Introduction to 1 & 2 Samuel

By James M. Rochford

The original Hebrew Bible contained 1 and 2 Samuel as one book—not two. However, because these scrolls were so massive and cumbersome, the books were later separated into two books.[1]

Authorship

According to the Babylonian Talmud, “Samuel wrote the book that bears his name” (Baba Bathra 14b). The book itself states that Samuel did some writing that was preserved—though this doesn’t mean that he wrote all of 1 Samuel. At one point, we read, “Then Samuel told the people the ordinances of the kingdom, and wrote them in the book and placed it before the Lord” (1 Sam. 10:25). After all, Samuel dies in 1 Samuel 25:1. The Talmud notes this, but it states that Nathan and Gad finished the work (Baba Bathra 15a). 1 Chronicles 29:29 states, “Now the acts of King David, from first to last, are written in the chronicles of Samuel the seer, in the chronicles of Nathan the prophet and in the chronicles of Gad the seer.” It could be, however, that these were just the names of the books—not the authors.

Ronald Youngblood,[2] Eugene Merrill,[3] and David Tsumura[4] state that the author is simply anonymous.

Date

The internal evidence of dates these books sometime between 930 and 722 BC:

  • The text states that Ziklag “belonged to the kings of Judah to this day” (1 Sam. 27:6). This implies that the nation of Israel was divided at the time of the writing.
  • The text doesn’t mention the death of David, but it is strongly implied by the end of the book, because it contains David’s “last words” (2 Sam. 23:1).
  • The text doesn’t mention the fall of Samaria, which would date the book sometime before 722 BC.[5]

Consequently, Archer[6] and Youngblood[7] date 1 and 2 Samuel sometime between 930 and 722 BC. David Tsumura dates the book “no later than the late 10th century BC.”[8]

Themes in 1 and 2 Samuel

There are a few themes worth noting in 1 and 2 Samuel:

First, it shows the arrival of the KINGS in Israel. The book of Judges ends with the statement, “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 21:25) The savage and deplorable events of Judges set up Israel’s need for a king, and Ruth is a short story in the time of the Judges that looks forward to the kingship.

1 Samuel records how Israel instituted their first king: Saul. This was a period of relative silence from God (1 Sam. 3:1). He was waiting to punctuate this period of history with visions and miracles, so he was allowing a long period of inactivity during the time of the judges. Similarly, for hundreds of years before Christ, there was no prophetic activity in Israel. Once Christ came, miraculous activity was obviously frequent.

Second, it shows the importance of PROPHETS in Israel. 1 Samuel records Samuel’s birth and ministry, as well as how he instituted the prophets in Israel. Samuel plays a major role, anointing both Saul and David as kings. Later, when David falls into sin, Nathan—the prophet—exposes him and David finds repentance (2 Sam. 11). This shows the integration (and yet separation) of “church and state” in Israel. The kings and prophets held two separate offices.

Third, it shows the arrival of King David. David is a major player in the Bible. He is a type of Christ, and he represents the ideal king in Israel until Christ arrives.

Teaching Schedule

 

1 Samuel

Chapters 1-3 (Read “Introduction to 1 and 2 Samuel”; Samuel’s birth and life as a prophet)

Chapters 4-7 (The Ark)

Chapters 8-10 (Rise of King Saul)

Chapters 11-15 (Saul’s Failure)

Chapters 16-17 (David and Goliath)

Chapters 18-20 (Saul Becomes Bitter)

Chapters 21-24 (Saul Hunts David)

Chapters 25-27 (David Forfeits His Opportunity to Kill Saul)

Chapters 28-31 (The End of Saul)

2 Samuel

Chapters 1-5 (David Mourns Saul)

Chapter 6-7 (Chapter 6 is good on the importance of showing emotion; the Temple; Davidic Covenant; Spend time explaining what a covenant is; Was the Davidic covenant forfeited or replaced by the Church Age? This chapter is especially important in our interpretation of salvation history, so we’re taking time to study this)

Chapters 8-12 (Summarize 8-10 quickly; focus mostly on chapters 11-12)

Chapters 13-19 (David’s sin has an effect on the city, but he wins back the nation)

Chapters 20-24 (The End of David’s Life)

1 Samuel 1 (Hannah Gives Birth to Samuel)

Summary: This story takes places roughly around 1,100 B.C. Elkanah geographically lived in Ephraim (v.1), but he was a descendant of Levi (1 Chron. 6:16-30). The Levites were assigned to live in different areas of the country. Elkanah had two wives: Peninnah and Hannah. Peninnah gave him children, but Hannah was barren (v.2). Peninnah would taunt Hannah for being barren (v.6). In this culture, this was a very sensitive and severe subject. Children meant workers for the fields, security from robbers or raiders, and most importantly having someone to carry on your name.

Hannah prays that God would give her a son, and she promises that she will give him back to the Lord if he does (vv.9-11). She says that she will not cut his hair, which was a crucial portion of the Nazarite Vow. Eli (the priest) thought that she was drunk, and he began to run her out of the Tabernacle (v.13). Instead, he realized that she was just praying, and he hoped that God would answer her prayer (v.17). This made Hannah feel better (v.18). That night, Hannah went home and slept with Elkanah and got pregnant (v.20). She named the boy Samuel, and she brought him back to Eli to be a given to the priesthood (vv.27-28; cf. 1 Sam. 2:11).

(1:1) Elkanah came from Ramathaim (or Ramah, 1 Sam. 1:19; 2:11; 7:17). Chronicles tells us that Samuel was from the tribe of Levi (1 Chron. 6:16, 22, 31-33).

Hannah’s problem

(1:2) Hannah (ḥannāh) literally means “grace.”[9] Peninnah (peninnāh) literally means “ruby.”[10] In the ancient world, childlessness was tragic, because this meant the end of your family line.

Here were see a repeated theme of “barrenness” in the OT.

(1:3) Shiloh was where the Ark of the Covenant was held at this time (1 Sam. 4:3-4).

Eli was a priest there. His two sons both had Egyptian names: Hophni (“Tadpole”) and Phinehas (“The Nubian”).[11]

(1:4-5) Elkanah understood that Hannah’s infertility was the result of God’s providence (cf. Gen 15:3; 16:2; 20:18; 30:2). Even though Hannah wasn’t bearing children, Elkanah loved her more than Peninnah.

Elkanah’s polygamy and his unequal divvying up of the food led to a dysfunctional family.

(1:6) Peninnah hated Hannah because she was loved by Elkanah.

(1:7) Peninnah’s bullying of Hannah was so vicious that Hannah couldn’t even enjoy her food. She lost her appetite. This journey was supposed to be a time of worship, but it turned into a dysfunctional and hostile family gathering. Interestingly, many family holidays (e.g. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, etc.) are still this way today in modern culture.

(1:8) Elkanah didn’t stop Peninnah’s caustic antagonizing of Hannah. Instead, he asks Hannah was she is so sad. In a sense, he is asking her, “Am I not good enough for you?” This statement doesn’t seem very comforting, but the next verse states that Hannah regained her appetite. So maybe it was.

(1:9) She was encouraged by Elkanah’s words, ate and drank.

Hannah’s prayer

(1:10) Typically, when we feel “greatly distressed,” we mope and complain. Hannah took her distress to God.

(1:11) She must be dedicating him with a Nazarite Vow (see Numbers 6). Chuck Smith’s mother had a scare where she thought that she would lose Chuck as a young boy. She prayed something similar. It wasn’t until he was a grown man and wanting to pursue full-time vocational ministry that Chuck Smith’s mother told him about this.

(1 Sam. 1:11) Does God support bargaining practices and vows?

(1:12-13) God can hear inaudible prayers that are “spoken in the heart.”

(1:14) This shows how badly Eli misinterpreted what was happening. He thought she was drunk, but in reality, she was changing the course of salvation history with the birth of Samuel.

(1:15) She wasn’t pouring herself drinks. She was pouring herself out to God.

(1:16) She wanted to clear her reputation with Eli, the priest. She wanted him to know that she was innocent of drunkenness. The expression “wicked” woman is the same term used of Eli’s sons being “wicked” men (1 Sam. 2:12).

(1:17-18) This prayer changed her depressed and “distressed” heart (v.10).

Hannah’s answered prayer: Samuel

(1:19-20) God supernaturally intervened (“the LORD remembered her”), but he also worked through a natural process (“Elkanah had relations with Hannah”). Samuel’s name literally means, “The Name of God.”[12]

Hannah’s sacrifice

(1:21-23) Once Hannah gave him over to the Lord’s priestly service, she wanted this to be a clean break. If she gave him now, he would still need breast fed, and this was before the time of baby formula. Babies were breastfed for two or three years during this time (2 Macc. 7:27), so she would’ve only had a couple years with this sweet little boy. Imagine how hard it would be to follow through on this vow, after you had wept for years to have a son!

(1:24-25) The bull was meant to be sacrificed (v.25), but what was the flour and wine for? There is only one mention of flour being used as a sacrifice, and this is in a very unique situation (Num. 5:15). More likely, Hannah was “packing her son’s lunch” so he could “go away to school.” It’s like she was putting him on the school bus for the final time, saying goodbye.

(1:26) Hannah wants to share the incredible story about this answered prayer with Eli.

(1:27) These words echo what Eli had said to her, years earlier (1 Sam. 1:17). Hannah must have remembered those words from the priest and believed them.

(1:28) Hannah didn’t view this as giving her son to Eli, but giving her son to the Lord.

Concluding insights

Why was Peninnah taunting Hannah? She probably thought that Hannah was being looked down upon by God. As it turns out, God used Hannah’s descendants more than Peninnah! In fact, we don’t even know what Peninnah’s children were named. Similarly, we sometimes feel scorned by our world for not having worldly blessings, but this isn’t a sign of God’s disfavor.

Hannah’s story is powerful because she was willing to give her most precious desire in her life over to God! Some preachers teach this passage in this way, “If you pray for your desire real hard, God will give it to you.” But this isn’t the point. Hannah was willing to give her desire over to God and trust him with it. God isn’t a sadist who wants to take our pleasure from us (Ps. 37:4). Instead, he wants to give us good things. In the next chapter, God gives Hannah five more kids (1 Sam. 2:21). But this chapter shows how Hannah could trust God with her desire. What do you hold back from God that you aren’t willing to give over?

1 Samuel 2 (Eli’s Omissive Error)

Summary: Hannah sings a song to God because she is so thankful. She has a robust understanding of gifts.

The narrative flashes over to Eli and his sons: Eli’s sons were evil priests who were pilfering food from the sacrifices. They would even take the food “by force” (v.16). God tells us that this sin was very severe (v.17).

The narrative flashes back to Samuel. His mom would make him clothes and bring them to him every year as he grew older (v.19). Eli prayed over Hannah that she would get more kids. This passage shows that God wants to bless us with good things. Hannah is a good example of what it looks like to hand things over to God in faith. God rewards this faith with blessing her with five more children (v.21).

The narrative flashes back over to Eli and his sons. Eli was fully aware of the sin of his sons (v.22). Here we find out that the sons were also sleeping with women at the entrance of the Tabernacle. Eli is weak—not willing to discipline. He rebukes his sons (vv.23-25), but he isn’t willing to do anything else. As a result, God takes control and moves to kill them (v.25). A man of God comes and tells Eli that God is going to pull the plug on his family (vv.30-31). He tells Eli that God is going to make his family a bunch of corpses or beggars! This is fulfilled when Solomon removes Abiathar from the priesthood in 1 Kings 2:27 (“Solomon dismissed Abiathar from being priest to the Lord, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord, which He had spoken concerning the house of Eli in Shiloh”).

Hannah’s prayer

Often, when we receive answers to prayer, we are immediately happy, but forget to give thanks. Hannah received a great answer to prayer, and consequently, it led to even more prayer. Some scholars see “Hannah’s Song” as an inclusio with “David’s Song” at the end of the book (2 Sam. 22).[13] That is, the book of Samuel opens and ends with prayer. Others note similarities between Hannah’s prayer and Mary’s prayer after she becomes pregnant with Jesus (Lk. 1:48-52). Youngblood writes, “Both Hannah and Mary became pregnant miraculously (though admittedly in quite different ways), in due course each presented her firstborn son to the Lord at the central sanctuary (1:22; Luke 2:22), and both sang a hymn of thanksgiving and praise (Hannah after the birth of Samuel [1 Sam 2:1–10], Mary before the birth of Jesus [Luke 1:46–55]).”[14]

As you read her prayer, notice the antithetical parallelism: the strong become weak, and the weak become strong. God is sovereign over all of this.

(2:1) Her prayer begins with rejoicing in God himself.

The “horn” most likely symbolizes strength (v.10). The imagery comes from animals like deer who use their “antlers in playful or mortal combat (cf. Deut 33:17; Ps 92:10).”[15] This strength doesn’t come from herself, but from being “in the Lord.”

(2:2) God is totally unique. There is no one like him. The concept of a “rock” is a symbol of protection.

(2:3) Because of who God is, Hannah tells the listeners (the words are plural) that arrogance should be excluded. After all, God knows everything and weighs our deeds.

(2:4) The strong warriors are broken, but the weak warriors are strengthened.

(2:5) The full go hungry, but the hungry become full.

The barren woman has many children (“seven”), while the fertile woman “pines away” or “grows faint” (cf. Jer. 15:9). Hannah has a total of six children (1 Sam. 2:21).

(2:6) God is sovereign over death and life. This is an early reference to resurrection (“he brings down to the grave and raises up”).

(2:7-8a) He makes the rich poor, and the poor rich.

(2:8b) God created the very ground on which we walk (cf. Job 38:4; Ps. 75:3; 82:5; 104:5; Isa. 24:18; 48:13; 51:13, 16).

(2:9) The way to victory is not by power or “might.” It is by being a “godly one” (i.e. one who is in the hesed of God).

(2:10) Peninnah “thundered against” Hannah (1 Sam. 1:6), but God “thundered against” Peninnah.

God is the ultimate Judge (v.3), and he will rule through his righteous “King” and “Anointed.” This foreshadows the life of David, and ultimately, the life of Jesus Christ.

(2:11) Hannah must have gone home with her husband, and she left Samuel with Eli.

Eli’s passivity with his evil sons

(2:12) Eli’s sons were “worthless” in contrast to Hannah (1 Sam. 1:16-17).

(2:13-14) The law taught that the people would freely give what they wanted to the priests (Deut. 18:3). By contrast, the sons of Eli would “take for [themselves]” what they wanted.

(2:15) They wanted the meat before it was even cooked. This could show that they were impatient, or that they were showing contempt for God’s method (Ex. 12:8-11).

(2:16) Instead of taking an offering, they would take it by “force.”

(2:17) They “despised the Lord” because they didn’t “know the Lord” (v.12). How odd to have priests that don’t even know God.

Samuel is growing up

(2:18) Samuel is in stark contrast to the sons of Eli. Even as a young boy, he was wearing the clothing of an adult priest (i.e. an ephod).

(2:19) Hannah didn’t leave her little boy as an orphan. She would visit every year.

(2:20-21) God blessed Hannah with five more children. Meanwhile, God was cursing Eli’s two sons.

Eli’s sons

(2:22) Eli was “very old.” Since his sons were acting by “force” (v.17), he may have felt impotent to assert his authority. Regardless, God held him responsible for his passivity. He was all bark, but no bite.

The law commanded women to serve at the opening of the tent (Ex. 38:8). God forbade this sort of cult prostitution (Deut. 23:17; Num. 25:1-5).

(2:23-24) Is Eli referring to the objective reports in order to make a case against his sons? Or is he more concerned about what people were saying, than what God wanted? That is, was Eli being a man-pleaser in his rebuke, or was he really concerned with God’s reputation? Eli mentions what the “people” were saying twice, but doesn’t mention God in his rebuke.

(2:25) This is a good passage for our need for Christ. As God and man, Jesus was the perfect mediator for us (1 Tim. 2:5).

Their sin was already irrevocable. God judicially hardened them in order to judge them. This is similar to Pharaoh: these weren’t good men who were hardened to do evil, but bad men whom God had already decided to judge.

Samuel continues to grow in grace

(2:26) This description is very similar to that of Jesus (Lk. 2:40, 52).

Eli’s sons continue to grow in selfishness

(2:27) This “man of God” could be an angel (Judg. 13:3, 6), but it is more likely a human prophet (1 Sam. 9:9-10).

(2:28) This line was chosen, but they forfeited their choosing.

(2:29) The word “kick” can also be rendered scorn (cf. Isa. 44:1-2).

(2:30) This seems to transfer from an unconditional promise to a conditional one.

(1 Sam. 2:30-31) Did God change his mind?

(2:31-32) This is fulfilled in 1 Kings 2:26-27.

(2:33) Eli’s line will still continue, but they will not live long lives (a sign of God’s blessing).

(2:34) This is fulfilled in 1 Samuel 4:11-18.

(2:35) This could be fulfilled in the “faithful” house of David (2 Sam. 7:27). It more likely is referring to Samuel in the short term. It could refer to Zadok who took over after Abiathar in the longer term (2 Sam. 8:17; 15:24–29; 1 Kings 2:35). Ultimately, this is fulfilled in the everlasting priesthood of Jesus (Heb. 5:10; 6:20). Remember, Hannah opened this chapter referring to God’s King and Anointed One (v.10). Now, the chapter closes with a priest who would follow “My anointed always.”

(2:36) Eli’s offspring would grovel to simply have a piece of bread because of what they did.

Concluding insights

Eli’s sin was not commissive, but omissive. He wasn’t willing to do anything about the sin of the priests around him. Likewise, leaders who aren’t willing to discipline are going to see God pull the plug on their fruit. We know of one famous Christian apologist who knew his high school son was sleeping around with multiple girls, but he did nothing about it. Today, his son is an agnostic author and speaker, who writes books about how the God of the Bible is evil! What a sad legacy to leave behind as a parent.

In this chapter, we also see a comparison between Samuel’s righteousness and Eli’s unrighteousness. In the next chapter, we see that God speaks to Samuel—not Eli.

1 Samuel 3 (Samuel Speaks with God)

Summary: Samuel hears a voice calling him, and he thinks that it’s Eli in the other room. He comes out three times to talk with Eli (vv.1-8). Finally, Eli realizes that God is trying to speak with Samuel (v.9). God tells Samuel that he is going to follow through on judging Eli and his family, because of the fact that Eli didn’t discipline his sons (v.13). Eli demands to hear what Samuel had heard from God (v.17), and he accepts the judgment (v.18). God confirmed that Samuel was a prophet through the fact that Samuel’s prophecy would be literally fulfilled (vv.20-21).

(3:1) In the previous chapter, God made it clear to Eli that he was going to pull the plug on his priestly ministry. Most likely, the “word from the Lord was rare” because God must have been waiting for Samuel to grow older, so that he could start speaking to him, rather than Eli.

(3:2) Eli eventually went blind (1 Sam. 4:15). By contrast, Moses had sharp eyesight until the very end of his life (Deut. 34:7). Perhaps the narrative is making a contrast here.

(3:3) These lamps were lit at night and kept burning all night long (Ex. 25:31-37; 30:8; 27:20-21). Therefore, this event must have occurred at night. Also, Eli’s repeated command for Samuel to “lie down” implies that he was trying to sleep. After the talk with God, Samuel “lay down until morning” (v.15).

(3:4-6) This expression (“Here I am”) is a typical way that servants of God responded to him (Gen. 22:1; Ex. 3:4; Isa. 6:8).

God calls Samuel three times total before Eli realizes what was happening.

(3:7) This is in contrast to Eli’s sons, who never knew the Lord (1 Sam. 2:12).

(3:8-9) Eli finally realized that God was speaking to Samuel—not to him. Eli instructs Samuel how to respond to God if he called him again.

(3:10) This is a theophany or “appearance” of God.

Judgment for Eli’s house

(3:11) God’s judgment on Eli and his sons would send a shockwave through the nation of Israel. God was using them as an object lesson of his judgment.

(3:12) God had already spoken this prediction to Eli through an earlier prophet (1 Sam. 2:27-36).

(3:13) God took Eli’s passivity very seriously.

(3:14) Eli’s house couldn’t get away with making a religious sacrifice in order to solve what they had done. Eli’s sons had already denied God, and as his representatives, they should’ve known better.

Samuel tells Eli about the judgment

(3:15) It must have been scary for a young boy like Samuel to tell an old man like Eli about this judgment.

(3:16-17) Why was Eli so adamant about hearing what God said? He must have known that God was going to repeat the judgment that he had already revealed through the earlier prophet (1 Sam. 2:27ff).

(3:18) Even though he was scared (v.15), Samuel told Eli everything.

(3:19-20) The people could recognize a true prophet (“All Israel… knew that Samuel was confirmed as a prophet”), because Samuel’s predictions came true (“none of his words fail[ed]”).

(3:21) This chapter opened with God’s words being “rare” (v.1). Now, God ceases his silence, and he begins speaking frequently to Samuel.

Concluding insights

In chapter one, Eli was the man God used. Here in chapter three, God shifted over to Samuel. This shows that God can lift his blessing off of us and give it to another person.

Eli accepts that God can give and take away his blessing (v.18). This is a good attitude to have. However, Eli almost seems to take this judgment passively—just as he showed passivity with his sons. Was Eli’s attitude right or wrong? Was he humbly submitting to God’s sovereign judgment, or was he passively refusing to seek repentance?

It’s interesting that sometimes God will speak to the younger generation (Samuel) instead of the older generation (Eli). God enjoys working through young people.

1 Samuel 4 (The Ark of the Covenant)

Summary: The Philistines were wiping out Israelites by the thousands (v.2). The Israelites believed that they were losing, because they didn’t have the Ark of the Covenant with them (v.3). This caused the Philistines to panic, because they had heard of the power of the Hebrew God to destroy the Egyptians (v.8). Remember, this was hundreds of years after the Exodus, and people were still talking about it! However, this only caused the Philistines to fight harder. They defeated the Israelites (v.10), captured the Ark (v.11), and killed Eli’s two sons (v.11). A messenger ran back to tell Eli that his sons were dead and the Ark was taken, and this caused Eli to fall back (have a stroke?) and break his neck (v.18). Phinehas’ wife heard the news, and this caused a premature labor (v.19) which killed her (v.20).

(4:1) The Philistines are mentioned 150 times in 1 and 2 Samuel. The name “Palestine” comes from the Philistines who ruggedly fought for this land.[16]

“Ebenezer” was “modern Izbet Sarteh,” which is two miles east of Aphek.[17]

“Aphek” was ten miles east of Joppa.[18]

(4:2) The Philistines were slaying the Israelites by the thousands.

(4:3) The Israelite leaders viewed a military defeat from the Philistines, as the Lord defeating them (“Why has the Lord defeated us today…?”). Instead of seeking God’s will, they decided to “take” the Ark themselves—almost as a magic artifact that could win battles. They may have been thinking of Joshua’s victories over the Canaanites by using the Ark (Josh. 6). Yet Youngblood writes, “If God willed defeat for his people, a thousand arks would not bring success.”[19]

(4:4) Here is some foreshadowing: Hophni and Phineas were carrying the ark! This should tip off the reader to the fact that this is a bad idea.

(4:5) The people were shouting with excitement, but they were following the lead of two hypocritical priests—not God.

(4:6-7) The Philistines do not make theologically accurate statements here. They were holding to the superstitious view of the ancient Near East that a tribe’s gods would win battles for them.

(4:8) This was four centuries after the Exodus, and these people were still talking about the miracles God had performed there.

(4:9) The Philistines were clearly wicked people. They had enslaved the Israelites before (Judg. 13:1). However, Israel wasn’t following God’s will or God’s way, so they were also under judgment.

The Philistines decisively win

(4:10-11) Another 30,000 died, the ark was stolen, and Hophni and Phineas died. Since Eli’s two sons were carrying the ark (v.4), it would make sense that they would be killed as it was captured. Were Hophni and Phineas hiding behind the ark as a magic talisman? Did they panic at the last moment, realizing the gravity of their error? The text doesn’t say, but we can imagine that their fate was gruesome.

The news reaches Eli

(4:12) The tearing of clothes could be from the recent battle, or more likely, it could be from the man mourning over the drastic defeat (cf. Josh. 7:6).[20]

(4:13-15) Originally, Eli was sitting by the entrance to the Tabernacle (1 Sam. 1:9). Now he is sitting by the side of the road. He may have realized that he was a ghost of his former self. He is 98 years old (v.15), obese (v.18), and blind (v.15; cf. 1 Kings 14:4).

He is “trembling” in fear (cf. Judg. 7:3).

(4:16-17) The Benjamite man tells Eli the bad news.

(4:18) Eli doesn’t react with shock regarding the death of his sons. Instead, his shock and paralysis come from hearing about the capture of the ark.

The news reaches Phineas’ wife

(4:19) The tragedy and grief cause Phineas’ wife to have a slightly premature birth, which leads to her death.

(4:20) The birth of her son brought no consolation.

(4:21) “Ichabod” literally means “no glory.”[21]

(4:22) Youngblood writes, “The term ‘glory’ represents the Presence of God dwelling—škn—in the tabernacle (Ps 26:8; cf. also Exod 25:8; 29:44–46), giving rise to the later theological term šeḵînāh sometimes called the ‘Shek(h)inah Glory.’”[22]

Concluding insights

God used a Pagan nation (the Philistines) to fulfill his prediction of ruining Eli’s dynasty as a priest. God can use anyone to carry out his will.

The Jewish people interpreted their failure in battle as divine judgment. However, they came to the wrong conclusion. Rather than drawing near to God in repentance and prayer, they treated the ark as a magic talisman to win the war. We shouldn’t treat God’s provisions (e.g. the Ark of the Covenant) like magical objects. God needs to be behind his provision; otherwise, it doesn’t work.

We don’t even know if the Israelites started this war or not. The text simply doesn’t say. They could’ve been fighting an offensive war that was completely outside of God’s will.

1 Samuel 5 (The Ark in Philistia)

Summary: The Philistines take the Ark back to their evil lair, and put it by a statue of Dagon—their deity. The next day, they saw that Dagon had fallen over and broke (v.3). Coincidence? No, God had knocked it over! We know this, because the next verse tells us that it happened the day after as well (v.5). The Philistines—like the Israelites—falsely believed that they would have a humanistic advantage, if they controlled the Ark (i.e. much like the Nazis in Indiana Jones). But God proves them wrong. The strength and power comes from Him—not from the Ark. God gave the Philistines a plague until they relinquished the Ark to another city (v.8). They passed the Ark from city to city, like a hot potato, until they finally realized that they just couldn’t keep it.

The ark in Ashdod

(5:1) “Ashdod” was the Philistines headquarters and capital city.[23]

(5:2) Dagon is a Canaanite name.[24] Perhaps this is the chief god of their pantheon.

(5:3) Dagon was supposed to be their sovereign god, but they needed to give him a hand because he’d fallen over. What kind of god needs our help?

Note that Dagon is positioned prostrate in front of the ark. It would’ve looked like he was worshipping God.

(5:4) In the ancient world, warriors would cut off the head (1 Sam. 29:4) and hands (Judg. 8:6) of their enemies to show their triumph. It’s no wonder that God broke off the head and hands of Dagon. Later, the Philistines would show their triumph over Israel by decapitating Saul and displaying his severed head publicly (1 Chron. 10:10).

(5:5) This object-lesson was not lost on the priests of Dagon. They didn’t turn to worship God, but they superstitiously refused to enter Dagon’s temple again.

(5:6) Dagon lost his hands (v.4), but God’s “hand” was still working powerfully.

What are these “tumors”? The term in Hebrew (ŏpālîm) literally means “swellings.”[25] The Septuagint translated this term as “groin,” hence these were rendered “tumors in the groin” (see NIV note). The Septuagint adds the words, “And rats appeared in their land, and death and destruction were throughout the city.”[26] Rats are mentioned later in the text, when the Philistines return the ark (1 Sam. 6:4), so this gives more clues as to what the plague might’ve been. Youngblood,[27] Tsumura,[28] and Baldwin[29] believe that this was the bubonic plague, which kills roughly 50% of those who contract it. Apparently, Josephus claimed that the disease was dysentery, but few commentators have followed him in this speculation.

(5:7) They realized that the ark was bringing a plague on their city. They begin playing “hot potato” with the ark, passing it from one city to another…

The ark in Gath

(5:8) Gath was twelve miles southeast of Ashdod.[30]

(5:9) The “tumors” specifically affected the males in the population.

The ark in Ekron

(5:10) Ekron is six miles north of Gath.[31] Apparently, the Ekronites had already heard the history of the ark, and they immediately want to get rid of it.

(5:11) All the leaders of the Philistines decided to take the ark and “return to sender.” They don’t specifically state that they are going to send it back to Israel—merely that it should “return to its own place.” They are almost personifying the ark itself.

(5:12) This left the men bleeding with puss-filled tumors all over their bodies.

Concluding insights

Both the Philistines and the Israelites made the same error: they thought they could control God’s power through this material device. Youngblood writes, “The lesson of chapters 4 and 5 is clear: Neither Israelites nor Philistines—not even Dagon himself—can control or resist the will of the sovereign Lord, whose Presence, though enthroned between the cherubim surmounting the ark of the covenant, is not limited by that location and therefore cannot be manipulated by the whim of whoever happens to be in possession of it at any particular time.”[32]

This chapter is similar to the story from Watchman Nee’s Sit, Walk, Stand, where the local deity was thrown down with a terrible rainstorm. We should have confidence in the fact that God is more powerful that other demonic powers, religions, or anything else.

Notice that the people switch from saying “the gods” in chapter 4 to “Israel’s God” in chapter 5. This was evangelistic to the people—albeit in a strange way.

1 Samuel 6 (The Philistines Return the Ark)

Summary: The Philistines didn’t know how to get rid of the plague, so they decided to make a golden offering to God and return the Ark to the Israelites. They put the Ark on a cart with two cows pulling it, and decided to let the cows take it wherever they wished (v.8). The cows took it directly back to Israel (v.12). God killed 70 men from Israel for looking into the Ark (v.19).

(6:1) This plague lasted for over half of a year.

(6:2) These “priests and diviners” were pagan prophets. So, we should be discerning over whether their solution was a theologically correct one.

(6:3-5) They wanted to appease God through a guilt offering. But why did they create the offering in the form of the plague itself? Youngblood writes, “Perhaps the Philistines intended the models to function in the realm of sympathetic magic also, so that by sending them out of their land the genuine articles would depart as well.”[33]

(6:6) While Pharaoh hardened his heart and God further hardened it (see Exodus 4:21), the Philistines made a choice to repent before their judgment became worse.

(6:7) “Milch cows” are “cows that have just given birth” (NLT). Youngblood writes, “They hoped that the cows would take the ark there, reasoning that if cows new to the yoke would desert their newborn calves—even temporarily—to pull a cart all the way to Beth Shemesh, that would be a supernatural sign that the divine owner of the ark had sent the plague against them.”[34]

(6:8-9) They still weren’t sure if this outbreak was the result of divine intervention or of mere chance. This was their way of differentiating between the two.

(6:10-11) The Philistines did as they were instructed.

(6:12) “Lowing” means “mooing” (NET). This might imply that they were “mooing” for their newborn calves. They wanted to go back, but they were guided and compelled by God to go where he wanted them to go.

The return of the ark

(6:13) The people might’ve been thinking about how they could devise a strategic plan to rescue the ark. Remember, it had been gone for seven months (v.1). Maybe they had just given up hope altogether. Imagine their surprise and excitement to see the ark coming home on its own.

(6:14) They sacrificed the cows with the wood they brought with them.

(6:15) What did they do with all of the gold images?

(6:16) Apparently, the leaders of the Philistines personally watched all of this to see if the ark would make it to Israel. In their minds, this confirmed the test of their priests and diviners (vv.3-5).

(6:17-18) They placed the ark on a large stone in Joshua’s field.

(6:19) God still brought judgment on the people for trying to peer into the ark (Consider watching the final scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark for a fictional depiction of this).

(1 Sam. 6:19) How many were killed? 70 or 50,070?

(6:20-21) The people of Beth-shemesh were frightened by this, and they asked the people of Kiriath-jearim to take the ark.

Concluding insights

We shouldn’t try to manipulate God, but learn how to go his direction.

God doesn’t play favorites. Both the Philistines and the Israelites were judged for trying to manipulate God.

God is able to get what he wants to come to fruition. He did this both through his judgment on Philistines to freely give up the ark, as well as supernaturally directing the cows back to Beth-shemesh.

1 Samuel 7 (Samuel Steps Forward as Israel’s Judge)

Summary: Samuel tells the people to get serious about God and destroy their idols (v.3). This got the people to get serious about God. At this time, the Philistines threatened to attack again (v.7). Samuel interceded for Israel (v.9), and God brought them victory over the Philistines (vv.10-11). Samuel served as the judge over Israel (v.15). He judged them as a spiritual figurehead. He never lost this spiritual authority, even if he did pass political authority to Saul.

(7:1) The people of Kiriath-jearim took the ark to Abinadab’s son Eleazar to look after the ark.

(7:2) The people were “lamenting” to God—even after they had the ark. This must show that they had repented of their false belief that the ark was a magic instrument. After all, they had the ark, but they were lamenting to God himself.

(7:3) Samuel encourages this repentance by getting the people to get rid of the idols in the nation.

(7:4) The Baals and Ashtaroth were local Canaanite deities.[35] Baal was considered to be the “god of fertility and the storm, was believed to be the son of Dagon, god of grain.”[36] Likewise, Ashtaroth was considered to be the “goddess of love and fertility, vied for supremacy with Asherah, mother-goddess and consort of El (the creator-god in the earlier Canaanite pantheon but now displaced by Baal).”[37]

(7:5) Mizpah was fourteen miles south-southwest of Shiloh.[38]

(7:6) The “pouring out of water” is unique. Youngblood considers it to be an act of “contrition.”[39] Notice that this act is combined with “fasting,” and it is in the context of national repentance.

The Philistines attack

(7:7) The Philistines were still keeping close eyes on the Israelites, looking for any opportunity to attack. Since they were all in one place (at Mizpah), the Philistines must have seen this as a strategic military opportunity.

(7:8-9) Instead of fighting with swords and spears like before, the Israelites responded with prayer.

The Philistines are defeated

(7:10) Hannah had prayed that God would “thunder” against his enemies (1 Sam. 2:10). This must have had apologetic value. Youngblood writes, “In so doing he demonstrated that he, not the Philistine Dagon, not the Canaanite Baal son of Dagon, was truly the God of the storm, the only one able to control the elements whether for good or ill.”[40]

(7:11) This is a good balance of God’s role and our role. God did what the Israelites could not do, and this was sought after through prayer. However, the Israelites still picked up swords and attacked the people.

(7:12) Is this the Ebenezer the same as in 4:1 and 5:1? Youngblood doesn’t think so, because this is a far different location than Mizpah.[41] Moreover, this is a name of a location—not the name of a person.

(7:13) This protection from the Philistines seems contingent on the length of Samuel’s reign (“all the days of Samuel”).

(7:14) The cities were restored to Israel. This could be why the Israelites were still “lamenting” in verse 2: they still didn’t have their land back. What had seemed like a strategic military maneuver from the Philistines turned out to be a total failure.

Regarding the peace with the Amorites, we know that the Amorites lived in the hill country, rather than along the coast.[42] They must have learned their lesson from what happened to the Philistines.

(7:15) Judges were not just judicial rulers, but also executive rulers. He was a leader that had a considerable amount of authority.

(7:16) This wasn’t all of Israel. These three cities were all close to one another.

(7:17) Samuel would travel frequently, but he liked to come home. He built an altar at his home—likely to remind him of the focus of his ministry.

Concluding insights

These physical battles in Israel’s history were supposed to prefigure the spiritual battles of believers in the new covenant. Imagine how terrifying it would be to take your seat and trust the Lord, when the Philistines were coming to slaughter your family! Similarly, as believers it is our natural inclination to act when we are undergoing persecution or spiritual battle. This is a proper inclination, but we should act by praying—not by trying to manipulate our circumstances.

Samuel serves as a mediator for the people. He uses a lamb as the sacrifice to take away God’s wrath. God is already setting up the symbolism which shows the need to have a righteous mediator and a righteous sacrifice (Jn. 1:29).

1 Samuel 8 (Israel Wants a King)

Summary: Samuel brought his two sons into the ministry to be judges in Israel. But they were greedy and accepted bribes (v.3). Deuteronomy 16:19 forbids bribery. Remember, Eli was deposed from leadership, because his sons were immoral. Would Samuel repeat the same mistake?

God gave prescriptions for a king (Deut. 17:14-20), but they were desiring a king for the wrong reasons. They wanted to be like the other nations (v.5). Later, Samuel reveals another motive for why the people wanted a king: “When you saw that Nahash the king of the sons of Ammon came against you, you said to me, ‘No, but a king shall reign over us,’ although the LORD your God was your king” (1 Sam. 12:12). In other words, the people were afraid of Nahash, and this is what prompted them to ask for a king.

Samuel warned them what a king would be like (v.10). He warned that a king would give them high taxes and be dominant over them (vv.11-18), but the people refused to listen (vv.19-20). And God allowed this.

(8:1) Samuel was old, but the text doesn’t describe his death until chapter 25.

(8:2) Ironically, Joel’s name meant, “The Lord is God,” and Abijah’s name meant, “My [Divine] Father is the Lord.”[43]

(8:3) These two sons are similar to Eli’s sons. A key difference in Samuel’s parenting is that he was far away (Beersheba is 57 miles from Ramah).[44] However, why didn’t Samuel do something to correct the sin of his sons?—especially after seeing this exact same scenario occur in Eli’s family line?

(8:4) The elders had to tell Samuel about this. He wasn’t engaged enough with his sons to know about it.

(8:5) The people recognized the problem adequately, but they didn’t offer a solution. Instead of running these bad men out of office, they decide to give over more control to a king, who would have even more control and power. In this case, the medicine is worse than the disease itself.

They also were giving in to assimilation with the culture (“appoint a king for us to judge us like all the nations”). The reason for their solution was faulty as well. After all, the nations were horrible!

(8:6) Samuel could smell something was wrong with this. He took the request to God for counsel.

(8:7) Surprisingly, God tells Samuel to “listen” to the people three times (vv.7, 9, 22).

(8:8) Why would God agree with this plan, when he was essentially calling it an act of idolatry?

(1 Sam. 8:7-8) Why would God say he was rejected as the king, if he included instructions for a king (Deut. 17:14-20)?

(8:9) God was willing to condescend to their request, but not without thoroughly warning the people.

Samuel’s warning

There isn’t a single positive reference to having a king in this warning. Moreover, Youngblood points out that this description fits the contemporary Canaanite kings, giving evidence that this accurately captures the historical setting.[45]

(8:10) Samuel spoke authoritatively from God. These weren’t his private opinions, but divine predictions of what would happen.

(8:11) King Saul made people serve just like this (1 Sam. 14:52).

Absalom (2 Sam. 15:1) and Adonijah (1 Kings 1:5) adopted this exact practice of having “frontrunners” with his chariots.

(8:12) The king would gather an army, as well as gather money (food).

(8:13) The kings wouldn’t even spare the women from conscription into service (albeit, non-military service). He wouldn’t just take their sons, but also their daughters.

(8:14-15) The king would take their property. After all, he would need to sustain all of the people in his army (v.15).

(8:16) The king would take the servants from the people (i.e. he would take their “employees” from their businesses).

(8:17) The king would take their money, as well as their livestock.

(8:18) This is in stark contrast to how Samuel cried out to God on behalf of the people, and the people were given protection (1 Sam. 7:8-9).

The people’s response

(8:19) How could you go ahead with this after such a horrible picture? They already had their minds made up.

(8:20) God himself wanted to fight their battles (2 Chron. 32:8).

(8:21-22) Samuel took their response back to God, rather than asserting himself. God acquiesced to their desire. Samuel later reminds them of their faulty decision twice throughout the rest of this book (10:19; 12:12).

Concluding insights

We should trust in God—not in man-made structures. God seems to condescend to work through structures. But God doesn’t want us trust in our structures. In the church, we should always depend on God, rather than our structures for how to do his work.

Perhaps, a king was a lesser of two evils. Life in Judges was awful because “there was no king in Israel” (Judg. 21:25). But the problem wasn’t with the monarchy. The problem was with the people not trusting God. When they stayed on track with God, everything went well. When we choose our own path, it might be a lesser of two evils, but it is always second best compared to God’s plan.

This concept of a king shows the problem of having a perfect king in character. Who could possibly have all of the power necessary to lead, but will also be a man of character? This shows that we need God to rule. This is ultimately fulfilled in Christ, who is humble and gentle in heart (Mt. 11:29), but is also unbelievably powerful (Col. 1:16).

Instead of turning to God’s leadership, they turn to another idol: a king. The same is true for the believer who gives up immorality or drunkenness, but turns to their career or ministry success to create an identity. Instead of jumping from one idol to another, we should turn to God for leadership of our lives.

1 Samuel 9 (Saul meets Samuel)

Summary: The people wanted a worldly leader, and this is exactly what they get. Saul comes from a wealthy family (v.1). Saul is tall, dark, and handsome (v.2). Saul’s father, Kish, loses his donkeys, and he tells Saul to go find them (v.3). They bump into Samuel to see if they can get some insight on where they are. Samuel is told beforehand that this man will be the first king of Israel (v.16). Samuel tells Saul that the donkeys were found (v.20), but Samuel tells Saul that there are more important things that God has for him.

Youngblood describes Saul as “one of the most complex persons described in Scripture.”[46] This is surely true. Like all leaders, Saul has a blending of good and bad. In our estimation, Saul was a bad king overall, but there are times of faithfulness, godliness, and integrity as well. We will do our best to give a nuanced picture of this king of Israel.

Note that Paul comments on this subject. He merely states that God gave the people what they wanted: “Then they asked for a king, and God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years” (Acts 13:21).

(9:1) Saul’s name literally means, “Asked of God.”[47]

Kish was “a man of standing” (see NIV), which refers to military standing.[48] While Benjamin was the smallest tribe in Israel, Saul came from good stock.

(9:2) The term “handsome” (ṭô) is also used of David (1 Sam. 16:12) and Moses (Ex. 2:2). He was tall as well. By contrast, when David is elected, God tells Samuel not to look on external appearances (1 Sam. 16:7).

(9:3) It’s funny that this divine meeting between Samuel and Saul was precipitated by Saul looking for some missing donkeys. God can use anything to bring people together.

(9:4-5) The missing donkeys led Saul and the servant to where God wanted them to meet Samuel.

(9:6) The “man of God” is equivalent with a “prophet” or “seer” (v.9). Note again, that the people of Israel could recognize a true prophet based on their predictions.

(9:7) It was customary to give a prophet some sort of gift. Saul doesn’t want to show up emptyhanded.

(9:8) A fourth of a shekel wasn’t much money, but this was enough. A quarter shekel was a tenth of an ounce—or three grams (see NET note).

(9:9) The terms “man of God” and “seer” and “prophet” were all synonymous terms.

(9:10-11) They probably went to Ramah, where Samuel lived. Ramah was on a hill, so this explains why they “went up” to see him.

(9:12-13) Saul “hurries” to see Samuel. Later, he hurries to eat without Samuel. This statement later comes back to haunt Saul in chapter 13, when he doesn’t wait for Samuel to perform the sacrifice (1 Sam. 13:10).

(9:14-15) Clearly, this was a divine appointment. God sent Saul to Samuel at the same time that Samuel was coming to Saul.

(9:16) God was using this fallen man (Saul) to accomplish his purposes in protecting Israel. God uses fallen people like us to accomplish his plan. God doesn’t need to do this, but he chooses to do so.

(9:17) God specifies Saul to Samuel.

(9:18) God sends Saul directly to Samuel. This shows divine intervention and leading, because Saul doesn’t even know what Samuel looked like. This is reminiscent of Luke Skywalker meeting Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back (1980).

(9:19-20) Samuel had supernatural knowledge of (1) Saul’s thoughts and (2) the location of Saul’s donkeys. Saul left that day looking for donkeys, but Samuel presents him with something far more important!

(9:21) It’s common for people to focus on their inadequacies when God calls them into service.

(9:22-24) Samuel prepares a meal for Saul, and they eat together in the presence of thirty witnesses.

(9:25-27) Samuel meets with Saul privately to tell him that he has a message for him from God. As it turns out, he will make Saul the first king of Israel.

Concluding insights

Why did God choose Saul of all people? Saul’s tribe (Benjamin) was from the youngest sons of Jacob, and it was also a tribe that was recently massacred (Judg. 20). So, it fits with God’s backwards wisdom to transform the smallest into the greatest, and the youngest to give his promise. It also fits with God who works with the meager offerings that we bring him (9:7). This also shows that God shows grace to people who have messed up (Judg. 20).

Why wouldn’t God pick a good king? We should point out that Saul wasn’t bad at the beginning, but freely chose to be evil. At the time, Saul might have been the best option. Moreover, God picks the king that the people wanted—tall, dark, and handsome (1 Sam. 9:2; 10:23). Saul looks good, but he lacks the necessary character to lead the nation. They wanted this, and this is why God warned them (8:12-20). Later, God picks his first round draft pick: David. He lets them go their way, and then, he shows them the one who is actually good, humble, and pliable to God’s leading (16:7).

1 Samuel 10 (Saul Becomes King)

Summary: Samuel anoints Saul as king (v.1), and he sends him back to Gibeah (v.5). There he gets the Spirit (v.6). He is “changed into another man” (10:6), and the Spirit “changed his heart” (10:9). When he gets the Spirit of God, he begins to prophesy, and the people wonder if Saul had become a prophet (v.11). Immediately as Saul takes over the kingship, he encounters trials. People begin to question his leadership, but Saul ignored them (v.27).

This is a major shift in Israel’s history! We are now moving from the history of the judges to the history of the kings of Israel.

(10:1) By putting oil on his head (Ps. 89:20) and kissing him (Ps. 2:11-12), Samuel was anointing Saul as king. This authority came with great responsibility, because Samuel calls God’s people “His inheritance.” Like a kindergarten teacher watching over someone’s son on the first day of school, God was allowing Saul to watch over his people.

Samuel makes three predictions about what would happen next—likely to confirm the reality of Saul’s anointing.

Prediction #1: Meet two men with his donkeys

(10:2) Note the specificity of Samuel’s prediction: He accurately predicts the number of men, the location, the words, the donkeys, and even the feelings of Saul’s father.

Prediction #2: Meet three men with bread

(10:3-4) Again Samuel predicts the number of men, the location, the goats, and the bread and wine. He even predicts what these men will freely do to Saul (i.e. greet him and give him food and wine).

Prediction #3: Meet a group of prophets and the Holy Spirit

(10:5) Youngblood understands this as a “possessive trance”[49] or an “ecstatic phenomena.”[50] He carefully distinguishes this from pagan and occult practice, but this still seems like a mischaracterization of the event. God spoke through Samuel (a prophet) clearly and reasonably in context. Why would we believe that he spoke through these other prophets any different?

(10:6) God doesn’t call Samuel to become a king without giving him the power to change into that person. The Holy Spirit is the key to transformation.

(10:7) Samuel tells all of this to remind Saul that God is with him during this transition.

(10:8) Saul didn’t fulfill this obligation (1 Sam. 13:9–14), and it was the beginning of the end for him. Saul’s sin is not that he acted, but that he couldn’t wait.

(10:9-10) All of these things came to fruition.

The people’s reaction

(10:11-12) The people didn’t believe what they were seeing. Of all of the miracles listed in 1 Samuel, they had the hardest time believing that God would change a person’s life.

Saul’s inhibition

(10:13-16) Even after seeing all of these miraculous predictions come to fruition, Saul was still inhibited in wanting to share this with his family (v.16). Saul was a big, strong, and handsome man, but he still felt insecurity in sharing about God’s work with his family.

Saul’s public recognition

(10:17) Saul gives the people a history lesson to remind them of God’s goodness and their rejection of him.

(10:18-19) God saved the Israelites from their “oppressors.” But now, they were freely choosing a new “oppressor” through a king. God was giving them what they wanted.

(10:20) Commenting on the “lot” used here, Youngblood writes, “The lots, known as Urim (‘Curses,’ providing negative responses) and Thummim (‘Perfections,’ providing positive responses), were stored in the breastplate attached to the ephod of the high priest (Exod 28:28–30) and were brought out and cast whenever a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ would suffice.”[51] These were under God’s control (Prov. 16:33).

(10:21-22) This is a sort of comical picture: On the big announcement day, the “great king” is hiding in the baggage! Youngblood notes that the term “inquired” (šāʾal) is a Hebrew pun for Saul’s name.[52]

(10:23) Again, Saul was big, strong, and handsome, but he was still scared. Our gifts and talents have very little to do with our trust in God’s anointing or his power.

(10:24) This is the best candidate for the job.

(10:25) Perhaps Samuel’s documents were later used in the writing of this book.

Was Samuel reading Deuteronomy 17:14-20 to the people? This chapter from the Pentateuch explains the “ordinances” of the kings of Israel.

(10:26) Gibeah was three miles north of Jerusalem.[53]

David would later have “mighty men” who would follow him too.

(10:27) Again, the people were skeptical that God could change the life of this man (see vv.10-11 above). These same people wanted a king, but now, they were questioning the provision God had given them.

Saul kept silent like he did earlier (v.16).

Concluding insights

Why did Saul hide himself, when he’s going to be selected as king? It’s probably that Saul was scared. As we read through this book, he is constantly paranoid and fearful. You can have the Holy Spirit and still be afraid. You can be directly in God’s will, but still be afraid. Even Paul (1 Cor. 2:1-3; Acts 18:9-11) and Jesus (Lk. 22:44) expressed fear, but for different reasons.

One of the biggest difficulties in leading others is to handle their second-guessing, complaining, ungratefulness, and critiques (v.27). Saul didn’t respond to their taunting by saying anything. Instead, he decides to do something to prove himself. Our lifestyle and actions speak louder than our words.

1 Samuel 11 (Saul Vindicates His Leadership)

Summary: Nahash the Ammonite is a brutal tyrant who comes into Israel and takes over one of the cities (11:1). The Hebrew men want to talk about terms of their surrender. Nahash says that they can surrender peacefully if he can gouge out the right eye of everyone in the city (11:2)! The men send messengers to the rest of Israel to see if anyone can save them. Saul hears of it, gets the Spirit, and he is filled with righteous anger (11:6). He rips an oxen to pieces and mails the pieces to the men in Israel, saying, “Whoever does not come out after Saul and after Samuel, so shall it be done to his oxen.” (11:8) He gathers 300,000 men that day. They decimate the Ammonites (v.11). This event is the vindication of Saul’s right to be king. No one was doubting his leadership after this dramatic event!

In one of the very early scrolls at Qumran (4QSama), we read a further addition that was lost in later scrolls in 10:27. There we read, “[Na]hash king of the Ammonites sorely oppressed the Gadites and the Reubenites, and he gouged out a[ll] their right [e]yes and struck ter[ror and dread] in [I]srael. Not a man was left among the Israelites bey[ond Jordan who]se right eye was no[t go]uged out by Naha[sh king] of the [A]mmonites, except that seven thousand men [fled from] the Ammonites and entered [J]abesh Gilead. About a month later.”[54] If this text is valid, then it gives incredible context to the events in chapter 11. It means that Nahash had already been on a successful campaign to terrorize multiple tribes in Israel (e.g. Gad, Reuben, tribes beyond the Jordan). The survivors fled to Jabesh Gilead, and they were holding out there for protection. This sets the stage for chapter 11.

(11:1) The Ammonites were the descendants of Lot’s son Ben-Ammi (Gen. 19:36-38).

Jabesh Gilead is most likely the modern day tell el-Maqlub, which is twelve miles southeast of Beth Shan (which is located on the Jordan River).[55]

“Nahash” (nāḥāš) is literally means “snake” or “to practice divination” or “to look for omens.”[56] He was a vicious and tyrannical ruler.

(11:2) This sort of brutal treatment was common in the ancient Near East (Num. 16:13–14; Judg. 16:21; 2 Kings 25:7; Jer. 39:6-7; 52:10-11; Zech. 11:17).

(11:3) The elders were clearly trying to buy some time to see if someone would come to their rescue. As individual tribes, they needed to call on others to come to their aid, lacking central leadership.

(11:4) The people lamented, feeling like they couldn’t do anything to save the men at Jabesh Gilead.

(11:5-6) Saul didn’t cry and lament. Instead, he became angry and directive. The Holy Spirit came upon him filling him with this emotion and decisiveness.

(11:7) There is a parallel here with the man cutting up his concubine and sending it to the twelve tribes of Israel (Judg. 19:29; 20:6). This was a gruesome object-lesson to show that Saul meant what he said.

(11:8) Regarding these massive numbers of 300,000 soldiers, see comments on Exodus 12:37.

(11:9) Saul told the men of Jabesh Gilead that they would have a showdown at “high noon” (“when the sun is hot”). This lifted the spirits of the men there.

(11:10) The men of Jabesh Gilead literally say, “Whatever seems good in your eyes…”[57] This could be a pun based on the demands to pluck out an eye, or another allusion back to the Judges account (“Everyone did what was right in their own eyes…”).

(11:11) They attacked first thing in the morning. The description of their scattering sounds like a complete terrorizing of the Ammonite army (“no two of them were left together”).

Public opinion changed for Saul

(11:12) This is a complete reversal from what some of the people said earlier (1 Sam. 10:27). This dissenting view must have been public enough for all of the people to know about it. Now, they call for these men’s deaths.

(11:13) Saul calls for gratitude—not revenge (cf. 1 Sam. 19:1-6; 2 Sam. 19:22).

(11:14-15) Samuel calls for a renewal of the kingship, because all of the people were behind this king.

Concluding insights

Not all anger is unrighteous. Saul was filled with the Spirit to become angry (v.6). The real question is whether your anger is under control, which Saul’s certainly was (v.13).

This event demonstrates Saul’s ability to lead the people. As leaders, we should look for opportunities to demonstrate why we should be leaders, taking the initiative to take steps of faith.

1 Samuel 12 (Samuel’s Rebuke)

Summary: Samuel steps Saul forward as their king. Before he steps down fully, he asks if he has ever mistreated the people (v.3). They agree that he has been faithful to them (v.4). As the nation moves into a new stage in their history (i.e. kingship), Samuel reminds them of their history to give them context in moving forward. He is worried that they will fall into idol worship (v.21). He tells them that God will not reject them as a people (v.22), but he will let them be taken over (v.25).

Samuel sets up his argument by appealing to his integrity

(12:1) Samuel gave the people what they wanted, because God told him to “listen” to the people (1 Sam. 8:7, 9, 22).

(12:2) He had an entire life of integrity. Although, he mentions his wicked sons, and he doesn’t elaborate on that too much. Perhaps, he mentions them to show a contrast between his own integrity, and their selfishness.

(12:3) He puts himself on the line by asking them to testify against him, seeing if they can find any fault in his leadership with regard to stealing or oppressing the people.

(12:4) The people testify that he is innocent.

(12:5) Samuel calls in Saul and God himself into the witness stand, and this shows that he is completely innocent in these areas (e.g. stealing, oppressing).

Samuel recounts Israel’s history

Youngblood argues that legal language pervades this speech—almost like taking the “stand” in court.[58]

(12:6) Samuel points toward God as the ultimate leader of the people—not Samuel nor Saul.

(12:7) Samuel now argues that God has been a completely Righteous Ruler of the people. The problems in Israel were not God’s fault, but the people’s fault.

(12:8) God was faithful to answer the “crying out” of the people in Egypt.

(12:9-11) Samuel summarizes the repeated cycle of what happened in the judges: (1) rejection, (2) ramifications, (3) repentance, and (4) rescue. Samuel’s point is that God was always faithful to rescue the people. God was faithful to rescue the people, as he had promised (compare v.11 with Deut. 12:10).

(12:12) This verse reveals one of the motivations for why the people wanted a king: they wanted protection from Nahash the Ammonite. Instead of trusting God as their protector, they wanted a king (compare with Gideon’s attitude in Judges 8:23).

(12:13) God gave the people what they wanted.

(12:14-15) Whether they have a king or not, it doesn’t change the fact that they need to obey God. This must be what Samuel has been driving at throughout this chapter: If they disobey without a king, they will suffer the consequences, and if they disobey with a king, they will suffer the consequences.

Samuel bring the rain (and the pain!)

(12:16) Rain in the harvest season was considered terrible (Prov. 26:1).

(12:17) The “thunder” could be an allusion back to the Mosaic Covenant (Ex. 19:16; 20:18). After all, Samuel is repeatedly emphasizing the need for obedience. Youngblood writes, “Samuel’s rhetorical question… served as an ominous reminder to the people that all their hard work had the potential of being wiped out in an equally brief period of time.”[59] The Hebrew term “asked” (šāʾal) is a pun for Saul’s name.

(12:18-19) This rain could be judgment for their past sins.[60] It was a reminder that they should follow God’s will in the future, because their sins will not be overlooked.

(12:20) The people have nothing to fear if they decide to follow the Lord.

(12:21) Isaiah uses this language of “futile things” (tōhû) to refer to idols (Isa. 41:29; 44:9). Samuel is urging the people not to trust in worthless things (like kings!), but rather to trust in God.

(12:22) God will be faithful to them. The question is whether the people will be faithful to God.

(12:23) Samuel considered it sinful not to pray.

(12:24-25) Samuel foreshadows what will happen to Saul and the people. The term “swept away” comes up again on the lips of David to refer to Saul’s judgment (1 Sam. 26:10), which eventually happened (1 Sam. 31:1-5). Even with all of Samuel’s warnings, Saul and the people did not listen to him.

Concluding insights

When we move into new life situations, it is helpful to remember God’s provisions in the past.

It’s crucial to trust in God, rather than in “futile things” like idols or kings or people.

1 Samuel 13 (Saul’s Error)

Summary: Saul began his reign at age 30, and reigned for 42 years (v.1). The chapter opens with Saul going to war with the Philistines. Notice that Saul is taking credit for Jonathan’s fighting on the field of war (v.4). Jonathan was hanging his neck on the line, but Saul took the credit. Samuel starts taking the lower seat and admonishing the king.

Saul waited for Samuel to come and offer the sacrifice to God, but because Samuel was late in arriving, Saul offered the sacrifice himself (v.9). This was an egregious overstepping of church and state. Saul offered a good argument for why he (the king) needed to offer the sacrifice, but Samuel wouldn’t tolerate it (v.13). He broke God’s command just to do what was expedient. This is the act that let’s Saul know that someone else would replace him (v.15).

The Philistines prevented the people of Israel from using metallurgy (v.19), so they would’ve been fighting the Philistines with sticks and stones. The men who went to fight didn’t have weapons—0nly farming tools (v.22).

(13:1) Paul gives a round number for Saul’s reign in Acts 13:21 (“forty years,” rather than forty two). Josephus states that Saul reign for 42 years as well: “Now Saul, when he had reigned eighteen years while Samuel was alive, and after his death two [and twenty], ended his life in this manner.” (Antiquities, 6.378).

(1 Sam. 13:1) What is the correct number here?

(13:2) Saul kept twice the number of soldiers for himself (2,000), than for his son, Jonathan (1,000). He also sends Jonathan into battle, rather than going himself. So he gives Jonathan half the troops and more of the danger.

(13:3-4) Earlier, Saul had sent these men home (v.2). Now, he’s calling for more.

(13:5) Meanwhile, the Philistines mustered an army that outnumbered the Hebrews 10-to-1 (30,000 troops to 3,000 troops, v.2). The reference to the Philistine warriors being as numerous as “the sand which is one the seashore” is in direct contrast to God’s promise to bless Abraham’s descendants (Gen. 22:17).

(13:6) This massive Philistine army led to massive defection on behalf of the Israelites. They hid in caves, thickets, and even in the ground.

(13:7) Others fled to the other side of the Jordan River. But Saul stood his ground.

Saul chose not to wait on God

(13:8) Imagine being in Saul’s shoes: A massive army is mounting against you, and your men are deserting. Furthermore, Samuel (your only hope) is running late to bring the spiritual power from God. Rather than waiting on God, Saul takes matters into his own hands. He had ample justification from his perspective, but this turns out to be one of the most monumental failures of his career.

(13:9) Saul only offers a singular burnt offering, while Samuel had called for plural burnt offerings (1 Sam. 10:8).

(13:10) If he had only waited a little longer, he would’ve seen God come through…

(13:11-12) Saul gives his reasons and excuses for why he was “forced” to break God’s word.

(13:13) Why was Samuel so harsh on Saul? After all, both David (2 Sam. 24:25) and Solomon (1 Kings 3:15) offered burnt offerings. In this case, he was sternly judged because he had not “kept the commandment of the Lord.” Samuel had explained himself very clearly, but Saul hadn’t been faithful. Later, Samuel tells Saul that “obedience is better than sacrifice” (1 Sam. 15:22).

How could Saul have had an “eternal kingdom” if David was going to have an eternal kingdom? This could be similar to Jeroboam I, who was also promised an eternal dynasty (1 Kings 11:38). Youngblood writes, “Saul’s kingdom/dynasty could theoretically have been established alongside that of David without endangering or contradicting the enduring character of the latter.”[61]

(13:14) Paul comments on this in Acts 13:22.

(13:15) Saul’s army dwindled to just 600 men—a fraction of what he had before (v.2) and a smaller fraction of the Philistines (v.5).

(13:16-18) The Philistines spread out to position themselves for battle.

(13:19) The Philistines used overt pressure to stop the Israelites from having weapons. Imagine how scary this would be: You only have 600 men (v.15), and only two of those men have swords (v.22).

Youngblood points out that Philistine metallurgy has been attested in archaeology: “Archaeologists working at many different sites have unearthed iron artifacts in bewildering number and variety dating from the period of greatest Philistine power and leading to the general consensus that the metal was introduced into Canaan—at least for weapons, agricultural tools, and jewelry—by the Philistines.”[62]

(13:20-21) The Israelites were fighting with farming equipment, and they had to pay exorbitant prices to get these sharpened for battle. Youngblood writes, “The pym has proven to be two-thirds of a shekel in weight. If silver was the medium of exchange in v.21, the Philistines charged the Israelites an exorbitant price for sharpening and repointing their tools.”[63]

(13:22-23) They are going out to war with less men, and even fewer weapons.

Concluding insights

We need to do God’s work in God’s way. If we take shortcuts, he will pull the plug on how he uses us.

We need to wait on God. Saul’s sin was that he couldn’t wait for God’s word (through Samuel) to come to fruition. If he had only waited a little longer, he would’ve seen God come through.

1 Samuel 14 (Jonathan Defeats the Philistines)

Summary: Jonathan and his armor-bearer snuck over to the Philistine camp (v.1). Jonathan was confident that they could beat the Philistines—even if there were only two of them (v.2). They give two scenarios over whether or not they would fight. If the Philistines tell them to stay where they are, they won’t fight (v.9). But if they tell them to come and fight, then this is God’s sign for them to fight (v.10). They killed roughly 20 of the Philistine men (v.14). This (combined with an earthquake) led the Philistines to panic (v.15). Saul’s men joined in at this point and chased the Philistines away (v.23).

Saul makes an oath that no one should eat anything until the battle is finished—punishable by death (v.24). Of course, Jonathan hadn’t heard about this, so he ate some honey (v.27). Saul’s oath was self-serving and foolish (v.30). Since God wouldn’t listen to Saul, he made another oath claiming that the sinner should die who broke his oath (v.39). After casting lots, they discovered that Jonathan was the one who broke the oath. Saul makes another oath for killing Jonathan (v.44). The people had to hold Saul back from doing this (v.45). Saul went on to protect Israel from the Ammonites (v.48).

(14:1-2) Note the contrast here: Jonathan is courageously taking initiative with only one other soldier, while Saul sits back and stays safe surrounded by 600 soldiers. Saul is eating fruit from a “pomegranate tree,” while Jonathan risks his life for the nation.

Jonathan didn’t tell his father (v.1) or anyone else (v.3) what he was doing. Why didn’t he reach out for help?

(14:3) These are the priests who came from the doomed line of Eli. These men were part of Saul’s company.

(14:4-5) The Philistines were on higher ground, which would have been a strict military advantage.

(14:6) Jonathan calls them “uncircumcised” to reinforce the fact that they were outside of God’s covenant with Abraham. He was reminding his armor-bearer that they were in God’s plan.

This statement (“the Lord is not restrained to save by many or by few”) is reminiscent of Gideon’s battle in Judges 7.

(14:7) These words must have been reassuring to Jonathan’s faith. It’s one thing to go alone, but quite another when you have a faithful friend with you.

(14:8-10) This is similar to Gideon’s fleece in Judges 6:36-37.

(14:11-12) The Philistines mocked these Israelite men for hiding in their holes in the ground. They taunted the Israelites with similar words used by Goliath (1 Sam. 17:44).

(14:13-14) Jonathan and his armor bearer defeated the Philistines 10 to 1.

(14:15) God did his part in this battle by bringing an earthquake on the Philistines that cause mass hysteria. God had promised this earlier: “The LORD your God will deliver them before you, and will throw them into great confusion until they are destroyed” (Deut. 7:23).

(14:16) The panic was so extreme that Saul’s men could see it from even far away.

(14:17) God was doing something powerful, and Saul was counting his troops. Saul realized that Jonathan was missing. Did he quickly rush to his aid?

(14:18) Instead of helping Jonathan, Saul turned to the priest for the ark. God was already on the move, and Saul was looking around for the “magical” ark.

(14:19) Saul can’t decide what he’s going to do. First, he asks for the ark, and now, he changes his mind.

(14:20) The darkness and the earthquake led the Philistines into total hysteria and confusion.

(14:21-22) Youngblood distinguishes these “Hebrews” from the Israelite people. The Habiru (apirū) were “a nonethnic designation for members of disparate groups.”[64] This makes a certain amount of sense, because the Israelites are mentioned as a separate group in verse 22.

(14:23) This is identical to Exodus 14:30, when God rescued the people at the Red Sea.

Saul’s horrible oath

(14:24) This foolish oath led his own men into being “weary” (v.28) and “very weary” (v.31).

(14:25-26) There wasn’t just honey, but a “flow of honey” or the “honey was oozing out” (NIV).

(14:27-28) Jonathan didn’t know about this oath when he ate the honey.

(14:29-30) Jonathan didn’t agree with the oath. In fact, he believed that it was completely non-strategic. They could’ve killed more Philistines if he foolish father hadn’t made that oath.

Will Jonathan die?

(14:31) They win the battle, but they are exhausted.

(14:32) Perhaps the men wouldn’t have sinned like this, if Saul had allowed them to eat some of the honey.

(14:33-34) The people were slaughtering the animals on the ground (v.32). Saul calls for them to slaughter them on a rock—probably for hygienic purposes.

(14:35) This is “probably a negative comment directed at Saul’s lack of piety.”[65]

(14:36-37) God was silent to Saul’s questions.

(14:38) Saul doesn’t look to himself as a sinner. He assumes that God’s silence has to do with someone else—even his own son—the leader of the army.

(14:39) Saul was willing to sacrifice his own son on the altar of his pride. This is reminiscent of Jephthah’s awful oath (Judg. 11:31, 39). The other soldiers were dead silent.

(14:40) Did Saul have an intuition that Jonathan was the culprit? Why did he make that specific statement in verse 39 about Jonathan needing to die if he was the one who ate? Why does he immediately separate himself and Jonathan from the men? It is not unlikely that he was jealous of his own son’s military accomplishments. Jonathan was the courageous leader that Saul wasn’t.

(14:41-42) The lot falls to Jonathan.

(14:43) Jonathan didn’t agree with the oath (vv.29-30). But then, why is he so willing to die? This must show his tremendous loyalty to his father (as he would be loyal to David). Or it might simply be descriptive—not prescriptive.

(14:44) Saul doesn’t hesitate: He doubles down on his resolve to kill his own son!

(14:45) The men revolted against Saul’s command. The “rescued” or literally “ransomed” Jonathan.[66]

(14:46) Saul missed his opportunity to eliminate the Philistines.

Saul’s further battles

(14:47-48) God had not totally abandoned Saul. He continued to use Saul to defend Israel from Moab, Ammon, Edom, Zobah, the Philistines, and the Amalekites.

(14:49-51) List of Saul’s comrades. Note: Abner was Saul’s cousin.

(14:52) Saul garnered some of the roughest and toughest men to his side.

Concluding insights

Jonathan demonstrates that God can use few to defeat many, if they place their faith in God.

Saul is the archetypical example of a boastful, arrogant king. He makes claims that he can’t (or shouldn’t) follow through with.

Was Saul jealous of his own son? Is this why he tried so vehemently to follow through on his own? Jonathan was the leader that Saul wasn’t (e.g. initiative, sacrificial, courageous, faithful, wise, etc.).

1 Samuel 15 (Saul Fails to Destroy the Amalekites)

Summary: Samuel instructs Saul to utterly destroy the Amalekites for their attacks against Israel, when they were slaves escaping Egypt. God tells Saul that he needs to wipe out the entire society. The Kenites were spared, because they were kind to the Jews when they left Egypt (v.6). When Saul battled the Amalekites, he spared the king (Agag) and their valuables (vv.7-9). As a result, God regrets ever making Saul king.

Saul was so blind that he thought he was carrying out God’s command (v.13). He claimed that he was keeping the valuables to “give to God” (v.15). He keeps arguing with Samuel that he had followed what God said (vv.20-21). Samuel tells him that obedience is important—even more than sacrifices (v.22). This is the coup de gras on Saul’s kingship. Saul admits that he was in sin the entire time (v.24), and he was justifying what he did. He fell into this because of man-pleasing (v.25). Samuel went through and killed Agag when Saul wouldn’t (v.33).

This chapter is an example of how the prophets had authority over the kings in Israel. In any other culture, a king wouldn’t allow a prophet to denounce him like this. But in Israel, the king was beneath God’s will—not above it (Lex Rex versus Rex Lex).

(15:1) Samuel reminds Saul of where he received his kingship from: God. Now, he urges him to listen to God’s words.

(15:2) The Amalekites had been brutal to the Israelites as they escaped from Egypt (Ex. 17:8-16; Num. 24:20; Deut. 25:17-19). This would be similar to a slave escaping the South in 1860, only to be killed by a northerner.

(15:3) Samuel uses the term harem (“utterly destroy”) throughout this text. This is divine judgment on the Amalekites for what they did to Israel. For more on this, see our earlier article “What about the Canaanite Genocide?”

Saul defeats the Amalekites

(15:4-5) Saul starts off well, summoning his army and ambushing the Amalekites.

(15:6) Note that this corporate capital punishment was discriminating based on what these people did. The Amalekites were judged for their cruelty, but the Kenites were spared for their kindness.

(15:7) Saul continues to do well by “defeating the Amalekites.”

(15:8) Youngblood understand this language (“utterly destroyed all…”) to be hyperbolic: “The description of the total destruction of “all” the people (v.8) is hyperbolic, since the Amalekites as a whole survived to fight again (cf. 30:1).”[67]

(15:9) Here is where Saul fails: He allows his men to profit off of this war. God wanted the people to be judged, but they decided to pick and choose what they believed to be valuable.

God’s response to Saul’s sin

(15:10) God speaks up at this point.

(1 Sam. 15:11) Does God have regrets? (cf. Gen. 6:6)

Turning away from God’s word is to turn away from God himself.

Why was Samuel crying out to God all night long? Was he angry with Saul? With the situation? It was during this time that Samuel “received the divine message of irreversible doom for Saul’s kingdom (cf. v.16).”[68] The final verse of this chapter gives us insight: “Samuel did not see Saul again until the day of his death; for Samuel grieved over Saul” (v.35).

(15:12) Samuel doesn’t set up an altar to God—but to himself!

(15:13) Saul knew that he had sinned (v.20, 24). He must be keeping up appearances to Saul here, maybe trying to appear as if everything is just fine.

Saul also refers to the “command” (singular) of the Lord, which might be a subtle way of him trying to cover himself. He carried out part of God’s “commands” (plural), but not all of them.[69]

(15:14) This is a pretty funny way of challenging Saul’s claim to be faithful. If Saul had really carried out the commands of the Lord, then why is Samuel hearing all of the animals?

(15:15) This is another lie: They weren’t sparing them for the Lord, but for themselves. Later, we learn that Saul gave into the pressure of the people (v.24).

Note the subtle shift: “The Lord your God.” Saul is realizing that he is on the wrong side of the theological fence.

(15:16) “Wait” is literally translated “stop” or “be still.”[70] Samuel is done hearing Saul’s excuses. He’s saying, “Be quiet… It’s my turn to talk.” In fact, Samuel tells Saul that it’s God’s turn to talk.

(15:17-19) Samuel reminds Saul that he was a nobody until God anointed him. But now, Saul thought he could call the shots, disobeying God’s will.

(15:20-21) Saul tries to shift the blame onto the people. He’s still sticking with the story that he had good religious motives (i.e. having more sacrifices for the Lord).

Notice again that he refers to the Lord as “your God.”

(15:22) Rebelling against God cannot be covered up by religious rituals.

(1 Sam. 15:22) Does God delight in sacrifices or not?

(15:23) Rebellion to authority is on par with occult worship (cf. Deut. 18:10). Youngblood makes an interesting observation: “For the sake of clarity in English, the NIV has transformed the metaphors of v.23a into similes. In neither line is ‘like’ represented in the Hebrew text, which is thus all the more blunt.”[71] Samuel is making a direct connect—not a simile.

(15:24) Saul’s repentance is not dissimilar to Pharaoh’s “repentance” in the Exodus (Ex. 10:16-17). When Saul says that he “listened to” the people, this is literally that he “obeyed” the people.[72] We should fear God—not people (Prov. 29:25).

(15:25-26) Like Hophni and Phineas, God’s judgment was irreversible.

(15:27-28) This “tearing” of the robe may have a literary parallel with Samuel’s judgment later: “The Lord has torn the kingdom out of your hand and given it to your neighbor, to David” (1 Sam. 28:17).

(15:29) God won’t change his judgment toward Saul. Later, in the Psalms, God won’t revoke his blessing toward David: “But I will not break off My lovingkindness from him, nor deal falsely in My faithfulness… Once I have sworn by My holiness; I will not lie to David” (Ps. 89:33, 35).

(15:30-31) Saul pleads again for forgiveness. Samuel agrees to follow him home—whereas, earlier, Samuel refused to do so (v.26). As we read the rest of the text (vv.32-35), Samuel and Saul actually split ways.

Again, Saul refers to the Lord as “your God.” This is the third time that Saul notes that God was no longer with him.

Samuel kills Agag

(15:32-33) Agag must have thought that his life would be spared. After all, if the Israelites were going to kill him, they would’ve done it by now. He was dead wrong!

(15:34) Samuel and Saul split ways.

(15:35) The term “grieved” (ʾbl) is the term for mourning for a dead person.[73] In Samuel’s mind, Saul was “as good as dead.” God announced the destruction of Saul’s kingdom, and the rest of the book describes how God brings this to fruition.

Concluding insights

Samuel followed through with God’s word—even though it deeply troubled and grieved him. Sometimes, God will call on us to speak a hard word—even if it grieves us to do so (2 Cor. 7:8-9).

Saul did not follow through with God’s word. He lied, shifted the blame, and did everything that he could to appear righteous. Sometimes people are so blind to the truth that they think that they’re following it. Other times, they know that they are in the wrong, but will stop at nothing to justify themselves.

Samuel persisted in confronting Saul until the truth came out.

God takes rebellion to his word very seriously.

1 Samuel 16 (David is Anointed)

Summary: God sends Samuel to go and find David—Jesse’s son (v.1). Samuel has to go incognito, so that the people won’t be alerted by him showing up in Bethlehem. Samuel goes undercover by saying that he is merely there to offer a sacrifice. The different candidates from Jesse’s family (his sons) step forward one by one. God chooses the man based on his heart—not his appearance (v.7). God chooses David (v.13), and Samuel anoints him with oil. God’s Spirit had leaves Saul (v.14). They “just-so-happen” to recruit David to play the harp for Saul. Saul loved David very much (v.22), and David’s music would make Saul feel better (v.23).

This is the middle chapter of 1 Samuel, and it is a crucial shift in the account. The first half of the chapter shows David’s anointing and receiving of the Spirit, while the second half shows Saul’s loss of the Spirit and the receiving of an evil spirit (!). God has taken his hand off of Saul and placed it onto David.

(16:1) God doesn’t tell Samuel to stop grieving, but only asks him “how long” he will grieve.

(1 Sam. 16:1ff) Is it morally right to lie?

(16:2) Samuel had authority over Saul, but he was also afraid of Saul’s violence. He had to travel incognito, offering a sacrifice while he was there (Lev. 3:1).

(16:3) This sacrifice was “invitation only.”[74] Only Jesse’s family was allowed to be there.

(16:4) Samuel’s reputation of killing Agag may have preceded him. This might be why the elders of the city “trembled” and wanted to know if Samuel “came in peace.”

(16:5) Samuel consecrates Jesse’s family for the sacrifice.

(16:6-7) Samuel may have thought that a man’s height and stature was important. After all, Saul was a tall man (1 Sam. 9:2), and Samuel mentioned this fact to the people (1 Sam. 10:23-24). But God tells Samuel that he needs to look at the heart—not the height—of the man (cf. 1 Kings 8:39; 1 Chron. 28:9; Isa. 11:3; 55:8-9; Lk. 16:15).

(16:8-10) Jesse brings his seven sons to pass by Samuel, but Samuel somehow knows that God has not chosen these. It could be that God was simply silent as the brothers passed by him, in contrast to being vocal when David arrives (v.12).

As it turns out, Jesse has an eighth son (1 Sam. 17:12).

(16:11) The Hebrew for “youngest” can also be translated the “smallest.”[75]

The concept of the King (Messiah) being a shepherd becomes a major theme throughout the rest of the Old and New Testament (Ezek. 34; Jn. 10).

(16:12) David is a handsome young man. God immediately direct Samuel to anoint him.

(16:13) God wanted David’s father and brothers to witness what he was doing. Later, Isaiah associates “anointing” with the Holy Spirit (Isa. 61:1).

Samuel’s career effectively comes to an end, once he anoints David. Youngblood writes, “Although [Samuel] makes additional appearances later on, he no longer plays an active role in the books that bear his name. The anointing of David was the capstone to Samuel’s career.”[76]

Meanwhile, Saul loses the Spirit and God’s anointing as king…

(16:14) God started working through David—not Saul (cf. 1 Sam. 18:12). God brought this spirit to Saul as a form of judgment. Saul needed to turn to David for relief. Although, this same evil spirit encouraged Saul to turn violent toward David (1 Sam. 18:10; 19:9).

(1 Sam. 16:14) Why would God send an evil spirit to Saul? (c.f. 18:10)

(16:15-18) Later, we learn that David had a beautiful singing voice as well (2 Sam. 23:1). Why would music have an effect on an evil spirit? Tsumura notes that ancient cultures used “music against demons,” but in this case, he merely believes that this had “therapeutic power” on Saul’s condition.[77] Likewise, Evans refers to this as “music therapy.”[78] Other passages note that musical instruments were associated with the prophets (1 Sam. 10:5; 2 Kings 3:15).

Saul didn’t realize that this servant would actually become the next king of Israel.

(16:19) David turns from a shepherd to the armor bearer of the king overnight.

(16:20) Jesse wanted David to bring gifts for the king (Prov. 18:16).

(16:21) Saul begins his relationship with love toward David, but Saul’s pride would later poison this love toward the young man.

(16:22) Saul tells Jesse that he wants David to work for him full-time.

(16:23) Again, why would music have an effect on an evil spirit?

Concluding insights

Saul is unaware of the fact that God had departed from him, and he moved on to David (v.14). People who are caught in sin are often the last to know that God’s Spirit has departed from them. (Of course, as believers in the new covenant, we are never separated from the Holy Spirit; we are sealed. But God’s power can depart from us)

God looks for people’s character—not appearance (v.7). Incidentally, elders are raised up by God based on their character—not their appearance (1 Tim. 3; Titus 1).

1 Samuel 17 (David and Goliath)

Summary: The armies of Israel and the Philistines square off on opposite mountains separated by the valley of Elah (v.4). The Philistine champion—Goliath—comes out to challenge a fighter from Israel. The stakes are high: whoever wins will take over the opposing army.

Goliath taunts Israel for 40 days! Saul and Israel are afraid to fight him (17:11). Saul was the tallest man in Israel (9:2), so there was probably some expectation that he would fight the champion. But David fights him instead, having been prepared by God, fighting lions and bears with his bare hands (17:34). After being ridiculed by the champion, David says, “You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted” (17:45). David knocks him unconscious with a stone and then decapitates him with the champion’s sword. When the Philistines saw this, they all deserted (17:51). The Israelites chased them out, slaughtering them along the way (17:52). In other words, David’s act of faith, galvanized the entire army.

(17:1-3) The Philistines and Israelites squared off opposite one another around the valley of Elah.

Goliath: the scariest opponent you could imagine

(17:4) The term “champion” (ʾîš-habbēnayim) literally means “the man between two [armies].”[79]

The Masoretic Text and Josephus (Antiquities, 6.171) state that Goliath was four cubits and a span—not six cubits tall. In modern times, Robert Pershing Wadlow was almost nine feet tall, when he died at age 22 in 1940.

(17:5) 5,000 shekels would be roughly 125 pounds.[80]

(17:6) “Greaves” protected his shins.

(17:7) A “weaver’s beam” had a cord tied around it, so that it could be thrown farther and more accurately.[81] He had additional weapons (e.g. his sword) that weren’t mentioned here (v.45).

(17:8) Goliath was looking at this battle from a humanistic perspective. He calls the soldiers “servants of Saul,” rather than servants of God.

(17:9) This is an example from the ancient world of “representative warfare.” Just as Menelaus fought Paris (Homer Iliad bk. 3), these sort of acts “were not uncommon in ancient times.”[82] Of course, as we see in this account, there was often a lack of sincerity in following through on the agreement.

(17:10) Again, Goliath is focusing on fighting a man—not God himself.

(17:11) Every soldier in Israel was looking at this battle from a humanistic perspective. Consequently, they were “dismayed and greatly afraid.” They were all trusting in self-effort and their own adequacy—not in the raw power of God.

Who will fight Goliath?

(17:12-13) Jesse’s three oldest sons were warriors with Saul, but note that none of them volunteered for this duty.

(17:14) David would be the last person whom you’d think would volunteer for this duty.

(17:15) David valued his little flock just as much as valuing the big battles in Israel’s capital.

(17:16) Goliath “took his stand” in the same way that the kings of the Earth are said to “take their stand” against God: “The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers take counsel together against the LORD and against His Anointed” (Ps. 2:2).

David wasn’t looking for a fight, but he found one

(17:17-19) Jesse literally tells David to “hurry” or “run” to bring these supplies.[83] Were the brothers literally “fighting against the Philistines”? The rest of the chapter makes it sound like they were hiding from Goliath. Verse 13 states that the brothers followed Saul into battle, but this sounds like it could refer to previous battles.

(17:20-21) David could have left the fighting to the entire army, which was preparing itself for war.

(17:22) Literally, David was asking his brothers, “How are you?”[84]

(17:23) Goliath’s voice was so loud and piercing that it interrupted David’s conversation. This is likely matched by the fact that the Hebrew army was deadly quiet, listening to Goliath’s taunts.

(17:24) The entire Israelite army was afraid of Goliath. Just looking at him caused them to panic.

(17:25-26) Youngblood compares the Israelites lack of faith with David’s powerful faith:[85]

Israelite Army David
Resignation Indignation
Goliath is called “this man.” Goliath is called “this uncircumcised Philistine.”
Goliath is defying Israel Goliath is defying God
Focuses on the temporal rewards (e.g. great riches, Saul’s daughter, taxes, etc.) Focuses on God reputation

 

(17:27) The people don’t seem to hear the conviction in David’s words. They continue to focus on the temporal rewards.

(17:28) Eliab was a seasoned warrior, and he was older than David. He probably felt threatened by David’s audacious faith.

(17:29) David points out that he was only asking questions… Is it even wrong to question the ferocity of this Philistine through the eyes of faith?

(17:30) David apparently was going around and asking about this to multiple groups of men. Maybe he was trying to get them to step up and do something, rather than taking on this role himself.

Saul hears about David’s zeal

(17:31-32) Saul hears about David’s faith, and David volunteers himself.

(1 Sam. 17:31ff) Is this story of David and Goliath a Sunday school myth?

(17:33) The pronouns “you” (David) and “he” (Goliath) are empathetic in the Hebrew.[86] It’s as if Saul is asking, “Do you really think you can beat him?” Saul calls David a “youth,” and so does Goliath (v.42). David got no support from either his king or the enemy—only discouragement. As it turns out, David had experience as a warrior (1 Sam. 16:18).

David shows that God had protected him from worse in the past

(17:34-36) David had experience in seeing God use him to protect sheep from lions and bears.

(17:37) David looked at God’s faithfulness in the past.

Saul heard something in this young man’s words and spirit that allowed him to concede.

(17:38) Saul didn’t understand that this battle wouldn’t be won through the sword or the spear, but with the power of God. Saul gave David is own clothes. Saul did this “since it was believed that to wear the clothing of another was to be imbued with his essence and to share his very being.”[87] This could have also be a “calculated” maneuver on Saul’s part to “bind Saul to David that Saul would be able to take credit for, or at least to share in, David’s victory.”[88]

Goliath and David exchange their final words

(17:39) David rejected this armor, because he had not “tested” them. He had tested the faithfulness of the Lord in the wilderness, and he found God faithful. But as for the armor and weapons, David didn’t use these.

(17:40) This sling and stones were not wimpy weapons. Soldiers used these weapons in ancient warfare. David used strategy as well as spirituality to win this battle.

(17:41-42) Goliath agreed with Saul that David was “but a youth” (cf. v.33). Pride comes before the fall (Prov. 16:18).

(17:43-44) “Dogs” were not household pets in these days, but despised animals that would be chased away with a simple stick.

Goliath “cursed David by his gods,” which was calling on the name of his god (probably Dagon) for David to die. This was both a physical and a spiritual battle.

The content of the curse was that David would become food for the birds and the beasts of the field. David redirects this curse back at Goliath (v.46).

(17:45) Swords and spears weren’t common in Israel anyhow (1 Sam. 13:19, 22).

The “you” (Goliath) and “I” (David) are empathic in the Hebrew.[89]

Goliath cursed David in the name of Dagon, but David comes back to Goliath in the name of Yahweh.

(17:46) This would be a good time for David to cower in fear. But instead, he ups the ante. David includes the entire Philistine army—not just Goliath. The purpose of the battle is not self-glorification, but rather so that “all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.”

(17:47) The other purpose was for the people of God that they would know that “the Lord does not deliver by sword or by spear.”

David kills Goliath

(17:48) Notice how short this battle is—just two verses are given to explain it. David didn’t dance around; he ran straight for Goliath. He utilized his speed—even though he lacked size.

(17:49) These sling-stones travelled at a fast velocity. It apparently sunk deeply into Goliath’s head (“the stone sank into his forehead”). It didn’t kill him (see v.51), but rendered him unconscious.

(17:50-51) David had predicted that he would take off Goliath’s head (v.46). At the time, this must’ve seemed impossible, because David wasn’t carrying a sword. Here is the great twist: David didn’t kill Goliath with his own sword, but with the Philistine’s sword. David likely “ran” to decapitate Goliath before the giant regained consciousness.

(1 Sam. 17:50) Who killed Goliath—David or Elhanan?

(17:52) David’s heroic act of faith galvanized the Israelites into battle. The Israelites chased the men all the way to Goliath’s hometown (Gath).

HUMOR: Was Goliath’s eight foot tall mother weeping for her monster of a son when she heard the news?

(17:53) The Philistines fled so quickly that they left their tents full of their stuff, and the Israelites looted their money and goods as the spoils of war.

(17:54) Jerusalem wasn’t under Israel’s control at this time, so critics argue that this is anachronistic. However, Youngblood argues that David was placing the head in Jerusalem to scare the Jebusites, who controlled Israel.[90] It’s as if David was saying, “Look who has already fallen… And guess who’s next?”

Saul’s perspective

(17:55) This predates the events in verse 54. Saul took notice of this brave young man, who trusted in God.

(17:56-58) Even though Saul already knew David was his court musician, he didn’t recognize him as a warrior until this moment. He gains a new respect for David.

Concluding insights

We shouldn’t judge the radical faith of others. David’s brother was angry that David wanted to show faith in God (v.28). Sometimes, it’s easy to judge zealous believers for being self-righteous or super-spiritual, but this was wrong in the case of David’s brother. David was in the right, and his brother was being cynical, judgmental, and frankly, sinful.

Large spiritual victories come after long times of faithfulness. It takes preparation to quietly follow and trust God over the years (v.34). Are you content guarding a little flock of sheep? Are you faithful with the little flock God has given you, or are you too busy daydreaming over doing “big” things like saving the nation of Israel from a nine foot giant? Believers often daydream about being the next Billy Graham, but are they content to faithfully lead a small group of people from the “lions” and “bears” daily?

David was quick to point out that God was the one who would accomplish this battle—not himself (v.46). This was because earlier “the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David” (1 Sam. 16:13).

David was very different from Saul. David didn’t trust in his own power, but God’s power. Saul wants the credit for himself, but David gives the credit to God. Saul is unbelieving in David, but David is sure he can do it because of his faith.

1 Samuel 18 (David and Saul)

Summary: David becomes best friends with Saul’s son, Jonathan (vv.1-3). Saul becomes suspicious of David, because the women praise him more for his courage in battle (18:9). God sends an evil spirit to Saul (v.10), and Saul is “afraid of David” because he knows that God is with him (18:12; 29). He tries to spear him… twice! I wonder why David didn’t flee the first time! (18:11)  Saul tries to marry David to one of his daughters, so that he will be obligated to go into more military service, killing him off.

David remembers this diabolical tactic. He later uses the same strategy in killing off Uriah in his scandal with Bathsheba (2 Sam. 11).

David and Jonathan form a friendship

(18:1) Jonathan and David forged a deep and lasting friendship. This expression (“loved him as himself”) is used again in verse 3.

(18:2) Saul took David into his kingdom, and David moved out of his dad’s house.

(18:3) What was the covenant Jonathan made with David?

(1 Sam. 18:3-4) Were David and Jonathan gay?

(18:4) This is in contrast to Saul trying to clothe David (1 Sam. 17:38-39). Here, David accepts the clothing, rather than rejecting it.

(18:5) The text states that David was pleasing to “the servants” and “the people,” but not Saul.

Saul’s disappointing reception by the women

(18:6-7) It was common for women to come to welcome a king home from war. But these women had written songs about how David had killed ten times the amount of men as Saul. In the days of Absalom, the people said that David was worth “ten thousand” of the people (2 Sam. 18:3).

(18:8) Saul was very insecure about their praising David more than him. He worried that David would next take over his kingdom. Little did he know, God was already working to install David as the king.

Saul grows suspicious of David

(18:9-10) Was Saul’s “suspicion” the cause for God sending the evil spirit? Paul states that a lack of forgiveness (2 Cor. 2:10-11) and unresolved anger (Eph. 4:26-27) can create a foothold for Satan.

God had previously sent the Holy Spirit with power (1 Sam. 10:10; 11:16), but now, he sends an evil spirit “mightily.”

David had a “harp” in his hand, while Saul had a “spear” in his hand.

(1 Sam. 18:10) Why would God send an evil spirit to Saul? (c.f. 16:14)

Saul tries to kill David DIRECTLY

(18:11) Saul tried to pin David “twice.” He later tries a third time (1 Sam. 19:10). Saul also tried to kill his son Jonathan in this way (1 Sam. 20:32-33). Apparently, Saul had very poor aim! By contrast, David refused to lay a hand on Saul (1 Sam. 26:8-11).

(18:12) Saul is a complex character: He was murderous toward David, but this is because he feared David. God’s power in David’s life scared Saul.

Saul tries to kill David INDIRECTLY with Merab

(18:13) Saul assigns David to be the head of the military. He did this because he wanted David dead at the hands of the Philistines (v.17, 21, 25). This is the same strategy that David later employs to kill Uriah (2 Sam. 11).

(18:14, 16) Despite Saul’s plots, David continued to prosper, because God’s hand was on him.

(18:15) David’s prospering only led Saul to grow more fearful and hate-filled.

(18:17) Saul tries to lure David into dying in battle by offering his daughter to him.

(18:18-19) David turns down the temporal reward, and Merab marries another man instead. David wasn’t motivated by the glory or the rewards.

Saul tries to kill David INDIRECTLY with Michal

(18:20) Besides the Song of Songs, this is exceedingly rare to see a woman seeking out a man in the OT. Typically, men would court the woman.

(18:21-22) Saul offers David his other daughter (Michal) to get him to die in battle. Youngblood makes an astute observation: “The symbolism of David marrying Saul’s daughter should not be missed: When political marriages were arranged, it was usually the daughter of the ostensibly weaker ruler who married the stronger (cf. Gen 34:9; 1 Kings 3:1; 2 Chronicles 18:1). David’s relentless climb to Israel’s throne proceeds apace.”[91]

(18:23-26) David pleads poverty: he doesn’t have money to give as a dowry for a princess. Saul gives David the bait to collect a hundred Philistine foreskins as the dowry instead. To allay David’s suspicions, Saul tells David that this is to “take vengeance on the king’s enemies” (v.25). Ironically, David himself had become Saul’s enemy! (see v.29) In Saul’s mind, this would surely result in David’s death…

(18:27) This is the beginning of David’s mighty men. The Hebrew pictures David as fighting (singular) the Philistines, but he gives (plural) the war-trophies to Saul. This may show that David put his neck on the line, but he gave credit to all of his men for their bravery.

(18:28-29) Saul could see that God was with David, and this fill him with both fear and animosity at the same time.

(18:30) David’s name became famous among the Philistine ranks (1 Sam. 29:3-4, 9).

Concluding insights

It is human nature to be jealous of people who are succeeding. Saul was jealous of seeing God working through David. God empowered Saul through pure grace, but Saul became jealous and afraid of David for God using him.

Verse 1-4 show the strength of David and Jonathan’s burgeoning friendship. What can we learn about spiritual friendships from the example of David and Jonathan?

Jonathan was willing to make a covenant with David despite the fact that this would anger his father. Remember, Saul had tried to execute Jonathan for less. (cf. 1 Sam. 14:39ff). Jonathan was more committed to God’s will than he was to his father’s commands.

If it wasn’t for God’s protection, David would’ve become just another roadkill in the course of history. However, God wouldn’t allow his plan or promise to be thwarted.

1 Samuel 19 (David becomes a Fugitive of the State)

Summary: Saul tells his soldiers and Jonathan to assassinate David (v.1). But Jonathan tells David that he will spy on his father’s plans for him instead (vv.2-3). Jonathan tries to talk Saul out of killing David, and Saul vows not to kill him (v.6), letting David back into the court of the king (v.7). David fought the Philistines effectively again (v.8), and this caused Saul to hurl a spear at David (v.10). Saul’s men chased David to his house, but his wife (Michael) disguised an idol in David’s bed for them to kill (v.16). Saul’s men went to Naioth to capture David, but wave after wave of men began to prophesy instead of killing David (vv.20-21). Even Saul himself began to prophesy when he showed up at Naioth (vv.23-24).

Jonathan is loyal to David—not Saul

(19:1) Jonathan had already made a covenant to protect David (1 Sam. 18:1-3).

(19:2) Jonathan trust David more than his own father. Culturally, this would’ve been completely out of bounds, and politically, it could get Jonathan killed.

(19:3) Jonathan assures David that he will intercede for him with his father, and even pass along secret information to David.

Jonathan argues with Saul

(19:4) Jonathan argues that David is innocent and has actually benefitted Saul’s kingdom.

(19:5) David risked his life for the king and crown, Jonathan argues. Why would Saul kill an “innocent” man?

(19:6) Saul makes an oath to preserve David’s life. Of course, this is a duplicitous oath, which he soon breaks (v.11).

(19:7) David came back to the palace, and he served with Saul again.

Saul’s jealousy and fear cause him to break his oath

(19:8) Saul was jealous and fearful of David’s glory in battle.

(1 Sam. 19:9) Why would God send an evil spirit to Saul? (c.f. 16:14; 18:10)

(19:10) David must have been pretty shifty… This is the third time he dodged one of Saul’s spears! (cf. 1 Sam. 18:10-11).

Saul hunts David to his house

(19:11) According to the superscription, Psalm 59 was written at this time. The men try to put him to death “in the morning,” but David writes that he sings about God’s lovingkindness “in the morning” (Ps. 56:16).

Michal helps David make his escape. Perhaps her words galvanized him to take this threat seriously. She serves as a heroine in this section, risking her life for David’s.

(19:12) The great warrior David had to escape through a window at night.

(19:13) Michal uses an idol as a makeshift dummy in David’s bed to buy him some time. Why did Michal have an idol in her house? Youngblood states that this could reflect “pagan inclination or ignorance on her part.”[92]

(19:14-15) The men fall for the ruse, but Saul doesn’t care if David is sick. Saul wants David more than sick… He wants him dead!

(19:16-17) Saul must have come to the house himself in order to have this conversation. Or perhaps this is a transcript of their conversation back and forth via the messengers.

Michael lies to her father (v.17), but her words are a twist on the words she gave to David: “If you do not save your life tonight, tomorrow you will be put to death” (v.11).

David flees to Naioth in Ramah

(19:18-19) Saul has eyes and ears all over Israel, and he quickly learns that David is staying at Naioth.

(19:20-21) Saul sends three waves of messengers to capture David, but God blocks them by causing them all to prophesy.

(19:22) Saul realized that his men weren’t getting the job done, so he showed up to kill David in person.

(19:23) God blocks Saul from his murderous intent by having him prophesy.

(19:24) This question is a repetition of the first time Saul prophesied (1 Sam. 10:11-12). This question could be rhetorical in the sense that Saul was neither fit to be a prophet, nor a king.[93]

Saul’s stripping naked foreshadows him being “stripped” and killed by the Philistines (1 Sam. 31:8-9).

Concluding insights

Jonathan shows loyalty to David—even over his own father. Jesus speaks about times when believers need to choose God over anything or anyone else.

God protects David through multiple means: Jonathan, Michal, and direct divine intervention when Saul and his messengers prophesy instead of killing him.

If David hadn’t listened to his wife (Michal), he wouldn’t be alive today.

1 Samuel 20 (Jonathan Realizes Saul Has Lost It)

Summary: David realizes more quickly than Jonathan that his father can’t be trusted (vv.1-3). David creates a test to determine if Saul is still trying to kill him (vv.6-7), by telling Saul that he is in Bethlehem for an important feast. Jonathan still can’t face the fact that his father has lost it. When the feast occurs, Jonathan tells Saul that David was in Bethlehem, and he characteristically blows up in anger (v.30). It takes Saul trying to kill Jonathan for him to realize that his father was evil (v.33). David and Jonathan met up to weep over what had happened. David had been hiding, but after Jonathan’s arrow-fetcher left, he appeared to Jonathan (v.41). They split up after this.

As you read through this chapter, consider looking for the characteristics of what a godly friendship should look like.

(20:1-4) In the Hebrew, the language of this section is “emotionally charged.”[94] That is, David and Jonathan are in a fierce disagreement and argument here. Saul had made a fraudulent oath that David wouldn’t die (1 Sam. 19:6). Jonathan can’t accept that his father would lie to him (v.9, 13).

(20:5-7) David sets up a test to reveal Saul’s motives. David must know that Saul would view his absence as disloyalty to him.

David and Jonathan reaffirm their covenant

(20:8) The terms “deal kindly” is a translation of the Hebrew word hesed (the word used for God’s loyal love in the OT). David would rather have Jonathan kill him, than thought to be disloyal to his covenant with Jonathan.

(20:9-10) The disagreement seems to be that Jonathan would keep loyalty to his father, rather than to David.

(20:11) This is reminiscent of Cain and Abel. Only instead of killing David, Jonathan makes a covenant to protect David.

(20:12-13) Jonathan promises to keep his word. David and Jonathan’s friendship was built on the foundation of God.

(20:14-15) Jonathan seems to be wavering here. He suspects that David will become king, and he asks David to keep him safe if (or when) this happens. Again, the term “lovingkindness” (hesed) is used to describe their covenant with one another.

(20:16) If Saul is truly an enemy of David, then Jonathan is willing to see his own father cut off and killed to fulfill this covenant.

(20:17) They renew their covenant that they made earlier in the account (1 Sam. 18:3).

Jonathan creates a way to communicate to David

(20:18-23) Jonathan creates a way to communicate whether or not it is safe for David to return. If Jonathan tells his arrow bearer that the arrows are beside him, then David is safe (v.21). But if he says that the arrows are beyond him, then David is in mortal danger (v.22).

The location of this stone (Ezel) is unknown.[95]

David doesn’t come to the New Moon festival

(20:24-29) Saul is waiting for David to show up, so that he can kill him. Saul can’t see that his murderous motive has already been exposed. When David doesn’t arrive, he thinks that David is ceremonially unclean (v.26). It doesn’t occur to Saul that David may be running for his life. It isn’t until the second day that Saul realizes that he has been exposed (v.30).

Saul reveals his motives

(20:30) According to Ronald Youngblood, this is “foul-mouthed anger,” which can be rendered “You bastard!” or “You son of a rebellious slut!”[96]

(20:31) Saul pretends that he is wanting to kill David for Jonathan’s sake. He is reasoning, “If I don’t kill David, then your line will disappear… I’m only doing this to help you, son!” But Jonathan doesn’t fall for this…

(20:32) Jonathan had asked his father this question before (1 Sam. 19:5), and it has worked to calm down his father (1 Sam. 19:6). Jonathan must be holding out hope that it will work again.

(20:33) This rage-filled act tells Jonathan more about Saul’s motives than his words could ever tell him. If Saul was so intent on preserving Jonathan’s line (v.31), then why would he try to kill his own son?

(20:34) The expression “fierce anger” describes “the highest levels of disappointed human fury.”[97] Jonathan is filled with both rage and grief—two emotions that often go hand in hand.

Jonathan reports back to David what happened

(20:35-40) Jonathan picked a little kid to go with him (“little lad”), so that he wouldn’t have to worry about the boy asking any questions.

Jonathan shoots the arrow far away, so that his voice will carry to David in his hideout (see v.19).

(20:41) We might expect David to rub this in Jonathan’s face. Instead, he can only break down and weep “more” than Jonathan himself.

(20:42) Jonathan kept his oath to David.

Concluding insights

When it comes to family and close friends, our discernment can often be skewed.

What a great picture of godly friendship!

1 Samuel 21 (David Goes to Gath)

Summary: David travels to Nob to see Ahimelech the priest (v.1), and he asks for food (v.3). David gets a weapon off of Ahimelech, telling him that he’s on official kingly business for Saul (v.8). Remember, this all happened before cell phones; one phone call to Saul could’ve ruined David’s entire rouse! David took Goliath’s sword and brought it to Gath (v.11). He pretended to be crazy so that the men there wouldn’t kill him (v.13).

(21:1) Ahimelech was “trembling” when he meets David—probably because David’s reputation preceded him.

(21:2) David lies to Ahimelech. One way of understanding this is that David was lying in order to save a life (a case of “Prioritized Ethics”). Another way to understand this passage is to understand David as slyly calling God the “king” who had commissioned him.[98] Note that David doesn’t mention Saul by name—only an anonymous “king.”

David had a cadre of mighty men that were loyal to him, and he was their “captain” or “leader” (1 Sam. 22:2).

(21:3) Only five loaves was a meager amount. David wanted the bare necessity to keep his men going.

(21:4-5) The priest is likely referencing passages like Exodus 19:14–15 or Leviticus 15:18. An example for this can be found in Uriah, who refused to sleep with Bathsheba while on military duty (2 Sam. 11:11).

(21:6) Jesus addresses this passage as a case of prioritized ethics (Mt. 12:1-8; Mk. 2:23-28; Lk. 6:1-5). Human life has more moral weight than ceremonial laws.

(21:7) Doeg the Edomite later comes up in the following chapter, as the man who maliciously kills a number of priests (1 Sam. 22:18-19).

(21:8-9) Earlier, David was asking for food, but now, he’s asking for weapons. David must have left this sword with the priests after keeping it in his own tent for a while (1 Sam. 17:54).

(21:10) David flees to Gath, which was Goliath’s hometown. He had killed their champion, and now, he comes to their city with Goliath’s own sword. Imagine how scared you would feel to be “public enemy number one” in this hostile city.

(21:11) David’s reputation had preceded him in Gath. They had even heard the songs written about him (1 Sam. 18:7). They call him “king of the land.” This could be “belittling his importance,”[99] or it could be a sign that even the Gentiles were recognizing the fact that God’s anointing had shifted from Saul to David.

(21:12) David is scared to death of Achish. Will he fight Achish? Try to create a coup on the Gath government? Attempt a political assassination?

(21:13) No, David pretends to be mentally insane. This expression is used of the behavior of drunkards (Jer. 25:16) or being reckless (Jer. 46:9; Nah. 2:4). David achieves a complete disguise by acting mentally incompetent.

(21:14-15) David’s ploy works. In a sense, Achish says, “I’ve got enough crazy around here… I don’t need any more!”

Concluding insights

This story shows prioritized ethics. Jesus picks up on this in the NT (Mt. 12:3-4), where he argues that the priests were not supposed to give consecrated bread to regular men. But they (righteously) did so in this situation. Is it more important to keep a ceremonial law, or save a life and feed the hungry? Also David lies to the king of Gath by acting mentally disabled. But this was right to do in this situation, because his life was at stake.

1 Samuel 22 (Saul Wipes out the Priests)

Summary: David’s family and men heard about him being in distress, and 400 of them joined him (v.2). Saul learns of these men joining with David (v.7) and calls this a conspiracy (v.8). Saul takes his paranoia out on the high priest Ahimelech (v.13). He commands that the priests should be killed for taking sides with David (v.17). The men wouldn’t kill the priests, but Doeg killed 85 of them (v.18). Abiathar escaped to be with David (v.20), and David promised to protect Abiathar (vv.22-23).

David continues in hiding

(22:1) David’s family were likely in mortal danger as well. This is likely why they followed David into hiding.

(22:2) David had a substantial fighting force of 400 men who were loyal to him. These men would’ve risked their life and limb to be on his side.

(22:3-4) Why would David take his family to Moab of all places? Remember, David’s great-grandmother was Ruth (Ruth 4:13-17), and Ruth was a Moabitess (Ruth 1:4). This could be an undesigned coincidence that shows the historicity of this account.

(22:5) In his psalm during this time, David knew that his ultimate “stronghold” was God himself (Ps. 18:2).

The priests are brutally murdered

Even though Doeg was an evil man, God used him to fulfill his judgment against the descendants of Levi (1 Sam. 2:31-33; cf. 1 Kings 2:26-27).

(22:6) The mention of Saul have his “spear in hand” is foreshadowing for what he would do based on how he had already done with that spear (1 Sam. 18:10-11; 19:9-10; 20:33).

(22:7) Saul is openly challenging David’s authority and what David can provide for them. Can David make you rich? Can he make you powerful?

(22:8) Saul’s paranoia has increased (“all of you have conspired against me”). In reality, Jonathan had made this covenant in secret, and Saul’s men wouldn’t have known this.

Doeg rats out Ahimelech

(22:9-10) Doeg tells Saul that Ahimelech had given David a sword, food, and inquired to God for him. Under this state of affairs, this was interpreted as high treason to Saul’s dynasty. Psalm 52 lines up with this historical narrative.

(22:11) Nob was only two miles from Gibeah,[100] and the priests come to see Saul.

(22:12) Ahimelech is obedient to Saul.

(22:13) Saul repeats Doeg’s accusations against Ahimelech (vv.9-10). Saul is more willing to trust a foreign Edomite (Doeg) than God’s priests.

(22:14-15) Ahimelech states that he was ignorant of the fact that David was a villain. As far as he knew, David was a trustworthy servant of Saul and in good standing with him.

(22:16) Saul doesn’t want to listen. He raises the death sentence against Ahimelech and his whole household.

(22:17) Saul’s men side with Ahimilech (and David), not being willing to kill the priests unjustly. Similarly, David was not willing to “stretch out his hand” against Saul in the days to come (1 Sam. 24:10). David even killed the Amalekite who claimed to kill Saul (2 Sam. 1:14).

(22:18-19) Doeg doesn’t just kill the priests. He is so bloodthirsty that he massacres the entire village.

A single escapee: Abiathar

(22:20-21) Abiathar escapes! He runs to tell David what had happened.

(22:22) David takes personal responsibility for what happened. This is really going over the top, because Doeg was the murderer—not David. Regardless, David promises to do whatever he can to make things right. Abiathar continues to serve David for the rest of his life.

(22:23) Youngblood comments, “King-elect and priest-elect have joined forces as fellow fugitives.”[101]

1 Samuel 23 (Saul Hunts David)

Summary: David and his men fight off the Philistines, because they were pilfering food in Keilah (vv.1-5). Saul heard that David was at Keilah and roused his entire army to surround him (v.7). David takes the ephod from Abiathar, the priest, to determine what to do. God tells David that the leaders of Keilah will hand him over, if Saul comes (v.12). This caused David to roam the hills, and Saul never sent him men after all (v.13). God protected David so Saul wouldn’t find him (v.14). When Saul was about to find David, he was called away by the Philistines (vv.27-28).

(23:1) Just when you think the story couldn’t get any worse, the Philistines reappear to attack one of Judah’s towns, Keilah. Imagine how stressful it would be to be in David’s shoes: On the one hand, Saul is trying to kill you, and on the other, the Philistines are relentlessly attacking your countrymen.

(23:2-3) David must have been “inquiring” through the use of the ephod brought from Abiathar (v.2). God gives David the green light to go (v.2), but his men aren’t getting the same message (v.3). They are already scared about Saul, and now, David wants them to pick a fight with the Philistines, too?

(23:4) David asks for reaffirmation from God, and God tells him to go fight. Notice that God doesn’t promise that he will protect David from Saul—only that he will give David victory over the Philistines.

(23:5) God empowered David and his men to drive out the Philistines, as he promised.

(23:6) Again, Abiathar was the rejected priest working with the rejected king (David).

Saul pursues David in Keilah

(23:7-8) Saul thinks that he has David trapped like an animal in a cage. Keilah likely only had one entrance and exit, and so, Saul sends him men to trap David.

(23:9) Instead of panicking, David turned to God for wisdom and direction.

(23:10) Why would the people of Keilah give over David after he had just rescued them? Likely, the people were thankful to David for rescuing them from the Philistines, but they would’ve felt like being tossed from the frying pan and into the fire when Saul arrived. They probably would’ve thought, “We just avoided massacre… Do we really want to allow Saul to slaughter us?”

(23:11-12) God’s foreknowledge is so extensive that he knows what the men would do in a given situation—even if it was never actualized. It’s interesting that David needs to ask twice whether the men of Keilah would surrender him to Saul.

(23:13) David’s army has grown from 400 to 600 men. Perhaps more joined him at Keilah. These men stick by David’s side throughout the rest of the book (1 Sam. 25:13; 27:2; 30:9).

Saul pursues David to the Desert of Ziph

(23:14) Ziph is roughly twelve miles southeast of Keilah.[102] David wasn’t on his own to survive. Rather, we read, “God did not deliver [David] into [Saul’s] hand.”

(23:15) David knows that Saul is close on his tail.

(23:16-18) Jonathan sees David one last time. He encourages him to not fear Saul, because God was with him. They make another covenant together. Sadly, this is the last time David will see Jonathan alive.

(23:19-20) Psalm 54 was written during this time. The Ziphites rat David out to Saul.

(23:21) Saul is a seething hypocrite. None of this has to do with God or God’s blessing. This is Saul’s maniacal bloodlust for David.

(23:22-23) Saul asks for more reconnaissance on David’s whereabouts.

Saul pursues David to the Desert of Maon

(23:24) The Ziphites begin a manhunt for David, combing all of the nooks and crannies of the land to find him. Maon was five miles south of Ziph.[103]

(23:25-26) Saul finds David’s location. He is just about to close in on him, when…

(23:27-29) The Philistines just so happen to attack at the perfect time. Saul has no choice but to retreat and fight the Philistines. David escapes to Engedi by the skin of his teeth.

Concluding insights

Notice how much God is doing to direct and protect David in this chapter. As believers who are following the will of God, we should be confident that God is taking care of us. We shouldn’t sit around worrying about the problems that can fall on us. God is in control of these things. Worrying about them won’t change anything anyway.

God knows what could happen or will happen—even if it never occurs.

Saul thinks that God is behind him (v.7), when God is actually behind David (v.14). We can become so deluded in our thinking that we can believe God is behind us, when he isn’t.

1 Samuel 24 (Saul Stops Hunting David)

Summary: Saul gathered 3,000 men to get David in Engedi (vv.1-2). Imagine how paranoid you’d need to be in order to gather 3,000 men for one man! Saul “just so happened” to go into a cave to relieve himself, where David and his men were hiding (v.3). David’s men took this as an act of God’s providence, giving Saul into David’s hand (v.4). David cut a piece of Saul’s robe off, but this bothered his conscience (v.5). David didn’t believe that he should take Saul’s position as king, because God had chosen Saul (v.6), so he didn’t kill him (v.7). David used this as leverage to reason with Saul, showing that he didn’t want to hurt him (v.11). This caused Saul to break down crying at David’s mercy (v.16), and he left David without harming him.

Psalm 57 and 142 were written during this time. In both psalms, David states that God—not the cave—is his refuge (Ps. 57:1; 142:5).

(24:1-2) David only had 600 men (1 Sam. 23:13). This 3,000 man army outnumbered him 5-to-1.

(24:3) This euphemism for defecation only occurs one other time in the OT, when Eglon was “relieving himself” after being killed by Ehud (Judg. 3:24).

(24:4-5) David’s men interpreted this fortuitous occurrence to be God’s sovereignty, giving David an opportunity to kill Saul. After all, of all of the caves in Israel, why did Saul just so happen to choose to defecate in this one?

By cutting off a piece of Saul’s robe, he was symbolically disrespecting Saul’s authority as king.[104] This is why his conscience is troubled by this (v.5), and he later calls this a “sin” (v.11).

(24:6) David respected Saul because God had put him into power.

(24:7) Saul stood up, wiped, and left the cave… having no idea how close he came to death.

David defends his motives to Saul

(24:8-10) David reveals himself to Saul, taking the lower position of humility. He asks Saul why he is so intent on killing him.

(24:11) David calls Saul his “father” because Saul was his father-in-law. (Saul later calls David his “son,” v.16.)

(24:12) David trusts God to protect him and adjudicate the situation.

(24:13) Youngblood writes, “The proverb may in fact be double-edged, vindicating the righteous David’s refusal to harm Saul while at the same time condemning the wicked Saul for his malicious pursuit of David.”[105]

(24:14) These statements can be taken as David being humble in front of Saul (i.e. “I’m only a dead dog and a flea!”), or they can be taken as warnings (i.e. “Do you think you’re coming out to attack a dead dog or a flea? Think again!”).[106] The flow of the passage seems to imply the former—not the latter.

(24:15) Similar to verse 12.

How will Saul respond to David’s plea of innocence? Will he tell his men to attack David?

Saul’s change of heart

(24:16) Saul’s mind had been so twisted that he opens up his response by asking if this was actually David. Saul hadn’t heard David’s voice for quite some time, and these words were the last thing he would’ve expected to hear from David. Consequently, he wept bitterly.

(24:17) Saul admits his own unrighteousness and David’s righteousness.

(24:18) Even Saul could see that God had led him into that cave, but David showed him mercy—not vengeance.

(24:19) Saul prays for David’s blessing.

(24:20) Saul knew all along that David would be his replacement (see 1 Sam. 23:17).

(24:21) Saul places himself in a position of weakness by asking David for mercy. Like Jonathan (1 Sam. 20:14-17), Saul asks David to spare his family line. In this time period, a person’s descendants and “name” were bound up with their identity.[107] It was as if they had never existed.

(24:22) David makes this oath, but he doesn’t trust Saul enough to follow him back to Gibeah.

Concluding insights

We need to wrestle with the question of why David didn’t kill Saul (see also chapter 26). Read through his reasons for not killing Saul again (v.6). What does this look like today? It seems that David had a sense of God’s timing. If God wanted him to be king, then this would happen. He didn’t need to force it.

If God is putting us into a new position in his kingdom, we should be content with that. The driven person needs to learn to be content with where they are right now. There is no need to push or manipulate to force ourselves into a new position of ministry. On the other hand, the timid person needs to learn to step forward when God is calling them to a new place.

This shows that David was a wise man because he chose a peaceful solution, rather than a violent one.

David trusted that God would take care of the situation (v.12). He didn’t want to be fighting against God’s will (v.6).

This is an interesting passage for how to discover God’s will. Just because a providential event happened, this doesn’t mean that we should act on it based on our agenda.

1 Samuel 25 (David, Nabal, and Abigail)

Summary: Samuel the prophet dies (v.1). Nabal was a descendent of Caleb, and he was a cruel and rude man (v.3). He was married to Abigail (v.3). David sent men to ask for provisions, because he had protected him before (vv.7-8), but Nabal refused (v.10). David gathered 400 men to go to war over this (v.13), but Abigail sent provisions secretly to David to quell the fighting (v.18). She goes out to intercept David before battle happens, and she talks him out of fighting. David accepts her offering (v.32). When Nabal heard of this event, it caused him to have a stroke (v.37) and he died (v.38). After his death, David made a wedding proposal to Abigail (v.39). David was polygamous (v.43).

(25:1) God might have kept Samuel alive long enough for David to get some momentum in getting his kingship going.

(25:2-3) Nabal’s name means “fool,” while Abigail’s name means “My [Divine] Father Is Joy.”[108] Nabal is a very wealthy man, but he is a rich and greedy “fool.”

David asks Nabal for food

(25:4-6) David opens with a message of greeting and peace.

(25:7) David’s men had protected Nabal’s shepherds, as Nabal’s men themselves attested to Abigail (vv.14-16). That is, even Nabal’s own men sided with David—not Nabal (v.17).

(25:8) This “festive day” would’ve been the wealthiest time of year for Nabal (similar to tax season). So, David felt like this would be a good time to ask for some food for his men.

David doesn’t ask for a specific amount of food or supplies—only what Nabal can spare.

(25:9) David’s men faithfully reported his message to Nabal.

Nabal’s horrific response

(25:10) Nabal mocks David and his father’s line. He also calls David a traitor to the line of Saul. This threefold insult is in stark contrast to David’s courtesy and message of peace.

(25:11) Nabal won’t even spare “bread and water” (the basic necessities!) for David’s men. Notice Nabal’s egotism (“I… my… I… my…”).

(25:12) The messengers tell David exactly what Nabal said.

David’s response

(25:13) David immediately calls on his men to draw their swords, and he sets out to attack Nabal. This isn’t a righteous response by David, as the rest of the chapter makes clear (vv.32-33, 39). This is descriptive—not prescriptive.

Nabal’s servants implore Abigail to help

(25:14) Nabal’s servants point out how mean-spirited Nabal was to David’s men.

(25:15) By contrast, David’s men never “insulted” the shepherds, and David’s men never stole from them.

(25:16) In fact, David’s men protected Nabal’s servants and shepherds.

(25:17) Nabal’s servants implore Abigail to do something. They must know that Abigail doesn’t love Nabal, because (1) they ask Abigail to go against her husband’s will and (2) they call Nabal a “worthless man.” Later, we discover that Abigail didn’t tell her husband about this interaction or her decision to give David’s men food (v.19).

(25:18) David had originally asked Ahimelech for “whatever he could find” (1 Sam. 21:3), and Ahimelech gave them some bread. When David asked the same question to Nabal (v.8), Abigail goes above and beyond the request.

(25:19) Abigail did all of this in secrecy from her husband.

Abigail meets David

(25:21-22) David makes a foolish oath here, as the later context makes clear (vv.33-34).

(25:20, 23) Abigail came out to face an army of four hundred men! She was not only intelligent and beautiful (v.2), but she was exceedingly brave. Nabal was so foolish and wicked that Abigail would rather talk to David than to him (v.17).

(25:24) Abigail knows that she will need to talk fast to change David’s mind. She begins by prostrating herself and asking for mercy. She doesn’t wait for a response, but instead, she launches into an apologetic.

(25:25) Abigail knows that her husband is a wicked and foolish man. She denies that she had heard about David’s peaceful envoy until after the fact.

(25:26) Abigail argues that God was using her to intercede before the bloodshed happened. Abigail must have known that Nabal would die after all (“Be as Nabal”).

(25:27) Abigail brought a gift for the men—a gift that Nabal refused to give.

(25:28) Abigail asks David for his forgiveness based on David’s own character.

(25:29) This is a subtle reference to David killing Goliath with a sling (1 Sam. 17:40, 49-50).

(25:30) She acknowledges that God was with David, and he would one day bring him into the kingship over Israel.

(25:31) Abigail offers herself as the final piece of her argument (i.e. “Do this for me!”).

David’s response

(25:32-33) David realizes that God had sent Abigail. But he also praises Abigail herself for her wise “discernment” in stopping him from taking revenge.

(25:34) David encourages her of her promptness and bravery. If Abigail hadn’t acted quickly, this day would’ve gone a whole lot differently.

(25:35) David was not so “manly” that he would refuse to listen to a woman.

Abigail goes home

(25:36) Nabal was treating himself like a “king,” but his wife had just allied herself with David as the true “king” (v.30).

Because Nabal was drunk, she waits until “daybreak” to tell him the news. Remember, “daybreak” was supposed to be the time that David would have killed all of the men in the town.

(25:37) Abigail tells Nabal “all” of what she said, just as David’s servants had told him “all” of what David said. Nabal couldn’t believe that Abigail would give David’s men five sheep out of his total of 3,000 sheep (v.18).

Nabal’s “heart” went from happy (v.36) to sad (v.37) in just one day’s time. This is the plight of the materialist.

(25:38) Nabal’s heart turned to stone (v.37), and consequently, God struck him dead. Notice that Nabal’s sin and stubbornness preceded God’s judgment.

David marries Abigail

(25:39) David thanks God from keeping him from killing Nabal’s men, which he admits would’ve been “evil.” God doesn’t kill all of the men (as David planned to do). Rather, he only kills Nabal—the man who deserved judgment.

David doesn’t waste any time! He immediately proposes to Abigail. Perhaps, Abigail’s move to meet David was a way of showing that she wanted to be with him, rather than Nabal.

Youngblood sees foreshadowing here of David’s sin with Bathsheba and Uriah.[109] In both instances, the husband was killed, and David “sent” and “took” the man’s wife (2 Sam. 11:3-4). However, in this first instance, God was the one who judged an evil man (Nabal), while in the second instance, David was the one who killed an innocent man (Uriah). Perhaps David justified his sin with Uriah and Bathsheba based on this former incident with Nabal and Abigail.

(25:40-42) Abigail accepts the proposal, and she shows the heart of a servant (Mk. 10:44).

(25:43) The pluperfect tense is used here, which means that David had already married Ahinoam.[110]

Who is Ahinoam? The only other woman with this name in the Bible is Saul’s wife (1 Sam. 14:50; cf. 2 Sam. 12:8).[111] David was already securing the throne at this point by marrying Saul’s wife.

See “What about Polygamy?”

(25:44) Just as David took Saul’s wife (v.43), Saul took away David’s wife.

Concluding insights

This shows that it is reasonable and godly to rebel against authority in certain circumstances. Some fundamentalists often state that the statement “wives submit to your husbands” should refers to all circumstances—even if the husband is telling the wife to sin! This verse speaks against this notion.

Vows aren’t generally good, because we aren’t in a position to know all of the possible outcomes. David had vowed to kill all of Nabal’s men, but when he sees Abigail, he has to recant on this.

This passage shows that diplomacy is a good thing. David was ready to go for Nabal’s head, but Abigail chose a diplomatic solution. Which is better? Losing some loaves of bread, or losing your life? It’s amazing that people in conflict are willing to go for blood, when a diplomatic solution would leave them much better off.

1 Samuel 26 (David Could’ve Killed Saul)

Summary: Saul came after David again. David and Abishai found Saul lying asleep in his camp, and Abishai wanted to kill him (v.7). Again, David doesn’t want to kill God’s anointed (vv.9-11). David went across the valley and called to Abner (v.14). He chews him out for not guarding Saul properly (vv.15-16). David tries to reason with Saul again by asking what he has done wrong (v.18). Saul “repents” again (v.21), but David doesn’t trust him, telling him to send a servant to pick up his spear (v.22). Saul blesses David, and they both go home (v.25).

(26:1) The Ziphites rouse Saul’s paranoia and vengeance toward David (v.19).

(26:2-5) Saul was bringing his massive army of 3,000 men against David’s mere 600 men (v.2). David sends out spies and locates Saul (v.4). Saul is protected in the center of three thousand men, which would seem impervious to any kind of attack (v.5).

(26:6-7) “Ahimelech the Hittite” is different than Ahimelech the priest. This is the only mention of this man in the entire Bible.

Abishai seems zealous for a fight. He is brave, but he is also “trigger happy,” as the text will later tell us (v.8).

(26:8) Abishai’s comments are reminiscent of the comments of David’s men in his earlier encounter with Saul (1 Sam. 24:4). Abishai wanted to kill Saul with his own spear, just as Saul had tried to kill David with that same spear (1 Sam. 18:10; 19:10).

Did Abishai doubt David’s courage? Is this because he refused to kill him in the cave before? In other words, he’s saying, “David if you don’t want to do it… I’ll do it for you!”

(26:9) Psalms 57-59 are titled, “Do not destroy.”

(26:10) This is foreshadowing of Saul’s death (1 Sam. 31:1-6).

(26:11) Just like in chapter 24, David refuses to kill God’s “anointed.”

(26:12) God had given David and Abishai this encounter by causing Saul’s men to fall into a deep sleep.

David wakes up Saul

(26:13) David gave some distance so that Saul’s men couldn’t capture and kill him.

(26:14) David had to call to the men several times, because they were in a deep sleep (v.12).

(26:15) David publicly calls out Abner for failing to protect the king. Abner was supposed to be Saul’s number one bodyguard. Implicitly, David is saying that he himself is Saul’s number one bodyguard, because he had the opportunity to kill Saul, but he didn’t take the opportunity.

(26:16) David proves his sincerity by producing the evidence: Saul’s spear and water jug. Abner is so humiliated that he doesn’t speak a word in this section.

(26:17) This is similar to Saul’s earlier words to David (1 Sam. 24:16). Was Saul’s vision slowly depreciating with age?

(26:18) Again, David asks Saul what he is guilty of.

(26:19) In fact, the people of Ziph had incited this. This is similar to 1 Samuel 24:9.

(26:20) David calls himself a “flea.” His analogy of chasing a partridge in the mountains shows that this is something that “no one in his right mind would take the time or make the effort to do.”[112]

Saul repents… again

(26:21) Saul had been guilty of man pleasing before (1 Sam. 15:24; 24:17).

(26:22) Why does David offer to give back the spear, but not the water jug? Some argue that the spear represents a “symbol of death,” but the jug is a “symbol of life.”[113] That is, David refuses to kill Saul, but he also will not give him life.

(26:23) Again, just because God providentially places us in a situation does not mean that we should take it.

(26:24) David parallels his mercy on Saul with God’s mercy on himself.

(26:25) David and Saul part ways—never to meet again.

Concluding insights

We should wait for God to raise us up when He is ready to. David didn’t take matters into his own hands. It’s interesting that David was willing to kill Nabal in the previous chapter (and all of his servants!), but he refuses to kill Saul who is a killer. How strange! It shows that David doesn’t want to mess with God’s plan and chosen one (“anointed one”).

1 Samuel 27 (David Escapes to Gath)

Summary: David knows that Saul will continue to try to kill him, so he travels to Gath with his 600 men in the land of the Philistines (vv.1-3), and Saul stopped searching for him (v.4). David lived there for over a year (v.7). Achish believes that David will serve him in Gath, because of his poor reputation in Israel (v.12). David would kill Philistines everyday (v.8), but he would tell Achish that he was killing people from Judah or Judah’s allies (v.10). David turns into a double agent in Philistia, infiltrating the nation and killing off their people.

(27:1) Saul has broken his promise of repentance multiple times at this point. David gives up on trying to trust him. He sees that his best option is to flee from Israel. This strategy works, because Saul grows weary of chasing David (v.4).

(27:2) David had stayed with Achish earlier, so they knew each other (1 Sam. 21:10). Gath is about 30 miles northwest of Ziph.[114]

(27:3) See “What about Polygamy?”

(27:4) See verse 1. Saul gave up searching for David like a “partridge in the mountains” (1 Sam. 26:20). Saul likely feared going into Philistine territory as well.

(27:5) Why wouldn’t David prefer to live in Achish’s palace? As it turns out, David wants to be away from Achish’s oversight, so that he can double-cross him.

(27:6) Ziklag originally belonged to the territory of Judah. It was 23 miles south-southwest of Gath,[115] so David had a considerable distance between himself and Achish.

(27:7) David lived in exile for over a year.

David spends his time fighting Israel’s enemies

(27:8) The Amalekites were themselves raiders (1 Sam. 14:48; 30:1).

(27:9) David was incredibly violent. He didn’t leave a man or woman alive, so that there would be no witnesses to report to Achish (v.11).

(27:10) David lies to Achish, telling him that he is actually attacking the men of Judah in the Negev. This is the second time he has deceived Achish (1 Sam. 21). Youngblood writes, “[David] implies to Achish that Judahite hostility toward David is increasing, and at the same time he gains the appreciation and loyalty of Judah toward himself by raiding their desert neighbors.”[116]

(27:11) David didn’t want his cover to be blown.

(27:12) Achish underestimates David by calling him a mere “servant.”

Concluding insights

David shows discernment here. He doesn’t make his judgment based on Saul’s words, but his works. Saul has betrayed David so many times that David doesn’t trust him.

It would have been easy for David to turn bitter toward the nation of Israel. After all, he had been fighting for Israel for a long time, and yet, he was repaid with nothing but death threats. Instead of turning bitter, David continues to serve God—even in exile.

1 Samuel 28 (Saul Visits a Medium for Help)

Summary: Achish drafts David into his army (v.1) and makes him his bodyguard (v.2). The Philistines gathered their army to fight Israel. When Saul heard this, he panicked. He tried to contact God, but there was no answer (v.6). So, Saul contacted a medium instead (!!). Samuel preached judgment on Saul. He tells him that God has given the kingdom to David (v.17). He also predicts the death of Saul and his sons and the demise of Israel (v.19). This chapter shows us Saul’s final night on Earth.

(28:1-2) David and his men form a sort of “sleeper cell” inside of the Philistine army. Achish trusts David so much that he’s willing to make him his personal bodyguard.

(28:3) Why does the text mention the death of Samuel alongside the expulsion of the “mediums and spiritists”? This is probably showing that Samuel was a powerful reason for why the spirituality in Israel was so high—even after his death.

Mediums were people who contacted the dead, and spiritists were “ones who had [occult] knowledge.”[117]

(28:4-5) Saul’s actions in this chapter were motivated by fear.

(28:6) 1 Chronicles 10:14 states that Saul did not inquire of the Lord. How do we reconcile these accounts? Youngblood notes that a different verb is used. This passage uses one verb (wayyišʾal šāʾûl), while 1 Chronicles uses another (drš). He also notes that Samuel could be capturing the action of Saul inquiring, while the Chronicler could be commenting on the sincerity of Saul’s inquiry.[118]

(28:7) Endor is modern day “Khirbet Safsafeh, located four miles northeast of Shunem.”[119] This means that Saul was very close to the Philistines when he sought out this woman. Youngblood adds, “The narrator, perhaps deliberately, uses a different Hebrew word for ‘inquire of’ in v.7 than he does in v.6, where the Lord is the object.”[120]

(1 Sam. 28:7ff) How could the spirit of Samuel appear to Saul?

(28:8) The fact that Saul travelled “at night” could be to retain anonymity. It could also have symbolic value in the fact that this dark power was ascertained under the cover of darkness.

Samuel had earlier referred to Saul’s sin of sacrificing the animals as a “sin of divination” (1 Sam. 15:23). Now, Saul is literally practicing divination. What on Earth could he hope to gain from this?

(28:9) “Cut off” could mean expelled, or perhaps killed (Josh. 13:22).[121]

(28:10) This is the last time Saul was speak “in the name of the Lord.”

(28:11-12) Occult practitioners desire to control events through the spiritual realm. But far from being in control, this medium is scared to death. This shows that this event was outside of her power.

(28:13) There is irony in the fact that a scared man (v.5, 20) is telling the medium not to be afraid.

Apparently, Saul can’t see the apparition (“What do you see?”).

Why does the medium call Samuel “a divine being”?

The “ground” (hāʾāre) is “a word often used in the ancient Near East to refer to the netherworld, the realm of the dead.”[122]

(28:14) Samuel was still wearing “the robe” of a prophet (1 Sam. 15:27). Saul bows before Samuel, showing reference (in a completely irreverent situation!).

(28:15) Saul might include “prophets” first on his list to play to Samuel’s profession as a prophet.

(28:16) Samuel asks the obvious question: “If God isn’t speaking to you, then why would you ask me?” Saul’s activity only reveals the bankruptcy of his spiritual life.

(28:17) This refers to 1 Samuel 15:28.

(28:18) Saul didn’t obey Samuel when he was alive (1 Sam. 13, 15), but now he’s listening to him that he’s dead.

(28:19) Samuel doesn’t come to give special occultic insight. He returns to pronounce judgment.

(28:20) Saul was viewed as a tall man when he was young (1 Sam. 10:23-24). Now, his “full length” is laying on the ground.

Saul may not have eaten anything because he was following the rules of the occult.[123]

(28:21-23) Saul is probably worried sick.

(28:24-25) Saul is a “dead man walking.” Consequently, he gets his “final meal” before facing the executioner.

Concluding insights

This chapter shows just how far Saul had fallen, contacting a medium.

1 Samuel 29 (Achish releases David from Service)

Summary: The Philistines build an army to fight Israel (v.1). The Philistines worried that David would turn on them in battle (v.4), so Achish releases him (v.7). David protests sounding like he did with king Saul (v.8). David seemed like a man that was looking for a fight—no matter who it was.

(29:1) The Philistines gathered for war with Israel. The chapter begins and ends at Jezreel. Regarding Jezreel, Youngblood writes, “Jezreel (not to be confused with the southern site of the same name; see 25:43 and comment), located in the tribal territory of Issachar (Josh 19:17–18), is modern Zerin, on a spur of Mount Gilboa three miles south of Shunem.”[124]

(29:2) David remains closest to Achish as his personal bodyguard. Achish even places David at the “rear” of the army, so that he wouldn’t be killed as quickly as the others.

(29:3) The Philistine rulers become suspicious that Achish is so trusting of David. They probably don’t like the fact that David is in the “rear” of the army, rather than being “cannon fodder” out front (v.2).

(29:4) The Philistine rulers probably remembered how fiercely David had fought against them in the past (1 Sam. 18:30).

The word “adversary” is the Hebrew word śāṭān.

(29:5) The Philistine rulers remember the songs sung about David (1 Sam. 18:7-8; 21:11).

(29:6) Achish swears by the name of Yahweh. Had David been sharing about God with Achish?

Achish breaks the news to David that the Philistine rulers don’t want him involved in the battle.

(29:7) Achish sends David home.

(29:8) David seems pretty upset here. Is this because he wanted to double cross the Philistines in war? Is he just trying to save face?

(29:9) Achish doesn’t budge on his decision. Like a person begging for their job with their boss, Achish simply says, “I like you, but you’re still fired.”

(29:10-11) Achish tells him to leave in the morning (v.10), and David complies (v.11).

1 Samuel 30 (The Women and Children Raided!)

Summary: The Amalekites raided Ziklag and took all of the women and children and supplies (v.1). The men were weeping over this (v.4). Both of David’s wives were taken (v.5). His own men were thinking of stoning him (v.6). David received insight from the ephod to overtake the raiding party (v.8). David found one of the servants of the raiding party, which led him to the raiders. David fought the raiders and took back everything (vv.17-18). David gave the plunder to the men who were too weak to fight (v.24).

Take note of David’s leadership in this chapter.

(30:1-3) Imagine coming home to find this! These raiding parties went back and forth between David and the Amalekites (1 Sam. 27:8).

(30:4) David wept alongside his men. He had no problem shedding tears publicly. This makes sense of his writing in the psalms, where he is often crying.

(30:5) David’s wives were both taken. In fact, everyone was taken.

(30:6) The men turn against David. Grief can do weird things to people. They aren’t thinking straight. They want revenge, and their only thought is to take it out on David. Leaders sometimes pay a high price—even from their own people.

David had wept until “there was no strength” (v.4). Now, he “strengthened himself in the Lord his God” (v.6).

(30:7-8) Saul had “inquired” the Lord, but he received no answer (1 Sam. 28:6). David, by contrast, receives a clear and immediate answer.

David leads a pursuit of the raiders

(30:9) Besor is four miles south of Gaza.[125]

(30:10) The raiders had a big head start on them. David’s men were marching double-time to catch up, and apparently, a third of them couldn’t make the march.

(30:11-13) David finds a rogue Amalekite slave—an Egyptian—who was wandering without food or water for three days (v.12). In addition, the slave had been sick before he was thrown away to die in the wilderness (v.13). David gives the young slave food and water, and he revives him.

(30:14-15) The Egyptian slave tells David where the Amalekites have gone, but he first makes David swear that he will protect his life.

(30:16) When they find the Amalekites, they are in a drunken stupor.

(30:17) David kills the Amalekites. It’s interesting to note that David’s army is only 400 men, and this is the amount of Amalekites who escape.

(30:18-20) David rescued all the people and the plunder.

They return home

(30:21-22) The fighting men turn bitter toward the 200 men who had become exhausted (v.10). They didn’t want to share the plunder.

(30:23) While the men called this “David’s plunder” (v.20), David knew this victory belonged to God.

(30:24-25) David equally divided the plunder among the community—not just the combatants.

David shares with Judah

(30:26-31) David even shares the plunder with the men of Judah. This shows that God’s gift to him (v.23), became an opportunity to give to others.

Concluding insights

What can we learn from David’s leadership in this chapter?

(1) Even though his own men were doubting him, this didn’t stop David as a leader. He still moved forward without being distracted.

(2) David took strength from God—even when his own people had turned against him (v.6). He didn’t take his value from people, but from God (Gal. 1:10).

(3) David was a giver—not a taker. He gave them plunder because they were too weak to make it into battle—not because they were too cowardly.

1 Samuel 31 (Death of Saul)

Summary: The Philistines chased down Saul’s sons and killed them (v.2). Instead of being killed by the Philistines, Saul killed himself (v.4). When the people saw that Saul and his sons were dead, they fled and this led to Philistine occupation of Israel. The Philistines hung Saul’s body on the wall out in public, unburied (v.10). The men of Israel pulled his body back down and mourned over the state of their fallen kingdom.

This chapter doesn’t string out the story. We see these events in rapid fire.

(1 Sam. 31 & 2 Sam. 1) How did Saul die?

(31:1) The threat of Philistine occupation has hung over the story since the beginning (1 Sam. 4:1-2).

(31:2) Saul had four sons total. Ishbosheth must not have been on the battlefield. He shows up again in the story (2 Sam. 2:8).

(31:3) Saul was mortally wounded by the archers. It was only a matter of time before he would die.

(31:4-5) Saul had been anointed to fight the Philistine threat (1 Sam. 9:16), but because of his insanity over David, he fails to do so.

“Make sport of me” refers to torture.[126] Remember how the Philistines treated Samson—plucking out his eyes and mocking him publicly (Judg. 16). The same term is used of the men who raped (and tortured) the Levite’s concubine in Judges 19:25.

The armor-bearer had no problem committing suicide. But, like David himself, he did have a problem killing God’s anointed. Remember, David was Saul’s original armor-bearer (1 Sam. 16:21-22).

Saul reigned for 40 years (Acts 13:21).

(31:6-7) Some of the men escape (v.7), so this language of “all his men” is hyperbolic language.

(31:8-9) David had decapitated the Philistine champion Goliath (1 Sam. 17:51), and now, the Philistines return the favor for Saul.

(31:10) The parallel passage tells us that they put Saul’s head “in the house of Dagon” their “god” (1 Chron. 10:10; cf. 1 Sam. 5:4). They hung his head as a trophy of war. They also decapitated Saul’s sons and hung their heads (v.12). The Philistines spread the word to all of their people.

(31:11-12) The men of Israel risked their lives to retrieve the bodies. The expression “valiant men” is a Hebrew idiom that implies “unusual courage.”[127] The cadavers were so poorly abused that incinerated them, rather than immediately burying them.

(31:13) The collected the bones from the fire, and buried them.

2 Samuel (King David)

Originally, this was all one book—not two. So, there really shouldn’t be a break between 1 and 2 Samuel. At the same time, what a cliffhanger! This is reminiscent of the end of The Empire Strikes Back (1980). At the end of the film, the viewer discovers that Vader is Luke’s father, Han Solo is frozen in carbonite, and the rebellion is on the run. The viewer can’t wait to find out what will happen in the sequel.

Similarly, 1 Samuel ends on a massive cliffhanger: Saul and Jonathan are dead, the Philistines have overtaken Israel, and David is in exile. Will David ascend to the throne? If he does, he will have an entire nation to fight (Philistia) and an entire nation to reform (Israel). His country is under foreign occupation, and they are a vicious enemy.

2 Samuel 1 (David Mourns for Saul and Jonathan)

Summary: This Amalekite reports how Saul died to David. He says that he killed him, because Saul was half alive. He was probably in the city, scavenging for dead soldiers (1:10). He was probably lying, hoping for some kind of reward. David kills him instead (1:15). David mourns for Saul, even after all of that chasing and plotting (1:12). This Amalekite was probably hoping for a reward, but he is The book of Jashar is also mentioned in Joshua 10:13. David grieves over the death of Jonathan—his dear friend.

(1:1) David returns from fighting the Amalekites to hear this news: Saul and Jonathan were not as fortunate on the battlefield as he was.

(1:2-4) The trip from Mount Gilboa to Ziklag is 80 miles (or a three day trip).[128] He looks like he just returned from the battle, so David asks to hear the report. The Amalekite gives him the bad news: Saul and Jonathan are dead.

(1:5) David becomes suspicious at this point. How does this man know this? He asks the Amalekite to tell his story.

The Amalekite recounts his (false) report

(1:6-10) The Amalekite tells David that he was the one responsible for killing Saul. He probably thinks that David will be happy that Saul is finally dead. The man must have collected the crown and armband before the Philistines came to capture the dead body.

(1 Sam. 31 & 2 Sam. 1) How did Saul die?

(1:11-12) The Amalekite man wouldn’t have been prepared for this reaction. He thought that he was bringing good news (see 2 Sam. 4:10), but David and his men begin to mourn, instead. David fasts and mourns until evening, and then, he has a second conversation with the Amalekite.

(1:13) David asks the man who he is, and he reaffirms the fact that he was an Amalekite. (David had just been killing Amalekites!)

David likely asks this question because he wanted to know if the man had some understanding of Israelite religion. When he discovers that the Amalekite claims to be a member of Israel (v.13), he acts as judge, jury, and executioner.

(1:14) David himself resisted doing this very thing (1 Sam 24:6, 10; 26:9, 11).

(1:15-16) David heard the man’s confession from his own mouth.

David’s lament

(1:17-18) David expresses his grief through writing a song. Perhaps, writing music and poetry was a way for him to process his grief.

(2 Sam. 1:18) Why don’t we still have this book in the canon?

(1:19) The beauty of Israel has turned into a tragedy.

(1:20) David doesn’t want this song to reach the Philistines; otherwise, they will rejoice over it.

(1:21) This mention of dew and rain could refer to a curse on the land (1 Kings 17:1). Youngblood writes, “In Hebrew thought, dew was often a symbol of resurrection or the renewing of life (cf. Ps 110:3; Isa 26:19).”[129]

(1:22-27) David mentions Jonathan first, rather than Saul. It’s interesting that David doesn’t mention any of Saul’s sins in this lament. There might be a principle here for funerals today. Under grace, we focus on the good deeds—not the sin.

(1:26) Were David and Jonathan gay? (cf. 1 Sam. 18:3-4)

Concluding insights

The Amalekite was lying to David, but David still took him at his word for killing Saul.

David expresses his grief through writing and music.

David was able to view Saul’s life under grace, singing about the good aspects of his life, rather than the bad.

2 Samuel 2 (Civil War: David is Anointed King)

Summary: David wonders what to do from here. He is probably lacking direction: The Philistines have conquered Israel, Saul is dead, and so is his best friend. Should he try to take back the throne himself? Is this the right timing?

David goes up to Hebron (v.2). The men of Judah anoint him king over Judah (v.4), and David blesses the men who buried Saul (v.5).

At the same time, Ish-bosheth was made king over Israel, because he was Saul’s son (v.8). This only lasted for 2 years. It eventually led to a civil war. It took 5 years for Abner to fight off the Philistines and gather the tribes of Israel. While 2:10 says that Ish-bosheth reigned for two years, it took 5 years for him to actually be made king. Compare with 5:5.

The men of David and the men of Ish-bosheth met in Gibeon, and Abner suggested that the young men engage in a “battle royale” in front of them (v.14). Twelve pairs of men stabbed each other at the same time (v.16). This was probably some sort of street fight that spread into a battle between Ish-bosheth (Saul’s son) and David’s men. Who should take over the throne? This battle would answer it. David’s men won.

This entire event led to war between David’s clan and Ish-Bosheth’s clan (2 Sam. 3:1).

David is anointed king over Judah

(2:1) David is still standing very close to God, seeking direction. God leads him to Hebron. David is probably wondering if there is still hostility against him—even though Saul is dead. Should he go claim the kingdom now? Is this the right timing? God say, “Go.”

(2:2-3) David takes his entire crew of people: his wives, his men, their families, etc.

(2:4) The men of Hebron anoint David. This is an outward service that shows what God had already done.

David blesses the men who buried Saul (Jabesh-gilead)

(2:5) The men of Jabesh-gilead were the ones who had been rescued by Saul. Remember, Nahash the Ammonite had wanted to pluck out an eye of every man, woman, boy, and girl in their town. But Saul had come to their rescue (1 Sam. 11). This could be why they were so brave in burying Saul. This is also why David meets with them first: (1) to pay his respects for their service and (2) to win them over to loyalty to his kingship.

Note that David refers to Saul as “your lord” twice in this conversation (v.5, 7). David is paying respect to their loyalty to Saul.

(2:6-7) David promises to show this same loyalty to these men if they follow him.

Abner

Regarding this section, Youngblood writes, “Saul may be dead, but Saulide interests are very much alive.”[130]

(2:8-9) Abner grabs the sole surviving son of Saul to become the next king. David had already been anointed king in Judah (the northern kingdom), but Abner props up Ish-bosheth as the king in Israel (the southern kingdom). However, the use of the words “all Israel” implies that Abner was trying to take over the entire nation.

Ish-bosheth is most likely the full name of “Ishvi,” who was mentioned in 1 Samuel 14:49. Ish-bosheth may have been cowardly, because he didn’t fight and die alongside his father and brother (1 Sam. 31). Abner seems to be using Ish-bosheth as a “puppet king,” because Abner is really pulling the strings in this account.[131]

David had already spoken with the men of Jabesh-Gilead (v.5), but Abner makes a power play and names Ish-bosheth as the king of Gilead (v.9).

(2:10) This led to a civil war in Israel. The people were divided in their loyalties between David and Ish-bosheth.

(2:11) Some considerable time has passed.

Face off

(2:12) Abner is Saul’s cousin.

(2:13) Joab is David’s nephew (1 Sam. 26:6).

The “pool of Gibeon” was discovered by archaeologist James B. Pritchard in 1956. It is thirty-seven feet in diameter and thirty-five feet deep.[132]

(2:14-15) Abner suggests a fighting contest (similar in principle to David’s contest with Goliath). The fact that there are twelve men is symbolic that they are fighting for the twelve tribes of Israel.

The counted off randomly, rather than picking their best men.

(2:16) The contest ended in draw. The name “Helkath Hazzurim” means “Field of Daggers.”[133]

(2:17) This must have led to more fighting, because David’s men beat the men of Abner. Note that the parallel is between David and Abner, rather than David and Ish-bosheth. Abner was the puppet master behind Ish-bosheth.

Asahel pursues Abner

(2:18-19) With the battle spreading, Abner decides to run away. But Asahel (Joab’s brother) runs after him.

(2:20-22) Abner tries to talk Asahel out of fighting him. But Asahel is determined to kill Abner.

(2:23) Asahel’s momentum must have been the reason for why the spear thrust through him so completely. Abner used the “butt end” of the spear, but it still pierced completely through him.

The other soldiers who saw this happen “stood still.” They must have been thinking, “Oh no… Now things have become serious… Joab is not going to like this!”

Joab pursues Abner

(2:24) Joab and Abishai pursue Abner to Gibeon.

(2:25) Abner gets the men of Benjamin to fight with him, and from a military standpoint, they have the upper hand (“they stood on the top of a certain hill”).

(2:26) Abner pleads with Joab to stopping the revenge-killing.

(2:27) Joab could be referring to Abner’s initial words at the pool of Gibeon (2:14), or it could refer to his recent words (v.26). In the first instance, Joab could be telling Abner that the reason for the violence was Abner’s idea in the first place (2:14), In the second instance, he could be saying that Abner has talked him out of killing him.

(2:28) Joab ends the conflict and walks away with his men.

(2:29) Abner’s men and Joab’s men both walk back to their respective home bases.

(2:30-31) David’s men won on an 18:1 ratio. Abner’s arrogance was decidedly shown to be fatal.

(2:32) The men give Asahel a proper burial in the tomb of his father in Bethlehem.

Concluding insights

We might’ve thought that the story would be over for David, once Saul dies. But he has a whole nation to reform.

Notice that Ish-Bosheth was cited as the leader, but they didn’t follow him (v.10). They followed David. Leaders are recognized—not created.

Abner is the real villain of this chapter. He uses Ish-Bosheth as a puppet king, but he is really pulling the strings behind the scenes.

This chapter shows how severe blood feuds could become (“You kill one of mine… I’ll kill one of yours!”).

2 Samuel 3 (Civil War: Death of Abner)

Summary: The lines of Saul and David continue to war, and David’s side grows stronger (v.1). David has six sons (vv.2-5). Abner slept with one of Saul’s old concubines, but he got angry that Ish-Bosheth called him out on this (v.8). Abner decides to put David in charge of the kingdom, instead of Ish-bosheth. David demands that he marry Michal, and she is forcibly divorced from her husband to marry David (v.15). Her husband was in distress over this (v.16). Joab was angry that Abner (a former enemy) could be an ally to David (v.23). Before Abner can round up the leaders of Israel, Joab stabs him in the stomach, because Abner had killed his brother, Asahel (v.27). Asahel was the fast “gazelle” who followed Abner (back in 2 Samuel 2:23).

David was a musician, and it seems like he is just sitting down and writing these songs (v.34; see also 1:19ff). David wept over the death of Abner (v.35). David was continually doing the right things in the eyes of the people (v.36).

David’s sons

(3:1) Youngblood understands this to be a summary statement regarding the battles of 2:8-32.[134] During this time of war, David has six sons. This period was seven years long (2 Sam. 2:11).

(3:2) Amnon (David’s firstborn) would later be killed by Absalom (David’s third born; 2 Sam. 13:28-29).

(3:3) Chileab is only mentioned here.

Absalom was born from a Geshurite princess. Absalom flees to Geshur after killing Amnon (2 Sam. 13:37-38).

(3:4-5) Adonijah is later assassinated so that Solomon can take the throne (1 Kings 1-2).

We don’t know anything else about Shephatiah or Ithream.

David’s polygamy only increases during this time. It looks like all of these boys had different mothers.

Ish-bosheth and Abner split apart

(3:6) Abner is the true leader behind Ish-bosheth. Note that he “made himself strong,” versus David who was “strengthened himself in the Lord” (1 Sam. 30:6).

(3:7) This question comes out of the blue. This was an “an act by Abner that probably is intended to assert his claim to Saul’s throne.”[135]

(3:8) “Am I a dog’s head” is similar to Goliath’s statement: “Am I a dog?” (1 Sam. 17:43). Abner doesn’t deny the charge, but explains his loyalty to Ish-bosheth. Abner implicitly threatens that he could have handed over the kingdom to David, if he had wanted to.

(3:9-10) Abner publicly states that he will hand the kingdom over to David.

(3:11) Again, Ish-bosheth is a weakling. Abner is the true leader in this faction.

Abner defects to David’s side

(3:12) Abner could be rhetorically saying that the land of Israel belongs to him, or he could be saying that it belongs to David. Either way, Abner proposes a covenant to give the land over to David.

(3:13) David accepts the contract with one condition: his wife Michal (1 Sam. 14:49). Saul had taken Michal away from David (1 Sam. 25:44), and he wanted her back. David is multiplying even more wives (cf. vv.1-5).

(3:14) David even goes directly to Ish-bosheth, demanding his wife back. After all, he had paid a price to marry her in the first place (1 Sam. 18:25-27).

(3:15-16) Ish-bosheth was losing the war (v.1) and losing his commander Abner (vv.9-10). This is why he is so passive in consenting to David’s commands.

Abner calls on the elders of Israel to align with David

(3:17-18) The men of Benjamin never desired David to be king (v.17), and God never made this statement about David (v.18). Instead, these two statements refer to Saul (cf. 1 Sam. 8:4; 9:16). Perhaps Abner is arguing that their hearts’ true desire was for a king like David—not like Saul.

(3:19) The Benjamites were attached to Saul, because Saul was from this tribe (1 Sam. 9:1). So, Abner pays them a special visit to persuade them.

(3:20-21) David is pleased with Abner’s work, and he promises peace toward him. As it turns out, one of David’s men was not in agreement with this peaceful covenant.

(3:22) Again, David’s “peace” is reemphasized here.

(3:23-24) Joab hears about David’s peaceful covenant with Abner—the man who killed his brother (2 Sam. 2:23). This sends Joab into a rage-filled rebuke of David.

(3:25) Joab emphasizes the this is “Abner son of Ner.” Ner was Saul’s cousin. Joab thinks that Abner is trying to double-cross David, learning about his movements so he can assassinate him.

(3:26) Joab rebukes David (the king!) and leaves without hearing David’s response. Joab sets up a meeting with Abner, setting up a trap for him.

(3:27) Joab gets his revenge. He kills Abner by stabbing him in the stomach, which was the same way Abner killed his brother, Asahel (2 Sam. 2:23).

(3:28) David instantly distances himself from Abner’s murder (cf. 1 Kings 2:33).

(3:29) These five curses include physical ailments (3), war (1), and famine (1). “One who has discharge” refers to “infectious conditions as diarrhea and urethral emissions.”[136]

(3:30) Apparently Joab was working alongside his brother Abishai.

Later David tells Solomon that Joab was guilty for killing Abner during a time of peace, rather than war: “Now you also know what Joab the son of Zeruiah did to me, what he did to the two commanders of the armies of Israel, to Abner the son of Ner, and to Amasa the son of Jether, whom he killed; he also shed the blood of war in peace. And he put the blood of war on his belt about his waist, and on his sandals on his feet” (1 Kings 2:5).

David leads a lament for Abner

(3:31) David makes Joab (the murderer!) come to the funeral.

The “bier” is the couch or bed for the deceased.

(3:32) Rather than burying Abner with his people (i.e. the Benjamites), David honors him by burying him in Hebron.[137]

(3:33-35) The word “fool” (nābāl) could harken back to Nabal, whom David wanted to kill. We might expect David to feel happy that one of his enemies had died, but Youngblood comments that David’s lament is sincere: “If he mourned at length for Saul and Jonathan, he mourns no less for Abner.”[138]

(3:36-37) The people believed the sincerity of David’s lament.

(3:38) Even though Abner had been David’s enemy, he calls him a “prince” and a “great man.”

(3:39) Joab and Abishail were sons of “Zeruiah” (2 Sam. 2:18). David’s dominance of being the king is overshadowed by his grief.

Concluding insights

Just as he grieves over his mortal enemy Saul, David grieves over Abner. Why is David so tenderhearted toward his enemies after they die?

2 Samuel 4 (Death of Ish-Bosheth)

Summary: Ish-bosheth depended on Abner, so he lost courage when he heard that Abner had died (v.1). Two raiders—Baanah and Rechab—sneak into Ish-bosheth’s house and killed him in his sleep (v.6), decapitating him (v.7). They probably were seeing that David was rising to power, and they were on the wrong side of the political fence. They bring the head to David (v.8), and he rebukes them for killing Ish-bosheth. He then orders that they have their hands and feet cut off (v.12). He has them hung beside the pool of Hebron for everyone to see.

(4:1) Even though Abner was a traitor to Ish-bosheth, Abner was still Ish-bosheth’s most powerful warrior. Abner left a “power vacuum”[139] in Israel. This is why “he lost courage.” The word spread to all of Israel that their top military commander had been killed, so this wouldn’t have been good for Ish-bosheth’s public image.

(4:2-3) Ish-bosheth’s other two military allies (Baanah and Rechab) got spooked, and they fled from the kingdom like rats fleeing a sinking ship. The phrase “commanders of bands” refers to “raiders” or “a band of rebels” (cf. 1 Kings 11:24).[140] These men were outlaws who worked for the king.

Saul’s son (parenthesis)

(4:4) This is a flashback to the time of Jonathan’s death. Why does the author insert this here? Because Ish-bosheth is about to die, Mephibosheth would’ve been the next heir to the throne. The author is probably showing that the boy’s physical handicap renders him unable to inherit the kingdom as a warrior.[141] Mephibosheth would’ve been twelve years old when Ish-bosheth was killed (cf. 2 Sam. 2:11).

Jonathan’s son (Mephibosheth) was just a young boy when his father died. In fleeing, he became even further crippled. He will come up again in 2 Samuel 9; 16:1-4; 19:24-30; 21:7).

Back to the story

(4:5-6) Baanah and Rechab assassinate Ish-bosheth, realizing that they are on the wrong side of the battle. Being stabbed in the stomach becomes the preferred method of execution at this time.

(4:7-8) Baanah and Rechab took Ish-bosheth’s decapitated head to David as a way of making peace with him, and showing loyalty to the new dynasty. They travel “at night” to avoid being seen.

(4:9-11) We saw how David treated the Amalekite who killed Saul earlier, so this reaction is not surprising.

(4:12) David makes a public spectacle of the men, but he carefully buries Ish-bosheth’s head alongside Abner. This act of cutting of the hands and feet is similar to the disgrace given to Adoni-Bezek (Judg. 1:6).

Concluding insights

Again, we need to ask the question: Why is David so strict about men not killing God’s anointed? (i.e. Ish-bosheth or Saul)

We see a repeated theme that God will work out the problems. When we put it into our own hands (killing Saul or Ish-bosheth), this is wrong. We need to trust in the sovereignty of God. What is the difference between trusting in God’s sovereignty, and being super-spiritual or lazy?

2 Samuel 5 (David Conquers Jerusalem)

Summary: Everyone came to Israel (v.1), affirming his kingship (v.2). He reigned as king from age 30 to 70 years old (v.4). The Jebusites believed that David couldn’t defeat their fortress (v.6). David conquered the city, and he made it his personal fortress (v.9). Ronald Youngblood writes, “In 1983 archaeologist Yigal Shiloh uncovered what is probably the base of the Jebusite citadel, the ‘fortress of Zion.’ Built no later than the fourteenth century b.c., the substructure itself is immense, covering more than 2,150 square feet of space (cf. Norman Kempster, Los Angeles Times [August 16, 1983]: 1; Hershel Shanks, “The City of David After Five Years of Digging,” Biblical Archaeology Review 11, 6 [1985]: 25–26).”[142]

David had eleven more children after this (vv.14-16). The Philistines try to depose David (v.17). David gets confirmation from God to defeat the Philistines (v.19), and he defeats them. This happened twice (v.22).

(5:1) The monarchy is united under David’s leadership. The first reason that they give for David’s right to rule is that he was an Israelite, which was a requirement in the law (cf. Deut. 17:15).

(5:2) The second reason they give is David’s history of service. He was the one who actually did the fighting against the Philistines. David wasn’t simply a named leader; he was already acting like a leader.

The third reason is that David is their “shepherd” and “ruler.” God himself was the shepherd of the people (Gen. 48:15) and the king would be a shepherd as well (Gen. 49:24). Incidentally, David was also a literal shepherd before he received his calling as king (1 Sam. 16:11). David becomes the archetype for a “shepherd-king” (Ps. 78:70-72; Ezek 34:23; 37:24), which is ultimately fulfilled in David’s descendant Jesus (Jn. 10:11; Heb. 13:20; 1 Pet. 5:4).

Nathan would later use this metaphor to charge David with sin against his flock (2 Sam. 12:1-4).

(5:3) David didn’t go to the people; the people came to him.

Note that this covenant was made “before the Lord.” David wasn’t seizing tyrannical control. This was all under the authority of God.

(5:4-5) Jesus is similar to his prophetic archetype David in that he was roughly thirty when he started his ministry (Lk. 3:23). David reigns for 40 years.

(5:6) The Jebusites called this city Jebus (1 Chron. 11:4).

The Jebusites were taunting David’s ability—even the blind and lame can beat David. These words come back to bite them (v.8).

(5:7) This is such a brief treatment of this battle that it implies that David powerfully (and easily?) takes the city of Jerusalem.

(5:8) David fires back the sarcasm against the Jebusites. David men must have entered the city through this water tunnel.

David initially excludes people from the city, but Jesus will later include people from all walks of life.[143]

(5:9) Joab also helped in the reconstruction of the city (1 Chron. 11:8).

(5:10) David didn’t grow stronger through his own power, but God’s.

(5:11) These events may be a summary of what happened years later, because Hiram doesn’t become king for another 20 years (980 BC).[144]

Jeremiah warns about building big houses like this without obeying God (Jer. 22:13-18).

(5:12) David recognizes that God was the one to put him in power (v.10). He realized that God did this for his people—not just for David. True servant leadership is focused on the needs of the people—not the leader’s self-aggrandizement.

More polygamy

(5:13) The law warned about kings not taking “many wives” (Deut. 17:17). Youngblood writes, “By placing the word “concubines” in emphatic position, the narrator is perhaps deploring David’s proclivity for the trappings of a typical Oriental monarch, including a harem.”[145]

(5:14-16) This is not an exhaustive list (1 Chron. 3:5-8; 14:4-7).

The first four sons were born by Bathsheba (1 Chron. 3:5).

Nathan is different than the great prophet who comes up later in the account (2 Sam. 11).

Philistines invade

These events are parallel in 1 Chronicles 14:8-16. These events may have chronologically occurred in between the events mentioned above.[146]

(5:17) Immediately as the Philistines hear about David’s anointing, they launch an attack. If this event happened after David’s conquering of Jerusalem, there would be no need to search for David via military intelligence.

If these events do happen before the conquering of Jerusalem, then this “stronghold” is unknown.

(5:18) The valley of Rephaim was between Judah and Benjamin.[147]

(5:19) David seeks God’s counsel before entering into battle.

(5:20) Baal-perazim means “the master of break through.”

(5:21) The Philistines probably brought their idols as “protective talismans” onto the battlefield.[148] The battle was so intense that they left these behind.

(5:22) Undeterred, the Philistines attack once again. They must have thought that the first battle was a fluke. Little do they realize, God was behind David’s campaign.

(5:23) Again, David seeks out counsel from God.

(5:24) God played an active role in fighting against the Philistines.

(5:25) Geba (or Gibeon, 1 Chron. 14:16) was six miles northwest of Jerusalem,[149] and Gezer was a Canaanite stronghold. The Philistines must have run to these allies for refuge.

Concluding insights

David was affirmed as the king, but think of how many years this took to happen? This passage shows the patience of David to wait on the Lord’s timing.

David sought counsel from God before he made any military moves.

David couldn’t be stopped if God was behind him. David learned this lesson well (v.10, 12), and this gave him confidence to trust God even further.

2 Samuel 6 (Rejoicing and Zeal)

Summary: David gathered his men to get the Ark of God (v.2). Uzzah and Ahio guided the cart back home (v.3). Uzzah tried to balance the Ark when it stumbled, and God killed him for it (v.6). After a three month hiatus (v.12), David musters up the courage to take the Ark back to Jerusalem. David showed excitement and zeal when the Ark was returned to Jerusalem (2 Sam. 6:12-14), which led all the people of God to show joy and shouts of excitement (v.15). In the midst of this, Michal (his wife) judges her husband for his zeal, excitement, and dancing (v.16, 20). David responded to her by telling her that she was in the wrong (vv.21-22), and she died childless (v.23)! This narrative tells us that we shouldn’t cast negativity and cynicism on those who are showing emotion and excitement in what God is doing.

Psalm 24 and 68 were written during this time. The parallel account for this event is found in 1 Chronicles 13:5ff and 15:23-16:3, 43.

David goes to retrieve the Ark of the Covenant

(6:1) The parallel passage states that David conferred with his military officials before he made this decision (1 Chron. 13:5-8).

(6:2) The Ark of the Covenant hasn’t been mentioned since 1 Samuel 14:18. When we add up the time from 1 Samuel 7:2 (20 years) and Saul’s reign in 1 Samuel 13:1 (40 years), we realize that the Ark had been gone for over 60 years.[150] Saul didn’t have interest in seeking the Ark (1 Chron. 13:3).

(6:3) Abinadab was one of David’s brothers (1 Sam. 16:8). He had held the Ark for this extended period of time (1 Sam. 7:1).

This mention of a “new cart” is parallel with how the Philistines transported the Ark (1 Sam. 6:7-8). This could be foreshadowing for what will happen with Uzzah (v.7).

(6:4) Abinadab’s sons (or grandsons?) were responsible to carry the Ark. They would have (or should have) known of the seriousness of this task.

(6:5) David begins to throw a party that they are going to bring the Ark home. Was this really the right time to start throwing a party?

The party grinds to a halt

(6:6) The oxen didn’t spill the Ark. Instead, they “nearly upset” the Ark.

(6:7) There are three reasons for God’s judgment: (1) Levites were supposed to transport the Ark (Deut. 10:8), and (2) they weren’t supposed to transport it on a “cart” but on their shoulders with polls (Ex. 25:12-15; Num. 7:9), and (3) God had warned the Levites that they would “die” if they touched the sacred objects (Num. 4:15). This story is reminiscent of Nadab and Abihu (Lev. 10:1-2). Later David reflects, “Because you did not carry it at the first, the LORD our God made an outburst on us, for we did not seek Him according to the ordinance” (1 Chron. 15:13).

(2 Sam. 6:7) Why does God kill Uzzah for trying to protect the Ark of God?

(6:8-9) David was angry and afraid of God as a result. His party and celebration (v.5) was interrupted by divine judgment. Imagine how silent the musicians must have become after Uzzah was struck down by God.

(6:10-11) David take three months to reconsider how to move the Ark. He was apparently feeling gun shy in moving it. Obed-edom was a Levite (1 Chron. 15:17-18).

David regains his confidence

(6:12) David brought the elders and commanders with him this time (1 Chron. 15:25).

(6:13-14) They no longer carry the Ark on a cart, but they carry it on their shoulders—God’s prescribed way. David also offers sacrifices, rather than a party. David even wears an ephod to this event (much like Samuel, 1 Sam. 2:18; 22:18). All of this shows that David learned his lesson from before.

(6:15) David strikes up his party celebration once again. This time, they were doing it right.

(6:16) Earlier, Michael had helped David escape through a “window” (1 Sam. 19:12). Now, she is “despising” him through a “window.”

(6:17-18) David offered sacrifices and offerings to the Lord, and blessed the people, acting like a king-priest.

(6:19) This was a common custom in the ancient Near East during times of celebration.[151]

Michal’s bitterness and cynicism

(6:20) Youngblood comments, “Michal’s words drip with the ‘How’ of sarcasm.”[152]

(6:21) David defends himself: He wasn’t celebrating in front of the women, but “before the Lord.” David reminds Michal that God had chosen him over her father (Saul).

(6:22) David is willing to show even more zeal and excitement, and he is willing to look like a fool “in his [own] eyes.”

(6:23) Youngblood comments, “In ancient times childlessness, whether natural or enforced, was the ultimate tragedy for a woman (see comment on 1 Sam 1:2). Negative connotations are also implied in the expression ‘to the day of (one’s) death.’”[153]

Concluding insights

God didn’t want them to stray from his commands. David had to learn the lesson of doing God’s work, God’s way.

We can’t just blindly follow our leaders. We are each individually held accountable before God for knowing and interpreting his word.

Don’t quench the Spirit. It isn’t your role to tell people that their prayers were “coincidentally” fulfilled. It isn’t your role to mock the people who have excitement for God. This sarcasm, cynicism, and negativity are an affront to God, and it sucks the excitement from Christian community.

Learn to show zeal and excitement for God. Zeal and excitement is usually the sign of a strong ethos in a group. Often believers in evangelical churches worry that non-Christians will feel strange to see Christians showing emotion and excitement for God. While fake or bizarre displays of emotion are out of bounds, it has been our experience that most believers do not show enough emotion. In fact, what is weird is to believe that you are a child of God and inheriting the kingdom of God, without showing any emotion about it! Our particular church is so strong on truth that we believe that showing emotion would only bolster the fact that we are believing in something that is actually true. We lament the fact that some Christian believers show no hesitation to show emotion at a football game or a rock concert, but cannot show emotion in regards to the cause of Christ.

Learn to “amen” prayers at a prayer meeting. Most believers do not realize that this is biblical and important. How can you come to a prayer meeting with pursed lips—not sharing even an Amen? (1 Cor. 14:16)

2 Samuel 7 (The Temple)

Summary: David is given rest from war (v.1). He gets the idea to build a temple for God’s Ark (v.2). But God tells David that he can’t build a house and doesn’t even want one (v.6). God reproves David for thinking that he ever wanted a house (i.e. a temple). God promises to make David great (v.10). God tells him that he will make a house for David (v.11). He also predicts that one of David’s offspring will take over the nation forever (vv.11-14). He promises never to remove his love from David’s line (v.15). Nathan told all of this to David (v.17). David is thankful that God blessed him and predicted the future to him (v.19). David interpreted this covenant as eternal (v.25).

This passage is predictive of Jesus.

The Davidic covenant has not been replaced by the church.

The parallel account is found in 1 Chronicles 17.

(7:1-2) God had promised this “rest” from enemies centuries earlier (Deut. 3:20; 12:10; 25:19; Josh. 1:13, 15). David had it made in a nice palace (2 Sam. 5:11), but he starts to think about God’s Ark, which he recently acquired. He starts to think that God would want a house (i.e. temple) for the Ark.

David moved from being a shepherd boy in a tent to a king in a palace.[154]

Nathan becomes a key figure in David’s life (2 Sam. 12). He also helps to write much of the historical material in both David and Solomon’s lives (1 Chron. 29:29; 2 Chron. 9:29).

(7:3) Nathan the prophet assumes that this is a good idea, and he gives David the green light.

(7:4-5) However, God visits Nathan and tells him that this is not in his will.

Specifically, God doesn’t want David to build the temple because (1) he would be busy fighting more wars (1 Kings 5:3), and (2) he was a man of bloodshed (1 Chron. 22:8; 28:3). While David didn’t build the temple, he prepared the materials for its construction (1 Chron. 22:2-5; 28:2).

God calls David “My servant.” David calls himself God’s “servant” ten times after this event (vv.19-29). This was a title used for Moses (Josh. 1:2, 7), and later for Jesus (Isa. 53).

(7:6) God preferred a “mobile home” or an “RV,” to show that his holiness can be moved. God’s desire was to “walk in the midst” of the people (Deut. 23:14; cf. Lev. 26:12; Gen. 3:8).

God didn’t want a stationary temple. This is fulfilled in Jesus who came and “tabernacled” among people (Jn. 1:14). Jesus was God embodied in the world (Jn. 2:19-21), similar to the moveable tabernacle—only to a far greater degree.

(7:7) God never asked for a temple. Youngblood writes, “For the Ugaritic Baal, building a ‘house of cedar’ (bt arzm) for himself might serve the function of ‘guaranteeing the future existence of the cosmos’ (Carlson, p. 98; cf. de Moor, Anthology of Religious Texts, p. 55). The Lord, however, requires no such assurances. If a house is to be built for him—not that he needs it to dwell in, of course (cf. 1 Kings 8:27; Isa 66:1–2; Acts 7:48; 17:24–25; Heb 8:1–2; 9:24; Sib Oracles 4:8–11), but as a symbol of his presence among his people—he himself will name the time, the place, and the builder (vv.5–7).”[155]

David wants to give to God, but God wants to give to David

(7:8-9) God has always provided for David in the past. The mention of making him a “great name” is similar to the Abrahamic Covenant (Gen. 12:2).

(7:10) God will continue to provide for David in the future.

(7:11) This chapter begins with David wanting to build a house for God (v.2), but now, God says that he wants to give a house to David instead.

(7:12) God will build a dynasty through David’s line. The descendant will “come forth from [David].” This is similar to the Abrahamic Covenant (Gen. 15:4), as well as the mention of “descendants/seed” (Gen. 17:7-10, 19).

(7:13) This literal descendant will build a “house” (i.e. temple) for David, and God will create an eternal dynasty through his line (“forever”).

(7:14) The Davidic Covenant is fulfilled partially in Solomon, who was disciplined by God. But it will be fulfilled ultimately and eternally through Christ. This passage is cited twice in the NT (2 Cor. 6:18; Heb. 1:5; cf. Lk. 1:32-33). The Qumran community around the Dead Sea also interpreted this passage as messianic (4Q Florilegium).[156] Youngblood comments, “No longer is it possible to insist that the NT writers overstepped their bounds in claiming that the divine sonship of the Messiah (in their case, Jesus) is adumbrated in 2 Samuel 7, Psalm 2, and elsewhere. They were making use of well-established, exegetical methodologies that had long been recognized in Jewish scholarly circles.”[157]

(2 Sam. 7:14) If this passage is prophetic of Jesus, why does it say that he sins?

(2 Sam. 7:11-16) Is the Davidic Covenant still operative today? –or Did the Jews forfeit these blessings because of their rejection of Christ?

(7:15) God will discipline, but not reject the line of David.

(7:16) God repeats that this covenant will be eternal two more times (“forever… forever…”). This is alluded to later in history as well (Isa. 55:3).

(7:17) This entire communiqué was passed from Nathan to David.

The Davidic Covenant “receives more attention in the Hebrew Bible than any covenant except the Sinaitic.”[158] The term “covenant” is not used here, but the rest of the Bible uses this term to describe this promise from God (2 Sam. 23:5; 1 Kings 8:23; 2 Chronicles 13:5; Ps. 89:3, 28, 34, 39; 132:12; Isa. 55:3; Jer. 33:21). Youngblood observes, “Relationships between the Abrahamic and Davidic covenants are especially close.”[159]

David thanks God

(7:18) David shows incredible humility. He doesn’t claim that he deserved these promises—only that God was gracious to a little shepherd boy by turning him into a king.

(7:19) David understood that this promise related to a King in the “distant future,” not just Solomon.

(7:20) David is speechless after hearing this covenant.

(7:21) This covenant was not because of David’s righteousness, but because of God own word.

(7:22) This causes David to appreciate the grandeur and uniqueness of God to a greater degree.

(7:23-24) David understood that this promise wasn’t merely for him, but for the entire nation of Israel. And this promises (again) was eternal (“forever”).

(7:25-27) This covenant was bilateral, but unilateral. At the same time, David prays that God would bring this about. He says that he wouldn’t have had the “courage” to pray this unless God had promised it (v.27).

Later, God gives conditions to individuals like Solomon (1 Kings 9:4-9), but this doesn’t nullify God’s future promise to ultimately preserve the nation. This fits with the idea that God will “discipline” his people (v.14), but will never abandon them.

(7:28) David knew that this covenant would come to fruition, because God’s “words are truth.” God doesn’t lie (Heb. 6:18; Titus 1:2).

(7:29) Again, David affirms that this promise would be eternal (“forever”). The term “forever” is used eight times in this covenant.

Concluding insights

God cannot lie. When he makes a promise, it is permanent and irrevocable.

When we try to offer something to God, God often trumps our efforts for doing something even greater for us. We can’t out give God. It is like offering a grain of sand to the owner of a beach.

2 Samuel 8 (David: An Unstoppable War Machine)

Summary: David defeats the Philistines (v.1) and Moabites (v.2). He becomes militarily successful, because God was with him (v.6, 14). He also turned into a faithful and just king (v.15).

David had “rest” from his enemies (2 Sam. 7:1), but he continues to fight his enemies in this chapter. This could either mean (1) that God was giving him rest in the midst of the battles he was fighting or (2) chapter 8 is chronologically before chapter 7.[160]

David leads an unstoppable military force

(8:1) David overthrew the capital of the Philistines. The parallel passage explains that he took Gath (1 Chron. 18:1).

(8:2) David overthrew Moab, killing many by military execution. He spared some of them, but he made them take taxes to Israel in perpetuity. A Jewish tradition states that the Moabites killed David’s parents.[161] David was fulfilling the prediction of the Messiah by crushing “through the forehead of Moab” (Num. 24:17). Of course, this will be ultimately fulfilled through Jesus at his Second Coming.

(8:3) David also overthrew Zobah, restoring the boundary lines to the river (Euphrates[162]). The mention of the “measuring line” could refer to the national territory (i.e. marking off the boundaries of the land and killing the population), or it could refer to literally measuring off the men and killing two thirds of them.[163]

(8:4) David maimed a number of these horses (i.e. hamstrung) by “[severing] the large tendon above and behind their hocks to disable them.”[164]

(2 Sam. 8:4) How many horsemen did David capture?

(8:5-6) David overthrew the Arameans, they had to pay taxes to Israel afterward (cf. v.2). He killed 18,000 of these men (v.13).

(8:7-8) David plundered a lot of the precious metals from these nations.

An ally: Toi of Hamath

(8:9) This sounds like a situation where “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Toi goes to make peace with David, because he defeated Hadadezer (v.5).

(8:10) Toi brought even more precious metals to David.

(8:11-12) Unlike other ancient warlords, David didn’t keep these metals for himself. He gave them over to God.

(8:13) See verses 5-6.

(8:14) David also overthrew the Edomites.

(8:15) This chapter shows David’s reign and rule over all of Israel. God was clearly behind him. These boundaries “correspond to those outlined in the divine promise to Abraham” in Genesis 15:18.[165]

(8:16-18) This section describes David’s “cabinet.” It lists the military leaders, the spiritual leaders, and the administrators.

Joab was David’s chief military general.

Jehoshaphat was the recorder. The role of the recorder was “either to have oversight of state records and documents or to serve as a royal herald, equivalent to the Egyptian whm.w (“speaker”), whose role was to make reports to the king and transmit royal decrees.”[166]

Seraiah was the secretary—a position that “was as much that of a secretary of state as it was that of a royal scribe.”[167]

Zadok and Ahimelech were the high priests.

Benaiah later becomes Solomon’s hitman (1 Kings 2:25, 34, 46), and he later becomes the chief general over Israel’s army (1 Kings 4:4).

2 Samuel 9 (Mephibosheth)

Summary: David wanted to show kindness on the descendants of Saul for the sake of Jonathan (v.1). He brings Mephibosheth—the son of Jonathan—to him (v.6). He is lame in both legs (v.3). David takes him in to take care of him, like he was one of his sons (v.11).

(9:1) David wants to show kindness to Saul’s descendants for Jonathan’s sake. Up until this point, David had been busy with warfare, but now he is the “undisputed king” of Israel and can afford to show kindness.[168] Now he reflects on how he can take care of Jonathan’s descendants, according to the promise they made together (1 Sam. 20:14).

David seeks this out before he knows that Mephibosheth was physically handicapped, and not a threat to his kingdom.

(9:2-3) David seeks out one of Saul’s old servants: Ziba. Apparently, Ziba now worked for Mephibosheth (v.9, 12). The last time we saw Mephibosheth, he was only a twelve year old preteen (2 Sam. 4:4). But now, some time has passed. He’s certainly much older, and he himself has a son (v.12).

(9:4) This is likely “modern Umm ed-Dabar ten miles south-southeast of the Sea of Galilee.”[169]

(9:5-6) It would’ve been scary for this handicapped man to appear before David. After all, the rest of his line had been killed off, and could’ve been seen as a threat to David’s kingship.

(9:7) Mephibosheth must’ve been afraid, because David opens with the words, “Do not fear…” Remember, Joab had killed Mephibosheth’s uncle Ish-bosheth (2 Sam. 4:5-8). He was probably afraid of getting the same treatment.

David blesses Mephibosheth with a lot of land and a place in the king’s court. This likely refers to “farmland.”[170]

(9:8) This language (“a dead dog”) has been used through Samuel (1 Sam. 17:43; 24:14).

(9:9-10) David tells Ziba that he will work for Mephibosheth, and take care of his financial needs (“cultivate the land… bring in the produce”). Nevertheless, David would personally provide for Mephibosheth by giving food from the king’s table. Youngblood understand this as referring to both kindness and political expediency, because eating with the king is understood by him to be a “metaphor referring to house arrest.”[171] While David could be thinking of political expediency, we see no hint in the text that David is threatened by this crippled man. Instead, the motive is one of “kindness” (v.1).

(9:11-12) David took in Mephibosheth as one of the king’s sons. Ziba’s workforce could help farm the field, providing for Mephibosheth.

(9:13) In this culture, being physically handicapped would’ve made you marginalized in society. But David picks up this man and sort of adopts him as one of his own sons.

Concluding insights

David wants to continue to look after Jonathan’s offspring—even years later. This shows that he is really firm, but also really compassionate as a king.

2 Samuel 10 (Hanun)

Summary: David goes to share mercy on Hanun—an Ammonite king. Hanun became paranoid that David was trying to spy out his land. He took David’s men, and he shaved half of their beards, which was a sign of humiliation (v.5). He also cut their garments so their genitals and butt crack were showing and sent them home (v.4). David considers this a declaration of war. He destroyed the Ammonites as a result.

(10:1) The king of the Ammonites was Nahash (1 Sam. 12:12), the king defeated by Saul (1 Sam. 11:1-11).

(10:2) Youngblood states that “the kindness he showed to David may have been expressed during David’s days as a fugitive from the Israelite royal court.”[172]

David sent men to “console” Hanun during his time of grief.

(10:3) The city was “Amman” which was “about forty miles east-northeast of Jerusalem.”[173]

(10:4) Shaving a man’s beard was a sign of humiliation (Isa. 7:20). Cutting off their garments above their hips would show their butt crack and their genitals, which was also an obvious sign of humiliation (Isa. 20:4). These acts were a parody of the typical signs of mourning.[174] It’s as if Hanun was saying, “So, you came here to mourn my father? Well, then we’ll help you by shaving your beards and tearing your clothes!” It is what Youngblood calls a “grotesque parody” of mourning.[175]

(10:5) David lets the dust settle for a considerable amount of time, so that they can recover from their humiliation by growing their beards back.

Round 1

(10:6) The parallel passage states that they spent 1,000 talents of silver to hire this militia from the Arameans.

(10:7) Joab is the commander of the Israelite military.

(10:8-9) Joab sees that he is outnumbered.

(10:10) So, Joab enlists his brother Abishai to lead a contingent of troops.

(10:11) By diversifying their forces, they will be able to help one another.

(10:12) The twice repeated phrase, “Be strong” is reminiscent of Moses (Deut. 31:6-7) and Joshua (Josh. 1:6-9).

(10:13) These hardcore mercenaries for hire (v.6) flee at the army of Joab.

(10:14) This causes the Ammonites to panic and flee as well. Joab unites with his brother, Abishai, and chases them down.

Round 2

(10:15-16) Undeterred by their failure, the Arameans regroup to fight under Hadadezer.

(10:17) Now, David gathers his whole army to fight. He wants to send a powerful message in this second battle. Otherwise, the Arameans and Ammonites might continue to fight on and on. Moreover, David himself leads the army (in stark contrast to chapter 11!).

(10:18) The parallel passage says that there were 7,000 charioteers—not 700 (1 Chron. 19:18). This can be resolved by understanding the number 700 as a title—not a number. The Hebrew word reḵe can be translated as “men of.”[176]

(10:19) These are the “kings” from verse 8. The Aramean mercenaries are completely defeated, and now, the Ammonites are “on their own.”[177]

Concluding insights

David wasn’t looking for war, but war was looking for him. He sent out his men to “console” the Ammonite king (v.2), but the Ammonite king made an act of war on these dignitaries. David didn’t start the war, but he certainly finished it.

2 Samuel 11 (David’s Fall)

Summary: David was idle—not going out to war as he should have been (v.1). David saw Bathsheba—the wife of Uriah (vv.2-3). They slept together almost immediately (v.4), and she got pregnant (v.5). David pulled Uriah off of the battlefield, and told him to go home to be with his wife (v.8). Uriah couldn’t bring himself to go to the comfort of his house when his comrades were out in battle (v.11). David even tried to get him drunk to get him to go home, but he wouldn’t (v.13). David told Joab to put Uriah out front, so that he will be killed (v.15). David then married Bathsheba, but this displeased God (v.27). Uriah was one of David’s closest warriors (2 Sam. 23:39), and he betrayed him and stole his wife!

(11:1) “Spring time” was a good time for war, because the roads were in good conditions, the weather was good, and there was plenty of food for the horses and men.[178]

David should’ve been keeping busy serving God as the king. Youngblood writes, “Leading his troops into battle was expected to be the major external activity of an ancient Near Eastern ruler.”[179] But instead, he became idle. This is one of the precursors that led to his fall.

(11:2) David had nothing to do. Here we see him taking an afternoon siesta that lasts until “evening” (!!). Then, he strolls around the roof of his palace. It’s in this state that he begins to look out over the walls at Bathsheba. Youngblood writes, “A pottery figurine of a woman bathing in an oval bathtub, found at Aczib in 1942 and dating from the eighth or seventh century BC, illustrates the domestic bathtub of the kind that Bathsheba might have used. Royal families and the wealthy also had luxurious bathrooms in their elaborate houses.”[180]

Later, David’s son Absalom would learn have sex with David’s concubines on this same roof (2 Sam. 16:22). David’s lack of moral integrity led to his son’s downfall as well.

(11:3) Uriah was one of David’s closest friends (2 Sam. 23:39), and David knew full well what he was doing. This was his opportunity to escape the temptation (1 Cor. 10:13). Youngblood comments, “Master of all he surveys, David has everything—and yet does not have enough.”[181]

(11:4-5) David immediately sleeps with her.

Why does the text include the fact that she had just finished her menstrual period? Isn’t this unnecessary detail? Not at all. As it turns out, this is foreshadowing: Bathsheba was not on her period, so she was able to become pregnant (v.5). This also shows that Uriah was definitely not the father.[182]

Bathsheba’s message that she is pregnant is the only time she speaks in the narrative.

What will David do? Confess? Repent? Try and fix the problem?

Cover-Up #1. Send Uriah home to sleep with Bathsheba

(11:6) David immediately brings Uriah off the battle line.

(11:7) To avoid suspicion, David makes small talk about how the battle is going. He pretends that he’s bringing Uriah home to get military intelligence.

(11:8) “Washing feet” was a way of telling him to relax in this culture.[183] The real purpose for the meeting was to get Uriah to go home to sleep with his wife. David butters up Uriah to get him to sleep with Bathsheba—even sending a kingly gift to his house. In reality, David wasn’t a giver—but a taker—of Uriah’s wife!

(11:9-11) “And Uriah slept… where?” Not with Bathsheba, but at the palace with the king’s guard!

Why would Uriah refuse to go home to his wife? David had taught Uriah too well! (1 Sam. 21:4-5) David taught his men to put the Lord and his people first above personal comfort (2 Sam. 23).

Cover-Up #2. Get Uriah drunk to sleep with Bathsheba

(11:12-13) David homes that some alcohol will loosen Uriah’s convictions, but it doesn’t work.

Cover-Up #3. Kill Uriah!

(11:14-15) This scheme is truly diabolical. David writes this letter to Joab, and Uriah has to be the one to deliver it. He literally carried his own letter of death to Joab.

(11:16-17) Joab cooperates with the scheme, and Uriah is shot to death with arrows (v.20) or perhaps a sword (2 Sam. 12:9).

Joab sends his report

(11:18-21) Joab anticipates that David would be angry at the other Israelite losses (v.17). But Joab includes in his military report that, “Uriah is dead.” This would please the king.

The event of Abimelech’s death occurred in Judges 9:50-54. Joab knows that David is a military history buff, and he would remember this account of Abimelech. Subtly, Joab is showing that David was the one to kill Uriah (“Who struck down Abimelech…” and thus “Uriah,” v.21).

Abimelech Uriah
Died because of a woman Died because of a woman
Died in battle Died because David didn’t go to battle

 

(11:22-24) The messengers bring the report to David. They keep repeating, “Uriah your servant is dead” (v.21, 24, 26).

(11:25) David continues to fake appearances with the messengers. A literal translation is, “May this thing/matter not be evil in your eyes.”[184] In reality, this event was heinously evil.

David offers a platitude: “The sword devours one as well as another.” This makes it sound like this death in war was accidental, rather than intentional

(11:26) Wear are David’s tears for Uriah? He has grown cold to the death of his close and loyal friend. Youngblood comments, “Although David had ‘mourned and wept and fasted’ for the fallen Saul and Jonathan and their troops, as well as for Israel as a whole (see 1:12 and comment), unlike Bathsheba he apparently sheds no tears for Uriah (not to mention the other mercenaries).”[185]

(11:27a) David quickly marries Bathsheba so that it appears that he legally impregnated her as his wife, rather than committing adultery.

There was just ONE BIG PROBLEM with David’s scheming…

(11:27b) David had everyone fooled. With all the cunning of a mafia boss, David ties up all of the loose ends. But he forgot about the One who can see everything: God! Later, David would realize this: “Against You, You only, I have sinned and done what is evil in Your sight” (Ps. 51:4).

God wasn’t fooled by David’s cunning, and God comes after him in the next chapter. This is the only mention of God in this entire chapter.

Concluding insights

David manages to break three of God’s central commands: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife… You shall not commit adultery… You shall not murder” (Ex. 20:17, 14, 13). It’s amazing that the Bible is so honest about the faults of its heroes. This entire chapter seems like a scene out of The Godfather.

One of the reasons for losing it spiritually is that we are not keeping busy with the ministry God has given us (v.1).

David was a “fixer.” He had tied up all of the loose ends, but he had ignored the fact that God saw everything (v.27). When we’re in sin, we act like Adam hiding in the bushes (Gen. 3). But it would be better if we just came out with it.

Why did Uriah not sleep with his wife? He learned this from a great man: David! (see 1 Sam. 21:4-5)

How could no one see David falling in sin with Bathsheba? He must’ve been neglecting his wife and family. He must’ve surrounded himself with “yes” men. He must’ve created a “culture of compromise.” Where were David’s peers? Joab—his general—participated in the cover up. Only Nathan had the courage to step up.

David’s accountability really changed when he lost Jonathan in his life.

We don’t need to suffer the same fate of David! (cf. 1 Cor. 10:10-12)

2 Samuel 12 (Nathan Busts David)

Summary: God uses Nathan—the prophet—bust David. He gives David the illustration of a rich man and poor man. The poor man only had one little ewe lamb, but the rich man stole this from him (v.3). David said that the rich man should get capital punishment for the crime, or he should pay for it four times over (v.5). Nathan turns the table on David, and he tells him that he knows what he did. God opens up by telling him all that he had done for him, and he says, “If that had been too little, I would have added to you many more things like these!” (v.8) As judgment, God promises David warfare and his wives being taken from him (v.11). While David deserved death, Nathan told him, “The Lord also has taken away your sin; you shall not die” (v.13). He also told David that the child would die (v.14). The child dies and goes to heaven (v.23). The next son that they have is Solomon (v.24). David continued to conquer the neighboring nations, and he put the people to work (v.31).

Nathan’s prophetic rebuke

(12:1) Nathan wasn’t just a savvy or courageous man. It was “the Lord [who] sent Nathan…”

(12:2-4) Nathan gives the parable (or story) of a man who took a poor man’s precious ewe lamb to slaughter, rather than many of his own. The purpose of the story is to arouse David’s moral indignation by making it a separate, hypothetical situation. David might have remembered what it was like to be poor himself (1 Sam. 18:23).

In verse 3, all three verbs were used regarding Uriah’s refusal to “eat… drink… lie…” with his wife (2 Sam. 11:11).

Why did Nathan go through all of this trouble to tell a story about the poor man with his little ewe lamb? Nathan is baiting David to arouse his moral conscience. When David makes a moral pronouncement with his own mouth, it will be harder for him to justify his own sin. Perhaps there is a lesson to be learned here when confronting others with their sin.

David’s reaction

(12:5) David’s conscience seems to be working well for others. In fact, he is even harsh in judgment toward this hypothetical man. When people are living for sin, it’s amazing how self-righteous they can be.

When David declares that the man “deserves to die,” this is literally that the man “is a son of death.”[186] This could be a play on words with what will happen to David’s own son.

(12:6) This “fourfold” punishment later comes back to haunt David. This concept of a fourfold punishment for civil crimes comes from Exodus 22:1.

Nathan turns the tables on David

Imagine how scary it would be to make this rebuke to the king. After all, David had just gone through an intricate plot to kill Uriah. Nathan might’ve wondered if David would kill him as well.

(12:7-8) Nathan’s setup works on David. He turns the tables and reveals that David is guilty of far worse.

God had rescued David from Saul. But now, David was turning into Saul.

God reminds David of all of the ways that he had blessed him, and God would’ve kept on blessing him. Yet, when we are in the flesh, no amount of blessing is enough!

(12:9) Nathan specifically calls out the sin. He doesn’t allow it to vague; he names the sin specifically.

Saul had been rejected by God for rejecting God’s word as well (1 Sam. 15:23).

Consequences for David

(12:10) This is a references to constant warfare. David’s casual and insensitive words at the death of Uriah (“the sword devours one as well as another”) now come back to haunt him (2 Sam. 11:25). God is going to lift his protection off of David’s life and kingdom.

(12:11) This is later fulfilled in his son Absalom (2 Sam. 16:20-22). All three of David’s sons learn their sexual sin from their father: Amnon raping Tamar (2 Sam. 13:8-14), Absalom having an orgy with the women in the harem (2 Sam. 16:20-22), and Adonijah trying to take David’s concubine after David’s death (1 Kings 2:13-17).

Just as David “took” Bathsheba, God will “take” David’s wives.

(12:12) This is reminiscent of Moses’ words: “Cursed is he who strikes his neighbor in secret” (Deut. 27:24). Nathan is saying that God’s blessing will be replaced by a divine curse.

David’s response

It would’ve been easy for David to merely say, “Off with his head!” He could’ve kept resisting God’s conviction by hiding his sin further or by making a display of power. How will David react?

(12:13-14) David responds with repentance (Ps. 51:4), and God forgives him for the sin (v.13). Yet, the consequences still remain (v.14). Youngblood comments, “The fact that God does not hesitate to strike people down for what might be considered lesser infractions makes his forbearance in David’s case all the more noteworthy.”[187]

David’s son dies

(2 Sam. 12:15) Why did God kill David’s boy for David’s sin?

(12:16-17) David prayed for the consequences to be revoked. While David was forgiven (v.13), the consequences remained.

David sleeps exactly where Uriah had slept in faithfulness to David and the Lord (2 Sam. 11:9).

The people urging David to eat are similar to the people urging Saul to eat after his judgment from Samuel (1 Sam. 31).

(12:18) There could be some significance to the fact that the child dies on the “seventh day.” Hebrew boys were circumcised on the eighth day.

(12:19) David discerned that his child had died. He must’ve been picking up on their hushed tones and avoiding eye contact with him.

(12:20) This judgment from God didn’t cause David to become bitter. Instead, it caused him to turn to God in worship and prayer.

Confusion from the servants

(12:21) The servants have a good question: “Why would you stop mourning and fasting now that the child has died?”

(12:22-23) David must have believed in an afterlife—even for newborn babies. He wasn’t simply comforted by death (after all, why would this be comforting?). David was comforted by the thought that he would one day be reunited with his son.[188]

(2 Sam. 12:23) If infants go to heaven, does this justify infanticide?

The birth of Solomon

(12:24-25) Even though God wouldn’t revoke the consequences for David’s sin, God continued to bless David’s life. In fact, Solomon would become David’s most godly son.

David didn’t seek his own comfort, but rather, he comforted Bathsheba.

The fact that God “loved” Solomon seems to harken back to the Davidic Covenant articulated earlier (2 Sam. 7:11-16). God promised to discipline David’s line, but never forsake them. Jedidiah means, “Loved by the Lord.”[189]

Joab continues to fight on the frontier for Israel

(12:26-27) This whole narrative began with David staying home, while his men fought against the Ammonites (2 Sam. 11:1). Even though David was suffering at home, the battle still continued.

(12:28) Joab wants reinforcements. Otherwise, he is going to take full credit for this battle by naming the city after himself. After all, Joab did all of the fighting.

(12:29-30) David learns his lesson that a king should be going out to war (contra 2 Sam. 11:1). David wins the battle with the Ammonites and takes the gold from the Ammonite king. This battle could have been avoided if the Ammonites hadn’t rejected David’s initial kindness (2 Sam. 10:2).

(2 Sam. 12:31) Why did David torture his enemies like this?

Concluding insights

It’s interesting how God fixes a bad situation. He doesn’t call on David and Bathsheba to divorce. He does take the kid from them, but he ushers him into heaven.

This passage shows the bold courage of Nathan to call out David—even though Nathan could’ve died in the process. We often have to speak the truth in love in a form of confrontation—yet we never worry that the person would kill us!

Nathan doesn’t just bring prophetic words of judgment, but also prophetic words of grace (vv.13-14) and comfort (v.25). Nathan returns in 1 Kings to make sure Solomon will secure the throne (1 Kings 1).

This passage also shows David’s humility. He could’ve doubled down on his schemes and his cover-up with Uriah. But instead, he humbled repents before God and Nathan.

Pastor Chuck Smith notes that David develops a moral passivity from this point forward. He is never the same after this event. Pastor Joe Focht frequently notes that David was a worse king after this fall into sin, but he was a better psalmist.

2 Samuel 13 (Amnon Rapes Tamar)

Summary: What happens as a result of David’s sin? The kingdom begins to collapse. Amnon—David’s son—rapes his step-sister Tamar (v.14). After Amnon sexually assaults Tamar, he kicked her out of the house (v.15). Tamar was Absalom’s sister, and Absalom never talked about this with Amnon, but Absalom became bitter about it (v.22). Eventually, Absalom had Amnon murdered (v.29). Absalom fled the city until his father had cooled down (v.39).

(13:1) What kind of “love” is this?

Did Amnon lust after his biological sister? We learn later that this is his half-sister (v.4).

(13:2) Amnon became literally sick with lust over Tamar.

(13:3-5) Jonadab (Amnon’s cousin) decides to help Amnon get what he wants—no matter the cost. Why is Jonadab so eager to help? Youngblood writes, “Jonadab may be attempting to secure his own political future by casting his lot with the ambitions of the aggressive Absalom, whom he sees as eventually winning out.”[190]

Jonadab sets up a trap for Amnon to rape Tamar: Amnon will fiend illness, so that Tamar can be alone with him.

(13:6-8) Amnon sat and watched Tamar make his food, growing in lust for her.

(13:9) After all of that cooking and baking, Amnon “refused to eat.” He didn’t want Tamar’s food at all. He ordered all of his servants to leave, so he could commit his heinous crime.

(13:10-11) After everyone was gone, Amnon demands that Tamar sleep with him. When it says that he “took hold of her,” this is particularly forceful in the Hebrew.[191]

Centuries earlier, Potiphar’s wife made this same demand on Joseph (Gen. 39:7), but Joseph was physically strong enough to flee.

(13:12-13) This might not have escalated to rape yet. Tamar could be referring to fornication. If they want to sleep together, they should get married. After all, Tamar was a virgin, and she was saving her virginity for marriage.

On the other hand, Tamar may have been trying to get out of this horrible situation, and this is why she appeals to Amnon to ask the king (v.13). Surely, the king wouldn’t allow incest like this.

Tamar tells her brother to “speak to the king.” She invokes David as an official leader—not as her father. She’s hoping David will judicially act to protect her.

(13:14-15) Amnon raped her. After the horrible deed was done, he threw her out of his room like a piece of trash.

(13:16) Why does Tamar respond this way? Wouldn’t she want to be as far away from Amnon as possible?

(13:17-18) Amnon has her escorted out by one of his servants. This is the same command given in verse 9, when he ordered all of his servants out of the room. Amnon doesn’t call her “my sister” or even “Tamar,” but simply “this woman.” He treats her like an object—not a person.

Absalom hears what happened

(13:19) Tamar leaves completely wrecked.

(13:20) How did Absalom know what had happened to Tamar? Did she tell him? Did one of Amnon’s servants tell him? Had gossip merely started to spread?

“Desolate” means “unmarried and childless” (Isa. 54:1).[192]

(13:21) David is angry, but he does nothing about it. There is a marked passivity in David after he was morally compromised. Youngblood writes, “David’s guilt in an analogous situation paralyzes him.”[193]

(13:22) Absalom grew deeply enraged with Amnon, patiently waiting for the right time to strike.

Two years pass… Absalom gets his revenge

(13:23-25) Absalom hosts a massive dinner party, and he invites everyone (including Amnon). This is similar to The Great Gatsby (how Gatsby would invite everyone to his parties, just so Daisy would come).

King David tells him that he cannot come, because it would overburden Absalom.

(13:26) Absalom shows his hand, asking specifically for Amnon. At the same time, he refers to Amnon as “my brother,” perhaps to remove suspicions from David.

King David seems to be a little suspicious, asking why Absalom was asking specifically for Amnon. But still, David does nothing, and he caves in. He might think that sending the rest of the brothers would serve to protect Amnon (v.27).

(13:28-29) Absalom doesn’t have Amnon killed secretly, but publically. Absalom has Amnon killed in full view of his brothers, who run for their lives (v.29).

David hears an exaggerated report

(13:30) The messengers must have had some faulty intel on this incident. Perhaps because all of the brothers went into hiding (v.29), the messengers may have thought that they had died. Remember, this was before the days of text messaging, so they didn’t know where the brothers went.

(13:31) David and his advisers all began to mourn.

(13:32-33) Jonadab was the one who set up this sexual assault in the first place! Now, he is making it look like Absalom is the bad guy, having committed a two-year premeditated murder against Amnon.

(13:34-35) Absalom goes into hiding, and the rest of David’s son arrive.

(13:36-37) David mourned with his sons over the death of Amnon. He mourned “every day” for him (v.37).

(13:37-39) Meanwhile, Absalom seeks asylum with his grandfather, Talmai. Absalom stayed in hiding for three years, until David forgave him and wanted to reconcile with him.

Concluding insights

This chapter shows how David’s sin has had an effect on his family. Because he was unfaithful, this had a corporate effect on his family, and eventually, his nation.

These two sins (rape and murder) parallel David’s sins: “David’s adultery with Bathsheba is mirrored in his son Amnon’s rape of Tamar, and David’s murder of Uriah is reprised in Absalom’s execution of Amnon.”[194]

2 Samuel 14 (An Actress Changes David’s Mind)

Summary: Joab knew that David cared for Absalom and wanted to see him (v.1). He sent a female actress to speak to David. She explains that one of her sons was killed in a blood-feud (vv.6-7), and it would lead to the only surviving son to be killed. David extends an order to stop this execution from happening (v.10). The woman explains that this pertains to the king’s own son, Absalom (v.13). David figures out that Joab is behind this (v.19), and this ploy causes David to change his mind (v.21). He issues a warrant to bring Absalom home (v.21). Absalom had three sons and a daughter (v.27). He came back home for two years without seeing David (v.28). Everyone ignored him until he lit Joab’s field on fire to get attention (vv.31-32). He finally reunited with his father (v.33).

(14:1) Joab set up this plot for David’s benefit. He wasn’t trying to deceive him in an unrighteous way—only to help him to see his son again.

(14:2-3) Joab finds a wise woman from Tekoa (the birthplace of Amos, the prophet. He sends her to David to pretend to be in mourning over her son—just as David had been mourning “every day” for Amnon (2 Sam. 13:37).

The wise woman approaches David with her story

(14:4-7) The woman tells David a (fabricated) story that one of her sons killed the other. Now that this happened, the rest of the family is trying to get her to have the surviving son killed. But if this happens, she will lose her family name and inheritance.

(14:8-11) David agrees to protect her. His mention of “not one hair of your son will fall to the ground” is “ironic and poignant: The hair of his own son Absalom was not only an index of his handsome appearance (cf. vv.25–26) but would also contribute to his undoing (cf. 18:9–15).”[195]

The twist

(14:12-17) The woman points out the inconsistency in David’s decree. If he was willing to protect her estranged and exiled son, then why wouldn’t he protect his own son, Abasalom?

(14:18-20) Even though the woman was “wise” (v.2), she calls David “wise” (v.20). David suspects that the woman was put up to this. Somehow, David knows that Joab was behind the rouse. How will David react to being tricked like this? Will he have this woman killed? Will this cause division between David and Joab?

David agrees with forgiving Absalom

(14:21) David forgives Absalom of capital punishment and exile, and he tells Joab to bring his son home.

(14:22-23) Joab is very happy about this, and he gets Absalom to move back to Jerusalem.

(14:24) David forgave him, but he didn’t want a relationship with him.

Absalom’s response

(14:25) Apparently, many of the people in David’s family were physically attractive: Absalom, Tamar (2 Sam. 13:1), David (1 Sam. 16:12; 17:42), Absalom’s daughter (2 Sam. 14:27), Abigail (1 Sam. 25:3), and Bathsheba (2 Sam. 11:2).

(14:26) This must be describing how thick and fast his hair grew. But how long must his hair have been to weigh 200 shekels (or 3 pounds, see NET note). Youngblood attributes this weight to hyperbole.[196]

Absalom was vain from his long, beautiful hair. However, his vanity in his hair would be the snare that takes his life (2 Sam. 18:9-15).

(14:27) Absalom must have named his daughter after his victimized sister (Tamar).

His sons must have all died at a young age, because he lacks a male heir later in the narrative (2 Sam. 18:18).

(14:28) Absalom spent two years on his property in Jerusalem without seeing his father.

(14:29) He made two attempts to implore Joab to bring him to his father. He must sense that Joab is a key mediator between him and his father.

(14:30-31) Joab only came when Absalom burned his fields to get his attention.

(14:32) Absalom demands an audience with his father.

(14:33) David finally allows Absalom to come to him, and they reunite their love for each other.

Concluding insights

David is passively being led by Joab, the wise woman, and Absalom. His word doesn’t stand whatsoever. He keeps having to take back his word throughout these chapters. The reconciliation with Absalom seems genuine, but the outcome is so disastrous that it makes us wonder if David was really leading well through this situation.

2 Samuel 15 (Absalom’s Revolt)

Summary: Absalom wanted to be king (v.4), and he won over people’s loyalties during this time (v.6). He wanted to throw a coup over David’s kingship (vv.11-12). David hears of this (v.13), and he realizes that he needs to flee (v.14). David puts the Ark back in the city, because he trusts in the fact that God would adjudicate the situation (v.26).

Absalom’s coup

(15:1) Absalom gathers some men to himself. He must have bought a chariot in order to the “look the part” as the king. Earlier, Samuel used this same language to describe what a king would do: “This will be the procedure of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and place them for himself in his chariots and among his horsemen and they will run before his chariots” (1 Sam. 8:11; cf. 1 Kings 1:5).

(15:2-3) Absalom would intercept people before they could hear a ruling from David. Like an “ambulance chasing” lawyer, he would tell them that they have a good case, but David wouldn’t listen to them (v.3). Absalom is slandering the king behind his back.

(15:4) This is a subtle power-play on Absalom’s part. He isn’t saying that he should be the king of Israel—only that he would do a much better job. The pronoun “me” is emphatic in the Hebrew.[197]

(15:5) Instead of accepting honor from people, he would honor the people. This seems altruistic, but this is similar to a politician kissing babies in order to gain votes.

(15:6) Absalom’s plot worked: the people started to side with him.

(15:7a) This political campaign went on behind the scenes for four years. Was David ignorant to Absalom’s ploy this entire time?

(15:7b-10) Absalom feigns that he needs to fulfill a vow in Hebron. In reality, he needs to get some distance from David in order to launch his coup. He gathers all of the Israelites onto his side, so that they will overthrow David’s current administration.

(15:11) Absalom took 200 men with him. Once the coup occurred, he probably figured that they would side with him.

(15:12) Absalom’s act of offering sacrifices mirrors the egregious act of King Saul, which lost him his kingship (1 Sam. 16:2).

Ahithophel may have been the grandfather of Bathsheba (2 Sam. 11:3; 23:34).[198] This could be why he is so eager to join forces with Absalom.

Absalom’s insurgent group gained momentum.

The news of the coup comes to David

David writes Psalm 3 at this time.

(15:13) A faithful messenger tells David that Israel has sided with Absalom.

(15:14) We see more passivity from David. Not only is he unaware of this sinister plot happening right underneath his nose, but he has no will to fight to protect his kingship. He immediately caves in.

(15:15) David’s advisers agree with him, and they run for their lives.

(15:16) These concubines will come up again later in the account.

(15:17-18) David’s men from Gath remained loyal, and he still had a loyal bodyguard to protect him as he fled.

David meets Ittai the Gittite

(15:19-22) A “Gittite” was a man from Gath—a Philistine territory. He swears loyalty to David, rather than Absalom. He becomes a major commander in David’s army (2 Sam. 18:2-12), and he is one of David’s mighty men (2 Sam. 23:29).

In verse 19, the pronoun “you” is emphatic in the Hebrew.[199] In a sense, David is asking, “Why would you—of all people—follow me?”

The “wandering” of David’s people in the desert mirrors the “wandering” of the Jewish people in the desert (Num. 32:13).

David gives the man an opportunity to defect to Absalom’s side (vv.19-20), but Ittai gives his loyalty to David (vv.21-22).

(15:23) The people mourn as David and his people go into hiding in the wilderness. After all of the time David spent fleeing Saul in the wilderness, now David flees once again into the wilderness.

David sends the Ark back to Jerusalem

(15:24) Zadok turns out to be a very faithful priest. He will later take the sake of King Solomon, anointing him as the future king of Israel (1 Kings 1:39ff).

(15:25-28) David puts this coup in God’s hands. He must have doubted whether God was truly with him (v.26).

(15:29) Zadok and Abiathar take the Ark back to Jerusalem.

(15:30) This is more passivity from David. Instead of fighting or planning a counterattack, he wallows in sorrow as he flees his city.

(15:31) This is an interesting prayer. He wants God to work from the “inside out” in Absalom’s cabinet.

David meets Hushai the Arkite

(15:32-37) David sends Hushai back into Absalom’s court as a secret agent and a spy. Hushai works together with the priests (Zadok and Abiathar) to infiltrate Absalom’s new administration. Hushai becomes a key player in protecting David and thwarting Absalom’s revolt (2 Sam. 16:16-18; 17:5-23).

Concluding insights

David tells his followers that they have the option to leave him. He doesn’t force anyone to walk this long road with him.

David was such as strong leader until he fell into moral compromise with Uriah and Bathsheba. Sin leads to passivity in our leadership.

2 Samuel 16 (Absalom Installs Himself)

Summary: Ziba (the steward of Mephibosheth) brings provisions for David (v.1). David accepts the cursing of Shimei and stones being thrown at him. Meanwhile, in Jerusalem, Ahithophel told Absalom to sleep with David’s concubines in the sight of all the people (vv.21-22). Ahithophel’s advice is foolish (v.23).

Ziba: Mephibosheth’s servant

(16:1) Mephibosheth was Jonathan’s physically handicapped son, whom David had shown mercy to earlier.

Ziba (Mephibosheth’s servant) seems to be going rogue. Later Mephibosheth tells David that Ziba had “deceived” him in doing this (2 Sam. 19:26).

(16:2) David is suspicious of Ziba: “Why do you have these?” Ziba dodges the question.

(16:3) David seems to still be suspicious, asking where Mephibosheth is, so that he can speak for himself. Ziba states that Mephibosheth is trying to reclaim the throne. Again, Ziba is betraying Mephibosheth here, and later, Mephibosheth denies that this was true (2 Sam. 19:26-28).

(16:4) For the time being, David takes Ziba at his word, giving Mephibosheth’s property to Ziba.

Shimei—from the house of Saul—curses David

(16:5) Shimei “curses” David. Remember, the Abrahamic Covenant stated that whoever “curses you will be cursed” (Gen. 12:3). Moreover, the Mosaic law forbid “cursing” a ruler (Ex. 22:28). David doesn’t seek revenge on Shimei. In fact, Shimei repents of these curses later (2 Sam. 19:18-20). However, David still doesn’t trust Shimei, and he tells Solomon to kill Shimei on his deathbed (1 Kings 2:8-9).

(16:6) Shimei throws stones at David, but it seems like David is protected by his entourage of soldiers “at his right hand and at his left.”

(16:7-8) Shimei claims that David is losing his throne because of his bloodshed toward the house of Saul. This is blatantly false. David held his hand from killing Saul.

(16:9) Abishai was the man who wanted to kill Saul, while he was sleeping in his tent (1 Sam. 26:8). Later, Abishai will urge David to kill Shimei.

(16:10-12) This picture shows even more passivity from David. A man is cursing him and his family, and he just stands there and takes it. There is a mark of David’s faith beneath this—namely, he wants God to adjudicate the situation. However, David is a broken man here.

(16:13) Shimei continues to follow David and his men, cursing and throwing stones at them the entire way. (This guy has some serious courage to throw stones at a large group of David and his men!)

(16:14) David and his men finally arrive at Bahurim (v.5) or perhaps beyond it (2 Sam. 17:18).

In the meantime, what is Absalom doing in Jerusalem?

(16:15-16) Hushai was sent by David to be a secret agent in Absalom’s court (2 Sam. 15:32ff). Will Absalom fall for this? Or will he see through Hushai’s deception?

(16:17) This question can be translated as a cutting statement: “So this is the love you show your friend!”[200]

(16:18-19) Hushai tells Absalom what David had told him to say (2 Sam. 15:32). Commentators note that Hushai is being deliberately ambiguous throughout this section, playing on Absalom’s pride that Hushai is speaking about him, rather than David.[201]

(16:20-23) Absalom asks Ahithophel (his counselor) for advice. Instead of rendering a verdict regarding Hushai, Ahithophel tells Absalom to have an orgy with David’s ten concubines. He does this in “the sight of all Israel” (v.21). This parallels David’s sin of sleeping with Bathsheba: David saw Bathsheba from this same rooftop of the palace (2 Sam. 11:2). What David did in secret, Absalom did in public, fulfilling the prediction of Nathan the prophet (2 Sam. 12:10).

David keeps these women as widows when he returns (2 Sam. 20:3).

(16:23) Ahithophel’s advice was not God’s truth, but it was “as if one inquired of the word of God” (NASB) or “like that of one who inquires of God” (NLT).

2 Samuel 17 (The Death of Ahithophel)

Summary: Ahithophel offers to hunt David down and kill him with 12,000 men (vv.1-3), and Absalom (his son!) approves (v.4). Hushai tells him that this isn’t a good idea, because David is such a gifted and seasoned fighter (v.8). Instead, he calls for gathering the entire army of Israel to fight him (v.11). Absalom sides with Hushai (v.14). Ahithophel couldn’t handle the fact that his advice had not been followed, so he hanged himself (v.23). People brought copious supplies for David (vv.27-29).

Ahithophel wants to hunt down David

(17:1) Ahithophel knew that it would take this many men to successfully kill David.

(17:2-4) How much does David’s life foreshadow Jesus? Ahithophel wants to kill David (God’s anointed) in order to save the entire nation of Israel. Moreover, “all the elders of Israel” agreed with this. This is reminiscent of Caiaphas’ thinking regarding killing Jesus (Jn. 11:49-50).

Ahithophel wants to “hit David hard” while he’s weak.[202]

Absalom consults Hushai

(17:5-10) Remember, Hushai is working for David (2 Sam. 15:32ff), so he contradicts Ahithophel’s advice. Hushai points out that David is a mighty man of war, who is surrounded by mighty men of war (v.8). If David starts to lead guerrilla warfare, this could seriously panic Absalom’s men. Since David is prone to hiding in caves (v.9), it will take an enormous amount of man power to find him.

(17:11-13) Hushai suggests that Absalom lead the troops to Dan and Beersheba. When David surfaces, then the army will be able to capture him.

(17:14) David’s prayer was answered (2 Sam. 15:31).

(17:15-16) Meanwhile, Hushai sends word to David to get away from the mounting army.

Hushai, Zadok, and Abiathar send messengers to David (Jonathan and Ahimaaz)

(17:17-20) Jonathan and Ahimaaz were the sons of Zadok and Abiathar (2 Sam. 15:27, 36). They were spotted by a boy in En-Rogel, which is a mile south-south-east of Jerusalem.[203] The boy rats out the messengers to Absalom.

The messengers flee to Bahurim, which is about two miles northeast of Jerusalem.[204] An ally to David in Bahurim hid the two men in his well. The man’s wife covered the well, and she lied to Absalom’s men about it (v.20).

(17:21-22) David receives the message successfully, and he avoids capture and death.

Ahithophel hangs himself

(17:23) Why would Ahithophel take such drastic measures? Was his pride hurt this badly? Was he worried that David would regain the throne and have him killed? Could he see that the political maneuvering would come back against him?

It could be that Ahithophel couldn’t stand being rejected like this. After all, earlier, Ahithophel’s advice was considered “as if one inquired of the word of God; so was all the advice of Ahithophel regarded by both David and Absalom” (2 Sam. 16:23). Now, however, Ahithophel has been rejected.

It could be that Ahitophel knew that David would not be captured and killed by Absalom. Therefore, he realizes that David will soon return to seek revenge on Ahithophel.[205]

Absalom continues to pursue David

(17:24-26) Mahanaim was the headquarters of Ish-bosheth (2 Sam. 2:8). It must have felt strange for David to take up shelter here.

Absalom replaced Joab with his cousin Amasa. Joab probably fled with David (2 Sam. 18:5).[206]

(17:27-29) Shobi (son of Nahash)[207] provides David and his men with food and supplies.

Concluding insights

David is on the run for most of his adult life. If God had told him that he would be king, we doubt that he would have believed that this would involve such turmoil. As believers, we are sons of the King, but we are tormented too.

David didn’t have to face this torment alone. Notice how many people side with him, and how many people help him along the way (e.g. Hushai, Zadok, Abiathar, the messengers, Nahash, etc.).

2 Samuel 18 (The Death of Absalom)

Summary: David collects his men to fight (v.1). The men tell him to stay back because he is more valuable than the other men (v.3). He asks that the men would be gentle with Absalom (v.5). David’s men win the battle, killing 20,000 men (v.7).

Absalom’s hair was caught in a tree, as his mule ran through the branches (v.9). Joab killed Absalom because he was a sitting duck (v.14). The runners (news-carriers) run to David to tell him what happened. David is convinced that they were bringing good news (v.27). The Cushite news-carrier tells him that Absalom died (v.32). This shakes David deeply, and causes him to weep (vv.32-33).

David asks for Absalom to be dealt with “gently”

(18:1-2) David gathers the troops, places them under good leadership, and tells them that he will lead in the battle with them. The words “I myself” are emphatic in the Hebrew.[208]

(18:3-4) The men tell David not to fight with them. After all, David is the central leader of the nation. If he dies, then the army would collapse. This is a total reversal of Hushai’s advice to Absalom (2 Sam. 17:11).

(18:5) David may have wanted to go fight in person in order to protect his son. He tells the commanders (in earshot of the entire army) to be “gentle” with Absalom. Even after all of Absalom’s treachery, David was still Absalom’s father and this man was his son. He couldn’t bring himself to have the man killed. Youngblood comments, “David’s reference to his son as ‘the young man’ (cf. also vv.12, 29, 32) indicates, together with his words ‘for my sake,’ something of his paternal affection in spite of Absalom’s destructive ambition, arrogance, and treachery.”[209]

The battle begins

(18:6-7) David’s men are victorious. 20,000 men died.

(18:8) Why would the forest kill so many men? This could refer to the fact that the armies were spread out, far and wide, and David’s men were more skilled at using guerrilla warfare in the forests.[210]

The death of Absalom

(18:9) Absalom flees from the battle through the forest. As he rides his mule, his long, thick hair gets caught in a tree. “Hair” and “head” are used together in 2 Samuel 14:26. Remember, Absalom’s hair was a sign of his vanity (cf. 2 Sam. 14:26). This was his undoing in battle.

(18:10-13) One of Joab’s men reports what happened. Joab tells the man that he would’ve rewarded him for killing the man (ten pieces of silver = four ounces).[211] However, the messenger knows that David had told them not to harm Absalom.

(18:14) Joab stabbed Absalom with three “spears” (NASB) or “javelins” (NIV) or “daggers” (NLT), and Absalom still didn’t die (!!).

(18:15) Ten of Joab’s men surrounded and killed Absalom.

(18:16-17) Since Absalom was dead, the war was effectively over. Joab had Absalom buried in the forest.

(18:18) Why does the text interject with this statement about Absalom’s Monument? Since Absalom didn’t have a son to carry on his name (perhaps they all died? 2 Sam. 14:27), he settled for a monument.

Messengers come to David with the news

(18:19-21) Joab won’t let one of his men bring the (bad) news to David. Instead, he sends one of the foreigners—an Ethiopian man.

(18:22-23) Ahimaaz persists in wanting to bring the news to David, and Joab allows him to go.

(18:24-27) David expected the messengers to bring good news.

(18:28-30) Ahimaaz thinks that he is bringing good news (v.28), but Ahimaaz lies and doesn’t tell David that Absalom died (v.29).

(18:31-32) The Ethiopian tells David that Absalom is dead.

(18:33) This is the third son that David lost after his sin against Uriah and Bathsheba. There is hardly a more touching and emotional verse in the entire Bible. There is so much betrayal and treachery here, but so much love as well.

The “I” is emphatic in the Hebrew (“If only I had died instead of you!” NIV).[212] David cries, “My son…” five times in this one verse.

Concluding insights

The messengers brought news about the corporate battle, but David only wants to hear what happened to his son (v.29, 32). David’s son meant more to him than the entire battle.

David cared deeply for his son (vv.32-33), but he wasn’t willing to discipline or lead him. David was a brave soldier, but a weak father.

2 Samuel 19 (David Wins Back the Nation)

Summary: David continues to weep for Absalom (v.4), and Joab rebukes David for this (vv.5-6). David replaces Joab with Amasa as his military commander (v.13). David went out and won over the crowds to follow him again (v.14). The chapter ends with certain men coming forward to speak with David. The men of Judah and Israel bicker over who has more rights to David as their king, and this is how the chapter ends (v.43).

David continues to mourn for Absalom

(19:1-4) Joab hears that David is mourning Absalom (v.1). This must feel like a slap in the face to him, because he is the one who killed Absalom. David’s mourning completely diffuses the celebration of the war (vv.2-3). The victorious soldiers literally “make themselves move around like thieves.”[213] That is, they act guilty, rather than encouraged by the victory.

Joab rebukes David

(19:5-7) It’s easy to identify with Joab: He just saved the lives of innumerable people by killing Absalom, and he rescued the nation without more military losses. Yet David’s son is dead! The two men are simply at odds on this depressing situation.

Joab uses hyperbole to describe David’s “hate” for the people who “love” him. He is arguing that David’s emotions are unstable and irrational—much like Amnon (2 Sam. 13:15).

Joab claims that David would wish all of the men to be dead, rather than Absalom (v.6). In reality, David wished himself dead, rather than his son (2 Sam. 18:33).

Joab demands that David go out and congratulate their men for their service.

Reaction from the people

(19:8) The people who were loyal to Absalom scattered like cockroaches into their nests.

(19:9-10) The Israelites who sided with Absalom want to save face and welcome back David as their king.

(19:11-12) David sends the priests to the Israelite leaders, asking them to welcome back their king.

(19:13) David doesn’t want Joab to lead his army anymore, and he replaces him with Amasa.

(19:14) Amasa gathers the people to return to David.

(19:15) This outcome is the best of possible scenario. The leaders of Israel could’ve doubled-down and led a civil war against David. But instead, they choose a peaceful alternative.

Shimei meets with David

(19:16) Remember, Shimei was the man who cursed David and threw rocks at him before the battle (2 Sam. 16:5-13). Now that the battle went in David’s favor, will he have the same attitude toward David?

(19:17) Ziba was the man who sold out Mephibosheth earlier (2 Sam. 16:1-4), and Mephibosheth tells this to David (vv.26-27).

(19:18-20) Would Shimei have had this response if David had lost the battle? How will David respond to this traitor?

(19:21) Abishai—one of David’s commanders—had wanted to kill Shimei earlier (2 Sam. 16:7).

(19:22) David’s response is interesting. He seems to be saying that there has already been enough bloodshed. Also, he doesn’t need to kill Shimei to vindicate himself.

(19:23) David promises not to kill Shimei—though he doesn’t make his Solomon keep the same oath! (1 Kings 2:8)

Mephibosheth meets with David

(19:24-28) This description sounds like Mephibosheth was in mourning since David was dethroned. This makes his account of Ziba’s treachery believable (vv.26-27). Ziba had slandered Mephibosheth to David earlier (2 Sam. 16:3-4). Mephibosheth puts his life in David’s hands (v.28).

(19:29) David decides to divide the property 50/50 between Mephibosheth and Ziba. Apparently, he isn’t sure whom to believe.

(19:30) Mephibosheth isn’t in it for the money. He seems like the loyal man in this situation.

Barzillai the Gileadite meets with David

(19:31-39) Barzillai was one of the men who took care of David and his men with food during his short exile (2 Sam 17:27-29). Later, on his deathbed, David tells Solomon to take care of Barzillai’s sons (1 Kin 2:7). Kinham (Barzillai’s son) goes with David. Barzillai was an old man, and just wanted to die at home.

The King returns to his Kingdom

(19:39-40) Why do only “half” of the Israelites come with David? It could be that the rest of them are still in their homes—afraid to come out (2 Sam. 19:8).

(19:41-43) The men of Judah and Israel argue over who has more of a right to have David as their king. The men of Judah argue that David is from their bloodline (v.42), but the men of Israel argue that they have 10 out of the 12 tribes in the nation (v.43). These people go from exiling David to fighting over him as their king.

Concluding thoughts

Was David right to be at odds with Joab? In his favor, he had told Joab not to kill Absalom in advance, and Absalom was his son. However, in Joab’s favor, he killed a seditious and rebellious man who would’ve ruined the nation and killed incalculable people.

David’s peaceful solution to the traitors led to peace in the land of Israel. If David had played this differently, he would’ve started a civil war.

2 Samuel 20 (Sheba’s Rebellion)

Summary: Sheba led a rebellion, and took away all the men of Israel (v.2). But Judah stayed with David. David ordered that Abishai and Joab go to hunt down Sheba (v.6). Joab killed Amasa, and he gathered the troops to continue to hunt down Sheba (v.13). They surrounded Sheba (v.15). As they were breaking down the door (v.16), a wise woman told Joab that the city was innocent (v.19). Joab promised to spare the city, if they will give over Sheba (v.21). The city decapitated Sheba, and the city was spared (v.22).

Sheba leads a revolt!

(20:1) After all of this peacemaking, Sheba—a Benjamite—starts to lead a revolt. The man is a “worthless fellow” or literally a “man of Belial.”[214] The fact that he is a Benjamite could imply that he is loyal to the deceased King Saul, who was from that tribe (1 Sam. 9:1).

(20:2) Specifically, he tries to lead a civil war by getting the northern half of the nation (Israel) to revolt against the southern half (Judah). Judah stays loyal to David.

David’s response?

(20:3) By sleeping with his son Absalom (2 Sam. 16:21), they had made in irrevocable choice. At the same time, what would’ve happened to them if they refused to sleep with Absalom? They were in a moral dilemma. David seems to make a wise solution: He provided for the women’s needs, but he left them widowed. The term here refers to “virtual incarceration.”[215]

(20:4-7) David tells his new military commander, Amasa, to gather the troops (v.4). Because he took too long (v.5), David sends Abishai and Joab to seek-and-destroy Sheba before he can bunker down in a fortified city (vv.6-7). Remember, Abishai had formely led a third of David’s troops into battle (2 Sam. 18:2). Abishai was an experienced military man.

Joab betrays Amasa

(20:8-10) Abishai and Joab meet Amasa at “modern el-Jib, six miles northwest of Jerusalem.”[216] Joab must have been bitter that David had promoted Amasa over himself. It seems like Abishai colluded with Joab in this murder.

Amasa had been Absalom’s commander beforehand (2 Sam. 17:25), and he lost the battle to David’s men (2 Sam. 18:7). He also failed at getting to Sheba in time (vv.4-5), and he failed to see this trap laid by Joab.

(20:11-13) One of Joab’s men called on the soldiers to follow Joab, rather than the dead Amasa. After staring at the dead body of Amasa for a little while (v.12), this must have been pretty persuasive to them (!!).

(20:14-15) Joab follows Sheba into a town called Abel Beth-maacah. Joab started to break down the walls.

(20:16-21) A wise woman comes outside of the city to speak with Joab. Joab had respect for “wise women” (cf. 2 Sam. 14:20). She realizes that Joab only wants the head of Sheba—not to destroy the town. So, she promises Joab to kill Sheba in order to spare the town.

Sheba “lifted up his hand” in the same way that Absalom had “lifted up his hand” (v.21; cf. 2 Sam. 18:28). Joab is linking Sheba’s rebellion with Absalom’s rebellion.

(20:22) This woman persuades the entire town to decapitate Sheba in order to spare the town. Consequently, Joab decides to honor his half of the bargain, and leave the town alone.

David’s Cabinet

(20:23) Joab takes back his role as the chief military commander.

Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was one of David’s mighty men (1 Chron. 27:6), who had a history of heroic military exploits (2 Sam. 23:20-23). Benaiah stays loyal to David’s line, fighting for Solomon against his enemies (1 Kings 1).

(20:24) Adoram isn’t mentioned until now. He was in charge of forced, conscripted labor, which would eventual be used for building the Temple (Deut. 20:10-11). This man is later stoned to death under Rehoboam (1 Kings 12:18).

Jehoshaphat—the son of Ahilud—remains in his role as the recorder (2 Sam. 8:16).

(20:25) Sheva replaces Seraiah as the secretary.

Zadok and Abiathar were the two priests who were loyal to David.

(20:26) Ira the Jairite is only mentioned here, unless we identify him with the other men who were David’s warriors (2 Sam. 23:26, 28; 1 Chron. 11:28, 40; 27:9).

Concluding insights

What are we to make of Joab? He killed Absalom to protect the nation. He also killed Amasa: Was this out of jealousy, or Amasa’s incompetence as a leader? At the same time, he isn’t so bloodthirsty that he would destroy the entire town to kill Sheba. He could be reasoned with. However we look at Joab, he was a man of war.

2 Samuel 21 (Seven of Saul’s Descendants Slaughtered)

Summary: There was a three year famine in Israel (v.1). God did this because Saul had killed the Gibeonites. David asked these people how to make restitution (v.3). They asked for seven of Saul’s descendants to be killed (v.6), and David agreed (vv.6-7). The men were killed (v.9). David went on to bury the bones of Saul and Jonathan (v.14). As a result, God continued to answer prayer (v.14). Abishai protected David from a Philistine warrior (vv.16-17). Others were mighty warriors who came to destroy David, but he was protected by his men (vv.20-22).

Appeasing the Philistines… with blood!

(21:1) This seems to be the only reference to Saul (or his descendants?) killing the Gibeonites.

Why was God retroactively punishing Israel for something that Saul did with the Gibeonites? Moses recorded, “So you shall not pollute the land in which you are; for blood pollutes the land and no expiation can be made for the land for the blood that is shed on it, except by the blood of him who shed it” (Num. 35:33; cf. Deut. 19:10).

(21:2) Remember, Joshua had made this oath with the Gibeonites (Josh. 9:3, 15-20).

(21:3) David tracks down these remaining Amorites, and he asks them what he can do to make amends (or literally “make atonement”)[217] for Saul’s murder and oath-breaking.

(21:4) The Gibeonites do not want money or murder.

(21:5-6) They ask for seven of Saul’s descendants to execute them (v.5), and David agrees with this request (v.6).

(21:7-8) David spared Mephibosheth, because of his oath to Jonathan (v.7), but he took seven of Saul’s grandsons to be executed (v.8).

(21:9) These seven men were executed by the Gibeonites.

(21:10) One of the mothers (Rizpah) publicly mourned her sons. Rizpah was one of Saul’s concubines (2 Sam. 3:7).

(21:11-14) Consequently, David gave her the bones of Saul and Jonathan (to console her?). He buried the entire family with their ancestor, Kish. In other words, David gave the mother a proper burial for her family line.

Four of Goliath’s heirs seek revenge on David

(21:15) David isn’t the young warrior that he used to be. He is getting older and “weary” of fighting.

(21:16) One of the Philistine giants (Ishbi-Benob) wanted to challenge David—perhaps to take revenge on him killing his ancestor “the giant” (Goliath? 1 Sam. 17). Ishbi-Benob’s spear is only half of the weight of Goliath’s (cf. 1 Sam. 17:7), but it still shows that he was a massive man.

(21:17) Abishai comes to David’s defense, and the two of them kill the giant warrior. After this episode, the men of Israel realize that David shouldn’t be out fighting anymore. He’s getting old, and it’s likely that he could get killed on the battlefield.

(21:18) Sibbecai kills another one of Goliath’s descendants. Sibbecai is one of David’s thirty mighty men (2 Sam 23:27).

(21:19) Elhanan kills Goliath the Gittite. The parallel passage states that Elhanan killed “the brother” of Goliah. This is a transmission error.

(2 Sam. 21:19) Who killed Goliath—David or Elhanan? (cf. 1 Sam. 17:50)

(21:20-21) Jonathan—the son of Shimei—kills another one of Goliath’s descendents.

(21:22) These four giant heirs of Goliath were all killed by David and his men.

Concluding insights

We’re not really sure what to do with David handing over seven men to be killed (v.6). This may have been a lesser of two evils.

2 Samuel 22 (David’s Song)

Summary: David sings a song to praise God for his protection. This song almost exactly parallels Psalm 18. Evans writes, “It may be that this was an earlier version, a first draft that was then formalized for use in corporate worship.”[218]

(22:1) This doesn’t necessarily mean that David wrote this during the life of Saul. Instead, this song “sums up and explains all of the king’s military career and also gives an overriding impression of a personal relationship with God.”[219] It must have been written at least after David receives the Davidic Covenant (compare 2 Sam. 7:11-14 with verse 51).

God is my protection

(22:2) These descriptions for God show that David viewed God as stable and a source of protection (e.g. rock, fortress, deliverer).

(22:3) Note how David personalizes his relationship with God: God is “my rock… my shield… my salvation.”

(22:4) David trusted that God would answer his prayers, and God would become active in moving him forward.

Rescue from death

(22:5-7) God saved David from death (multiple times). David was convinced that God would rescue him when he called out to him in prayer.

God is a mighty warrior

(22:8-16) David uses anthropomorphic language to describe the raw power and presence of God. Of course, God is a spiritual, non-corporeal being (Jn. 4:24), but David captures his grandeur through poetic language.

God rescued David—over and over

(22:17) What do the “waters” represent? This could be an allusion to how God “drew” Moses from the Nile. Moreover, the “waters” represent “a cosmic metaphor that symbolizes the most threatening of perils (cf. Davidic Pss 32:6 [‘mighty waters’]; 144:7).”[220]

(22:18) Even though David was a tough man, he still refers to his enemies as more powerful. There is no boasting in his self-effort or personal power.

(22:19) David wouldn’t have been able to fight his enemies on his own.

(22:20) The reason God rescued David was because of his love (“He delighted in me…”).

God rewards David

(2 Sam. 22:21-25) How can David say that he never turned away from God’s laws?

(22:26-27) God dealt with people fairly.

(22:28) God helps the humble, but opposes the proud (Jas. 4:6).

(22:29) God guides David.

(22:30) God empowers David.

God is truthful

(22:31) The reason we can take refuge in God is precisely because he is truthful.

God is a protector

(22:32) God is unique.

(22:33) God is a protector to David.

God empowers David

(22:34) Animals climbing on the tall mountains had incredible balance and poise; otherwise, they would fall to their deaths. David compares God’s work in his life to this picture from nature.

(22:35) God doesn’t do everything for David, but he trains David to become stronger.

(22:36) David attributes his greatness to God’s involvement in his life.

(22:37) Similar to verse 34.

(22:38-43) God gave David power to destroy his enemies. Remember, these enemies were enemies of God and his purposes—not just enemies of David. These are “violent” men (v.49).

(22:44) God even saved David from his own people.

(22:45-46) The surrounding nations are fearful of attacking David, because of God.

(22:47-49) David extends the concept that God is his “rock” to the surrounding, attacking nations.

David praises God for who he is and what he does

(22:50) David’s gratitude has an evangelistic effect on the nations.

(22:51) David closes this song by reflecting on God’s promise of the Davidic Covenant (2 Sam. 7:11-15). Even with all of David’s sin, David knew that God would still be faithful to his promise.

2 Samuel 23 (David’s Mighty Men)

Summary: David was exalted by God, anointed, and a hero of Israel (v.1). Each of David’s three men were powerful warriors (v.8ff). At one point, David longed for water during battle (v.15). His men heard this, broke through the enemy lines, and brought it back to him (v.16). But David poured it out, because he didn’t want to take from his men’s labor (v.17). Others were in David’s mighty men, but there were three central men (v.18ff). There were thirty total (v.24).

David’s last will and testament

(23:1) We learn a lot about a person from their last words. These words in verses 1-7 are “generally acknowledged to have been written by David himself.”[221]

How does David identify himself in his final words? He identifies himself as a son of Jesse, a man raised up by God, and a man anointed by God. Notice, none of these attributes are his accomplishments—only what God did through him.

Finally, he identifies himself as the “sweet psalmist of Israel.” This is what he wanted to be remembered for: his insightful psalms about God. Incidentally, three thousand years later, this is how most people remember David.

(23:2) This is a good passage for inspiration: God spoke, but it was through David’s mouth. Jesus affirmed that God spoke through David by the Holy Spirit (Mt. 22:43). This is a similar formula for other OT prophets (Hos. 1:2; Num. 12:2; 1 Kings 22:28).

(23:3-4) God compares a righteous ruler to the sun appearing over the horizon on a cloudless day. The imagery appears to be that of light illuminating the sky, land, and people from darkness. Just as the sun has a universal effect on the land, a righteous ruler has a universal impact on the land.

(23:5) David reaffirms God’s covenant with him (cf. 2 Sam. 7:11-16).

(23:6-7) The everlasting Davidic Covenant is in contrast to the judgment and transitory existence of the wicked.

David’s mighty men

One way to discern a good leader is to look at their followers. If David could lead men of this quality, it really tells us something about David.

(23:8) Josheb-basshebeth a Tahchemonite single-handedly killed 800 men. The parallel passage states that it was only 300 men (1 Chron. 11:11), but the manuscript evidence unilaterally favors 800 men in this passage.[222] The passage in 1 Chronicles 11 is probably a case of dittography from 1 Chronicles 11:20.

(23:9-10) Eleazar the son of Dodo the Ahohite was one of three elite soldiers. He stood with David against the Philistines, when all of the others had retreated.

(23:11-12) Shammah the son of Agee a Hararite

(23:13-14) Three of David’s men came to support him, while he was fending off the Philistines in the valley of Rephaim. This passage is probably a flashback to 2 Samuel 5:17-25.[223]

(23:15) David starts to think out loud. He remembers the cool water of Bethlehem, and he was apparently thirsty, longing for a drink of that water.

(23:16a) The three men risk their lives to get a pouch of water from that well. Adullam was twelve miles northeast of Bethelem.[224] They probably thought that this was a good idea. After all, they were serving the desires of their king.

(23:16b-17) Why does David pour out the water? Was this an act of cruelty or caprice? Not at all. Dennis McCallum argues that David was showing something of God’s heart for servant leadership. It would have been tempting to accept gifts, favors, and praise from his men. However, David poured it all out on the ground! He didn’t want them to give him special gifts, but instead, he wanted them to keep their focus on pleasing God. David didn’t want them risking their lives to please him, but to please God.

As leaders, we will have an opportunity to use our influence for self-advantage (e.g. self-glorification, bossing people around, not doing serving, making money, etc.). Such high levels of devotion to leaders are really misplaced devotion, which really belongs to God. This was Saul’s problem. As one commentator wrote, “Saul could get men to follow him, but he couldn’t get himself to follow God.”

(23:18) Abishai (Joab’s brother) had killed 300 hundred men single-handedly.

(23:19) Even though he was the best of the thirty mighty men, he still wasn’t as strong as the “three.”

(23:20-22) Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was also powerful, killing two sons of Moab, which should be translated, “Moab’s two best men.”[225] He killed a lion (!). He also disarmed an “impressive” Egyptian champion and killed the man with his own spear (v.21). The Egyptian was 7.5 feet tall, according to the parallel passage (1 Chron. 11:23).

(23:23) Like Abishai, Benaiah was tough, but he still wasn’t as tough as the “three.”

(23:24-39) The rest of the chapter lists all of David’s men (“thirty-seven in all”), who served him. It’s interesting that the list concludes with Uriah the Hittite.

Concluding insights

David’s men wanted to please him, but he refused to accept personal aggrandizement from them. As leaders, we shouldn’t take from our people.

Dennis McCallum asks the question: Why was David a ‘man after God’s own heart’ (1 Sam. 13:14), and why did God stick with David rather than Saul? Saul was permanently disqualified from God’s plan after offering the sacrifices (1 Sam. 15). Yet, David was a murderer, adulterer, and a poor father (2 Sam. 11). Why was David God’s man, rather than Saul? This chapter could give us insight into this question: David didn’t take the sacrifices of his men for self-aggrandizement, but instead, he directed his followers to God.

2 Samuel 24 (David’s Intercession)

Summary: God told David to perform a census (v.1). Joab wants to know why David wants to count numbers (v.3). David realized that this was a mistake (v.10). God gives David three options of discipline for what happened (v.12). 70,000 people died as a result (v.15). David wants to take the punishment for the sake of the people (as a type of Christ? See verse 17). David’s sacrifices pulled the plague off of Israel (v.25).

(24:1) God was angry with Israel. Consequently, to judge the people, God told David to take the census.

For an explanation for how we harmonize this with 1 Chronicles 21:1, see comments on (Isa. 45:7) Does God create evil? (cf. Lam. 3:38; Jer. 18:8; Amos 3:6)

(24:2) David has Joab take the census.

(24:3-4) Joab pushes back on this census, but David insists.

(24:5-9) Joab travels all around Israel, and he comes up with a figure of 800,000 warriors in Israel, and another 500,000 in Judah.

(24:10) Why was taking a census such a serious sin?

(24:11-13) The prophet Gad speaks for God to David. God gives David three different options for the judgment that he can face.

(24:14) David learns the lesson: He shouldn’t trust in his large number of soldiers, but in God alone.

(24:15) God sent a “pestilence” (i.e. a plague) that killed 70,000 men. Perhaps, God killed the men to show that their power wasn’t in their army, but in him alone. God could snap his fingers and have the army dismantled, but God’s power would never disappear.

(24:16) God spared Jerusalem.

(24:17) David intercedes for the people—much like Moses (Ex. 32:32) and much like Jesus.

(24:18-19) The prophet Gad tells David to construct an altar to God (v.18), and David agrees (v.19).

(24:20-23) David tries to buy the plot of land off of Araunah the Jebusite (v.21), but Araunah offers it to him for free (vv.22-23).

(24:24) David refuses to accept it for free, and he pays him fifty shekels.

(24:25) David gives the burnt offerings, but the text says that God was moved by David’s “prayers” for the land. God took the plague away.

Concluding insights

Why does this book end in this way?

(1 Sam. 1:11) Does God support bargaining practices and vows?

CLAIM: Hannah makes a vow to give her future baby to God if she becomes pregnant. Does God answer prayers based on vows like this?

RESPONSE: God doesn’t answer prayers based on our vows for him, but based on his own will (1 Jn. 5:14-15). Hannah wasn’t asking for a son for her own purpose, but for God’s purposes. For instance, if a person vowed, “God, give me a brand new car, and I’ll promise to follow you forever!” God wouldn’t answer this. However, if someone said, “God, give me a reliable car, so I can serve in a high school Bible study on the weekends.” This would be different. If you’re vowing to give what you get to God’s purposes, this would be different. Like Hannah, we would be asking for something, so that we could put it to God’s purposes—not our own.

Finally, we know that God doesn’t answer prayers based on our vows, because God gave Hannah five kids—not just one—later on (1 Sam. 2:21). This shows that God answers prayers beyond what we have in mind—based on grace—not vows (Eph. 3:20).

[1] Youngblood writes, “Like Kings and Chronicles, each of which is slightly longer than Samuel, the scroll of Samuel was too unwieldy to be handled with ease and so was divided into two parts in early MSS of the LXX. Not until the fifteenth century a.d. was the Hebrew text of Samuel separated into two books, and the first printed Hebrew Bible to exhibit the division is the Bomberg edition published in Venice in 1516/17.” Youngblood, Ronald. 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House. 1992. 553.

[2] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 554). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[3] Merrill, Eugene H., Mark F. Rooker, and Michael A. Grisanti, The World and the Word: An Introduction to the Old Testament (Nashville, TN: B&H Academic, 2011), 307.

[4] Tsumura, D. (2007). The First Book of Samuel (p. 11). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[5] Archer, G., Jr. (1994). A survey of Old Testament introduction (3rd. ed., p. 313). Chicago: Moody Press.

[6] Archer, G., Jr. (1994). A survey of Old Testament introduction (3rd. ed., p. 313). Chicago: Moody Press.

[7] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 554). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[8] Tsumura holds that multiple historical accounts were pieced together by an author at this time. Tsumura, D. (2007). The First Book of Samuel (p. 11). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[9] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 571). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[10] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 571). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[11] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 571). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[12] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 574). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[13] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 579). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[14] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 579). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[15] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 580). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[16] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 594). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[17] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 594). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[18] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 594). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[19] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 595). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[20] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 598). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[21] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, pp. 598–599). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[22] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 599). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[23] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 600). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[24] Baldwin, J. G. (1988). 1 and 2 Samuel: An Introduction and Commentary (Vol. 8, p. 79). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[25] Tsumura, D. (2007). The First Book of Samuel (p. 208). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[26] Cited in Baldwin, J. G. (1988). 1 and 2 Samuel: An Introduction and Commentary (Vol. 8, p. 80). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[27] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 601). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[28] Tsumura, D. (2007). The First Book of Samuel (p. 208). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[29] Baldwin, J. G. (1988). 1 and 2 Samuel: An Introduction and Commentary (Vol. 8, p. 80). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[30] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 601). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[31] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 601). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[32] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 601). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[33] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 604). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[34] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 604). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[35] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 608). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[36] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 608). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[37] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 608). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[38] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 608). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[39] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 608). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[40] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 609). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[41] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 609). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[42] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 609). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[43] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 612). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[44] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 612). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[45] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 614). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[46] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 618). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[47] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 618). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[48] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 618). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[49] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 625). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[50] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 625). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[51] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 630). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[52] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 630). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[53] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 632). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[54] Cited in Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 634). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[55] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 636). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[56] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 636). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[57] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 639). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[58] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 646). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[59] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 649). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[60] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 649). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[61] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 657). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[62] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 659). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[63] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 660). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[64] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 663). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[65] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 667). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[66] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 668). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[67] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 674). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[68] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, pp. 675–676). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[69] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 676). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[70] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 676). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

NIV The New International Version

[71] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 677). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[72] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 678). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[73] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 679). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[74] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 683). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[75] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 684). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[76] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 686). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[77] Tsumura, D. (2007). The First Book of Samuel (p. 429). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[78] Evans, M. J. (2012). 1 & 2 Samuel. (W. W. Gasque, R. L. Hubbard Jr., & R. K. Johnston, Eds.) (p. 81). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[79] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 695). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[80] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 695). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[81] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 696). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[82] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 693). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[83] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 697). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[84] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 697). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[85] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 697). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[86] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 699). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[87] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 699). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[88] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 700). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[89] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 701). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[90] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 703). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[91] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 710). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[92] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 716). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[93] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 717). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[94] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 719). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[95] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 723). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[96] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 724). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[97] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 724). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[98] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 727). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[99] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 731). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[100] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 735). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[101] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 737). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[102] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 741). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[103] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 742). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[104] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 746). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[105] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 748). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[106] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 748). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[107] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 749). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[108] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 753). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[109] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 765). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[110] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 764). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[111] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 764). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[112] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 771). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[113] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 771). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[114] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 774). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[115] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, pp. 774–775). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[116] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 775). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[117] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 778). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[118] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 779). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[119] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 780). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[120] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 780). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[121] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 781). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[122] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 781). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[123] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 784). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[124] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 787). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[125] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 792). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[126] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 798). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[127] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 800). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[128] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 805). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[129] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 813). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[130] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 822). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[131] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 823). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[132] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 825). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[133] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 825). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[134] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 828). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[135] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 833). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[136] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 839). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[137] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 841). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[138] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 841). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[139] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 844). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[140] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 844). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[141] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 844). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[142] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 858). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[143] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 856). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[144] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, pp. 856–857). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[145] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 859). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[146] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 862). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[147] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 863). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[148] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 864). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[149] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 865). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[150] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 867). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[151] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 876). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[152] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 876). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[153] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 878). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[154] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 884). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[155] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 885). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[156] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 891). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[157] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 891). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[158] Jon D. Levenson, The Davidic Covenant and Its Modern Interpreters,” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 41, 2 [1979]: 205–6. Cited in Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 881). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[159] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 883). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[160] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 902). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[161] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 903). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[162] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 905). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[163] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 903). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[164] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 905). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[165] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 908). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[166] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 910). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[167] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 911). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[168] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 916). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[169] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 917). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[170] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 918). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[171] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 918). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[172] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 921). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[173] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 922). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[174] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 923). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[175] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 923). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[176] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 925). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[177] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 926). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[178] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 928). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[179] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 928). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[180] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 931). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[181] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 930). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[182] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 930). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[183] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 933). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[184] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 937). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[185] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, pp. 937–938). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[186] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 943). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[187] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 946). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[188] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 949). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[189] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 949). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[190] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 959). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[191] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 960). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[192] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 965). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[193] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 965). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[194] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 969). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[195] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, pp. 978–979). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[196] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 985). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[197] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 989). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[198] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 991). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[199] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 994). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[200] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 1006). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[201] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 1007). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[202] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 1008). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[203] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 1013). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[204] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 1013). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[205] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 1013). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[206] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 1014). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[207] This may or may not be the same Nahash mentioned in 2 Samuel 10:2.

[208] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 1017). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[209] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 1018). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[210] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 1019). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[211] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 1020). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[212] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 1027). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[213] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 1029). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[214] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 1043). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[215] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 1044). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[216] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 1045). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[217] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 1053). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[218] Evans, M. J. (2012). 1 & 2 Samuel. (W. W. Gasque, R. L. Hubbard Jr., & R. K. Johnston, Eds.) (p. 234). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[219] Evans, M. J. (2012). 1 & 2 Samuel. (W. W. Gasque, R. L. Hubbard Jr., & R. K. Johnston, Eds.) (p. 234). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[220] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 1071). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[221] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 1080). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[222] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 1088). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[223] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 1089). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[224] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 1089). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[225] Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 1090). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.