I Samuel Chapter 13

'Provocations by Saul [13:1 - 15:35]."
"War with Philistines, Jonathan's First Aggression [3-22]."

This Bible Study is written by Roger Christopherson, and it's transcription is provided with written permission by http://www.theseason.org

I do not wish to take away from the national sense in which Samuel and our Heavenly Father gave this. However, in as much as our Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross, and through His death, He gives us a personal position that even goes deeper than the national sense. This is because no nation will ever work one hundred percent together in the same strength, pulling equally from all sides. It just will not happen, and that is why Christ is to have two advents instead of one. Many of the Israelites were not ready for Saul to be king, and many just would not accept Saul. Just as many would not accept Saul, so also many did not accept Christ as the true Messiah, and God as their king.

Remember that through "Yehowshuwa', yeh-ho-shoo-ah; (Jehovah) the saved." Jesus the Christ, and God's own mouth; we have only one king, and He is our Heavenly Father. It makes God angry when you put any other person in that place, for He wants that high position reserved for Himself in your heart and mind. Even in the triune eternal Godhead, there is only one king. If this is hard to understand, just don't worry about it, for God will bring it to reality when you are able to understand it. Jesus Christ is the King of kings, and the Lord of Lords, as stated in Revelation 19:15.

However the only condition that is required of you is that you love you Heavenly Father. God chooses whom ever He pleases, for many are chosen, but there are far more that refuse their calling: But for those that answer the calling there is much work in His kingdom. When He calls, He also gives the gifts that will be used for what He expects you to do. We all have different gifts and that is why many Christians see things differently, and that is quite alright. However, we should always ask God for our individual direction, and His Spirit will show each of us the way that He has for you personally. God gave you a mind to reason with, and when He leads you, it is up to you to figure it out for yourself.

The things we are reading of here in I Samuel are types of "ensamples" of the things that we face today, and as we study the Word concerning Saul, we should apply the spiritual lessons to our lives.

This thirteenth chapter starts the time when all Israel is now living under their first king, Saul. Samuel the high priest was the last of the judges, so when Saul took the office of king, Israel enter into a monarchy and ended their government of a theocracy. God gave the people what they wanted, and what you see in Saul is what they asked for to rule over themselves. Don't ever allow any government to take the place of God for you. That is impossible, for God is with us constantly and He is real. He is the reality in your life and He cars for you. God will intercede on your behalf when there is no other way.

I Samuel 13:1 "Saul reigned one year; and when he had reigned two years over Israel,"

There is something that has been dropped in the translation of this verse, for in the Hebrew text it is always stated that; "When Saul was a certain age, and had reigned for a certain number of years..."

The total number of years that Saul reigned can be figured by using reason and common sense. Saul's youngest son took over the office when he was forty years old. When Saul became king the youngest son was not mentioned and had not been born yet, so you have to assume that he was born very soon after the crowning. So using common sense, Saul had reigned close to forty years. This is just a seed for thought.

I Samuel 13:2 "Saul chose him three thousand men of Israel; whereof two thousand were with Saul in Michmash and in mount Beth-el, and a thousand were with Jonathan in Gibeah of Benjamin: and the rest of the people he sent every man to his tent."

Jonathan was Saul's son and his name means "a gift of Ah (God)", and he was a fine man. When Saul became king he hand picked three thousand men for his army to give him protection, and gave a thousand men to go with Jonathan, and stay in Gibeah. The rest of the men were all sent home.

I Samuel 13:3 "And Jonathan smote the garrison of the Philistines that was in Geba, and the Philistines heard of it. And Saul blew the trumpet throughout all the land, saying, "Let the Hebrews hear."

Saul will take credit for the battle because he was king, but Jonathan did the planning and led the attack.

I Samuel 13:4 "And all Israel heard say that Saul had smitten a garrison of the Philistines, and that Israel also was had in abomination with the Philistines. And the people were called together after Saul to Gilgal."

"The abomination" as spoken of here is the fact that there was so many dead that the Israelite's camp stunk from the dead bodies of the Philistines.

I Samuel 13:5 "And the Philistines gathered themselves together to fight with Israel, thirty thousand chariots, and six thousand horsemen, and people as the sand which is on the sea shore in multitude: and they came up, and pitched in Michmash, eastward from Beth-aven."

"Beth-aven" in the Hebrew means "the house of nothing or emptiness". In battle you never have more chariots than you have horsemen. For there to have been thirty thousand chariots, there were far greater men riding in those chariots. There is an error in the translation from the Hebrew to the English, for the number "thirty thousand" should read a number smaller than the number of horseman that ride and then to the chariots in battle. The number of chariots would have to be in the range of three hundred to three thousand chariots. Or on the other hand the six thousand horsemen would have to be a greater number, for the horseman must outnumber the chariots. The point is that there were not as many there as stated in this verse. There is still a lot of people that came to battle against Saul's army and the Israelites.

I Sameul 13:6 "When the men of Israel saw that they were in a strait, (for the People were distressed,), then the People did hide themselves in caves, and in thickets, and in rocks, and in high places, and in pits."

The army of Saul had only three thousand men total, two thousand with Saul and one thousand with Jonathan. Now in the thick of battle the rest of the people, or men that would go to increase the army of Saul is off in the hills hiding. This is exactly what happens every time we go to war in our country, when the sound goes out to muster up the troops, there are many that head over the hill and try to get lost in the count. Today we call them draft dodgers. Many of those wimps run for Canada, while some even run over to the enemies camp in Russia and pretend that they are something they are not. They would turn their backs on God's people and run to the camp of an atheistic, communistic nation that hates God. In their shame they will say and do most anything just to save their hides from danger. Thank God for those that do make a decision to follow the command and enter the military, for without all of them there would be no freedoms that we enjoy in our land today.

Can you see what is happening to Saul and his army? The conscripts that Saul needs are nestled in their caves hiding out from the enemy. Those wimps are hiding out in their caves like the foxes. God surely doesn't like whips and those that cannot be counted on when the going gets a little tough. If they would hide out from one responsibility, they will surely hide out when God needs them in the spiritual battle of our end times. God needs His elect to stand firm when the entire world is turning against God and to Satan the Antichrist, and what is happening to Saul here is a prime example of how it shall be at the coming of the Antichrist at the sixth trumpet.

Wimps can change when they see what they have done, and have a repentive heart to the Father over their actions. There is no sin that God will not forgive when it is repented in Jesus name, for that was the purpose of Christ's death on the cross, to draw those that love the Father and have a repentive heart back to Himself. It is time to stand up and be a man, woman or child for God. There is nothing new under the sun, just as it was in Saul's day, is going on in our land today.

I Samuel 13:7 "And some of the Hebrews went over Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead. As for Saul, he was yet in Gilgal, and all the People followed him trembling."

Those Israelites that didn't run to hide in the caves from the Philistines, headed for Gilead, and the land of the tribe of Gad. They were all scared when the Philistines came up with their chariots to war against them. Remember the thing that started the war was when Jonathan and his thousand men went against the garrison of the Philistines and slew the people in the garrison that were there.

Remember also that the Philistines had stripped the Israelites of all their swords and armament. That is the first thing a conquering nation does when they desire to subdue another nation. They strip them of their defense. The Israelites had no swords, chariots or any means to do battle. All the people had was pitch forks, ox goads, axes and what ever else they can find around the farm. Now the Philistines have come with their mounted army to do battle against a scattered people, running for their lives.

I Samuel 13:8 "And he tarried seven days, according to the set time that Samuel had appointed: but Samuel came not to Gilgal; and the People were scattered from him."

Let's paint a picture of what is happening here. The troops that stood by the king Saul are far outnumbered and afraid of going to battle. The rest of the conscripts are heading over the hill, and Samuel the High priest, the head of the church, has just told the army to wait seven days before you do anything. I'll be there, we will do the sacrifice, and we will go into battle with God on our side. God will give us the victory, and we will defeat them.

However now that Saul has been appointed king, and has all the responsibility over the nation of Israel, it is the seventh day, and Samuel hasn't shown up at Gilgal yet. So Saul is going to step in and take over the religious duties that are not his to do. If God gives instructions through one of His prophets, such as Samuel, and he says wait seven day, than wait that prescribed period. Samuel will show up at the exact time that he was suppose to be there.

I Samuel 13:9 "And Saul said, "Bring hither a burnt offering to me, and peace offerings." And he offered the burnt offering."

It is still in the seventh day that Samuel ordered Saul to wait. The day is not over yet, and Saul is giving an order for the burnt offering to be brought to him. The sin here is when the king is playing the role of priest. THAT IS A NO-NO. Remember from the prior chapters, there was a separation between the church and the state. Samuel represented the church, the role of the priest. Saul on the other hand was the king, the judge, and represented the role of government. The two were to be separate and not joined, yet Saul was going to play the role of the Priest. When Samuel was not there to offer the sacrifice, Saul was going to make the burnt offering to God in his place. This will anger our Heavenly Father, and God made it very clear when Saul was appointed king; Samuel warned the king and the people that if they break His commandments to them, he would destroy them. "But if ye shall still do wickedly, ye shall be consumed, both ye and your king."

I Samuel 13:10 "And it came to pass, that as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him, that he might salute him."

As Saul is finishing the burnt offering sacrifice, Samuel walked into the camp. When Saul heard that Samuel had arrived, he ran out to meet Samuel, and was very proud of himself for taking the initive and offering the burnt sacrifice in Samuel's absence.

I Samuel 13:11 "And Samuel said, "What hast thou done?" And Saul said, "Becuase I saw that the People were scattered from me, and that thou camest not within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered themselves together at Michmash:"

The point given here was that the seventh day wasn't over yet, and Saul acted against God's instructions, and he did not wait for the appointed time of the day. He did not wait until God's plan and set time was met, and God's man was there to offer the burnt offerings.

I Samuel 13:12 "Therefore said I, `The Philistines will come down now upon me to Gilgal, and I have not made supplication unto the Lord:' I forced myself therefore, and offered a burnt offering."

Saul is now changing the story from what he had started with. At first Saul was proud that he had taken the action on his own, being the king. But now after he had seen the reaction of Samuel, he was trying to place the blame else where. It is easy to understand Saul's position when the number of desertions were running high, the wimps heading for the caves, and the people all turning to him for protection. Saul gave in when the going was tough and in a panic tried to mix the two offices of priest and judge. By Saul the king fulfilling the priest's duty would one man's way of creating another religion, and trying to mix God's ways with man's ways to find a better way. Keep in mind that the sacrifices were something that were allowed only by a Levitical priest to be accomplish. That was God's ways and instruction from His Word, and must be followed.

I Samuel 13:13 "And Samuel said to Saul, "Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the Lord thy God, which He commanded the: for now would the Lord have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever."

The point that Samuel is making here is that you have broken the commandment, men wanted a king and they got one in you, and because of what you have done, your kingdom will not pass to your sons.

I Samuel 13:14 "But now thy kingdom shall not continue the Lord hath sought Him a man after His own heart, and the Lord hath commanded him to be captain over His People, because thou hast not kept that which the Lord commanded thee."

Because you have not stood by the commandments that God gave you, your kingdom will not last. This new king that shall take over from Saul that this is talking about will be David. God considered David "a man after His own heart". The words of Samuel will come true, but it will be a considerable length of time before this would happen.

I Samuel 13:15 "And Samuel arose, and gat him up for Gilgal unto Gibeah of Benjamin. And Saul numbered the People that were present with him, about six hundred men."

At the start of the chapter Saul's army numbered three thousand men, yet now after the defections, and wimps had left, there were only six hundred men left to do battle.

I Samuel 13:16 "And Saul, and Jonathan his son, and the People that were present with them, abode to Gibeah of Benjamin: but the Philistines encamped in Michmash."

I Samuel 13:17 "And the spoilers came out of the camp of the Philistines in three companies: one company turned unto the way that leadeth to Ophrah, unto the land of Shual::"

The "spoilers" were were the outcasts of the Philistines. They were outcasts even to their own people; riotous and nothing but a bunch of crooks and thieves. These spoilers divided into three different groups as they headed in three different directions. "Shual" in the Hebrew means "fox land", and it is not known today where was located.

I Samuel 13:18 "And another company turned the way to Beth-horon: and another company turned to the way of the border that looketh to the valley of Zeboim toward the wilderness."

The three groups went to the north, one to the west and the other to the south. The Israelites army numbered six hundred fighting men that were to the east of Jordan, with Samuel and Saul.

I Samuel 13:19 "Now there was no smith found throughout all the land of Israel: for the Philistines said, "Lest the Hebrews make them swords or spears:"

There were no metal workers of any kind amongst all the Israelites because the Philistines would not allow it. If they wanted tools for their fields and farms, they had to purchase them from the Philistines. The Philistines did not want the Israelites to be able to produce any form of weapon.

I Samuel 13:20 "But all Israelites went down to the Philistines, to sharpen every man his share, and his coulter, and his axe, and his mattock."

the "coulter" was the "plowshare" to work the ground, while the "mattock" is a type of pick axe with a blunt point, instead of coming to a sharp point.

I Samuel 13:21 "Yet they had a file for the mattocks, and for the coulters, and for the forks, and for the axes, and to sharpen the goads."

The manuscripts point out that this file is not a file that we think of today. However the file was a purse that a man kept the money for paying the Philistines for sharpening the tools. The Israelites had to pay the Philistines in the coinage and script of the the Philistine nation for the labor done. This record of this filing was even older than the Septuagint manuscripts and dates into the Massorah text. This helps us understand that there was not a conflict between the twentieth and twenty first verses of this chapter. A file today is for the sharpening of your blades, knives, or anything that you need a sharp point for cutting.

I Samuel 13:22 "So it came to pass in the day of battle, that there was neither sword not spear found in the hand of any of the People that were in the hand of any of the People that were with Saul and Jonathan: but with Saul and with Jonathan his son was there found."

So we have six hundred men without one sword or spear amongst the entire army of Saul. Only the two leaders, Jonathan and Saul had a sword and spear. The weapons of war that the Israelites were to use then were the goads, the rods used to tap the livestock to change their direction. They only had hand made tools for use around a farm. However they did have arrows, bows and slingshots.

I Samuel 13:23 "And the garrison of the Philistines went out to the passage of Michmash."

The point that we are to see from this chapter is that the Israelites had to depend on God for their protection. This is compared to today's army going to battle with only infantry, when the enemy has tanks, mortars, planes, and all the other weapons of war. They need God's help. So here you have a army mounted with horses and chariots, dressed in swords and spears and all the other weapons of war of the day, going against a priest, a king and six hundred unarmed men. Think about the odds. The next chapter will let us know what kind of men these men were.

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