“1 and 2 Samuel (Sm) play a pivotal role in the Bible for both historical and theological reasons. Historically, these books document the monumental transition that occurred in Old Testament Israel as it moved from being a collection of 12 tribes with no national government to being a unified nation with a centralized government under the control of a king. Furthermore, these books provide a detailed description of the last leaders during the period of the judges, the career of Israel’s first king, and the exploits and accomplishments of Israel’s most famous king, David.
The books also document the historical fulfillment of promises made by God in the Torah. The Law of Moses had predicted the rise of kingship as an institution in Israel; the events recorded in the books of Samuel show that the kingship became a historical reality. The Torah predicted that a member of the tribe of Judah would rule over Israel; this was borne out by the narratives in 1 and 2 Samuel with the ascent of David, of the tribe of Judah, to the throne. Furthermore, the promises that Israel would defeat Moab, Edom, and the Amalekites were also shown to have been carried out. Finally, prophecies regarding the establishment of “a covenant of perpetual priesthood” for the family line of Eleazar the priest were also moved toward fulfillment with the judgment enacted against the family of Eli.
The books of Samuel are especially valuable for Christians because they lay the foundation for the all-important doctrine of the Messiah, the ultimate descendant of David who would sit on an everlasting throne ruling over God’s people and bring deliverance and justice. The promises God made to David in 2 Samuel 7 created hopes and expectations that the New Testament writers understood to have been fulfilled by Jesus. The Lord promised David that He would establish the kingdom of one of David’s descendants; in the New Testament Jesus was identified as that descendant of David who brought the kingdom of God to humanity. God said David’s descendant would build a house for God’s name; the New Testament writers portrayed Jesus as one who built the ultimate temple of God in three days. God promised David that one of his descendants would have a throne that would last forever; the New Testament declares that Jesus had just that. God said that one of David’s descendants would be a “son to Me”; Jesus came as the ultimate Son of God.” (HCSB)

1 Sm 5:1-4, “After the Philistines had captured the ark of God, they took it from Ebenezer to Ashdod, brought it into the temple of Dagon and placed it next to his statue. When the people of Ashdod got up early the next morning, there was Dagon, fallen with his face to the ground before the ark of the LORD. So they took Dagon and returned him to his place. But when they got up early the next morning, there was Dagon, fallen with his face to the ground before the ark of the LORD. This time, both Dagon’s head and the palms of his hands were broken off and lying on the threshold. Only Dagon’s torso remained.” This incident demonstrated the Lord’s superiority over both the Philistines and their “god,” and revealed that the Philistines victory on the battlefield was not the result of the Lord’s weakness. Instead, it was a judgment against Israel’s disobedience to God. Ultimately it would result in His further glorification.

1 Sm 8:6-9, “When they said, “Give us a king to judge us,” Samuel considered their demand sinful, so he prayed to the LORD. But the LORD told him, “Listen to the people and everything they say to you. They have not rejected you; they have rejected Me as their king. They are doing the same thing to you that they have done to Me, since the day I brought them out of Egypt until this day, abandoning Me and worshiping other gods. Listen to them, but you must solemnly warn them and tell them about the rights of the king who will rule over them.” In this section of 1 Sm, the people were asking for the right to be “the same as all the other nations”—that is, like the pagans, who did not have the Lord as their King. They wanted to rely upon a strong military leader, and not on God and His leadership alone, for help in dealing with enemies. What was offensive to God, and to Samuel His spokesman, was the people’s yearning to look for help in another direction. The same concept is true today. The Bible is perfectly clear with living a moral life and lists the consequences given to people who choose not to follow God’s instructions. People reject Christians by putting them into such categories as “holy rollers” and “Bible thumpers.” Even before the birth of Christ, God says that the unbelievers are rejecting us because they have rejected Him. People have a tendency to trust only on what they can see, and therefore, the Israelites demanded a king to show off to the other nations.

“In regards to 1 Sm 8:21, God knows and hears everything, yet Samuel took pains to tell God what he had heard the people saying. The Bible makes it clear that God is all-knowing and has no need that we tell Him anything. But He wants His people to communicate with Him about whatever is on our hearts, as a loving parent enjoys talking with his child although he already knows what the child is telling him. Samuel was making use of the privilege of communicating in a natural way with his heavenly Father. It was a way in which Samuel could honor the Lord and express his loyalty to Him. For reasons known only to God, He has chosen to work His divine will through sinful human beings. While the Lord’s purposes can never be broken, His heart can be.” (HCSB)

1 Sm 12:20-22, “Samuel replied, “Don’t be afraid. Even though you have committed all this evil, don’t turn away from following the LORD. Instead, worship the LORD with all you heart. Don’t turn away to follow worthless things that can’t profit or deliver you; they are worthless. The LORD will not abandon His people, because of His great name and because He has determined to make you His own people.” Even though all actions have consequences, God’s love for us is unconditional. No matter what we have done, are doing, and will do, our Father who is in heaven will continue to show His love, grace, and mercy upon us. It is because of his love that Christians live their life to the best of His standards, not to earn love, but rather, to acknowledge the love that has already been given and to spread it around to the people around us.

In regards to 1 Sm 15:11, “God chose Saul to be Israel’s king, then according to this verse regretted His action, and afterward chose David in his place. Yet the prophet Samuel told Saul that God does not change His mind. While this may appear contradictory, Scripture elsewhere supports Samuel’s statement. God’s will and purpose remain the same, but the free response of people to His commands may lead to a modification of His actions on the human scene. At least from the human perspective, His relationships with people are authentic and personal, not pre-programmed.” (HCSB)

1 Sm 15:22-23, “Then Samuel said: Does the LORD take pleasure in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? Look: to obey is better than sacrifice; to pay attention is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and defiance is like wickedness and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He has rejected you as king.” Samuel was explaining this to Saul because although Saul acknowledged God’s existence, the offerings made came from a ritualistic mind instead of a grateful heart. Saul turned to paganism and as a consequence, lost his God appointed throne.

“There are some Scripture passages that seem to indicate that God sometimes behaves in demonic or evil ways. Such passages must be understood within the overall framework of the Bible’s teachings about God. Scripture affirms that God is completely righteous, hates evil, and never does anything unjust. At the same time, God created a universe with built-in rewards and punishments that reinforce divine moral law. For example, when people disregard His moral order and abuse their bodies through the misuse of food, alcohol, or sex, they will predictably experience health problems. Such problems can be interpreted as warning signs motivating us to give up bad behavior and do what is right. Saul had lived a life of chronic disobedience to God, and therefore had opened himself to demonic oppression. While it was a form of punishment, because of Saul’s disregard for God’s moral order, it was also intended to drive him to repent and turn back to the Lord. God, Who is Master of all the created order, will use even demons, against their will, for redemptive purposes.” (HCSB)

“How could David’s harp playing drive away an evil spirit from Saul? The Bible does not indicate how it happened, although the general effect of music on the emotions is well known. David was considered Israel’s favorite singer and in the Old Testament was credited with writing 73 psalms. David’s music combined with the Word of God in the presence of the demon drove it away.” (HCSB)

1 Sm 17:37, “Then David said, “The LORD who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” David was known to be a man after God’s own heart and anyone who reads his biography will understand why. In this particular passage, David was still a Shepard who just recently agreed to fight Goliath. In 1 Sm 17:45-47, “David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with a dagger, spear, and sword, but I come against you in the name of the LORD of Hosts, the God of Israel’s armies—you have defied Him. Today, the LORD will hand you over to me. Today, I’ll strike you down, cut your head off, and give the corpses of the Philistine camp to the birds of the sky and the creatures of the earth. Then all the world will know that Israel has a God, and this whole assembly will know that it is not by sword or by spear that the LORD saves, for the battle is the LORD’s. He will hand you over to us.”

Max Lucado (Facing Your Giants):  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PRgt0gMkOnM

1 Sm 18:8-10, “Saul was furious and resented this song. “They credited tens of thousands to David,” he complained, “but they only credited me with thousands. What more can he have but the kingdom?” So Saul watched David jealously from that day forward. The next day an evil spirit from God took control of Saul, and he began to rave inside the palace.” 1 Sm 18:28-29, “Saul realized that the LORD was with David and that his daughter Michal loved him, and he became even more afraid of David. As a result, Saul was David’s enemy from then on.” With the combination of jealousy, anger, and fear, Saul opened the door for evil to enter his heart because he had lost his faith and trust in the Lord. If Saul had remained humble and content, then chances are David would have been made king naturally from being prince. Ever since Saul put David on the hit list, his life became shorter and nothing but trouble.

In regards to 1 Sm 28:6, “Why didn’t the LORD answer Saul’s plea for help? The Bible teaches that people who consistently reject God’s leadership in their lives, and refuse to follow the guidance He has already provided, should not expect Him to deliver them from trouble resulting from their poor choices. Saul had consistently disobeyed God, even going so far as to kill the Lord’s priests. He had created vast problems for himself and his nation. The Lord was not going to promise the king supernatural deliverance from those problems, even though Saul earnestly sought His help. Instead, God would use the Philistines as the instrument of judgment against Saul.” (HCSB)

In regards to 1 Sm 18:12, “Once God the Father gives the Holy Spirit to a person, does the Spirit remain with that person or can He depart? At least three Old Testament passages in addition to the present verse suggest that the Holy Spirit could be taken away from people who persisted in living in disobedience toward God. On the other hand, John 14:16 indicates the Holy Spirit will abide forever with people who receive Him. The New Testament teaches that the death and resurrection of Jesus fundamentally changed certain aspects of humanity’s relationship with God. The old covenant at Sinai was replaced with the covenant of Christ’s body and blood, and with this change the Holy Spirit began operating differently in the lives of God’s people. The New Testament speaks of the Holy Spirit as a gift to believers in Jesus Christ and a seal on their hearts, a guarantee of eternal life. Besides being given to women and Gentiles (there are no examples of either of these receiving the Spirit in the Old Testament), the Holy Spirit is a permanently indwelling presence in the lives of all Christians. The New Testament provides no instance of the Holy Spirit departing from a Christian; this suggests that what happened to Saul cannot happen to a believer in Christ.” (HCSB)

2 Sm 12:12, “You acted in secret, but I will do this before all Israel and in broad daylight.” In both the Old Testament as well as the New Testament, God declares that we will be held accountable to everything we do. Whatever is done in secret will be revealed to all in the end. This highlights the importance of fellowship. The more time we spend praying, reading the Bible, and spend time with fellow believers, the less likely we are to fall away from obedience to God.

In regards to 2 Sm 12:13, “The Law of Moses required the death penalty for adulterers and murderers, yet David was spared that penalty. Being king, of course, he had the ability to forestall action by whichever human authority would have dared to enforce the law. But the Lord’s hand was also at work in the situation, for He could have overridden any such efforts. The Lord is a God of grace, and chose to spare David’s life. In so doing He transformed David into a historic object lesson of divine grace. David’s immediate readiness to confess his sin, when confronted with it by the Lord’s spokesman Nathan, proved that he still had a heart deeply devoted to God. The Lord gave David better than he deserved; he would not die. But the consequences of his sins would play themselves out in the history of his family, as Nathan predicted. Why did the son born to Bathsheba die, since it was David who committed the sin? Behavior that ignores the Lord’s purposes and precepts always hurts others, including the “innocent”; this is one of sin’s most terrifying realities. As an example, an inebriated driver rams his car into a church van full of young people on the way to a conference. David’s high-handed and sinful behavior toward Bathsheba and Uriah led to turmoil and great sadness within his own family, including the death of this newborn son.” (HCSB)

2 Sm 12:22-23, “He answered, “While the baby was alive, I fasted and wept because I thought, ‘Who knows? The LORD may be gracious to me and let him live.’ But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I’ll go to him, but he will never return to me.” Fasting is meant to replace time spent either eating food or participating in an activity in exchange for prayer and Bible meditation in order to grow deeper in one’s relationship with God. David fasted in hopes of allowing his son to remain alive, however, as soon as his son died, David knew that his son’s death was part of his punishment for his disobedience, accepted it, and moved on.

In regards to 2 Sm 24:1, “This verse indicates that God’s anger incited David to take a census which was not in the Lord’s will, yet 1 Ch 21:1 states that it was Satan who led David to take this wrongful action. The two statements would not be considered contradictory in the ancient Israelite way of thinking. The writer of 2 Sm affirms that God is the ultimate ruler of the universe; every event is subject to His authority. If even king David, despite his strength and intelligence, could be led into a foolish decision, the Lord’s hand is still involved. Satan, too, is subject to God’s complete control. In His position as Sovereign over all, God used one of His created beings—in this case Satan—to bring about judgment on another. People have the authority to resist Satan but David declined to do so, and thus experienced the consequence in the effects of God’s wrath. It was not wrong for David to take a census; as such the Law of Moses explicitly permitted this. Censuses had been taken among the Israelites on two occasions in the days of Moses with no adverse consequences. The problem with David’s census lay either in his motivation for it or the manner in which it was conducted. If the former, David’s purpose was to build his nationalistic ego; he would number the troops in order to boast of his nations military might, instead of trusting in God. If the latter, David failed to direct his officials to use the proper procedure. The law required every person counted to pay half a shekel (about one-fifth of an ounce) of silver to the sanctuary treasury, but perhaps this was not done. According to the law, failure to collect the money would result in an outbreak of plague, which is exactly what happened in this case.” (HCSB)

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