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 66 – King Saul, Biblical Warning on Totalitarian Government, Eminent Domain
16 Oct 1997
Fellowship Chapel, Jarrettsville, MD
I’d like to start by reviewing the purpose of man in creation. In Genesis man was created to subdue the earth, he was to rule, and that is what man is to do, under God of course, not as an autonomous king, but a king who is an under lord to the overlord, and man is not to worship nature, he is to rule wisely over nature, a point of confusion in our time. That’s the big picture of what man is to do, he is to rule and to subdue. Through the curse and the fall we still have within our souls a desire to rule and subdue, the problem is we’re always frustrated in the ruling and subduing because just as we rebelled against God, the earth rebels against us, so we have the thorns and the thistles. So the ruling imperative hasn’t been taken away, it’s just that we have thousands and thousands of ohms of resistance to the subduing, and in the ethical and spiritual sense we can do anything because we have locked into this sin apart from God’s grace, which He gives us in Christ. Jesus Christ, all through His earthly life was a model of THE man who subdues and rules. He subdued, He obeyed what God said, He was 100% successful in carrying out the mandates of God in His personal life, and as a result He earned righteousness, and that righteousness is attributed to us at the point of salvation. So he represents the human race just as the first Adam represents the human race, a hard concept to understand but in essence that’s what our salvation is all about.
When we come to this point in our progress in history, we’re looking at this last event in the sequence, and the whole story of this David thing is to give us a model of what leadership in the kingdom of God is to look like. As we’ve said, the way to read the Bible is to read it over against its environment, so while you can get many, many blessings out of Scripture, you can get more when you set the Bible over against the world system and you see the contrast. That’s what we’re trying to do. The idea is that the king of the nation, whoever he is, ought to fulfill this ideal of subduing. The question we face with the 1 Samuel narrative is who is going to be the leader in the kingdom. To review the timeline so we can set this in history, we have from 2000 BC, this is the time when the old dynasty of Egypt began, all the continents have been settled by this time, Noah’s sons have spread their architecture throughout all the continents, the world has been surveyed, the maps have been drawn; all that has happened before Abraham.
Now along comes Abraham and God says at this point in history I am going to reject the civilization, basically this is God turning His back spiritually in civilization and starting a new counterculture. And from Genesis 12 on through history is a story of God disrupting civilization. There’s always a disruption. In the Old Testament the disruption is Abraham and Lot, then we have a bigger disruption in Egypt, then we have the conquest and settlement and that’s a big disruption. Now we’re into the kings, and now we’re going to have a very severe disruption in how men are to view kingship and leadership. That’s the setting for what we’re doing in Samuel.
Last time we were dealing with the problem of mimicking the world. In other words, we saw how the Jews were saying that they wanted a king, but the king they wanted was a king modeled after their image of the world. We saw 1 Samuel 8, we’ll go back there because this represents a turning point in the Samuel narratives. This is one of those key chapters, because from 1 Samuel 8-15, this whole block of material is devoted to an examination of what went wrong with men’s prayer request to have a king like all the other nations, and they got a king, and it was a conditional kingship. In 1 Samuel 8, in one of the most important political passages, I hesitate to use the word political because the Bible isn’t a political document but it has wisdom principles that can be applied in the political realm, and 1 Samuel is one of those places. I brought Lex, Rex in to show you a tract that was published in 1644 that was widely read, that was built off this idea that the king of the kingdom must abide underneath the law. So if there’s a question between law and king, it’s law that wins out; that’s Deuteronomy 17. In 1 Samuel 8 the key word, just as you remember in the tower of Babel, when civilization began and we had that fracturing linguistically in the human race, we saw what the cry was of our forefathers as they gathered at the tower of Babel. They said “let us make a name for ourselves.” That can be translated many ways, but the impact of that tremendous statement is that that is the spirit of the world system, that is the spirit of sinful man. That says that I will define my life, I will define meaning and purpose, I will be like the Most High, and I will have a knowledge of good and evil, meaning I define what is good and evil, I am the law-maker, I invent truth, I am autonomous. That’s the cry, and that was the whole spirit of the tower of Babel.
In a small mini-version of this, we have in 1 Samuel 8:5 the same cry. This time they send a delegation, verse 4, so this is representative of the nation, this isn’t just a few old guys coming to Samuel, this is a delegation that has been appointed by the tribal leadership to represent the families of Israel, so it’s a joint request that comes to them in verse 5, and what they want is you make us a king to judge us like all the other nations. Remember the analysis, because they had just gone through the Judges period, and during the Judges period, back before that passage, what was the conclusion of this period? Socially what had happened? Chaos! What is the refrain, the prophetic analysis of the period?
By the way, the first history book wasn’t Herodotus and Thucydides, it was the Hebrew prophets who wrote analysis of history to track God’s covenant working out, and when they analyzed what went wrong in the Judges period, their conclusion to that book was “every man did what was right in his own eyes,” because there was no king, there was no leadership, there was no real spiritual leadership. So for this period of history it exposes the fallacy, “all power in the people,” well, the people had the power in the theocracy and what did the people do with their power? They became corrupt and chaotic, and that’s always the story. So that is an important chapter in biblical history. That refutes, and actually it’s held today by a lot of intellectuals, that all you have to do is educate everybody and everything will be cool, it’s just a matter of education. The Bible is a little more skeptical, because the people we’re talking about here, including ourselves, we’re sinners, we’re fallen, we are in rebellion against the law of God, so it’s going to collapse.
As everything happens, the pendulum swings and you go from chaos to a demand for order, you go from licentiousness to legalism, and people want to replace chaos with some order, be it godly order or non-godly order, we’ve got to have order. So the cry is for totalitarian government. We went through 1 Samuel 8 and all the arguments that Samuel prophecies, basically it’s prophecy, he argues that this is the way it’s going to happen, and he carefully makes a spiritual issue. Lest we forget the spiritual issue that’s going on, look at verses 6-7 again. Here are the spiritual dynamics; the last clause in verse 7 says “they have rejected Me that I should not reign over them.” Who is the real King of Israel? This passage gives you the theology of kingship. The king is God, so when people are dissatisfied in verse 5 about what’s going on, the blame is really on God, God didn’t design the system right, change it. So we have this problem that creeps into the Samuel-Kings dialogues. Here’s the problem we started with last time and it comes to some sort of resolution tonight. The problem is this? You have the Deuteronomic code that allows for a king, we know that from Deuteronomy 17. The people demand a king in verse 5 of a certain kind. God says I won’t let you have that kind, I’ll give you a king, I’ll choose the guy and we’ll see how it works out. We went through that section, Saul’s anointed, Saul begins to have problems, etc. and in 1 Samuel 12 we have the change of command ceremony. This is when Samuel retires from active life, and he turns over the leadership of the nation to Saul. He’s the first great biblical prophet after Moses, and he turns over the reigns, and now in verse 13 he says behold, the king, he presents the king to the people.
But then he cautions them, and from verse 14 to the end of the chapter he says “if,” and he phrases the whole thing to make this a conditional kingship. Watch what’s going on here, this is a conditional kingship. This is a kingship that is rooted on the failure or the success of the king and the nation. It is the same sort of arrangement that God did to the whole nation at Mt. Sinai. That was a conditional covenant; the Sinaitic Covenant says you will be blessed “if,” and you will be cursed “if.” There are prophetic portions in it because the Sinaitic Covenant is built on top of what covenant, what’s the anchor covenant underneath it all? The Abrahamic Covenant. What does the Abrahamic Covenant say: three things, land, seed and worldwide blessing. It’s an unconditional covenant; that means it’s going to happen. Unconditional covenants are basically announcements of God’s sovereignty, and He says this is what’s going to happen. Conditional covenants are announcements of an offer, God offers to be king “if” you submit, and if you don’t submit I’m not going to be king, and if you don’t submit, certain things are going to happen.
Then at the end the nation was given a national anthem in Deuteronomy 32, and when they sang their national anthem, when Israel sang that biblical national anthem, what they were singing is the entire narrative of their history, from one end of history to the end, and in that narrative God reveals that I will bring you back to the land. But make no mistake about it, Israel does not come back to the land because of the Sinaitic Covenant. The Sinaitic Covenant curses them, they are brought back to the land because God promises something is going to happen in which they will repent and fulfill righteousness, and then they will be brought back to the land. That’s the unconditional ground of Israel’s existence in the Abrahamic Covenant. But here in 1 Samuel 12 we have the kingship only rooted in a condition.
Go to 1 Samuel 15 because this is the last chapter in that section, the Saul section. We want to look at this and see what happens to Saul. This is another very famous chapter in the Bible; a lot of preachers have preached many, many sermons on this one. This is the failure of Saul. The idea is, in verse 1, “Then Samuel said to Saul, ‘The LORD sent me to anoint you as king over His people, over Israel; now therefore listen to the words of the LORD.’” Watch how the chapter begins and then watch how the chapter ends. The chapter begins by ordering the king, and notice who’s ordering the king; the prophet is. What is the order we always observe in Scripture? Who precedes the king? The prophet. Who makes the king? The prophet. Who starts the four Gospels? Not Jesus but Jesus’ prophet, John. That’s why the Gospels begin with John and not Jesus; John is the anointing prophet, it’s the same pattern you see in the Old Testament. Samuel anoints Saul, Samuel anoints David, Nathan takes over after Samuel and from that point on there’s a series of prophets. The prophets are always involved in king-making in the Bible. Don’t ever think the kings just happen, they are not, they are brought down or they are put in place by these strange prophets that appear, laymen apparently, who knew the Word of God and had a special call in their life, they played a peculiar role politically in the life of the nation.
He’s ordering the king to do this and in verses 1-9 he orders him to attack Amalek. The Amalekites were a nasty group of people. Who they actually were in history depends on which chronology of history you take, I tend to prefer the chronology which I’ll cover later, the radically different chronology that I think Velikovsky and other people have raised questions about, and that is that we know the Amalekites as the Hyksos. The Hyksos is what they’re called in history books, but that may be an alter-ego to this same people. But the idea is here’s the eastern Mediterranean, the Red Sea comes up here, Israel is in here and the Amalekites dwelt in this area.
These people were ruthless, they were nasty, they were one big street gang is what it amounted to. They picked on Israel when Israel was coming out of the land, harassed them, and there were several engagements with them at that point in their history; then Joshua led the nation around after the death of Moses and entered the land from the east side during that invasion process. But the Amalekites have hung around, and at this point in history they are going to be eliminated. Saul is going to be the one who actually eliminates this whole group of people. They are like the Canaanites. There are certain groups of people, once they go against God to a certain point they are garbage. We can’t be self-righteous about this; it could happen to us nationally speaking. But God seems to allow a people so much freedom and then that is it, period! Here’s one of the cases in history.
He says in verses 3-4, you go and commit holy war against them. If you want to read about holy war, the rules of engagement of holy war are given in Deuteronomy 20:16-18, that’s the rules of engagement. The rules of engagement in holy were different than non-holy war. There’s two sets of military rules given in Deuteronomy 20, and holy war rules mean total extinction, we covered this, the moral dilemma of the conquest, how can a holy, righteous, loving God ever give the military orders that God gave, to go in to kill every man, woman, child and beast. Why was this total extinction, total genocide? That was the order. Saul’s been given that order and he goes to attack, verse 6. And the battle goes on but then verse 8, “And he captured Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword.” So he obeyed most of the military order in the engagement proceedings, except he took the king alive. Then verse 9 adds a few little other ditties to the thing. “But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the lambs, and all that was good, and were not willing to destroy them utterly; but everything that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly.”
Think this through. Who’s king of Israel, truly? Saul? No, we’ve already seen it’s Jehovah. So whose war is this, Saul’s war or Jehovah’s war? Jehovah’s war. Whose booty is it? Saul’s booty or is it Jehovah’s booty? It’s God’s booty and God has a right to do what He wants with His booty. But what do we read happened in verse 9. There’s a little evaluation of certain money value of things, and the good stuff, notice the text says the “best of the sheep,” aha, as the saying goes, “follow the money.” The flesh always follows the money. That’s what’s going on here; this is a deal that’s being cooked up, along with the rules of engagement of course.
Now we have a classic prophet-king confrontation, we’re going to have several of these in the book of Samuel. They would be unknown in a pagan world, no layman is going to walk up to Esar-Hadon and convince him of his sin. No lay Egyptian is going to walk into Pharaoh’s temple and tell him off. Only in Israel do you dare have some person, a lay person so to speak, walk into the presence of the king as a prosecuting attorney. Ask yourself why? A fundamental question for Christians studying the Bible, why is the behavior of the prophet and king in Israel different from all other political institutions of the world. What is the difference? What makes that happen in Israel that didn’t happen in Mesopotamia and Egypt, and Lord knows what other civilizations? What gave Samuel the power to do this? It was God reigning, Samuel knew it, and he operated on the basis of an absolute law. It was the presence of absolute truth and absolute law that allowed them to do this. The Egyptians didn’t have any absolute law.
Remember when we showed the thing from Egyptian art, here’s another illustration of this process. When the prophets came in to the kings, they came in as the voice of God. This slide is an Egyptian column, an Egyptian temple, and if you look carefully, this depicts the theology of the Pharaoh. Inside this column you have basically the hieroglyphic depiction of the Pharaoh. On either side you have these lines, it looks like a line but it stops there at the scepter, and starts above the bottom line; those scepters are authority and rule. Up here you have the sun and the heavens; down here you have the earth. What do you think the artist is saying in that diagram; that explains Pharaoh, that’s the doctrine of pagan totalitarian government. Pharaoh integrates heaven and earth, he is the lord of both, he is the link, he is the mediator, he therefore is the priest, king and all else, he is absolute power. You don’t walk into this guy and tell him he screwed up. And you don’t go into the Assyrian kings unless you wanted them to take your skin off with a knife. You didn’t walk into them either. Only in Israel do you have this behavior.
So the confrontation occurs now, prophet against king. What does he say? This is a classic. 1 Samuel 15:10, “Then came the word of the LORD unto Samuel, saying,  It repents me that I have set up Saul to be king; for he is turned back from following me, and has not performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel, and he cried unto the LORD all night.” So Samuel wasn’t one of the guys that, oh yea, let’s go get Saul. It didn’t come naturally to Samuel, apparently Samuel liked the guy. Now he’s in a mess because he’s warned the people about Saul, he’s apparently grown to have some affection for Saul, and now all of a sudden the Lord says okay Samuel, remember I said conditional kingship, well I’m pulling his chain, and you’re going to be the guy that walks in and tells him I’m pulling his chain.
Verse 12, “And Samuel rose early in the morning to meet Saul…  And Samuel came to Saul,” now watch this pious man, this is so cool, this would make great drama, “Samuel came to Saul, and Saul said to him, “Blessed are you of the LORD! I have carried out the commandment of the LORD.” Sounds very pious until the next verse, in one short phrase Samuel pricks the balloon. What does he hear? Ah, I hear something Saul. Sheep, the best of the sheep, the expensive ones, the money, what do I hear. And now Saul has to come up with an excuse to cover this, like we all do, cover up. So Saul says well, they’ve brought them from… notice he didn’t bring them, 3rd person notice on the verb, They brought them from the Amalekites, for the people spared the best of the sheep and the oxen,” oh such a pious thing, “to sacrifice to the LORD your God,” your God, see we’ve brought all this money and all this good stuff, we’re going to give it to the church. Now what does that have to do with the rules of engagement in Deuteronomy 18? It’s God’s war, it’s God’s booty, it’s already God’s. God doesn’t need it, He already has it, He’s the one that got it. So you’re not giving it to God, and God said I want it destroyed.
Verse 16, “Then Samuel said to Saul, Stay, and I will tell you what the LORD has said to me this night,” and now he pulls his chain. He goes on and describes this whole episode, down to verse 21. Verse 19, why didn’t you obey the Lord? Verse 20, “And Saul said unto Samuel,” look at this, you want to watch this, in this conversation we have it all, this is exactly the dialogue that goes on all the time between the Lord and us, because when He reaches down to convince us of our sin, what do we always try to do first? Come up with all kinds of pious bilge about what we did, this and this, and oh, you don’t really understand. Look at verse 20, now he’s got another excuse. Verse 15 was his first little response, now in verse 20 he says well, I have “obeyed the voice of the LORD, and have gone the way which the LORD sent me, and have brought Agag, the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites.  But the people took of the spoil,” remember that in Genesis 3, when God comes to Adam and He accuses him, and what does he say? The woman whom “Thou” givest me. See how truly real the Bible is, that’s why you can read these things and be relaxed, because there’s no super religiosity here, everything’s just blunt fact, we all know this, this is real.
Verses 22-23 is the classic statement of rebellion and sin in the Scripture. Very interesting! “And Samuel said, ‘Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.  For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness” or foolishness “is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he has also rejected you from being king.” End of career. So it’s not a nice chapter.
In verse 24 Saul admits that he’s sinned, in verse 26, “And Samuel said to Saul, I will not return with you; for you have rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD has rejected you from being king over Israel.” A dramatic thing happens in verse 27, “And as Samuel turned to go, Saul seized the edge of his robe, and it tore.  So Samuel said to him, ‘The LORD has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today, and has given it to your neighbor who is better than you are.  And the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent; for he is not a man, that he should repent.  Then he said, I have sinned; yet honor me now, I pray thee, before the elders of my people, and before Israel, turn again with me that I may worship the LORD thy God.  So Samuel turned again after Saul’ and Saul worshiped the LORD.” Verse 31 is God’s grace, God’s going to be gracious to him in his personal life, but He hasn’t taken away the sins of discipline which he will loose his office.
In verses 32-32 there’s a little unfinished business, and this is a nasty one. People against violence, and it’s true, we have too much violence in our society, but then we get stupid about it, like let’s get rid of Onward Christian Soldiers in the hymn book because it’s violent. In an evil world there is violence, it’s not because violence is bad it’s because there is evil there against which violence must have happened. So here’s the case, verse 32, “Then Samuel said, ‘Bring me Agag, the king of the Amalekites. And Agag came unto him very carefully,” he kind of senses that we’ve got a little problem here with this guy Samuel, he’s not of the same kind as Saul. “And Agag said, ‘Surely the bitterness of death is past.’  But Samuel said, ‘As the sword has made women childless, so shall your mother be childless among women.’ And Samuel hewed Agag to pieces before the LORD.” A nice passage; chop, chop, chop. So here we have the end of the Amalekites, but notice who ends in holy war? It is the prophet. If the king doesn’t finish it, the prophet finishes it, but it will be finished.
Then verse 35, a very poignant thing, considering the fact that personally Samuel must have liked Saul. Look what happens, “And Samuel came no more to see Saul until the day of his death; nevertheless, Samuel mourned for Saul. And the LORD repented that he had made Saul king over Israel.” That verse summarizes all the relationship going on, between God and Samuel, and Samuel and Saul, and God and Saul, etc.
Now we have a new cycle in the book of Samuel. We have seen the cycle; the first cycle is chapters 8-15. Now we come to another cycle; from 1 Samuel 16 through 2 Samuel 4, the second cycle depicts the rise and reign of David. So when you read this section of the Bible we are talking about something else, we’re seeing a replacement. And what’s going to happen is it’s not an instant replacement, the two blend together. Saul reigns, from 8-15 he is authorized king, but he actually doesn’t die until the end of 1 Samuel, so he’s solidly king for that period of time and then he kind of phases out. Meanwhile, in chapter 16 the new guy comes on the scene, David, he is anointed, but he doesn’t reign. He doesn’t reign until in 2 Samuel 4, so while Saul is phasing out David is strengthening, until finally he reigns. So these passages depict a most interesting time where you have the coexistence of two dynasties. You want to watch the behavior of David, because this is going to show us what Messianic godly leadership looks like in contrast to Saul and his leadership. All the stories that you read about, Goliath and David, and all the rest, those Sunday School stories we all learned, those are like beads on a necklace and you want to read them not just as stories that are separate from each other. They are stories that are meant to be connected; they are stories that give us the steps in this process of one dynasty replacing the other. You’ll see that has very interesting parallels to Satan and Christ in history.
Let’s look at 1 Samuel 16, notice several things about this. On the notes on page 104, I point out the Messianic emblem and then we’ll look at 1 Samuel 16. “Even while Samuel was yet grieving over the failure of Saul, Yahweh led Samuel to anoint David as only a youth.” Notice “the messianic emblem of oil occurs.” Again, what does the Hebrew word Mashach mean? The anointed one. So when we say Messiah, or Christ, which is the Greek word for the Hebrew word Mashach, when we use that word we’re talking about a process. Christ is a description of Jesus; it’s not His last name. It’s a description that Jesus has come to reign because God has anointed him. So David, like Saul, is going to be anointed, and the prophet is going to do the anointing. Who anointed Jesus? The prophet. See the pattern, always the same all through Scripture. There has to be an anointing for the king.
In 1 Samuel 16:1 we have this historic moment. “And the LORD said to Samuel, ‘How long will you mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go; I will send you to Jesse, the Bethlehemite; for I have provided Me a king among his sons.” You know the story, he walks in and all the sons line up except David and he’s out doing his chores, and he goes through one son after another. This shows you the process, the prophet themselves weren’t the authority, because Samuel says maybe it’s this guy, and then the voice within Samuel, the spirit of prophecy that is given to these men, these men are special men here now, the Lord tells him no Samuel, this isn’t the guy. Well what about this guy? No, not yet. So they go through the whole bunch, until we come down to verse 11. “And Samuel said to Jesse, ‘Are all thy children here’? And he said,’ There remains the youngest, and behold, he is tending the sheep.’” Well, go fetch him, “for we will not sit down until he comes.”
Verse 12, “And he sent and brought him in….” This is one of those rare verses in the Bible where we actually have a description of what somebody looks like. “…he was ruddy, and of a beautiful countenance,” actually David has red hair, and I never have thought of Jewish people as having red hair, I always think of them as having dark hair, black hair, because most of the Jewish people we know tend to come from Eastern Europe, they’re Eastern European Jews. When I was in Israel one time I was eating and I looked up and here was this Israeli army captain who walked in and he had the reddest hair I’ve ever seen. I couldn’t believe it, because here were all these other guys with black hair, and here’s this guy with this insignia IDF, the forces of Israel, with his red hair. I thought this was neat, this is a picture of probably what David looked like.
So this is what David looked like, and here’s the anointing, David is given the anointing and now from this period of time, from the time of the anointing until 1 Samuel 4 is how David arrives at the throne. Notice the anointing precedes his accession to the throne by years. What’s going on here? The answer is that the man earns the right to sit on the throne. He’s anointed, which means he will sit on the throne, but he doesn’t lie back and let God do it, he actually obeys the Lord through a series, and he proves his leadership, so that when he sits on the throne the people acknowledge this. It’s not quite an election, it’s not quite a democratic thing like we have, but in a sense these guys required allegiance on the part of the people before they took office. So even though they didn’t have an election, it was sort of a process in which a leader was acclaimed because of his lifestyle and skills.
If you look in the notes I summarized this whole section, on pages 104-105. This summarizes very quickly all the stories, and if you connect them very quickly, as I try to do in this paragraph, you get the flow. “The call of God on David had to stand the acid test of experience. Before David finally attained national recognition,” just think about this, packed inside of this part of the Bible, from 1 Samuel 16 down to 2 Samuel 4, here’s what happened, one man in his lifetime. “…he had survived seven direct attempts upon his life by Saul.” Not one, seven; this guy had seven assassination attempts, and the assassin operation was run by the prevailing dynasty. Talk about political cutthroats, that’s typical of politics, that’s particularly typical of ancient near eastern politics, that’s how dynasties secured themselves, by killing off the opposition.
So here’s David, he survived seven attempts, and I have all the verses there if you want to look them up. He “evaded Saul’s ‘search-and-destroy’ missions three times,” the military was ordered out to get him, he “defeated the Philistines twice,” when he wasn’t even king, by taking remnants of an army, the guy built his own army out of the most rag-tag group that ever volunteered to be soldiers, it’s an amazing story, the cave of Adullam experience, it’s narrated in several of the Psalms, these guys were people that were castaways, they were losers, they were guys that just couldn’t make it in life, and for some reason they all flocked to David. So David is sitting down here, once knowing a real good army, Saul’s army, and he has this collection of losers. And David is such a fantastic leader that he gets these guys, turns them around, trains them, and they go into battle, take on, and beat the Philistines twice, when the regular army isn’t doing anything. So it gives you an idea of David’s leadership and his skills.
He “obliterated the last remnants of the Amalekite coalition,” there were still some pieces of those people left around, David took care of that, he “won a long struggle of attrition with Saul’s family to obtain the allegiance of other Hebrew tribes that of his own tribe Judah.” Remember, he had to get eleven other tribes on this political ticket here. What was the other tribe that had a king? Benjamin. In the Bible, if you notice early in Samuel, note this in your reading, here’s a little note to listen for as you read through 1 Samuel, when they go into battle, Saul does, you’ll see a little note that says 300,000 from all of Israel and 30,000 from Judah. The prophets are saying that there was a political split in the country, the tribe of Judah was not very popular. They’re looked up on as… well, we’re the nation over here and there’s the Judah people over there. So David’s got a political problem, he’s coming out of an unpopular tribe when all this is going on. And he was to win these other tribes to his throne. So the guy’s a politician, he’s a military ruler, he “escaped from two bad decisions by aligning himself with the Philistines,” almost got himself in a war against Israel. “Gradually both Israel’s leaders and populace recognized the choice of Yahweh in David (Jonathan the Crown Prince in 1 Samuel 20:11-17).” This is amazing, we heard about David and Jonathan’s friendship, and all the gay people like to make a big issue out of that.
The whole point of the story is who is Jonathan with regard to the first dynasty? If Saul dies who has the right to the throne? Jonathan does. So in the politics of the flesh, who would most want David eliminated? Jonathan. Do you see the stunning narrative that’s going on here, why these stories are all interlocked? This is a hunk of God’s gracious love and how He works in His sovereignty, like a chess player, working all the details out in a way that is utterly bewildering to the flesh. If there was one man who would want, besides Saul, David dead, it is the Crown Prince Jonathan. Who is the man who gives his free volitional blessing on David? The Crown Prince. And most people fail to realize that there’s about 20 years age difference between those guys, they weren’t buddy-buddies, they weren’t little boys that grew up together, Jonathan is ready to rule, he’s in his 30s when David is in his teens. That’s the difference, it’s not quite the little platonic thing, it’s all totally surprising. [blank spot]
… verse that takes on meaning only when this passage is compared with pagan literature. On page 104 I’ve compared it to three other famous… Homer’s Iliad, Aeschylus Seven Against Thebes, and Virgil’s Aeneid. Those are books we used to read in school back when we could read in school. All of those are stories of championship battles, and in those stories there was a peculiar tactic that was used. By the way, all those stories come after 1 Samuel 17, so it’s interesting which has the precedence. But they were all features of a champion. Look at the notes, “Just as these later stories, David and Goliath are called ‘men of the middle,” it’s a phrase that occurs in verse 4, see the word “champion” in the King James, “And there went out a champion,” in the Hebrew it really means the man of the middle. It’s occurs elsewhere in the verses I gave you, verses 8-9 is the idea. The idea was that two armies that were faced off, one against the other, would determine who won the battle by taking a champion warrior from both sides, actually it was a humane way because it saved a lot of bloodshed, and they’ let their champions battle it out to the death. It’s interesting that all three of these stories that are very, very famous pagan classics, honor this as a great tactic, and yet historically by centuries Samuel beats them. Here the Jews had their champion that came out in the middle. It makes you wonder whether the authors of these pagan literatures weren’t really borrowing the concept out of the Bible.
So David’s first area of skill is his warrior skill. As a teenage boy he is a man in the middle, he goes out there in a historic warrior’s skill, he becomes a hero of the nation by destroying the champion of the other side.
The second skill was an unlikely one, given the first one, and that was his musical ability, his phenomenal ability to compose music and play instruments. David was the one who later on stimulated instrumental worship in the Bible, with all due respect to the a cappella tendency in certain religious circles. David used instruments to accompany singing, and he had his Asaph, he commissioned the guy, he was the one that stimulated the choirs, the Levite choirs, and it came out early in his life because when Saul had an evil spirit, who did they call for therapy? David. What was David’s therapy? Playing music for Saul. So early on, not only is David the warrior but he has this ability to compose music. He is an artist along with being a warrior, a very interesting combination; those two don’t fit together in my mind. But they did in God’s mind. So powerful were his compositions that they have become the spiritual food of saints for over 30 centuries.
His third skill was his wisdom, his political wisdom. “He spared his arch foe, Saul, twice, trusting that Yahweh would fulfill His Word…” notice, let’s see how David dealt with his political enemy. In 1 Samuel 26 David ambushes Saul. David is using his military skill, he sneaks up and he and one of his officers sneak up on him in verse 7, “So David and Abishai came to the people by night; and, behold, Saul lay sleeping within the trench, and his spear stuck in the ground at his head, …” obviously he didn’t have any kind of night perimeter century duties or they guys were sacked out or something, big security violation here, “…but Abner and the people lay round about him.” So Abishai says to David, “God has delivered thine enemy into thine hand this day; now, therefore, let me smite him, I pray thee, with the spear, even to the earth at once, and I will not smite him the second time.” In other words, when I take this spear I only have to smack this guy once with it, and he’s going to be long gone. This is a typical soldier.
In verse 9 David cuts him off. Now David has the military skills, but right at this point, “And David said to Abishai, Destroy him not, for who can stretch forth his hand against the LORD’s anointed, and be guiltless?” Does anybody have an idea what that means. Here’s a guy, one of his buddies in battle says let me take care of this guy, right now, end your problems forever. And David says hold it. Why do you suppose he uses the language that he uses here? Notice the technical language, “Who can stretch for his hand against the LORD’s anointed, and be guiltless.” He explains, the anointed obviously refers to Saul as king. So David recognizes authority, he recognizes this guy is out after me, he tried to kill David seven times, but David still understands that it is not yet God’s time to promote him. It’s not God’s time to promote David.
So he says in verse 10, glimpse this because we’re going to flip to a pagan and how a pagan would handle this, so we want to see how David handles it and then we see how the Spirit handles it vs. how the flesh would handle it. “David said, As the LORD lives, the LORD shall smite him; or his day shall come to die; or he shall descend into battle, and perish.  The LORD forbid that I should stretch forth mine hand against the LORD’s anointed; but, I pray thee, take now the spear that is at spear that is at his bolster, and the cruse of water, and let us go.  So David took the spear and the cruse of water from beside Saul’s head, and they got away, and no man saw it, nor knew it, neither awakened; for they were all asleep,” that’s what happened to their sentry operation, verse 12, they got anesthetized, [because a deep sleep from the LORD was fallen upon them.”] Verse 13, “Then David went over to the other side, and stood on top of the hill afar off, a great space being between them.”
There’s humor in this text. Verse 14, “And David cried out to the people,” yoo-hoo, look what I got over here guys, talk about being embarrassed, these guys were sworn to defend this man, and you can imagine, soldiers that were given a commission to defend the leader and allowed a security breach like this to happen usually got killed themselves. This is a very serious thing. David’s laughing about it, hey, look at this guys, look what I got. So he ridicules them, and he makes the issue very clear to Saul, God is blessing me. Remember this process, God is blessing me Saul, what’s happening to your blessing. He’s playing with Saul’s mind here, playing with his mind saying the Lord is blessing me and I want you to see it. I could have killed you, but I didn’t.
What aspect in David do you think this shows? Let’s go to the notes on page 104. I tried to read through some ancient materials that would give us a contrast for a similar episode; what I want you to see is what the biblical text records of a godly man’s behavior in the same situation of the fleshly men’s behavior that you see in most history journals. “In contrast to David’s story of accession is the story of the famous Assyrian king who lived a few centuries later, Esar-haddon. No biblical revealing prophet came to him in his youth. Instead, his father, the Assyrian king Sennacherib,” by the way, Sennacherib is the guy that leveled the northern kingdom or attacked them. “Later an oracle ‘confirmed’ to Esar-haddon his father’s choice, but he still faced the problem of convincing the rest of the royal family and the nation. Rather than relying upon God’s grace, Esar-haddon gained his throne by his won works seen inside an idolatrous view of the world. He himself recounted the matter.”
And here’s a direct quote from a chronicle of that man’s reign. “I became mad as a lion, my soul was aflame and I [called upon the gods by] clapping my hands, with regard to my [intention of] assuming the kingship, my paternal legacy. I prayed to Assur, Sin, Shamash, Bel, Nebo and Mergel, to Ishtar of Nineveh, the Ishtar of Arbela, and they agreed to give an [oracle] answer…. I did not even wait for the next day….but I spread my wings like the [swift] flying storm [bird] to overwhelm my enemies.” By the way, what’s the symbol you see in architecture for the Syrian kings? You see it with “wings,” this is the metaphor they frequently use.
“The Assyrian king did not see the world in light of the Creator-creature distinction. He had no sovereign Word from the Creation concerning his destiny so he diversified and hedged his faith in a group of created god and goddess images.” Look at the collection, surely one of them might be the one to pray to, so we’ll cover them all. “Such a group, of course, lacked the sovereign power of the God of Israel so that ultimately all depended upon him,” Esar-Haddon. If the gods don’t control the situation, who has to control the situation? Esar-Haddon has to control it for himself. His personal security depends upon his own works. “He had to create his own security by eliminating his opponents in the ‘uncontrolled’ political arena. None could be left for the gods to remove as David left Saul in the hands of the Lord. Esar-haddon made not oaths guaranteeing the merciful survival of his foes’ families as David did for the House of Saul.”
Watch, here’s another quote, here’s the story of this bloody Assyrian. “In the month of Adar, a favorable month, on the eighty day, the day of the Nebo festival, I … sat down happily on the throne of my father. The Southwind, the breeze [directed by] Ea, blew [at this moment], this wind, the blowing of which protends well for exercising kingship, came just in time for me…. The culpable military which had schemed to secure the sovereignty of Assyria for my brothers, I considered guilty as a collective group and meted out a grievous punishment to them; I [even] exterminated their male descendants.” What Middle Eastern leader recently did the same thing to members of his close family that we were involved in conflict with? Saddam Hussein. People said Saddam Hussein is acting in an unusual way compared to western standings? These are Middle Eastern standards Saddam Hussein fulfills the Middle Eastern role model, he’s doing what his forbearers did, in exactly the same area. Where’s Assyria? Today’s Iraq. Same group of people acting the same way.
So what do we see now? Compare that behavior that you observed with Esar-Haddon with the behavior we just observed in 1 Samuel 26. That’s what I mean by studying the Bible in tension with it environment. And by studying it in tension you learn how the Spirit interfered with men’s hearts and transformed them. If God had not been working in David’s life, David would have acted just like Esar-Haddon. So the Esar-Haddon that I’ve given you on page 105, that’s what the flesh would do, that’s what any man’s flesh would do, we might not kill our enemies but we can politically sabotage them, we can assault them in many, many different ways. We don’t have to cut their throats; there are other ways of taking care of people politically, organizationally. But you see, David didn’t have to do that, he didn’t have to resort to those tactics. Why? Where was his security? In the Lord.
David could go about the whole thing, let these people try to kill him, he could rest in the fact that he knew God called him to do a certain job, God would get him to the throne; remember that little phrase in 1 Samuel. 26 where he says in verse 10, it’s a classic statement, because this is David’s answer to Esar-Haddon and anybody else, because he’s explaining it to this hardened office that’s sitting right next to him, why are you going to kill the guy, David says, “As the LORD lives, the LORD shall smite him,” that would be direct intervention, “or his day shall come to die,” he’ll die of old age, “or he shall descend into battle and perish.” He’ll be taken care of, I don’t have to do the doing, because I trust the Lord; the Lord will do the doing. My job is to do what the Lord had me to do, it’s His job to take care of those problems, and I’m not going to get into His business, so I’m going to sit back and I’m going to trust the Lord to handle that problem, I’ve got enough of my own problems to handle. See how he cut it, I can obey and take care of my little area, and I’ll let the Lord take care of those areas. It’s a very encouraging section.
Next week, I’d like you to read background for page 106, in 2 Samuel 7, pay close attention, and read over page 106-107 because I’m going to pull the same stunt I did tonight, we’re going to study that text over against what, in this case not an Assyrian king did, but what an Egyptian Pharaoh did. We want to compare the Davidic Covenant of 2 Samuel with how in Egypt they handled the same kind of a situation.
Question asked: Clough replies: Chapter 28, the witch of Endor, the question is raised, there’s a strange situation of a séance, and it’s one of those things in the Bible where we normally think of a séance as demonic, etc. There is a séance described in Scripture in 1 Samuel 28, and it’s a refutation of most séances, because in the séance Saul is desperate, and he can’t get any prophetic guidance. Why can’t he get any prophetic guidance? Think of what we said, what happened to Saul? The kingship has been removed from him, and when the kingship is moved, what moves with it? The Holy Spirit and the prophetic guidance. So here’s a guy, he’s still on the throne and still active as a political leader, but now his line to God is gone. Now he’s got a situation where he can’t get any political wisdom. So what is he going to do? So he cries out for guidance, and it’s a sad situation because here’s a man who had a very strong [can’t understand word], the way you read the text, I think, is that Saul and Samuel came to very much appreciate each other, it was not easy for Samuel to obey God and walk into his friend, Saul, and tell him, you’re out of here kid. That didn’t come easy, but Samuel had his priorities right in his life and he said if the Lord wants me to do that, then salute, say “yes Sir,” and do it, so he did. And Saul liked Samuel, in spite of the fact that Samuel announced his downfall, he felt a loss.
So at that point in 1 Samuel 28 he goes to a witch who has a reputation for talking to the dead, the spirits of the dead. It’s a very interesting passage because it refutes the idea that these witches talk to the spirits of the dead. What they obviously do is they have some convincing extra-natural situations that lead you to suspect they’re talking to someone, but they’re not the spirits of the departed they’re other spirits. What happens when this occurs is that she tries to conjure up Samuel from the grave, and all of a sudden he appears. The most interesting thing about 1 Samuel 28 is the witch’s reaction to this, she’s shocked. If she’s normally been talking to the spirits of the dead, why should she be shocked when one appears? Quite clearly she’s shocked because whatever it was she was talking to before weren’t spirits of the dead. This is the first time she’s ever seen something like this happen. Gee, somebody really did this. Probably what it was was demonic voices speaking to her or self-hypnosis or something that she had convinced guys that she could talk to the dead. The evil spirits, apparently, have the capability of, how shall I say, surveying our memories, so they can mimic pretty well people, they can impersonate them because they’re very observant, and maybe they can read our thoughts, so they can impersonate.
The witch at Endor calls for Samuel and he appears. Obviously he’s appearing out of his grave, his grave is Paradise, it’s the place where Old Testament saints went before Jesus went to heaven to take everybody to heaven with Him, so the Old Testament dead went to Sheol, there were two places in Sheol, there was Abraham’s Bosom, which is the good place, and then there was the other place. So there was a difference, but it wasn’t heaven because heaven wasn’t populated until the Lord Jesus Christ could rise from the dead and be the first man to walk into heaven.
The Old Testament grave… another strange thing that I’ve never figured out but it’s interesting speculation, is if you look carefully in the text of 1 Samuel 28, he appears wearing his prophetic clothes. You wouldn’t expect him to appear naked, but on the other hand, it is interesting that the spirits of the departed have clothes. It’s always been interesting, where do the clothes come from. But they do, and all of a sudden Samuel is there, and then the implication is that, remember that Samuel had warned in the passage tonight, Saul, disobedience is as idolatry and witchcraft. And what does he wind up doing before the book is over? Goes into witchcraft, he starts off rebellious and winds up in demonic things, and the two go together, hand in glove. That’s the story of that, there was a real séance, and it’s a great passage when you hear all these people talk about oh gee, so and so talk to the dead, they do this and that, well it’s fake, nobody’s going to talk to the dead, the dead are in a place where they don’t communicate to the living, and it’s deliberately done so by God in passages like Luke 15.
In Luke 15 is a passage where Lazarus wants to go back, please send someone, someone go back and warn my family about this, and the Lord says no, they’ve got enough information. So he’s cut off from doing that. That’s very interesting. There are so many interesting passages in this, it’s a crime we have to go through it like we do, but if we don’t do it like we do, then we’d never get the big picture.
Question asked: Clough replies: The Hyksos, the reason that identification happens is because it gets back to what we said last week about history. The way you learn history in school, if you take a graduate course in ancient history, this is kind of the gospel outline, you have the old kingdom of Egypt, you have the middle kingdom of Egypt, and you have the new kingdom of Egypt. In these little places you have what’s called intermediate periods. And you go to museums and you deal with the Pharaoh’s and the mummies, you’ll see they’re dated by old, middle or new. By Egyptian chronology, the new kingdom supposedly existed at the time of the Exodus, and I’ve always had a problem with that because I can’t conceive of a major event like the Exodus happening with absolutely no record whatever over here in the new kingdom of any disruption. None. And I can’t imagine the conquest of the land, when the most powerful height of Egyptian military power in the whole Middle East is there, how come the armies of Joshua never ran into the Egyptians? In between here was a group of people called the Hyksos, and the Hyksos were vicious, and the record recorded in the middle kingdom, the Egyptians consider these people just total barbarians. They were to the Middle East as the Visigoths and the vandals were to Europe after the fall of Rome.
When great countries fall in history, they have maintained the peace, Rome for all of its cruelty maintained order and peace, Pax Romana, and when it collapsed all of the weirdoes come out of the woodwork, and this is what has happened, every place you go. This is what’s happened in Russia. The communists, for all their viciousness, did keep order in Russia. Now you’ve got total chaos, everybody is doing everything; it’s like the book of Judges. Well, the Hyksos came out of nowhere, nobody really knows how these people got started, they came in and they invaded northern Egypt. And they slaughtered and they killed and they dominated, then they disappeared. The amazing thing is, this man proposes a change in the thing, and he moves this arrow over here and puts the Exodus right there. Once you do this, you now have an explanation because now the Exodus is what ended the middle kingdom.
When you make that ID, then who was there to meet the armies of Israel coming out of Egypt, but these strange people called the Amalekites. And their king is named Agag, the first king and the last king, both named Agag, it might have been a title instead of a proper name. But the Hyksos, their king is known in history as Apop, and the “p” and the “g” is often interchanged, so there’s a mysterious identity that happens here. Moreover, if you make this identification, one of the most famous women of all history, reigned right in there, Queen Hatshepsut, and she was the one went to a place called God’s land, nobody, the scholars don’t know what she means by that, she went to God’s land and she brought back amalgam trees, and all kinds of botanical things, and she has a whole list of it in her chronicles, and if you match that with what Solomon gave the Queen of Sheba they fit. She comes back to Egypt and she alters the temple worship so radically that her son, who is Thutmose III when he attains the throne, he throne he spends the rest of his life obliterating every record of his mother. He plasters over, for years they didn’t know Queen Hatshepsut lived because her son would plaster over every one of her places with himself, covering up everything his mother did, to erase her from history because he was so ashamed at what she had done to the Egyptian priesthood. I think the answer is that Queen Hatshepsut was converted under Solomon, came back and tried to reform the temple worship in Egypt, and this was very offensive to the Egyptians, and when her son came back into power after his mother died, he decided to take care of everything his mother did, reverse the whole thing, and re-paganized it.
This is one of those things, the identification of the Hyksos, that we got into back in Genesis and we talked about geology, we get into it when we talk about origins of civilizations, either we’re at odds with the anthropologists one time, we’re at odds with the biologists, we’re at odds with the geologists, we’re at odds with the astronomer, and now we’re at odds with the historian. I just say I’ve been in enough of these things over the last 30 years, every time I go to chase one of these things down, I come away not having solved the problem but having raised enough flags in my mind that what I was taught in school, and what I’ve been taught in the university in graduate school has a lot of holes in it. And I think what we get is an inverted pyramid of knowledge, and you start changing a few little axioms down here and the whole thing starts rocking, and it’s scary to somebody who’s built their PhD career on writing papers, all of which depend on this nice integrated structure, thinking that everything’s cool out to the third decimal place, and we just have to do some cleanup work out there. What we’re arguing is no, we’re going to the left of the decimal place and saying there’s some major problems here. We have prematurely concluded that we really know more than we do.
That’s why I showed you the maps, I wanted you to see that this idea that we dropped our bananas and started digging seeds in the land and turned into agrarian reformers and that was the start of civilization doesn’t fit because you get high levels of architecture and technology at the very beginning of history. Where did the technology come from? Flying saucers brought it to earth? Some people think that that’s the explanation. We’ve got interplanetary visitors that came in and brought it. Why? Why do they have to propose such absurdities? Because they’ve got to explain high information content. Where did it come from? On an evolutionary basis there’s no place for it to come from. But if the Bible is true, and you have men living 400-500 years and you have people of the quality of Noah, then when you see a battery for example, dated 500 BC, where they plated jewelry with citrus juices in the battery, so they were doing metallurgy and metal plating five centuries before Christ, where did that come from? Supposedly they didn’t discover electricity until about 1800s, 1900s, and they had wires and citrus batteries going on plating their jewelry 500 years before Jesus. What’s this story we get in school about science technology is something new?
Question asked: Clough replies: There’s a [can’t understand word] that’s going on because of a young man in England who’s got his doctorate, and he’s an Egyptologist, and he’s just creating all kinds of storms because he’s come out with a book where he basically says that this has happened, and of course, everybody is pulling their hair out because men have built their careers on this old kingdom, middle kingdom, new kingdom, and for some young boy to come out and say all you old guys are wrong, it doesn’t set too well. The guy’s taking his career in his hands doing what he’s doing, but it’s great.
Next week we’ll look at the Davidic Covenant.