“The LORD has done to you as he spoke by me, for the LORD has torn the kingdom out of your hand and given it to your neighbor, David. Because you did not obey the voice of the LORD and did not carry out his fierce wrath against Amalek, therefore the LORD has done this thing to you this day. Moreover, the LORD will give Israel also with you into the hand of the Philistines, and tomorrow you and your sons shall be with me. The LORD will give the army of Israel also into the hand of the Philistines.”
The events of chapter 31 were predicted by Samuel at En-dor, so the only surprise today will be the shock of the prophecy coming true. The battle scenes are brief and violent. The Philistine victory is total. Even across on the east bank of the Jordan, Israelites were forced to flee. The foreigners’ treatment of Israel’s king and his family was typical for the time and place.
Difficult as it is, one can also imagine an act of mercy toward David when it is the Philistines who take out the three most suitable claimants to Saul’s throne. Now David will be spared most – but not all – of the disgusting work that would probably be required to consolidate the kingdom under the LORD’s anointed.
But there is one moment of solemn hope. When the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead – tribes east of the Jordan – heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, all the valiant men arose and went all night… to pay a final honor to Israel’s first king.
Our verse for this week is Romans 6:23: For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
1 Samuel 31. Now let’s read it!
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.