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Tuesday, June 28 2011

The Civil War Kings

Just prior to the time of the establishment of the Israelite kings, the LORD (see 'Before Abraham Was, I AM') ruled Israel, through the prophet Samuel (see The Prophets: Samuel). When Samuel became too old to maintain those duties, and his sons demonstrated that they were not of the same righteous character as their father, the Israelites demanded a king for themselves.

"8:1 And it came to pass, when Samuel was old, that he made his sons judges over Israel. 8:2 Now the name of his firstborn was Joel; and the name of his second, Abiah: they were judges in Beersheba. 8:3 And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre [see also Hireling Shepherds], and took bribes, and perverted judgment.

8:4 Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah [see Naioth In Ramah], 8:5 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." (1 Samuel 8:1-5 KJV)

The LORD permitted their request, while warning them that they would bring great expense and civil trouble upon themselves with a human king, including vast military spending to pay for "defense" - that the LORD had already been providing to them for free (i.e. "8:12 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" 1 Samuel 8:12 KJV).

The Holy Scriptures

"8:6 But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the LORD. 8:7 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. 8:8 According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt ["that Rock was Christ"; see 1 Corinthians 10:1-4] even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee. 8:9 Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and show them the manner of the king that shall reign over them. 8:10 And Samuel told all the words of the LORD unto the people that asked of him a king." (1 Samuel 8:6-10 KJV)

"8:18 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.

8:19 Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us" (1 Samuel 8:18-19 KJV)

So Israel got its first human king, Saul of the tribe of Benjamin. He was chosen more for his appearance than his capability (humanity still hasn't learned its lesson about that one), but nevertheless was given all that he needed to be a good ruler - an anointing by the LORD and the support of the people. If Saul thereafter failed, he could blame no one but himself.

"9:1 Now there was a man of Benjamin, whose name was Kish, the son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Bechorath, the son of Aphiah, a Benjamite, a mighty man of power. 9:2 And he had a son, whose name was Saul, a choice young man, and a goodly: and there was not among the children of Israel a goodlier person than he: from his shoulders and upward he was higher than any of the people." (1 Samuel 9:1-2 KJV)

"10:1 Then Samuel took a vial of oil, and poured it upon his head, and kissed him, and said, Is it not because the LORD hath anointed thee to be captain over his inheritance?" (1 Samuel 10:1 KJV)

"11:15 And all the people went to Gilgal; and there they made Saul king before the LORD in Gilgal; and there they sacrificed sacrifices of peace offerings before the LORD; and there Saul and all the men of Israel rejoiced greatly." (1 Samuel 11:15 KJV)

"For the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart"

Saul soon began making grievous political and military blunders. Most seriously, during a battle with the Philistines, Saul over-stepped his bounds as king and presumed to make an offering to the LORD that only Samuel was appointed to do ("thou hast not kept the commandment of the LORD thy God, which he commanded thee"). When Samuel arrived, he rebuked Saul - and informed him that the LORD would replace Saul with "a man after his own heart."

David and Saul

"13:11 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; 13:12 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.

13:13 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. 13:14 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 13:11-14 KJV)

While his replacement (successful kings have successors, failed kings have replacements) was being chosen and positioned, Saul continued on as king - during which time he made more and more foolish and out-of-touch mistakes. One of the most well-known was his refusing to provide food for his battlefield army until they had won a very fierce battle. He then compounded the foolish order with a command to kill his own son, Jonathan, who led the victory and permitted the weakened-by-hunger troops to eat. The army did not permit the execution of Jonathan. By that time, many in the army also realized that they had a fool for a leader.

"14:24 And the men of Israel were distressed that day: for Saul had adjured the people, saying, Cursed be the man that eateth any food until evening, that I may be avenged on mine enemies. So none of the people tasted any food." (1 Samuel 14:24 KJV)

"14:29 Then said Jonathan, My father hath troubled the land: see, I pray you, how mine eyes have been enlightened, because I tasted a little of this honey." (1 Samuel 14:29 KJV)

"14:44 And Saul answered, God do so and more also: for thou shalt surely die, Jonathan. 14:45 And the people said unto Saul, Shall Jonathan die, who hath wrought this great salvation in Israel? God forbid: as the LORD liveth, there shall not one hair of his head fall to the ground; for he hath wrought with God this day. So the people rescued Jonathan, that he died not." (1 Samuel 14:44-45 KJV)

While Saul stumbled on, his replacement was chosen. David was a man-of-God leader, not a man-of-the-people politician. The only vote that David got was that of the LORD. Samuel was sent to anoint him.

"16:1 And the LORD said unto Samuel, How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons." (1 Samuel 16:1 KJV)

"16:7 But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart." (1 Samuel 16:7 KJV)

"16:13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah." (1 Samuel 16:13 KJV)

David was however still relatively young at that time (David was about the same age as Saul's son Jonathan). David needed to learn how to be king. What better place to do so than as a servant to Saul? It began with David providing harp music to the increasingly unstable Saul, but he moreover served as the king's armor bearer in battle.

"16:21 And David came to Saul, and stood before him: and he loved him greatly; and he became his armourbearer. 16:22 And Saul sent to Jesse, saying, Let David, I pray thee, stand before me; for he hath found favour in my sight.

16:23 And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God [i.e. the Holy Spirit of God was no longer with Saul, so evil spirits were able to get to him] was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him." (1 Samuel 16:21-23 KJV)

The famous incident of David defeating the giant Philistine Goliath followed not long afterward. Saul then realized that David was a rising king - upon which Saul made his first attempts to murder David. The stage was set for the Civil War between King Saul and King David.

"18:6 And it came to pass as they came, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women came out of all cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet king Saul, with tabrets, with joy, and with instruments of music. 18:7 And the women answered one another as they played, and said, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.

18:8 And Saul was very wroth, and the saying displeased him; and he said, They have ascribed unto David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed but thousands: and what can he have more but the kingdom? 18:9 And Saul eyed David from that day and forward.

18:10 And it came to pass on the morrow, that the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied in the midst of the house: and David played with his hand, as at other times: and there was a javelin in Saul's hand. 18:11 And Saul cast the javelin; for he said, I will smite David even to the wall with it. And David avoided out of his presence twice." (1 Samuel 18:6-11 KJV)

Fact Finder: What was the result of the Israelite Civil War? How long did the United Kingdom last thereafter? When and why did Israel become "Israel" and "Judah"?
Israelite Monarchy - The Origin
The Civil War
The United Kingdom
The Division Of Israel; also Kings of Israel and Judah (complete list of studies)
The Northern Kingdom
The Southern Kingdom
Israelite Monarchy - The Messiah

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This Day In History, June 28

1098: Troops of the First Crusade defeated Kerbogha of Mosul.

1389: The Ottoman (a ruling dynasty of Turkey) Empire victory at the Battle of Kosovo; a turning point for the Ottomans in the development of their European empire, and a tragedy for the medieval kingdom of Serbia because it began for the Serbs more than 4 centuries under Ottoman rule (listen to our Sermon The Ottoman Empire and see the entry for 1914, below).

1461: Edward IV was crowned King of England.

1519: Charles I of Spain became Holy Roman Emperor.

1629: The Peace of Alais. Peace settlement between French royal forces and the Huguenots by which the Huguenots retained their religious and civil liberties but lost their military power.

1635: The French colony of Guadeloupe was established in the Caribbean.

1838: The official coronation of Queen Victoria took place in Westminster Abbey, a year after she had ascended the throne.

1846: The saxophone was patented by Adolphe Sax (the instrument was named after its inventor) in Paris, France.

1914: Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand, 51, nephew of Emperor Franz Josef and heir apparent to the Habsburg throne of Austria-Hungary, and his wife Sophia were assassinated by a Bosnian, Gavrilo Princip, in Sarajevo, setting off the First World War (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars). The assassination took place on the anniversary of the defeat of the Serbs by the Ottomans at the Battle of Kosovo in 1389 (see the entry for 1389, above).

1919: At the end of the First World War, the Treaty of Versailles was signed in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles Palace, near Paris. Germany was stripped of all its overseas colonies, demilitarized, and ordered to pay heavy reparations.

1940: Italo Balbo was killed at age 44. The Italian airman and Fascist leader, who was decisive in developing Benito Mussolini's air force, was killed by "friendly fire" when his own anti-aircraft gunners mis-identified their commander's aircraft and shot it down in Tobruk harbor.

1951: The first color-TV broadcast.

1968: Daniel Ellsberg was indicted for leaking the "Pentagon Papers."

1989: On the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo (see the entries for 1389 and 1914, above), Serbian leader Slobodan Miloševic delivered the Gazimestan speech at the site of the historic battle.

2001: Slobodan Miloševic (see the entry for 1989, above) was deported to stand trial for war crimes.

2006: The Republic of Montenegro was admitted as the 192nd Member of the United Nations.


Copyright © Wayne Blank