0 The death of Saul (1 Sam 29-31)

Episode 116: The death of Saul

1 Samuel 29-31

David wants to fight with the Philistines against the Israelites (but the Philistines won't let him)

29 1 As the Israelites and Philistines were preparing for war, some of the Philistines were wary of David and his men. 3 They said to King Achish,

What are these Hebrews doing with us?

4 Send him back to the city you gave him. Otherwise, when we go into battle he'll cut off the heads of our soldiers to reconcile himself with Saul.

5 Isn't this the guy the dancing girls sang about, saying, "Saul slew his thousands, and David his tens of thousands?"

6 So King Achish called David, and said to him,

I'd like you to fight the Israelites with us, but the lords don't trust you.

8 David was disappointed. He said to Achish,

I've always been willing to fight against the enemies of my lord the king.

9 Achish replied,

I know. You're an angel to me.

But the Philistine princes won't fight with you.

11 So David and his men returned to the land of the Philistines. And the Philistines went to fight the Israelites.

The Amalekites attack Ziklag (and the people decide to stone David)

30 1 When David returned to Ziklag, he found that it had been burned by the Amalekites.

2 The Amalekites didn't kill anyone, but they took everyone captive, including David's wives, Abigail and Ahinoam.

4 David and the people wept until they couldn't weep anymore.

6 Then the people decided to stone David to death.

David asks God what to do (God tells him to go kill the Amalekites)

8 David asked God (via ephod), "Should I pursue and overtake the Amalekites?"

God answered,

Yes, pursue them. You'll overtake them and get all your stuff back.

David slaughters the Amalekites (and gets his stuff back)

9 So David and 400 of his men took off after the Amalekites.

10 (The other 200 he left behind since they were just too tired to kill people.)

17 When they found them, they smote the Amalekites from dawn to dusk, until there wasn't anyone left to kill (except for the usual 400, who escaped on camels).

18 After the slaughter, David recovered all of the stuff that the Amalekites took, including his two wives.

21 Some men of Belial, who were among the 400 that slaughtered the Amalekites, said,

22 Those who didn't go with us shouldn't get any of the spoil.

23 But David said the 200 who were to tired to go with them would get as much of the spoil as the 400 men who participated in the slaughter.

25 And ever since then, it's been a statute of Israel: Everyone shares in war booty, even those who didn't do the killing.

26 Then David visited some of his friends who were elders of Judah, and said to them,

Here's a present for you from the spoil of the enemies of God.

27-31 He did the same to his friends in thirteen other cities.

Saul and his sons die (as predicted by the ghost of Samuel)

31 1 The Philistines fought against Israel and killed Saul's sons, Jonathan, Abinadab, and Melchishua.

3 When King Saul was hit by an arrow, he said to his armor bearer,

Kill me with your sword, so no uncircumcised Philistine will find and kill me.

But his armor bearer wouldn't do it. So Saul fell on his own sword.

5 When Saul's armor bearer saw that Saul was dead, he also committed suicide by falling on his sword.

6 So Saul and his three sons died on the same day.

7 When the Israelite soldiers saw that Saul and his sons were dead, they all ran away.

And the Philistines occupied the abandoned Israelite cities.

8-9 When the Philistines found Saul's dead body, they cut off his head and took his armor. Then they sent Saul's head round about to show off their victory in the house of their gods.

10 They put Saul's armor in a house and nailed his body to a wall.

11-13 When the men of Jabesh heard about what the Philistine's had done with Saul's body, they snatched the bodies of Saul and his sons and burned them. Then they buried the bones under a tree.

A few more words about this episode

David returned to Ziklag (30:1)
Ziklag was the town that King Achish previously gave to David for committing random acts of genocide against the enemies of the Philistines. (1 Samuel 27:6, Episode 115)
It had been burned by the Amalekites (30:1)
The Amalekites were a tough tribe. Twice they were "utterly destroyed" first by Saul (1 Sam 15:7-8) and then by David (1 Sam 27:9-11). Yet here they are, just a few years later, fighting the Philistines.
Did Saul and Samuel kill all the Amalekites?

David smote the Amalekites from dawn to dusk. (30:17)
DWB: David spends the day killing Amalekites
Saul fell on his own sword. (31:3)
How did Saul die?
So Saul and his sons died. (31:6)

God used the Philistines to kill the Israelite soldiers to punish Saul for not killing all the Amalekites -- as the dead Samuel prophesied when he was brought back to life by a witch. (See 1 Sam 15:2-3, 26; 28:18-19)
DWB: God killed Saul (and his sons and soldiers) for not killing all the Amalekites

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