1 Sam 27 — David Flees to the Philistines
1 Sam 28 — Saul and the Medium of Endor
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One Reply to “Mar 10 — 1 Samuel 27-28”
David continues to hide from Saul. In this chapter, he decides “the best thing I can to is to escape to the land of the Philistines” (1 Sam 27:1) to prevent Saul from chasing him. At this point, David was well known as a cunning warrior, one opposed to Saul. His move into Philistine territory was apparently not seen as an aggressive move, so David and his 600 men were able to become allies of Achish, king of Gath. Saul could not pursue David in this territory. “Achish gave him Ziklag” (1 Sam 27:6) and he and his band lived there for over a year, raided neighboring areas to increase their wealth and essentially lived in peace.
The Philistines (as a large army) decided to join forces and attack the Israelites. Achish told David he must accompany them. Oddly enough, David eagerly agreed and said, “then you will see for yourself what your servant can do” (1 Sam 28:2). [Hold that thought until tomorrow’s reading]
David’s behavior is somewhat odd, but Saul’s is really strange. He knew the Philistine armies were gathering to attack, but with Samuel dead, “he inquired of the Lord, but the Lord did not answer…” (1 Sam 28:6). It may be strange behavior, but since Saul wiped out the priests at Nob just a few chapters ago, he now finds no priest to turn to. He now pays fully for his rash actions. Saul turns to pagan medium in an effort to speak to hear Samuel’s advice. God allows Saul to hear the advice of Samuel and through this exchange he learns that “tomorrow you and your sons will be with me” (1 Sam 28:19), they will die in the battle that will surely come. This passage alone has some deep theological implications…I’m not going to dive into that pool. Saul confirms what he must surely already know, the Spirit of the Lord has left him for his disdain and the end is indeed near.
Saul’s encounter with a pagan prophet provides insight into the spiritual world where “our struggle is not against flesh and blood…but against spiritual forces” (Eph 6:12). We see that God can use pagans like Balaam (Num 22) and this medium to do His will. Saul is far from the Lord, he has lost all hope. This is truly sad. He goes from a hansom young warrior anointed by Samuel to one who seeks advice through pagan prophets. He and his family will pay the price for his actions.
God blesses those that follow him and keep his commandments, but to those who do not, we recall, “the Lord declares: ‘Far be it from me! Those who honor me I will honor, but those who despise me will be disdained.'” (1 Sam 2:30). Lord, may I learn from your words today, may I echo your declaration and say, “Far be it from me!” I will honor you Lord in all ways and for always. Praise be to the Lord and to him only!