King David and the Affliction of Saul
This story is interesting enough on a worldly level for Hollywood to
have made a saga of it.
However, we look at it here from another angle, remembering that the
Bible is a book of stories about God's people whose experiences and teachings
are included for our own instruction in how we should deport ourselves
to please our Master, the Lord Jesus Christ.
David pleased God because his heart (soul) was pure and set in the purpose
of worshipping and being obedient to the God of his fathers; Abraham,
Isaac and Jacob.
And it came to pass, when Solomon had finished the building of the house
of the LORD, and the king's house, and all Solomon's desire which he was
pleased to do, That the LORD appeared to Solomon the second time, as he
had appeared unto him at Gibeon. And the LORD said unto him, I have heard
thy prayer and thy supplication, that thou hast made before me: I have
hallowed this house, which thou hast built, to put my name there for ever;
and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually. And if thou wilt
walk before me, as David thy father walked, in integrity of heart, and
in uprightness, to do according to all that I have commanded thee, and
wilt keep my statutes and my judgments: Then I will establish the throne
of thy kingdom upon Israel for ever, as I promised to David thy father,
saying, There shall not fail thee a man upon the throne of Israel. But
if ye shall at all turn from following me, ye or your children, and will
not keep my commandments and my statutes which I have set before
you, but go and serve other gods, and worship them: Then will I cut off
Israel out of the land which I have given them; and this house, which I
have hallowed for my name, will I cast out of my sight; and Israel shall
be a proverb and a byword among all people: And at this house, which
is high, every one that passeth by it shall be astonished, and shall hiss;
and they shall say, Why hath the LORD done thus unto this land, and to
this house? And they shall answer, Because they forsook the LORD their
God, who brought forth their fathers out of the land of Egypt, and have
taken hold upon other gods, and have worshipped them, and served them:
therefore hath the LORD brought upon them all this evil.
(1 Kings 9:1-9)
In today's New Covenant terms the Israelites represented the majority of
churchgoers of today and David was a "born again" believer. It is a great
pity that the teachings behind God's words are not looked into by professing
Christians and the lessons learned therefrom not taken to heart and applied
in their lives.
To begin this teaching, let's go to the end of the story, where it's all
Then there was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year;
and David enquired of the LORD. And the LORD answered, It is for
Saul, and for his bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites.
And the king called the Gibeonites, and said unto them; (now the Gibeonites
were not of the children of Israel, but of the remnant of the Amorites;
and the children of Israel had sworn unto them: and Saul sought to slay
them in his zeal to the children of Israel and Judah.) Wherefore David
said unto the Gibeonites, What shall I do for you? and wherewith shall
I make the atonement, that ye may bless the inheritance of the LORD? And
the Gibeonites said unto him, We will have no silver nor gold of Saul,
nor of his house; neither for us shalt thou kill any man in Israel. And
he said, What ye shall say, that will I do for you. And they answered
the king, The man that consumed us, and that devised against us that
we should be destroyed from remaining in any of the coasts of Israel, Let
seven men of his sons be delivered unto us, and we will hang them up unto
the LORD in Gibeah of Saul, whom the LORD did choose. And the king
said, I will give them. But the king spared Mephibosheth, the son
of Jonathan the son of Saul, because of the LORD'S oath that was
between them, between David and Jonathan the son of Saul. But the king
took the two sons of Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, whom she bare unto Saul,
Armoni and Mephibosheth; and the five sons of Michal the daughter of Saul,
whom she brought up for Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite: And
he delivered them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they hanged them
in the hill before the LORD: and they fell all seven together, and
were put to death in the days of harvest, in the first days, in
the beginning of barley harvest. ¶ And Rizpah the daughter of Aiah
took sackcloth, and spread it for her upon the rock, from the beginning
of harvest until water dropped upon them out of heaven, and suffered neither
the birds of the air to rest on them by day, nor the beasts of the field
by night. And it was told David what Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, the concubine
of Saul, had done. And David went and took the bones of Saul and the bones
of Jonathan his son from the men of Jabeshgilead, which had stolen them
from the street of Bethshan, where the Philistines had hanged them, when
the Philistines had slain Saul in Gilboa: And he brought up from thence
the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son; and they gathered
the bones of them that were hanged. And the bones of Saul and Jonathan
his son buried they in the country of Benjamin in Zelah, in the sepulchre
of Kish his father: and they performed all that the king commanded. And
after that God was intreated for the land.
(2 Samuel 21:1-14)
Once again, please bear in mind that this is not merely a story in a book,
but is a part of history that actually happened, it is a true story; and
it's here for our enlightenment, to save our souls.
Further, imagine the outcry in the UN if it happened today!!! Sanctions,
withdrawal of financial support, prohibition of Israeli military aircraft
flights in their own airspace, etc.,etc.
Yet we see that it all started because God was angry with Saul the
man who also was king.
Before we start describing the characters and how they fit in, let's ask
ourselves why Israel started off having kings in the first place.
When they were in Egypt they had no king and Moses, who led them out
was no king even though he was God's chosen leader. The same applied to
After Joshua's generation died out, the Israelites started going skew
so God raised up judges to guide them in His ways and to bless them while
they followed His commandments. This was because of the Covenant that the
LORD had with His people.
And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served
Baalim: And they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them
out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people
that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and
provoked the LORD to anger. And they forsook the LORD, and served Baal
and Ashtaroth. And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he
delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them, and he sold
them into the hands of their enemies round about, so that they could not
any longer stand before their enemies. Whithersoever they went out, the
hand of the LORD was against them for evil, as the LORD had said, and as
the LORD had sworn unto them: and they were greatly distressed. Nevertheless
the LORD raised up judges, which delivered them out of the hand of those
that spoiled them. And yet they would not hearken unto their judges, but
they went a whoring after other gods, and bowed themselves unto them: they
turned quickly out of the way which their fathers walked in, obeying the
commandments of the LORD; but they did not so. And when the LORD
raised them up judges, then the LORD was with the judge, and delivered
them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge: for it
repented the LORD because of their groanings by reason of them that oppressed
them and vexed them. And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, that
they returned, and corrupted themselves more than their fathers,
in following other gods to serve them, and to bow down unto them; they
ceased not from their own doings, nor from their stubborn way.
After a while the Israelites became tired of the rule of the judges, who
were not a permanent feature of their lives, so they looked around them,
saw the kings that the pagan nations had and wanted the same.
The fact that they wanted a worldly leader is significant because it
shows that they were worldly orientated and by this wish admitted that
they rejected God.
And it came to pass, when Samuel was old, that he made his sons judges
over Israel. Now the name of his firstborn was Joel; and the name of his
second, Abiah: they were judges in Beersheba. And his sons walked
not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted
judgment. Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and
came to Samuel unto Ramah, And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and
thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all
the nations. But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a
king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the LORD. And the LORD said unto
Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto
thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me,
that I should not reign over them. According to all the works which they
have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this
day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they
also unto thee. Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest
solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign
over them. And Samuel told all the words of the LORD unto the people that
asked of him a king. And he said, This will be the manner of the king that
shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for
himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some
shall run before his chariots. And he will appoint him captains over thousands,
and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground,
and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments
of his chariots. And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries,
and to be cooks, and to be bakers. And he will take your
fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of
them, and give them to his servants. And he will take the tenth
of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his
servants. And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and
your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work.
He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants. And
ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen
you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day. Nevertheless the people
refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have
a king over us; That we also may be like all the nations; and that our
king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles.
(1 Samuel 8:1-20)
This idea is repeated in the "church" of today, the people want a "spiritual"
leader, someone who has been to Bible School and who will lead them to
heaven, whereas God has made it clear that He wishes for a personal commitment
from you and from me. He will not accept anything less.
So the LORD granted their wishes and raised up Saul as king; and we can
see in 1 Samuel nine and ten that he was originally a humble man, also
that the LORD God was with him.
Then he got too big for his boots and tried to do Samuel's spiritual
work for him and as a result of this disobedience to the LORD, was disposessed.
And he tarried seven days, according to the set time that Samuel had
appointed: but Samuel came not to Gilgal; and the people were scattered
from him. And Saul said, Bring hither a burnt offering to me, and peace
offerings. And he offered the burnt offering. And it came to pass, that
as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel
came; and Saul went out to meet him, that he might salute him. And Samuel
said, What hast thou done? And Saul said, Because I saw that the people
were scattered from me, and that thou camest not within the days
appointed, and that the Philistines gathered themselves together
at Michmash; Therefore said I, The Philistines will come down now upon
me to Gilgal, and I have not made supplication unto the LORD: I forced
myself therefore, and offered a burnt offering. And Samuel said to Saul,
Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the LORD
thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the LORD have established
thy kingdom upon Israel for ever. But now thy kingdom shall not continue:
the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the LORD hath commanded
him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that
which the LORD commanded thee.
(1 Samuel 13:8-14)
He then became jealous and tried to kill David on numerous occasions and
also spread lies about him and because he was the LORD'S anointed, many
believed those lies.
He was a man after God's own heart and as we have seen elsewhere, made
a covenant with Jonathan. As a result of the covanant he found Jonathan's
son Mephibosheth and brought him into his own household.
And David said, Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that
I may shew him kindness for Jonathan's sake? And there was of the
house of Saul a servant whose name was Ziba. And when they had called
him unto David, the king said unto him, Art thou Ziba? And he said,
Thy servant is he. And the king said, Is there not yet any
of the house of Saul, that I may shew the kindness of God unto him? And
Ziba said unto the king, Jonathan hath yet a son, which is lame
on his feet. And the king said unto him, Where is he? And
Ziba said unto the king, Behold, he is in the house of Machir, the
son of Ammiel, in Lodebar. Then king David sent, and fetched him out of
the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, from Lodebar. Now when Mephibosheth,
the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, was come unto David, he fell on his
face, and did reverence. And David said, Mephibosheth. And he answered,
Behold thy servant! And David said unto him, Fear not: for I will surely
shew thee kindness for Jonathan thy father's sake, and will restore thee
all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually.
And he bowed himself, and said, What is thy servant, that thou shouldest
look upon such a dead dog as I am?
(2 Samuel 9:1-8)
The crippled son of Jonathan who accepted David's covenant through his
father, but nevertheless continued looking for the main chance.
And when David was a little past the top of the hill, behold, Ziba
the servant of Mephibosheth met him, with a couple of asses saddled, and
upon them two hundred loaves of bread, and an hundred bunches of
raisins, and an hundred of summer fruits, and a bottle of wine. And the
king said unto Ziba, What meanest thou by these? And Ziba said, The asses
be for the king's household to ride on; and the bread and summer
fruit for the young men to eat; and the wine, that such as be faint in
the wilderness may drink. And the king said, And where is thy master's
son? And Ziba said unto the king, Behold, he abideth at Jerusalem: for
he said, To day shall the house of Israel restore me the kingdom of my
father. Then said the king to Ziba, Behold, thine are all that pertained
unto Mephibosheth. And Ziba said, I humbly beseech thee that I may
find grace in thy sight, my lord, O king.
(2 Samuel 16:1-4)
And Mephibosheth the son of Saul came down to meet the king, and had neither
dressed his feet, nor trimmed his beard, nor washed his clothes, from the
day the king departed until the day he came again in peace. And
it came to pass, when he was come to Jerusalem to meet the king, that the
king said unto him, Wherefore wentest not thou with me, Mephibosheth? And
he answered, My lord, O king, my servant deceived me: for thy servant said,
I will saddle me an ass, that I may ride thereon, and go to the king; because
thy servant is lame. And he hath slandered thy servant unto my lord
the king; but my lord the king is as an angel of God: do therefore
what is good in thine eyes. For all of my father's house
were but dead men before my lord the king: yet didst thou set thy servant
among them that did eat at thine own table. What right therefore have I
yet to cry any more unto the king? And the king said unto him, Why speakest
thou any more of thy matters? I have said, Thou and Ziba divide the land.
And Mephibosheth said unto the king, Yea, let him take all, forasmuch as
my lord the king is come again in peace unto his own house.
(2 Samuel 19:24-30)
Even after all this, David remained faithful to his covenant with Jonathan,
which was made in the presence of God.
Saul's daughter. She loved David and was his first wife. She protected
David from her father's murderous intentions and later was "given" to another
man. When he became king he claimed her back and later, she despised King
David in her heart when he danced before the LORD for all Jerusalem to
see. As a result of this she had no children.
The "five sons of Michal" were actually the sons of her sister Merab,
whom she apparently was the legal guardian of.
A concubine of Saul. At first sight it would appear that she spent some
time with the dead bodies, protecting them until it rained. The significance
of her act is lost until it is realised that the cause of the famine was
in all probability caused by lack of rain.
This reads like a fairy story doesn't it, until we see the power of the
righteous LORD underneath, when we search the scriptures, who insists on
certain conditions being fulfilled for those who claim His name.