1 Samuel 11
1 Samuel 11:4, Then the Spirit of Elohim came upon Saul. How do we know that this was not merely the human passion of anger that aroused in Saul causing him to take action as opposed to the moving of the Spirit? Indeed it was human passion, for this verse says that “his anger was greatly aroused.” But the fact that the fruits of his action led to YHVH’s will for the nation of Israel being accomplished indicates that Saul was motivated by the Spirit, and that this was not just a purely human reaction. Often times it is hard to determine if one’s actions are carnally motivated or they are being led of the Spirit. This is where righteous judgments must be made (John 7:24), and the fruits must be evaluated whether they be good or bad (Matt 7:16–20). When the will of Elohim is accomplished, then we can be sure that it was a Spirit-directed activity. In the case of Saul’s anger against Nahash the Ammonite, his anger led to the rallying of Israel’s troops, the defeat of Israel’s enemy, the salvation of Israel, unification of Israel under Saul and Samuel, and the renewal of the kingdom of Israel resulting in national revival (vv. 13–15).
1 Samuel 11:14, And renew the kingdom there. According to The ArtScroll Rubin Edition Prophets Commentary, Gilgal was the place where Joshua had originally set up the Tabernacle of Moses upon Israel entering the Promised Land (p. 69; Josh 5:9–10). From the time of Joshua to Samuel, Israel had fallen on hard times physically and spiritually. As a nation, Samuel was leading Israel back to the geographical spot where it was last a great nation and walking in will of YHVH. A wise person once said, “If you’re not hearing the voice of YHVH in your life and he seems to be silent, then go back to the last place where he told you to do something and you said, ‘No.’ That’s the spot where he told you to go right and you went left.” This principle applies to nations and to individuals as well. Reflect on this as pertaining to your life.
1 Samuel 12
1 Samuel 12:1ff, A king over you. The establishment of Saul as king in Israel was a constitutional or limited monarchy, unlike the kings of other Eastern nations of the time where the king had total, unlimited and absolute power. Their kings ruled by whim and fancy, while Israel’s would be subservient to the Torah; their kings placed their self-aggrandizement above the national interest, while Israel’s king was charged with upholding and safeguarding the nation’s righteousness, and with guiding Israel as the bearer of [Elohim’s]—not the king’s—majesty (The ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash, p. 1187). “The [Israelite] king was bound to respect the liberty, honour, and the property of his subjects, and his powers were strictly limited by the fundamental laws of the Torah (Deut 17:14–20). Prophets, psalmists, and sages all conceived of the king as a shepherd of his people, whose scepter should be a scepter of peace, pity, and righteousness” (The Soncino Pentateuch, p. 649). This is the basis of a republican form of government, which, in theory, describes the American form government. As you become more familiar with YHVH’s laws it will become evident that certain aspects of the American legal code derive from the Torah. This truth underscores the fact that our society has deep Judeo-Christian roots.
1 Samuel 12:3, Whose ass have I taken? The moral integrity of spiritual leadership is essential. Most leaders in Christian church would strongly assert their probity (honesty and decency), and at the same time would deny that they are building their ministry kingdoms for personal benefit, but what is the real truth? How do they treat their children and wives behind the scenes? What is their response toward their detractors? How do they treat other “competing” ministries? Do they live off of YHVH’s sheep, or do they use tithes and offerings for the care and feeding of YHVH’s sheep? If they do receive income from their flocks, how dependent are they on that income? To what degree do they make decisions affecting the congregation in order to solicit a response that will ensure the security of their position as chief leader and beneficiary of the congregation’s largesse? To what degree do they angle their teaching and preaching to curry the favor of their constituents thus keeping the funds flowing toward them? These are questions that spiritual leaders all need to ask of themselves.
1 Samuel 12:17, Your wickedness is great. Samuel, speaking for YHVH, called Israel’s desire to be like the other nations and to have a king rule over them a great wickedness. To emphasize YHVH’s displeasure, Samuel asked YHVH to send a destructive rain upon Israel’s wheat harvest (verse 18). As a result of this punishment, Israel recognized their sin of rejecting YHVH’s mode of ruling them, and choosing instead to accept a worldly form of government (verse 19). But how deep was Israel’s repentance? Did it bring about a course change for the nation? No. How often does YHVH attempt to capture our attention because of sin in our lives, and as a result of his punishment and the impending physical loss (our personal “wheat harvest”) we verbally admit our sin, but our hearts remain hardened and predisposed to continue walking in the same sin?
1 Samuel 12:19, We have added unto all our sins this evil, to ask us a king. The people knew they had sinned, but they refused to repent and to turn away from their sin. To know one has sinned and to even admit it is not the same as repentance, which means deeply regretting that sin, and then with one’s whole heart turning away from that sin and walking in righteousness.
1 Samuel 12:22, It has pleased YHVH. Despite Israel’s unrepentant recalcitrance, what was YHVH’s response to his people? Some Bible teachers would have us to believe that the concept of grace is foreign to the Old Testament and is revealed only in the New Testament. YHVH’s response to Israel’s rebellion is but one of many such examples of his mercy superseding his judgment that are found in the Tanakh. What are some other examples of this?
1 Samuel 13
1 Samuel 13:13, You have not kept the commandment. The nation of Israel was a constitutional monarchy, not a dictatorship run by a tyrant king who was free to do whatever he wished. Israel’s constitution was the Torah, which the king of Israel was to know thoroughly and to obey. This is something Saul was not committed to doing, because he had a heart of pride and rebellion and not obedience toward YHVH. He followed the laws of Elohim only when it suited him, otherwise he followed the dictates of his own heart. This is why YHVH rejected him as king over his people Israel. Many people today who claim to follow YHVH have the same or a similar mindset; it is called carnality and wilfulness.
1 Samuel 13:14, A man after his own heart. This is the well-known passage where David is referred to as a man after Elohim’s own heart. In fact, this one phrase is often used to characterize the entire life of David. What a compliment to have this said of you! From the very beginning of humanity until now, YHVH has been looking for such people. At the same time, the world is perpetually and vehemently opposed to people whose hearts are predisposed to loving and serving Elohim. Ultimately, this is the never-ending conflict between good and evil that has been going on from the beginning. Lucifer failed to be a being after YHVH’s own heart and became Satan, the adversary. From then until now, he is opposes everything that is of Elohim, as do his sycophants. In following the dictates of his own heart, Saul was, in reality, a servant of the devil, and not of Elohim, which is why he was the enemy of David, the man after Elohim’s own heart. This is why Yeshua told his disciples,
If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said unto you, “The servant is not greater than his master. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.” (John 15:18–20)
And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in Elohim. (John 3:19–21)
1 Samuel 13:19, 22 There was no blacksmith…in all the land of Israel…neither sword nor spear. To ensure that the Israelites would not rebel against them and would be unable to defend themselves against their tyrant overlords, the Philistines disarmed the Israelites. History has repeated itself countless times over the millennia in this. The first things tyrants do after conquering a nation is to kill their opponents and then to disarm the populace, so that no one can rise up against them. All God-haters the world over perpetually hate a free people and want to enslave, for the purposes of self aggrandizement, those over whom they rule. For example, during the last century, tyrannical governments in countless countries have successfully outlawed the use and ownership of firearms by its citizenry, and bloodbaths and repression as always ensued.
1 Samuel 14
1 Samuel 14:6, Come, let us go. Jonathan was a man of great faith in view of the fact the Israelites army was demoralized and lacked weapons with which to fight the Philistines (1 Sam 13:22). This story shows that YHVH’s hand isn’t shortened because his servants lack the resources to accomplish a task he has given them to do. On the contrary, lack of vision and the faith to carry that vision out is one’s only impediment. With vision and faith, YHVH will provide the resources.
1 Samuel 14:21, The Hebrews who were with the Philistines. Even among YHVH’s people, when times get tough and out of fear, there will be those who will defect to the enemy’s side in order to save their own lives, even if it means opposing their own family members and fellow countrymen. What did Yeshua say about this?
Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division. For from now on five in one house will be divided: three against two, and two against three. Father will be divided against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.” (Luke 12:51–53)
They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers Elohim service. (John 16:2)
1 Samuel 14:24, Saul had placed the people. Saul’s rash oath was another example of Saul’s lack of wisdom and not thinking things out before acting—not a good character trait for a leader. Even Jonathan recognized his father’s folly (v. 29). Saul’s proclivity to make rash decisions that were not thought out contributed to his being rejected of YHVH.
1 Samuel 14:29, My father has troubled the land. Jonathan recognized his father’s failings. He had greater faith and a higher level of obedience to YHVH than his own father, which is why he and David were such close friends; they were kindred spirits.
1 Samuel 14:33–34, Sinning…by eating…the blood…do not sin against YHVH. Despite his flaws, Saul still had a sense of what was right and wrong. The problem is that when it suited his purposes, he often ignored the commandments of Elohim. There are too many people who claim to be Christians who are influenced by same spirit as was Saul, and it is not the Spirit of Elohim. People like Saul are listening to the snake in the tree and eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They pick and choose which of YHVH commandments they want to obey, and ignore the rest. This is why some of their actions are good and some are evil, for they are what they eat.
1 Samuel 14:37, [Elohim] did not answer him. By not answering Saul, Elohim was exposing Saul’s folly in making a rash vow. It is utter foolishness to deprive soldiers of food when they are about to go into battle.
1 Samuel 14:41, Give a perfect lot. In this request, YHVH answered Saul, and the lot fell on Jonathan. By answering this request and not the previous one, YHVH was revealing to all Israel the flaws in Saul’s character and his faulty leadership. Eventually, Saul’s never-ending mistakes and his refusal to learn from them led to his downfall, and, at the same time, led to Israel’s accepting a new king—one who was after Elohim’s own heart.