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Wednesday, January 14 2015

Psalm 54: The Civil War Psalm

"The beauty of Israel is slain upon thy high places: how are the mighty fallen!"

The Psalms of David were a collection of prayers (see David's Prayer and The Morning Blessing) and prophecies (see David's View From The Cross and David's Resurrection Prophecy) set to music. They were written over many years and under widely-varied circumstances. Some were written after David had become King of the united kingdom (see How Many Kings Reigned In The United Kingdom?; also When Will The United Kingdom Be Restored?), while others were written before and during the Civil War that was fought to remove King Saul (see Saul's Impeachment). Ironically, Saul may have heard some of the earlier Psalms of David when David, then an armor-bearer for King Saul, also played the harp for him.

David and Saul

"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 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)

David's difficulty during the Civil War was that, although David was then the LORD's anointed (see The Anointing Of David), Saul's own anointing remained in effect (see Why Didn't David Kill Saul?). David was faced with an enemy that he personally could not harm: "Destroy him not: for who can stretch forth his hand against the LORD'S anointed, and be guiltless?"

"22:1 David therefore departed thence, and escaped to the cave Adullam: and when his brethren and all his father's house heard it, they went down thither to him. 22:2 And every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented, gathered themselves unto him; and he became a captain over them: and there were with him about four hundred men." (1 Samuel 22:1-2 KJV)

"26:9 And David said to Abishai, Destroy him not: for who can stretch forth his hand against the LORD'S anointed, and be guiltless? 26:10 David said furthermore, As the LORD liveth, the LORD shall smite him; or his day shall come to die; or he shall descend into battle, and perish. 26:11 The LORD forbid that I should stretch forth mine hand against the LORD'S anointed: but, I pray thee, take thou now the spear that is at his bolster, and the cruse of water, and let us go." (1 Samuel 26:9-11 KJV)

David nevertheless knew the solution to his predicament was simply a matter of time, whereby "David said furthermore, As the LORD liveth, the LORD shall smite him; or his day shall come to die; or he shall descend into battle, and perish" (verse 11, above). That prophecy was fulfilled when Saul was killed in battle against the Philistines ("Philistines" and "Palestinians" are actually the same word; see Where Is Palestine?).

"31:1 Now the Philistines fought against Israel: and the men of Israel fled from before the Philistines, and fell down slain in mount Gilboa.

31:2 And the Philistines followed hard upon Saul and upon his sons; and the Philistines slew Jonathan, and Abinadab, and Malchishua, Saul's sons.

31:3 And the battle went sore against Saul, and the archers hit him; and he was sore wounded of the archers.

31:4 Then said Saul unto his armourbearer, Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and abuse me.

But his armourbearer would not; for he was sore afraid. Therefore Saul took a sword, and fell upon it. 31:5 And when his armourbearer saw that Saul was dead, he fell likewise upon his sword, and died with him. 31:6 So Saul died, and his three sons, and his armourbearer, and all his men, that same day together." (1 Samuel 31:1-6 KJV)

David's famous "How the mighty are fallen" musical lament was itself actually a Psalm written with "the use of the bow."

The Death Of Saul

"1:17 And David lamented with this lamentation over Saul and over Jonathan his son: 1:18 (Also he bade them teach the children of Judah the use of the bow: behold, it is written in the book of Jasher.)

1:19 The beauty of Israel is slain upon thy high places: how are the mighty fallen!

1:20 Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Askelon; lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph.

1:21 Ye mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew, neither let there be rain, upon you, nor fields of offerings: for there the shield of the mighty is vilely cast away, the shield of Saul, as though he had not been anointed with oil. 1:22 From the blood of the slain, from the fat of the mighty, the bow of Jonathan turned not back, and the sword of Saul returned not empty.

1:23 Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their lives, and in their death they were not divided: they were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions.

1:24 Ye daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you in scarlet, with other delights, who put on ornaments of gold upon your apparel.

1:25 How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle! O Jonathan, thou wast slain in thine high places. 1:26 I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan: very pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women.

1:27 How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished!" (2 Samuel 1:17-27 KJV)

The Fifty-fourth Psalm is also a Civil War Psalm - written before the end of Saul that David knew was sure to happen.

"54:1 To the chief Musician on Neginoth, Maschil, A Psalm of David, when the Ziphims came and said to Saul, Doth not David hide himself with us?

Save me, O God, by thy name, and judge me by thy strength. 54:2 Hear my prayer, O God; give ear to the words of my mouth.

54:3 For strangers are risen up against me, and oppressors seek after my soul: they have not set God before them. Selah.

54:4 Behold, God is mine helper: the Lord is with them that uphold my soul.

54:5 He shall reward evil unto mine enemies: cut them off in thy truth.

54:6 I will freely sacrifice unto thee: I will praise thy name, O LORD; for it is good. 54:7 For he hath delivered me out of all trouble: and mine eye hath seen his desire upon mine enemies." (Psalm 54:1-7 KJV)

Fact Finder: When did the Civil War happen during the history of Israel?
See the complete study series for the history of Israel (the links to all are found in each study) beginning with Israel In History and Prophecy: The Civil War


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This Day In History, January 14

1236: Henry III married Eleanor of Provence.

1301: Andrew III of Hungary died, thereby ending the Arpad dynasty.

1526: Francis I surrendered claims to Burgundy, Italy, and Flanders.

1529: Spanish reformer Juan de Valdes, 29, published his Dialogue on Christian Doctrine which paved the way in Spain for Protestant ideas. His treatise was condemned by the Spanish Inquisition, and Valdes was forced to flee Spain, never to return.

The New World 1539: Spain annexed Cuba.

1601: Roman Catholic authorities in Rome burned Hebrew books (see also Translation Of Translations).

1604: The Hampton Court Conference began under King James I (the King James Bible is named after him) to address Puritan demands for doctrinal changes in the Church of England.

1699: Massachusetts held a day of fasting for wrongly persecuting "witches" (see also Innocent Unless Proven Guilty and What Is Sorcery?).

1742: English astronomer Edmond Halley died at age 86. He was the first to accurately predict the return of a comet. It is now named after him - Halley's Comet.

1797: In the Battle of Rivoli in Italy, the French under Napoleon defeated an Austrian attempt to relieve Mantua. 3,500 Austrian troops were killed.

1814: The Treaty of Kiel transferred Norway from the king of Denmark to the king of Sweden.

1837: Francois, the Marquis de Barbe-Marbois, died at age 92. The French statesman negotiated the Louisiana Purchase with the U.S. in 1803.

1858: Italian revolutionary Felice Orsini threw bombs at Napoleon III in Paris in an assassination attempt; several people were killed but Emperor Napoleon and Empress Eugenie were unharmed.

1878: The first private connection by telephone in Great Britain was made on the Isle of Wight when Queen Victoria spoke to Thomas Biddulph.

1893: Pope Leo XIII appointed Archbishop Francesco Satolli as the Vatican's first ambassador to the U.S.

1911: Roald Amundsen's South Pole expedition arrived on the eastern edge of the Ross Ice Shelf.

1898: Charles Dodgson died at age 65. Although the British scholar was a lecturer in mathematics at Oxford University, and was a pioneer photographer, he is remembered, under the pen name Lewis Carroll, as the author of Alice in Wonderland.

1943: British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt and French President Charles De Gaulle met in Casablanca to agree on a strategy for concluding the Second World War and to demand the unconditional surrender from the Germany.

1950: The first flight of the Russian MiG-17 fighter aircraft.

1953: Marshal Tito was elected the first president of the Republic of Yugoslavia.

1969: The Soviet spacecraft Soyuz 4 was launched, followed the next day by Soyuz 5. They achieved the first docking of 2 manned spacecraft in Earth orbit.

1991: Three Palestinian terrorist chiefs, including Abu Iyad, were assassinated in Tunis (see Where Is Palestine?).





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