May 17, 2017
1 Samuel 27
1 Samuel 27
Shawn Bumpers / General
1 Samuel / Achish (king of Gath), Saul, David, Saul, Endor, Witch, Samuel
In chapter 26, we saw what was almost a replay of the events of chapter 24.
There were plenty of differences, but the similarity was that David could have killed Saul, yet spared his life.
1 Samuel 26:19 NKJV
Now therefore, please, let my lord the king hear the words of his servant: If the Lord has stirred you up against me, let Him accept an offering. But if it is the children of men, may they be cursed before the Lord, for they have driven me out this day from sharing in the inheritance of the Lord, saying, ‘Go, serve other gods.’
Psalm 32:8–9 NKJV
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye. Do not be like the horse or like the mule, Which have no understanding, Which must be harnessed with bit and bridle, Else they will not come near you.
In the last chapter, David had kind of strangely alluded to going to the lands of the ungodly.
And now, in this Chapter, David follows through on that thought … going to the land of the Philistines.
Notice that it says David said in his heart.
The heart that the Bible so often speaks of is not the muscle in our chest that pumps blood.
Proverbs 4:23 NKJV
Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.
It was all getting to him.
Gath was one of five major Philistine cities.
Ashdod and Ashkelon were both coastal cities and Gath was about 10 miles inland in a triangle from them.
The hospitality of Achish at Gath, in welcoming not only an army of six hundred but also wives and children, was remarkable.
From every point of view it was good that David should move away from Achish’s capital, Gath.
For the king … it must have been the subject of much gossip that he had allowed David and his army to dwell in Gath.
Its main disadvantage was that it tended to be the target of marauding bands from the desert.
David then and his men began to invade areas around them.
They would go out and totally wipe out a city.
Achish was preparing for war to gain supremacy over Israel.
And so we see here that David found himself in a difficult spot.
So, the battle lines are already being drawn, but Saul is frightened.
It seems that he has no heart for the battle.
Like many other things, Saul had not done a good job of kicking the mediums out of the land.
In fact, his own servants were well aware that they were still in the land.
Saul disguised himself to go to the witch of Endor.
• For one thing, he didn’t want her to be afraid of him.
• And for another, he knew what he was doing was wrong.
He misses his connection with the LORD, but is willing to go to a witch … literally a demon possessed woman.
Why was Saul seeking to consult with Samuel’s spirit here?
Maybe he hoped that Samuel would somehow reverse the judgment which he had pronounced against Saul and his kingdom.
The implication here is that the woman was surprised when Samuel appeared to her.
It was a moment of revelation for her.
She said, “I saw a spirit ascending out of the earth.”
I guess the bigger question here is, “Did Samuel really come back or was this some kind of demonic manifestation?”
Well, I see no reason at all for not believing this happened just as it is written.
Samuel, does not in any way change the message he had spoken to Saul when he lived at Ramah.
He is still the prophet of the Lord, and he speaks in the name of the Lord.
The Philistines, who in Saul’s early days as king had defied the armies of Israel, are about to defeat Saul and his sons.
We may have a question here … When Samuel said you and your sons will be with me, did it mean that Saul was going to Abraham’s Bosom?
That is the place the Bible says is the paradise where the believing dead are kept.
In the story Jesus told in Luke 16, the believing dead and the cursed dead were both in the same general area.
Saul, who had not seen Samuel, but had heard the prophet’s words, was as good as finished already.
1 Samuel 15:22 NKJV
So Samuel said: “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.
Psalm 51:17 NKJV
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart— These, O God, You will not despise.
Saul left this encounter sorrowful and resigned to his fate … and with the sympathies of a witch.
Saul at first refuses to eat.
He was fasting when he came … and if he had an appetite, he lost it when he learned God’s judgment was about to come to fruition.
Saul had begun well, but stumbled early on.
He had stubbornly resisted the instruction of the Lord through His prophet Samuel.
1 Samuel 13:14 NKJV
But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be commander over His people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.”
1 Samuel 15:23 NKJV
For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected you from being king.”
What he had not fully taken in was the fact that he had already received the guidance that was appropriate in his circumstances.
There are wider implications of this incident at Endor.
Through this we learn just how entrenched Canaanite practices were, even among the Israelites.