their portions be the same!”

25 From that time onward it was a binding ordinance for Israel, right up to the present time.

26 When David came to Ziklag, he sent some of the plunder to the elders of Judah who were his friends, saying, “Here’s a gift for you from the looting of the Lord’s enemies!” 27 The gift was for those in the following locations: for those in Bethel, Ramoth Negev, and Jattir; 28 for those in Aroer, Siphmoth, Eshtemoa, 29 and Racal; for those in the cities of the Jerahmeelites and Kenites; 30 for those in Hormah, Bor Ashan, Athach, 31 and Hebron; and for those in whatever other places David and his men had traveled.

Chapter 31

Now the Philistines were fighting against Israel. The men of Israel fled from the Philistines and many of them fell dead on Mount Gilboa. 2 The Philistines stayed right on the heels of Saul and his sons. They struck down Saul’s sons Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malki-Shua. 3 Saul himself was in the thick of the battle; the archers spotted him and wounded him severely.

4 Saul said to his armor bearer, “Draw your sword and stab me with it! Otherwise these uncircumcised people will come, stab me, and torture me.” But his armor bearer refused to do it, because he was very afraid. So Saul took his sword and fell on it. 5 When his armor bearer saw that Saul was dead, he also fell on his own sword and died with him. 6 So Saul, his three sons, his armor bearer, and all his men died together that day.

7 When the men of Israel who were in the valley and across the Jordan saw that the men of Israel had fled and that Saul and his sons were dead, they abandoned the cities and fled. The Philistines came and occupied them.

8 The next day, when the Philistines came to strip loot from the corpses, they discovered Saul and his three sons lying dead on Mount Gilboa. 9 They cut off Saul’s head and stripped him of his armor. They sent messengers to announce the news in the temple of their idols and among their people throughout the surrounding land of the Philistines. 10 They placed Saul’s armor in the temple of the Ashtoreths and hung his corpse on the city wall of Beth Shan.

11 When the residents of Jabesh Gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, 12 all their warriors set out and traveled throughout the night. They took Saul’s corpse and the corpses of his sons from the city wall of Beth Shan and went to Jabesh, where they burned them. 13 They took the bones and buried them under the tamarisk tree at Jabesh; then they fasted for seven days.