The Rev. Dennis McFadden, a pastor at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne, IN, joins the Rev. Dr. Phil Booe to study 1 Samuel 31.
In this final chapter of 1 Samuel, King Saul’s reign comes to an end in an ignoble way. Saul and his army face the Philistines on Mount Gilboa, but they are defeated and flee. The Philistines pursue them and kill Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malchishua, Saul’s sons. Saul himself is critically wounded by the Philistine archers. He asks his armor-bearer to kill him, but he refuses. So, Saul takes his own sword and falls on it. His armor-bearer follows his example and dies with him. The next day, the Philistines find their bodies and cut off Saul’s head.
The Book of 1 Samuel beings with the unique birth of Samuel, the last judge of Israel. Soon, the people of Israel begin to press upon the aging prophet Samuel to anoint a king over them like the other nations. YHWH assures Samuel that the people are rejecting their God, not Samuel. He advises Samuel to give the people what they want. What follows is the rise and fall of King Saul, the eventual anointing and coronation of David as king, the forerunner of Jesus. It’s a true story of political intrigue and warfare, but it’s also more than that. 1 Samuel shows us God working to save his people from their enemies and even from themselves.
Thy Strong Word, hosted by Rev. Dr. Phil Booe, pastor of St. John Lutheran Church of Luverne, MN, reveals the light of our salvation in Christ through study of God’s Word, breaking our darkness with His redeeming light. Each weekday, two pastors fix our eyes on Jesus by considering Holy Scripture, verse by verse, in order to be strengthened in the Word and be equipped to faithfully serve in our daily vocations.
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1 Samuel 31
The Death of Saul
31 Now the Philistines were fighting against Israel, and the men of Israel fled before the Philistines and fell slain on Mount Gilboa. 2 And the Philistines overtook Saul and his sons, and the Philistines struck down Jonathan and Abinadab and Malchi-shua, the sons of Saul. 3 The battle pressed hard against Saul, and the archers found him, and he was badly wounded by the archers. 4 Then Saul said to his armor-bearer, “Draw your sword, and thrust me through with it, lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and mistreat me.” But his armor-bearer would not, for he feared greatly. Therefore Saul took his own sword and fell upon it. 5 And when his armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he also fell upon his sword and died with him. 6 Thus Saul died, and his three sons, and his armor-bearer, and all his men, on the same day together. 7 And when the men of Israel who were on the other side of the valley and those beyond the Jordan saw that the men of Israel had fled and that Saul and his sons were dead, they abandoned their cities and fled. And the Philistines came and lived in them.
8 The next day, when the Philistines came to strip the slain, they found Saul and his three sons fallen on Mount Gilboa. 9 So they cut off his head and stripped off his armor and sent messengers throughout the land of the Philistines, to carry the good news to the house of their idols and to the people. 10 They put his armor in the temple of Ashtaroth, and they fastened his body to the wall of Beth-shan. 11 But when the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, 12 all the valiant men arose and went all night and took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons from the wall of Beth-shan, and they came to Jabesh and burned them there. 13 And they took their bones and buried them under the tamarisk tree in Jabesh and fasted seven days.
English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. esv.org