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I remember it like it was yesterday. I had stepped away from the pulpit 2 1/2 years before after laboring with a small congregation for 13 years. In the interim I had been working filling in for Tony Mauck when he was away and teaching Bible classes. There I sat, with an open email, a blank canvas if you will, reaching out to a congregation over a hundred miles away. A local work where few would know me and even those who did might assume that a more seasoned man might be better fit in the pulpit than one of just 37.
I was also keenly aware that my life was changing in other ways. I was about to be a father. The prospect frightened me, and now I was contemplating something almost as terrifying. I would be leaving a career in the only industry I had ever worked to preach full time. For the first time I would be preaching without a job to fall back on.
What if they asked me to come, and I left my employer of nearly fifteen years? What if I moved my family? What if I did all of this, only to find out that I couldn’t be the preacher that they needed? I had all but decide to close the email, without sending it, when a single thought occurred to me “What if you could?”
I was reminded as Lauren and I were driving and listening, yet again, to her favorite podcast. The beauty of the sentiment is in the liberation. “What if I could” recognizes that when something is beyond my control it is not necessarily destined for failure. This is true in almost every aspect of life but doubly so in matters of Faith.
“Stop saying I can’t”
Wayne Gretzky famously said “We miss 100% of the shots we never take.” The same is true of our spiritual aims. Whatever our reason, we will never succeed spiritually when we don’t try.
No matter how good, noble, or sincere our intentions might be, when we believe the way too difficult to attempt, then we’ll never achieve anything. This is the essence of Hebrews 11 and the commitment of those who not only believe in God but believe that he rewards those who are seeking Him. Are we seeking?
Matthew 19:23-26 (CSB) 23 Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”
25 When the disciples heard this, they were utterly astonished and asked, “Then who can be saved? ”
26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
The reaction of the disciples was similar to that of the young ruler himself in the passage. While the response the young man received was not what he had expected, it showed his weakness. It’s easy to play armchair Christian, criticizing him, but are we really any different? Jesus’ disciples certainly were not. It’s evident in their question.
The disciples were just as surprised and even disheartened by the turn of the events asking “Who then can be saved?” Of all men, how could this one not be part of the Kingdom? After all, he had come seeking and Jesus.
It’s worth noting that they had a similar reaction to His instruction on marriage earlier in the chapter. They found his decree on divorce particularly hard to accept.
“Matthew 19:10 (CSB) 10 His disciples said to him, “If the relationship of a man with his wife is like this, it’s better not to marry.”
Both accounts show just how much the first century hearer and even those that followed Him wrestled with the difficult sayings of Jesus. But before we become too comfortable in our accepted understandings of His answer to the young ruler we might do well to better consider it.
The instruction was not just to sell his possessions, not just to give it to the poor, but do this to attain heavenly treasure and then to follow Him. The instruction is not given to him simply because he is wealthy, but because that is the essence of discipleship, and according to Philippians 2 exactly what Jesus did for us. “If you want to be perfect”, Jesus explains in verse 21, this is what perfection looks like.
The great challenge is seeing this not as a loss but as a victory. We comfort ourselves with the knowledge that we think we have obtained, we reassure ourselves that this is not what discipleship really costs, and yet it is Jesus who said “He that loves father or mother more than me is unworthy to be my disciple”
Discipleship costs everything. It sounds impossible (Jesus says as much) and it is, but what if you could?
26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
We have the greatest help that we could ever hope for. Perfection is ours to strive for but not to be obtained on our own. The challenge in every struggle is finding the courage to step outside of our way and to try to do it God’s way trusting in the help He freely gives.
1 Peter 5:10-11 (CSB) The God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, establish, strengthen, and support you after you have suffered a little while. 11 To him be dominion forever. Amen.
The question then becomes, is the guarantee of the reward worth the price I’m asked to pay? Don’t be sorrowful. With God, all things are possible.
What if you could?
2 Samuel 3 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
The House of David Strengthened
3 Now there was a long war between the house of Saul and the house of David; and David grew steadily stronger, but the house of Saul grew weaker continually.
2 Sons were born to David at Hebron: his firstborn was Amnon, by Ahinoam the Jezreelitess; 3 and his second, Chileab, by Abigail the [a]widow of Nabal the Carmelite; and the third, Absalom the son of Maacah, the daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur;4 and the fourth, Adonijah the son of Haggith; and the fifth, Shephatiah the son of Abital; 5 and the sixth, Ithream, by David’s wife Eglah. These were born to David at Hebron.
Abner Joins David
6 It came about while there was war between the house of Saul and the house of David that Abner was making himself strong in the house of Saul.7 Now Saul had a concubine whose name was Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah; and [b]Ish-bosheth said to Abner, “Why have you gone in to my father’s concubine?” 8 Then Abner was very angry over the words of Ish-bosheth and said, “Am I a dog’s head that belongs to Judah? Today I show kindness to the house of Saul your father, to his brothers and to his friends, and have not delivered you into the hands of David; and yet today you charge me with a guilt concerning the woman. 9 May God do so to Abner, and more also, if as the Lord has sworn to David, I do not accomplish this for him, 10 to transfer the kingdom from the house of Saul and to establish the throne of David over Israel and over Judah, from Dan even to Beersheba.” 11 And he could no longer answer Abner a word, because he was afraid of him.
12 Then Abner sent messengers to David in his place, saying, “Whose is the land? Make your covenant with me, and behold, my hand shall be with you to bring all Israel over to you.” 13 He said, “Good! I will make a covenant with you, but I demand one thing of you, [c]namely, you shall not see my face unless you first bring Michal, Saul’s daughter, when you come to see [d]me.” 14 So David sent messengers to Ish-bosheth, Saul’s son, saying, “Give me my wife Michal, to whom I was betrothed for a hundred foreskins of the Philistines.” 15 Ish-bosheth sent and took her from her husband, from [e]Paltiel the son of Laish. 16 But her husband went with her, weeping as he went, and followed her as far as Bahurim. Then Abner said to him, “Go, return.” So he returned.
17 Now Abner had [f]consultation with the elders of Israel, saying, “In times past you were seeking for David to be king over you. 18 Now then, do it! For the Lord has spoken of David, saying, ‘By the hand of My servant David [g]I will save My people Israel from the hand of the Philistines and from the hand of all their enemies.’” 19 Abner also spoke in the hearing of Benjamin; and in addition Abner went to speak in the hearing of David in Hebron all that seemed good to Israel and to the whole house of Benjamin.
20 Then Abner and twenty men with him came to David at Hebron. And David made a feast for Abner and the men who were with him. 21 Abner said to David, “Let me arise and go and gather all Israel to my lord the king, that they may make a covenant with you, and that you may be king over all that your soul desires.” So David sent Abner away, and he went in peace.
22 And behold, the servants of David and Joab came from a raid and brought much spoil with them; but Abner was not with David in Hebron, for he had sent him away, and he had gone in peace. 23 When Joab and all the army that was with him arrived, they told Joab, saying, “Abner the son of Ner came to the king, and he has sent him away, and he has gone in peace.” 24 Then Joab came to the king and said, “What have you done? Behold, Abner came to you; why then have you sent him away and he is already gone? 25 You know Abner the son of Ner, that he came to deceive you and to learn of your going out and coming in and to find out all that you are doing.”
Joab Murders Abner
26 When Joab came out from David, he sent messengers after Abner, and they brought him back from the well of Sirah; but David did not know it.27 So when Abner returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside into the middle of the gate to speak with him privately, and there he struck him in the belly so that he died on account of the blood of Asahel his brother. 28 Afterward when David heard it, he said, “I and my kingdom are innocent before the Lordforever of the blood of Abner the son of Ner. 29 May it [h]fall on the head of Joab and on all his father’s house; and may there not fail from the house of Joab one who has a discharge, or who is a leper, or who takes hold of a distaff, or who falls by the sword, or who lacks bread.” 30 So Joab and Abishai his brother killed Abner because he had put their brother Asahel to death in the battle at Gibeon.
David Mourns Abner
31 Then David said to Joab and to all the people who were with him, “Tear your clothes and gird on sackcloth and lament before Abner.” And King David walked behind the bier. 32 Thus they buried Abner in Hebron; and the king lifted up his voice and wept at the grave of Abner, and all the people wept. 33 The king chanted a lament for Abner and said,
“Should Abner die as a fool dies?
34 “Your hands were not bound, nor your feet put in fetters;
As one falls before the [i]wicked, you have fallen.”
And all the people wept again over him. 35 Then all the people came to [j]persuade David to eat bread while it was still day; but David vowed, saying, “May God do so to me, and more also, if I taste bread or anything else before the sun goes down.” 36 Now all the people took note of it, and it [k]pleased them, just as everything the king did [l]pleased all the people.37 So all the people and all Israel understood that day that it had not been the will of the king to put Abner the son of Ner to death. 38 Then the king said to his servants, “Do you not know that a prince and a great man has fallen this day in Israel? 39 I am weak today, though anointed king; and these men the sons of Zeruiah are too difficult for me. May the Lord repay the evildoer according to his evil.”
2 Samuel 2 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
2 Then it came about afterwards that David inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I go up to one of the cities of Judah?” And the Lord said to him, “Go up.” So David said, “Where shall I go up?” And He said, “To Hebron.” 2 So David went up there, and his two wives also, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess and Abigail the widow of Nabal the Carmelite. 3 And David brought up his men who were with him, each with his household; and they lived in the cities of Hebron. 4 Then the men of Judah came and there anointed David king over the house of Judah.
And they told David, saying, “It was the men of Jabesh-gilead who buried Saul.” 5 David sent messengers to the men of Jabesh-gilead, and said to them, “May you be blessed of the Lordbecause you have shown this kindness to Saul your lord, and have buried him. 6 Now may the Lord show lovingkindness and truth to you; and I also will show this goodness to you, because you have done this thing. 7 Now therefore, let your hands be strong and be valiant; for Saul your lord is dead, and also the house of Judah has anointed me king over them.”
8 But Abner the son of Ner, commander of Saul’s army, had taken Ish-bosheth the son of Saul and brought him over to Mahanaim. 9 He made him king over Gilead, over the Ashurites, over Jezreel, over Ephraim, and over Benjamin, even over all Israel. 10 Ish-bosheth, Saul’s son, was forty years old when he became king over Israel, and he was king for two years. The house of Judah, however, followed David. 11 The time that David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months.
12 Now Abner the son of Ner, went out from Mahanaim to Gibeon with the servants of Ish-bosheth the son of Saul. 13 And Joab the son of Zeruiah and the servants of David went out and met them by the pool of Gibeon; and they sat down, one on the one side of the pool and the other on the other side of the pool. 14 Then Abner said to Joab, “Now let the young men arise and hold a contest before us.” And Joab said, “Let them arise.” 15 So they arose and went over by count, twelve for Benjamin and Ish-bosheth the son of Saul, and twelve of the servants of David.16 Each one of them seized his opponent by the head and thrust his sword in his opponent’s side; so they fell down together. Therefore that place was called Helkath-hazzurim, which is in Gibeon.17 That day the battle was very severe, and Abner and the men of Israel were beaten before the servants of David.
18 Now the three sons of Zeruiah were there, Joab and Abishai and Asahel; and Asahel was asswift-footed as one of the gazelles which is in the field. 19 Asahel pursued Abner and did not turn to the right or to the left from following Abner.20 Then Abner looked behind him and said, “Is that you, Asahel?” And he answered, “It is I.”21 So Abner said to him, “Turn to your right or to your left, and take hold of one of the young men for yourself, and take for yourself his spoil.” But Asahel was not willing to turn aside from following him. 22 Abner repeated again to Asahel, “Turn aside from following me. Why should I strike you to the ground? How then could I lift up my face to your brother Joab?” 23 However, he refused to turn aside; therefore Abner struck him in the belly with the butt end of the spear, so that the spear came out at his back. And he fell there and died on the spot. And it came about that all who came to the place where Asahel had fallen and died, stood still.
24 But Joab and Abishai pursued Abner, and when the sun was going down, they came to the hill of Ammah, which is in front of Giah by the way of the wilderness of Gibeon. 25 The sons of Benjamin gathered together behind Abner and became one band, and they stood on the top of a certain hill. 26 Then Abner called to Joab and said, “Shall the sword devour forever? Do you not know that it will be bitter in the end? How long will you refrain from telling the people to turn back from following their brothers?” 27 Joab said, “As God lives, if you had not spoken, surely then the people would have gone away in the morning, each from following his brother.” 28 So Joab blew the trumpet; and all the people halted and pursued Israel no longer, nor did they continue to fight anymore. 29 Abner and his men then went through the Arabah all that night; so they crossed the Jordan, walked all morning, and came to Mahanaim.
30 Then Joab returned from following Abner; when he had gathered all the people together, nineteen of David’s servants besides Asahel were missing. 31 But the servants of David had struck down many of Benjamin and Abner’s men, so that three hundred and sixty men died. 32 And they took up Asahel and buried him in his father’s tomb which was in Bethlehem. Then Joab and his men went all night until the day dawned at Hebron.
2 Samuel 1 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
David Learns of Saul’s Death
1 Now it came about after the death of Saul, when David had returned from the slaughter of the Amalekites, that David remained two days in Ziklag.2 On the third day, behold, a man came out of the camp from Saul, with his clothes torn and [a]dust on his head. And it came about when he came to David that he fell to the ground and prostrated himself.3 Then David said to him, “From where do you come?” And he said to him, “I have escaped from the camp of Israel.” 4 David said to him, “How did things go? Please tell me.” And he said, “The people have fled from the battle, and also many of the people have fallen and are dead; and Saul and Jonathan his son are dead also.” 5 So David said to the young man who told him, “How do you know that Saul and his son Jonathan are dead?” 6 The young man who told him said, “By chance I happened to be on Mount Gilboa, and behold, Saul was leaning on his spear. And behold, the chariots and the horsemen pursued him closely. 7 When he looked behind him, he saw me and called to me. And I said, ‘Here I am.’ 8 He said to me, ‘Who are you?’ And I [b]answered him, ‘I am an Amalekite.’9 Then he said to me, ‘Please stand beside me and kill me, for agony has seized me because my [c]life still lingers in me.’ 10 So I stood beside him and killed him, because I knew that he could not live after he had fallen. And I took the crown which was on his head and the bracelet which was on his arm, and I have brought them here to my lord.”
11 Then David took hold of his clothes and tore them, and so also did all the men who were with him.12 They mourned and wept and fasted until evening for Saul and his son Jonathan and for the people of the Lord and the house of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword. 13 David said to the young man who told him, “Where are you from?” And he [d]answered, “I am the son of an alien, an Amalekite.”14 Then David said to him, “How is it you were not afraid to stretch out your hand to destroy the Lord’sanointed?” 15 And David called one of the young men and said, “Go, [e]cut him down.” So he struck him and he died. 16 David said to him, “Your blood is on your head, for your mouth has testified against you, saying, ‘I have killed the Lord’s anointed.’”
David’s Dirge for Saul and Jonathan
17 Then David chanted with this lament over Saul and Jonathan his son, 18 and he told them to teach the sons of Judah the song of the bow; behold, it is written in the book of Jashar.
19 “[f]Your beauty, O Israel, is slain on your high places!
1 Samuel 31 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Saul and His Sons Slain
31 Now the Philistines were fighting against Israel, and the men of Israel fled from before the Philistines and fell slain on Mount Gilboa. 2 The Philistines overtook Saul and his sons; and the Philistines [a]killed Jonathan and Abinadab and Malchi-shua the sons of Saul. 3 The battle went heavily against Saul, and the archers [b]hit him; and he was badly wounded by the archers. 4 Then Saul said to his armor bearer, “Draw your sword and pierce me through with it, otherwise these uncircumcised will come and pierce me through and make sport of me.” But his armor bearer would not, for he was greatly afraid. So Saul took his sword and fell on it. 5 When his armor bearer saw that Saul was dead, he also fell on his sword and died with him. 6 Thus Saul died with his three sons, his armor bearer, and all his men on that day together.
7 When the men of Israel who were on the other side of the valley, with those who were beyond the Jordan, saw that the men of Israel had fled and that Saul and his sons were dead, they abandoned the cities and fled; then the Philistines came and lived in them.
8 It came about on the [c]next day when the Philistines came to strip the slain, that they found Saul and his three sons fallen on Mount Gilboa. 9 They cut off his head and stripped off his weapons, and sent them [d]throughout the land of the Philistines, to carry the good news to the house of their idols and to the people.10 They put his weapons in the [e]temple of Ashtaroth, and they fastened his body to the wall of Beth-shan. 11 Now when the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead heard [f]what the Philistines had done to Saul, 12 all the valiant men rose and walked all night, and took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons from the wall of Beth-shan, and they came to Jabesh and burned them there. 13 They took their bones and buried them under the tamarisk tree at Jabesh, and fasted seven days.
1 Samuel 30 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
David’s Victory over the Amalekites
30 Then it happened when David and his men came to Ziklag on the third day, that the Amalekites had made a raid on the [a]Negev and on Ziklag, and had [b]overthrown Ziklag and burned it with fire; 2 and they took captive the women and all who were in it, both small and great, [c]without killing anyone, and carried themoff and went their way. 3 When David and his men came to the city, behold, it was burned with fire, and their wives and their sons and their daughters had been taken captive. 4 Then David and the people who were with him lifted their voices and wept until there was no strength in them to weep. 5 Now David’s two wives had been taken captive, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess and Abigail the [d]widow of Nabal the Carmelite. 6 Moreover David was greatly distressed because the people spoke of stoning him, for all the people were [e]embittered, each one because of his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.
7 Then David said to Abiathar the priest, the son of Ahimelech, “Please bring me the ephod.” So Abiathar brought the ephod to David. 8 David inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I pursue this band? Shall I overtake them?” And He said to him, “Pursue, for you will surely overtake them, and you will surely rescue all.” 9 So David went, he and the six hundred men who were with him, and came to the brook Besor, where those left behind remained. 10 But David pursued, he and four hundred men, for two hundred who were too exhausted to cross the brook Besor remained behind.
11 Now they found an Egyptian in the field and brought him to David, and gave him bread and he ate, and they provided him water to drink. 12 They gave him a piece of fig cake and two clusters of raisins, and he ate; then his spirit [f]revived. For he had not eaten bread or drunk water for three days and three nights. 13 David said to him, “To whom do you belong? And where are you from?” And he said, “I am a young man of Egypt, a servant of an Amalekite; and my master left me behind when I fell sick three days ago. 14 We made a raid on the [g]Negev of the Cherethites, and on that which belongs to Judah, and on the [h]Negev of Caleb, and we burned Ziklag with fire.” 15 Then David said to him, “Will you bring me down to this band?” And he said, “Swear to me by God that you will not kill me or deliver me into the hands of my master, and I will bring you down to this band.”
16 When he had brought him down, behold, they were [i]spread over all the land, eating and drinking and [j]dancing because of all the great spoil that they had taken from the land of the Philistines and from the land of Judah. 17 David [k]slaughtered them from the twilight [l]until the evening of [m]the next day; and not a man of them escaped, except four hundred young men who rode on camels and fled. 18 So David recovered all that the Amalekites had taken, and [n]rescued his two wives.19 But nothing of theirs was missing, whether small or great, sons or daughters, spoil or anything that they had taken for themselves; David brought it all back.20 So David had [o]captured all the sheep and the cattle which the people drove ahead of [p]the other livestock, and they said, “This is David’s spoil.”
The Spoils Are Divided
21 When David came to the two hundred men who were too exhausted to follow David, who had also been left at the brook Besor, and they went out to meet David and to meet the people who were with him, then David approached the people and greeted them. 22 Then all the wicked and worthless men among those who went with David said, “Because they did not go with [q]us, we will not give them any of the spoil that we have recovered, except to every man his wife and his children, that they may lead them away and depart.” 23 Then David said, “You must not do so, my brothers, with what the Lord has given us, who has kept us and delivered into our hand the band that came against us. 24 And who will listen to you in this matter? For as his share is who goes down to the battle, so shall his share be who stays by the baggage; they shall share alike.” 25 So it has been from that day forward, that he made it a statute and an ordinance for Israel to this day.
26 Now when David came to Ziklag, he sent some of the spoil to the elders of Judah, to his friends, saying, “Behold, a [r]gift for you from the spoil of the enemies of the Lord: 27 to those who were in Bethel, and to those who were in Ramoth of the [s]Negev, and to those who were in Jattir, 28 and to those who were in Aroer, and to those who were in Siphmoth, and to those who were in Eshtemoa, 29 and to those who were in Racal, and to those who were in the cities of the Jerahmeelites, and to those who were in the cities of the Kenites, 30 and to those who were in Hormah, and to those who were in Bor-ashan, and to those who were in Athach,31 and to those who were in Hebron, and to all the places where David himself and his men were accustomed to go.”
1 Samuel 29 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
The Philistines Mistrust David
29 Now the Philistines gathered together all their armies to Aphek, while the Israelites were camping by the spring which is in Jezreel. 2 And the lords of the Philistines were proceeding on by hundreds and by thousands, and David and his men were proceeding on in the rear with Achish. 3 Then the commanders of the Philistines said, “What are these Hebrews doing here?” And Achish said to the commanders of the Philistines, “Is this not David, the servant of Saul the king of Israel, who has been with me these days, or rather these years, and I have found no fault in him from the day he [a]deserted to me to this day?” 4 But the commanders of the Philistines were angry with him, and the commanders of the Philistines said to him, “Make the man go back, that he may return to his place where you have assigned him, and do not let him go down to battle with us, or in the battle he may become an adversary to us. For with what could this man make himself acceptable to his lord? Would it not be with the heads of [b]these men? 5 Is this not David, of whom they sing in the dances, saying,
‘Saul has slain his thousands,
And David his ten thousands’?”
6 Then Achish called David and said to him, “As the Lord lives, you have beenupright, and your going out and your coming in with me in the army are pleasing in my sight; for I have not found evil in you from the day of your coming to me to this day. Nevertheless, you are not pleasing in the sight of the lords. 7 Now therefore return and go in peace, that you may not displease the lords of the Philistines.”8 David said to Achish, “But what have I done? And what have you found in your servant from the day when I came before you to this day, that I may not go and fight against the enemies of my lord the king?” 9 But Achish replied to David, “I know that you are pleasing in my sight, like an angel of God; nevertheless the commanders of the Philistines have said, ‘He must not go up with us to the battle.’10 Now then arise early in the morning with the servants of your lord who have come with you, and as soon as you have arisen early in the morning and have light, depart.” 11 So David arose early, he and his men, to depart in the morning to return to the land of the Philistines. And the Philistines went up to Jezreel.
1 Samuel 28 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Saul and the Spirit Medium
28 Now it came about in those days that the Philistines gathered their armed camps for war, to fight against Israel. And Achish said to David, “Know assuredly that you will go out with me in the camp, you and your men.” 2 David said to Achish, “Very well, you shall know what your servant can do.” So Achish said to David, “Very well, I will make you [a]my bodyguard for life.”
3 Now Samuel was dead, and all Israel had lamented him and buried him in Ramah, his own city. And Saul had removed from the land those who were mediums and spiritists. 4 So the Philistines gathered together and came and camped in Shunem; and Saul gathered all Israel together and they camped in Gilboa. 5 When Saul saw the camp of the Philistines, he was afraid and his heart trembled greatly. 6 When Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord did not answer him, either by dreams or by Urim or by prophets. 7 Then Saul said to his servants, “Seek for me a woman who is a medium, that I may go to her and inquire of her.” And his servants said to him, “Behold, there is a woman who is a medium at En-dor.”
8 Then Saul disguised himself by putting on other clothes, and went, he and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night; and he said, “Conjure up for me, please, and bring up for me whom I shall [b]name to you.” 9 But the woman said to him, “Behold, you know what Saul has done, how he has cut off those who are mediums and spiritists from the land. Why are you then laying a snare for my life to bring about my death?” 10 Saul vowed to her by the Lord, saying, “As the Lord lives, no punishment shall come upon you for this thing.” 11 Then the woman said, “Whom shall I bring up for you?” And he said, “Bring up Samuel for me.”12 When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out with a loud voice; and the woman spoke to Saul, saying, “Why have you deceived me? For you are Saul.” 13 The king said to her, “Do not be afraid; but what do you see?” And the woman said to Saul, “I see a [c]divine being coming up out of the earth.” 14 He said to her, “What is his form?” And she said, “An old man is coming up, and he is wrapped with a robe.” And Saul knew that it was Samuel, and he bowed with his face to the ground and did homage.
15 Then Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?” And Saul answered, “I am greatly distressed; for the Philistines are waging war against me, and God has departed from me and no longer answers me, either through prophets or by dreams; therefore I have called you, that you may make known to me what I should do.” 16 Samuel said, “Why then do you ask me, since the Lord has departed from you and has become your adversary? 17 The Lord has done [d]accordingly as He spoke through me; for the Lord has torn the kingdom out of your hand and given it to your neighbor, to David. 18 As you did not [e]obey the Lord and did not execute His fierce wrath on Amalek, so the Lord has done this thing to you this day. 19 Moreover the Lord will also give over Israel along with you into the hands of the Philistines, therefore tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. Indeed the Lord will give over the army of Israel into the hands of the Philistines!”
20 Then Saul immediately fell full length upon the ground and was very afraid because of the words of Samuel; also there was no strength in him, for he had eaten no [f]food all day and all night. 21 The woman came to Saul and saw that he was terrified, and said to him, “Behold, your maidservant has [g]obeyed you, and I have [h]taken my life in my hand and have listened to your words which you spoke to me. 22 So now also, please listen to the voice of your maidservant, and let me set a piece of bread before you that you may eat and have strength when you go on your way.” 23 But he refused and said, “I will not eat.” However, his servants together with the woman urged him, and he listened to [i]them. So he arose from the ground and sat on the bed. 24 The woman had a fattened calf in the house, and she quickly slaughtered it; and she took flour, kneaded it and baked unleavened bread from it. 25 She brought it before Saul and his servants, and they ate. Then they arose and went away that night.
1 Samuel 27 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
David Flees to the Philistines
27 Then David said [a]to himself, “Now I will perish one day by the hand of Saul. There is nothing better for me than [b]to escape into the land of the Philistines. Saul then will despair of searching for me anymore in all the territory of Israel, and I will escape from his hand.” 2 So David arose and crossed over, he and the six hundred men who were with him, to Achish the son of Maoch, king of Gath. 3 And David lived with Achish at Gath, he and his men, each with his household, evenDavid with his two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the Carmelitess, Nabal’s [c]widow.4 Now it was told Saul that David had fled to Gath, so he no longer searched for him.
5 Then David said to Achish, “If now I have found favor in your sight, let them give me a place in one of the cities in the country, that I may live there; for why should your servant live in the royal city with you?” 6 So Achish gave him Ziklag that day; therefore Ziklag has belonged to the kings of Judah to this day. 7 The number of days that David lived in the country of the Philistines was a year and four months.
8 Now David and his men went up and raided the Geshurites and the Girzites and the Amalekites; for they were the inhabitants of the land from ancient times, as you come to Shur even as far as the land of Egypt. 9 David [d]attacked the land and did not leave a man or a woman alive, and he took away the sheep, the cattle, the donkeys, the camels, and the clothing. Then he returned and came to Achish. 10 Now Achish said, “Where have you made a raid today?” And David said, “Against the [e]Negev of Judah and against the [f]Negev of the Jerahmeelites and against the [g]Negev of the Kenites.” 11 David did not leave a man or a woman alive to bring to Gath, saying, “Otherwise they will tell about us, saying, ‘So has David done and so has been his practice all the time he has lived in the country of the Philistines.’” 12 So Achish believed David, saying, “He has surely made himself odious among his people Israel; therefore he will become my servant forever.”
1 Samuel 26 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
David Again Spares Saul
26 Then the Ziphites came to Saul at Gibeah, saying, “Is not David hiding on the hill of Hachilah, which is before [a]Jeshimon?” 2 So Saul arose and went down to the wilderness of Ziph, having with him three thousand chosen men of Israel, to search for David in the wilderness of Ziph. 3 Saul camped in the hill of Hachilah, which is before [b]Jeshimon, beside the road, and David was staying in the wilderness. When he saw that Saul came after him into the wilderness, 4 David sent out spies, and he knew that Saul was definitely coming. 5 David then arose and came to the place where Saul had camped. And David saw the place where Saul lay, and Abner the son of Ner, the commander of his army; and Saul was lying in the circle of the camp, and the people were camped around him.
6 Then David said to Ahimelech the Hittite and to Abishai the son of Zeruiah, Joab’s brother, saying, “Who will go down with me to Saul in the camp?” And Abishai said, “I will go down with you.” 7 So David and Abishai came to the people by night, and behold, Saul lay sleeping inside the circle of the camp with his spear stuck in the ground at his head; and Abner and the people were lying around him.8 Then Abishai said to David, “Today God has delivered your enemy into your hand; now therefore, please let me strike him with the spear [c]to the ground with one stroke, and I will not [d]strike him the second time.” 9 But David said to Abishai, “Do not destroy him, for who can stretch out his hand against the Lord’s anointed and be without guilt?” 10 David also said, “As the Lord lives, surely the Lord will strike him, or his day will come that he dies, or he will go down into battle and perish. 11 The Lord forbid that I should stretch out my hand against the Lord’sanointed; but now please take the spear that is at his head and the jug of water, and let us go.” 12 So David took the spear and the jug of water from beside Saul’s head, and they went away, but no one saw or knew it, nor did any awake, for they were all asleep, because a sound sleep from the Lord had fallen on them.
13 Then David crossed over to the other side and stood on top of the mountain at a distance with a large area between them. 14 David called to the people and to Abner the son of Ner, saying, “Will you not answer, Abner?” Then Abner replied, “Who are you who calls to the king?” 15 So David said to Abner, “Are you not a man? And who is like you in Israel? Why then have you not guarded your lord the king? For one of the people came to destroy the king your lord. 16 This thing that you have done is not good. As the Lord lives, all of you [e]must surely die, because you did not guard your lord, the Lord’s anointed. And now, see where the king’s spear is and the jug of water that was at his head.”
17 Then Saul recognized David’s voice and said, “Is this your voice, my son David?” And David said, “It is my voice, my lord the king.” 18 He also said, “Why then is my lord pursuing his servant? For what have I done? Or what evil is in my hand? 19 Now therefore, please let my lord the king listen to the words of his servant. If the Lord has stirred you up against me, let Him [f]accept an offering; but if it is [g]men, cursed are they before the Lord, for they have driven me out today so that I would have no attachment with the inheritance of the Lord, saying, ‘Go, serve other gods.’ 20 Now then, do not let my blood fall to the ground away from the presence of the Lord; for the king of Israel has come out to search for a single flea, just as one hunts a partridge in the mountains.”
21 Then Saul said, “I have sinned. Return, my son David, for I will not harm you again because my life was precious in your sight this day. Behold, I have played the fool and have committed a serious error.” 22 David replied, “Behold the spear of the king! Now let one of the young men come over and take it. 23 The Lord will repay each man for his righteousness and his faithfulness; for the Lord delivered you into my hand today, but I refused to stretch out my hand against the Lord’sanointed. 24 Now behold, as your life was highly valued in my sight this day, so may my life be highly valued in the sight of the Lord, and may He deliver me from all distress.” 25 Then Saul said to David, “Blessed are you, my son David; you will both accomplish much and surely prevail.” So David went on his way, and Saul returned to his place.