Natan’s Commentary on 1 Samuel 21 to 29

1 Samuel 21

1 Samuel 21:6, Showbread.David likely had not eaten food for the better part of four days (three days hiding from Saul in the wilderness and the fourth day fleeing to Nob, 1 Sam 20:19 cp. 1 Sam 21:1), and so he was famished. Yeshua makes reference to this incident in Matthew 12:3 when justifying his picking grain and eating it on the Sabbath. Harvesting grain on the Sabbath is forbidden in the Torah, even as eating of the showbread was forbidden for anyone other than the priests (Exod 25:30; Lev 24:5–9). Yet, Yeshua demonstrated that, even as the Torah allows an ox to be pulled out of a ditch on the Sabbath to save the ox’s life, so it was allowable for him to “harvest” grain on the Sabbath to stave off hunger, even as David ate the showbread when he was famished. (See note at Matthew 12:1–14 for a full discussion of this subject.)

1 Samuel 24

1 Samuel 24:4, Corner of Saul’s robe. Corner in Hebrew is kanaph meaning “wing, extremity, edge, border, corner of a garment.” The kanaph was the same part of a garment to which YHVH instructed the children of Israel to attache the tzitzit or blue tassel (Num 15:37–41). Thus, in can be deduced that if Saul were Torah-obedient, then a tzitzit would have been attached to the corner of Saul’s garment. This tzitzit that David cut off was symbolic of Saul’s covenantal relationship and devotion to YHVH.

1 Samuel 24:6, 10, YHVH’s anointed. Interestingly, David was also YHVH’s anointed—as much so as Saul. However, Saul occupied the throne at the time, and David didn’t, so he respected Saul’s position until such time as YHVH removed him from the kingship. David wasn’t one to presume, rush things or to usurp any authority not given him. He was patient to wait for YHVH’s timing, including the time when the throne would his according to Samuel’s prophecy.

1 Samuel 24:16–21 (also 26:25), You are more righteous than I. Here King Saul prophesies that David will succeed him as king over Israel, and that he will do go great things and prevail. There were other instances of Saul coming under a spirit of prophecy (e.g., 1 Sam 10:10–11; 19:23–24). Saul was capable of hearing the voice of Elohim, but because of unrestrained carnality, a spirit of rebellion (15:23), and his inability to submit to the will of Elohim, he was spiritually conflicted. Clearly, YHVH was not in his heart (1 Sam 15:15, 21, 30). Within him was a constant struggle between doing the will of Elohim and his own will. The latter usually won out, because he had not unconditionally surrendered his will to YHVH (15:23, 26). Saul was swayed more by popular opinion than by the Word of Elohim (1 Sam 1 Sam 15:24, 30). Saul was able to worship Elohim (15:31), but was spiritually weak and not able to obey the Word of Elohim (15:23, 26). It is impossible to love and worship Elohim without obeying his Word. Let’s be honest. Most of us are at least a little if not a lot like Saul in these areas.

Yeshua declared that those who love him will obey his commandments or his Word (John 14:15). James wrote that the demons even tremble before Elohim (Jas 2:19), even though they are in rebellion against the Word of Elohim. Faith, works and obedience must accompany the worship and fear of Elohim (Jas 2:14–26). Though Saul paid lip service to YHVH, his heart was far from him. He obeyed when it was convenient and expedient to him. Isaiah similarly spoke of the rebellious Israelites who drew near to YHVH with their lips, but in reality, their hearts were far from him (Isa 29:13). Yeshua quoted and applied this verse to the hypocritical and rebellious religious leaders of his day (Matt 15:6–7).

In a certain sense, Saul is spiritual type of Christianity, which teaches and obeys the Torah-Word of Elohim only in part, and otherwise follows their own anti-Torah belief systems. 

1 Samuel 25

1 Samuel 25:1, Samuel died. Samuel was able to die in peace, since his ultimate mission was now complete. David’s kingship was safe, since Saul had just ceased pursuing David and admitted that David would be king. 

 1 Samuel 27

1 Samuel 27:3, So David dwelt with Achish. Why would the Philistines now accept David into their midst after he had fought against and killed so many of them as a general in Saul’s army? They accepted David because he was now an enemy of Saul. It was a political move on their part. This is a classic case example of the saying, the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

1 Samuel 28

1 Samuel 28:15, 19 Samuel. Was this actually Samuel, and does this scripture passage prove that Samuel’s soul was immortal, as many in the mainstream Christian church teach, thus proving the doctrine of the immortality of the soul?

In this passage of Scripture, the witch of Endor is acting as a spiritist or medium—a necromancer. A demon is speaking and is posing as the dead Samuel. Yes, this demon looked and sounded like Samuel, but it wasn’t. Even though Scripture calls this demonic impersonator Samuel, this was written from the human perspective, as many Scriptures are, since the Bible is often quoting humans who are speaking and writing from their own perspective based on their limited knowledge, and not necessarily stating truth in the full sense of the word. This is where the astute and Spirit-led Bible student will rightly divide the Word of Elohim, so that they don’t make it say things that are contrary to spiritual truth or contradict other scriptural truths. Moreover, do you not think that the sovereign, all powerful Elohim can’t use anyone or anything to communicate to anyone in any way he chooses—in this case to King Saul? After all, he used a donkey to speak to Balaam. Yeshua said that Elohim could raise up rocks to praise him. Elohim used lying spirits to prophesy lies to King Ahab through the mouths of his false prophets (1 Kgs 22:19–23). Know ye not that even Satan can transform himself transforms himself into an angel of light. (2 Cor 11:14)?

In verse 19, the demon posing as Samuel declares that Saul and his sons will be with him. If one believes this is Samuel speaking, and believes that the soul is immortal and goes to heaven when a saint dies, then it would be logical to assume that Saul and his sons would be going to heaven. However, if this is a demon speaking, where is he speaking from? Yes, the demon is saying that Saul and his sons will be with the him wherever he happens to be—probably in what the Bible refers in several place to as the pit, abyss or, in the Greek, tartaroos (2 Pet 2:4)—the place where the demons are being held in prison awaiting the final judgment.

1 Samuel 28:24, Calf in the house. In ancient times, in the average Israelite home, animals lived in the house with the people.

1 Samuel 29

1 Samuel 29:6, As YHVH lives. Here Achish the Philistine is invoking the name of YHVH. Why would a heathen whose people worship Dagon (the wheat harvest or fish god of fertility)call on the name of YHVH, the Deity of the Hebrews? Ancient history shows that the people of Canaan in biblical times worshipped a pantheon of deities including Ba’al, Asherahm, Berith, Chemosh, Dagon, El, Elyon, Moloch, YHVH and many others, whereas the Israelites worshipped only YHVH Elohim. The biblical record reveals that at one time, the inhabitants of the earth knew the name of YHVH, and called on him (Gen 4:26). This doesn’t mean, however, that they remained faithful to the truth he had revealed to them through his servants (e.g., Adam, Enoch, Noah, or Shem) even though the use of the name YHVH continued. In our day, the use of the names God, Jesus, Christ can mean many things to different people, and their use may have little or no relevance to what the Scriptures reveal about the Godhead or what he requires in the way of obedience.

 

Natan’s Commentary on 1 Samuel 16 to 20

1 Samuel 16

1 Samuel 16:5, Then he sanctified/consecrated. Heb. qadash/שﬢק meaning “prepare, dedicate, be separate, be set apart, to be honored, be treated as sacred. According to the TWOT, qadash connotes that which belongs to the sphere of the sacred, and is thus distinct from the common or profane. As a verb, it refers to the act which this distinction is made.

What was involved in this process of sanctification? We may gain a clue from Exodus 19 where YHVH tells the Israelites to sanctify themselves at the foot of Mount Sinai in preparation for their encounter with him as they receive the ten words/commandments and enter into a spiritual marital relationship with him (Ezek 16:8–12). As part of the sanctification process, Moses instructed the people to wash their clothes and to restrain from sexual relations with their wives (Exod 19:10,15,22), and to establish strict protocols with regard to approaching YHVH (verses 12, 13, 21, 23, 24). In addition, YHVH established elaborate ceremonies for consecrating or sanctifying the Levites and priests in preparation for service in to him in the tabernacle (e.g., Exod 28:41; 29:44), the offerings (e.g., Exod 29:27, 36), the tabernacle furnishings (e.g., verse 37, 44; Lev 8:11) and the people (verse 44). 

In brief, to become sanctified involves a process by which an individual or object is made ready and then set-apart to enter into the presence of or service to YHVH Elohim. When something or someone is made qadash, they are brought out of the sphere of the mundane or earthly and into that sphere which belongs to the divine or sacred. 

1 Samuel 16:7, Outward appearance … heart. Scripture instructs the saint to make judgments on the basis of two things: the fruits or actions that proceed from one’s life (Matt 7:15–20) and on righteousness (John 7:24). Fruits involve analysis based on the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:16, 22–25), which is the evidence of one’s spiritual walk. Righteousness is defined by one’s obedience to YHVH’s Torah-Word (Ps 119:172). One’s outward appearance may be spectacular, but his heart may be dark and the fruits and actions of his life may be anything but good.

1 Samuel 16:11, The youngest…keeping the sheep. The youngest children in the biblical family often was consigned to tending the sheep. Once he grew older and stronger, his help was needed along side the father in more physically demanding work of tilling, sowing, and harvesting the crops (Manners and Customs, p. 148; Social World of Ancient Israel, p. 41).

1 Samuel 17

1 Samuel 17:26, 36. Uncircumcised Philistine. This was not an ethnic slur. Rather, to refer to someone as uncircumcised was a Hebraism that simply meant that one did not have a covenantal relationship with YHVH Elohim, and thus was out of relationship with him and not under his divine protection.

1 Samuel 17:34–35, When a lion…struck it. The shepherds rod was like a policeman’s club. It was made of hard wood with a knob at the end, or it had knob nails driven into it to make it a better weapon (Manners and Customs, p. 149).

1 Samuel 17:40, Five smooth stones. Goliath had four sons (2 Sam 21:22). David had a stone for Goliath and each of his four sons. Moreover, Israel is an extremely rocky land, thus “bullets” for slings are abundant. 

1 Samuel 17:45–47, I come to you in the name YHVH of hosts. David recognized that this was more than a physical battle; it was a spiritual one. The Israelites were fighting the enemies of Elohim. As such, David summoned heaven’s help in defeating Goliath, and pitted the forces or hosts of heaven against the legions of demons that were empowering the Philistines by lifting up and having faith in the name or reputation of YHVH to help him to fight the enemy.

1 Samuel 18

1 Samuel 18:1, Jonathan loved him. Some perverted minds have attempted to see in this a homosexual relationship between Jonathan and David, thus justifying, in their minds, the sin of homosexuality. This is not only sad, but it is a sick twisting of the Scriptures. What these lost and lonely souls seem to miss is that there is a level of love that is totally altruistic, selfless and a self-sacrificing that can exist between two people that is totally non-sexual, and that can even far surpass sexual or romantic love. This is similar to the love that Elohim had for the world when he gave his Son as a sin sacrifice for it (John 3:16), and the love that he had for each of us while we were yet sinners (Rom 5:8), and the same love that one has when he lays down his life for another person (John 15:13). This is the same love that Yeshua had when he went to the cross for each of us (John 10:11, 15; Rom 5:6–8; Eph 5:2).

1 Samuel 18:10, The evil/distressing spirit from Elohim. As a form of judgment against his backslidden servants, YHVH at times sends out deluding evil (demonic) spirits in hopes to torment them (2 Thess 2:11; Ezek 14:3; Isa 66:4). In that they have rejected him and turned to rebellion (which is as the sin of witchcraft, 1 Sam 15:23), he will turn them over to the powers of the dark side where they can experience the full expression and corresponding consequences of their evil passions and sinful appetites. Under the spiritual delusion of tormenting spirits, perhaps the rebellious backslider will awaken to the reality of his fallen state and will repent and return to YHVH. Similarly, Paul turned over to Satan the man in Corinth who was engaged in sexual immorality “for the destruction of the flesh” resulting in the man’s eventual repentance and restoration to the body of believers in that city (1 Cor 5:1–13 cp. 2 Cor 2:5–13). 

Saul…prophesied. Saul prophesied (Heb. naba). Naba can refer to the prophetic utterances of both true and false prophets. When Saul was under the influence of the Spirit of Elohim he prophesied by the Spirit. When under the influence of an evil spirit, he “raved” (NAS). Saul may be a picture of modern Torahless prophets in the Christian church who sometimes prophesy and sometimes rave out of their own emotions and carnal mindedness or from the influences of an evil spirit.

1 Samuel 19

1 Samuel 19:13, Image. Heb. terephiym is an idolatrous image.

1 Samuel 19:20–24, Saul and his servants prophesy. Though Saul and his servants were under the influence of an evil spirit, when they came under the influence of the Spirit of Elohim, they would prophesy by the Spirit. Many people in the Christian church claim to be prophets, though they are only walking partially in accordance with YHVH’s Torah-Word and partially following the rudiments of this world or pagan church traditions that violate the Torah-word of Elohim. These prophets are like Saul, who was at times under the influence of the spirit of this world or the dictates of their own hearts and at other times under the influence of the Spirit of Elohim. Like the carnal prophets who are condemned by Jeremiah, they prophesy a mixture of truth and error.

1 Samuel 20

1 Samuel 20:5, 18, 24, 27, 34. New moon. How did David know that the next day was new moon day? Was this because he was able to calculate ahead of time when the new moon was going to occur? No. The answer is quite simple. A lunar cycle lasts for 29.5 days. This means that some months will be 29 days long and some will be 30 days long, since it’s impossible to have half-days. How did David know that the next day would be the new moon day? Simply this. Biblical months are based on the lunar cycle. A lunar cycle can’t have more than 30 days. A lunar cycle month is either 29 or 30 days long. If one has reached day 30 of a month and the new moon still isn’t visible because the sliver is too faint to see, or because there’s cloud cover or haze blocking it from being seen, then the observer automatically knows that the next day, by default, will the first day of the next month. Sometimes one sees the new moon after 29 days. Sometimes it is seen after 30 days either because they sited it, or because, even though it wasn’t visible and since a month can’t have any more than 30 days, the next day (day 31, if you will) becomes the default start of the new month. Obviously, in the story of David, the new moon hadn’t been sited on day 30, and so he knew that the next day was, by default, the beginning of the new month.

The idea that, because the time between conjunction and visible sliver can last one to three day, proves that Saul was feasting or celebrating the new moon during this interval is speculation. Nothing in any Jewish historical sources that I have studied state either that the ancient Hebrews calculated the new moon from the conjunction, or that if they did they celebrated the interval time between the conjunction and the sliver. So when 1 Sam 20:27 and 34 speak of the second day of the month, we have to believe that they were feasting for a couple of days after the sliver was first spotted.

1 Samuel 20:41, Kissed [Heb. nashaq] one another. Nashaq means “to put together, kiss, to touch gently.” This is the same word used in Proverbs 27:6 referring to the deceitful or superficial kisses of an enemy (like the kiss of Judas, Yeshua’s betrayer), as well as the tender or affectionate kisses of lovers (Song 1:2; 8:1; Prov 7:13). The concept of touching gently can be seen in the use of this word where the wings of cherubim kiss or touch each other in Ezekiel’s vision (Ezek 1:3). Kissing as special sign of affection was common among family members (Ruth 1:1) and among fellow countrymen (2 Sam 15:5). It was also done as a sign of respect (1 Sam 10:1; 2 Sam 19:39). Even today in many parts of the world, friends greet each other with a kiss on the cheek. On four occasions, Paul closes his epistles with instructions for the saints who will be reading his letters to greet each other with a holy kiss (Rom 16:16; 1 Cor 16:20; 2 Cor 13:12; 1 Thess 5:26). If there is a “holy kiss”, then logic demands that there must be an unholy kiss as well. Because of the deep loving friendship and spiritual relationship that David and Jonathan shared, their kiss would have been one of mutual respect and affection, and not an unholy kiss.

 

Natan’s Commentary on Psalms 59 to 63

Psalm 59

Psalm 59:9, I will wait for you. When a righteous person suffers for righteousness sake (and not because of any sin he has committed, vv. 3–4), the saint, because of his strong scruples and sense of right and wrong, desires immediate justice upon his enemies. Yet because his life is in YHVH’s hands, he looks to the courts of heaven to render justice when the all wise and all knowing Almighty, who sees the end from the beginning and lives outside of time, determines is the best time to do so. For this reason, the saint must learn to wait on YHVH to avenge him for the wrongs committed against him. 

Waiting to see one’s desire upon one’s enemies (v. 10) is an aspect, though a difficult one, of the faith walk. Through it all, the saint never takes his eyes off of his merciful Elohim, who is his defense. He never loses his spiritual, heavenward focus and never ceases to sing praises his Creator every day (vv. 16–17). 

The act of praising Elohim and expressing faith in the knowledge that heaven will ultimately render justice, even while one is in the midst of persecution at the hands of the wicked is a major differentiating factor between the saint and the heathen. 

All humans suffer, but not all have the faith and hope that heaven will reward them in due time by seeing justice served on one’s enemies. 

Never forget that the concept of “enemies” may encompass more than just other humans; it may include such things as suffering because of material and financial privation, trying circumstances, ill health and ultimately death, generational curses or simply the stress and duress of living in a fallen world that is under the control of the devil and his sinful minions. 

Regardless of who our “enemies” may be, the saint is promised deliverance from them all in due time. This is because YHVH promises to “keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on [him], Because he trusts in YHVH]” (Isa 26:3).

Psalm 60

Psalm 60:12, Through Elohim. Sometimes YHVH avenges our enemies through us. If this is the case, we must make certain that we are fighting his wars, his way and on his terms, and not our way often out of our own impetuosity and wounded egos using our own methods and strength to accomplish our desires upon our enemies (see Zech 4:6; Ps 127:1).

Psalm 61

Psalm 61:2, Rock that is higher. When our heart affections and spiritual focus is on something that is higher, loftier and more solid and substantial than ourselves, then our focus will naturally be higher than ourselves and we will be elevated in all areas of our lives as a result. 

Conversely, when our focus is on something that is at the same level or lower than ourselves, then we will sink to that level. 

This is a fundamental difference between following or worshipping Baal (the world, flesh and the devil) versus following or worshipping Elohim: the former is the downward path that leads to spiritual death and separation from Elohim, while the latter is the upward path that leads to Elohim and eternal life in his presence. 

The choice is ours as to which path we will take. Every day we are faced with many small and sometimes large decisions as to which direction we will go. Choose wisely and do the right thing by choosing the path that will bring blessing and life!

Psalm 61:4, Tabernacle…shelter of your wings. Over the mercy seat on the ark of the covenant were the over-shadowing wings of the two cherubim, which was the representative of Elohim’s throne and glorious Presence on earth (see Isa 37:16; Ezek 10:1–22; 11:22–23). It was in this place of intimate worship before the “Rock that his higher than me” (verse 2) that David sought shelter or refuge and deliverance from his enemies (verse 3). 

Biblical phrases such as, “under the shadow of your wings” is a Hebraism meaning “before YHVH in the place and state of worship” (also see Pss 17:8; 36:7; 57:1; 63:7; 91:1, 4). 

It was also in this place—between the cherubim—that Moses heard the voice of Elohim (Num 7:89), and that David would see the power or might strength and glory or manifest presence of Elohim in a prophetic, ecstatic or spiritual vision (Ps 63:2).

As saints of YHVH Elohim, we can come into his presence, that is, into this actual throne room (as represented by the holy of holies in the Tabernacle of Moses through our spiritual relationship with Yeshua our Messiah, Master and Savior.

Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Yeshua, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of Elohim, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. (Heb 10:29–22)

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Heb 4:16)

Psalm 62

Psalm 62:1, Salvation [Yeshua]. To the delight of disciples of Yeshua the Messiah, his appears several times in this chapter some 1,000 years before his birth. What does this psalm teach us about his cameo appearance in these prophetic references?

Verse 1—We learn that Yeshua (the Hebrew word meaning “salvation” comes from Elohim). The source of salvation is not from this earth or men—only from heaven. Yeshua is coming, and in the mean time, his people must wait silently or in quiet trust for him.

Verse 2—Elohim is a rock (or boulder) and our salvation. Here we learn that Yeshua is Elohim and that he is not only our spiritual rock, but is like giant rock or actually a boulder to his people. He is their only rock and salvation; there is none other.

Verse 6—As we wait patiently or silently for Elohim alone (and not on anything or anyone else), who is our salvation, our expectance or hope is only on him (v. 5). Only he is our rock (not anything else including money, other people, power, position, influence, material goods, good health, physical strength, education, our mental abilities, philosophies of men or occult powers), for only he is our rock or boulder or the source of our solidity, our salvation (or Yeshua) and our defence from everything or everyone that comes against us.

Psalm 62:2, 6, Salvation. Heb. Yeshua.

 

Are the Imprecatory Psalms at Odds With Yeshua’s Command to Love One’s Enemies?

Psalm 58

Psalm 58:1–11, Overview of an imprecatory psalm

Psalm 58 like many of the other imprecatory (from imprecation meaning “a spoken curse”) psalms expresses the extreme and overwhelming frustration, nay, the animus or antipathy that the righteous child of Elohim often viscerally feels toward the wicked evildoers that surround him, and the strong and yearning desire that one has for heaven to render judgment against those who hate all that is good. Is it a bad thing for righteous people to hate wickedness? 

Is it sinful for YHVH’s saints to desire justice from the heavenly courts for the wrongs committed against them by their wicked, evil-doing and God-hating enemies? More importantly, are the imprecatory psalms opposed to Yeshua’s teaching to love one’s enemy? While this may appear to be the case, and many Christian Bible teaches aver this to be so, we will answer these questions, and upon closer examination, see that these imprecatory psalms express some deeper spiritual truths that are consistent with the totality of Scripture and are actually in line with the teachings of Yeshua. In analyzing this subject, we will use Psalm 58 as our launch pad into examining a larger subject suggested by the imprecatory verbiage found in biblical psalmic literature.

At the outset of this discussion, let’s establish one important fact. The author of the fifty-eighth psalm knows a basic Bible truth that is found in both the Old and New Testaments. It is that judgment against one’s enemies is ultimately in the hands of Elohim (Deut 32:35, 43; Ps 94:1–2; Rom 12:19; Heb 10:30); it is the Almighty who will arise and tread down and scatter one’s enemies (Ps 60:12; 68:1). In the mean time, however, while waiting for Elohim to act, the earth reels and struggles under the heavy and constant attacks of the wicked, and the psalmist cries out to Elohim to render judgment against the ungodly (Ps 58:6), which Elohim will eventually do. At that time, the righteous will rejoice (Ps 58:10). The time when heaven will balance the scales of justice cannot come soon enough for the oft persecuted and downtrodden saints, for it will be then when YHVH will reward the righteous and judge the wicked when he comes from on high (Ps 58:11). 

Continue reading
 

Understanding Biblical Literary Devices– A Key to Correctly Interpreting Scripture

Psalm 57

Psalm 57:1, In the shadow of your wings. Other Scriptures that refer taking shelter under the shadow of YHVH’s wings in times of trouble (and all the time for that matter) include Psalms 17:8; 61:4 and 91:1. The wings of Elohim is an example of an anthropomorphism which is “the attribution of human characteristics or behavior to a god, animal or object.” Obviously, Elohim is not a Bird-God, for he does not have wings like a bird. This is an example of a poetic or literary device that the writer employs to help us to understand  difficult spiritual concepts using physical analogies. 

Author’s note: At the end of this article, I will address the false concept that the earth is flat, which I refer to as “flat earth foolishness.” Those who believe that the earth is flat base this notion on a twisted understanding of the Scriptures. A basic, 101 level comprehension of the rules of logic, biblical interpretations (called hermeneutics) and understanding the literary devices and cultural contextual background of the biblical authors will summarily dispel this false notion, as this article will point out.

Furthermore, I am not open to debate about this issue. If you want to argue with me that the earth is flat, then take our nonsense and peddle it somewhere else, but not on MY blog. Your comments will allowed to be posted or will be immediately deleted. So don’t waste your or my time trying. — Natan Lawrence


The Bible is full and running over with literary devices. This is because much of the Bible is poetry or literary prose. Understanding these many and varied literary devices will help one to correctly interpret Scripture, find the deeper meaning of a Scripture, understand the richness found therein, and enables one to better understand the true message and intent of the author. 

But why does the Bible employ so many literary devices from Genesis to Revelation as we are about to see from the examples below? There are specific reasons why YHVH Elohim inspired the writers of Scripture to employ various literary devices besides for the sake of making the Bible more interesting to read. There are definite and deep spiritual reasons for this that relate to our gaining a deeper, personal relationship with our Creator. We will discuss these reasons later.

In the mean time, having an understanding of the literary devices that YHVH inspired the biblical authors to employ will insure that one does not derive errant understanding from Scripture by, for example, understanding something in a literal sense that was meant to be figurative, symbolic, metaphorical or hyperbolic. Much of biblical prophecy, for example, has been written using literary devices and one can easily misconstrue something to be literal when it is figurative and end up with all sorts of bizarre interpretations and twisting of the Scriptures engendering false doctrines and heresies.

The following is a list of literary and figurative devices found in the Bible with definitions and examples:

Acrostic: A composition usually in verse in which sets of letters (such as the initial or final letters of the lines) taken in order form a word or phrase or a regular sequence of letters of the alphabet. An example of this is Psalm 119 in which the first words in successive units of the poem start with a consecutive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. In Psalm 145, the first word in each verse starts with a consecutive letter of the Hebrew alphabet.

Allegory: A story in which the characters and events are symbols that stand for ideas about human life. Parables are form of allegory where symbols are used to teach biblical principle. Yeshua employed this teaching method to convey deep spiritual truths by using everyday examples from life that his listeners, with a little reflection, could understand. Examples of this include:

  • The mustard seed in Matt 1331–33 and the leaven in Matt 13:33 are symbols for the kingdom of Elohim. 
  • In the Parable of the Prodigal son represents believers who backslide and come back to Elohim (Luke 15:11–32). 
  • The Parable of the Vine and Branches symbolizes the believer’s relationship with Yeshua (John 15:1–8). 
  • Paul compares of Hagar and Sarah in Galatians 4:21–31 to represent salvation by works versus salvation by grace. 
  • Ezekiel uses two sisters to represent apostate Judah and Samaria (Ezek 23:1–49). 
  • In Psalm 80, Israel is likened to a grape vine.
  • In Ezekiel 16, Israel is likened to a virgin bride and then an adulterous woman.

Alliteration: The use of the same initial consonants in a line. This biblical literary device is only noticeable in the original languages. 

Allusion: An indirect reference to something else. The referent and meaning are understood from cultural, personal context, or inside knowledge. Examples of this include:

  • The great sign in heaven in Revelation 12:1 refers back to Joseph’s dream in Genesis 37:9. In John 8:58 when Yeshua declared, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM,” his listeners knew that he was telling them that he was the I AM of Exodus 3:14. 
  • While hanging on the cross and Yeshua declared, “My Father, my Father, who have you forsaken me,” he was signalling to his hearers that he was fulfilling the Messianic prophecies of Psalm 22. 

Anthropomorphism: This is a type of personification where human characteristics (physical form, human-like emotion, or other human characteristics) are attributed to Elohim, in order to make his spiritual qualities more understandable to finite and limited human understanding and linguistics. An example of this is found in Genesis 6:6 where YHVH is grieved, or in Jeremiah 3:12 where YHVH is angry. Other examples from Scripture include

  • So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. (Exod 33:23)
  • For thus says YHVH of hosts: “He sent Me after glory, to the nations which plunder you; for he who touches you touches the apple of His eye. (Zech 2:8)
  • Lord, hear my voice! Let Your ears be attentive To the voice of my supplications. (Ps 130:2)
  • …[N]o one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. (John 10:29).

Aposiopesis: The leaving of a thought incomplete usually by a sudden breaking off in mid-sentence. Examples include:

  • Then the YHVH Elohim said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”—therefore the YHVH Elohim sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. (Gen 3:22–23)
  • Yet now, if You will forgive their sin—but if not, I pray, blot me out of Your book which You have written. (Exod 32:32)
  • But if we say, “From men”—they feared the people, for all counted John to have been a prophet indeed. (Mark 11:32)
  • And if it bears fruit—but if not, after that you can cut it down. (Luke 13:9)

Apostrophe: The addressing of a usually absent person or a usually personified thing rhetorically. This is a type of indirect type of personification where the speaker addresses an inanimate object including him or others who cannot respond to the statement or question. For example, sometimes a psalmist addresses his soul or commands mountains and rivers to praise Elohim. Examples of this include:

  • Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? (Ps 43:5)
  • Sing, O heavens, for YHVH has done it! Shout, you lower parts of the earth; Break forth into singing, you mountains, O forest, and every tree in it! (Isa 44:23)
  • Then he cried out against the altar by the word of YHVH, and said, “O altar, altar! Thus says YHVH…” (1 Kgs 13:2
  • Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth! (Isa 1:2)
  • Open your doors, O Lebanon, That fire may devour your cedars. Wail, O cypress, for the cedar has fallen, because the mighty trees are ruined. Wail, O oaks of Bashan… (Zech 11:1–2)
  • O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! (Matt 23:37)

Assonance:  This is poetic literary device where the internal sounds of words are repeated. This biblical literary device is only noticeable in the original languages. 

Chiasmus: A figure of speech in which two or more clauses are related to each other through the reversal of the lines of a poetic structure in order to make a larger point. Examples of this include:

  • Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed. (Gen 9:6)
  • But many who are first will be last, and the last first. (Matt 19:30)
  • Make the heart of this people dull, And their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart… (Isa 6:10)
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Natan’s Commentary on 1 Samuel 11 to 14

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.

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Natan’s Commentary on 1 Samuel 11 to 13

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.