Rather than reading the Bible through the eyes of modern secularism, this provocative six-part course teaches you to read the Bible through its own eyes—as a record of God’s dealing with the human race. When you read it at this level, you will discover reasons to worship God in areas of life you probably never before associated with “religion.”
© Charles A. Clough 1997
Charles A. Clough
Biblical Framework Series 1995–2003
Part 3: Disruptive Truths of God’s Kingdom
Chapter 6: Rise and Reign of David: The Disruptive Truth of Messianic Leadership
Lesson 65 – King Saul, Biblical Warning on Totalitarian Government, Eminent Domain
09 Oct 1997
Fellowship Chapel, Jarrettsville, MD
I’d like to spend time in two major passages of Scripture. The big idea and what we’re doing here in studying this section is we’re on the election and reign of King David event, and that occupies 1 and 2 Samuel, and the kings that follows is 1 and 2 Kings. There are two other books in the Old Testament that cover this period of time, in a parallel, 1 and 2 Chronicles, but 1 and 2 Chronicles approach this period of history differently; they are an account of this history from the standpoint, apparently, we think of the Levitical priests that kept the temple. Chronicles is very concerned with worship; it’s very concerned with the protocols of the temple. And if you go back and look at 1 Chronicles as to how it starts, it’s revealing to see that the first historic event mentioned in Chronicles or the first major section of history is that section of history having to do with David bringing the ark to Jerusalem. Chronicles doesn’t mention anything about the Bathsheba incident; it doesn’t mention any of those kinds of details about David’s administration. So we have six books in the Old Testament that cover this period of history. What we’re looking at is primarily through the eyes of the prophets, and the prophets were the ones who wrote 1 and 2 Samuel, probably also the Chronicles but 1 and 2 Samuel is a prophetic commentary on that history.
I want to make the point that we’ve made several times because we get a counterpart to this in our schools so often, and it’s really false. You often are told that history writing did not begin until the time of the Greeks. The reason for saying that is that you had Herodotus and Thucydides and these guys began to write theories of how history moves and it was the idea that history is cyclical and history is progressive, and you go on down through the Gentile writers of history, down to Hegel, and Karl Marx has his view of history and how it’s moving, etc. Then you get into the present day revisionism in history, history that is largely in the eyes of the beholder kind of thing, there wasn’t any real objective truth there. Putting all these aside for a moment, the historical fact is that the first historical accounts of any significance are in the Bible.
The reason I make that point again and again is this: I went through grammar school and high school as a non-Christian; I could get good grades on the tests, that wasn’t the problem. The problem was I had no motivation to study history and the reason I think, as I look back, because I wasn’t a Christian history was meaningless to me, it was a pile of facts, just a collection, it wasn’t going anywhere, didn’t have any meaning for me, and I had to become a Christian before I ever appreciated history. I think that’s been the experience of a lot of Christians; it wasn’t until after you knew the Lord and realized He is in control of history, that history has a pattern, it’s moving somewhere, then history becomes interesting. Then we like to find out our roots, we like to find out where did our family come from in all this chaos of history, what happened spiritually to our families in this pilgrimage? And what happened to the rise and fall of nations, did God have something to do with that. If He did, why did He make that nation go up and this nation go down? Those are the questions of history and I cite this in passing because I want you to see that when you study the Word of God seriously, it has ramifications in every area and history is one of those.
What we’re looking at in this history, the theme of chapter 6 in our notes is: what is the ideal leader from God’s point of view. We dealt with the nation, the rise of the nation, the rise of civilization, now we’re talking about leadership, what does a king look like? I’ve said this before and I want to say it again for review, when you read the Scriptures try to read them in opposition to the culture of the time in which they were written. So in the notes I’ve given some extensive quotes of how kings acted, what they said, what their ideas were, at the same time that the Bible was going on. The reason I do that, teaching by contrast, is that we can often see better the work of the Holy Spirit if we compare His work with what things look like when He doesn’t work. We saw that and we said that civilization began with all the nations, all the tribes, all the languages and at that time they all had a piece of the Bible. All nations, all tribes originally had at least Genesis 1-10, and we know historically they lost that and it got all screwed up, it got mythologized, it got twisted and perverted, and you have these strange traditions running around, pieces of which are true but a lot of which are false. Then we have this Book.
So you take your mythology and put it over here and read it, then take Genesis 1-10 and read it, then you compare the two. And what you see in that comparison is how the Holy Spirit preserves truth and what our natural, sinful fallen heart does to suppress the truth. We learn that way. That’s how you pick up sensitivity as to God works, by comparing… it’s like you have a controlled experiment, you look over here and He’s doing something, and you’ve got an explanation of what He’s doing, so you look very carefully, then you say gee, He’s bringing a king onto the throne, let’s see what other kings did when they got on the throne. Now you have two kings in two different places, but both dealing with this kingship issue. Compare them and then you’ll see what a secular pagan king looks like and what a godly biblical king looks like. That gives you once again teaching by contrast, it gives you a sense of how the Holy Spirit works.
Prior to the rise of the king, at Mt. Sinai, at the Exodus, in the conquest and settlement, all during that time the nation Israel was in a theocratic mode, i.e., they had no real centralized institutions, and they had great political freedom, they had a wonderful education system, they had the whole counsel of God given to them at that time, and we can draw a time line up to the point where we are tonight. If this is the flood of Noah, then we have a period of about 400 years and in those 400 years, if we take a type genealogy, in those 400 years unbelievable but every major continent was settled. All the basic nations, if by nations we mean the racial diversities, the families, the tribes, etc. basically spread out across the face of the earth, unified in some degree because we find the same kind of pyramidal design in Egypt that we find in Central American. We’ve seen Semitic roots in Europe, Ireland; we find the Semitic roots in Asia and Central America. So we know that there are certain traces of this period still left in history, namely we have certain architectural forms left over from this time, we have certain linguistics left over from this time, and after that, because this is the period when the longevity was decreasing, about 4–5 centuries after Noah, this all disappeared. So it was as though a dark curtain came down in history and ever since this period of history is kind of looked upon as either distorted through the evolutionary philosophy of interpretation or it’s just looked upon as sheer myth. But it’s a forgotten time period.
Then we come down to Abraham, we’ll date him at 2000 BC. We are with David at 1000 BC. Pick a half way point, say 1400 BC, that’s the Exodus. I’m hoping to get hold of some work that’s recently come out by some young rebellious Egyptologists. For years what has happened is that we’ve always looked upon Egyptian history, what was the Pharaoh of the Exodus, what was going on in the other countries, and the way most of us learn history is that Egypt had these big long dynasties out here, we have the old dynasty and then we have the middle kingdom, and then we have the new kingdom, the new kingdom going down to this period and the Exodus would be in that new kingdom. If you do that you really have a hard time locating what’s going on, because it does not seem to synchronize very well. Then along came a rebellious guy by the name of Immanuel Velikovsky who said these two kingdoms are mere images of each other, they never existed, there was only one period of time, and to make a long story short, what he does by moving it forward in time he gets rid of all this ancient dating. It turns out the moment he does that, then he finds …, remember what happened in the Exodus to Egypt, there were all those plagues.
Well, lo and behold in this middle period, the second intermediate period, there’s an Egyptian poet that complains about plagues that have hit Egypt, the Nile has turned red, etc. Now all of a sudden we’ve got links. Later on, if his scheme is correct, this is Solomon who’s David son who reigns between 1000-900 BC and a famous queen visits him, and it’s always a mystery who this queen was because she’s always looked upon as some sort of desert queen from some little trivial desert province. On the other hand, Velikovsky’s argument that that wasn’t a trivial queen, that lady that visited Solomon was none other than the most famous woman of all Egypt, Queen Hatshepsut, and he points out that when she went back to Egypt she changed, she did something to the entire Egyptian priesthood, whatever it was. I haven’t time to go into the details; I’m just saying that these things seem to flow. Velikovsky died and his work disappeared, and was ridiculed and everybody laughed at it.
A book has been published a book by a young Egyptologist in England, he’s not defending Velikovsky, he’s claiming on the basis of archeology and other evidences, that that revision has to happen, that how we organize ancient history is really screwed up, and we’ve got to reorganize it. I hope to get hold of it, I just learned this week that he did a series on the BBC and I would like to get that series. I want you to see that again it goes back to the fact that we always take all the stuff that we learn in school as just gospel, then we wind up trying to fit the Bible into that scheme, then we have problems, then we start doubting whether the Bible is right. What we should have done in the first place is assume the Bible is right and when these things fit the Bible, great; if they don’t fit the Bible, they’re screwed up, not the Bible. But we always get it backwards. That’s one of the things we want to understand.
When David is king, as far as the Bible is concerned, this new kingdom is very young, or not existing at all; and the reason is that if you look at a concordance from 1500–1000 BC try finding one reference to Egypt. It’ll be references to Egypt in the sense of the past, but there’s a mystery here. If Egypt was so strong during this time, why don’t we have any interaction with Egypt? All the conquest of the land, here we have the twelve tribes going into the land, fighting wars and battles and conquering cities, and never once do they encounter a patrol from the Egyptian military? Excuse me, what’s going on here. It looks like Egypt is out of the picture completely during this entire period of biblical history.
David comes to power and his enemies weren’t the Egyptians. The powers that David had to deal with were the Philistines, and they were on the coast. David had some problems with the residue that was in the land, but the people going into this period of time had freedom, from the Exodus all during this period of time there was a theocracy. All during this period of time they had no strong centralized government. All during that period of time they had a wonderful educational system. What happened at the end of the period of the Judges? Society was in chaos. What was the cry, the prophetic analysis? The prophetic authors of the book of Judges made some conclusions. They studied and narrated this history and their conclusion was that “every man did what was right in his own eyes,” because there was no king. Society had disintegrated. One of the big ideas I want you to get as we move through here is that period of history is a counter-argument to a very popular belief today that all you have to do is educate people, teach them the spirit of democracy and everything’s going to be cool. They had freedom then and they blew it. Why? Not because they were conquered, not because they lost their freedom to somebody else, it was because they couldn’t get along because they refused to obey the Word of God. They did not have a transcendent standard to which they all held and they all disintegrated.
It’s pretty obvious if you’re going to hold to one standard and I’m going to hold to another standard, there are only certain things we can agree on, and we’re not going to be cohered. The argument, then, against democracy, not that it’s super bad; it’s just saying that the promise of democracy ignores the fallen nature of man. Men are sinners, and you can talk democracy all you want to, but there is 400 years of people that had a great start. Think of it, what nation had the opportunity they had, God writing you own constitution, God giving you your freedom, God providing food, God providing clothes, God providing victory in war and you still blow it? Yup, same thing all over again, man’s a sinner. That period of history is important because it starts to cast our thinking in terms of being suspicious about ourselves, that we really don’t have a good record. It has nothing to do with our educational background, it has nothing to do with where you live, how you speak, it has to do with our hearts as fallen creatures.
Into that we come with a kingdom. Last time I dealt with a passage in Deuteronomy 17, the king’s role is to obey the law. In your notes on page 101 I say: “You must read the stories of 1 Samuel with this background in mind. The people wanted monarchy, but God had to restrain it and prevent the rise of an imitation form of pagan kingship.” What was the cry of the people? We want a king like all the other nations. God is not going to let His people have a king like all the other nations. So the struggle from now is God says all right, we’re going to have a king, but we’re going to work with this kingship, we’re going to work with it, we’re not going to let it loose, we’re going to have a different kind of king than the other nations. “In the books of Samuel and Kings God demonstrates over and over the truth of ‘law over king.’ Interestingly, this period of history was later used by Bible believers in seventeenth and eighteenth century England” I should say Scotland, that’s really where it came from, “as an argument their contemporary ‘divine right of kings’. The Samuel-Kings history proves that monarchy, in and of itself, conceived as man’s fleshly attempt to set order over chaos, is no more successful at truly solving mankind’s dilemma than the earlier ‘free’ theocracy. Neither democracy nor autocracy can ultimately succeed.”
Years ago I got into the Harvard library in Cambridge and picked up this copy of a very famous book, written about 100 years prior to the American Revolution, 1644. It’s called Lex Rex, in Latin that means the law and the prince, or the law and the king. What was the claim of the kings? The divine right of kings meant that the king, basically was the power, you didn’t have a right to debate the king, he was king, divine right, God called me as king and I’m the power here, totalitarian government, concentrated in one man. This book which I guarantee you’ll never read in school, probably never heard of it in church history, it’s one of the famous books that nobody wants to touch. This is an example of a very famous Christian who wrote a book, Samuel Rutherford, this was passed around England as a tract; notice how long their tracts were in those days. It’s written in the Old English. Do you know what this book is? It is filled with question and answer, question/answer, question/answer, the old medieval way of writing. If you look in the front of this book, they had enormous prefaces, then they have a complete table of contents. The reason was those people were very good readers, and before they started reading a book they skimmed the book, and they found out what is the book all about. The way you did that was if you have a good table of contents it gives you the argument of the book so when you start reading you don’t lose the forest for the trees.
Here are some of the questions. Question 1, whether government is by a divine law? Question 2, whether or not government is warranted by the law of nature? Question 3, whether royal power and definite forms of government be from God. Question 4, whether or not the king be the only and immediately from God or not from the people also. You can see how they’re working into things. This is the theory that limited the divine right of kings. This is what led to the Puritan revolt in England. So this is really one of the sources, historically, of our ideas of American history, where it came from. You always read about Thomas Paine who was some sort of a guy, a clown that showed up, he’s basically a pagan writer, he showed up after the Declaration of Independence, and after a lot of the hard work was done he shows up and he gets all the credit. Bologna! These are the guys that should have gotten the credit, they were Christians, and they articulated their political philosophy based on the Word of God. So that is built on this period of time. Deuteronomy 17 is a central passage; the king is under the law.
On page 101 in the notes, we’re going to go into God’s response to the people’s request. Open your Bible to 1 Samuel 8, we’ll start going into this passage. This is a very, very important passage for its political implications. It’s also important because it shows how the flesh has to be restrained. On page 101, “God’s Response Through Samuel. Although Jews before Samuel functioned as prophets, Samuel appears to be the first of the prominent biblical prophets. These prophets,” this gives you an idea what the prophets did, “These prophets were agents of God calling Israel to loyalty to the covenants.” Put a little line under “loyalty to the covenants.” The reason I ask you to do this because the liberal view of prophets is that they were social reformers.
What do you think is the difference between a social reformer and one who calls Israel to “loyalty to the covenants?” When were the covenants, before the prophet or after the prophet? Before the prophet. So is the prophet innovating or is he calling people back to a prior standard? See what I’m getting at? The liberal view of the Bible holds that the prophets innovated; they brought something new into existence. By the way, that’s why the liberals post-date the law. The proper biblical response, if anything, the prophets were reactionaries, they weren’t going forward, the prophets were going backward, back to the covenant.
So the social call for justice is built, not upon my idea, not upon the tribe of Benjamin’s idea, not upon Judah’s idea, we’re not talking tribal rights here, that wasn’t the basis on which they made their social appeal. The basis on which the prophets made their social appeal was the prior covenant that defined the right, back when God spoke. So the ethics were always grounded on revelation. That’s the difference. So what has happened in our time is in our century liberalism has rooted ethics in thin air and tragically in our day what’s happening is people are saying there’s nothing holding these things up, so we don’t have absolute truths any more, we don’t have ideas of justice any more, there was never a root, never a foundation under them. That’s because liberalism didn’t put a foundation under them. Liberalism held them up there, and now we’re honest enough to say there’s no foundation there. That’s another thing about the prophets; they were people who were reactionaries, going back to the Word of God, not forward with their own ideas.
In the notes on page 101, “Israel’s loyalty to the covenants.” If you’ll look at the next sentence, here’s something else to remember about the prophets and it will tie a lot of Scriptures together. “They anointed kings and they pronounced judgment upon them. It likely was Samuel, Nathan, and others who compiled the books of Judges, Samuel, and Kings to show God’s working through the monarchy. The prophet precedes the king. Even the New Testament begins with Jesus, the eventual messianic king, but with John the prophet who anoints him.” Why do the New Testament Gospels always start with John the Baptist? What does John do for Jesus? Jesus comes down, He’s anointed or He’s baptized by John. So what does John do? What is John’s message? The kingdom of God has come; the Lamb of God is here. John introduces Jesus. So this law that the prophet must precede the king applies even in the New Testament. John must precede Jesus, John introduces Jesus. “This is the hallmark of the Bible over against pagan kingships who knew no such limitation on their authority.” The pagan kings, therefore, never realized that they were under a prior contract or treaty, nor were the pagan kings ever introduced by prophets.
Go to 1 Samuel 8, there’s a tension here in the Old Testament, and we have to go through it fast unfortunately, because this class isn’t a class in verse by verse teaching, so we have to go fast. There is a lot of tension going on in the Old Testament right here. Here’s the issue: why does Samuel call Saul, why does Saul precede David? Saul’s in the wrong tribe, he can’t be the Messianic king. In Genesis 49:10 it says “The scepter shall not depart from Judah,” what tribe is Saul? Benjamin. Why is Saul here, why do we go through chapter after chapter of this guy’s reign when he really wasn’t in the prophetic line? That’s the background and the tension for all this. The other part of the mystery is, was God really for the kingship? Was God for the monarchy at this point? We know that God works through the monarchy because who is going to ultimately be the monarchy and the dynasty? It’s the Lord Jesus Christ. But the monarchy comes into existence under a cloud. There’s a cloud of suspicion here, tension, sin.
Look at 1 Samuel 8:1, “And it came about when Samuel was old that he appointed his sons judges over Israel.” It goes on, verse 3, “His sons, however, did not walk in his ways, but turned aside after dishonest gain and took bribes and perverted justice.  Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah.” Samuel’s destiny was that he would establish the monarchy. Do you know how we know that before it happens? Turn to 1 Samuel 2 to his mother’s prayer. This is part of Hannah’s prayer. If anyone thinks that the Bible is against women, she ought to take a very careful look at this one, because here’s a passage that typifies, Mary says the same stuff, when these women start praying you watch the content of their prayer, this is tough stuff, and it’s not just oh Lord bless me. This lady knows here theology, she knows her history, she is able to link her child to the very historical purpose of the nation Israel.
Look at the ferocious prayer in verse 6, “The LORD kills and makes alive; He brings down to Sheol and raise up.  The LORD makes poor and rich; He brings low, He also exalts.” This is a woman’s prayer.  “He raises the poor form the dust, He lifts the needy from the ash heap….” But the thing I want you to notice is verse 10. [King James Version] “The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall He thunder upon them. The LORD shall judge the ends of the earth; and he shall give strength unto his king,” unto [who]? Did they have a king when this was written, when she prayed this? No, in some way the Spirit of prophecy got hold of this woman’s heart, and she was able to see down through the corridors of time in a way we don’t understand, but she was able to see that in ultimate program of God to resolve the question of good and evil, remember, good and evil in the biblical view has to be separated, the pagan view never separates them, the Bible is always looked upon as history is unresolved until good and evil are separated, and what does Hannah pray here?
She says that separation will occur and it will occur when there’s a king, and she has another synonym that she uses for the king, and that’s one of the key words we want to look at tonight. She says “… and exalt the horn of his anointed,” the Lord’s anointed. The word “anoint” in the Hebrew is Msh, with a hard “h”, Mashach, from which we get the word Messiah. And that’s the word translated in the Greek as Christos. Christos is the Greek version of Messiah, it is not Jesus’ last name, it is His title, the anointed one. Really we should call Him The Christ, The Christ King, or Christ Jesus, because it’s a title. Jesus is His name, but Christ is His title, and it’s a technical term, we use it so often we forget, familiarity breeds contempt, and we use the word and use the word and we forget the history. The word means that He is anointed. Now we’ve got to come up with what does anointed mean. We’ll watch what Samuel does with the anointing, but I just took you to 1 Samuel 2 quickly to show you that it’s in the wind, that this man Samuel is somehow going to be crucially involved in generating the monarchy.
Notice in 1 Samuel 8:1-5 the setup. Samuel is the prophet, he comes on the scene, his sons don’t follow in his steps, and now the last part of verse 5, it the request of the people, it is an official request. This is not just people gossiping, maligning, they send the elders. Notice verse 4, “Then all the elders of Israel gather together,” this is an official statement, it’s as though these people elected their representatives and they all came and they presented this political platform, we have got to have a king, and we want a king like the other nations have. [5 “and they said to him, ‘Behold, you have grown old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint a king for us to judge us like all the nations.”] That’s the material that Samuel has to cope with. Every verse in this chapter from here on out is God’s answer to this request, and it’s an interesting study because it’s a case where God gave people an answer to a prayer that wasn’t right. And they are going to be sorry they ever prayed this when God gets done. Watch what happens.
1 Samuel 8:6-8 are critical because they resolve the thing theologically. “But the thing displeased Samuel, when thy said, Give us a king to judge us.” That’s okay if it displeases Samuel. But now Samuel prays to the Lord. “And Samuel prayed unto the LORD.  And the LORD said unto Samuel,” now watch this ironic response, “Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee,” do you know what that means, when the Bible says “Hearken unto the voice,” what does it mean? Obey it, go ahead, they want a king, give them a king, you’ve got the oil, anoint one and let’s get it going. So here’s a case where a bad prayer was answered, and it’s kind of sobering, we have to be kind of careful about prayers we make sometimes. We don’t want to be so adamant, God give me this, before we check it out, because if He really gave it to us we might be sorry He did. In verse 7 he says hearken to the people, “for they have not rejected thee, [Samuel] but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.  According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also do unto you.” You share My rejection Prophet Samuel.
I want you to notice this because this is important in the theology of the Old Testament, it says in verse 7, notice the word “I … reign.” Who’s Yahweh, the Jewish name for God? He is their King. Who is the real King on Mt. Sinai, who saves His people and gives the law? Is it a human or is it God? It’s God. So this theocracy did have a king, He was just invisible. They didn’t like it, there was the Shekinah glory over the Tabernacle, they had a divine King but not a human one. So now they want a human one, and God says the irony is they’ve got one, Me. Doesn’t that sound familiar? Got to have God and something. Verse 9, here’s the tactic; we’re going to go along with this thing. “Now, therefore, hearken unto their voice; however, yet protest very strongly to them, and show them the manner of the king who shall reign over them.”
Beginning in verse 10 we have a very political document, one of the classic documents of all time, the depiction of totalitarian government. Watch. “And Samuel told all the words of the LORD unto the people who asked of him a king.  And he said, This will be the manner of the king who shall reign over you,” now this is a historical parting, now at 1000 BC the nation is going to go into a new institution, the monarchy, and here’s what’s going to happen, “he will take your sons and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots.  And he will appoint for himself captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them up to plow his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots.” So the men will be drafted into a permanent standing army. Not only will they be drafted, but notice in verse 12 that the government will own its own property, and people will be forced in bondage to serve the government with the government’s property, the king himself will have his harvest, and He won’t do it, the people will.
Then in verse 13 the girls are going to have their share, “And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers.” Verse 14 reaches into the pocket of every land owner, “And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your olive yards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants.” That still holds; do you realize that you don’t own any property, I don’t. There’s a little doctrine in American law, the government can take you out of your house any time of the day. Here’s the doctrine: eminent domain, they can invoke that any time they want. If they want to put I-95 through your house, they can force you to leave your house. They’re supposed to give you a fair price for your house if they do that, and people say that makes sense. But watch how it can be mutilated. I heard of a court case in Houston or Dallas where a supermarket wanted to expand and enlarge their parking lot, there were four houses, they didn’t want to sell, they’d been passed down in the family for three generations; the supermarket made a deal with the locals and said look, if we don’t expand our shopping center you guys aren’t going to get big property taxes, if you want property taxes city council, if you like tax revenues, I’ve got a deal for you. You confiscate those four houses, we’ll build a shopping center and we’ll pay you more property tax. The supermarket won.
God says, verse 15, “And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants.  And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your best young men, and your asses, and put them to his work.  He will take the tenth of your sheep; and ye shall be his servants.” Here’s the real catch, in verse 18, “And you will cry out in that day,” you’re going to have another prayer request, “because of your king whom you shall have chosen; and the LORD will not hear you in that day.” Sorry, I answered your first prayer; I’m not answering the second one. How would you like to be standing there when this is going on?
This is how the monarchy got started. Do you see the bad taste, and do you see why, if you go ahead and read in 1 Samuel you’ll see wars, you’ll see people don’t like Saul, people don’t like David. Do you know why? People didn’t take kindly to this king business; after they got the king they didn’t like the king. Ooh, why. It goes on, verses 19-20, here’s the response. Even though they were warned, look at the excuse that is given. “Nevertheless, the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay, but we will have a king over us.  That we also may be like all the nations,” was that the destiny of Israel, to be like all the nations? Excuse me, but what was the Exodus about? They were supposed to be different than all the nations.  That we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles.” We want security and order. When it comes down to crunch time, any group of people in any country will vote for security and order. We will willingly give up our freedoms to have security and order, every time. Why do you think the Germans went along with Hitler? Do you think the Germans were so stupid they couldn’t see through this stuff? No, he resurrected the mighty German armies, he promised that Germany would once again triumph, I will give you security.
Verse 21, “And Samuel heard all the words of the people, and he rehearsed them in the ears of the LORD,  And the LORD said to Samuel, Hearken unto their voice, and make them a king.” So now we go through this whole period of time. On page 102, follow along: “The following Scripture (1 Sam. 9-15) traces the outworking of the ‘demanded monarchy’ in the selection of Saul from the tribe of Benjamin. Chapters 9 and 10 narrate the selection and anointing of Saul as king. Saul had admirable outward qualities: handsome and impressive stature. How Samuel indicated God’s choice with oil reveals what the term ‘messianic’ means. Messianic leadership is leadership chosen by God through His Spirit symbolized with the oil poured on Saul’s head. The presence of the Spirit in Saul would shortly be obvious.” Did the Spirit come upon Saul? Yes He did, because Saul was chosen, Saul was God’s gift to the nation. “ God not only chose and anointed a Benjamite, which conflicted with the messianic promise of Genesis 49:10 that restricted the Messianic choice to the tribe of Judah, but He was willing to make Saul’s dynasty an everlasting one!” How about that!
Let’s look at some Scripture, 1 Samuel 9:2, here’s the process of anointing. [blank spot: 1 Samuel 9:2 says, “And he had a son, whose name was Saul, a choice young man, whose name was Saul, and handsome; and there was not among the children of Israel a more handsome person than he; from this shoulders and upward he was taller than any of the people.] And then it describes the story and finally he goes and Saul is anointed as king, that’s the whole idea of this chapter.
Come down to 1 Samuel 13:13, this is later in Saul’s life when he had a little problem, we’re skipping quite a bit of Scripture but I want to get you here to show you something. “And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the LORD thy God, which he commanded thee; for now the LORD would have established thy kingdom upon Israel forever.” See the “would have,” He would have put this king forward. Now if this is puzzling to you, what is going on with the king? You have complexities here, the king wanted a king and they wanted a king like all the nations, God said no, you’ll get the king I pick you, He picks a guy that’s not in the line of Judah, then he kind of fizzles, and yet God said had he not the kingdom would have been his. That’s very parallel to Jesus. Who did Jesus chose among His disciples that petered out? Judas. Why did Jesus choose a Judas? God does those kinds of things. Why did the first angel, the highest ranking angel, called Lucifer, that turns into Satan, why does God elevate someone who He knows is going to rebel against Him? It’s part of this drama of Scripture.
On page 102, the last sentence of the paragraph, “Clearly, this House of Benjamin was a conditional kingship, dependent upon its behavior toward God’s law.” I want you to look at 1 Samuel 12, because here’s the answer to what Saul was about. Notice in this chapter that Samuel once again addresses the people, and he is going to… it’s his au revoir speech, this is his going home, the end of his life, he’s turning the nation over now, so this is sort of a change in command ceremony. In chapter 12 he is going to say goodbye to the nation, and here are his closing words. In the Bible, the prophets do this, we will see this later, but remember the Sinaitic Covenant and when we went through the Sinaitic Covenant remember me pointing out to you that it had a certain format, it had certain features to it, one of the features was that you had to have the laws all out, specified the stipulations, that there would be a prologue, a great king would talk to the people and say you’re obligated to obey my law because I did this for you, I did this for you, and then there was a provision for deposit of the law, the deposit had to be put in the tabernacle and also treaties in that time had to be deposited in the temples, and had to be called out periodically for reading. You have all these features in the covenant.
What you also have is what is called a rib [the Hebrew word רִיב rib]. A rib is an accusation format that the prophets used to accuse the people of violating a covenant, it’s sort of like a charge in court where a prosecuting attorney will file a charge, and it has a form to it. We’ll see that when we get into Isaiah and some of the prophets. But they call upon the same witnesses. In the treaties, for example, that Moses gave, remember when Moses got through giving the law he taught the people their national anthem. When I covered that I said that they were forced to remember the lyrics of their national anthem as Deuteronomy 32, and every time they sing their national anthem would be their history, the entire history of the nation including their future history, their prophetic history was embedded into the lyrics of their national anthem. That national anthem song begins “Hear, O heavens, give ear O earth.” When the prophets come to make their accusations, they do exactly the same thing. Watch how the book of Isaiah begins, “Hear, O heavens, and give ear O earth,” Israel does not know its master. You see, they’re invoking the very witnesses to the law, and they’re saying this covenant, why do we make covenant, to monitor behavior, so the prophets are saying, announcing, that the behavior of man has been atrocious, minus on man, plus on God. A rib is the way they did that.
This passage, in chapter 12 has parts of the treaty and part of the rib in it. Let’s watch. 1 Samuel 12:1, this is his goodbye speech. “And Samuel said unto all Israel, Behold, I have hearkened unto your voice in all that you said unto me, and have made a king over you,” the monarchy now begins in history.  “And now, behold, the king walking before you; and I am old and gray-headed, and, behold, my sons are with you; and I have walked before you from my childhood unto this day.  Behold, here I am,” and he’s going to make a witness, this is a historical prologue from verses 3-12 he is going to hash over their history. Why do we want to be sure we understand the covenant or contractual idea when you read the Bible? Contracts are to monitor behavior and history is the record of the behavior, therefore when the prophets speak they speak historically. That’s why in going through this series, what are we doing, we’re going through it historically. This is the way the Bible thinks, it thinks historically.
1 Samuel 12:3-12 are a narration of the history of Israel.  “Behold, here I am; witness against me before the LORD, and before His anointed. Whose ox have I taken? Or whose ass have I taken? Or whom have I defrauded? Whom have I oppressed? Or of whose hand have I received any bribe to blind mine eyes with it? And I will restore it to you.  And they said, You have not defrauded us, nor oppressed us,” see, he’s bringing to conviction. Was it because the prophetic institution failed you people, is that why you got your king? No it isn’t, I never failed you, so you got a king but it wasn’t because the prophets failed. Verse 5, “And he said unto them, The LORD is witness against you, and his anointed is witness this day, that you have not found anything in my hand. And they answered, He is witness.” See, they’re admitting this, okay, you’re right. Verse 6, “And Samuel said unto the people, It is the LORD who advanced Moses and Aaron, and who brought your fathers up out of the land of Egypt.”
Let’s look at the events that we’ve studied and watch how Samuel uses these. Here’s the event. People say where did you get these events from? I went through all the sermons of the Bible and found listed the events that were in them, so here’s one of those sermons. What event is given in verse 6? That’s the Exodus event. Verse 7, “Now, therefore, stand still, that I may reason with you before the LORD of all the righteous acts of the LORD, which he did to you and to your fathers.  When Jacob was come into Egypt, and your fathers cried unto the LORD,” this is a precursor to Egypt, so there’s the promise to Abraham. Now verses 9, 10, 11, and 12 are all the battles of the conquest and settlement period. So he’s reciting the fact that for four centuries God kept His Word, you didn’t. Verse 12 he concludes, “And when you saw that Nahash, the king of the children of Ammon, came against you, ye said unto me, Nay, but a king shall reign over us; when the LORD your God was your king.” See how he repeats that. Remember what we saw in 1 Samuel, they have not rejected you Samuel, but they have rejected Me, for I have been their king. So here’s the theme again, verse 12, you said you wanted a king “when the LORD your God was your king.  Now, therefore, behold the king whom you have chosen, and whom you have desired! And, behold the LORD has set a king over you.”
This is the official coming out of the monarchy, he says this is the change of command, the mantel is passed from one administration to the next administration, this is the inauguration day. 1 Samuel 12:14-19 is a very serious call to the covenant, because the kingship of Saul is a conditional kingship, it is conditioned on the same terms as the Sinaitic Covenant, here are the terms. “If ye will fear the LORD, and serve him, and obey his voice, and not rebel against the commandments of the LORD, then shall both ye, and also the king who reigns over you, continue following the LORD your God.  But if you will not obey the voice of the LORD, but rebel against the commandments of the LORD, then shall the hand of the LORD be against you, as it was against your fathers.  Now, therefore, stand and see this great thing, which the LORD will do before your eyes.”
Verses 17-18 Samuel calls for a weather event, a meteorological low statistical probability thing happening during the wheat harvest, there was all of a sudden this rain, because he’s telling the people, you people keep asking for security, you want big government to be your savior, you want a king to be your savior, now there’s your harvest out there. Why do you suppose he calls the rain on a harvest? Why that symbol, why not a fire out of the water or something? Where’s the money? How do these people make money? Farming. So what is he doing when he brings rain out of heaven? He’s rebuking. See the irony of this. He’s saying who’s providing for you economically, who’s giving you the rain, your king, this one or that one? Verse 17, “Is it not wheat harvest today? I will call unto the LORD, and he shall send thunder and rain, hat ye may perceive and see that your wickedness is great, which ye have done in the sight of the LORD, in asking for yourselves a king.  So Samuel called unto the LORD, and the LORD sent thunder and rain that day; and all the people greatly feared the LORD and Samuel.”
In verse 19 we come to a paradox, look at the response of the people. “And all the people said unto Samuel, Pray for thy servants unto the LORD thy God, that we die not; for we have added unto all our sins this evil, to ask for ourselves a king.” What did God say in 1 Samuel 8 after they realized they’d made a goof and they would pray? What did He say? I’m not going to hear it, sorry. In other words, you got the king and you’re stuck with it. So here’s an interesting example, and it has an application to the Christian live because so often we get ourselves in a mess, do some stupid thing, make a wreck of our lives, and we’re like the people, verse 19, now what do we do? We can’t undo what it was we’ve done, so for the rest of our life we live in the shadow of this thing, this choice, this act, whatever it was. We have to live with it. The Lord is gracious, and in verses 20-25 is God’s answer, I know you screwed up, but there’s a plan B. So He gives them another chance. They’re still going to live with the consequences of the bad choice, but they’re going to be empowered to deal with those consequences.
Verse 20, “And Samuel said unto the people, Fear not: ye have done all this wickedness,” now isn’t that a combination, fear not, you screwed up. Why does he do that? Because once we’re convicted of our sin we do fear, there’s an alienation from God, we feel like we’ve offended Him and He’s not pleased with us, now what do I do, go off and sulk for the next hundred years? What do I do, I’ve lost my relationship with Him. This is God’s grace in calling us back, He’s saying I know you screwed up, I know you sinned, but don’t fear, “yet turn not aside from following the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart.” The commandment hasn’t changed; I’m giving you another opportunity. Verse 21, “And turn you not aside; for then should you go after vain things, which cannot profit nor deliver; for they are vain.” There’s that word vanity again. Verse 22, “For the LORD will not forsake His people for His great name’s sake, because it has pleased the LORD to make you His people.”
Watch what happens in verse 22, I wonder how many people catch what’s going on here. Something just happened there. In terms of the covenant, in terms of the past promises of the Word of God that we have studied, what promises is he grounding this whole grace on. Think of the covenants we’ve already looked at. Go back in time, 1500-1400 BC is the Mosaic Covenant; go back to 2000 BC, there’s the Abrahamic Covenant. The Mosaic Covenant is a conditional covenant, if-then, if-then, if-then. What is the Abrahamic Covenant? This will happen, it is an unconditional covenant. What are the three promises in the Abrahamic Covenant? A land, a seed, and a worldwide blessing. The Davidic Covenant that we will study next time amplifies the seed promise of the Abrahamic Covenant.
These covenants are all linked together, but the thing you want to see in verse 22 is that when failure happens he doesn’t go back and try to get favor again by earning it on the basis of the law, because the law condemns. That’s why they’re afraid. This is a very interesting passage. In verse 21 the Word of God comes through Samuel and says don’t turn aside, continue to obey Me, continue to follow My commands, that’s fine, but the reason that I’m gracious to you isn’t because you earned 42½ brownie points. The reason I am gracious is because I chose you for a certain purpose in history and I’m going to continue working with you. So verse 22 means that their security is rooted in God’s sovereign election, His choice of them, not in what they did or didn’t do. Verse 22, “For,” purpose clause, “For the LORD will not forsake His people for His great name’s sake,” does it say He will not forsake His people for their great righteousness? No, “for His name’s sake.” The deal is that God wants the plan to go His way because He’s getting the glory out of the plan, “for His name’s sake.”
Then in verse 23 is that famous passage about praying. “Moreover, as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you; but I will teach you the good and the right way.  “Only fear the LORD, and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider how great things He has done for you.” Verse 25, the closing warning, “But if you shall still do wickedly,’ in other words, you continue to violate that covenant, “you shall be consumed, both you and your king.” Historically that happened in two parts, they went out of the northern kingdom in 721 BC, there goes 80% of the nation into captivity, and the rest went in 586 BC. That’s going to be the end of what we know as the kingdom in the Old Testament. But the king survives.
We want to finish up by looking on page 102, “Although impressive on the outside, Saul had profound inner flaws that would be his undoing.” You can read these details in the text, but here are some of the stupid things Saul did. “He placed his own career ahead of the need of the people for food for battle,” he made a very stupid military decision to deprive his army of food, he almost got his own son, who happened to be the Crown Prince, so if he kills the Crown Prince what happens to his dynasty. He almost killed his own son, Jonathan, because he made a rash command, anybody that eats food, and Jonathan ate it so now he’s in the position of having to kill his son, Jonathan, he didn’t though. “He caused his army to violate both the Noahic and Sinaitic Covenants (1 Samuel 14:32)” and he “almost got himself in a position of having to execute Jonathan. Later when Samuel passed on Yahweh’s order to wage holy war against Amalek, Saul violated the law concerning holy war. He even appeared to have planned a” ceremony of sacrifice which would have been “forbidden intrusion into the priesthood of another tribe, the Levites. The outworking of the tension between law and king becomes clearer as we proceed through 1 Samuel.”
The question is, “In the end, Yahweh rejected Saul’s conditional dynasty, and His prophet Samuel would have nothing to do with him for the rest of his life.” You can read that in 1 Samuel 15:35, they parted ways, that was it, from that point until the time that Samuel died, he never spoke to the king again. “Is this narrative from 1 Samuel 8 to 15 an argument against an Israelite monarchy? Was Samuel against monarchy? The law clearly allowed a monarchy, but did the law require a monarchy? It seems from the text in Deuteronomy that the monarchy was an accommodation of God to the people. He was their true King, but as a nation they would want human national leadership. Such leadership was not in itself evil, bit it had to be operated under God’s law. The evil with the House of Benjamin was the spirit of dissatisfaction and impatience with God’s leadership methods. An evil prayer was answered with tragic results.”
Next time we’ll deal with David, now we’ve got the setting established for this guy David. If you want to read ahead, skim it, don’t get involved in the details, but skim through the rest of Samuel, just skim the highlights and get into the beginning of 2 Samuel, first 3-4 chapters. We’re going to see what happens to David. But you’ve seen certain things now, watch what is different about how David is elected than how Saul is elected, watch the character difference.
Question asked: Clough replies: If you look at the narrative of how Saul was chosen, there’s quite an emphasis on the Lord directing Samuel, but indirectly you’ve made a good observation because the Bible, also in that narrative, makes that little strange verse, he was very handsome to the people, the people appreciated how he looked, and he had good media appearance. I think that is related to the fact, when you read that passage, if you read ahead, you’ll see what happens when Samuel goes to David, he handed over the nation to the monarchy but he lives to see the failure of the first king, and the ultimate failure of that first Saulite dynasty. When he does that, and he comes to the passage, we all know the verse, most Christians have memorized this verse but maybe not been sensitive to the context of it, “The man looks on the outward appearance but the Lord looks on the heart.” That comes from the very narrative at the moment he anoints David.
So the imagery that you get is that this guy, Saul, stood out, he was a natural, from the standpoint of the flesh the guy was a natural. Then you come, and you remember the narrative story of trying to pick David out, he wasn’t even in the house, he was going through the family of Jesse, and nobody was there, and they finally had to go get this little kid in, and David was a teenager when that happened, a very young boy. But there’s that notice, “the Lord looks on the heart, men look on the outward appearance,” and it’s as though that were a prophetic comment that there’s two kingdoms going on here. Now you guys wanted a king, I’ll give you one, one that looks great, you just go ahead and try it. And they did, and the first 15 chapters ends in a disaster. The Holy Spirit is saying now I’m going to pick a second guy, I’m picking, you guys can’t pick it, I’m picking but I’m going to pick a different kind of person. Now we’ll see what happens to this king. And at the end of David’s life, in spite of it all, he’s a man after God’s heart.
So there’s a testimony there of the role of the people, in one sense it was much easier for them to accept Saul than it was David. Saul, however, if you read those narrative chapters, if this were a class in 1 Samuel it would make an excellent study because if you read through these chapters you realize that Saul was embarrassed, almost, to be king. Very interesting, he was not the go-getter that you would think a man of the flesh would be, boy, I’ve got the kingdom now, yet he wasn’t, he was a guy that shows characteristics … he wanted to hide, people had to go find the guy. So the question then becomes how do you explain this character trait in Saul, what is going on here that makes him want to hide out. Then when he gets in battle, he’s a great leader, finally, when he leads the armies, but then it’s like he despises the details in God’s law, and so you kind of conclude by looking at Saul’s life that this was a guy whose spiritual perception was a little bit beyond that of a thimble.
He was a nice guy, people liked him, but he just didn’t have it spiritually, and it never clicked with him why he was even king. As an early king he was kind of almost ashamed of the institution, and then as a later man, more experienced, he’d go into battle and do his own thing, and then kind of consider these prophetic instructions from Samuel to be a nuisance. Why do I have to go through all these details? So there was not a sensitivity to God, His ways, and His law, and I think that’s the argument of Samuel. Remember the Holy Spirit preserved this history to teach a lesson. So yes, I would have to say that the people probably didn’t figure exactly in the choice, because God said in Deuteronomy 17, I’ll do the choosing, but they surely figured in their response.
Question asked: Clough replies: There are all kinds of almost sneaky little parallels here that you have to be careful in the sense that the Scriptures don’t explicitly say that, but if you’ve got a sensitive heart to the pattern of God you begin to see patterns here. That’s why I said you see the pattern with Judas, the first guy out of the box that Jesus chooses turns out to be a traitor, the first angel, the highest angels turns out to be a traitor, the first king turns in to be a traitor, the first world ruler turns into the antichrist. It’s as God always puts the bad foot first and then the good foot. It’s very interesting.
Question asked: Clough replies: Oh yes, but I think, shall we say, a reason to God’s madness why He acts that way, because if He didn’t act that way, you know what we’d be saying? We’d be saying well there’s another way. But what He does, He undercuts our argument by letting us have our way first, and then it screws up, then when He delivers there’s less of a tendency to argue, well gee, God it could have been done this way. Oh yea, I did it that way, remember. You know that pattern is in our Christian life, we can pretend to be such great Christians and this and that, but don’t we all learn after we fall flat on our face, and then we pick up and say, gee, maybe He does mean what He says. That’s the way I learn.
Question asked: Clough replies: That’s an interesting argument, if you were a Methodist and he was a Methodist, a quick rejoinder would be well I just continue to follow what John Wesley taught, he believed in an inerrant Scripture. But one response to that kind of argument would be to simply turn around and say well then if God does change His mind, then what would you suggest we all do? In other words, put the burden on him to define his position, because in so doing you’re doing what really God does, let us have our own way, let this guy have his own way for a change instead of you defending your position, let’s air the linen here, he seems to know your position pretty well, how about his position, not ridiculing it but just let him experience the consequences of his own position. Ultimately if you do not have the Bible as the authority, there’s only one other choice, man.
And what I try to get people to realize is that it’s not a question that I’m a fundamentalist and I believe in an inerrant Scripture and you don’t, the issue is that we both believe in inerrancy; the difference between us is where we locate it. I locate it in the Scripture; you locate it in man’s heart. We both have inerrancy. Everybody believes in inerrancy. They wouldn’t be making a statement if they didn’t believe in inerrancy because that statement that they’re talking about is true, they believe. That’s the old problem of relativism, when somebody says that all truth is relative, that’s a self-contradictory statement, then the truth that all truth itself is relative, so this is the goo that they get into, and they really don’t realize it, it’s sad. A lot of people go through life and they really think that they can make these stupid mistakes, and it’s only the fundamentalists that are the idiots. It’s actually only the fundamentalists that have the logic on their side.
Just go through Samuel and maybe next week we’ll have some more questions about watching what God does in this monarchy thing. God isn’t changing His mind, by the way, and the reason we know that is the prayer of Hannah. He had in mind all along, Genesis 49:10; He knows what tribe the king is going to come out of. He’s accommodating, but He’s not changing His mind. Okay.