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.


Rebellion (Torahlessness) is as the sin of witchcraft!

1 Samuel 15

1 Samuel 15:3, Utterly destroy.Here YHVH was instructing Israel to commit genocide against Amalek—an action that does not set well with our modern Western mindset. Because of things like this found in the first three-fifths of Scripture, some Christians have even gone so far as to label the so-called “God of the Old Testament” as being cruel, vindictive, harsh and judgmental, while the “God of the New Testament” is, antithetically, loving, gracious and forgiving. First, such a characterization is a false one, since the God of both sections of Scripture are the same Being, for as both the Old Testament or Tanakh as well as the New Testament or Testimony of Yeshua tell us, YHVH does not change and is the same yesterday, today and forever. Therefore, if he is gracious and loving now, then he was then as well. Any characterization to the contrary is not only a misreading of Scripture, but a blasphemous accusation against the Creator on the part of those who make it. 

Second, when YHVH tells a person to kill someone, it is neither murder nor genocide, for it is merely exercising divine will on the part of the Just Judge and Creator of all things to execute his righteous judgments upon whomsoever he chooses. He gives life and it is his right to take it away. 

Third, in this case, he was not only judging the Amalekites for the murderous sin they had committed against Israel during the exodus, but also because they, as a people group, like all the other Canaanites, had given themselves over completely to Satanism with all of its demonic and wretched practices including child sacrifice. As a people group, they were demon possessed and totally reprobate. Similarly, at the end of this age, when Yeshua returns to this earth, he will similarly judge and destroy those who hate him along with the world’s Antichrist system that they created.  

Fourth, the reason YHVH was justified in genocidally killing the Amalakites along with the other Canaanites is that he had given them hundreds of years to repent and turn to him,which they had failed to do (Gen 15:16).

1 Samuel 15:11, Not performed my commandments.Not to obey any command of Elohim that applies to us, no matter how small or large a command it may seem, is to turn away from Elohim, which is the biblical definition of sin (1 John 3:4).

1 Samuel 15:12, Set up a monument to himself.Elsewhere, Scripture declares that pride goes before a fall (Prov 16:18). King Saul was on the verge of a hard fall. In our day, there are too many Christians leaders that establish monuments to themselves. They name ministries, colleges and universities and buildings after themselves. The construct vast building projects and churches, which they claim are for “the work of the Lord”. In reality, most of these are monuments to their ego and glory. The sad reality is that many if not most of these edifices sit vacant ninety percent of the time and are not even being used for the purposes claimed. A wise use of the people’s tithes and offerings to be sure! In the end times, YHVH is going to judge and bring down the religious system that the book of Revelation calls Mystery Babylon the Great and likens to a whore along with all of these arrogant ministers. When this system euphemistically reffered to as churchianity comes down, it will be hard fall, even as Saul’s fall and destruction was hard. The reign and life of King Saul is prototypical of this end times confused Babylonian religious Christian system, which is a mixture of both good and evil. As with Saul, Scripture declares that eventually the patience of YHVH Elohim will run out and his wrath will be poured out on his so-called servants who serve Elohim, to one degree or another, as well as themselves and mammon.

1 Samuel 15:23, Rebellion. Heb. meree meaning “stubborn refusal to obey or comply with authority, especially a court order or summons.” This is how Scripture views those who refuse to obey the commandments of Elohim.

Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft/divination. (See notes at Rev 9:21.) Witchcraft involves taking or usurping authority that does not belong to you and then using it illegally to control others for personal advantage. It can also involve taking something holy and exploiting it for personal advantage. This is what Samuel accused Saul of doing when he kept the cattle he was supposed to kill, so that he could at a later time offer up an illicit sacrifices without going through the proper Levitical protocols (as well as probably keeping some of the loot for his own personal enrichment). Samuel equated this act of rebellion with witchcraft (1 Sam 15:23). 

Saul had the proclivity to not fully follow YHVH’s instructions and to take matters into his own hands, for he had offered up a witchcraft sacrifice once before (1 Sam 13:9–13). Samuel rebuked him for it, yet Saul willing and knowingly repeated the same mistake again, which was strictly forbidden. Taking that which YHVH has ordained to be used legally one way and defiantly using it another way for one’s own selfish purposes is usurping the divine will or authority of Elohim, violating divine law and, as such, is an act of rebellion and witchcraft. 

In a general sense, all sin (i.e. the violation of YHVH’s Torah-Word or his instructions as delineated in the Scriptures) is a form or witchcraft in its broadest sense.

From this brief analysis of witchcraft as it relates to rebellion and sin, it is not difficult to ascertain that the entire world lies in a state of witchcraft. In fact, there are only two spiritual domains in human existence: the domain of obedience to YHVH Elohim’s instructions or commandments as spelled out in the Bible, and the domain of witchcraft or Satan, the god and ruler of this world. At the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden, the first humans were confronted with a choice: follow Elohim’s path of righteousness or follow the path of witchcraft as led by Satan. We all know which path they chose, which is why the world in its present mess.

Saul was like many typical “Christians”. Like Adam and Eve, he chose a path of both good and evil. When it suited him, he chose the good path of obedience to YHVH; however, when it did not suit him, and he wanted a path that would cater to his carnal lusts, he chose the path of sin and rebellion, which is witchcraft. 

Similarly and as regards many modern “Christians”, the tendency is to choose the commandments that appeal to them, and declare the others to have been “done away with.” This is tantamount to ripping pages out of the Word of Elohim, spitting in the Creator’s face and telling him to go pound rocks. Hard words? No! This is the hard truth. Just because pastors, Bible teachers, churches, denominations and whole sects declare something is acceptable does not necessarily guarantee that it will past muster with the Creator, Supreme Lawgiver and Just Judge of the universe. It is still rebellion and witchcraft no matter the quaint labels and shiny, or shellacked veneer humans attach to it. Moreover, the majority consensus is irrelevant if it does not line up with the Word of Elohim.


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 7 to 10

1 Samuel 7

1 Samuel 7:2, The ark abode in Kirjath-jearim.The ark did not return to Shiloh from when it came (1 Sam 4:4) and where the tabernacles had been located. This is because when the Israelites took the ark from Shiloh, YHVH forsook the tabernacle at Shiloh (Ps 78:60). By the time of Jeremiah, Shiloh was still forsaken if not in ruins (Jer 7:12, 14).

1 Samuel 7:7, YHVH thundered [Heb. ra’am] with a loud thunder [Heb. qol]. Ra’am means “to tumble, that is, be violently agitated; specifically to crash (of thunder); figuratively to irritate (with anger).” Qol means “a voice or sound” and is often translated as thunder. YHVH discomfiting and routing Israel’s adversaries was in response to their returning to him with all of their hearts and putting away the foreign gods or idols from among them and serving YHVH only (v. 3–4). YHVH is the same yesterday, today and forever. Perhaps if you do the same as the Israelites, he might also deliver you from your adversaries in wonderful and miraculous way.

1 Samuel 8

1 Samuel 8:1–2, Made his sons judges.It is the deep desire of every loving and dutiful parent for their children to follow in their footsteps whether it be to pass on to them the family business, occupation or the family religion. Each child, however, has to choose his or her own path in life, and sometimes they make the wrong choices and go in errant directions despite their parents best intentions. 

1 Samuel 8:3, But his sons did not walk in his ways.Samuel’s sons did not walk in the way of father. The children of ministers often have a hard time walking in the footsteps of their righteous parents. There are many reasons for this. Sometimes it is because the parents are so involved in ministry—the long line of needy people seeking the minister’s help never ends—that they have little or no time to spend with their children and to teach them the ways of YHVH. But this alone does not explain why bad children come from good families. More often than not, young people view the allurements of this world and the desire for money, pleasure and social acceptance as being more attractive than the struggles that accompany those who are in service to YHVH. The true ministers of YHVH typically suffer financial privation, rejection of men, criticism and ridicule and outright persecution even from those they are serving. Who wants that for their lives? Not surprisingly, very few children do. This is a bad reflection on the children, but also on those to whom their parents have giving their lives in service who are treating their parents so poorly. Perhaps these are some of the reasons why Samuel’s children went astray spiritually, although these excuses for apostasy will not pass muster with YHVH. Each person is responsible for his or her own actions regardless of the bad actions of others around them, and YHVH will hold each person accountable for the choices they make.

It seems that many of the children of righteous parents in the Bible did not walk in the ways of their righteous parents. Isaac and Rebecca produced Esau, at least one of Moses’ sons was an idol maker, Solomon went astray, Samson had his struggles, and the son of nearly every righteous king of Judah was wicked. In fact, sadly there are very few, if any, examples of any children of notable biblical characters walking in the footsteps of their godly parents.

1 Samuel 8:5, 20, Make us a king…that we also may be like all the nations.The desire to conform to the status quo and norms of the world around us is often too hard to resist. This carnal human proclivity is prevalent on an individual basis as well as on a societal level, and has been the ruination of the lives of many people as well as the cause of the downfall of many nations. Looking to human governmental systems instead of to Elohim as one’s ruler, provider and protector is a form of idolatry.

1 Samuel 9

1 Samuel 9:6–8, He can show us.Saul desired a personal prophecy from Samuel, the man of Elohim, a prophet, about his donkeys in exchange for money. This is akin to hiring a fortune teller or a palm reader to predict what the future holds. By giving the Samuel an offering, Saul was attempting to hire the prophet to peer into the unknown on his behalf. This same activity goes on in the Christian church today in almost all “prophetic” circles as people line up to seek a so-called “personal prophecy” form someone claiming prophetic insights. Many church “prophets” profit hugely from this unbiblical activity. Saul never lost the penchant for desiring to know his fortune, for toward the end of his life he sought out the witch of En Dor, a necromancer or spiritist, to tell him what the outcome of an upcoming battle would be (1 Sam 28:7ff). (Also see notes at 1 Kgs 14:3; 2 Kgs 8:8.)

1 Samuel 9:9, Seer…prophet. This verse tells us that the Bible view the terms seer and prophet synonymously.

1 Samuel 9:19, I am the seer.Samuel unashamedly declares his ministry office. He already had a long and proven track record of hearing from Elohim, so he was not bragging when making this declaration; he was merely stating a fact. This is unlike many so-called prophetic and other ministerial wannabes in today’s church, who attach the title of “prophet” (or other ecclesiastical titles such as bishop, apostle, pastor, rabbi, reverend, father, etc.) to their names with either the misguided or the ulterior motive of gaining recognition and credibility, and in turn, more money, position and power.

1 Samuel 10

1 Samuel 10:2–7, Samuel’s prophecy.Samuel gave Saul an extremely detailed prophecy, which came to pass thus proving the validity of the prophet’s word (v. 7). If a prophet’s word does not to pass, or only partially comes to pass, then he is either not a prophet or is a carnal prophet who only hears from Elohim partially. Either way, beware of such individuals.

1 Samuel 10:6, Turned into another man.The sovereign YHVH Elohim can supernaturally intervene in a person’s life and use them to fulfill his larger plans and purposes, even when they thought that they wanted to do something different, or even when they had no desire to do it at all. The Bible is full of such examples (e.g., Pharaoh, Jonah, Mary and Paul to name a few). He can even use animals (e.g., Balaam’s donkey) or rocks (Luke 19:40) to accomplish his purposes.

1 Samuel 10:19, You have rejected your Elohim.The children of Israel rejected Elohim’s direct rule over them preferring instead an earthly king and human government. It is easy to sit back with 20–20 hindsight and criticize the Israelites for their errant choice. But how many times in a myriad ways do we also reject YHVH’s rule in our own lives? Oh, it may not be in major, glaring areas, but in the seemingly minor choices that we make every day, how often do we choose to cater to the dictates of the flesh and acquiesce to the world, the flesh and the devil instead of making the hard choices to obey Elohim and his Word? This too is rejecting is rule in our lives. Let’s be honest. We all do it. The first step to overcoming this weak proclivity is to recognize our failures and then begin taking steps to conform our lives to YHVH’s Word instead of the other way around.

1 Samuel 10:26, Valiant men…whose hearts Elohim had touched.It is a wonderful thing when the Creator of the universe reaches directly into this earthly dimension and touches a human heart to do his will. A similar thing happened when YHVH stirred the heart of Cyrus, the Persian king, to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem (Ezr 1:1 cp. 7:27). YHVH also moved the hearts of the Jews to begin building the temple in Jerusalem under Ezra (Ezr 1:5; 2 Chron 36:22). Later, YHVH moved on the heart of Nehemiah to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem (Neh 2:12). The spirit of Zerubbabel was similarly stirred in helping to rebuild the temple (Hag 1:14). Likewise, YHVH stirred the hearts of the children of Israel to help build the Tabernacle of Moses (Exod 25:2; 35:21, 26, 29; 36:2). If YHVH stirs your heart to do something for him, he will give you the strength, resources and wisdom to accomplish it. Good fruits will then come forth as evidence that he was in it.


Natan’s Notes on 1 Samual 4 to 6

1 Samuel 4

1 Samuel 4:3, When it comes among us it may save us. The ark of the covenant had become little more than a religious talisman or a good luck charm to the spiritually destitute Israelites. The fact that it symbolized the presence of Elohim among his people thus signifying how his people should act in the presence of their Creator, Benefactor and Protector mean nothing to them. The ark had become nothing more than a religious icon similar to a statue of the virgin Mary or some other saint, or a crucifix, a cross hanging somewhere or a picture of “Jesus.” These type of items give people a warm, fuzzy religious feeling and makes them feel spiritual, yet, beyond that, it held no significance in their lives, and certainly did not mitigate their irreligious lifestyle. You have no doubt heard the saying that Christianity is about relationship, not religion. Well, the Israelites certainly found this out the hard way when the Philistines shockingly captured the ark of the covenant. Wooden boxes, like crucifixes, church buildings, paintings of biblical characters, a cross worn around the neck, a Christmas tree, a statue of Saint Francis or the Buddha or some other religious paraphernalia mean nothing to the Almighty. Rather, it is the heart of man and obedience that matters. That does not mean that there is not a place for religious items, for the Tabernacle of Moses was full of them. The difference is that these items where vehicles to bring the religious person into a personal relationship with their Elohim, and not an end in themselves as the ark had become for the Israelites.

1 Samuel 4:15, His eyes were so dim…he could not see. Eli suffered both from physical and spiritual blindness. It is true that one’s eyes grow dim with age as the body wear down. But the sad fact is that Scripture reveals that Eli had lost his spiritual eyesight because of his spiritual complacency and tepidness. Sometimes how we are on the outside—our physical ailments—mirror what is going on in the inside—our spiritual condition. This is why when we are afflicted or experience trials, we need to pray for wisdom and discernment, so that we can ascertain why we are going through these difficulties and so that we many overcome and grow spiritually (Jas 1:1–4).

1 Samuel 4:22, The glory has departed. Again, the Israelites were focusing on a wooden box—the ark of the covenant, and had missed its deeper significance. The glory of Elohim’s presence had not been in Israel because of a box, but because Israel was YHVH’s set-apart, kadosh or holy nation that diligently hearkened unto his voice and obeyed him. Israel, like the blind Eli, had lost sight of this and had corporately become spiritually blind and destitute. It is for this reason alone that the glory of Elohim had departed the nation. It had little or nothing to do with a wooden, gold plated box.

1 Samuel 5

1 Samuel 5:3–4, Dagon, fallen on his face. This is undoubtedly ranks as one of funniest passages in the entire Bible. The idea of a stone statue falling down and “worshipping” the piece of furniture that represented the Elohim of Israel is hilarious. As serious a book as it is, the Bible contains at least one other passages that stands out as being extremely comical. These is the story of Balaam’s talking donkey. What’s so funny here is that Balaam was so out of his sense that he actually answered his donkey’s questions as if it were an every day occurrence, which it obviously was not. In both of these stories, truth is stranger than fiction, and it would be hard to make up these stories.

Dagan was among one of the pagan gods that the  Philistines worshipped. Some Bible scholars think that Dagan was a fish god because the Hebrew word for fish is dag. More likely, Dagan is the god of the grain harvest (from the Hebrew word dagan meaning “grain”) and was a principal deity in the middle Euphrates region. The pagans believed that various deities controlled difference aspects of nature, and that by worshipping a particular deity they would gain its favor  and thus experience physical well-being.

The moral of the story of Dagan twice falling down before the ark of the covenant, and finally, the second time, having its head and hands broken off is clear: the Elohim (God) of Israel was superior to the chief god of the Philistines, which struck fear into Israel’s adversaries.

1 Samuel 5:6, 9, Tumors (Heb. ophel; emerods, KJV, The Catholic Bible; hemorrhoids, NASB). The basic meaning of the Hebrew word ophel is “tumor”and refers to some loathsome skin disease. In the fourth century, in his Latin Vulgate, Jerome translated ophel as “swellings of the secret parts,” which would suggest the idea of either a hemorrhoid or some sexually transmitted disease. In pagan cultures, the idea existed that to appease the wrath of a god one needed to present gifts as a trespass offering to it. The fact that to presumably to appease the wrath of the God of Israel, the Philistines made golden images of tumors and mice may suggest that whatever the cause of the tumors was, it was brought on by mice or rats (1 Sam 6:4). This points to the bubonic plague which is caused by flees from small animals such as rats. The word bunonic derives from the Greek word meaning “groin”. Whatever the nature of the disease that broke out among the Philistines, it caused the fear of Elohim to come upon them and they wanted to be rid of the ark of the covenant post haste.

1 Samuel 6

1 Samuel 6:3–6, So they said. The heathen Philistine priests, diviners and diviners had a much greater sense of spiritual reality than nearly all of our modern post-Christian and secular humanist social leaders and our lukewarm and apostate spiritual leaders. The Philistine leaders understood that their sin had brought YHVH’s judgment upon their nation, which is more than can be said for most of our modern social and spiritual leaders who are so arrogant and blind spiritually that they have lost touch spiritually with everything except what will keep their manmade kingdoms going.

1 Samuel 6:4, Five golden tumors…rats. See notes at 1 Samuel 5:6, 9.

1 Samuel 6:7, 9, Milk cows. The Philistines put YHVH to the test. If the cows returned to their calves (according to their natural instincts), then there was nothing supernatural about the ark. However, if the cows went against their natural instincts and headed for Israel, instead of returning to their calves, then this would be a sign from YHVH that his hand was upon the ark.

1 Samuel 6:19, Fifty thousand and seventy men.This is likely a copyist error, since the LXX and Josephus state the number as being only seventy. The marginal references in many Bibles note this as well. The ArtScroll Rubin Edition Commentary on 1 and 2 Samuel state that according to Jewish tradition, the number of Israelite men killed was 70, while the number of Philistines was 50,000 (page 43). (See note at 2 Sam 15:7.)


Natan’s Commentary on 1 Samuel 1 to 3

1 Samuel 1 

1 Samuel 1:1, An Ephraimite. Although Samuel was born in the territory of Ephraim, he was actually a Levite (1 Chr 6:1, 16, 28). This is because the Levites had no distinct territory of their own but were scattered throughout the land of Israel, so they would teach the Israelites the Torah, lead in religious services, act as judges and fulfill other ecclesiastical duties.

1 Samuel 1:11, No razor shall come upon his head. To this phrase, the LXX and Dead Sea Scrolls add “he shall drink no wine or strong drink.” This means that Hannah vowed to consecrate Samuel to be a Nazirite to be holy or set apart unto YHVH (Num 6:8, see vv. 1–21 for context). Thus, Samuel was both a Levite and Nazirite.

1 Samuel 1:24, House of YHVH in Shiloh. The Tabernacle of Moses (also called “the temple of YHVH”, see v. 9) remained in Shiloh for more than 350 years before the Temple of Solomon was built in Jerusalem.

1 Samuel 2

1 Samuel 2:1, Your salvation [Heb. Yeshua]. Although Hannah prayed this prayer, she also wrote it down as a psalm for posterity even to our day in her moment of victorious joy because had YHVH and answered her prayer—her deepest heart’s desires. Have you ever transcribed one of your prayers into written form, so that others, perhaps your children or grandchildren, could see your faith and joy, be encouraged and uplifted by it even years later?

1 Samuel 2:12,The sons of Eli were corrupt. Corruption in high places—even in the church—was rife then even as it is now. And the issues were the same. The sons of Eli “did not know YHVH.”That is, they did not have a personal relationship with YHVH. They were born into the ministry; therefore, it was something they took for granted. It was merely a job, a source of financial gain, a cush position with a full compliment of fringe benefits including the choicest food at the people’s expense (vv.13–16), a position of prominence in the land, and lots of sex with the women as well (v. 22). Sadly, in the whole Bible, there are few examples of children remaining true to the faith of their parents. Most went the way of the world and forsook Elohim. Sadly this even happened to Samuel’s sons (1 Sam 8:1–5) no doubt to the consternation of their righteous father.

1 Samuel 2:18, 26. But Samuel ministered…grew in stature, and in favor. Even as the house of Eli was falling due to spiritual lassitude, at the same time YHVH was raising up another individual to carry on his work. What this teaches us is that despite the failings of individual, his purposes will go on, even if he has to raise others up to take the place of those who once did his work, but either they or their offspring have strayed from his paths of righteous ness.

1 Samuel 2:27, Then a man of Elohim came to Eli. YHVH always warns his lukewarm and backsliding servants an opportunity repent of their errant ways before he brings judgment upon them. This is his mercy and grace in action, it is also so that no one can accuse ever Elohim of acting unjustly.

1 Samuel 2:29, Honor your sons more than me. Eli placed loyalty to his sons over loyalty to Elohim. As much as righteous parents want to see their children serve and obey YHVH, if they refuse to do so, especially if they hypocritically claim to be ministers of Elohim, while dishonoring him by their actions, parents cannot condone their children’s actions. Tough love demands that parents lovingly correct their children, even adult ones, and if they refuse, then parents must choose to obey Elohim over acquiescing to the unrighteous actions of their offspring. Eli failed to stand up to his sons, and to relieve them of their Levitical duties, and this brought the judgment of Elohim upon both Eli and his sons.

Make yourself fat. To many modern pastors are like Eli in that they live off the fat of the land—off of people’s tithes and offerings, and many do very little work for it. YHVH elsewhere condemns these fat shepherds (see Ezek 34). In fact, may of today’s pastors are literally are obese just like Eli (1 Sam 4:18). YHVH will not tolerate false, hireling shepherds (1 Sam 2:36 cp. John 10:12–13).

1 Samuel 2:30–34, Then YHVH Elohim of Israel says. This passage contains one of the worst condemnations and judgments from YHVH of any minister in the Bible. YHVH warned Eli again and again to repent and to take a strong stand against the evil going on in his family, but he was too complacent in his secure ministerial position to heed the warning of Elohim from the prophet of Elohim and from the young Samuel (in the next chapter). The spiritual sloth and the lack of fear of Elohim on Eli’s part was especially grievous, since he was not only the high priest, but the judge or leader of Israel for 40 years (1 Sam 4:18), and, thus, his lifestyle and actions influenced the whole nation of Israel for good or for bad. Elohim holds to a higher level of accountability those to whom he has given greater positions of power and influence. If they obey him, they will receive a greater reward, but if they disobey him, they will receive a great condemnation.

1 Samuel 2:35, A faithful priest. Samuel was an Ephraimite (a resident of the territory of Ephraim, but also a Levite; see 1 Chr 6:1, 16, 28) and a priest (cohen).

1 Samuel 3

1 Samuel 3:1, The word of YHVH was rare in those days; there was no widespread revelation [open, prophetic vision]. Into this environment of spiritual laxity in Israel, YHVH introduced Samuel, a man who was single-handedly responsible for the spiritual revival of that nation.

The regime of Eli and his wayward sons can be likened to the state of the church in these last days in America. Eli was a weak, ineffectual, compromised, lukewarm, fat and blind leader spiritual leader. The modern church is filled with leaders who, like Eli, have little or no backbone to stand up to evil, to denounce sin, to refuse to toy with spiritual compromise, to stand up to false leaders, and to call the people to repentance. Rather, they are in the ministry simply for their own personal gain and physical gratification. 

On the surface, Eli looked good. He sported the title of High Priest, along with all the trappings and regalia that came with that exalted office including a glorious church building, ceremonial accoutrements and ecclesiastical attire. He even had “throne.” Yet at the same time, he was blind and grossly fat. This is the spiritual state of many leaders in the church today. For their own benefit, they have plundered the people they lead becoming financially well off in the process. YHVH denounces these phony and carnal shepherds in Ezekiel 34, who feed themselves at the sheep’s expense caring little or nothing for them. This was the sin of Eli’s sons who not only forcefully plundered the people for their own gain (1 Sam 2:2–17), but fulfilled their sexual appetites, as well, at the people’s expense (2 Sam 2:22–23). 

Yeshua rebukes these same hireling shepherds who put their own interests ahead of the sheep they are supposed to care for (John 10:1–13). Likewise, the apostles of Yeshua who literally laid down their lives for the sheep and the spreading of the gospel had no use for counterfeits who profited at the people’s expense. Paul denounces those who peddle the word of Elohim (2 Cor 2:17), and who are greedy for money (Tit 1:11 cp. 1 Tim 3:3, 8; Tit 1:7; 1 Pet 5:2).

Is it any wonder that the word of YHVH was rare in the days of Eli and his sons? How can a righteous and holy Elohim endure dealing with such a people? Remember his aversion to those in Laodicea who viewed themselves as quit well off, thank you very much, but were in reality, from Elohim’s perspective, miserable, wretched, naked, poor, deaf and blind. Unless they repented of their sin, he was ready to vomit these lukewarm believers from his mouth (Rev 3:14–21).

But in the middle of the spiritual morass of Eli’s leadership in Israel, YHVH raised up a pure and innocent vessel in Samuel. YHVH started moving powerfully in the little Samuel’s life, when he began to speak to him audibly and by vision. This small start was the beginning of national revival in Israel that eventually led to David becoming king and a temple being built in Jerusalem—the pinnacle of Israel’s glory days as a nation. 

In reality, it all started with a faithful, praying mother who, after having her prayer answered for a son, willingly gave up that son, as a thank offering, to YHVH’s service. What is the lesson here? Even in the midst of the hopelessness of spiritual societal darkness, YHVH can raise up a Hannah and a Samuel who will take the nation by storm for him! All YHVH needs are a few committed, praying, faith-filled servants, who are sold out for him, and who remain pure and undefiled from the spiritual pollutions around them. Are you willing to be such a person?