Monday, July 7, 2014

Samuel and Saul

Since March, we have been studying the lives of Samuel and Saul in our Wednesday morning class. The notes are skeletal, but the class allows everyone to participate. Anyone can ask a question or comment anytime. Also remember that this blog is just a bare record of my ministry activities.

Samuel:

1Sam 1:1- Elkanah, called an Ephriamite, really a Levite.
1:2- Hannah, means gracious. Barren. 2nd marriage not sanctioned by God.
1:3- Lord of Hosts- infinite resources, power with which God acts for His people. God’s sovereignty over all powers in the universe. Also translated “The Lord Almighty.” 1st use of word in Old Testament here.
Feast of Tabernacles- commemorate God’s protection of Israel during desert journey and God’s blessing over the year’s crops.
Shiloh- central sanctuary, where ark located. Jerusalem not yet royal city.
v. 4-5- Hannah given a double portion, as if she had a son. Elkanah loved her, did not blame her for barreness.
v. 6-8- family interaction: Hannah taunted, Elkanah weak, tries to console her, but he doen’t restrain the mother of his children.
v. 10- bitterness of soul, prayed, didn’t wait to change attitude, “get right”, before approaching God. See v. 16.
v.11- again, Lord of Hosts. Faith that the Lord is willing even in the midst of anguish. No hating or accusing God, or turning away from God because of affliction. Called herself God’s maidservant.
“remember me”- not just recall, but God going into action on her behalf.
Razor- Nazorite vow, Num. 6:18-separate unto God for a specified time when the hair shall remain uncut. Long hair being symbol of dedication to the Lord’s service, usually not for life. A vow that God required of Sampson.
v.16- wicked (daughter of Belial): good for nothing, name given to Eli’s sons in 2:12.
v.19- Lord remembered, did not forget, but acted in her behalf.
v. 20- Samuel: asked of, appointed by God. “…because I have asked for him from the Lord.”
v. 24- weaned, 2 or 3 years.
v. 28- lent means given unconditionally in dedication to the Lord.

2:11- assisted Eli.
2:12- corrupt, didn’t know the Lord, didn’t fear or obey Him. Sons of  Belial, see 1:16.
v. 13-15- fat was to be burned. The Lord was to receive His portion 1st. Meat taken before fully cooked. Free will offering taken by force. Dt. 18: 1-5. Boiling is only form of cooking mentioned for priests. Only roasting mentioned- Passover lamb.
v. 18-26- Eli- some spirituality, but loved sons more than God, see v. 29. (See Mt. 10: 37-39).
Women- like Canaanite temple prostitutes.
The Lord was determined to put them to death. The curse, v. 27-36.
Read Num. 6:1-8- Nazorite vow. V. 4- not necessarily permanent. Seperated to the Lord. No strong drink. No razor. Long hair a reproach to a man, willing to be reproached for the Lord’s sake. No contact with dead body, even family members. If this is violated, he can atone for this and begin service again, v. 9-12. Absolute purity of life.
3:1- No widespread revelation, word from God rare. In Judges, Holy Spirit mentioned less and less.
3:7- Samuel didn’t know the Lord yet.
v. 8- Eli not totally without spiritual perception.
v.10- Judgment revealed to Samuel. Samuel to continue serving Eli, but knows not to emulate Eli’s sons.
V. 14- no atonement for house of Eli, who polluted the sacrifice. Not offered in faith, but as a ritual.
v.18-19- Eli accepts judgment, Samuel established as prophet. No move to kill Samuel as Solomon tried to kill Jeroboam.
Prophet- “a spokesman for God, a seer, a watchman.” Not just foretell future. Moses a prophet, Dt. 18:15, but Samuel started prophetic office. Trained prophets. His school of prophets made the prophets a force in Israel.

4: 1-5- Where did we see the Ark carried into battle, and thenpeople shouting before they went into battle? The battle of Jericho. Difference. In these verses, the Ark is being used as a magical object by an unholy people with unholy leaders who did not consult God or consecrate themselves.
4:18- Eli more concerned about the Ark than his sons.
4:19-22- God was the glory of Israel, but Phinehas’ wife looked upon the ark as well as the priestly family as the source of glory.

7:2-17- Samuel in different roles at same time, foreshadow roles of Christ, roles of New Testament believers:
v.3- proclaims as a prophet.
v. 5- prays as a priest.
6.- Judges.
9-10- sacrifices as a priest.
12 – prophet.
15-16- judge.
17- judge and priest.
Our focus on Samuel ends, but as his life is intertwined with Saul’s and David’s life, we are not done with him yet.   

Saul

Saul: “asked for, demanded.”
1st time in this study-deal with character who came to a bad end.
Son of Kish, a Benjamite, youngest of Jacob. Out of this tribe came 2 Sauls, the king and Saul who became Paul. Nothing else known of the family.
1Sam. 8: 1-4- Samuel’s sons didn’t follow Samuel’s ways, took bribes and perverted justice, violated the Law, God said He would judge Israel for these things. Samuel didn’t stop them. Human relationships and sin.
v.5- Elders gave stated reason, but real reason apparent later on, see v. 20.
v.6- Samuel displeased. Did God intend Israel to have a king? Gen:49:10- a chosen dynasty out of the tribe of Judah. [But see Dt. 17:14-20-
v.14- reason Israel will want a king.
v.15- God will choose king, a native Israelite, prevent pagan idolatry.
v.16- do not rely on own strength, fight battles in a worldly way.
v.17- idolatry=self enrichment, oppression of poor.
v.18- 19- write the book of the Law, learn to fear God, follow Law.
v.20- Law prevents heart from engaging in self exaltation. Prolong a king’s days. Righteousness prolongs life. Rely on God, not on self, which leads to fear.]
God knew people would want a king, so He brings about His will in a bad situation by changing the role of a king in Israel. He was not taken by surprise.
1Sam. 8:7-9- God is sovereign. Warns Israel, knows they will not heed warning, will not have God reign over them, why they prefer idolatry, because idols can be controlled.
v. 10-18- Samuel describes Canaanite kings, the ones Israel wants to emulate.
v.11-  draft sons for his wars, his own glory.
v. 12- draft sons, organize them to work in the king’s fields, vineyards.
v. 13- take daughters too,what protection will they have.
v. 14- take your property, give to his cronies.
v. 15-17- take the fruit of your labor and your laborers, be his servant.
v. 18-God will not heed Israel’s cries, Israel asked for a king.
v.9-20- Israel wanted to be like pagan nations.

Chapter 9:2- Saul, handsome, tall, looked like a king.
v. 7-9- seer=prophet, considered same thing, Saul still steeped in pagan ways of worship, buy a prophecy. Coming out of period of the Judges.
v. 15-17- God will use Saul, knows Saul will fail him later.
v. 18- didn’t know who Samuel was, not interested in spiritual things. 

1Sam. 10:1- anointing- monarchy given same importance as priesthood.
v.2-6- Saul told what to do, become different man.
v.9-10- prophesied
v.14- told uncle nothing about what Samuel had said.
v. 19- to want to be like the world is to reject God. God had delivered them, but Israel did not trust God to deliver them in the future, wanted a king to deliver them.
v. 22-23- hid self even after prophecies fulfilled, given prophesies himself, made new man.
v. 24- refer to his appearance
v.25- how kings are to relate to the people, the Law, and the covenant.
v.26-27- even though Saul will fail God, at that time he is God’s chosen, anointed king. To oppose him is to oppose God. Why David did not kill him when he had the chance.

1Sam. 11:1- Ammonite, descendant of Lot.
Want similar covenant used by God with Abraham, Gen. 15.
v.2- humiliation, destroy capacity of archers.
v. 6-Spirit of the Lord/anger aroused.
v.13- Saul exercises self control, see 10:26-27. Proved he was God’s man.
v.14- renew, reaffirm kingship, the king on relationship to the Law, the covenant.
v.15- peace offerings represent peace between the Lord and His people when His people live according to the covenant.

1st Sam. 12: 1-5- Samuel judged on how he treated the people.
v. 6-12- The Lord’s righteous acts, Israel could trust in him. Remember opening verses of Ex. 19, 20.
v. 13- obey the king God chooses. God integrating kingship into life of Israel, making good out of a bad situation caused by Israel’s sin, just like what he did with the Gibeonites.
v. 16-18- wheat harvest, not the right time for rain.
A great sin to reject God’s protection, to want to give alligience to a king instead of God alone. Lack of faith=rejecting God.
v.19-25- God will bless the people if they repent and serve Him, conditional, see v. 25.
v. 23- sin against the Lord if do not pray for the people. People not forsaken, capable of being in right relationship.

1st Sam. 13: 8-12- Saul was rash, would not wait, did not trust the Lord.
v. 13- word of Samuel is word of the Lord, not to act independently of the priesthood, the Law.
v.14- will not be succeeded by sons.
v. 19-23- Superiority in metallurgy, from contact with Hittites, area around Agean sea, migrate around 1,200 B.C.

1st Sam. 14: 1-14- Jonathan defeats the Philistines.
  v.3- Member of Eli’s family wearing Ephod- why did Saul allow this?
  v. 4- Most improbable route.
  v.6- Jonathan has faith in God.
v.19- Saul doesn’t want to wait to seek God.
v. 21- Some Israelites went over to the Philistines.
v. 23- The Lord saved Israel.
v.24- Saul focused on Saul, acts like he was the victor, cared nothing for the soldiers who had fought.
v. 27, 29-30- Jonathan cares for soldiers/God’s cause. Rightly blames father for Israel’s troubles.
v. 32- Saul’s order caused sin, the eating of blood.
v. 35- 1st time Saul builds altar to the Lord, lack of interest in spiritual things, lack of gratitude for what God has done for him, Israel.
v. 37-38- God did not answer Saul, blamed someone else for God not answering. Either because he is spiritually blind, or really knows he was to blame, so wants to shift public blame to someone else.
v. 44-45- Saul would make God look cruel, a God of legalistic religion. Saul would make his rash oath seem like a point of honor with God. (Like the Babylonia rule that a king cannot rescind a decree for fear the king would look weak and foolish. Remember also Moses and the striking of the rock-misrepresented God, forbidden from entering the promise land.) Soldiers knew better and were not afraid of the king.
v. 47- Saul established sovereignty over Israel.

1st Sam. 15: 1- Saul reminded that God spoke through Samuel, used Samuel to anoint Saul king, so he was to heed God’s word.
v. 2- Amalekites, descendants of Esau, blood relatives of Israel, fought Israel, would not let Israel pass through their land into the promised land, where Moses’ arms were held up. They surely knew the promise. Why did the Lord wait so long to punish this nation. Was it because of the Amalekite king’s cruelty. See v. 33.
3. Destroy all, including the king.
v. 6- Moses’ father- in- law a Kenite.
v. 9- Saul, Israel disobeys, takes the good stuff, spares the king.
v. 10-11- The Lord sorry He had made Saul king, Saul had turned his back on the Lord. God knew He would.
v. 12- Saul sets up a monument to himself.
v. 15- keep sheep to enhance selves economically, so won’t have to sacrifice own sheep. “The Lord your God…”
v. 20-21- blame the people, justify himself, Adam/Eve blamed each other.
v.22- to obey is better than sacrifice- religious form over heart response to God, faith is better than religious form. Saul thinks God is only concerned with religious rites, like pagans. Never tried to not think like a pagan.
v. 23- rebellion is like witch craft. Pagan religion is a religion of the self, do certain things, manipulate the gods. Using own strength to bring about what you want. A rebel is one who casts off authority and tries to take matters in his own hands. Saul eventually turns to witch craft in private. Thinks God does not see.
Saul is rejected as king.
v. 24-31- Saul more concerned about his reputation, how he appears before the people.  V. 28- kingdom will be given to another.
Reread 14: 47, see 16:14- Saul was king over all Israel, but the Spirit had left him, and from the Lord tormented him. Saul reached the point where he was too far from God, like Pharaoh, like King Herod.
Not done with Saul. Like Samuel, his life is closely linked to David, who will now be our focus.