28 At that time, the Philistines gathered their military units into one army to fight against Israel. So Achish said to David, “You know, of course, that you and your men must march out in the army[a] with me.”2 David replied to Achish, “Good, you will find out what your servant can do.”So Achish said to David, “Very well, I will appoint you as my permanent bodyguard.”3 By this time Samuel had died, all Israel had mourned for him and buried him in Ramah, his city, and Saul had removed the mediums and spiritists from the land. 4 The Philistines gathered and camped at Shunem. So Saul gathered all Israel, and they camped at Gilboa. 5 When Saul saw the Philistine camp, he was afraid and his heart pounded. 6 He inquired of the Lord, but the Lord did not answer him in dreams or by the Urim or by the prophets. 7 Saul then said to his servants, “Find me a woman who is a medium, so I can go and consult her.”His servants replied, “There is a woman at En-dor who is a medium.”8 Saul disguised himself by putting on different clothes and set out with two of his men. They came to the woman at night, and Saul said, “Consult a spirit for me. Bring up for me the one I tell you.”9 But the woman said to him, “You surely know what Saul has done, how he has cut off the mediums and spiritists from the land. Why are you setting a trap for me to get me killed?”10 Then Saul swore to her by the Lord: “As surely as the Lord lives, no punishment will come to you[b] from this.”11 “Who is it that you want me to bring up for you?” the woman asked.“Bring up Samuel for me,” he answered.12 When the woman saw Samuel, she screamed, and then she asked Saul, “Why did you deceive me? You are Saul!”13 But the king said to her, “Don’t be afraid. What do you see?”“I see a spirit form[c] coming up out of the earth,” the woman answered.14 Then Saul asked her, “What does he look like?”“An old man is coming up,” she replied. “He’s wearing a robe.” Then Saul knew that it was Samuel, and he knelt low with his face to the ground and paid homage.15 “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?” Samuel asked Saul.“I’m in serious trouble,” replied Saul. “The Philistines are fighting against me and God has turned away from me. He doesn’t answer me anymore, either through the prophets or in dreams. So I’ve called on you to tell me what I should do.”16 Samuel answered, “Since the Lord has turned away from you and has become your enemy, why are you asking me? 17 The Lord has done[d] exactly what he said through me: The Lord has torn the kingship out of your hand and given it to your neighbor David. 18 You did not obey the Lord and did not carry out his burning anger against Amalek; therefore the Lord has done this to you today. 19 The Lord will also hand Israel over to the Philistines along with you. Tomorrow you and your sons will be with me,[e] and the Lord will hand Israel’s army over to the Philistines.”20 Immediately, Saul fell flat on the ground. He was terrified by Samuel’s words and was also weak because he had not eaten anything all day and all night. 21 The woman came over to Saul, and she saw that he was terrified and said to him, “Look, your servant has obeyed you. I took my life in my hands and did what you told me to do. 22 Now please listen to your servant. Let me set some food in front of you. Eat and it will give you strength so you can go on your way.”23 He refused, saying, “I won’t eat,” but when his servants and the woman urged him, he listened to them. He got up off the ground and sat on the bed.24 The woman had a fattened calf at her house, and she quickly slaughtered it. She also took flour, kneaded it, and baked unleavened bread. 25 She served it to Saul and his servants, and they ate. Afterward, they got up and left that night.
Philistines Reject David
29 The Philistines brought all their military units together at Aphek while Israel was camped by the spring in Jezreel. 2 As the Philistine leaders were passing in review with their units of hundreds and thousands, David and his men were passing in review behind them with Achish. 3 Then the Philistine commanders asked, “What are these Hebrews doing here?”Achish answered the Philistine commanders, “That is David, servant of King Saul of Israel. He has been with me a considerable period of time.[f] From the day he defected until today, I’ve found no fault with him.”4 The Philistine commanders, however, were enraged with Achish and told him, “Send that man back and let him return to the place you assigned him. He must not go down with us into battle only to become our adversary during the battle. What better way could he ingratiate himself with his master than with the heads of our men? 5 Isn’t this the David they sing about during their dances:Saul has killed his thousands,
but David his tens of thousands?”6 So Achish summoned David and told him, “As the Lord lives, you are an honorable man. I think it is good[g] to have you fighting[h] in this unit with me, because I have found no fault in you from the day you came to me until today. But the leaders don’t think you are reliable. 7 Now go back quietly and you won’t be doing anything the Philistine leaders think is wrong.”8 “But what have I done?” David replied to Achish. “From the first day I entered your service until today, what have you found against your servant to keep me from going to fight against the enemies of my lord the king?”9 Achish answered David, “I’m convinced that you are as reliable as an angel of God. But the Philistine commanders have said, ‘He must not go into battle with us.’ 10 So get up early in the morning, you and your masters’ servants who came with you.[i] When you’ve all gotten up early, go as soon as it’s light.” 11 So David and his men got up early in the morning to return to the land of the Philistines. And the Philistines went up to Jezreel.
David’s Defeat of the Amalekites
30 David and his men arrived in Ziklag on the third day. The Amalekites had raided the Negev and attacked and burned Ziklag. 2 They also had kidnapped the women and everyone[j] in it from youngest to oldest. They had killed no one but had carried them off as they went on their way.3 When David and his men arrived at the town, they found it burned. Their wives, sons, and daughters had been kidnapped. 4 David and the troops with him wept loudly until they had no strength left to weep. 5 David’s two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelite and Abigail the widow of Nabal the Carmelite, had also been kidnapped. 6 David was in an extremely difficult position because the troops talked about stoning him, for they were all very bitter over the loss of their sons and daughters. But David found strength in the Lord his God.7 David said to the priest Abiathar son of Ahimelech, “Bring me the ephod.” So Abiathar brought it to him, 8 and David asked the Lord, “Should I pursue these raiders? Will I overtake them?”The Lord replied to him, “Pursue them, for you will certainly overtake them and rescue the people.”9 So David and the six hundred men with him went. They came to the Wadi Besor, where some stayed behind. 10 David and four hundred of the men continued the pursuit, while two hundred stopped because they were too exhausted to cross the Wadi Besor.11 David’s men found an Egyptian in the open country and brought him to David. They gave him some bread to eat and water to drink. 12 Then they gave him some pressed figs and two clusters of raisins. After he ate he revived, for he hadn’t eaten food or drunk water for three days and three nights.13 Then David said to him, “Who do you belong to? Where are you from?”“I’m an Egyptian, the slave of an Amalekite man,” he said. “My master abandoned me when I got sick three days ago. 14 We raided the south country of the Cherethites, the territory of Judah, and the south country of Caleb, and we burned Ziklag.”15 David then asked him, “Will you lead me to these raiders?”He said, “Swear to me by God that you won’t kill me or turn me over to my master, and I will lead you to them.”16 So he led him, and there were the Amalekites, spread out over the entire area, eating, drinking, and celebrating because of the great amount of plunder they had taken from the land of the Philistines and the land of Judah. 17 David slaughtered them from twilight until the evening of the next day. None of them escaped, except four hundred young men who got on camels and fled.18 David recovered everything the Amalekites had taken; he also rescued his two wives. 19 Nothing of theirs was missing from the youngest to the oldest, including the sons and daughters, and all the plunder the Amalekites had taken. David got everything back. 20 He took all the flocks and herds, which were driven ahead of the other livestock, and the people shouted, “This is David’s plunder!”21 When David came to the two hundred men who had been too exhausted to go with him and had been left at the Wadi Besor, they came out to meet him and to meet the troops with him. When David approached the men, he greeted them, 22 but all the corrupt and worthless men among those who had gone with David argued, “Because they didn’t go with us, we will not give any of the plunder we recovered to them except for each man’s wife and children. They may take them and go.”23 But David said, “My brothers, you must not do this with what the Lord has given us. He protected us and handed over to us the raiders who came against us. 24 Who can agree to your proposal? The share of the one who goes into battle is to be the same as the share of the one who remains with the supplies. They will share equally.” 25 And it has been so from that day forward. David established this policy[k] as a law and an ordinance for Israel and it still continues today.26 When David came to Ziklag, he sent some of the plunder to his friends, the elders of Judah, saying, “Here is a gift for you from the plunder of the Lord’s enemies.” 27 He sent gifts[l] to those in Bethel, in Ramoth of the Negev, and in Jattir; 28 to those in Aroer, in Siphmoth, and in Eshtemoa; 29 to those in Racal, in the towns of the Jerahmeelites, and in the towns of the Kenites; 30 to those in Hormah, in Bor-ashan, and in Athach; 31 to those in Hebron, and to those in all the places where David and his men had roamed.
The Death of Saul and His Sons
31 The Philistines fought against Israel, and Israel’s men fled from them and were killed on Mount Gilboa. 2 The Philistines pursued Saul and his sons and killed his sons, Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malchishua. 3 When the battle intensified against Saul, the archers found him and severely wounded him.[m] 4 Then Saul said to his armor-bearer, “Draw your sword and run me through with it, or these uncircumcised men will come and run me through and torture me!” But his armor-bearer would not do it because he was terrified. Then Saul took his sword and fell on it. 5 When his armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he also fell on his own sword and died with him. 6 So on that day, Saul died together with his three sons, his armor-bearer, and all his men.7 When the men of Israel on the other side of the valley and on the other side of the Jordan saw that Israel’s men had fled and that Saul and his sons were dead, they abandoned the cities and fled. So the Philistines came and settled in them.8 The next day when the Philistines came to strip the slain, they found Saul and his three sons dead on Mount Gilboa. 9 They cut off Saul’s head, stripped off his armor, and sent messengers throughout the land of the Philistines to spread the good news in the temples of their idols and among the people. 10 Then they put his armor in the temple of the Ashtoreths and hung his body on the wall of Beth-shan.11 When the residents of Jabesh-gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, 12 all their brave men set out, journeyed all night, and retrieved the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons from the wall of Beth-shan. When they arrived at Jabesh, they burned the bodies there. 13 Afterward, they took their bones and buried them under the tamarisk tree in Jabesh and fasted seven days.
I love you, Lord, my strength.
2 The Lord is my rock,
my fortress, and my deliverer,
my God, my rock where I seek refuge,
my shield and the horn of my salvation,
3 I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise,
and I was saved from my enemies.4 The ropes of death were wrapped around me;
the torrents of destruction terrified me.
5 The ropes of Sheol entangled me;
the snares of death confronted me.
6 I called to the Lord in my distress,
and I cried to my God for help.
From his temple he heard my voice,
and my cry to him reached his ears.7 Then the earth shook and quaked;
the foundations of the mountains trembled;
they shook because he burned with anger.
8 Smoke rose from his nostrils,
and consuming fire came from his mouth;
coals were set ablaze by it.[a]
9 He bent the heavens and came down,
total darkness beneath his feet.
10 He rode on a cherub and flew,
soaring on the wings of the wind.
11 He made darkness his hiding place,
dark storm clouds his canopy around him.
12 From the radiance of his presence,
his clouds swept onward with hail and blazing coals.
13 The Lord thundered from[b] heaven;
the Most High made his voice heard.[c]
14 He shot his arrows and scattered them;
he hurled[d] lightning bolts and routed them.
15 The depths of the sea became visible,
the foundations of the world were exposed,
at your rebuke, Lord,
at the blast of the breath of your nostrils.16 He reached down from on high
and took hold of me;
he pulled me out of deep water.
17 He rescued me from my powerful enemy
and from those who hated me,
for they were too strong for me.
18 They confronted me in the day of my calamity,
but the Lord was my support.
19 He brought me out to a spacious place;
he rescued me because he delighted in me.20 The Lord rewarded me
according to my righteousness;
he repaid me
according to the cleanness of my hands.
21 For I have kept the ways of the Lord
and have not turned from my God to wickedness.
22 Indeed, I let all his ordinances guide me[e]
and have not disregarded his statutes.
23 I was blameless toward him
and kept myself from my iniquity.
24 So the Lord repaid me
according to my righteousness,
according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.25 With the faithful
you prove yourself faithful,
with the blameless
you prove yourself blameless,
26 with the pure
you prove yourself pure,
but with the crooked
you prove yourself shrewd.
27 For you rescue an oppressed people,
but you humble those with haughty eyes.
28 Lord, you light my lamp;
my God illuminates my darkness.
29 With you I can attack a barricade,[f]
and with my God I can leap over a wall.30 God—his way is perfect;
the word of the Lord is pure.
He is a shield to all who take refuge in him.
31 For who is God besides the Lord?
And who is a rock? Only our God.
32 God—he clothes me with strength
and makes my way perfect.
33 He makes my feet like the feet of a deer
and sets me securely on the heights.[g]
34 He trains my hands for war;
my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
35 You have given me the shield of your salvation;
your right hand upholds me,
and your humility exalts me.
36 You make a spacious place beneath me for my steps,
and my ankles do not give way.37 I pursue my enemies and overtake them;
I do not turn back until they are wiped out.
38 I crush them, and they cannot get up;
they fall beneath my feet.
39 You have clothed me with strength for battle;
you subdue my adversaries beneath me.
40 You have made my enemies retreat before me;[h]
I annihilate those who hate me.
41 They cry for help, but there is no one to save them—
they cry to the Lord, but he does not answer them.
42 I pulverize them like dust before the wind;
I trample them[i] like mud in the streets.43 You have freed me from the feuds among the people;
you have appointed me the head of nations;
a people I had not known serve me.
44 Foreigners submit to me cringing;
as soon as they hear they obey me.
45 Foreigners lose heart
and come trembling from their fortifications.46 The Lord lives—blessed be my rock!
The God of my salvation is exalted.
47 God—he grants me vengeance
and subdues peoples under me.
48 He frees me from my enemies.
You exalt me above my adversaries;
you rescue me from violent men.
49 Therefore I will give thanks to you among the nations, Lord;
I will sing praises about your name.
50 He gives great victories to his king;
he shows loyalty to his anointed,
to David and his descendants forever.
As 1 Samuel ends, we continue to see the stark contrast between David and Saul. Both are in very dangerous predicaments and David “strengthens himself in the lord” while Saul finds no strength and eventually kills himself.
David knew God, he knew how big and powerful God was. Saul didn’t, Saul’s god was too small to be followed as king, too small for Goliath, and too small to deliver him from the Philistines again.
The psalm David wrote displays the character of God very well. God’s faithfulness and power are on display. This same faithfulness and power should be at the forefront of our minds, knowing how big and powerful God is. This should be a springboard for us to take the gospel into dark places. Our God is faithful!