Daily Thought for: 15th April


1 Samuel 28. 1-20; 31. 1-13

In the latter stages of Saul’s reign, the manner of his conduct deteriorated alarmingly to a point where his destruction appeared inevitable. Long abandoned by the Spirit of God, and so lacking a vital link with God whereby he might receive His guidance and support, out of desperation he sought to make contact with his old mentor, the dead Samuel. This attempt was by means of a spiritist medium, even though such a practice was forbidden by God, Lev. 19. 31; 20. 27; Deut. 18. 9-14. The eventual appearance of Samuel, achieved by God and not by the evil representations of a wicked woman, brought devastating news to the wretched king; on the morrow he and his sons would perish, and the army of Israel be overwhelmed by the Philistines, 1 Sam. 28. 16-19. 

Targeted by the archers that, unlike Joseph, Gen. 49. 22-26, he found irresistible, the stricken monarch saw the tide of battle flow against Israel so that they fled before their Philistine enemies. Amidst the general carnage and confusion, Saul became aware that his three sons were slain. The dire predictions of Samuel were being fulfilled before his eyes so that, according to the word of the prophecy, his own demise was imminent. What tumult of thoughts and imaginations must have flooded his mind—what darkness of apprehension! The prospect of execution at the hands of the uncircumcised Philistines overwhelmed him, and the will to fight on as long as life allowed deserted him. So he took his own life in an act of cowardice—it represents a final act of wilful folly, ‘so Saul died . . .’, 1 Sam. 31. 6; Acts 13. 22. 

That a garbled version of Saul’s death was submitted to David by the Amalekite stranger is a significant reminder of Saul’s arch sin that led to his downfall, 1 Sam. 1. 15; 28. 18; 2 Sam. 1. 1-16. After Saul’s death, the glowing tribute presented by David owes much to the fact that Saul was united in death with Jonathan, 2 Sam. 1. 23. It would seem, also, that David’s comments bear testimony to his generosity of spirit in extolling the virtues of a man like Saul, at whose hand he had suffered so much, 2 Sam. 1. 17-27. 


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