Reading through the Bible together

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

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As the devil intended with his prediction of Saul's defeat through the witch of En Dor, Saul was in despair before the battle on Mt. Gilboa began.  Since he was in no condition to lead his troops, the prediction was fulfilled.  Israel was beaten by the Philistines, and Saul, with his three sons and his bodyguard, were killed. 


Saul’s failure was a disaster for him and his people.   When the Philistines found his body the next day, they decapitated it and fastened it to the wall of Beth Shan, one of their fortresses in the center of the country which the judges had not conquered.   His head and  armor they put in one of their temples, giving credit to their gods.   Saul’s army scattered, the inhabitants of the nearby towns fled and the Philistines occupied their homes.


For a body to be unburied and exposed to  the vultures was the ultimate disgrace.  The one bright spot in this chapter is the bravery of the men of Jabesh Gilead.  They  had been rescued by Saul at the beginning of his reign; now they risked their lives to get his body and give it a decent burial at Jabesh.


What lessons can we learn from the tragic end of this man who had been filled with the Spirit?   I suggest three: beware of grieving away the Spirit of the Lord; beware of jealousy, which in Saul’s case left the borders of his kingdom unprotected while he pursued David; and beware of disobeying any known command of God.


Ralph Neall

Retired Professor and Missionary