Oct 18, 2020. I Samuel 31

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SAUL’S DEMISE. I Samuel 31. 10/18/20. #83.

1 Samuel 31 [New King James Version]

1 Now the Philistines fought against Israel; and the men of Israel fled from before the Philistines, and fell slain on Mount Gilboa. 2 Then the Philistines followed hard after Saul and his sons. And the Philistines killed Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malchishua, Saul’s sons. 3 The battle became fierce against Saul. The archers hit him, and he was severely wounded by the archers. 4 Then Saul said to his armorbearer, “Draw your sword, and thrust me through with it, lest these uncircumcised men come and thrust me through and abuse me.” But his armorbearer would not, for he was greatly afraid. Therefore Saul took a sword and fell on it. 5 And when his armorbearer saw that Saul was dead, he also fell on his sword, and died with him. 6 So Saul, his three sons, his armorbearer, and all his men died together that same day. 7 And when the men of Israel who were on the other side of the valley, and those who were on the other side of the Jordan, saw that the men of Israel had fled and that Saul and his sons were dead, they forsook the cities and fled; and the Philistines came and dwelt in them. 8 So it happened the next day, when the Philistines came to strip the slain, that they found Saul and his three sons fallen on Mount Gilboa. 9 And they cut off his head and stripped off his armor, and sent word throughout the land of the Philistines, to proclaim it in the temple of their idols and among the people. 10 Then they put his armor in the temple of the Ashtoreths, and they fastened his body to the wall of Beth Shan. 11 Now when the inhabitants of Jabesh Gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, 12 all the valiant men arose and traveled all night, and took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons from the wall of Beth Shan; and they came to Jabesh and burned them there. 13 Then they took their bones and buried them under the tamarisk tree at Jabesh, and fasted seven days.

  • Saul’s last battle
    • Saul goes into battle against the Philistines, knowing that Samuel had predicted he would die in the battle
    • The Philistines pressed the battle and Israel was routed
      • This is the same battle David was going to fight in
      • God had taken David out of harm’s way
      • The battle is in far northern Israel near Mt. Carmel
    • Saul lived by the sword and died by it
      • Saul had tried to kill David
      • Saul ordered the death of the priests (Doeg killed the priest’s family as well)
      • Saul even tried to kill his son, Jonathan
    • Saul had the three qualities that made for a wretched ruler:
      • He desired fame and power
      • He was obsessively jealous and paranoid
      • He refused to repent or learn from his mistakes
    • All that Saul tried to gain, he never attained, and then lost all
      • All three of Saul’s sons are killed
      • Israel suffers a great defeat and loss of territory
    • Many others suffered with him, including Jonathan
  • Israel’s total humiliation
    • When the rest of Israel heard of the defeat, those near the battle fled their cities, leaving them for Phil. to dwell in
    • Israel had lost their king, much territory, and their freedom
    • When Saul realized that there was no hope, he told his armor bearer to kill him
      • Saul did not want to suffer abuse by his enemies
      • The a.b. was afraid to kill the king, so Saul fell on his sword and the armor bearer followed suit
    • Since God was not with Saul any longer, he could not win
      • Opposing God is self-defeating
      • No one rebelling against God ever attains anything of lasting value (all crumbles to dust)
    • Had Saul obeyed God, his kingdom would have been established, his land would have been prosperous, his legacy would’ve been secure, and his heirs would’ve reigned after him
      • As with Adam and Solomon, Saul gave up everything in an effort to exalt himself, and was left with nothing
      • I Corinthians 1:29 only God can be truly exalted
  • A touch of compassion
    • At the beginning of Saul’s reign, he led Israel against the Ammonites to save Jabesh Gilead
      • The Philippians had decapitated Saul and hung his body and that of his sons on the wall of Beth Shean (north Israel)
      • The men of Jabesh traveled all night to retrieve the bodies from the wall
    • To Jabesh Gilead, Saul was their hero
      • They took the desecrated bodies and burned them to remove the disgrace of their humiliation
      • They buried the bones under a tamarisk tree in Jabesh, like the tamarisk Saul sat under at Gibeah
      • They then declared a week long fast to mourn loss
    • Few others besides his family and tribe likely mourned for him
      • Had Saul been a godly man, many would have mourned and celebrated his life
      • The godly are mourned, but the wicked die alone