I Samuel Chapter 31

"The Battle that Claimed Saul's life."

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

I Samuel 31:1 "Now the Philistines fought against Israel: and the men of Israel fled from before the Philistines, and fell down slain in mount Gilboa."

Saul and his sons, along with the army of Israel fought and lost the battle because God was not with them.

I Samuel 31:2 "And the Philistines followed hard upon Saul and upon his sons; and the Philistines slew Jonathan, and Abinadab, and Melchishua, Saul's sons."

Jonathan was the brother in law of David, whom David loved dearly. Jonathan was a righteous man who loved the Lord, and he sought to be righteous in all his deeds. When David hears of the death of Jonathan, as well as Saul the anointed of God, he will be very sad.

I Samuel 31:3 "And the battle went sore against Saul, and the archers hit him; and he was sore wounded of the archers."

Saul lay bleeding to death from the arrows of the archers on the battle field.

I Samuel 31:4 "Then said Saul unto his armourbearer, "Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and abuse me." But his armourbearer would not; for he was sore afraid. Therefore Saul took a sword, and fell upon it."

Saul did not want to be drug through the streets of the Philistines and insulted by their people. When the armor bearer would not kill Saul, Saul committed suicide, and it is one of the few cases in the Word of God where suicide had taken place. Whether or not it is forgivable, that is in the hands of God. All the kings of any enemy were disgraced greatly when they fell into the hands of the Philistines, and Saul knew what would happen to him.

I Samuel 31:5 "And when his armourbearer saw that Saul was dead, he fell likewise upon his sword, and died with him."

When the armor bearer saw what Saul had done, he took his own life also. To be the armor bearer of the king meant that you were very close and trusted. He was the closest protector to the king himself. Even though Saul had an evil spirit, the people still loved him, and even David loved him, for Saul was not only David's father in law, but an anointed of God.

I Samuel 31:6 "So Saul died, and his three sons, and his armourbearer, and all his men, that same day together."

This ends the monarchy of the the first king, which will be the first of a long line of kings. I Chronicles 10:13 and 14 gives a a better understanding of what took place here from the human point of view. It was a report on the same event spoken of here.

I Chronicles 10:13 "So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the Lord, even against the Word of the Lord, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to enquire of it;"

I Chronicles 10:14 "And enquired not of the Lord: therefore He slew him, and turned the kingdom unto David the son of Jesse."

So, as recorded, Saul died for his transgressions which he committed against the Lord God. It is important that you know that. Sure the arrows hit Saul, but in all the prior battles, God protected his anointed until that time when he sought of his own free will the help and counsel of familiar spirits, instead of coming to the Father for advise. Saul committed those transgressions not against man, but against the Word of the Lord. If there was any doubt before as to why Saul lost his life, this removes all doubt. It was not the Philistines that guided that arrow, but God.

Saul was the man that the people cried out to be their king. It was not God that desired Saul to be there king, for God wanted to be the king of His people. However now the Saul has died, David becomes king, and it will be through the seed or lineage of Jesse, David's father that the promised Messiah would come. It is Jesus Christ that will place the crown of King of kings back on God's head, and not any man.

I Samuel 31:7 "And when the men of Israel that were on the other side of the valley, and they that were on the other side Jordan, saw that the men of Israel fled, and that Saul and his sons were dead, they forsook the cities, and fled; and the Philistines came and dwelt in them."

It was a good thing that they did run, and get entirely out of the area, for God was not with them. Later they would return when David is on the throne, and serve David. God was with David, and in time God gave back to David's throne every last mile that was take by these Philistines.

This is the key to understanding whether you are running away from the trouble or making a stand to face them with the help of God. When you trust in the Lord, God blesses you with peace of mind, and will make you and your family successful. If God is not in the center of your family or your life, then you will spend all your life doing as these men of Israel were doing, running from your problems. God wants you to lean on Him, and when you do, He will kick those problems out of your path, and make your life bearable.

Matthew 11:28 "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."

This is Jesus speaking here. The word "rest" in the Hebrew tongue means "Sabbath". Jesus Christ became our Sabbath, all of our Sabbaths when we accept Him, repent and believe on His name. So what Christ is saying here is that all those that have eyes to see and ears to hear, and are laboring in this world; Why do you carry your heavy burdens alone? Let Jesus Christ the Lord lighten those loads, and give you rest.

Matthew 11:29 "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls."

He is asking you to learn all about Him. When His Word becomes part of your life, and the central part of your heart [mind], then that is what will become your instruction. It will be through the Word of God that the Holy Spirit will lighten your load and reveal the things of life to you, and you will find rest him Him.

The purpose of the yoke is to share the work [the pulling] and give you only what you are able to pull. When the load is greater than you can handle, than the rest of the load is shifted to the other side of the yoke, and God continues pulling the load for you. The reason for the yoke in the first place is to take all those sharp points that rub against the animal away, and protect the skin and body.

When we take Jesus' teachings and follow those guidelines that are set up in His Word; then when we bring our burdens to Him in prayer and repentance, those heavy burdens that we thought were difficult, will be lightened like a balloon full of hot air.

Matthew 11:30 "For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

Taking Christ's yoke is not a problem, for it is Christ that does the harnessing. The master yokes the oxen, and places the traces upon them. Let Christ do that for you, and while you are in His yoke you will find rest. Jesus Christ's yoke will make your day go easy, and it will lighten the loads and pressures that this world places upon you.

When things just don't go right in your life, that is the time to take inventory of those things that you allow to take up your thinking and time. When the load got tough in Saul life, Saul did not seek the Father's help, but he ran down to the witch of Endor to call up the evil spirits, and it was the evil spirit's direction that led to Saul's destruction.

I Samuel 31:8 "And it came to pass on the morrow, when the Philistines came to strip the slain, that they found Saul and his three sons fallen in mount Gilboa."

Amongst the Philistines were many no good thieves and robbers. And when the battle was over, these misfits would run down to the dead and wounded and rob the dead. It was one of these misfits or grave robbers that found Saul and his three sons dead on the battle field. It is important to remember this act for when he presented himself to David in II Samuel, David knew how to reward him justly. David had his men kill him and take his heads off.

I Samuel 31:9 "And they cut off his head, and stripped off his armour, and sent into the land of the Philistines round about, to publish it in the house of their idols, and among the people."

The Philistines had a religion, and it was the idols that they worshipped. Notice who these Philistines are giving the credit for their victory, to their idols. It is only common that this information would be spread around the entire countryside. This was God's anointed that had his head plastered to the wall of these heathen's house of worship. God didn't abandon Saul, but it was the other way around, it was Saul that abandoned God.

I Samuel 31:10 "And they put his armour in the house of Ashtaroth: and they fastened his body to the wall of Beth-shan."

"Ashtaroth" which is a form of the word "Easter", for it comes from the "feast of Ishtar", a heathen religious sexual form. Christians in ignorance have taken the word "Passover" and substitute Easter in it's place, and enjoy all their traditions of the feast of Ishtar right along with Passover. The problem is that Passover and the feast of Ishtar don't mix. Christian's today don't know what part is of Christ and what part is from the sex religious orgies of Easter. Most Churches follow their tradition and believe that it just doesn't matter to God what they do, as long as they remember Christ's crucifixion at the same time.

I Samuel 31:11 "And when the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead heard of that which the Philistines had done to Saul;"

Remember that these people of Jabesh-gilead are the first people that Saul had helped when he became king, and they had a great deal of love for Saul. When they heard of how Saul body was disgraced in the heathen religious sex house, they went in numbers to reclaim the body of their king.

I Samuel 31:12 "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 came to Jabesh, and burnt them there."

The men were angry at the treatment that Saul's body had received, and no one was going to stand in their way of retrieving the body. Certainly the Philistines aren't going to risk the loss of one of their lives for the sake of gloating over a dead corpse. Poor old Jonathan's corpse is handing up there also, right along side of his fathers. This is the only time when cremation is mentioned in the Word of God. Cremation is alright, for when the soul is through with the flesh body and has returned to the Father, the flesh body returns to the elements of the earth that it is made of. Saul and his sons bodies had been riddled with arrows, cut up and drug through the streets, and then hung on the wall of the Philistines heathen temple to gloat over as they practiced their religion idol worship of sex orgies. Cremation was the right thing to do in this case, for the bodies had been badly desecrated by this time.

I Samuel 31:13 "And they took their bones, and buried them under a tree at Jabesh, and faster seven days."

The took the ashes of Saul and his sons bones and put them in a container and buried them under a tree in their home town. There they would remember Saul and Jonathan from then on. Remember that seven days of God are required for purification. We are reminded in II Peter 3:8 "But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." When that seven years, or seven thousand years are up, so shall this age of the flesh be up also, and we shall be in our incorruptible bodies in the Millennium age.

Then all things that are right will be understood, and those things that are not right will be done away with. Remember that we are reminded that we are not to fear those that can destroy our flesh bodies, but He, God the Father that can destroy our soul, and cause it to perish.

The book of I Samuel is the study of the rise to power and anointing of Saul, to the time of his death. We continue right into the book of II Samuel for the rise of David to kingship, and the events of time of David's reign. The second book is a continuation of the first book.

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