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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.
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).
"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)
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)
"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."
"13:11 And Samuel said, What hast thou done?
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)
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)
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.
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.
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"?
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.