1 Samuel 18:1-9

1 Samuel 18:1-9 (HCSB)

When David had finished speaking with Saul, Jonathan committed himself to David, and loved him as much as he loved himself. Saul kept David with him from that day on and did not let him return to his father’s house.

Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as much as himself. Then Jonathan removed the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his military tunic, his sword, his bow, and his belt.

David marched out with the army and was successful in everything Saul sent him to do. Saul put him in command of the soldiers, which pleased all the people and Saul’s servants as well.

As the troops were coming back, when David was returning from killing the Philistine, the women came out from all the cities of Israel to meet King Saul, singing and dancing with tambourines, with shouts of joy, and with three-stringed instruments. As they celebrated, the women sang:

Saul has killed his thousands, but David his tens of thousands.

Saul was furious and resented this song. “They credited tens of thousands to David,” he complained, “but they only credited me with thousands. What more can he have but the kingdom?” So Saul watched David jealously from that day forward.

1 Samuel 15:32-35

1 Samuel 15:32-35 (HCSB)

Samuel said, “Bring me Agag king of Amalek.”

Agag came to him trembling, for he thought, “Certainly the bitterness of death has come.”

Samuel declared:

As your sword has made women childless, so your mother will be childless among women.

Then he hacked Agag to pieces before the Lord at Gilgal.

Samuel went to Ramah, and Saul went up to his home in Gibeah of Saul. Even to the day of his death, Samuel never again visited Saul. Samuel mourned for Saul, and the Lord regretted He had made Saul king over Israel.

1 Samuel 15:10-31

1 Samuel 15:10-31 (HCSB)

Then the word of the Lord came to Samuel, “I regret that I made Saul king, for he has turned away from following Me and has not carried out My instructions.” So Samuel became angry and cried out to the Lord all night.

Early in the morning Samuel got up to confront Saul, but it was reported to Samuel, “Saul went to Carmel where he set up a monument for himself. Then he turned around and went down to Gilgal.” When Samuel came to him, Saul said, “May the Lord bless you. I have carried out the Lord’s instructions.”

Samuel replied, “Then what is this sound of sheep and cattle I hear?”

Saul answered, “The troops brought them from the Amalekites and spared the best sheep and cattle in order to offer a sacrifice to the Lord your God, but the rest we destroyed.”

“Stop!” exclaimed Samuel. “Let me tell you what the Lord said to me last night.”

“Tell me,” he replied.

Samuel continued, “Although you once considered yourself unimportant, have you not become the leader of the tribes of Israel? The Lord anointed you king over Israel and then sent you on a mission and said: ‘Go and completely destroy the sinful Amalekites. Fight against them until you have annihilated them.’ So why didn’t you obey the Lord? Why did you rush on the plunder and do what was evil in the Lord’s sight?”

“But I did obey the Lord!” Saul answered. “I went on the mission the Lord gave me: I brought back Agag, king of Amalek, and I completely destroyed the Amalekites. The troops took sheep and cattle from the plunder—the best of what was set apart for destruction—to sacrifice to the Lord your God at Gilgal.”

Then Samuel said:

Does the Lord take pleasure in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord?

Look: to obey is better than sacrifice, to pay attention is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and defiance is like wickedness and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He has rejected you as king.

Saul answered Samuel, “I have sinned. I have transgressed the Lord’s command and your words. Because I was afraid of the people, I obeyed them. Now therefore, please forgive my sin and return with me so I can worship the Lord.”

Samuel replied to Saul, “I will not return with you. Because you rejected the word of the Lord, the Lord has rejected you from being king over Israel.” When Samuel turned to go, Saul grabbed the hem of his robe, and it tore. Samuel said to him, “The Lord has torn the kingship of Israel away from you today and has given it to your neighbor who is better than you. Furthermore, the Eternal One of Israel does not lie or change His mind, for He is not man who changes his mind.”

Saul said, “I have sinned. Please honor me now before the elders of my people and before Israel. Come back with me so I can bow in worship to the Lord your God.” Then Samuel went back, following Saul, and Saul bowed down to the Lord.

1 Samuel 14:47-15:9

1 Samuel 14:47-15:9 (HCSB)

When Saul assumed the kingship over Israel, he fought against all his enemies in every direction: against Moab, the Ammonites, Edom, the kings of Zobah, and the Philistines. Wherever he turned, he caused havoc. He fought bravely, defeated the Amalekites, and delivered Israel from the hand of those who plundered them.

Saul’s sons were Jonathan, Ishvi, and Malchishua. The names of his two daughters were: Merab, his firstborn, and Michal, the younger. The name of Saul’s wife was Ahinoam daughter of Ahimaaz. The name of the commander of his army was Abner son of Saul’s uncle Ner. Saul’s father was Kish. Abner’s father was Ner son of Abiel.

The conflict with the Philistines was fierce all of Saul’s days, so whenever Saul noticed any strong or brave man, he enlisted him.

Samuel told Saul, “The Lord sent me to anoint you as king over His people Israel. Now, listen to the words of the Lord. This is what the Lord of Hosts says: ‘I witnessed what the Amalekites did to the Israelites when they opposed them along the way as they were coming out of Egypt. Now go and attack the Amalekites and completely destroy everything they have. Do not spare them. Kill men and women, children and infants, oxen and sheep, camels and donkeys.’”

Then Saul summoned the troops and counted them at Telaim: 200,000 foot soldiers and 10,000 men from Judah. Saul came to the city of Amalek and set up an ambush in the wadi. He warned the Kenites, “Since you showed kindness to all the Israelites when they came out of Egypt, go on and leave! Get away from the Amalekites, or I’ll sweep you away with them.” So the Kenites withdrew from the Amalekites.

Then Saul struck down the Amalekites from Havilah all the way to Shur, which is next to Egypt. He captured Agag king of Amalek alive, but he completely destroyed all the rest of the people with the sword. Saul and the troops spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, cattle, and choice animals, as well as the young rams and the best of everything else. They were not willing to destroy them, but they did destroy all the worthless and unwanted things.

Peace | Luke 2:8-20

Luke 2:8-20 (HCSB)

In the same region, shepherds were staying out in the fields and keeping watch at night over their flock. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: Today a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord, was born for you in the city of David. This will be the sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in cloth and lying in a feeding trough.”

Suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying:

Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to people He favors!

When the angels had left them and returned to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go straight to Bethlehem and see what has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”

They hurried off and found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby who was lying in the feeding trough. After seeing them, they reported the message they were told about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary was treasuring up all these things in her heart and meditating on them. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had seen and heard, just as they had been told.

Success God's Way | 1 Samuel 13:15-14:23

1 Samuel 13:15-14:23 (CSB)

Then Samuel went from Gilgal to Gibeah in Benjamin. Saul registered the troops who were with him, about six hundred men.

Saul, his son Jonathan, and the troops who were with them were staying in Geba of Benjamin, and the Philistines were camped at Michmash. Raiding parties went out from the Philistine camp in three divisions. One division headed toward the Ophrah road leading to the land of Shual. The next division headed toward the Beth-horon road, and the last division headed down the border road that looks out over the Zeboim Valley toward the wilderness.

No blacksmith could be found in all the land of Israel because the Philistines had said, “Otherwise, the Hebrews will make swords or spears.” So all the Israelites went to the Philistines to sharpen their plows, mattocks, axes, and sickles. The price was two-thirds of a shekel for plows and mattocks, and one-third of a shekel for pitchforks and axes, and for putting a point on a cattle prod. So on the day of battle not a sword or spear could be found in the hand of any of the troops who were with Saul and Jonathan; only Saul and his son Jonathan had weapons.

Now a Philistine garrison took control of the pass at Michmash.

That same day Saul’s son Jonathan said to the attendant who carried his weapons, “Come on, let’s cross over to the Philistine garrison on the other side.” However, he did not tell his father.

Saul was staying under the pomegranate tree in Migron on the outskirts of Gibeah. The troops with him numbered about six hundred. Ahijah, who was wearing an ephod, was also there. He was the son of Ahitub, the brother of Ichabod son of Phinehas, son of Eli the Lord’s priest at Shiloh. But the troops did not know that Jonathan had left.

There were sharp columns of rock on both sides of the pass that Jonathan intended to cross to reach the Philistine garrison. One was named Bozez and the other Seneh; one stood to the north in front of Michmash and the other to the south in front of Geba. Jonathan said to the attendant who carried his weapons, “Come on, let’s cross over to the garrison of these uncircumcised men. Perhaps the Lord will help us. Nothing can keep the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few.”

His armor-bearer responded, “Do what is in your heart. You choose. I’m right here with you whatever you decide.”

“All right,” Jonathan replied, “we’ll cross over to the men and then let them see us. If they say, ‘Wait until we reach you,’ then we will stay where we are and not go up to them. But if they say, ‘Come on up,’ then we’ll go up, because the Lord has handed them over to us—that will be our sign.”

They let themselves be seen by the Philistine garrison, and the Philistines said, “Look, the Hebrews are coming out of the holes where they’ve been hiding!” The men of the garrison called to Jonathan and his armor-bearer. “Come on up, and we’ll teach you a lesson!” they said.

“Follow me,” Jonathan told his armor-bearer, “for the Lord has handed them over to Israel.” Jonathan climbed up using his hands and feet, with his armor-bearer behind him. Jonathan cut them down, and his armor-bearer followed and finished them off. In that first assault Jonathan and his armor-bearer struck down about twenty men in a half-acre field.

Terror spread through the Philistine camp and the open fields to all the troops. Even the garrison and the raiding parties were terrified. The earth shook, and terror spread from God. When Saul’s watchmen in Gibeah of Benjamin looked, they saw the panicking troops scattering in every direction. So Saul said to the troops with him, “Call the roll and determine who has left us.” They called the roll and saw that Jonathan and his armor-bearer were gone.

Saul told Ahijah, “Bring the ark of God,” for it was with the Israelites at that time. While Saul spoke to the priest, the panic in the Philistine camp increased in intensity. So Saul said to the priest, “Stop what you’re doing.”

Saul and all the troops with him assembled and marched to the battle, and there the Philistines were, fighting against each other in great confusion! There were Hebrews from the area who had gone earlier into the camp to join the Philistines, but even they joined the Israelites who were with Saul and Jonathan. When all the Israelite men who had been hiding in the hill country of Ephraim heard that the Philistines were fleeing, they also joined Saul and Jonathan in the battle. So the Lord saved Israel that day.

The Victorious King | 1 Samuel 11

1 Samuel 11 (HCSB)

Nahash the Ammonite came up and laid siege to Jabesh-gilead. All the men of Jabesh said to him, “Make a treaty with us, and we will serve you.”

Nahash the Ammonite replied, “I’ll make one with you on this condition: that I gouge out everyone’s right eye and humiliate all Israel.”

“Don’t do anything to us for seven days,” the elders of Jabesh said to him, “and let us send messengers throughout the territory of Israel. If no one saves us, we will surrender to you.”

When the messengers came to Gibeah, Saul’s hometown, and told the terms to the people, all wept aloud. Just then Saul was coming in from the field behind his oxen. “What’s the matter with the people? Why are they weeping?” Saul inquired, and they repeated to him the words of the men from Jabesh.

When Saul heard these words, the Spirit of God suddenly took control of him, and his anger burned furiously. He took a team of oxen, cut them in pieces, and sent them throughout the land of Israel by messengers who said, “This is what will be done to the ox of anyone who doesn’t march behind Saul and Samuel.” As a result, the terror of the Lord fell on the people, and they went out united.

Saul counted them at Bezek. There were 300,000 Israelites and 30,000 men from Judah. He told the messengers who had come, “Tell this to the men of Jabesh-gilead: ‘Deliverance will be yours tomorrow by the time the sun is hot.’” So the messengers told the men of Jabesh, and they rejoiced.

Then the men of Jabesh said to Nahash, “Tomorrow we will come out, and you can do whatever you want to us.”

The next day Saul organized the troops into three divisions. During the morning watch, they invaded the Ammonite camp and slaughtered them until the heat of the day. There were survivors, but they were so scattered that no two of them were left together.

Afterward, the people said to Samuel, “Who said that Saul should not reign over us? Give us those men so we can kill them!”

But Saul ordered, “No one will be executed this day, for today the Lord has provided deliverance in Israel.”

Then Samuel said to the people, “Come, let’s go to Gilgal, so we can renew the kingship there.” So all the people went to Gilgal, and there in the Lord’s presence they made Saul king. There they sacrificed fellowship offerings in the Lord’s presence, and Saul and all the men of Israel greatly rejoiced.

Hiding in the Baggage | 1 Samuel 10:17-27

1 Samuel 10:17-27 (HCSB)

Samuel summoned the people to the Lord at Mizpah and said to the Israelites, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I brought Israel out of Egypt, and I rescued you from the power of the Egyptians and all the kingdoms that were oppressing you.’ But today you have rejected your God, who saves you from all your troubles and afflictions. You said to Him, ‘You must set a king over us.’ Now therefore present yourselves before the Lord by your tribes and clans.”

Samuel had all the tribes of Israel come forward, and the tribe of Benjamin was selected. Then he had the tribe of Benjamin come forward by its clans, and the Matrite clan was selected. Finally, Saul son of Kish was selected. But when they searched for him, they could not find him. They again inquired of the Lord, “Has the man come here yet?”

The Lord replied, “There he is, hidden among the supplies.”

They ran and got him from there. When he stood among the people, he stood a head taller than anyone else. Samuel said to all the people, “Do you see the one the Lord has chosen? There is no one like him among the entire population.”

And all the people shouted, “Long live the king!”

Samuel proclaimed to the people the rights of kingship. He wrote them on a scroll, which he placed in the presence of the Lord. Then Samuel sent all the people away, each to his home.

Saul also went to his home in Gibeah, and brave men whose hearts God had touched went with him. But some wicked men said, “How can this guy save us?” They despised him and did not bring him a gift, but Saul said nothing.

1 Samuel 9

1 Samuel 9 (HCSB)

There was an influential man of Benjamin named Kish son of Abiel, son of Zeror, son of Becorath, son of Aphiah, son of a Benjaminite. He had a son named Saul, an impressive young man. There was no one more impressive among the Israelites than he. He stood a head taller than anyone else.

One day the donkeys of Saul’s father Kish wandered off. Kish said to his son Saul, “Take one of the attendants with you and go look for the donkeys.” Saul and his attendant went through the hill country of Ephraim and then through the region of Shalishah, but they didn’t find them. They went through the region of Shaalim—nothing. Then they went through the Benjaminite region but still didn’t find them.

When they came to the land of Zuph, Saul said to the attendant who was with him, “Come on, let’s go back, or my father will stop worrying about the donkeys and start worrying about us.”

“Look,” the attendant said, “there’s a man of God in this city who is highly respected; everything he says is sure to come true. Let’s go there now. Maybe he’ll tell us which way we should go.”

“Suppose we do go,” Saul said to his attendant, “what do we take the man? The food from our packs is gone, and there’s no gift to take to the man of God. What do we have?”

The attendant answered Saul: “Here, I have a piece of silver. I’ll give it to the man of God, and he will tell us our way.”

Formerly in Israel, a man who was going to inquire of God would say, “Come, let’s go to the seer,” for the prophet of today was formerly called the seer.

“Good,” Saul replied to his attendant. “Come on, let’s go.” So they went to the city where the man of God was. As they were climbing the hill to the city, they found some young women coming out to draw water and asked, “Is the seer here?”

The women answered, “Yes, he is ahead of you. Hurry, he just now came to the city, because there’s a sacrifice for the people at the high place today. If you go quickly, you can catch up with him before he goes to the high place to eat. The people won’t eat until he comes because he must bless the sacrifice; after that, the guests can eat. Go up immediately—you can find him now.” So they went up toward the city.

Saul and his attendant were entering the city when they saw Samuel coming toward them on his way to the high place. Now the day before Saul’s arrival, the Lord had informed Samuel, “At this time tomorrow I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin. Anoint him ruler over My people Israel. He will save them from the hand of the Philistines because I have seen the affliction of My people, for their cry has come to Me.” When Samuel saw Saul, the Lord told him, “Here is the man I told you about; he will rule over My people.”

Saul approached Samuel in the gate area and asked, “Would you please tell me where the seer’s house is?”

“I am the seer,” Samuel answered. “Go up ahead of me to the high place and eat with me today. When I send you off in the morning, I’ll tell you everything that’s in your heart. As for the donkeys that wandered away from you three days ago, don’t worry about them because they’ve been found. And who does all Israel desire but you and all your father’s family?”

Saul responded, “Am I not a Benjaminite from the smallest of Israel’s tribes and isn’t my clan the least important of all the clans of the Benjaminite tribe? So why have you said something like this to me?”

Samuel took Saul and his attendant, brought them to the banquet hall, and gave them a place at the head of the 30 or so men who had been invited. Then Samuel said to the cook, “Get the portion of meat that I gave you and told you to set aside.”

The cook picked up the thigh and what was attached to it and set it before Saul. Then Samuel said, “Notice that the reserved piece is set before you. Eat it because it was saved for you for this solemn event at the time I said, ‘I’ve invited the people.’” So Saul ate with Samuel that day. Afterward, they went down from the high place to the city, and Samuel spoke with Saul on the roof.

They got up early, and just before dawn, Samuel called to Saul on the roof, “Get up, and I’ll send you on your way!” Saul got up, and both he and Samuel went outside. As they were going down to the edge of the city, Samuel said to Saul, “Tell the attendant to go on ahead of us, but you stay for a while, and I’ll reveal the word of God to you.” So the attendant went on.