The Death of Saul

Death Saul

Wednesday 06/24/20 

Series: Thru the Bible

Message – The Death of Saul

***Video is HERE***

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Thru the Bible: 1Samuel 30-31 / 2Samuel 1 / 1 Chron. 10

{Tentative outline for 2 Samuel – 2 Chron. going forward – HERE}

Tonight we are wrapping up 1 Samuel. Here in chapter 30 is a story you are pretty familiar with since I have used it many times in illustration in past teachings. It is David at Ziklag, which is the land the Philistine king gave to David during the time of his exile from Israel. David and his men had been ordered to return to Ziklag rather than participate in the war the Philistines were launching against Israel, because the other Philistine leaders did not trust David in battle. 

1 Samuel 30:1-31,

“(1) David and his men arrived in Ziklag on the third day. The Amalekites had raided the Negev and attacked and burned down Ziklag.  (2)  They also had kidnapped the women and everyone in it from the youngest to the 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 down. 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 a 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.”

The picture I’ve painted for you in times past was that of a 2-cord rope. David had very little strength, so he enter-twined himself in the Lord and thus shared in His strength in a time of deep need. David did NOT attempt to go it alone!

“(7)  David said to Abiathar the priest, 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)  David and the 600 men with him went as far as the Wadi Besor, where 200 who were to remain behind would stop.  (10)  They stopped because they were too exhausted to cross the Wadi Besor. David and 400 of the men continued in pursuit.”

“(11)  They 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 down 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 400 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, of all the plunder the Amalekites had taken. David got everything back.  (20)  He took all the sheep and cattle, which were driven ahead of the other livestock, and the people shouted, “This is David’s plunder!”  

Though not King, David is already establishing good laws

“(21)  When David came to the 200 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 worthless men among those who had gone with David retorted, “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 as a law and an ordinance for Israel and it continues to this very day.” 

“(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 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.”

Now here with the death of Saul is where we begin to see overlap, so we are going to read this chapter on through to 2 Samuel 1:16 and then 1 Chron. 10:1-14 – which is all the accounts of his death.

On the website you will find a list (as a downloadable pdf file) which will serve as a tentative outline for how we will cover the remaining books of 2Samuel through 2 Chronicles – it highlights the areas where there is some sort of significant overlap.

Now before we read about the death of Saul let me explain a little about the how and whys of these books and the way they retell the same stories.

As is often true, we have to approach the scriptures – especially the Old Testament – with a view to the people it was written to and recorded by. Simply put – they thought differently than we do. In many respects theirs was a practical and more holistic view of their history and the way it was recorded and arranged in order from beginning to end, served a real and practical purpose. It might also prove helpful to know that the term “Old Testament” is NOT a bible word, even though some translations use it in 2 Cor. 3:14. The words translated as “old testament” there, more literally would be translated as the ancient testament. The phrase was coined by a man named, Melito of Sardis, about 170 AD to distinguish this part of the Bible from the writings that were eventually recognized as the New Testament.

The Jewish Bible is arranged into three main sections:

  1. The teachings – which is what we call the Pentateuch or the 1st five books of the Old Testament.
  2. The Prophets – which include
  3. Writings

The Jewish people call this collection of books the Tanakh. A word derived by combining the first letter from the names of the three divisions of the scriptures. These are further divided into smaller categories. 

The Teachings are the same for them as for us. They include:

  • Genesis
  • Exodus
  • Leviticus
  • Numbers
  • Deuteronomy

The Prophets are divided into 3 sections: 

  • The “Former Prophets” which includes information about major personalities, these are Joshua, Judges, Samuel & Kings.
  • The Latter Prophets – which exhort Israel to return to God and include Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and (together in one book known as “The Book of the Twelve”) the 12 Minor Prophets (Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi). 

The Writings are divided into poetry, theology and drama. These include:

Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra-Nehemiah, and Chronicles.

Regarding the last three there is no “official order” for them but they share the same category because they all describe later events in Hebrew history prior to the Maccabean period (400 years of silence), as such they were the last books written and Daniel and Ezra are the only two in the Jewish Scriptures to have large sections originally written in Aramaic rather than Hebrew.

The Old Testament scriptures in modern Christian Bibles sport more than the 24 books of the Jewish Bible for a reason. First off, Christians divided some of the original tests into two or more parts: 

  • Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles into two parts each
  • Ezra-Nehemiah into two separate books
  • The book of the twelve we have divided into 12 separate books which we call the Minor Prophets. 

In the end though, they are both identical except in the order in which they are arranged.

The reason why the books of Samuel and Kings are separated from the book of Chronicles is pretty straight forward.

The books of Samuel/Kings and Chronicles record an overlapping period of history. They both provide the history of the kings of Judah, describing their reigns and encouraging the people to remain faithful to God. Both highlight David as being a special ruler and the standard by which later kings were measured. 

Samuel/Kings however, deal largely with the beginnings of a divided kingdom. Early on after Israel became a nation, rather than a loose affiliation of tribal families, Israel became divided into two kingdoms. The Southern kingdom which was Judah and the Northern Kingdom which was the rest of Israel. These two divisions even had their own independent kings. The books of Samuel and Kings address these two kingdoms and reveals the troubles and internal struggles of these kingdoms and their kings. 

Chronicles on the other hand is recorded late in Israel’s history and is not recording current events but is looking back on that same period of struggle and initial division and exiles in reflection. Chronicles is in large part singly interested in Judah. In fact, the rest of Israel is only mentioned to the degree that they had an immediate impact on events within Judah. Also, when Chronicles was written the Jews were trying to re-establish themselves. Recounting their failures would not have served that purpose, so when we read some of the same accounts in Chronicles that we do in Samuel & Kings a lot of the sinful past is cleaned up or not even mentions – much like happens in Hebrews 11 regarding the testimonies of Old Testament saints. It could be argued that this was a time when Israel needed to have renewed faith in God and their leaders. The Jewish people needed encouragement and strengthening so this reexamining history through that a different lens is something which Chronicles supplies.

1 Samuel 31:1-13, 

“(1) The Philistines fought against Israel, and Israel’s men fled from them. Many were killed on Mount Gilboa.  (2)  The Philistines overtook Saul and his sons and killed his sons, Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malchishua.  (3)  When the battle intensified against Saul, the archers caught up with him and severely wounded him.”

“(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 run away 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)  Afterwards, they took their bones and buried them under the tamarisk tree in Jabesh and fasted seven days.”

1 Chronicles 10:1-14,

“(1) 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 Saul’s sons Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malchishua.  (3)  When the battle intensified against Saul, the archers found him and severely wounded him.  (4)  Then Saul said to his armor-bearer, “Draw your sword and run me through with it, or these uncircumcised men will come and torture me!” But his armor-bearer wouldn’t 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.  (6)  So Saul and his three sons died–his whole house died together.”

“(7)  When all the men of Israel in the valley saw that the army had run away and that Saul and his sons were dead, they abandoned their 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 sons dead on Mount Gilboa.  (9)  They stripped Saul, cut off his head, took his armor, and sent messengers throughout the land of the Philistines to spread the good news to their idols and their people.  (10)  Then they put his armor in the temple of their gods and hung his skull in the temple of Dagon.”

“(11)  When all Jabesh-gilead heard of everything the Philistines had done to Saul,  (12)  all their brave men set out and retrieved the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons and brought them to Jabesh. They buried their bones under the oak in Jabesh and fasted seven days.”

“(13)  Saul died for his unfaithfulness to the LORD because he did not keep the LORD’s word. He even consulted a medium for guidance,  (14)  but he did not inquire of the LORD. So the LORD put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David son of Jesse.”

David sets himself apart as a good and godly leader by mourning, even the death of his enemy Saul.

2Samuel 1:1-27,

“(1) After the death of Saul, David returned from defeating the Amalekites and stayed at Ziklag two days.  (2)  On the third day a man with torn clothes and dust on his head came from Saul’s camp. When he came to David, he fell to the ground and paid homage.”

“(3)  David asked him, “Where have you come from?” 

He replied to him, “I’ve escaped from the Israelite camp.”  

(4)  “What was the outcome? Tell me,” David asked him. 

“The troops fled from the battle,” he answered. “Many of the troops have fallen and are dead. Also, Saul and his son Jonathan are dead.”  

(5)  David asked the young man who had brought him the report, “How do you know Saul and his son Jonathan are dead?”  

(6)  “I happened to be on Mount Gilboa,” he replied, “and there was Saul, leaning on his spear. At that very moment the chariots and the cavalry were closing in on him.  (7)  When he turned around and saw me, he called out to me, so I answered: I’m at your service.  

(8)  He asked me, ‘Who are you?’ I told him: I’m an Amalekite.  (9)  Then he begged me, ‘Stand over me and kill me, for I’m mortally wounded, but my life still lingers.’  (10)  So I stood over him and killed him because I knew that after he had fallen he couldn’t survive. I took the crown that was on his head and the armband that was on his arm, and I’ve brought them here to my lord.”  

(11)  Then David took hold of his clothes and tore them, and all the men with him did the same.  (12)  They mourned, wept, and fasted until the evening for those who died by the sword–for Saul, his son Jonathan, the LORD’s people, and the house of Israel.”

“(13)  David inquired of the young man who had brought him the report, “Where are you from?” “I’m the son of a foreigner” he said. “I’m an Amalekite.”  

“(14)  David questioned him, “How is it that you were not afraid to lift your hand to destroy the LORD’s anointed?”  (15)  Then David summoned one of his servants and said, “Come here and kill him!” The servant struck him, and he died.  (16)  For David had said to the Amalekite, “Your blood is on your own head because your own mouth testified against you by saying, ‘I killed the LORD’s anointed.'”  

“(17)  David sang the following lament for Saul and his son Jonathan,  (18)  and he ordered that the Judahites be taught The Song of the Bow. It is written in the Book of Jashar:  

“(19)  The splendor of Israel lies slain on your heights. How the mighty have fallen!  (20)  Do not tell it in Gath, don’t announce it in the streets of Ashkelon, or the daughters of the Philistines will rejoice, and the daughters of the uncircumcised will gloat.  (21)  Mountains of Gilboa, let no dew or rain be on you, or fields of offerings, for there the shield of the mighty was defiled–the shield of Saul, no longer anointed with oil.  (22)  Jonathan’s bow never retreated, Saul’s sword never returned unstained, from the blood of the slain, from the bodies of the mighty.  (23)  Saul and Jonathan, loved and delightful, they were not parted in life or in death. They were swifter than eagles, stronger than lions.  (24)  Daughters of Israel, weep for Saul, who clothed you in scarlet, with luxurious things, who decked your garments with gold ornaments.  (25)  How the mighty have fallen in the thick of battle! Jonathan lies slain on your heights.  (26)  I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother. You were such a friend to me. Your love for me was more wonderful than the love of a woman for me.  (27)  How the mighty have fallen and the weapons of war have perished!”

So, David begins his reign with the lament over the loss of Israel’s King and his enemy.

We know that Saul actually died by his own hand, but this young Amalekite was seeking to ingratiate himself to David who he knew would be Saul’s successor. It is interesting that this young man would not have been alive to tell this lie to David if Saul had done as he had been told and destroy all the Amalekites which he failed to do.



I hope this teaching will challenge you and encourage you to place your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

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Hi my name is Mark and though I am opposed to titles, I am currently the only Pastor (shepherd/elder) serving our assembly right now.

I have been Pastoring in one capacity or another for nearly 30 years now, though never quite like I am today.

Early in 2009 the Lord revealed to me that the way we had structured our assembly (church) was not scriptural in that it was out of sync with what Paul modeled for us in the New Testament. In truth, I (like many pastors I am sure) never even gave this fundamental issue of church structure the first thought. I had always assumed that church structure was largely the same everywhere and had been so from the beginning. While I knew Paul had some very stringent things to say about the local assembly of believers, the point of our gatherings together and who may or may not lead, I never even considered studying these issues but assumed we were all pretty much doing it in numbers right?! Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong!

So needless to say, my discovery that we had been doing it wrong for nearly two decades was a bit of a shock to me! Now, this "revelation" that did not come about all at once but over the course of a few weeks. We were a traditional single pastor led congregation. It was a top-bottom model of ministry which is in part biblical, but not in the form of a monarchy.

The needed change did not come into focus until following 9 very intense months of study and discussions with those who were leaders in our church at the time.

We now understand and believe that the Bible teaches co-leadership with equal authority in each local assembly. Having multiple shepherds with God's heart and equal authority protects both Shepherds and sheep. Equal accountability keep authority and doctrine in check. Multiple shepherds also provides teaching with various styles and giftings with leadership skills which are both different and complementary.

For a while we had two co-pastors (elders) (myself and one other man) who led the church with equal authority, but different giftings. We both taught in our own ways and styles, and our leadership skills were quite different, but complimentary. We were in complete submission to each other and worked side-by-side in the labor of shepherding the flock.

Our other Pastor has since moved on to other ministry which has left us with just myself. While we currently only have one Pastor/Elder, it is our desire that God, in His faithfulness and timing, may bring us more as we grow in maturity and even in numbers.

As to my home, I have been married since 1995 to my wonderful wife Terissa Woodson who is my closest friend and most trusted ally.

As far as my education goes, I grew up in a Christian home, but questioned everything I was ever taught.

I graduated from Bible college in 1990 and continued to question everything I was ever taught (I do not mention my college in order to avoid being labeled).

Perhaps my greatest preparation for ministry has been life and ministry itself. To quote an author I have come to enjoy namely Fredrick Buechner in his writing entitled, Now and Then, "If God speaks to us at all other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that He speaks to us largely through what happens to us...if we keep our hearts open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear Him, He is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, His word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling." ~ Fredrick Buechner

Well that is about all there is of interest to tell you about me.

I hope our ministry here is a blessing to you and your family. I also hope that it is only a supplement to a local church where you are committed to other believers in a community of grace.

~God Bless!