Saul Wars Episode IV: The King is Dead. Long Live the King.

1 Samuel 31: 

You remember yesterday’s adventure when David and his men got rejected from the Philistine army and then had to  launch a rescue party to save their wives and kids from the Amalekite raiders? Ok, well, while David and his guys were busy with their own adventures, the Philistine attack still happened.  Basically, it went down like this:

The Philistines were in hot pursuit of King Saul, his sons, and the army of Israel at Mount Gilboa. They killed Saul’s three sons, Prince Jonathan, Abinidab, and Malki-Shua. Sad day! Jonathan was David’s BFF so you know that there’s going to be a lot of weeping and crying going on in later episodes. This is the worst news ever. 

It gets worse, though. On top of all that, the fighting grew fierce around Saul and the Philistine archers rained down arrows, striking him. Saul said, “I’m mortally wounded!  This is the end! Quick, someone finish me off so the wicked Philistines don’t come and torture me as I lay dying.” He said this to his armor-bearer, and that guy was like, “Uh uh, don’t look at me, man. I can’t do that!” So Saul fell atop his own sword, taking his own life. King Saul and Prince Jonathan were dead.

The Israelites abandoned their cities and town, and the Philistines took over everything. They nailed up the bodies of the dead king and prince to the wall of Beth Shan. Some of the guys in Jabesh Gilead said, “Hey, they can’t do that to our king! Let’s go rescue the bodies.” So they marched through the night and rescued their dead king. They gave him a proper burial under the tamarisk tree. Thus ends the first volume that we call Samuel. The king is dead. Long live the king. 

Saul Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Amalekites

Susannelein’s Quick and Entertaining Summary of 1 Samuel 29-30:

The Philistines were getting ready to attack Israel and Saul’s army. David was part of the Philistine army attack force because he had taken refuge with them while he was on the run from Saul.  Some of commanders looked at David and were like, “Hey, what’s this guy doing here? He’s going to double cross us, kill our men, and then return to Saul.” And Achish was like, “Guys, no worries. David is my bodyguard and he’s totally awesome. He won’t double cross us.” But they wouldn’t listen and demanded that David leave. So Achish said, “David, look, I know that you’re a cool guy and everything but you have to go back to Ziklag because these guys are jerks. So, you should probably leave now. Peace out, I’ll see you when we’re done fighting.” And David was like, “Duuude, but I’m totally awesome! I’ve protected you and everything. Why can’t I go into the battle too?” Achish shook his head, “Yeah, I know. But you need to go home now.”

So David and his band of rebels went back home to Ziklag, which was the Philistine town they had settled in. After three day’s hard journey they arrived at the town gate. OH no, their EVEN BIGGER ENEMIES, the Amalekites, had raided the town! They had burned the city to the ground and had kidnapped all of the women and children! The bad guys had even taken that smart/hot Abigail whom David had married a few episodes. David fell to the ground weeping, all his strength gone. His men were like, “David! This is totally your fault! If we hadn’t been trying to fight Saul with the Philistines none of this would have happened. We’re going to stone you now.” And David said, “I need to strengthen myself in the Lord. Go get the ephod.” So he asked the Lord if they should go after the raiders. God said, “Yes! Hurry up and you’ll catch them!” 

David took 600 men on a rescue mission to save their wives and children. Some of the men collapsed by the river and were like, ” You guys go on – we have no strength so we’ll stay here. Good luck.” So David and 400 men continued onward. They found this random Egyptian guy wandering around a field – he hadn’t eaten or had any water in 3 days. David asked, “Hey, random Egyptian, what are you doing wandering around this field looking half-starved?” And the guy said, “I’m a slave of the Amalekites who raided Ziklag. My master is a jerk-face idiot and abandoned me in this field when I got too sick to go on. I totally hate that guy and I want to double cross him, so I’ll show you where they are.” And he did. When David and his men found the Amalekites they killed most of them and rescued their wives and kids. Woo hoo! Abigail and her sister-wife are safe!

When the rescue party got back to their comrades who had collapsed by the river, some of the men were like, “Hey! You guys didn’t fight with us. We’ll give you back your women and kids but you can’t have any of the plunder.” And the river guys said, “That’s totally not fair!” So David said, “Everyone calm down. We’ll split everything equally.” David also sent some of the plunder to the other towns in the region in order to buy support for himself from his neighbors. To be continued…


Part 2: The Thrilling Tale of the Witch of Endor

Susannelein’s Quick OT Summaries:   The Thrilling Tale of the Witch of Endor.

1 Samuel 28: “Samuel the prophet was dead. Not mostly dead – really dead. The Philistine army marched closer and closer and King Saul was super-afraid. He said, “Since God doesn’t seem to be answering me, I totally need to ask Samuel what to do.” And his men were probably like, “Um, he’s dead.” And Saul said, “Oh yeah. Look, I know that I kicked all of the witches out of the country but I need someone to raise Samuel from the dead, so go find me a witch.” So they found a witch who lived at Endor, which is a place near Israel, not a planet.  Saul and his men put on disguises and went to her house. He said, “I need you to raise someone from the dead. Bring up Samuel!”  She argued for a while but eventually agreed. When she saw Ghost-Samuel rising out of the ground she screamed, “Dangit, you’re actually Saul! You totally deceived me. Anyway, I see a ghost rising up and he’s wearing a prophet robe so it must be Samuel because he’s the only one who has that outfit.” Saul was really scared and fell on his face. Ghost-Samuel was like, “Hey! Hey! I was totally resting! Why did you wake me up??” Saul said, “The Philistines are coming and I need you to help plan my attack.” (Note: this is maybe where Inigo got the idea to raise Wesley from the dead to help plan his attack on the 6-fingered man. But I digress). And Ghost-Samuel was like, “You’re a disobedient  jerk-face and the Lord has torn your kingdom away from you. And get ready, because tomorrow you’re going to join me in the grave when the Philistines kill you.”  Saul was faint with terror. The witch lifted him off the ground and laid him out on her bed. She cooked him some food and strengthened him. Then Saul left. We’ll see what happens to him tomorrow!

Entertaining Retellings of Old Testament Stories. Part 1: David and Abigail.

At the Presbyterian church that I attend we’ve been going through the books of 1 and 2 Samuel in a fantastic sermon series. After struggling to reconnect with Scripture in the aftermath of some personal trauma, somehow these two history books seem to be the perfect thing to get me back into the Bible. (Imagine that – a historian who connects well with the historical books of Scripture!)  I haven’t spent much time in 1 and 2 Samuel before except for the more famous stories of David and Goliath, and David and Bathsheba, so I’ve been delighted with the crazy and interesting lesser-known passages of these two books. These stories deserve a sparkling retelling. So I’m starting a series on my blog where I give quick and entertaining summaries of the more interesting passages.

Samuel 25: “In a settlement in the desert there lived a gorgeous and really smart woman named Abigail who was married to a drunk idiot named Nabal. David, who was hiding out in the desert because he was still hiding from Saul, sent a message to Nabal saying: “Hey, my troops and I protected your shepherds when they were out in the fields. Now, give us some food.” Nabal was like,” Huh? Who is this David guy? I’ve never heard of him.” And David was like, “Men, get your swords. We’re going to destroy this jerk-face.” Abigail heard about all this and was super-angry at her husband. So she packed up all the food they owned and rode out to David. She gave him the food was was like, “Hey David. I think you’re super-awesome and I know the Lord is with you. Don’t kill us.” David said, “Thanks for the food. I’m glad that you came out here and now I won’t kill you.” Abigail rode back home and told her husband what she had done. Nabal dropped dead of shock. David heard that Nabal had died and was like, “That Abbigail woman was super-hot and smart. I want to marry her immediately.” So Abigail became his 3rd wife. The end.”