1 Sam 29 — The Philistines Reject David
1 Sam 30:1-15 — David’s Wives are Captured
1 Sam 30:16-31 — David Defeats the Amalekites
1 Sam 31 — The Death of Saul
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One Reply to “Mar 11 — 1 Samuel 29-31”
Now the rest of the story we began in chapter 27. David and his relatively small band of Special Forces joined the Philistines at the rear with Achish, “but the Philistine commanders were angry with Achish” (1 Sam 29:4) and ultimately David is sent away (God’s provision as we’ll see the outcome of this battle in the next chapter). In his absence, the Amalekites raided Ziklag and David “found it destroyed by fire and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive” (1 Sam 30:3). The men were pretty unhappy with David, but he asked for the Lord’s guidance and God said, “pursue them…you will certainly overtake them and succeed in the rescue” (1 Sam 30:8). David took two-thirds of his men (the others were too tired, so they stayed behind to watch the supplies) and through great military intelligence, he discovers their location, attacks and recovers “everything the Amalekites had taken, including his two wives” (1 Sam 30:18). In their success, some of the men wanted to selfishly withhold the plunder from those that stayed behind, but David tells these troublemakers, “the share of the man who stayed with the supplies is to be the same as that of him who went down to the battle” (1 Sam 30:24). The wisdom of this decision is very significant. Emotions are running wild at this point, yet David stops the riot before it begins. Truly amazing!
The end of 1 Samuel wraps up sadly with the death of Jonathan and his sons as the Philistine army overwhelmed them (Ish-Bosheth escapes). Wounded critically, “Saul took his own sword and fell on it” (1 Sam 31:4). We’ll pick-up this story in a few days. The Philistines find Saul, cut off his head (like David did with Goliath) and parades the bodies of the dead Israelite leaders adding insult to injury.
David’s wisdom and reliance on the Lord for direction compared to Saul’s foolishness and ultimate death in dire circumstances stirs me to think introspectively: are there times when I act like Saul? We have the privilege of reading this story from an historical perspective, but remember that Saul had a lot of smart people around him providing support for his decisions. Compared to David and his small band of followers, Saul had reason to be encouraged. All this to stress the importance of personal accountability, especially for leaders who are structurally isolated from those they lead. In our “modern” society we respect privacy to the point that we may inadvertently cultivate an environment for Saul-like behavior, when we do what appears good in our own minds.
Time to read more from Proverbs, gain more wisdom, listen more than talk (or type). God help me to hear your voice clearly, to speak with your wisdom, to lean on you for understanding. Thank you for this incredible story of Saul’s life, his rise and fall. Keep me far from the path of Saul.