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Daily Reader for Day 109: 1 Samuel 15 - 16

Dave Moore

The end of Saul’s hold on the kingdom is highlighted today in three stories.  In the first, Saul again proves his unworthiness to lead Israel, and in the second the LORD sends Samuel to find a new king.  In the third, the ascending and descending rulers collide as the LORD abandons Saul for good.   

In chapter 15, Saul is given a chance to avenge Israel against Amalek for their opposition to Israel in the wilderness.  His instructions are clear: “…Devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them…”  The text is also clear about Saul’s response: But Saul and the people spared Agag [the king] and the best of the sheep and of the oxen and of the fattened calves…  However, when confronted, Saul echoes Adam’s defense: “…the people spared the best of the sheep and the oxen for sacrifice…” and makes no mention of his own complicity. 

The LORD’s words at the beginning chapter 16 will inaugurate a new era: “How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go. I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.”  You’ve heard the name of Jesse before – he’s of the line of Ruth and Boaz – and one of his sons will preoccupy the Biblical imagination through the very end. 

There are a few observations about the LORD to take note of in today’s passage.  The first is when he tells Samuel “I regret that I have made Saul king, for he has turned back from following me and has not performed my commandments.”  This language is reminiscent of the LORD’s “regret” that He had made man on earth, and it grieved Him to His heart in Genesis 6.  The word “regret” appears three more times in this chapter – twice by Samuel and once by the author.  Listen carefully to Samuel’s words, and consider the types of regret that the LORD can and cannot feel. 

A second observation about the LORD regards his departure from Saul at the end of chapter 16.  Not only did the Spirit of the LORD depart from Saul, but furthermore a harmful spirit from the LORD tormented him.  Add this to the catalogue of all you know about the LORD, especially remembering when He actively hardened the heart of Pharaoh. 

Finally, keep an ear open for the LORD’s answer to all this talk about tall handsome kings.  “For the LORD sees not as man sees…

Our verse for this week is Isaiah 40:28:
Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.

1 Samuel 15 and 16.  Now let’s read it!

1 Samuel 15 - 16

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Isaiah 40:28

  Have you not known? Have you not heard?
  The LORD is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
  He does not faint or grow weary;
    his understanding is unsearchable.

(ESV)

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