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The Snake vs. God’s Anointed
1 Samuel 11:1–15
1st & 2nd Samuel Lesson #043
March 1, 2016
“Our Father, we are so grateful for Your many blessings, for the way You provide for us individually. The way You provide for people in the congregation. The way you provide for people in ministry, people serving You. Your work is sustained by Your grace.
Father, we all were a bit shocked when we heard about what happened with the Light and Action people down in Brazil. They have a tremendous ministry there that is related to some really expensive high-tech equipment that was violently stolen from them the other day. We pray for them. We pray that they might have a testimony to those around them as they respond in grace to this situation—that in Your grace You will provide for them the equipment and finances they need to be able to replace that equipment, especially since it is so much more expensive. We have run into this in Ukraine and other third-world countries. We really need to transport equipment from the United States in. Otherwise it is just unbearably expensive. We look to Your grace to provide for them.
Father, we look to Your grace again for this nation, that we would not receive a king like all the other nations, as Israel did in the time of Samuel, but that we would receive a leader who would be a true leader, who would understand biblical absolutes as well as constitutional absolutes—one that would stand in the gap and would lead this nation back to that framework which made this country prosperous, which built this nation, which made it the greatest nation on earth.
Father, we know that when we live in a culture that has rejected establishment principles, rejected biblical truth, that what we expect is an absolute disaster as we continue to slide down into the pit of paganism and Christ-hating, Christian-hating leaders. But Father, we need a change. We need to be able to continue to be a nation that is a light to the world, that continues to send out missionaries, and continues to be a support to Israel. Father, we just put this election in Your hands that we will have a strong leader that will begin to turn us back to a constitutional foundation.
And Father, we pray for us tonight that we might come to understand the importance of a biblical foundation as we look at history, leadership, the kingship in Israel, and the kingship and leadership everywhere through the lens of what is happening with Saul. We pray that we might come to understand how You are working even through these events to teach us about the fact that we are involved in a war and that there is an ultimate victory through the Lord Jesus Christ. We pray this in His name. Amen.”
Open your Bibles to 1 Samuel 11. Now in 1 Samuel 11 we are looking at an episode related to understanding the role of the Messiah as we see the battle between the snake and God’s anointed. It may not be evident to you at first, but that is what is going on here.
This is foreshadowing the war that ultimately occurs throughout history, which is the war that is announced at the very beginning of sin in Genesis 3:15—that the Seed of the woman would be at war with the seed of the serpent. This manifests itself numerous times throughout history.
It manifests itself in this particular event as we see Saul on the one hand as the anointed, the mashiach, the anointed of God, as the king of Israel, providing protection in Israel against this assault, this incursion, by this wicked and violent king of Ammon.
Just a reminder—in 1 Samuel 1–7 we have seen God preparing the nation for a change. They did not deserve this change. Israel is a picture of the believer in sin, spiritually dead, yet God works in grace to provide deliverance. We saw it in a small scale with Hannah and her dependence upon God. He provided her with a son, who in turn would bring about the Lord’s anointed, who would deliver them from their enemies.
At the end of that section we saw that Israel:
- rejected God as their king
- rejected Samuel as their leader
- rejected divine viewpoint
- rejected biblical truth
As a result, they turned away from God seeking a solution like everybody else. This is the problem we always have throughout history. People think that the solution is not based upon dependence upon God and God’s Word. But God’s Word is the only solution. God is the only Deliverer.
God is going to give a picture in this particular episode of how He delivers. This is not the first picture. It is not the last picture. There were pictures again and again and again all through the period of the judges.
What we see time and time again is that as soon as God pulls their fat out of the fire, they reject Him. They turn away from Him. They go back into idolatry. It is the nature of the rebellious human heart. It is deceptive and wicked above all things, who can know it?
Just a reminder in this presidential year to not to get your hopes up too high. I am convinced that we are living in a pagan world. This is the devil’s world. This is a pagan, Christ-hating, Christian-hating culture. Many of the leaders do not have the moral courage to take a stand against the assaults that are coming against the Judeo-Christian heritage.
I have little hope that we are going to see anyone good in the White House next year. We may lose Congress, as well as any hope for the future. I am not predicting that. I just look at the trends of the culture. I am not getting my hopes up, and neither should you. We need to focus and triple down on building our defenses in our souls for what may come to pass in this country.
We have been on a spiritually regressive trajectory in this country now for over 120 years, since the fruits of 19th century liberalism began to be felt across all of the Christian denominations and Christian institutions and universities. There have been a few places where the regress has slowed, but it has not even gone level at any point, except maybe in the 1930s and 1940s. It just retarded a little bit.
Be warned—There is nothing that we can see related to this culture unless there is a spiritual shift, and without a spiritual shift (this is what we see in Israel), without a true turning back to God, there is no real solution.
What we have here in 1 Samuel 8–15 is that God is going to establish the office of king. He is going to give the nation what they asked for—a king like every other nation. He is going to be a disaster. That is covered from 1 Samuel 8 through 1 Samuel 15:35. In this section we see that God establishes the office of king, even though the people have asked for it for the wrong reasons.
It was in God’s plan to give them a king, but He is going to teach them a lesson first, of what happens when they get what they want instead of what God wants.
- God establishes the office of king in 1 Samuel 8.
- God shows Saul as the first king in 1 Samuel 9:1–10:16.
- God brought Saul into position and awareness with Samuel in 1 Samuel 9:1–14.
- God guided Samuel in the anointing of Saul in 1 Samuel 9:15–10:8.
We are in this opening section, the rise of Saul. It will come crashing down in 1 Samuel 15.
Then God will provide a king after His own heart. That is King David. We will see the rise of David from 1 Samuel 16–31. David is by no means perfect. The messianic human king is not a perfect king, but he is a king who seeks ultimately to do God’s will.
The events in 1 Samuel 11 take place in Gilgal. It starts off talking about Nahash, the king of Ammon, attacking Jabesh-Gilead. He has probably been attacking the Jews in the Transjordan area. That is the area across the Jordan, east of the Jordan, all through Gilead. He is now attacking Jabesh-Gilead. Jabesh-Gilead is going to send out a message for rescue. It is going to come to Saul down in Gibeah.
Saul is going to recruit an army. They are going to attack and defeat the Ammonites in 1 Samuel 11. There are a lot of great lessons. At the end of the chapter they are going to formally recognize Saul as king before the Lord in 1 Samuel 11:15. They will make sacrifices there at Jabesh-Gilead.
This is another map to orient you geographically. This is Rabbah, the ancient name of this city, Rabbah in Ammon. Today we know the city Rabbah as Amman in the country of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordon.
This is a historic conflict that we will focus on as we go through the study.
Gibeah of Saul is about three or four miles north of the old city of Jerusalem. Today it is on the outskirts of the metropolitan sprawl of Jerusalem. That gives you a little bit of an orientation.
As Saul was being anointed, one of the signs that I pointed out was that he would see a man who was coming who was carrying three goats. It is hard to carry three goats unless they are small.
I showed you a picture of Danny Burrow’s grandson, when he had two goats and a larger one standing by. Now he has four. If you cannot see it, there is a dark one right in the middle. He has got one, two, three, four goats. For a man to be carrying three goats, they have to be small. I just thought I would help you to visualize what this would look like. A little kid carrying four kids.
As we get into 1 Samuel 11, this is one of those significant turning points in Israel’s history. We have seen in 1 Samuel 10 that Samuel brought Saul before the people. Saul had been hiding out in the baggage train. He did not want to attract any attention to himself.
In 1 Samuel 10:24 Samuel said to the people, “Do you see him whom the Lord has chosen, that there is no one like him among all the people?”
I pointed out that he is clearly the Lord’s chosen one, even though he turns out to be a disaster.
Here is the principle: Many times in life you will make a wise decision. You will make the right choice, and it will be a disaster. God is teaching you something through that. Many times when people make decisions, they take a job, or they go to some college, or they make any number of important decisions in life, and then it turns out to be a disaster. They say “that it must not have been God’s will.”
But how do you know?
Sometimes God’s will is to go through those difficult times so that we will learn something, and He can produce something of value in the midst of something that we think is a disaster.
God’s will is not to be determined in this life on the basis of whether something turns out as well as we think it should or not. This is what has happened. God’s will is for Saul to be the king.
1 Samuel 10:25, “Then Samuel explained to the people the behavior of royalty, and wrote it in a book …”
We do not know what this was. It may have been part of Deuteronomy. It may have been an expansion of Deuteronomy, but he laid it up before the Lord. It went before the Ark of the Covenant into the tabernacle, which was no longer located at Shiloh, but was located probably at Ramah or near there at this particular time.
This has a parallel in that other documents that we know of are mentioned in the Old Testament that are laid up or deposited before the Lord.
- Moses wrote something called the Scroll of the Covenant. This is laid up before the Lord in Exodus 4:7.
- There is a Scroll of the Law. This is probably a copy of the Law that was put with the Ark of the Covenant, Deuteronomy 31:26, hence its name, Ark of the Covenant.
- Joshua deposited the Scroll of the Law of God with the Ark of the Covenant.
The exact nature of those documents is not specified, but it would indicate that they all mentioned: the Scroll of the Covenant, the Scroll of the Law. That it is very likely a copy of the Law or a copy of a portion of the Law.
What we see at the end of 1 Samuel 10 is that Saul goes back home to resume his life as a farmer. He does not take on a role. He does not seem to be concerned about leading the nation. He goes back into obscurity, which reveals some of the flaws that he has. He is not really prepared to be a leader. He really does not know what he is about.
There are some men of valor who go with Saul, but they are following the leadership of the Lord. The text says at the end of 1 Samuel 10:26, “whose hearts God had touched.”
But there were some rebels also, some sons of Belial, some disobedient ones who were not accepting Saul as leader. They despised him in 1 Samuel 10:27. They have an arrogance problem and an authority problem. But Saul does not do anything. He holds his peace. I am going to come back to that later because this may indicate something. He holds his peace.
Does that mean he is grace oriented? Or is it because he just does not know what to do?
I think it is more of the latter than it is the former. We do not see anything in Saul’s character anywhere from 1 Samuel 10–15 to indicate that Saul has a really good grasp of grace, or a really good grasp of any doctrine whatsoever.
As 1 Samuel 11:1 begins, we see a break in the action. Saul has gone back to Gibeah and he is back there for a while. We do not know how much time went by. It is a short time. It happens pretty rapidly because of some of the other chronology in the passage.
“Then Nahash the Ammonite came up and encamped against Jabesh Gilead; and all the men of Jabesh said to Nahash, ‘Make a covenant with us, and we will serve you.’ ”
One of the first questions that we need to address is: who in the world is Nahash? Who are the Ammonites?
Nahash is the Hebrew word for a snake or a serpent. Hence the title: The Snake vs. God’s Anointed. This is a picture between God’s anointed Saul and an attack on God’s people by someone called the “serpent.”
I think the Scripture is foreshadowing the ultimate battle that will take place between Satan and God’s anointed. There is a pattern that we see set up in Samuel that the role of the king (just as today we get the principle: the role of the federal government) is primarily to provide for the domestic security of the people and the foreign security.
- We have to protect the borders.
- We have to protect private ownership of property.
We must protect the borders, which means shutting them down, and frankly we shut the borders down pretty well in this country in the 19th century, and several times in the 20th century. In fact, there were times in several presidential administrations, including the most recent and Eisenhower’s administration, where all the undocumented and illegal aliens, which is still a good term, were rounded up and sent home.
This is not against American values. This is the American value—to send people home to enforce the law of the land. What we have now in Congress and what we have in the White House are basically criminals, because they are violating the law of the land.
They are violating the Constitution, and nobody seems to have the courage to call them on it or want to call them on it. When you have a breakdown in the fifth divine institution of nationalism, then it happens that you lose your identity and you will lose your possessions. It is the same thing as if you left your doors unlocked at night and went away on a trip for two or three weeks.
We did that one time in Connecticut. There is a lot of difference between Preston, Connecticut at 65 Bunny Road, and living in Spring Branch or some other subdivision in Houston. We went to Kazakhstan, and we had a problem with our front door. We took the front door off. Dan Inghram was house sitting for us as the time. He had to leave for a couple of days. He left the house and put it in the Lord’s hands. Everything was fine when he came back. That was pretty much what we had to do.
I remember one friend visited us in Connecticut one time and walked through the parking lot of the church. He was pointing out to his wife that three out of four cars had the keys in the ignition. This was what? Fifteen years ago?
That would not have happened in Houston even 40 years ago. If you leave your keys in the ignition you are going to lose your car. You have to protect your property. If you left your doors open and left the keys in your car in Houston, you are going to lose it!
The analogy is that if you do that as a nation, then you are going to lose the nation. You are going to lose your identity as a people.
This is what Saul is called upon to do. He is to protect the integrity of the property that God gave to Israel. His role as the messianic king is to defend the people of God, the citizens of Israel.
The enemy is identified as the “serpent” and he is an Ammonite. We will come back to Nahash later, but we have to understand who the Ammonites were. We are introduced to the Ammonites in Genesis 19.
Turn with me to Genesis 19. Genesis 19 has some interesting stories.
That reminds me of a phone call I had today. This was a great phone call. This is really just a great recognition of what takes place in the congregation here. I know there are a lot of stories like this, but I do not get to hear them.
I had a pastor call me today who was pretty excited about something that happened last week. Pastor David Dunn, over at Grace Bible Church, goes down and has a jail ministry. He has worked with a number of guys from some of the other Bible churches in Houston.
Pastor Dunn has done this for at least 10 years, maybe 15 years. He is working in Harris County jail with one of the inmates that he has worked with for a number of years. He said this is a great guy that is obviously guilty of some crime because he is in jail, but his background was such that the only thing really wrong with him theologically or doctrinally is that he does not believe in eternal security.
However, over the years, because this inmate has been exposed to a lot of different pastors and men from some of the doctrinal churches here in Houston who have gone down there, he has really come to focus on the doctrine of eternal security, even though he has not accepted it yet.
The other day Pastor Dunn was there, and he said that the inmates were there, they are having their Bible study, and this man raised an issue. It was a conversation. It was not in the middle of the class.
The inmate said that he could not understand, and that if you look at Matthew 5, Jesus says that if you have hate for your brother that that violates the commandment not to murder. If you do that then you will be guilty of hellfire.
Pastor Dunn and the inmate were starting to have a conversation about this when this young lady, who works with the chaplain’s office there, overheard the conversation and came over.
The young lady said that one of the first things you have to understand is that the word there for “hellfire” is GEHENNA, and to understand that you have to go back to Jeremiah. This is talking about the Valley of Hinnom, where Israel burned their babies … She went through the whole doctrine of what GEHENNA describes.
Pastor Dunn is there with his mouth hanging open! He turned to her and told her that he’d never heard anyone articulate that so clearly. Where did you learn that? She told him that she went to West Houston Bible Church. Pastor Dunn said, “Well of course!”
This is a young woman who has only been attending for four months and recently joined the church. She has figured this out and is really studying it and has got this down. Isn’t that great? We are getting out there. The truth is being taught as it goes out from the pulpit through different people in the congregation. That is just a great story!
You all should know Genesis 19 as a great story of Sodom and Gomorrah. The family that is allowed to leave is Lot and his wife. She looks back and gets turned into a pillar of salt, but Lot escapes with his two daughters.
We are told in Genesis 19:30:“Then Lot went up out of Zoar and dwelt in the mountains.” Lot comes up out of what is now the Dead Sea, as a result of all that judgment. “… and his two daughters were with him; for he was afraid to dwell in Zoar. And he and his two daughters dwelt in a cave.”
They became cave dwellers. And to make a long story short, what basically happens is the two girls decide that they are never going to find a husband, so they just get themselves and Lot stinking drunk, so drunk that the first daughter has intercourse with the father, then the other one the next night.
In Genesis 19:35, “Then they made their father drink wine that night also. And the younger arose and lay with him, and he did not know when she lay down or when she arose.” That is pretty drunk.
Both daughters of Lot were with child, Genesis 19:36.
The firstborn of the older daughter, a son, named Moab. He is the father of the Moabites, Genesis 19:37. They dwell to the southeast of the Dead Sea.
Then the younger one also bore a son, called his name Ben-ammi, the son of my father, Genesis 19:38. His people are called the Ammonites. They live directly east of Jerusalem.
The Ammonites are a part of the predecessors who make up the modern so-called “Palestinian” people. They are just Arabs. The only reason they are called Palestinians is by virtue of their birth in the land, but there is no historic Palestinian people.
The name does not even derive biblically, and most of the people who found their way to that area in the mid-19th century were brought in as migrant workers. There is a real lesson here about avoiding the bringing in of migrant workers. They are always going to be a problem.
The Ottomans brought in these migrant workers from Serbia, from various areas in the Balkans, Turkey, Egypt, and from all over. Some were Arabs, and some were not.
So these peoples came into the area. They have no historic basis in the land. They have only been there about 150 years. Part of that Arab mix that went into the land would be the people who were the Ammonites.
Back when we studied Israel: Past, Present and Future, I put this chart together to show that in the post-biblical period, from the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70 until 1839, the land that God gave to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was not an autonomous country. It was always part of a much larger empire. You had the:
4. Moslem Arabs
7. Ottoman Turks
The Ottoman Empire took control in 1517. Even though the Ottoman Empire went back to 1299, they did not take control of the area of Jerusalem until 1517.
What else happened in 1517? Martin Luther and the beginning of the Reformation.
The Ottoman Turks ended in 1918. The Ottoman Empire broke apart. That happened as a result of the defeat of the Axis powers. They were allied with Germany.
When Germany and the Axis powers were defeated in WW I what happened? The European allies plus the United States came in after Europe had gone through this horrific war involving Prussia.
Does anyone see Prussia on their map today? No. It involved the Prussians. It involved Poland. It involved Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and all the Eastern European countries.
What happened? The Treaty of Versailles.
Whenever a war ends, there is always a treaty. Part of what happened in the treaty is you get a real estate contract because you have to redraw all the borders. Ownership of land changes hands from country to country. Part of the process was that they had all these committees and all these groups that were authorized to redraw the borders and the boundaries of Western and Eastern Europe.
Boundaries shifted between Germany and France, between Germany and Poland. All these countries and those boundaries shifted. They did not have time at the Paris Accords to redraw the Middle Eastern boundaries once this Old Man (Ottoman Empire) of Europe fell apart.
You have all this land from Egypt to Saudi Arabia to what is now Israel, to Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, Syria, Turkey, the Balkans, all of this was part of the Ottoman Empire.
Two years later, in 1820, the Allied Powers came back and met at a place called San Remo. The United States was an observer because they had rejected the League of Nations Treaty.
There, as part of the Paris Peace Accords, they redrew the borders of the Middle East. Before 1920, you did not have Syria, Iraq, Jordon, Lebanon, Israel, Saudi Arabia, or Egypt. These borders were not defined.
They were defined legally at San Remo.
The borders that we now have in the Middle East, even though they were done poorly (because Western Powers do not understand the history of the Middle East), have created a lot of problems ever since.
But the Sam Remo Conference legal document gave all those nations ownership and established all of those borders.
And part of it was that all of the land that is west of the Jordan River was given to Israel as a national homeland for the Jewish people.
Israel was held in trust by a mandate power in Britain until there were enough people there to be self-ruling. Syria and Lebanon were put under the authority of France to govern them until they could govern themselves. That is what is important to understand.
It was not colonialism. That is what you will hear from everyone who is a liberal and an idiot and anti-Semitic, “This was colonialism.” It was not colonialism.
If you watch the movie Lawrence of Arabia, you recognize that the British were seeking a tremendous alliance with the Arabs in order to defeat the Turks. They had to make some bargains. Part of that was that they would give some of these countries to Arab leaders. They originally gave Syria to the Hashemites, but the Syrians kicked them out. Britain was left with having to complete a promise to the Hashemites.
In 1922 Winston Churchill, against what he really wanted to do, had to give the area across the Jordan, the area now known as the Transjordan or the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, to the Hashemites, even though it was supposed to go to the Jews. The understanding was that it would be for the “Palestinian” people, for the “Palestinian” Arabs. That was their national homeland. You have a two-state solution:
- Jordan for the Palestinian Arabs.
- West of the Jordan for the Jews for a national homeland for the Jewish people.
But the Arabs did not like that. They wanted it all. It goes back to episodes like this in 1 Samuel 11. The Ammonites, the ancient forerunners of the modern people, want to claim all of the land on both sides of the Jordan for themselves. They were trying to capture this away from the Jews from time immemorial, but it was not given to them.
They have no right to it. It does not belong to them and never will belong to them.
So you have the rise of Nahash the Ammonite in the ancient world. He is going to attempt to take all of the land across the Jordan away from those two and a half tribes that had settled on the east side of the Jordan.
Nahash the Ammonite is a type of Satan. He is a type of the serpent in Revelation 12:9. We are told that the great dragon was cast out of Heaven, who is the serpent of old. He is called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world.
This is who Satan is. He is the serpent who is seeking to destroy God’s people. The one who stands in the gap is God’s anointed, the mashiach. In this case it is Saul. Nahash is being used by the sovereignty of God to authenticate Saul because one thing that authenticates the mashiach is that he is going to go out, and he is going to protect God’s people. He is going to be the deliverer. You see this with Saul right after Saul is anointed. Right after he is crowned king, the first thing that happens is that he has to go out and protect God’s people.
What happens with David? In 1 Samuel 16, David gets anointed. What happens in 1 Samuel 17? He has got to go protect the people from Goliath.
This is the role of the Mashiach. It also tells us that it is the role of the king and the role of government. God is going to use the serpent, the snake, to authenticate Saul. He is also going to use him to provide a picture of the ongoing conflict between the seed of the serpent and the Seed of the woman. He invades.
As we look at this there are a couple of other things I want to say about Nahash.
- The name Nahash means snake.
We do not know if this was just a nickname that was given to him by the Jews because he was hostile to them, or if this was actually one of his many names. It could have been a throne name. It could have been a family name. It could have been a nickname, but clearly he identified as a specific person.
- What is interesting here is that Nahash has a relationship to David.
What happens at the beginning of 1 Samuel 11:1 is that at Qumran, there was a discovery of some addition material that is inserted between 1 Samuel 10 and 1 Samuel 11 that is not in the original text.
It is not in the Masoretic Text. It is not in Hebrew documents, but it is in the material in Qumran. It is also attested by Josephus. I do not think it is in the text, but it is interesting to know that.
There are some modern versions that are inserting this additional material into their translation:
- The New Revised Standard Version does.
- The New English Bible does.
- The New American Bible does.
This is how it reads:
1 Samuel 11:1 (NRSV) “Now Nahash, king of the Ammonites, had been grievously oppressing the Gadites and the Reubenites. He would gouge out the right eye of each of them and would not grant Israel a deliverer. No one was left of the Israelites across the Jordan whose right eye Nahash, king of the Ammonites, had not gouged out. But there were seven thousand men who had escaped from the Ammonites and had entered Jabesh-Gilead. About a month later …” [other modern versions that follow 4QSam are the NEB and NAB].
That may be accurate. It does give some interesting background, but I am not sure that we can say on the basis of manuscripts from Qumran and Josephus that this is part of the original text. It certainly does not provide any doctrine or such. I think it is interesting to understand that.
As I was pointing out about Nahash, he is an interesting character because he shows up in a couple of other passages in the Old Testament related to David. He seems to have had a fairly close relationship with David.
For example, 2 Samuel 10 is after David is king. If you know your Old Testament, this is right between two key episodes in 2 Samuel. It is right between the giving of the Davidic Covenant in 2 Samuel 7, and the affair with Bathsheba in 2 Samuel 11.
2 Samuel 10:2, “Then David said, ‘I will show kindness to Hanun the son of Nahash, as his father showed kindness to me.’ So David sent by the hand of his servants to comfort him concerning his father. And David’s servants came into the land of the people of Ammon.”
This sets up a conflict because Hanun is going to treat them so despicably. He is going to shave their beards. He is going to treat them so despicably that it sets off a war between Israel and Ammon. But the point is that David says, “I will show kindness to Hanun … as his father showed kindness to me.” This shows too that David had a relationship with Nahash of kindness.
There is something else we learn about Nahash after that war was over and after the affair with Bathsheba and all the other things that went on in relation to that.
We read in 2 Samuel 17:25, and this is one of those genealogical references that most people go over. Their eyes cross, glaze, and they miss all this. “And Absalom made Amasa captain of the army instead of Joab.” Joab had been David’s general over the army.
“This Amasa was the son of a man whose name was Jithra, an Israelite, who had gone in to Abigail the daughter of Nahash, sister of Zeruiah, Joab’s mother.”
Joab’s mother’s name is Zeruiah. His aunt’s name is Abigail. His Aunt Abigail, is the daughter of Nahash. Interesting. The plot thickens.
1 Chronicles 2:13ff there is a genealogy listing David’s family. David’s father was Jesse. I cut out all of the text. It lists all of his brothers.
“Jesse begot … and David.”
1 Chronicles 2:16, “Now their sisters.” Whose sisters? David’s brothers and David. “Their sisters were Zeruiah and Abigail. And the sons of Zeruiah were Abishai, Joab, and Asahel …”
Joab is one of David’s nephews. His sister is Zeruiah. Her son is Joab. That is his nephew. This is a family affair, a lot like the disciples with Jesus.
1 Chronicles 2:17, “Abigail bore Amasa; and the father of Amasa was Jether the Ishmaelite.”
How do we reconcile this information?
It looks like one of Abigail’s parents was Nahash. It is likely that when Nahash dies, her mother married Jesse. She would be a half-sister of David. That pulls the genealogy together. So what we see is four of David’s top military officers were his nephews. Amasa, who becomes Absalom’s commander is actually Absalom’s cousin. It is a real family breakdown. You think you have problems with your family at Christmas or Thanksgiving? They must have had a wonderful time.
So this tells you a little bit about Nahash and how he fits into the scene.
1 Samuel 11:2 reads, “And Nahash the Ammonite answered them, ‘On this condition I will make a covenant with you …’ ”
The men of Jabesh-Gilead beg for a peace treaty. Nahash says okay, I am going to make a peace treaty with you, but as a condition I am going to put out the right eye of every one of you, and you will be a reproach to Israel. The reproach is because they have had their right eye put out.
The commentators say these are two separate things, but the reproach is that the men cannot fight to protect their families and their homes any more. The way you were involved in personal combat at the time you would have a shield in your left arm.
You are looking around your shield with what? Your right eye.
But if your right eye is put out, then you are incapacitated. You have got to really show yourself in combat. Basically it is a procedure to disarm the men so that they cannot fight.
Another thing that happens that would also hinder their fighting ability is when you only have one eye, you lose depth perception. If you put out both eyes they cannot farm. If they cannot farm, you cannot collect taxes.
This is a slick maneuver to disarm your enemy in such a way that he cannot fight you, but he can still work for you and produce taxes. This is how the pagans handled disarmament when they defeated people in the ancient world.
The response of the elders of Jabesh-Gilead is let’s wait seven days. Long before Trump came along they have the “Art of the Deal.” We are going to negotiate.
1 Samuel 11:3, “… ‘Hold off for seven days, that we may send messengers to all the territory of Israel. And then, if there is no one to save us, we will come out to you.’ ”
The word for “save” is the hiphil participle from yasha, from which we get the name Joshua and Yeshua—to save or to deliver.
What is interesting here is that this language is language that we find all through the book of the Judges, and this is still the period of the Judges, where Israel sins. They come under a foreign power, the oppression of a foreign power. They cry out to God to give them a savior, to give them a deliverer.
We are reminded of Othniel, Ehud, Deborah, Barak, Gideon, Jephthah, and even Samson. They are looking for a deliverer. Who is going to be the deliverer but God’s anointed, God’s mashiach? That is his role.
We are told in 1 Samuel 11:4–6 that “the messengers came to Gibeah of Saul and told the news in the hearing of the people. And all the people lifted up their voices and wept. Now there was Saul, coming behind the herd from the field …”
Here is Saul and he is Farmer Brown. This is not a positive view of Saul at this point. He has been anointed king. He is chosen by God, but he is still out with the cows. He is not accepting the responsibility of leadership. This is another negative note. The writer here has some really interesting ability to suggest things by his use of image and his use of language.
Saul comes out from the herd and says, “‘What troubles the people that they weep?’ And they told him the words of the men of Jabesh.”
Remember, there has been a connection between the Benjamite tribe. Right? Because the Benjamites were so evil. They had a big battle. They had a big war. The Benjamites were almost all killed. All the other tribes had sworn that their daughters would not marry the Benjamites, but there was one place, people, who had not been there to enter into that oath.
That was where? Jabesh-Gilead.
This happened back in Judges 20–21. It is very likely that Saul’s mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother came from Jabesh–Gilead. There is this connection.
Later on when Saul gets killed at the battle of Mount Gilboa, the people of Beth Shean take his decapitated body and hang it on the walls at Beth Shean. Who comes in the dead of night to take his body and take it back and give it a proper burial? The men from Jabesh-Gilead.
There is this connection going on between the two. Saul hears the words of the men of Jabesh, and then we see the divine dynamic.
1 Samuel 11:6, “Then the Spirit of God came upon Saul when he heard this news, and his anger was greatly aroused.”
There is a temptation to read a cause-effect here. This is not a cause and effect. It is talking about two different things that happened. It is simply reporting that this happened, and this happened. It is not saying that the anger was a result of the Spirit of God coming.
Just as Jephthah’s vow to sacrifice whatever came out of the house to greet him when he came home was not the result—it was a bad vow. It was not the result of the Spirit of God coming upon him. We have to understand that the Holy Spirit is recording the series of events, not saying that one was connected to the other.
The verb for “came upon” is the Hebrew verb tzalach, which has this idea of rushing upon. In our study of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament, we saw that this was used to describe the Holy Spirit coming upon Samson, the Holy Spirit coming upon Saul, and the Holy Spirit coming upon David.
Then what does Saul do?
Saul takes “a yoke of oxen.” Tell me if this sounds familiar. He takes “a yoke of oxen.” How many are a yoke of oxen? Two.
He cuts them up, each one into six pieces, and sends them “throughout all the territory of Israel by the hands of messengers, saying, ‘Whoever does not go out with Saul and Samuel to battle, so it shall be done to his oxen.’ ”
There is an overt threat here that if you do not come out …
Why does he have to do that? Because the tribes of Israel have not had a great history of responding to this call to unite and go to battle. Deborah and Barak had trouble with it. Gideon had trouble with it. Some of the others had trouble uniting the tribes. Saul is coming out with a pretty strong threat to try to get them all to come out and to join them in battle.
There is something else that happens here in relation to the Spirit of God. If any of you have really been paying attention, you will notice that there has been a shift in terminology. It is very subtle. I have gone through Samuel. I taught Samuel 30 years ago. I have come to the conclusion that this writer is not only very subtle, he is very earthy. We will see some of his earthiness later.
But there is a significant shift that takes place here. Instead of the Spirit of Yahweh or the Spirit of the Lord, the Holy Spirit is simply referred to as the Spirit of God, though both phrases refer to God the Holy Spirit.
This subtle change in language is significant. There are five Israelites in the period of the Judges, in the period from Genesis to 2 Kings, there are five that are said to have benefited or to have had the Spirit of Yahweh come upon them.
The only other person from Genesis through 2 Kings to have the Spirit of God come upon them is Balaam. Balaam is not a good guy. He does not have Israel’s best interest at heart. In fact he is used as a means of destroying Israel. There is a hint here in the language shift that is like when you go to the movies.
I went to the movie to see Star Wars the other night. I listened to the music. I mean as soon as you hear certain notes you know “Where is Darth Vader?” You hear a couple of other notes and you are looking for Luke Skywalker. You know it is subtle, but if you pay attention to these things, you listen to those notes and to certain parts of the music and it will tell you who is showing up on the scene.
That is what this is. This is just a very subtle hint that this is not going to turn out well for Israel. Saul does not turn out well for Israel.
The writer is not saying it is not the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit, but by calling it the Spirit of Elohim instead of the Spirit of Yahweh—Yahweh is always associates with the Covenant God, but Elohim is more of a generic term for God. As I said, there are only two people from Genesis to 2 Kings who have the Spirit of Elohim come upon them. That is Balaam and Saul, neither of whom turns out well for Israel.
Saul gathers an army. They come together. 1 Samuel 11:8, “… the children of Israel were three hundred thousand, and the men of Judah thirty thousand.”
Saul has 330,000. There is always debate over the accuracy of the numbers here. I think there are some places where there may be some corruption in the numbers. But if you remember, when Israel entered into the land, how many were there when they numbered them at the beginning of Numbers?
- They numbered the males of fighting age in Numbers 1. It comes out to a little over 600,000. That is the Exodus generation.
- The conquest generation gets numbered again at the end of Numbers. Again it is a little over 600,000.
- Here we have 330,000. This is reasonable within the framework of the numbers that we have in the Scripture for the size of their army.
The messengers go to the men at Jabesh-Gilead. They are basically saying that help is on the way.
1 Samuel 11:9, “Tomorrow, by the time the sun is hot, you shall have help.”
They reported this to the men of Jabesh-Gilead. And then the men of Jabesh-Gilead had decided to use a little psychological warfare with the Ammonites. They are going to make them think that they are going to win. They used the art of deception, which is always part of the “Art of the Deal.” They use the art of deception.
They go out and put them at ease. They say, tomorrow the time is up and you can do with us whatever you want to. It is to put them off the game, to relieve any suspicion on their parts.
1 Samuel 11:11. What Saul does is to bring his people into battle. He divides them up into three groups. They are going to hit the Ammonites from three directions, which will produce a lot of confusion in the ranks. They are going to defeat the Ammonites. They are going to kill a huge number of them.
In 1 Samuel 11:12–15 we get the consequences. In 1 Samuel 11:12 the people come together and say, “Who is he who said, ‘Shall Saul reign over us?’ ”
This is going back to how the chapters fit together—that there were these rebels who said, no, we are not going to let Saul rule over us. They go to Samuel, who is part of what has been going on, even though he has not been mentioned.
1 Samuel 11:12, “The people said … ‘Bring the men, that we may put them to death.’ ”
1 Samuel 11:13, “But Saul said, ‘Not a man shall be put to death this day, for today the Lord has accomplished salvation in Israel.’ ” It looks like Saul is saying the right thing. I do not think he is doing it for the right reasons.
So is Saul a man of forgiveness and grace orientation?
I do not see that in Saul’s character at any point in his life—that he has got that level of spiritual maturity. But Samuel is there, and like any other politician, Saul wants to impress people and do what may appear to be the right thing. He is doing a human good thing from a human viewpoint rational. It may be the right thing, but I do not think he is doing it from a divine good rational. That is not what Saul is all about. He just sounds like a lot of politicians who want to talk a good talk when it comes to God.
Anybody recognize anything recently that has occurred like this?
Mr. Trump going to Liberty University and quoting “Two Corinthians.” Then on another occasion he said that he reads his Bible more than anybody else reads their Bible. Really? Are you sure about that? That is a pretty extreme statement. He makes a lot of statements like that. I do this more than anybody else. Really? That is beyond hyperbolic.
So the people come together and instead of getting vengeance on these men who were not ready to submit to Saul’s leadership Samuel says:
1 Samuel 11:14, “Then Samuel said to the people, ‘Come, let us go to Gilgal and renew the kingdom there.’ ”
Gilgal is important because when Israel crossed over the Jordan, the first thing they did was they stopped at Gilgal. They renewed the Covenant and reaffirmed their role in the Covenant. That is the second most significant thing that happens in regard to the Covenant. The first is that it is given to them on Sinai.
1. The first significant thing that happens is that God gives a covenant at Sinai.
2. The second most significant thing is that they renew the covenant when the conquest generation crosses the Jordan and goes into the land.
3. The third thing is that they are going to go there, and under Samuel’s authority, they are going to recognize that Saul is king. They are going to publicly accept this at this point and make sacrifices and peace offerings before the Lord. Then they are going to have a great celebration and a great party.
One of the applications to come out of this is that we have to recognize that this is a picture of the battle between Jesus the Messiah, as the Seed of the woman, and the seed of the serpent, who is Satan. This battle continues until Jesus returns and defeats the armies of the Anti-Christ and the False Prophet at the battle of Armageddon, and puts Satan into the Abyss.
One of the things we have to understand, and I will come back and give you more on this next time, is that there is an order of events:
- The anointing by a prophet.
- The public recognition of that anointing.
- Then there is a military victory over the enemies of Israel.
- Then there is the crowning of the king.
That is the pattern that we see here, with David, and with Jesus. What happens is that Christ does not have the military victory over Satan until Armageddon. He defeats him initially at the Cross, but it is not the end of Satan. Jesus is not crowned when He goes to Heaven. He is not the King until He returns.
This idea in amillennialism, in progressive dispensationalism, in post-millennialism, and in 90% of the superficial supercilious evangelical churches in this country is that these groups talk about Jesus being King now. They sing chorus after chorus after chorus about worshiping the King now.
They are out of line. It is not biblical. It is built on a false concept of the kingship of Christ. The whole battle is between the seed of the serpent and the Seed of the woman. Jesus is going to come back and defeat Satan at Armageddon.
Satan has only had one defeat. It is not total. That does not happen until Armageddon. It is then that Jesus is publically recognized by Israel as the King, as the Son of David.
But in this life we always have to watch out for the tools that the seed of the serpent has. I want to show you a little video. This video is the voice of Donald Trump. This is not an endorsement of Donald Trump. But this was important because it points out the serpent. Some of you may have seen this, but I could not pass this up once I saw it. This is Trump reading a poem about the snake.
Sobering. That is the warning. If we do not recognize that Islam is the merchant of satanic evil and stop them when we can, then the result is going to be that they will destroy the West.
But we are too blind. We are too full of our own arrogance. The result is we are going to destroy ourselves. The only hope is the gospel and the enlightenment that comes with it.
With our heads bowed and our eyes closed.
“Father, thank You that we have the truth of Your Word that enlightens our souls—that we can know truth from error, and evil from righteousness. Father, throughout history there has been the battle between the Seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent, and the only hope is to recognize that the Seed of the woman provides redemption and provides hope and provides deliverance over all the machinations of the seed of the serpent.
As this country, and many other countries, face the rise and the onslaught of the satanic evil of Islam, we pray that You would open the eyes of our leaders that they may see the truth and protect us, because we, like the men of Jabesh-Gilead, need a deliverer, but one who will deliver us on the basis of truth, not on the basis of political subterfuge. We pray that You would give us the courage to speak the truth and to be witnesses of the truth, witnesses of Jesus Christ. We pray this in His name. Amen.”