Posts Tagged 'Consequences'

2 Kings Chapter 1

In The First Book of the Kings the story of the kings of Israel continued from David, through the division of Israel into two kingdoms, and on to the death of Ahab. The Second Book of the King’s, or the second half of the book of Kings, continues the account of the kings of Israel from that point. Ahab’s son, Ahaziah, ruled over Israel after his death. Ahaziah was a wicked king much like Ahab had been before him. This chapter continues to tell of the things that happened in Israel during his short reign.

1 Then Moab rebelled against Israel after the death of Ahab.
2 And Ahaziah fell down through a lattice in his upper chamber that was in Samaria, and was sick: and he sent messengers, and said unto them, Go, inquire of Baal-zebub the god of Ekron whether I shall recover of this disease.
3 But the angel of the Lord said to Elijah the Tishbite, Arise, go up to meet the messengers of the king of Samaria, and say unto them, Is it not because there is not a God in Israel, that ye go to inquire of Baal-zebub the god of Ekron?
4 Now therefore thus saith the Lord, Thou shalt not come down from that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die. And Elijah departed.

The Moabites had been subdued by David during his reign in Israel. From that time, and through the reign of Ahab, the people of Moab had been servants and given tribute to Israel. With the death of Ahab, the people of Moab rebelled against Israel. This act shows that other nations did not fear Ahaziah or Israel at this time in history. Ahaziah was in his palace in Samaria, when he fell from an upper room. He was sick, or badly injured, and asked his messengers to ask the Ekron god, Baal-zebub, if he would recover. Ekron was a Philistine town, which worshipped this false god that he felt would reveal his fate to him. At this time, an angel of the Lord spoke to the prophet Elijah, and told him to meet the messengers and tell them that the reason they went to ask the god of Ekron was not because there was not already a God in Israel. When he did this, Elijah told them the word of the Lord, which was that Ahaziah would not recover, but would die. Then Elijah left them.

5 And when the messengers turned back unto him, he said unto them, Why are ye now turned back?
6 And they said unto him, There came a man up to meet us, and said unto us, Go, turn again unto the king that sent you, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Is it not because there is not a God in Israel, that thou sendest to inquire of Baal-zebub the god of Ekron? therefore thou shalt not come down from that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die.
7 And he said unto them, What manner of man was he which came up to meet you, and told you these words?
8 And they answered him, He was an hairy man, and girt with a girdle of leather about his loins. And he said, It is Elijah the Tishbite.
9 Then the king sent unto him a captain of fifty with his fifty. And he went up to him: and, behold, he sat on the top of an hill. And he spake unto him, Thou man of God, the king hath said, Come down.
10 And Elijah answered and said to the captain of fifty, If I be a man of God, then let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty. And there came down fire from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty.
11 Again also he sent unto him another captain of fifty with his fifty. And he answered and said unto him, O man of God, thus hath the king said, Come down quickly.
12 And Elijah answered and said unto them, If I be a man of God, let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty. And the fire of God came down from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty.

The messengers returned to Ahaziah and when asked why they had returned, they told him about what had happened with a man as they traveled to Ekron. Ahaziah asked what the man was like, and the messengers described his appearance. Ahaziah knew that it was Elijah by their description. He sent a captain and his fifty men to Elijah. The captain found Elijah on the top of a hill, and commanded Elijah to come down, by order of the king. Elijah said that if he was a man of God, then fire would come down from heaven and destroy the captain and his men. Then, fired came from heaven and consumed them. Ahaziah sent another captain and his fifty men to tell him to come down quickly, and again Elijah said that if he was a man of God, then fire would come down and consume them. Fire came from heaven and consumed them.

13 And he sent again a captain of the third fifty with his fifty. And the third captain of fifty went up, and came and fell on his knees before Elijah, and besought him, and said unto him, O man of God, I pray thee, let my life, and the life of these fifty thy servants, be precious in thy sight.
14 Behold, there came fire down from heaven, and burnt up the two captains of the former fifties with their fifties: therefore let my life now be precious in thy sight.
15 And the angel of the Lord said unto Elijah, Go down with him: be not afraid of him. And he arose, and went down with him unto the king.
16 And he said unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Forasmuch as thou hast sent messengers to inquire of Baal-zebub the god of Ekron, is it not because there is no God in Israel to inquire of his word? therefore thou shalt not come down off that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die.

A third captain and his men were sent to bring Elijah down, but this captain went to Elijah and fell down before him. He begged Elijah to spare him and his men from the fire which had killed the two captains and their men before him. The angel of the Lord told Elijah to go down with the captain without fear, so Elijah went down to the king. Elijah told the king, that because Ahaziah had sent his messengers to the god of Ekron instead of turning to the God of Israel, he would not recover and would certainly die.

17 So he died according to the word of the Lord which Elijah had spoken. And Jehoram reigned in his stead in the second year of Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat king of Judah; because he had no son.
18 Now the rest of the acts of Ahaziah which he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?

Ahaziah died just as Elijah had prophesied. Ahaziah had no sons, so Jehoram, another son of Ahab, reigned in Israel. This was the end of Ahaziah in this record, but more was recorded in the record of the kings of Israel.

King Ahaziah had failed to recognize the God of Israel, and turned from Him to look towards the false god of Ekron for revelation. In so doing, God allowed him to suffer death from his injuries. I am sure that there may have been a chance for recovery, if the king had sought counsel from the Lord, but I am also sure that the chance would have included a call to repentance from the Lord. It is possible that Ahaziah did not seek answers from the Lord, because he had no intention of doing what would have been expected of him by God. It does not actually tell the reason why he sent his men to Ekron rather than seeking for answers from the prophet of the Lord, but what is known, is that Ahaziah made this choice against the Lord and suffered the consequences of that choice.

The Lord is ready to bless each of us, but He will not if we are not willing to turn to Him. Just as He was there for Israel, and for their king, He is there for each of us today. He will answer our questions as we pray to Him. If we choose to avoid seeking after Him, when we know that He is there, He will not force His will upon us. That is against the eternal nature of God. Rather, He will let us deal with the consequences of the choices we make, even if it brings our destruction. All the while, He will remain there with open arms prepared to receive us, and the love of a true and living God and Father. God wants us to seek Him and turn to Him, so that he can help us and bless us every day.

1 Kings Chapter 13

Jeroboam had become the leader and king of ten of the tribes of Israel. He had been among those who revolted against Rehoboam, the son of Solomon. Jeroboam had been told that he would rule, by a prophet. He had also been promised continual reign and support of the Lord, if he would remain faithful to God. However, early in his reign, he turned to the worship of false idols, in order to keep his people away from the temple in Jerusalem and from returning to Rehoboam. Jeroboam had quickly become a wicked leader to the people of Israel, leading them into apostasy from the Lord.

1 And, behold, there came a man of God out of Judah by the word of the Lord unto Beth-el: and Jeroboam stood by the altar to burn incense.
2 And he cried against the altar in the word of the Lord, and said, O altar, altar, thus saith the Lord; Behold, a child shall be born unto the house of David, Josiah by name; and upon thee shall he offer the priests of the high places that burn incense upon thee, and men’s bones shall be burnt upon thee.
3 And he gave a sign the same day, saying, This is the sign which the Lord hath spoken; Behold, the altar shall be rent, and the ashes that are upon it shall be poured out.
4 And it came to pass, when king Jeroboam heard the saying of the man of God, which had cried against the altar in Beth-el, that he put forth his hand from the altar, saying, Lay hold on him. And his hand, which he put forth against him, dried up, so that he could not pull it in again to him.
5 The altar also was rent, and the ashes poured out from the altar, according to the sign which the man of God had given by the word of the Lord.
6 And the king answered and said unto the man of God, Entreat now the face of the Lord thy God, and pray for me, that my hand may be restored me again. And the man of God besought the Lord, and the king’s hand was restored him again, and became as it was before.
7 And the king said unto the man of God, Come home with me, and refresh thyself, and I will give thee a reward.
8 And the man of God said unto the king, If thou wilt give me half thine house, I will not go in with thee, neither will I eat bread nor drink water in this place:
9 For so was it charged me by the word of the Lord, saying, Eat no bread, nor drink water, nor turn again by the same way that thou camest.
10 So he went another way, and returned not by the way that he came to Beth-el.

A prophet came to Jeroboam from Judah. Jeroboam was an the altar of one of the temples. He prophesied that there would be a man called Josiah, of the house of David, who would offer or sacrifice priests and men upon the altar. The prophet said that the altar would be broken down and the ashes upon it would be scattered. Jeroboam heard what had been said, and with the direction of his hand, told his men to grab the prophet. When he did this, the hand he used became dried up and he could not pull it back toward himself. The altar was broken and the ashes were scattered. Jeroboam told the man to ask the Lord to restore his withered had. The prophet prayed and the hand of Jeroboam was restored. Jeroboam asked the prophet to go with him and be refreshed and rewarded. The prophet said that he would not go with him, even if he had been offered half of the king’s house. He refused even the slightest offering of bread or water as well. He told Jeroboam that the Lord had commanded him that he should not eat or drink there, or even go back the way that he came. Then, the prophet left another way, as he had been commanded.

11 Now there dwelt an old prophet in Beth-el; and his sons came and told him all the works that the man of God had done that day in Beth-el: the words which he had spoken unto the king, them they told also to their father.
12 And their father said unto them, What way went he? For his sons had seen what way the man of God went, which came from Judah.
13 And he said unto his sons, Saddle me the ass. So they saddled him the ass: and he rode thereon,
14 And went after the man of God, and found him sitting under an oak: and he said unto him, Art thou the man of God that camest from Judah? And he said, I am.
15 Then he said unto him, Come home with me, and eat bread.
16 And he said, I may not return with thee, nor go in with thee: neither will I eat bread nor drink water with thee in this place:
17 For it was said to me by the word of the Lord, Thou shalt eat no bread nor drink water there, nor turn again to go by the way that thou camest.
18 He said unto him, I am a prophet also as thou art; and an angel spake unto me by the word of the Lord, saying, Bring him back with thee into thine house, that he may eat bread and drink water. But he lied unto him.
19 So he went back with him, and did eat bread in his house, and drank water.

In Bethel, where the prophet had come to deliver his message from God, there was an old prophet. This old man’s sons told him of the prophet from Judah, and directed their father as to which way he had gone. The old prophet rode after the prophet from Judah, finding him sitting under an oak tree. He asked him if he was the prophet from Judah and the other said that he was. He offered him bread, but the other refused him just as he had refused Jeroboam. The old prophet told him that he too was a prophet and had revelation from an angel that he was to offer him bread and water. Verse 18 says that this was a lie, which causes the thought that the old prophet was attempting to deceive him. However in the Joseph Smith Translation of this verse it reads, “Bring him back with thee into thine house, that he may eat bread and drink water[, that I may prove him; and he lied not unto him]. This translation leads us to see that the Lord intended on testing the prophet from Judah, who gave in and went to his house to eat and drink. (see footnote 18b)

20 And it came to pass, as they sat at the table, that the word of the Lord came unto the prophet that brought him back:
21 And he cried unto the man of God that came from Judah, saying, Thus saith the Lord, Forasmuch as thou hast disobeyed the mouth of the Lord, and hast not kept the commandment which the Lord thy God commanded thee,
22 But camest back, and hast eaten bread and drunk water in the place, of the which the Lord did say to thee, Eat no bread, and drink no water; thy carcase shall not come unto the sepulchre of thy fathers.

As they ate, the word of the Lord came to the old prophet, and he told the prophet from Judah that because he did this thing and disobeyed the Lord, his dead body would not return to the resting place of his family.

23 And it came to pass, after he had eaten bread, and after he had drunk, that he saddled for him the ass, to wit, for the prophet whom he had brought back.
24 And when he was gone, a lion met him by the way, and slew him: and his carcase was cast in the way, and the ass stood by it, the lion also stood by the carcase.
25 And, behold, men passed by, and saw the carcase cast in the way, and the lion standing by the carcase: and they came and told it in the city where the old prophet dwelt.
26 And when the prophet that brought him back from the way heard thereof, he said, It is the man of God, who was disobedient unto the word of the Lord: therefore the Lord hath delivered him unto the lion, which hath torn him, and slain him, according to the word of the Lord, which he spake unto him.
27 And he spake to his sons, saying, Saddle me the ass. And they saddled him.
28 And he went and found his carcase cast in the way, and the ass and the lion standing by the carcase: the lion had not eaten the carcase, nor torn the ass.
29 And the prophet took up the carcase of the man of God, and laid it upon the ass, and brought it back: and the old prophet came to the city, to mourn and to bury him.
30 And he laid his carcase in his own grave; and they mourned over him, saying, Alas, my brother!
31 And it came to pass, after he had buried him, that he spake to his sons, saying, When I am dead, then bury me in the sepulchre wherein the man of God is buried; lay my bones beside his bones:
32 For the saying which he cried by the word of the Lord against the altar in Beth-el, and against all the houses of the high places which are in the cities of Samaria, shall surely come to pass.

After the prophet from Judah had finished eating and drinking there, he left and was met by a lion along his path. The lion killed the prophet and stood by the body of the man, along with the donkey he had ridden there. Men who passed by the body and lion, told the old prophet what they had seen. The old prophet went and found the body, which had not been disturbed by the lion. The lion had also not eaten the donkey. He took the body, laid it on the donkey, and went back to the city, where he buried the prophet from Judah in his own grave and mourned for him. He told his own sons to bury him along with this man when he died, because he knew the dead prophet’s prophecy would come to pass.

33 After this thing Jeroboam returned not from his evil way, but made again of the lowest of the people priests of the high places: whosoever would, he consecrated him, and he became one of the priests of the high places.
34 And this thing became sin unto the house of Jeroboam, even to cut it off, and to destroy it from off the face of the earth.

Jeroboam still did not repent of his wickedness, but continued to worship false gods. He continued to raise people to be priests, who were not of the line of Aaron. Because of this sin, Jeroboam and his line were cut off from the Lord and would eventually be destroyed.

When reading this story, one could focus on those things that happened with Jeroboam, as well as those that happened with the prophet from Judah. With either one, their is a lesson in the consequences that come from disobedience to the Lord. Jeroboam was cursed for his actions against the man of God, and eventually chose to be cut off because of sin. The prophet, who had done a portion of what he had been commanded, did not follow the commandments of God with strictness. He was then cursed for his choices as well, and served as an example to others in Israel. Both were given an opportunity to return through obedience to the word of the Lord, and both chose to follow their own path and find ultimate destruction. There is a verse in the book of Alma, that teaches an eternal principle relating to wickedness. In Alma 41:10 it reads, “wickedness never was happiness”. There will be no reward of happiness for those who choose to sin and wickedness. The consequences of sin may be immediate, as was the consequences to the prophet along his journey home. On the other hand, they might not come until we have lived a long life of wicked choices, basking in the glory of men and earthly treasures. The point is, that the consequences will come to the wicked and the reward will not be happiness, but eternal misery. I know that if more people realized just how small the time we have in our earthly life is when compared to the span of eternity, they would not choose to live for eternity in misery to have false happiness in this life. This is the reason for my hope in Christ. We all make mistakes. We all give into temptations of some kind. And we all will have the opportunity, to turn to Christ and receive forgiveness and mercy from Him who gave everything for us.

1 Kings Chapter 2

When King David was getting nearer to the end of his life, he passed his kingdom to his son, Solomon. Solomon’s older brother, Adonijah, had desires to be king, and had attempted to claim the throne before anyone else had taken it. Is plans were thwarted by David, when Solomon took the throne. Adonijah had made a promise to Solomon and the newly appointed king had allowed him to go in peace. However the plans of Adonijah, did not end there. This chapter begins as follows:

1 Now the days of David drew nigh that he should die; and he charged Solomon his son, saying,
2 I go the way of all the earth: be thou strong therefore, and shew thyself a man;
3 And keep the charge of the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself:
4 That the Lord may continue his word which he spake concerning me, saying, If thy children take heed to their way, to walk before me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, there shall not fail thee (said he) a man on the throne of Israel.
5 Moreover thou knowest also what Joab the son of Zeruiah did to me, and what he did to the two captains of the hosts of Israel, unto Abner the son of Ner, and unto Amasa the son of Jether, whom he slew, and shed the blood of war in peace, and put the blood of war upon his girdle that was about his loins, and in his shoes that were on his feet.
6 Do therefore according to thy wisdom, and let not his hoar head go down to the grave in peace.
7 But shew kindness unto the sons of Barzillai the Gileadite, and let them be of those that eat at thy table: for so they came to me when I fled because of Absalom thy brother.
8 And, behold, thou hast with thee Shimei the son of Gera, a Benjamite of Bahurim, which cursed me with a grievous curse in the day when I went to Mahanaim: but he came down to meet me at Jordan, and I sware to him by the Lord, saying, I will not put thee to death with the sword.
9 Now therefore hold him not guiltless: for thou art a wise man, and knowest what thou oughtest to do unto him; but his hoar head bring thou down to the grave with blood.
10 So David slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David.
11 And the days that David reigned over Israel were forty years: seven years reigned he in Hebron, and thirty and three years reigned he in Jerusalem.

David was upon his death bed, and so he gave parting words to Solomon. David told Solomon to keep the commandments of the Lord, so that he would prosper in all he did and wherever he went. David had been promised by the Lord, that so long as his children would walk in righteousness, his posterity would remain on the throne in Israel. David also told Solomon to remember the things that Joab had done against David and his captains, which was to kill the captains and cause unnecessary bloodshed. David charged Solomon to not allow Joab to die in peace. David told Solomon to show kindness to the family of Barzillai, who had helped him during his time in hiding from Absalom. He also told Solomon to deal with Shimei, who had cursed David and had received a promise that the king would not kill him. After giving counsel to Solomon, David died and was buried in the city of David after 40 years of ruling in Hebron and Israel. He was about 70 years old at this time.

12 Then sat Solomon upon the throne of David his father; and his kingdom was established greatly.

Solomon began to reign in his father’s stead.

13 And Adonijah the son of Haggith came to Bath-sheba the mother of Solomon. And she said, Comest thou peaceably? And he said, Peaceably.
14 He said moreover, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And she said, Say on.
15 And he said, Thou knowest that the kingdom was mine, and that all Israel set their faces on me, that I should reign: howbeit the kingdom is turned about, and is become my brother’s: for it was his from the Lord.
16 And now I ask one petition of thee, deny me not. And she said unto him, Say on.
17 And he said, Speak, I pray thee, unto Solomon the king, (for he will not say thee nay,) that he give me Abishag the Shunammite to wife.
18 And Bath-sheba said, Well; I will speak for thee unto the king.

Adonijah continued his plans to get the kingdom, by going to Bath-sheba and after pointing out his desires to have the kingdom, but acknowledging that it was given to Solomon by the Lord, he asks her to give him Abishag to wife. Abishag was the last wife of David who had been given to him in his old age. Bath-Sheba said she would bring it up with the king.

19 Bath-sheba therefore went unto king Solomon, to speak unto him for Adonijah. And the king rose up to meet her, and bowed himself unto her, and sat down on his throne, and caused a seat to be set for the king’s mother; and she sat on his right hand.
20 Then she said, I desire one small petition of thee; I pray thee, say me not nay. And the king said unto her, Ask on, my mother: for I will not say thee nay.
21 And she said, Let Abishag the Shunammite be given to Adonijah thy brother to wife.
22 And king Solomon answered and said unto his mother, And why dost thou ask Abishag the Shunammite for Adonijah? ask for him the kingdom also; for he is mine elder brother; even for him, and for Abiathar the priest, and for Joab the son of Zeruiah.
23 Then king Solomon sware by the Lord, saying, God do so to me, and more also, if Adonijah have not spoken this word against his own life.
24 Now therefore, as the Lord liveth, which hath established me, and set me on the throne of David my father, and who hath made me an house, as he promised, Adonijah shall be put to death this day.
25 And king Solomon sent by the hand of Benaiah the son of Jehoiada; and he fell upon him that he died.

Bath-Sheba took the matter to king Solomon. She asked for Abishag to be given to Adonijah. Solomon responded by pointing out that this desire was a way to try to gain the kingdom from Solomon. As his older brother, allowing him to marry the wife of King David, would be a way to give him the kingdom. He saw this attempt by Adonijah, as going against the king, and worthy of punishment by death. Solomon called for the death of Adonijah, and it was done.

26 And unto Abiathar the priest said the king, Get thee to Anathoth, unto thine own fields; for thou art worthy of death: but I will not at this time put thee to death, because thou barest the ark of the Lord God before David my father, and because thou hast been afflicted in all wherein my father was afflicted.
27 So Solomon thrust out Abiathar from being priest unto the Lord; that he might fulfil the word of the Lord, which he spake concerning the house of Eli in Shiloh.

Abiathar was sent away, spared from death that he deserved for his acts of rebellion, because he had been one to serve the Lord while King David had reigned. He had served Solomon’s father, through all his trials. Solomon showed mercy to Abiathar, but was cast out from his service as high priest to the Lord. In their time and in his life of service, this consequence probably felt worse than death itself. There must have been so much shame in no longer being able to serve, which was his life’s calling.

28 Then tidings came to Joab: for Joab had turned after Adonijah, though he turned not after Absalom. And Joab fled unto the tabernacle of the Lord, and caught hold on the horns of the altar.
29 And it was told king Solomon that Joab was fled unto the tabernacle of the Lord; and, behold, he is by the altar. Then Solomon sent Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, saying, Go, fall upon him.
30 And Benaiah came to the tabernacle of the Lord, and said unto him, Thus saith the king, Come forth. And he said, Nay; but I will die here. And Benaiah brought the king word again, saying, Thus said Joab, and thus he answered me.
31 And the king said unto him, Do as he hath said, and fall upon him, and bury him; that thou mayest take away the innocent blood, which Joab shed, from me, and from the house of my father.
32 And the Lord shall return his blood upon his own head, who fell upon two men more righteous and better than he, and slew them with the sword, my father David not knowing thereof, to wit, Abner the son of Ner, captain of the host of Israel, and Amasa the son of Jether, captain of the host of Judah.
33 Their blood shall therefore return upon the head of Joab, and upon the head of his seed for ever: but upon David, and upon his seed, and upon his house, and upon his throne, shall there be peace for ever from the Lord.
34 So Benaiah the son of Jehoiada went up, and fell upon him, and slew him: and he was buried in his own house in the wilderness.

Joab learned what had happened, because he had conspired with Adonijah. In fear, he went to the tabernacle and held onto the horns of the altar. Solomon sent Benaiah to fall upon Joab. Joab was commanded by the words of the king, to come forth, but he refused and said he would die there. Solomon was told what Joab said, and told Benaiah to kill Joab and bury him, so that justice for the innocent, would be had. This was because Joab had killed Abner and Amasa by his own design and they had been good men who had served David faithfully. The Lord had commanded Israel to purge themselves of those who had guilt of innocent blood, or who had killed the innocent (see Deuteronomy 19:13). Since Solomon needed to start his reign free of the damage done by Joab, he needed to follow through on the instructions of his father. So, Benaiah did as he was commanded by the king.

35 And the king put Benaiah the son of Jehoiada in his room over the host: and Zadok the priest did the king put in the room of Abiathar.

Benaiah became the captain over the host of Israel, and Zadok became the new high priest.

36 And the king sent and called for Shimei, and said unto him, Build thee an house in Jerusalem, and dwell there, and go not forth thence any whither.
37 For it shall be, that on the day thou goest out, and passest over the brook Kidron, thou shalt know for certain that thou shalt surely die: thy blood shall be upon thine own head.
38 And Shimei said unto the king, The saying is good: as my lord the king hath said, so will thy servant do. And Shimei dwelt in Jerusalem many days.
39 And it came to pass at the end of three years, that two of the servants of Shimei ran away unto Achish son of Maachah king of Gath. And they told Shimei, saying, Behold, thy servants be in Gath.
40 And Shimei arose, and saddled his ass, and went to Gath to Achish to seek his servants: and Shimei went, and brought his servants from Gath.
41 And it was told Solomon that Shimei had gone from Jerusalem to Gath, and was come again.
42 And the king sent and called for Shimei, and said unto him, Did I not make thee to swear by the Lord, and protested unto thee, saying, Know for a certain, on the day thou goest out, and walkest abroad any whither, that thou shalt surely die? and thou saidst unto me, The word that I have heard is good.
43 Why then hast thou not kept the oath of the Lord, and the commandment that I have charged thee with?
44 The king said moreover to Shimei, Thou knowest all the wickedness which thine heart is privy to, that thou didst to David my father: therefore the Lord shall return thy wickedness upon thine own head;
45 And king Solomon shall be blessed, and the throne of David shall be established before the Lord for ever.
46 So the king commanded Benaiah the son of Jehoiada; which went out, and fell upon him, that he died. And the kingdom was established in the hand of Solomon.

Shimei, the man who had cursed David, was commanded to build a house in Jerusalem and remain there. Solomon told him that if he was to leave the house, he would surely die. So, Shimei did as he was commanded and lived for a while in Jerusalem. After three years, a few of his men left the house and ran away to Gath. Shimei learned that his servants were in Gath, and he went himself to get them. Solomon learned that Shimei had gone to Gath and back, and so Shimei was called before Solomon. Solomon reminded him that he had made an agreement with the king, that if he was to leave, he would die. He had not kept the oath made to the king, and because of those things which he had done to King David, Solomon commanded Benaiah to kill him. Benaiah did as he was commanded. The kingdom was established with Solomon.

With the death of David, it was necessary for Solomon to put his kingdom in order. This meant that he had to do away with those who had caused rebellion and disloyalty under the reign of his father, David. The decisions to be rid of men, such as Joab and Abiathar, were necessary for the line of David to remain on the throne in Israel, which had been promised by the Lord. Unity, peace, success and happiness, are not fostered in a place where dissenters, rebels, and those without loyalty, are left to influence and persuade others to join them. It was time to ‘clean the inner vessel’ of Israel, so that the nation could be strong. A lesson in this, is that it is good to take a look at our own house (those things which we have stewardship over, as Solomon had stewardship over Israel) and see that it is in order. What are those things that should be done away with in order to keep us strong? If we were preparing to leave this mortal life, what would be the things we would ask of our own family members? Knowing those things, what could we do now? If we desire to be like our Father in Heaven, following after the Lord, we should have a desire to have a house of order, because God’s house, is a house of order as well.

2 Samuel Chapter 24

King David had specific duties as the leader of Israel, in particular, the Lord had given specific direction for how one was to rule His people. At times, the Lord would do something to remind his people of the duties they were not following. This chapter deals with one of those times. It begins:

1 And again the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah.
2 For the king said to Joab the captain of the host, which was with him, Go now through all the tribes of Israel, from Dan even to Beer-sheba, and number ye the people, that I may know the number of the people.
3 And Joab said unto the king, Now the Lord thy God add unto the people, how many soever they be, an hundredfold, and that the eyes of my lord the king may see it: but why doth my lord the king delight in this thing?
4 Notwithstanding the king’s word prevailed against Joab, and against the captains of the host. And Joab and the captains of the host went out from the presence of the king, to number the people of Israel.

At David’s command, the people of Israel were to be numbered. It reads here, that David was instructed by the Lord to number Israel and Judah, so he sent Joab out to number them. In the footnotes it references 1 Corinthians, which says instead, that Satan provoked David to number Israel (see 1 Cor. 21:1). Joab questioned the king’s command, however he took the captains and numbered the people. The idea that Satan influenced David, makes it so I can see why the Lord would have his anger kindled against Israel. I am not sure what was involved in the numbering of the people, but it reads as if it was hard on the people and should not have been performed simply in order to please the king.

5 And they passed over Jordan, and pitched in Aroer, on the right side of the city that lieth in the midst of the river of Gad, and toward Jazer:
6 Then they came to Gilead, and to the land of Tahtim-hodshi; and they came to Dan-jaan, and about to Zidon,
7 And came to the strong hold of Tyre, and to all the cities of the Hivites, and of the Canaanites: and they went out to the south of Judah, even to Beer-sheba.
8 So when they had gone through all the land, they came to Jerusalem at the end of nine months and twenty days.
9 And Joab gave up the sum of the number of the people unto the king: and there were in Israel eight hundred thousand valiant men that drew the sword; and the men of Judah were five hundred thousand men.

Several months later, they returned to Jerusalem and told him that the king had 800,000 men of war in Israel, and 500,000 in Judah.

10 And David’s heart smote him after that he had numbered the people. And David said unto the Lord, I have sinned greatly in that I have done: and now, I beseech thee, O Lord, take away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very foolishly.
11 For when David was up in the morning, the word of the Lord came unto the prophet Gad, David’s seer, saying,
12 Go and say unto David, Thus saith the Lord, I offer thee three things; choose thee one of them, that I may do it unto thee.
13 So Gad came to David, and told him, and said unto him, Shall seven years of famine come unto thee in thy land? or wilt thou flee three months before thine enemies, while they pursue thee? or that there be three days’ pestilence in thy land? now advise, and see what answer I shall return to him that sent me.
14 And David said unto Gad, I am in a great strait: let us fall now into the hand of the Lord; for his mercies are great: and let me not fall into the hand of man.

David’s heart was smitten. I think that this is another way of saying that his conscience got to him, and he felt guilt in his heart over what he had chosen to do. He went to the Lord and confessed his sin in numbering the people of Israel and Judah. He asked for forgiveness. The prophet, Gad, received word from the Lord, that he was to go speak to David. Gad told David that the Lord offered a choice of three things to him. First, seven years of famine to the land, second, enemies who would pursue him for three months as he fled from them, or third, three days of pestilence in the land. David, pled with the prophet, that he and the people be at the mercy of God and not fall into the hands of other men.

It is interesting to me, that the Lord would offer David a choice in his punishment for sinning against him. The people of David would suffer for his choice, but I think that having to choose the punishment, was to be a reminder to David of what he, as their leader, had done wrong.

15 So the Lord sent a pestilence upon Israel from the morning even to the time appointed: and there died of the people from Dan even to Beer-sheba seventy thousand men.
16 And when the angel stretched out his hand upon Jerusalem to destroy it, the Lord repented him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed the people, It is enough: stay now thine hand. And the angel of the Lord was by the threshingplace of Araunah the Jebusite.
17 And David spake unto the Lord when he saw the angel that smote the people, and said, Lo, I have sinned, and I have done wickedly: but these sheep, what have they done? let thine hand, I pray thee, be against me, and against my father’s house.

The Lord fulfilled his promise of pestilence for three days, and 70,000 men died. An angel was given the responsibility of bringing the destruction upon Israel. David saw the angel, near the farm of a man named Araunah, and pled with the Lord, that the plague would be stopped, and that he and his family would take the consequences instead of the people, because they had not been the ones who had done wrong in this thing.

The Joseph Smith Translation of verse 16 reads, “And when the angel stretched out his hand upon Jerusalem to destroy it, [the Lord said unto him, Stay now thine hand, it is enough; for the people repented, and the Lord stayed the hand of the angel, that he destroyed not the people]. And the angel of the Lord was by the threshingplace of Araunah the Jebusite.” The Lord stopped the plague, because the people had been humbled to repentance.

18 And Gad came that day to David, and said unto him, Go up, rear an altar unto the Lord in the threshingfloor of Araunah the Jebusite.
19 And David, according to the saying of Gad, went up as the Lord commanded.
20 And Araunah looked, and saw the king and his servants coming on toward him: and Araunah went out, and bowed himself before the king on his face upon the ground.
21 And Araunah said, Wherefore is my lord the king come to his servant? And David said, To buy the threshingfloor of thee, to build an altar unto the Lord, that the plague may be stayed from the people.
22 And Araunah said unto David, Let my lord the king take and offer up what seemeth good unto him: behold, here be oxen for burnt sacrifice, and threshing instruments and other instruments of the oxen for wood.
23 All these things did Araunah, as a king, give unto the king. And Araunah said unto the king, The Lord thy God accept thee.
24 And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the Lord my God of that which doth cost me nothing. So David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.
25 And David built there an altar unto the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the Lord was entreated for the land, and the plague was stayed from Israel.

The prophet returned to David and told him to make an altar where he had seen the angel. David went to the place, as he had been commanded. When Araunah saw him coming, he greeted him and asked why he had come. David offered to buy his threshingfloor, so that he could build an altar and make sacrifice to stop the plague. Araunah offered his threshingfloor to the king, as well as anything he had that could be used for the offering, including oxen and tools. David would not take it without price. I think he did this because he knew his choice needed to be more of a sacrifice on his part. David bought the threshingfloor and other items from Araunah, built and altar, and offered sacrifice and peace offerings to the Lord. The plague against Israel, was then stopped by the Lord.

We all make mistakes in life. There are going to be those moments when we think of our own wants and desires before others. For a moment, David’s pride led him to make the decision to number the people, which he should not have done. After it was done, he felt the guilt that we so often feel when we have done something we know we should not have done. This guilt, when applied correctly can move us towards repentance and drawing closer to God. David and his people, suffered the consequence of his choice, and then from his guilt, he turned to repentance. Something I am learning more as I get older, is the importance of sacrifice and service in order to make the repentance process complete. David gives us a good example of this. He recognized that he had to personally sacrifice in order to really humble himself towards the Lord. Then, I believe, in more than an attempt to stop the plague, he served the Lord through giving sacrifices and offerings at the altar he had built. Likewise, in the repentance process in our own lives, we will have to sacrifice and serve to have the forgiveness needed for us to change and become better or more like our Father in Heaven. Sacrifice and service are two actions that humble the soul. When we are humble, we are willing to let the Lord help us with His infinite atonement. That is the only way that we will have a lasting change of any kind. I am grateful for the repentance process and for the knowledge that forgiveness is real. The atonement is real and it can free us of the plagues and guilt we bring upon ourselves. This is a blessing that I am eternally grateful for.

2 Samuel Chapter 16

Absalom, the son of King David, had conspired to take over Jerusalem. David and those who were loyal to him, had fled the city and Absalom had taken it for himself. David had stopped at the top of the mountain, to worship. David’s counselor, Ahithophel, had been in league with Absalom and was in the position to be a counselor to Absalom. David sent his loyal friend, Hushai, back into the city as a spy, to see that the counsel of Ahithophel was defeated. This chapter begins:

1 And when David was a little past the top of the hill, behold, Ziba the servant of Mephibosheth met him, with a couple of asses saddled, and upon them two hundred loaves of bread, and an hundred bunches of raisins, and an hundred of summer fruits, and a bottle of wine.
2 And the king said unto Ziba, What meanest thou by these? And Ziba said, The asses be for the king’s household to ride on; and the bread and summer fruit for the young men to eat; and the wine, that such as be faint in the wilderness may drink.
3 And the king said, And where is thy master’s son? And Ziba said unto the king, Behold, he abideth at Jerusalem: for he said, To day shall the house of Israel restore me the kingdom of my father.
4 Then said the king to Ziba, Behold, thine are all that pertained unto Mephibosheth. And Ziba said, I humbly beseech thee that I may find grace in thy sight, my lord, O king.

Miphibosheth, the lame son of Saul, who David had shown kindness towards, had a servant called Ziba, who came to King David. David asked what was meant by this gift. The servant, Ziba, told him their were to help David and his people in the wilderness. David asked where the son of Miphibosheth was at that time, and the servant told him that he had gone to stay in Jerusalem, so that Mephibosheth could regain the kingdom. Ziba said that he sought grace in the sight of David. It does not say here if Ziba was truthful in his words to David, but it seems more like an attempt to place himself in the favor of David.

5 And when king David came to Bahurim, behold, thence came out a man of the family of the house of Saul, whose name was Shimei, the son of Gera: he came forth, and cursed still as he came.
6 And he cast stones at David, and at all the servants of king David: and all the people and all the mighty men were on his right hand and on his left.
7 And thus said Shimei when he cursed, Come out, come out, thou bloody man, and thou man of Belial:
8 The Lord hath returned upon thee all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose stead thou hast reigned; and the Lord hath delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom thy son: and, behold, thou art taken in thy mischief, because thou art a bloody man.

David traveled to Bahurim, where a man named Shimei came out of the house of the family of Saul. Shimei cursed David, casting stones at him and his household. He called David a man of Belial, and blaming the loss of David’s kingdom on taking the throne from the house of Saul. According to the footnote, calling him a man of a Belial was a “terrible insult” meaning a “man of worthlessness”.

9 Then said Abishai the son of Zeruiah unto the king, Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? let me go over, I pray thee, and take off his head.
10 And the king said, What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah? so let him curse, because the Lord hath said unto him, Curse David. Who shall then say, Wherefore hast thou done so?
11 And David said to Abishai, and to all his servants, Behold, my son, which came forth of my bowels, seeketh my life: how much more now may this Benjamite do it? let him alone, and let him curse; for the Lord hath bidden him.
12 It may be that the Lord will look on mine affliction, and that the Lord will requite me good for his cursing this day.
13 And as David and his men went by the way, Shimei went along on the hill’s side over against him, and cursed as he went, and threw stones at him, and cast dust.
14 And the king, and all the people that were with him, came weary, and refreshed themselves there.

Abishai, son of Zeruiah, told David that he would kill the man for cursing him. David refused, feeling that the Lord allowed this man to curse him. David hoped that in not responding to the cursings, the Lord might bless David for it later. David knew that the Lord was going to allow him to suffer things like this, because of what he had done to the man Uriah. So, Shimei continued to curse and throw things at David and his people along their way.

15 And Absalom, and all the people the men of Israel, came to Jerusalem, and Ahithophel with him.
16 And it came to pass, when Hushai the Archite, David’s friend, was come unto Absalom, that Hushai said unto Absalom, God save the king, God save the king.
17 And Absalom said to Hushai, Is this thy kindness to thy friend? why wentest thou not with thy friend?
18 And Hushai said unto Absalom, Nay; but whom the Lord, and this people, and all the men of Israel, choose, his will I be, and with him will I abide.
19 And again, whom should I serve? should I not serve in the presence of his son? as I have served in thy father’s presence, so will I be in thy presence.

Meanwhile, Absalom had entered Jerusalem along with many men, including Ahithophel. Hushai went to Absalom honoring him as the king. Absalom, knowing this man was a friend of David, asked why he had not gone with him. Hushai told him that he had chosen to go with Absalom and serve him as he had his father.

20 Then said Absalom to Ahithophel, Give counsel among you what we shall do.
21 And Ahithophel said unto Absalom, Go in unto thy father’s concubines, which he hath left to keep the house; and all Israel shall hear that thou art abhorred of thy father: then shall the hands of all that are with thee be strong.
22 So they spread Absalom a tent upon the top of the house; and Absalom went in unto his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel.
23 And the counsel of Ahithophel, which he counselled in those days, was as if a man had inquired at the oracle of God: so was all the counsel of Ahithophel both with David and with Absalom.

Ahithophel was asked to counsel Absalom. The council of Ahithophel was spoken as if he had received direction from God. He told Absalom to go and take the concubines of David, which he had left there to keep house. He suggested that when Israel had heard what he had done, he would be strengthened. Absalom followed this counsel, fulfilling yet another part of the curse upon David. In Samuel 12:11 it said, “Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun.” While, the people of Israel did not know about David’s sin, all of Israel would know what Absalom did to his father.

In doing this thing, Absalom was making assurance that he and his father, would never reconcile. Absalom found his strength in hurting the king this way, and showing Israel the kind of power he had. I know that there is no good that could come from this kind of act. This must have added to the heart ache that David would have already been feeling, both for his own life and for the life of his son, which was not heading towards God. It continues to be a lesson to me, that we cannot take the laws of God lightly. When we sin against God, there will eventually be a fitting consequence. We need to be aware of our own weaknesses, and do our best to avoid and withstand the temptations that the adversary will place before us, because we do not want to suffer from the consequences that will come from giving in to them.

2 Samuel Chapter 12

David had done a lot of good things for the kingdom of Israel, and had led the people to becoming a strong nation in his day. In the previous chapter, we learn of his selfish choice to take the wife of Uriah for himself because he had given into the temptation of sleeping with her. This choice was not acceptable to the Lord.

1 And the Lord sent Nathan unto David. And he came unto him, and said unto him, There were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor.
2 The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds:
3 But the poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up: and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter.
4 And there came a traveller unto the rich man, and he spared to take of his own flock and of his own herd, to dress for the wayfaring man that was come unto him; but took the poor man’s lamb, and dressed it for the man that was come to him.
5 And David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, As the Lord liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die:
6 And he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.

The Lord called upon his prophet, Nathan, to go and speak to David. He told him a parable of two men, a rich man and a poor man. The rich man had been blessed with many animals in his flocks and herds, while the poor man had only been blessed with one ewe lamb. He loved the lamb and treated it as he would treat a daughter. A traveler visited the rich man, and the man wanted to prepare a lamb for his guest. He did not want to use one of his own flock, so he took the lamb of the poor man and prepared it for the visitor. Upon hearing this story, David was angry and he told Nathan, that because the man had done this thing, he should die. Additionally, he felt the man should make restitution four times over, for taking the lamb without a thought for the poor man. The law of restitution had been laid out by the Lord, in the law of Moses, specifically giving four sheep for each lamb taken.

7 And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul;
8 And I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things.
9 Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon.
10 Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife.
11 Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun.
12 For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.
13 And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord. And Nathan said unto David, The Lord also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.
14 Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.

Nathan told David that this parable was about him. The Lord had blessed David to be king of Israel. He spared him from Saul, and had given him a great home and many wives. If that had not been enough, the Lord would have provided more for David, but it should have been enough. Instead, David had done evil in the sight of the Lord. He executed the plan to have Uriah killed by the hands of the children of Ammon, in order to have Bathsheba as his wife. The Lord cursed David, that the sword would never depart from his house, which I think means that his line would never have peace from fighting their enemies, or that he would never see the end of it in his own lifetime. In fact, the Lord cursed him, that he would have enemies in his own house and that his wives would be taken from him and given to his neighbor. While David kept his transgression secret from the people, the Lord would curse him for all of Israel to see.

David confessed his sin to Nathan, which was good, but he should not have waited to confess until he had been caught. David was not cursed to die right then, which could have been the expectation for his plot to murder Uriah had he been any common man in Israel. However, because of the effects of what he had done, the Lord cursed him and said the child of David and Bathsheba would die. The death of this child would stand as an example to the House of Israel forever. Moreover, David would not be allowed the eternal reward that the righteous hoped for, because of this choice. As mentioned in my previous post, we learn of the reward, or the outcome and the eternal consequence of this choice. It reads Doctrine and Covenants 132:39, “…in none of these things did [David] sin against me save in the case of Uriah and his wife; and, therefore he hath fallen from his exaltation, and received his portion; and he shall not inherit them out of the world, for I gave them unto another, saith the Lord.”, which in effect is a kind of eternal separation from God (spiritual death).

15 And Nathan departed unto his house. And the Lord struck the child that Uriah’s wife bare unto David, and it was very sick.
16 David therefore besought God for the child; and David fasted, and went in, and lay all night upon the earth.
17 And the elders of his house arose, and went to him, to raise him up from the earth: but he would not, neither did he eat bread with them.
18 And it came to pass on the seventh day, that the child died. And the servants of David feared to tell him that the child was dead: for they said, Behold, while the child was yet alive, we spake unto him, and he would not hearken unto our voice: how will he then vex himself, if we tell him that the child is dead?
19 But when David saw that his servants whispered, David perceived that the child was dead: therefore David said unto his servants, Is the child dead? And they said, He is dead.
20 Then David arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed himself, and changed his apparel, and came into the house of the Lord, and worshipped: then he came to his own house; and when he required, they set bread before him, and he did eat.
21 Then said his servants unto him, What thing is this that thou hast done? thou didst fast and weep for the child, while it was alive; but when the child was dead, thou didst rise and eat bread.
22 And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether God will be gracious to me, that the child may live?
23 But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.

After Nathan left, the child became very sick. David fasted and prayed, laying upon the ground. The elders in his household went to him and tried to pick him up from the floor, but he wouldn’t get up and he wouldn’t eat his meals as usual. On the seventh day of his child being sick, the child died. His servants were afraid to tell him that the child had died, because of how he might react to the news. David saw the servants whispering and asked if his son had died. They told him that he had. David got up, cleaned himself up and changed his clothes. Then he went to the house of the Lord and worshipped. After that, he went home and ate. The servants asked why he had fasted and prayed for the child while weeping, but was going about as usual after his son had died. David told them that he fasted and prayed because he didn’t know if the Lord would be gracious and allow the child to live. Since his child had died, he could not bring him back by fasting, because he was gone.

24 And David comforted Bath-sheba his wife, and went in unto her, and lay with her: and she bare a son, and he called his name Solomon: and the Lord loved him.
25 And he sent by the hand of Nathan the prophet; and he called his name Jedidiah, because of the Lord.

David went to Bath-sheba and comforted her. She became pregnant again and had a son named Solomon, who was loved by the Lord. I think the verse 25 means that Nathan was called to bless the child, as was a tradition in ancient Israel. Nathan called the child Jedidiah.

26 And Joab fought against Rabbah of the children of Ammon, and took the royal city.
27 And Joab sent messengers to David, and said, I have fought against Rabbah, and have taken the city of waters.
28 Now therefore gather the rest of the people together, and encamp against the city, and take it: lest I take the city, and it be called after my name.
29 And David gathered all the people together, and went to Rabbah, and fought against it, and took it.
30 And he took their king’s crown from off his head, the weight whereof was a talent of gold with the precious stones: and it was set on David’s head. And he brought forth the spoil of the city in great abundance.
31 And he brought forth the people that were therein, and put them under saws, and under harrows of iron, and under axes of iron, and made them pass through the brickkiln: and thus did he unto all the cities of the children of Ammon. So David and all the people returned unto Jerusalem.

David sent his men, under the leadership of Joab, to fight the children of Ammon in their royal city. Joab reported that they had nearly taken the city, but that David should gather the rest of his men and go against the city, so that the honor of taking the city would be his. David gathered men and took the city of the Ammonites. David took the crown of the king for himself, and brought a great amount of spoil out of their royal city. The Ammonites were taken from the city and killed, and after the cities of Ammon were emptied, the Israelites were able to return to Jerusalem.

Sin and transgression do not go unnoticed by the Lord. If necessary, God will inspire his chosen priesthood leaders to do and say things when others need correction, chastisement, or, as was the case of David, a greater consequence for the things done. I am sure that this was not something that Nathan enjoyed doing. No man wants to be the bearer of such sad news, especially the curse that came to David for his actions. His heart must have been heavy, but he knew he had to give the message of punishment to David, that God had sent him to give. I believe that this was not a punishment to the child of David and Bathsheba, because he had done no wrong and was innocent in all of this. Instead, I believe that the child received all the rewards available to those who are able to live a full life, including being able to live with God again.

It is sad to the story of David and Uriah. To see someone fall from favor with God, who had been blessed to become a great man and leader, is a heartbreaking thing. While David did make this mistake and make a horrible decision in order to cover up his sin, it is not recorded that he cursed God for what had happened. When the consequence came, he turned to God for help. When he did not receive the desired answer to his prayers, he again did not turn against God, but picked himself up and went back to doing the work that was expected of him. He continued to lead and protect the people of Israel, as he had been anointed to do. If we read Psalm 51 also, we can see that after this meeting with Nathan, David desired forgiveness from God, because he knew that he had done wrong. I think we live in a time, when more people blame God for the bad things that happen in their lives instead of looking at their own responsibility in their trials. It would be a completely different world, if more people would recognize their mistakes and faults and move on, instead of holding things against others, especially against God.

1 Samuel Chapter 15

Saul has been king of Israel for a couple of years at this point. In pride, he had tried to assume the duties of the priesthood, and his actions had been rejected by the Lord. As a result, the prophet Samuel, had told Saul that he would no longer reign with the Lord’s blessing upon his leadership. The Lord was still leading his people through direction given to the prophet. This chapter begins with Samuel speaking to King Saul.

1 Samuel also said unto Saul, The Lord sent me to anoint thee to be king over his people, over Israel: now therefore hearken thou unto the voice of the words of the Lord.
2 Thus saith the Lord of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt.
3 Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.
4 And Saul gathered the people together, and numbered them in Telaim, two hundred thousand footmen, and ten thousand men of Judah.
5 And Saul came to a city of Amalek, and laid wait in the valley.

Saul was reminded that his calling as the king, had been extended to him by the Lord, and Samuel was going to reveal the word of the Lord to Saul. Saul was given instruction, to attack the Amalakites. God had told Moses that the Israelites would continue to war with the men of Amalak, for generations after his time. At this point, Saul was told specifically to destroy all of the Amalakites, along with all of their flocks and herds. Saul began to follow the instructions by gathering 210,000 men to battle and then lying in wait in the valley near Amalek.

6 And Saul said unto the Kenites, Go, depart, get you down from among the Amalekites, lest I destroy you with them: for ye shewed kindness to all the children of Israel, when they came up out of Egypt. So the Kenites departed from among the Amalekites.
7 And Saul smote the Amalekites from Havilah until thou comest to Shur, that is over against Egypt.
8 And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword.
9 But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them: but every thing that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly.

Saul allowed the Kenites to flee, so that they would not be destroyed along with the Amalekites. The Kenites were family to the wife of Moses, and Saul’s army were not going to harm them because they had been kind to the Israelites. Saul destroyed the Amalekites, but he took King Agag and the best of the flocks, herds, and their belongings, and he did not destroy them.

10 Then came the word of the Lord unto Samuel, saying,
11 It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the Lord all night.
12 And when Samuel rose early to meet Saul in the morning, it was told Samuel, saying, Saul came to Carmel, and, behold, he set him up a place, and is gone about, and passed on, and gone down to Gilgal.
13 And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said unto him, Blessed be thou of the Lord: I have performed the commandment of the Lord.
14 And Samuel said, What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?
15 And Saul said, They have brought them from the Amalekites: for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the Lord thy God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed.
16 Then Samuel said unto Saul, Stay, and I will tell thee what the Lord hath said to me this night. And he said unto him, Say on.
17 And Samuel said, When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the Lord anointed thee king over Israel?
18 And the Lord sent thee on a journey, and said, Go and utterly destroy the sinners the Amalekites, and fight against them until they be consumed.
19 Wherefore then didst thou not obey the voice of the Lord, but didst fly upon the spoil, and didst evil in the sight of the Lord?
20 And Saul said unto Samuel, Yea, I have obeyed the voice of the Lord, and have gone the way which the Lord sent me, and have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites.
21 But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the Lord thy God in Gilgal.
22 And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.
23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king.

Samuel received a revelation from the Lord. The Lord had continued to allow Saul to lead, but Saul continued to be disobedient to the commandments given to him. (The Joseph Smith translation of verse 11 reads, “I have set up Saul to be a king, and he repenteth not that he hath sinned, for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the Lord all night.”) Saul felt sorrow for Saul, and he continued to pray to the Lord through the night. Samuel woke early to go out and meet Saul, but Saul had gone down to Gilgal. Samuel went down to meet him. Saul greeted him and told him he had done the things which the Lord had given him as a commandment. Samuel asked why he heard the noises of animals with him, which was the physical proof that Saul had not followed the commandment given to him. Saul told him that his men had kept the best animals, in order to make a sacrifice to the Lord.

Samuel caused that Saul should stay with him a while, so that he could tell him what the Lord had revealed to him. He talked of how Saul had been raised up by the Lord to be the king, when he was still young, and that the Lord had sent him on a journey to destroy all the Amalekites. Samuel asked Saul, why then, he had disobeyed and taken spoil of the Amalekites, which was evil in the sight of the Lord. Saul said that he had done what the Lord wanted, and had taken the king captive, but that the people had taken the spoil in order to give sacrifice. It sounds here, like Saul blamed the people for his disobedience. Samuel asked Saul if he thought it better to make sacrifice, then to be obedient to the Lord. Then Samuel told him, that it was better to obey then to make sacrifices, and that hearkening to the Lord was better than giving the fat of rams. His disobedience had led the people to rebellion against the commandments of the Lord, which was equal to witchcraft, iniquity and idolatry. As a result of his choice to reject the word of the Lord, the Lord now rejected Saul as the king.

24 And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice.
25 Now therefore, I pray thee, pardon my sin, and turn again with me, that I may worship the Lord.
26 And Samuel said unto Saul, I will not return with thee: for thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord hath rejected thee from being king over Israel.
27 And as Samuel turned about to go away, he laid hold upon the skirt of his mantle, and it rent.
28 And Samuel said unto him, The Lord hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbour of thine, that is better than thou.
29 And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent.
30 Then he said, I have sinned: yet honour me now, I pray thee, before the elders of my people, and before Israel, and turn again with me, that I may worship the Lord thy God.
31 So Samuel turned again after Saul; and Saul worshipped the Lord.

Saul realized that he had been too concerned with what the people thought, and had sinned against God. Saul asked for forgiveness, and wanted Samuel to return with him, so that he could worship the Lord. Samuel refused because Saul had been rejected by the Lord. Samuel left to leave, and rent his clothes, saying that the kingdom of Israel had been torn from Saul and given to another who was more worthy of it. Samuel had great sorrow for the choice that Saul had made. Saul acknowledged his sin and begged for Samuel to allow him to worship the Lord. I do not believe Saul’s sorrow for his sin, had reached the kind of godly sorrow necessary for true repentance, because his desire was to worship before men. Even still, Samuel allowed Saul to worship.

32 Then said Samuel, Bring ye hither to me Agag the king of the Amalekites. And Agag came unto him delicately. And Agag said, Surely the bitterness of death is past.
33 And Samuel said, As thy sword hath made women childless, so shall thy mother be childless among women. And Samuel hewed Agag in pieces before the Lord in Gilgal.

Samuel had Agag, the king of the Amalekites, brought to him. Agag was destroyed, just as he had destroyed many of the Israelites. Samuel needed to make right, what Saul had not done. In this, Saul, as well as all of Israel, would see that their leaders needed to obey God. Samuel stood firmly on the Lord’s side.

34 Then Samuel went to Ramah; and Saul went up to his house to Gibeah of Saul.
35 And Samuel came no more to see Saul until the day of his death: nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul: and the Lord repented that he had made Saul king over Israel.

Samuel left and went to Ramah. Saul returned to his home and was not visited by Samuel again, until the day he died. Samuel mourned for the loss of Saul.

God is no respecter of persons. He had extended a calling to a man, who could have chosen to live his life in harmony with the will of the Lord, and he would have been blessed. When he made choices based on the words and actions of his subjects, rather than following the strict instructions given by the Lord, he had placed his desires before the Lord. In effect, he had chosen to worship another before God. He forfeited the honor to be called of God. We cannot expect that the Lord will favor us in our own choices of disobedience. The Lord blesses those who follow his commandments with faith and trust in Him. He will not bless those who willfully choose to go against his commandments, whether they are a king or a beggar. How sad it must have been for Samuel to see the loss of the potential in Saul. I believe that God is a loving Father in Heaven, and It makes me wonder about the kind of mourning that God experiences when his children make foolish decisions and turn away from him. I think that as Samuel mourned, the Lord must have mourned as well.

The main lesson I think we are to learn from this chapter, is that it is better to be obedient than to make sacrifices. This was something that the Lord would try to teach the men during his mortal ministry as well. Often times the Israelites and those that would follow them, were overly concerned with living the letter of their laws. They focused so hard on it, that they began to make additions to it. Soon, there was no distinction between the original law of Moses in its purity, and the laws of men which had been added to it. Men became so focused on living their laws that they missed the purpose for those original laws. They strictly observed the part of the law regarding sacrifices, but they refused to be pure in heart. The problem with this, is that being obedient will change our hearts and draw us nearer to the Lord, while the simple act of sacrifice, is only an outward symbol. Without the right frame of mind and heart, it is only something done. With an obedient soul, sacrifice becomes a sign of true worship of the Lord.

We, likewise, need to remember that it is better to be obedient than to sacrifice. For example, we can go to church every Sabbath and partake of the sacrament, which is much like going to make sacrifices in ancient times. We sacrifice our time to worship the Lord through this ordinance. We show God, with this action, that we are doing what we have been told to do, but if we are not living a life of obedience, it means nothing. In fact, it makes us unworthy in our hearts, and we will be judged accordingly. Obedience to the Lord, and to the direction He gives us through our living prophets and apostles, will draw us nearer to God. Obedience is what will allow the spirit to work in our hearts, to cause us to change. Obedience is what allows Christ the opportunity to sanctify us through his atonement. Then, when we make the sacrifices that we are asked to make, of a broken heart and a contrite spirit, we will be made clean and become more like our Savior. Alone, obedience is better than sacrifice. Together, obedience and sacrifice help us to become perfected through Christ.

1 Samuel Chapter 13

Saul had been called by the Lord, to be the king of the Israelite people. He lived in a time when the Israelites were largely following after their own wisdom and not living according to the will of the Lord. In the beginning of his rule, Saul had delivered the people from the hands of the Ammonites. He had not boasted of himself, but had done what he could to remind the people that their deliverance had come the Lord. This chapter begins:

1 Saul reigned one year; and when he had reigned two years over Israel,
2 Saul chose him three thousand men of Israel; whereof two thousand were with Saul in Michmash and in mount Beth-el, and a thousand were with Jonathan in Gibeah of Benjamin: and the rest of the people he sent every man to his tent.
3 And Jonathan smote the garrison of the Philistines that was in Geba, and the Philistines heard of it. And Saul blew the trumpet throughout all the land, saying, Let the Hebrews hear.
4 And all Israel heard say that Saul had smitten a garrison of the Philistines, and that Israel also was had in abomination with the Philistines. And the people were called together after Saul to Gilgal.

Saul had been the king for two years, when he chose 3,000 men as soldiers. The rest of the army were allowed to return to their homes. Jonathan, his son, was over 1,000 of the soldiers in Gibeah. They smote the Philistine soldiers that had been in Geba. The Philistines got word of this. Saul made the sound of the trumpet heard in all the land, that they would know that a garrison of the Philistines had been smitten. The people were called to gather in Gilgal.

5 And the Philistines gathered themselves together to fight with Israel, thirty thousand chariots, and six thousand horsemen, and people as the sand which is on the sea shore in multitude: and they came up, and pitched in Michmash, eastward from Beth-aven.
6 When the men of Israel saw that they were in a strait, (for the people were distressed,) then the people did hide themselves in caves, and in thickets, and in rocks, and in high places, and in pits.
7 And some of the Hebrews went over Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead. As for Saul, he was yet in Gilgal, and all the people followed him trembling.

A Philistine army gathered in Michmash, with 30,000 chariots, 6,000 horsemen, and a host of men to fight. The Israelites were worried. Those in or near that area hid themselves or fled to Gilead in the land of Gad. Saul remained in Gilgal, but the people with him were scared.

8 And he tarried seven days, according to the set time that Samuel had appointed: but Samuel came not to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him.
9 And Saul said, Bring hither a burnt offering to me, and peace offerings. And he offered the burnt offering.
10 And it came to pass, that as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him, that he might salute him.

He waited for Samuel for seven days, which was when they had planned to meet there. I think that this was probably a yearly ritual and sacrifice, which they went through in order to follow the law of Moses. It may have been close to the anniversary of his becoming king over Israel. Samuel did not come. The people began to leave him, so Saul decided to make a burnt offering himself instead of waiting for Samuel any longer. He was the king, and could probably make demands that things be done his own way, rather than strictly following the tradition of sacrifices which had been followed for many years. After making the sacrifice, Samuel arrived, and Saul went to meet him.

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;
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 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.
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.
15 And Samuel arose, and gat him up from Gilgal unto Gibeah of Benjamin. And Saul numbered the people that were present with him, about six hundred men.
16 And Saul, and Jonathan his son, and the people that were present with them, abode in Gibeah of Benjamin: but the Philistines encamped in Michmash.

Samuel asked Saul what he had done. Saul explained his reasons for making an offering to the Lord, including worry that he would not have been able to perform sacrifices before being attacked by the Philistines. Saul told Samuel that he had taken it upon himself to make the offering, as if he could give himself the priesthood authority to do so. Samuel told him that he made a poor decision when he did this, and that it went against the commandment of the Lord. If he had been faithful in the commandments, the Lord would have been with him in his continued leadership in Israel. But now, Saul was given the promise that his kingdom would not continue and that the Lord would call another to lead Israel. Saul was left with 600 of the men, including Jonathan, when he left Gilgal and went to Gibeah. Meanwhile, the Philistines were still camped against them.

17 And the spoilers came out of the camp of the Philistines in three companies: one company turned unto the way that leadeth to Ophrah, unto the land of Shual:
18 And another company turned the way to Beth-horon: and another company turned to the way of the border that looketh to the valley of Zeboim toward the wilderness.

The Philistines sent companies of men toward Ophrah, Beth-horon, and the border towards Zeboim.

19 Now there was no smith found throughout all the land of Israel: for the Philistines said, Lest the Hebrews make them swords or spears:
20 But all the Israelites went down to the Philistines, to sharpen every man his share, and his coulter, and his axe, and his mattock.
21 Yet they had a file for the mattocks, and for the coulters, and for the forks, and for the axes, and to sharpen the goads.
22 So it came to pass in the day of battle, that there was neither sword nor spear found in the hand of any of the people that were with Saul and Jonathan: but with Saul and with Jonathan his son was there found.
23 And the garrison of the Philistines went out to the passage of Michmash.

While under the oppression of the Philistines, the Israelites were not allowed to have any blacksmith. This was to prevent them from making any swords or spears. Instead they would have to go into the land of the Philistines to have their tools made and sharpened. Therefore, when the battle was upon them, the army of Saul did not have any swords or spears with them. As this chapter ends, the Philistines were prepared to fight them.

One thing I learn from this chapter, is that Saul had a good intention with his desire to sacrifice to the Lord. I believe it was so that they would have the Lord on their side during the upcoming battle against their enemy. However, he made the sacrifice and offering in a manner that was not authorized by God. Even though his desires were not entirely bad, he went against the strict rules given to them regarding who was to make sacrifices. Without the authority of the priesthood in the ritual of sacrifice, it was not only incorrect, but evil in the sight of God. This reminds me of the first mortal conflict we learn of in the bible. In the story of Cain and Able, the people had been commanded to make sacrifices. Even at that point there were guidelines to adhere to, and Cain had the good desire to give a sacrifice. But in his choices regarding that sacrifice to God, he did not follow the instructions for an acceptable offering. Therefore, his sacrifice was not accepted by God and consequences followed. We are not immune to making the same kinds of mistakes in our own lives. There are many opportunities when one might desire to do something good, but like Cain and Saul, should not change the established pattern or take the responsibility on themselves. God is a god of order, and He has asked that his ordinances and laws be followed strictly, in part, so that they are done correctly and completely. This allows us the opportunity to take full advantage of the blessings that should come as a result, rather than for us to be held accountable for the covenants we make, without the fullness of His blessings upon us.

I knew a group of girls once, who innocently did something a lot like this story of Saul. It was a group of young LDS (Latter-day Saints) girls who were on a school trip away from home. It was on a Sunday, and they were unable to attend church. They decided that they would have their own sacrament meeting where they were staying and the group of them took it upon themselves to bless and administer the sacrament. These girls were young and did not have the knowledge and understanding for this to be considered evil, but it was incorrect. They did not have the priesthood. Without the priesthood authority they did not have the ability to follow after the pattern that the Lord has established for the ordinance of the Sacrament. The intention was good, but it was not a good choice. I don’t know the outcome, but I am sure there was a lesson to be learned about the ordinances of the priesthood. This is an simple example of how these things can happen in our own lives.

With regard to the priesthood, modern revelation found in Doctrine and Covenants 121:39, teaches us, “We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.” How does this apply to Saul? He was the ruler of Israel. He had dominion over the people and was an example of how they should live. He would have been taught the proper order of the ordinances and statutes related to offerings and sacrifices. It is very possible he knew of the ancient story of Cain as well. Saul knew that he was stepping outside of his authority, and yet he did so in order to get his personal desired result. In doing this, he forfeited the blessings of God upon his leadership. In a way Saul was putting his own judgement and wisdom before God. How does this apply to us? We forfeit the blessings promised to us, when we put our own wisdom before the wisdom of the Lord. When we participate in the ordinances and covenants of the gospel of Jesus Christ, we must do it in the manner which the Lord has established. When we follow the pattern established by the Lord, we can receive the fullness of His blessings in our lives.

1 Samuel Chapter 10

The Lord gave a revelation to the prophet Samuel, that Saul was to be the king of Israel. Saul was told that he was the answer to the prayers of Israel, and was given honor at a meal with Samuel. As Samuel escorted Saul from the city the following day, he told Saul to remain so that Samuel could tell him the word of the Lord. This next chapter begins with the following:

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?
2 When thou art departed from me to day, then thou shalt find two men by Rachel’s sepulchre in the border of Benjamin at Zelzah; and they will say unto thee, The asses which thou wentest to seek are found: and, lo, thy father hath left the care of the asses, and sorroweth for you, saying, What shall I do for my son?
3 Then shalt thou go on forward from thence, and thou shalt come to the plain of Tabor, and there shall meet thee three men going up to God to Beth-el, one carrying three kids, and another carrying three loaves of bread, and another carrying a bottle of wine:
4 And they will salute thee, and give thee two loaves of bread; which thou shalt receive of their hands.
5 After that thou shalt come to the hill of God, where is the garrison of the Philistines: and it shall come to pass, when thou art come thither to the city, that thou shalt meet a company of prophets coming down from the high place with a psaltery, and a tabret, and a pipe, and a harp, before them; and they shall prophesy:
6 And the Spirit of the Lord will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man.
7 And let it be, when these signs are come unto thee, that thou do as occasion serve thee; for God is with thee.
8 And thou shalt go down before me to Gilgal; and, behold, I will come down unto thee, to offer burnt offerings, and to sacrifice sacrifices of peace offerings: seven days shalt thou tarry, till I come to thee, and shew thee what thou shalt do.

Samuel anointed Saul as the captain over the Lord’s inheritance. Saul was called by the Lord, and was anointed according to the ancient custom. I think anointing was possibly a way of dedicating the service of the king, to the Lord. Today, those who receive calls from the Lord to serve in his church, are set-apart by the authority of the priesthood and by the laying on of hands, and they then receive a blessing to help them in their service. Being set-apart is a way of dedicating one to the service of the Lord.

Samuel, in his role as a seer, told Saul that as he would be traveling, two men would approach him and tell him that his father’s donkeys had been found and that his father had begun to be concerned for him. Then as Saul continued on his way, he would come upon three men taking offerings to the place of worship. They would salute him and give him two of their loaves of bread. Then, Saul would go to the hill of God, where there were Philistine guards, and he would meet a company of prophets with musicians in front of them. They would prophecy and then Saul would receive the spirit of prophesy and appear as someone new. Theses things would be a sign to Saul, and he would know that the Lord was with him. Then Saul was to go to Gilgal and Samuel would go there to make offerings and sacrifice peace offerings. Saul was to stay there for seven days, until Samuel met him there.

In the course of this revelation, we can see that the Lord was looking out for Saul. First, he would have confirmation that the donkeys he had been searching for, had been found and he did not need to continue looking or worrying about them. Likewise, there would be those who could return to his father and tell him that Saul was alright. With that, Saul could continue on his way without concern that his father was worried about where he was. Next, we learned in the previous chapter, that Saul and his servant had nothing left to give when they had went looking for Samuel. When they headed to the high place, which Samuel was now referring to, they would want again to bring an offering. Along their way, they would meet three men who would give them bread which they could them take with them to the high place. The experience of being among prophets and prophesying with them, would show people, who already knew Saul, that he was not the same boy they had seen grow up. It could help some to support him in his calling as their king. In addition, these things would be able to give Saul courage and greater confidence to approach his calling, because he could know that the Lord was on his side.

9 And it was so, that when he had turned his back to go from Samuel, God gave him another heart: and all those signs came to pass that day.
10 And when they came thither to the hill, behold, a company of prophets met him; and the Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied among them.
11 And it came to pass, when all that knew him beforetime saw that, behold, he prophesied among the prophets, then the people said one to another, What is this that is come unto the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?
12 And one of the same place answered and said, But who is their father? Therefore it became a proverb, Is Saul also among the prophets?
13 And when he had made an end of prophesying, he came to the high place.

God blessed Saul with all the things that Samuel had prophesied for him. The Lord gave Saul a new heart. He was met by the prophets and he prophesied with them as he was given the spiritual gift to do so. The people who had known him, were surprised at what they witnessed. When he was done being among the prophets, he went to the high place, just as Samuel had instructed.

When the spirit touches men, it changes their hearts. The spirit has the power to help us become new people. The spirit is the power that brings conversion to the Lord. I’m not sure how much the heart of Saul was changed from the person he was before, but it had an effect on him, which I believe was intended to prepare him for becoming the king for the people. I believe also, that this change of heart came to Saul, because he acted in faith. He was given instruction by the prophet of the Lord, and he followed those instructions with faith. We can also experience a change of heart, that is powerful and will convert us into the person that God wants us to be. As with Saul, this will only come to us, if we listen to the words of the prophet, both ancient and modern, and follow with faith in the Lord.

14 And Saul’s uncle said unto him and to his servant, Whither went ye? And he said, To seek the asses: and when we saw that they were no where, we came to Samuel.
15 And Saul’s uncle said, Tell me, I pray thee, what Samuel said unto you.
16 And Saul said unto his uncle, He told us plainly that the asses were found. But of the matter of the kingdom, whereof Samuel spake, he told him not.

Saul’s uncle came to him and asked where he and his servant had gone. Saul told him what had happened as they searched for the donkeys. His uncle asked what Samuel had told him. The only part of it that Saul told his uncle, was that Samuel had told them the donkeys had been found.

17 And Samuel called the people together unto the Lord to Mizpeh;
18 And said unto the children of Israel, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, I brought up Israel out of Egypt, and delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all kingdoms, and of them that oppressed you:
19 And ye have this day rejected your God, who himself saved you out of all your adversities and your tribulations; and ye have said unto him, Nay, but set a king over us. Now therefore present yourselves before the Lord by your tribes, and by your thousands.
20 And when Samuel had caused all the tribes of Israel to come near, the tribe of Benjamin was taken.
21 When he had caused the tribe of Benjamin to come near by their families, the family of Matri was taken, and Saul the son of Kish was taken: and when they sought him, he could not be found.
22 Therefore they inquired of the Lord further, if the man should yet come thither. And the Lord answered, Behold, he hath hid himself among the stuff.
23 And they ran and fetched him thence: and when he stood among the people, he was higher than any of the people from his shoulders and upward.
24 And Samuel said to all the people, See ye him whom the Lord hath chosen, that there is none like him among all the people? And all the people shouted, and said, God save the king.
25 Then Samuel told the people the manner of the kingdom, and wrote it in a book, and laid it up before the Lord. And Samuel sent all the people away, every man to his house.

In Mizpeh, which I am guessing is the high place referred to earlier in this chapter, Samuel called the people together. Samuel told them the word of the Lord, which was first a reminder of the deliverance of the Israelites from Egyptian bondage and from all other oppressors. He told them that in that day, they had rejected God as their ruler and had desired a king to rule over them. He called the people to present themselves to the Lord by their tribes. Once they did this, Samuel called the tribe of Benjamin out from among them. Saul was called out from the tribe of Benjamin, but he was not found right away. They prayed to the Lord to know where he was, and they were told that Saul had hid himself. They found him and brought him in the midst of the people, where Samuel announced that Saul had been chosen by the Lord. The people recognized Saul as the king. Samuel gave the people instructions regarding the kingdom, which were recorded, as the scriptures were recorded. Then, the people were sent to their homes.

26 And Saul also went home to Gibeah; and there went with him a band of men, whose hearts God had touched.
27 But the children of Belial said, How shall this man save us? And they despised him, and brought him no presents. But he held his peace.

Saul returned to his homeland, with a band of men who had been inspired to go with him. Some people among the Israelites, who followed after the false gods, questioned the ability for Saul to save them from the Philistines and other enemies. The doubted his calling and they refused to honor him as their king, but Saul kept peace, or ignored them. There will be times, and have been many times, when people do not support the callings extended to certain individuals by the Lord. This is their choice. All we can do ourselves, is to allow individuals to voice their opinions or concerns and move forward in the work of the Lord as He has inspired us to do so. I believe that we grow so much more, and in the ways that God would have us grow, when we sustain and support those who have been called to lead us. I am grateful for the blessing of the spirit, which as I have followed in faith, has confirmed in my heart that those who lead our church today, are indeed men and women called of God.

Here we see, that when the desires of the people of the Lord are united, the Lord will give them what they want. In this case, they desired for a king. I believe the wisdom of the Lord was that the people of Israel would learn from this experience, even if it was not what the Lord desired for them. God did not place people here on this earth, to force us to do His will. We were blessed with agency and God wants us to learn from choices that we make, both the good and bad. If we draw near to Him, we will know what He desires for us and He will be able to bless us greatly for being obedient and loving children. However, if we reject God, as the Israelites did, we may get the things that we want in this life, but God will not be able to give us the blessings later. Our loving Father in Heaven, will allow us to choose for ourselves, so that we can receive the consequences of our choices, good or bad, and learn for ourselves those things that we should learn from this mortal experience.

1 Samuel Chapter 6

The ark of the covenant was lost to the Philistines during a battle in Eben-ezer. The Philistines had taken it as a spoil of the battle, but when then returned to Ashdod, and placed it next to the idol of their god, Dagon, the idol was destroyed and their people began to be afflicted with a plague and destruction. After this destruction was brought upon three different cities in which they had tried to place the ark, it was decided that they needed to get rid of it to save their people. This account continues with the following:

1 And the ark of the Lord was in the country of the Philistines seven months.
2 And the Philistines called for the priests and the diviners, saying, What shall we do to the ark of the Lord? tell us wherewith we shall send it to his place.
3 And they said, If ye send away the ark of the God of Israel, send it not empty; but in any wise return him a trespass offering: then ye shall be healed, and it shall be known to you why his hand is not removed from you.
4 Then said they, What shall be the trespass offering which we shall return to him? They answered, Five golden emerods, and five golden mice, according to the number of the lords of the Philistines: for one plague was on you all, and on your lords.
5 Wherefore ye shall make images of your emerods, and images of your mice that mar the land; and ye shall give glory unto the God of Israel: peradventure he will lighten his hand from off you, and from off your gods, and from off your land.
6 Wherefore then do ye harden your hearts, as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? when he had wrought wonderfully among them, did they not let the people go, and they departed?
7 Now therefore make a new cart, and take two milch kine, on which there hath come no yoke, and tie the kine to the cart, and bring their calves home from them:
8 And take the ark of the Lord, and lay it upon the cart; and put the jewels of gold, which ye return him for a trespass offering, in a coffer by the side thereof; and send it away, that it may go.
9 And see, if it goeth up by the way of his own coast to Beth-shemesh, then he hath done us this great evil: but if not, then we shall know that it is not his hand that smote us; it was a chance that happened to us.

The Philistines moved the ark away from their cities and into the country, where it stayed for seven months. They sought guidance from their priests and diviners to know where they should put the ark. They decided that they should return the ark, but if they were to send it to the Israelites, they needed to do it along with an offering to the Israelite god, so that the Philistine land could be saved of the curse placed upon them. They asked their priests what they should give as an offering, and they were told to give golden images of the plagues that had been placed upon them. This was in hopes that it would be a tribute to God, who would then lighten the curse.

The diviners told them not to be like pharaoh of Egypt, who did not do what was necessary once he saw relief from a curse from the Israelite God. I think that sometimes we can unwisely fall into this trap ourselves. When times are hard, it is easier to remember the Lord and turn to Him. Some of us may even make promises to God that we will make some kind of change to be free of our trials and adversity. Then, when we are blessed with relief from that difficulty, we do not feel the need to follow through on the promises we make, or continue as changed people. The Lord will hold us accountable for those choices and promises we make. We should not be like the pharaoh of Egypt, because once he went against his promise to Moses and the Israelites, God sent another, more difficult plague to afflict his people. Our consequences for breaking promises, or covenants, will be much greater than the trials we may have experienced in the first place.

The diviners and priests told the Philistines to place the ark on a new cart carried by two unburdened milking cows, along with the golden images they were to make. Then they were to let it go and see if it would return into the borders of Israel through Beth-shemesh. If if did not, they would take it as a sign that the plagues had been brought upon them by chance, not by the god of Israel. If it did go directly into the Israelite land, they would know that the god of Israel had brought these things upon them.

10 And the men did so; and took two milch kine, and tied them to the cart, and shut up their calves at home:
11 And they laid the ark of the Lord upon the cart, and the coffer with the mice of gold and the images of their emerods.
12 And the kine took the straight way to the way of Beth-shemesh, and went along the highway, lowing as they went, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left; and the lords of the Philistines went after them unto the border of Beth-shemesh.
13 And they of Beth-shemesh were reaping their wheat harvest in the valley: and they lifted up their eyes, and saw the ark, and rejoiced to see it.
14 And the cart came into the field of Joshua, a Beth-shemite, and stood there, where there was a great stone: and they clave the wood of the cart, and offered the kine a burnt offering unto the Lord.
15 And the Levites took down the ark of the Lord, and the coffer that was with it, wherein the jewels of gold were, and put them on the great stone: and the men of Beth-shemesh offered burnt offerings and sacrificed sacrifices the same day unto the Lord.
16 And when the five lords of the Philistines had seen it, they returned to Ekron the same day.
17 And these are the golden emerods which the Philistines returned for a trespass offering unto the Lord; for Ashdod one, for Gaza one, for Askelon one, for Gath one, for Ekron one;
18 And the golden mice, according to the number of all the cities of the Philistines belonging to the five lords, both of fenced cities, and of country villages, even unto the great stone of Abel, whereon they set down the ark of the Lord: which stone remaineth unto this day in the field of Joshua, the Beth-shemite.

The men did as they were told. The cows walked a straight path through the border of the city Beth-shemesh in Israel. A leader of the Philistines followed it as it went. Farmers in Beth-shemesh rejoiced to see the ark as it passed. The cows stopped in the field of a man named Joshua, and the Israelites took the cart and cows, and gave a burnt offering to the Lord. The Levites placed the ark and the gold offerings on a great stone in the field (the stone of Abel), and the people of the city gave offerings and sacrifices to the Lord that day. Once the Philistine lords witnessed this, they returned to Ekron.

19 And he smote the men of Beth-shemesh, because they had looked into the ark of the Lord, even he smote of the people fifty thousand and threescore and ten men: and the people lamented, because the Lord had smitten many of the people with a great slaughter.
20 And the men of Beth-shemesh said, Who is able to stand before this holy Lord God? and to whom shall he go up from us?

The Lord killed 50,070 men of the land of Beth-shemesh, because some had chosen to look into the ark of the Lord. The Israelites should have known better than to do this, because the Lord had established long before, that only those who were Levites, were to have anything to do with the sacred items used in the tabernacle. They had been given the priesthood authority to care for these things, especially the ark of the covenant. Had they been Levites, who knew how to perform their duties and were strict in their obedience, they would have known that no man was to look upon these things, because they represented the glory of the Lord. No man could stand in the presence of the glory of the Lord, and survive it, without becoming changed by the Lord. Without the expressed permission of the Lord, they brought death upon themselves. The people mourned and lamented their loss. They did not know who could stand before the Lord, meaning I think, who could move the ark, and they did not know where the ark was to go.

21 And they sent messengers to the inhabitants of Kirjath-jearim, saying, The Philistines have brought again the ark of the Lord; come ye down, and fetch it up to you.

They sent messengers to Kirjath-Jearim, to ask that they come and take the ark from Beth-shemesh.

I feel as though the Lord was reestablishing the sacred nature of the ark of the covenant, to the Israelites and those among other nations who were aware of it. It had been a long time since the Israelites had fled Egypt into the wilderness, and since he had caused that they should make the ark along with all the other sacred parts of the tabernacle of the Lord. They learned early on, that no one was to touch the ark, for fear of death. They learned that the power of the Lord was upon it. But over time, it seems they had forgotten some of these things. It is clear that they felt the Lord would be with them if they had the ark among them, but they had forgotten who they were in relation to the Lord. Moses had learned that man is powerless in comparison to the Lord. In Moses 1:10 we read, “And it came to pass that it was for the space of many hours before Moses did again receive his natural strength like unto man; and he said unto himself: Now, for this cause I know that man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed.” We are the reason for the plan of God, and yet, compared to God, we are nothing. This is a humbling lesson to learn, and I think that it is one of the lessons that this story of the ark is able to teach us if we are willing to recognize it.


About My Scripture Study Buddy

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.

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