Posts Tagged 'Courage'

1 Chronicles Chapter 8

Benjamin was the son of Jacob and his beloved wife Rachel. His mother died just after his birth. He was the brother of Joseph, and made a bargaining chip for Joseph before he revealed himself in Egypt. This chapter of Chronicles (which I have done my best to understand, but it may not be a perfect understanding) lists the sons of Benjamin and it begins with the following:

1 Now Benjamin begat Bela his firstborn, Ashbel the second, and Aharah the third,
2 Nohah the fourth, and Rapha the fifth.
3 And the sons of Bela were, Addar, and Gera, and Abihud,
4 And Abishua, and Naaman, and Ahoah,
5 And Gera, and Shephuphan, and Huram.
6 And these are the sons of Ehud: these are the heads of the fathers of the inhabitants of Geba, and they removed them to Manahath:
7 And Naaman, and Ahiah, and Gera, he removed them, and begat Uzza, and Ahihud.
8 And Shaharaim begat children in the country of Moab, after he had sent them away; Hushim and Baara were his wives.
9 And he begat of Hodesh his wife, Jobab, and Zibia, and Mesha, and Malcham,
10 And Jeuz, and Shachia, and Mirma. These were his sons, heads of the fathers.
11 And of Hushim he begat Abitub, and Elpaal.

Benjamin had five sons named Bela, Ashbel, Aharah, Nohah, and Rapha. His firstborn, Bela, was the father of Addar, Gera, Abihud, Abishua, Naaman, Ahoah, Gera, Shephuphan, and Huram. Bela’s sons were the sons of Ehud, who lived in Geba. In the Bible Dictionary, it says that Ehud was the son of Gera. Ehud was raised up by the Lord, to deliver Israel. They had been oppressed by Eglon, king of Moab, for 18 years. Ehud took a present to Eglon, but when left alone after he delivered it, he killed the king and then escaped. He went on to lead Israel to subdue Moab and have peace for 80 years. (see Judges 3-4) The sons of Ehud were relocated to Manahath. Naaman, Ahiah, and Gera were removed, and he became the father of Uzza and Ahihud. After they were sent away, Shaharaim had children in Moab. He was married to Hushim and Baara. Shaharaim was the father of Jobab, Zibia, Mesha, Malcham, Jeuz, Shachia, and Mirma, by his wife Hodesh. By his wife Hushim, he was the father of Abitub and Elpaal.

12 The sons of Elpaal; Eber, and Misham, and Shamed, who built Ono, and Lod, with the towns thereof:
13 Beriah also, and Shema, who were heads of the fathers of the inhabitants of Aijalon, who drove away the inhabitants of Gath:
14 And Ahio, Shashak, and Jeremoth,
15 And Zebadiah, and Arad, and Ader,
16 And Michael, and Ispah, and Joha, the sons of Beriah;
17 And Zebadiah, and Meshullam, and Hezeki, and Heber,
18 Ishmerai also, and Jezliah, and Jobab, the sons of Elpaal;
19 And Jakim, and Zichri, and Zabdi,
20 And Elienai, and Zilthai, and Eliel,
21 And Adaiah, and Beraiah, and Shimrath, the sons of Shimhi;
22 And Ishpan, and Heber, and Eliel,
23 And Abdon, and Zichri, and Hanan,
24 And Hananiah, and Elam, and Antothijah,
25 And Iphedeiah, and Penuel, the sons of Shashak;
26 And Shamsherai, and Shehariah, and Athaliah,
27 And Jaresiah, and Eliah, and Zichri, the sons of Jeroham.
28 These were heads of the fathers, by their generations, chief men. These dwelt in Jerusalem.

Elpaal was the patriarch of Eber, Misham, Shamed (builder of Ono and Lod), Beriah and Shema (fathers of the people who lived in Aijalon, who drove away the people of Gath); Ahio, Shashak, Jeremoth, Zebadiah, Arad, Ader, Michael, Ispah, and Jona (sons of Beriah); Zebadiah, Meshullam, Hezeki, Heber, Ishmerai, Jezliah, and Jobab (sons of Elpaal); Jakim, Zichri, Zabdi, Elienai, Zilthai, Eliel, Adaiah, Beraiah, and Shimrath (sons of Shimhi); Ishpan, Heber, Eliel, Abdon, Zichri, Hanan, Hananiah, Elam, Antothijah, Iphedeiah, and Penuel (sons of Shashak); and Shamsherai, Shehariah, Athaliah, Jaresiah, Eliah, and Zichri (sons of Jeroham). These men were the chiefs of the tribe of Benjamin, and they lived in Jerusalem.

29 And at Gibeon dwelt the father of Gibeon; whose wife’s name was Maachah:
30 And his firstborn son Abdon, and Zur, and Kish, and Baal, and Nadab,
31 And Gedor, and Ahio, and Zacher.
32 And Mikloth begat Shimeah. And these also dwelt with their brethren in Jerusalem, over against them.

The father of Gibeon, who lived there, was married to Maachah. He was the father of Abdon, Zur, Kish, Baal, Nadab, Gedor, Ahio, and Zacher. Mikloth was the father of Shimeah, and they lived in Jerusalem with their family.

33 And Ner begat Kish, and Kish begat Saul, and Saul begat Jonathan, and Malchi-shua, and Abinadab, and Esh-baal.
34 And the son of Jonathan was Merib-baal; and Merib-baal begat Micah.
35 And the sons of Micah were, Pithon, and Melech, and Tarea, and Ahaz.
36 And Ahaz begat Jehoadah; and Jehoadah begat Alemeth, and Azmaveth, and Zimri; and Zimri begat Moza,
37 And Moza begat Binea: Rapha was his son, Eleasah his son, Azel his son:
38 And Azel had six sons, whose names are these, Azrikam, Bocheru, and Ishmael, and Sheariah, and Obadiah, and Hanan. All these were the sons of Azel.
39 And the sons of Eshek his brother were, Ulam his firstborn, Jehush the second, and Eliphelet the third.
40 And the sons of Ulam were mighty men of valour, archers, and had many sons, and sons’ sons, an hundred and fifty. All these are of the sons of Benjamin.

Ner was the father of Kish, who was the father of Saul. (In 1 Samuel 9:1, we learn that Kish was the son of Abiel, who was the son of Zeror, who was the son of Bechorath, who was the son of Aphiah. Then in chapter 14, it says that Ner was the uncle of Saul, not the grandfather. This would make Ner the son of Abiel as well.) Saul was the first king of Israel, who was eventually rejected by the Lord for disobedience to counsel and was succeeded by David. Saul was the father of Jonathan, Malchishua, Abinadab, and Esh-baal. (In 1 Samuel 14:49, it says that Saul was the father of Jonathan, Ishui, and Melchi-shua.) Jonathan was the beloved friend of David. (see 1 Samuel 18:1) Jonathan was the father of Merib-baal (Mephibosheth), who was the father of Micah. Merib-baal was the surviving son after the death of Jonathan and his father Saul. (see 2 Samuel 4) Micah was the father of Pithon, Melech, Tarea, and Ahaz. Ahaz was the father of Jehoadah, who was the father of Alemeth, Azmaveth, and Zimri. Zimri was the father of Moza, who was the father of Binea. Binea was the patriarch of Rapha, Eleasah, and Azel. Azel was the father of Azrikam, Bocheru, Ishmael, Sheariah, Obadiah, and Hanan. Eshek, the brother of Azel, was the father of Ulam, Jehush, and Eliphelet. Ulam was the father of mighty men of valor. His sons and their sons totaled 150, and they were archers.

There were not a lot of men from Benjamin who were mentioned in the scriptures other than being named on this list, but the few of note were significant in the history of the children of Israel. Ehud, Saul and Jonathan were all men of valor, who led the people in battles and served to deliver Israel from their enemies. While, Saul’s personal ambitions and weaknesses led him down a path of self-destruction, he did lead for years as the Lord had intended him to do. It shows again, that leadership, strength, and courage came from more than just one tribe in Israel. The Lord continues to raise people from different families, groups, and nations to lead his people today. He is no respecter of persons, but looks within for those who have faith and courage to follow Him.

Advertisements

2 Samuel Chapter 13

David had many wives and concubines during his life. His first wife named Michal, who was the daughter of Saul, was not able to have children with him, but with his other wives he had several sons, namely Amnon, Chilean, Absalom, Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon, Ibhar, Elishua, Nepheg, Japhia, Elishama, Eliada, Eliphalet, and Solomon (See chapters 3, 5, and 12 of 2 Samuel). He had at least one daughter as well, but I cannot recall if she was not mentioned in the previous chapters. This chapter is about two of his sons who were born before he ruled in Israel, Amnon, his firstborn, and Absalom. These two were half-brothers, who only shared David as their father. The chapter begins:

1 And it came to pass after this, that Absalom the son of David had a fair sister, whose name was Tamar; and Amnon the son of David loved her.
2 And Amnon was so vexed, that he fell sick for his sister Tamar; for she was a virgin; and Amnon thought it hard for him to do any thing to her.
3 But Amnon had a friend, whose name was Jonadab, the son of Shimeah David’s brother: and Jonadab was a very subtil man.
4 And he said unto him, Why art thou, being the king’s son, lean from day to day? wilt thou not tell me? And Amnon said unto him, I love Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister.
5 And Jonadab said unto him, Lay thee down on thy bed, and make thyself sick: and when thy father cometh to see thee, say unto him, I pray thee, let my sister Tamar come, and give me meat, and dress the meat in my sight, that I may see it, and eat it at her hand.

Amnon loved the daughter of David, Tamar, who happened to be the fair virgin sister of Absalom. He desired to have her so much that he became sick over it. His friend and cousin, Jonadab, the nephew of David, saw that he was sick and possibly loosing weight, and asked why. Amnon told him his problem, and Jonadab, who is described as a subtil, or clever man, told him to lay in his bed sick. When his father would come to see him, he planned to ask him for his Tamar to bring food to his bedside, and then prepare it for him and feed him. I don’t think that the love Amnon felt for Tamar, was real love, but rather a physical attraction and a desire to be with her. He knew this was not right.

6 So Amnon lay down, and made himself sick: and when the king was come to see him, Amnon said unto the king, I pray thee, let Tamar my sister come, and make me a couple of cakes in my sight, that I may eat at her hand.
7 Then David sent home to Tamar, saying, Go now to thy brother Amnon’s house, and dress him meat.
8 So Tamar went to her brother Amnon’s house; and he was laid down. And she took flour, and kneaded it, and made cakes in his sight, and did bake the cakes.
9 And she took a pan, and poured them out before him; but he refused to eat. And Amnon said, Have out all men from me. And they went out every man from him.
10 And Amnon said unto Tamar, Bring the meat into the chamber, that I may eat of thine hand. And Tamar took the cakes which she had made, and brought them into the chamber to Amnon her brother.
11 And when she had brought them unto him to eat, he took hold of her, and said unto her, Come lie with me, my sister.
12 And she answered him, Nay, my brother, do not force me; for no such thing ought to be done in Israel: do not thou this folly.
13 And I, whither shall I cause my shame to go? and as for thee, thou shalt be as one of the fools in Israel. Now therefore, I pray thee, speak unto the king; for he will not withhold me from thee.
14 Howbeit he would not hearken unto her voice: but, being stronger than she, forced her, and lay with her.

Amnon went through with his plan, and when Tamar followed the instructions of her father, Amnon refused to eat the cakes she had made. Instead, he asked all the men to leave him and told Tamar to bring the food into his room. When she did, he took hold of her and told her to lie with him. She refused and told him not to force her because it would bring her shame, and he would look like a fool. It was strictly against the statutes of God, for a man to be with the daughter of his father. Tamar pleaded with him to ask their father, David, if he could have her, but Amnon would not listen and using his strength against her, forced Tamar to be with him.

15 Then Amnon hated her exceedingly; so that the hatred wherewith he hated her was greater than the love wherewith he had loved her. And Amnon said unto her, Arise, be gone.
16 And she said unto him, There is no cause: this evil in sending me away is greater than the other that thou didst unto me. But he would not hearken unto her.
17 Then he called his servant that ministered unto him, and said, Put now this woman out from me, and bolt the door after her.
18 And she had a garment of divers colours upon her: for with such robes were the king’s daughters that were virgins apparelled. Then his servant brought her out, and bolted the door after her.

After this, Amnon’s love turned into an even stronger hatred for her. He told her to leave him, and even though she told him sending her away was worse than he had already done to her, he forced her out. Amnon took a bad situation and made it worse by doing this.

19 And Tamar put ashes on her head, and rent her garment of divers colours that was on her, and laid her hand on her head, and went on crying.
20 And Absalom her brother said unto her, Hath Amnon thy brother been with thee? but hold now thy peace, my sister: he is thy brother; regard not this thing. So Tamar remained desolate in her brother Absalom’s house.

Tamar mourned the unholy loss of her virginity. Her brother, Absalom, asked what had happened with Amnon, as she was crying over it. He told her not to regard this thing, because this was her brother. She stayed in Absalom’s house, and remained desoloate, or in a state of emptiness. Being a worthy and holy woman for your possible future husband, was mainly what a woman had to live for in the times of the bible. Amnon, had taken that from Tamar and then refused to keep her as his own. In effect, I think he made her feel worthless and likely very hopeless in her situation. Perhaps Absalom’s words were a way of saying that he would take care of things for her.

21 But when king David heard of all these things, he was very wroth.
22 And Absalom spake unto his brother Amnon neither good nor bad: for Absalom hated Amnon, because he had forced his sister Tamar.

King David heard what had happened and it made him angry. Not only had his son ruined the life of his daughter, but he had brought shame to his name as well. Absalom, hated his brother for doing this, and would not speak to him.

23 And it came to pass after two full years, that Absalom had sheepshearers in Baal-hazor, which is beside Ephraim: and Absalom invited all the king’s sons.
24 And Absalom came to the king, and said, Behold now, thy servant hath sheepshearers; let the king, I beseech thee, and his servants go with thy servant.
25 And the king said to Absalom, Nay, my son, let us not all now go, lest we be chargeable unto thee. And he pressed him: howbeit he would not go, but blessed him.
26 Then said Absalom, If not, I pray thee, let my brother Amnon go with us. And the king said unto him, Why should he go with thee?
27 But Absalom pressed him, that he let Amnon and all the king’s sons go with him.

Two years passed and Absalom invited all his brothers, the sons of king David, to the sheepshearers. Absalom went to David and told him of the sheepshearers, asking him to join them. David refused, saying they should not all go. After trying hard to persuade him, and David still refusing, he blessed him instead. Then, Absalom asked that Amnon go with them, but David did not want to allow it. Absalom asked again, for David to allow all of his sons to go along.

28 Now Absalom had commanded his servants, saying, Mark ye now when Amnon’s heart is merry with wine, and when I say unto you, Smite Amnon; then kill him, fear not: have not I commanded you? be courageous, and be valiant.
29 And the servants of Absalom did unto Amnon as Absalom had commanded. Then all the king’s sons arose, and every man gat him up upon his mule, and fled.

Absalom had made a plan, which is probably why he had pressed the king so hard to allow Amnon to join his brothers. Absalom told his servants by his command, to kill Amnon when he was drunk. He told them to have courage and be valiant, when he himself was not being a man of courage. If he truly felt this was an act of courage, he should have been willing to do it with his own hand, but he asked others to do it instead. The servants obeyed, and when the sons of David got up, everyone fled. The reason may have been different, but I think that they may have felt that their own lives were in danger, so they hurried to get away from Absalom.

I don’t think that revenge and planned murder of another person, could ever be considered a courageous thing. I think it would have been more courageous for the servants to stand up for what was right and tell Absalom that this thing was not right, but that there were better ways to handle the situation. And yet, the servants were obedient to his command and followed through with his plan.

30 And it came to pass, while they were in the way, that tidings came to David, saying, Absalom hath slain all the king’s sons, and there is not one of them left.
31 Then the king arose, and tare his garments, and lay on the earth; and all his servants stood by with their clothes rent.
32 And Jonadab, the son of Shimeah David’s brother, answered and said, Let not my lord suppose that they have slain all the young men the king’s sons; for Amnon only is dead: for by the appointment of Absalom this hath been determined from the day that he forced his sister Tamar.
33 Now therefore let not my lord the king take the thing to his heart, to think that all the king’s sons are dead: for Amnon only is dead.
34 But Absalom fled. And the young man that kept the watch lifted up his eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came much people by the way of the hill side behind him.
35 And Jonadab said unto the king, Behold, the king’s sons come: as thy servant said, so it is.
36 And it came to pass, as soon as he had made an end of speaking, that, behold, the king’s sons came, and lifted up their voice and wept: and the king also and all his servants wept very sore.

David heard that all of his sons were dead at the hand of Absalom, and he mourned for his sons. Jonadab, David’s nephew, who had helped Amnon come up with his original idea to be with Tamar, told him that only Amnon was dead and that Absalom had had his heart set on this since Amnon had taken advantage of Tamar. Absalom had fled, and the king’s sons returned. David and his servants wept at their return, along with David’s sons.

37 But Absalom fled, and went to Talmai, the son of Ammihud, king of Geshur. And David mourned for his son every day.
38 So Absalom fled, and went to Geshur, and was there three years.
39 And the soul of king David longed to go forth unto Absalom: for he was comforted concerning Amnon, seeing he was dead.

Absalom fled to Geshur for three years. Geshur was where his mother was from, and Talmai was family to him. Meanwhile, David had received comfort over Amnon, and so he mourned for his son and desired to go to Absalom.

I think this may have been a beginning to the fulfillment of promises made to David through the prophet Nathan. He had said that the sword would never depart from his family (see chapter 12). Here we have fighting and death among his family members and also continued mourning for David.

There is, has been, and will continue to be, times of drama within families. We are all human and we will make mistakes, especially with those whom we love the most. That is the nature of families. Even our eternal family has a bit of drama in it, with a great war and an eternal separation between family members. In this life, the hope is that as individuals, we can rely more on help from the Lord. This applies especially when we have temptations, difficulties, sorrows and struggles. In this story, things would have been different for everyone if they had relied upon God rather than seek for solutions from men. Amnon had temptation and sickness that could have been healed by turning to the Lord, rather than listening to the plan of a friend. Tamar had pain that though hard and really not her fault, could have been healed by God. Absalom had anger and temptations that could have been calmed, had he turned to God, rather than to his own plan to kill another. It would not have been easy for them. It will not always be easy for us, and it is not meant to be, but relying on the Lord, can keep families whole and intact. I believe that families which are whole, are our greatest hope for having the strength to return to our Father in Heaven and receive the eternal rewards prepared for us there.

1 Samuel Chapter 26

David had been merciful to King Saul and had spared his life while in the area of En-gedi. After confronting Saul, David had convinced him to go his way in peace. Saul had returned to his home, abandoning his plans to kill David for that time. However, in the process of hunting for David, Saul had stirred up many of the people against David. This support could have been out of fear for their lives if they went against the king, which he had shown brought death, or out of loyalty to Saul as their king. Either way, Israelites were still looking for David. The story of Saul and David continues with the following:

1 And the Ziphites came unto Saul to Gibeah, saying, Doth not David hide himself in the hill of Hachilah, which is before Jeshimon?
2 Then Saul arose, and went down to the wilderness of Ziph, having three thousand chosen men of Israel with him, to seek David in the wilderness of Ziph.
3 And Saul pitched in the hill of Hachilah, which is before Jeshimon, by the way. But David abode in the wilderness, and he saw that Saul came after him into the wilderness.
4 David therefore sent out spies, and understood that Saul was come in very deed.

Ziphite men got word to Saul, that David was hiding in the hill of Hachilah, which was in the wilderness of Ziph. Saul took an army with him, to find David, and camped in the hill. David, who was in the wilderness, saw Saul coming and sent out spies to be sure it was Saul.

5 And David arose, and came to the place where Saul had pitched: and David beheld the place where Saul lay, and Abner the son of Ner, the captain of his host: and Saul lay in the trench, and the people pitched round about him.
6 Then answered David and said to Ahimelech the Hittite, and to Abishai the son of Zeruiah, brother to Joab, saying, Who will go down with me to Saul to the camp? And Abishai said, I will go down with thee.
7 So David and Abishai came to the people by night: and, behold, Saul lay sleeping within the trench, and his spear stuck in the ground at his bolster: but Abner and the people lay round about him.
8 Then said Abishai to David, God hath delivered thine enemy into thine hand this day: now therefore let me smite him, I pray thee, with the spear even to the earth at once, and I will not smite him the second time.
9 And David said to Abishai, Destroy him not: for who can stretch forth his hand against the Lord’s anointed, and be guiltless?
10 David said furthermore, As the Lord liveth, the Lord shall smite him; or his day shall come to die; or he shall descend into battle, and perish.
11 The Lord forbid that I should stretch forth mine hand against the Lord’s anointed: but, I pray thee, take thou now the spear that is at his bolster, and the cruse of water, and let us go.
12 So David took the spear and the cruse of water from Saul’s bolster; and they gat them away, and no man saw it, nor knew it, neither awaked: for they were all asleep; because a deep sleep from the Lord was fallen upon them.

David went to Saul’s camp, and saw where Saul was. Saul was in a trench or behind a barricade, surrounded by his men, along with Abner his captain. David asked a few of his men, who would go down into the camp with him. Abishai volunteered himself, so they snuck into the camp at night. Saul was sleeping, with his weapon propped up near his head, I think in preparation for battle. Abishai told David that Saul had been delivered into his hands again and he offered to kill Saul, which he could have done with one blow from the spear. David refused his offer, saying for a second time, that Saul had been anointed by the Lord. David knew that the Lord would smite Saul, or He would allow Saul to die in his own time or in battle. He was not meant to kill Saul, and it would have brought unwanted guilt upon him. Instead, David told Abishai to take the spear and water from Saul. They took it and snuck away without being seen, because the Lord had caused a deep sleep to be upon on the men.

13 Then David went over to the other side, and stood on the top of an hill afar off; a great space being between them:
14 And David cried to the people, and to Abner the son of Ner, saying, Answerest thou not, Abner? Then Abner answered and said, Who art thou that criest to the king?
15 And David said to Abner, Art not thou a valiant man? and who is like to thee in Israel? wherefore then hast thou not kept thy lord the king? for there came one of the people in to destroy the king thy lord.
16 This thing is not good that thou hast done. As the Lord liveth, ye are worthy to die, because ye have not kept your master, the Lord’s anointed. And now see where the king’s spear is, and the cruse of water that was at his bolster.
17 And Saul knew David’s voice, and said, Is this thy voice, my son David? And David said, It is my voice, my lord, O king.
18 And he said, Wherefore doth my lord thus pursue after his servant? for what have I done? or what evil is in mine hand?
19 Now therefore, I pray thee, let my lord the king hear the words of his servant. If the Lord have stirred thee up against me, let him accept an offering: but if they be the children of men, cursed be they before the Lord; for they have driven me out this day from abiding in the inheritance of the Lord, saying, Go, serve other gods.
20 Now therefore, let not my blood fall to the earth before the face of the Lord: for the king of Israel is come out to seek a flea, as when one doth hunt a partridge in the mountains.

David stood on top of a hill on the other side of the place where Saul was camped, leaving a large space between himself and the camp of Saul. David yelled out to them, and Abner asked who called out to king Saul. David told Abner that he knew he was a valiant man in Israel, but that he had not protected his king. He told Abner that someone had snuck in to kill the king, and that he was not worthy to live, because he could not protect his king. David asked him to look for the spear and container of water. Saul recognized David’s voice and asked him if it was David. David told him it was, and asked why Saul continued to pursue him and what he had done to deserve it. David said if the Lord had inspired Saul to do this, David would give an offering to the Lord, but if the reason was of men, they were cursed for what they tried to do. He told him not to try to kill him, because David was nothing to hunt after.

21 Then said Saul, I have sinned: return, my son David: for I will no more do thee harm, because my soul was precious in thine eyes this day: behold, I have played the fool, and have erred exceedingly.
22 And David answered and said, Behold the king’s spear! and let one of the young men come over and fetch it.
23 The Lord render to every man his righteousness and his faithfulness: for the Lord delivered thee into my hand to day, but I would not stretch forth mine hand against the Lord’s anointed.
24 And, behold, as thy life was much set by this day in mine eyes, so let my life be much set by in the eyes of the Lord, and let him deliver me out of all tribulation.
25 Then Saul said to David, Blessed be thou, my son David: thou shalt both do great things, and also shalt still prevail. So David went on his way, and Saul returned to his place.

Again, Saul realized he had done wrong. He told David that he would not harm him, because he had spared his life. Saul knew that David valued life, his life, and was a good man. David told Saul to have one of his men retrieve the spear, and let the Lord give everyone their reward for their righteousness and faithfulness. David knew Saul had been delivered into his hands again, but he showed him kindness and spared him. He would be blessed by the Lord for what he had done. David and Saul went their separate ways in peace.

I think that this situation was a lesson in humility for Saul. I don’t know that he learned the lesson, but it was there. This was the second time that he could have easily been killed by David, but David refused to kill him because he loved the Lord more than man. I don’t know that there would be many men, who would have the courage to do the things David did. David had a great trust in the Lord, that he would be blessed for his choice to spare a man who time and time again had sought to take his life. David was not a man of fear, but was a man of faith, who was living loyal to his principles. Those who follow after this example, will be blessed for their faith in the Lord. Those who choose to trust in men and their judgement, will not receive the blessings of the Lord.

1 Samuel Chapter 25

In the last chapter, David and his men were living in the strong-holds of En-gedi. Saul had been hunting David in hopes of destroying him, and so David and his men were hiding in a cave. Saul took a rest in the same cave, and David spared his life when the opportunity came to kill Saul. After David confronted him, Saul realized that David would one day rule Israel, and he abandoned his personal mission to kill David. David returned to the strong-holds and his story continues:

1 And Samuel died; and all the Israelites were gathered together, and lamented him, and buried him in his house at Ramah. And David arose, and went down to the wilderness of Paran.
2 And there was a man in Maon, whose possessions were in Carmel; and the man was very great, and he had three thousand sheep, and a thousand goats: and he was shearing his sheep in Carmel.
3 Now the name of the man was Nabal; and the name of his wife Abigail: and she was a woman of good understanding, and of a beautiful countenance: but the man was churlish and evil in his doings; and he was of the house of Caleb.

Samuel was the prophet, who had anointed Saul as the king of Israel and also David to be the next king when Saul had turned from the Lord. During his flight from Saul, David had sought refuge with Samuel and the prophets. That was the last that we read of Samuel. After a full life of devotion to the Lord, Samuel died. The people of Israel mourned his death. David went to wilderness of Paran. Near there, in Carmel, was a man named Nabal. Nabal was a wealthy man, who was married to a beautiful and understanding woman, named Abigail. Nabal was not a righteous man, but was rude and rough.

4 And David heard in the wilderness that Nabal did shear his sheep.
5 And David sent out ten young men, and David said unto the young men, Get you up to Carmel, and go to Nabal, and greet him in my name:
6 And thus shall ye say to him that liveth in prosperity, Peace be both to thee, and peace be to thine house, and peace be unto all that thou hast.
7 And now I have heard that thou hast shearers: now thy shepherds which were with us, we hurt them not, neither was there ought missing unto them, all the while they were in Carmel.
8 Ask thy young men, and they will shew thee. Wherefore let the young men find favour in thine eyes: for we come in a good day: give, I pray thee, whatsoever cometh to thine hand unto thy servants, and to thy son David.
9 And when David’s young men came, they spake to Nabal according to all those words in the name of David, and ceased.

David heard that Nabal was in Carmel and he sent some of his young men to speak with Nabal. He wanted to find favor with Nabal, and ask for food and other provisions. Some of the men who had been around David, were the servants of Nabal, and he felt they should tell of David’s kindness. The young men did as David asked them to do.

10 And Nabal answered David’s servants, and said, Who is David? and who is the son of Jesse? there be many servants now a days that break away every man from his master.
11 Shall I then take my bread, and my water, and my flesh that I have killed for my shearers, and give it unto men, whom I know not whence they be?
12 So David’s young men turned their way, and went again, and came and told him all those sayings.
13 And David said unto his men, Gird ye on every man his sword. And they girded on every man his sword; and David also girded on his sword: and there went up after David about four hundred men; and two hundred abode by the stuff.

Nabal questioned why servants would leave their master, and why he should give to these men whom he did not know. The men went back to David and told him that Nabal had refused to help him. David was angry and called his men to take arms and they followed him towards Nabal.

14 But one of the young men told Abigail, Nabal’s wife, saying, Behold, David sent messengers out of the wilderness to salute our master; and he railed on them.
15 But the men were very good unto us, and we were not hurt, neither missed we any thing, as long as we were conversant with them, when we were in the fields:
16 They were a wall unto us both by night and day, all the while we were with them keeping the sheep.
17 Now therefore know and consider what thou wilt do; for evil is determined against our master, and against all his household: for he is such a son of Belial, that a man cannot speak to him.

One of the young men, who was a servant to Nabal, went to Abigail and told her what had happened in the exchange between the men of David and her husband. He also told her that David and his men had done nothing against the servants of Nabal, but rather had been added security for them while they tended the flocks. He told her that she needed to decide what to do, because David was coming against Nabal and his household.

18 Then Abigail made haste, and took two hundred loaves, and two bottles of wine, and five sheep ready dressed, and five measures of parched corn, and an hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs, and laid them on asses.
19 And she said unto her servants, Go on before me; behold, I come after you. But she told not her husband Nabal.
20 And it was so, as she rode on the ass, that she came down by the covert of the hill, and, behold, David and his men came down against her; and she met them.
21 Now David had said, Surely in vain have I kept all that this fellow hath in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that pertained unto him: and he hath requited me evil for good.
22 So and more also do God unto the enemies of David, if I leave of all that pertain to him by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall.
23 And when Abigail saw David, she hasted, and lighted off the ass, and fell before David on her face, and bowed herself to the ground,
24 And fell at his feet, and said, Upon me, my lord, upon me let this iniquity be: and let thine handmaid, I pray thee, speak in thine audience, and hear the words of thine handmaid.
25 Let not my lord, I pray thee, regard this man of Belial, even Nabal: for as his name is, so is he; Nabal is his name, and folly is with him: but I thine handmaid saw not the young men of my lord, whom thou didst send.
26 Now therefore, my lord, as the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, seeing the Lord hath withholden thee from coming to shed blood, and from avenging thyself with thine own hand, now let thine enemies, and they that seek evil to my lord, be as Nabal.
27 And now this blessing which thine handmaid hath brought unto my lord, let it even be given unto the young men that follow my lord.
28 I pray thee, forgive the trespass of thine handmaid: for the Lord will certainly make my lord a sure house; because my lord fighteth the battles of the Lord, and evil hath not been found in thee all thy days.
29 Yet a man is risen to pursue thee, and to seek thy soul: but the soul of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of life with the Lord thy God; and the souls of thine enemies, them shall he sling out, as out of the middle of a sling.
30 And it shall come to pass, when the Lord shall have done to my lord according to all the good that he hath spoken concerning thee, and shall have appointed thee ruler over Israel;
31 That this shall be no grief unto thee, nor offence of heart unto my lord, either that thou hast shed blood causeless, or that my lord hath avenged himself: but when the Lord shall have dealt well with my lord, then remember thine handmaid.

Abigail quickly burdened animals with enough food to provide for David and his men. She did not tell her husband about it, but had her servants start with the provisions and told them she would follow them. She met David and his men, down the hill. David had felt that he and his men shown kindness to the servants of Nabal, but Nabal had treated them unkindly in return, making himself an enemy to David. When Abigail saw David, she got down from her mule and bowed herself to the ground before David. She begged for him to allow her to speak to him. She begged David not to go against her household, because while her husband had been foolish, she had not seen the young men when they had first come to ask for help. She asked David not to be the reason for the shedding of blood, but instead I think that she said to let the enemies of her husband and those of David be as foolish as Nabal had been. She offered the food that she had brought with her for forgiveness. She acknowledged the goodness of David. She said a man was in pursuit of him, but her lord would stand against the enemies of David. She said that once David became ruler of Israel, she hoped this would not still be an offense, because he had either shed blood for no reason, or had been avenged. Rather, she hoped that in the end, David would remember her.

32 And David said to Abigail, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, which sent thee this day to meet me:
33 And blessed be thy advice, and blessed be thou, which hast kept me this day from coming to shed blood, and from avenging myself with mine own hand.
34 For in very deed, as the Lord God of Israel liveth, which hath kept me back from hurting thee, except thou hadst hasted and come to meet me, surely there had not been left unto Nabal by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall.
35 So David received of her hand that which she had brought him, and said unto her, Go up in peace to thine house; see, I have hearkened to thy voice, and have accepted thy person.

David blessed the Lord, and thanked her for her words to him, which stopped him from shedding blood. David recognized that if she had not come, he would have destroyed all of Nabal’s household. He took the gift of provisions that she had brought, told her to go in peace and to remember that he listened to her.

36 And Abigail came to Nabal; and, behold, he held a feast in his house, like the feast of a king; and Nabal’s heart was merry within him, for he was very drunken: wherefore she told him nothing, less or more, until the morning light.
37 But it came to pass in the morning, when the wine was gone out of Nabal, and his wife had told him these things, that his heart died within him, and he became as a stone.
38 And it came to pass about ten days after, that the Lord smote Nabal, that he died.

Abigail returned to her husband and saw that he held a grand feast and was drunk, so she decided she would tell him what happened in the morning. When morning came, and Nabal was sober, she told him what had happened, and his heart failed him. About ten days later, he died.

39 And when David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, Blessed be the Lord, that hath pleaded the cause of my reproach from the hand of Nabal, and hath kept his servant from evil: for the Lord hath returned the wickedness of Nabal upon his own head. And David sent and communed with Abigail, to take her to him to wife.
40 And when the servants of David were come to Abigail to Carmel, they spake unto her, saying, David sent us unto thee, to take thee to him to wife.
41 And she arose, and bowed herself on her face to the earth, and said, Behold, let thine handmaid be a servant to wash the feet of the servants of my lord.
42 And Abigail hasted, and arose, and rode upon an ass, with five damsels of hers that went after her; and she went after the messengers of David, and became his wife.
43 David also took Ahinoam of Jezreel; and they were also both of them his wives.

David heard the news of Nabal’s death and blessed the Lord for interceding before he had killed Nabal himself. He recognized that the Lord had dealt with Nabal in his own way. David decided to offer marriage to Abigail. His servants went to Carmel and told her that David asked to take her to wife. She bowed herself to the earth and offered herself as his servant. She quickly left and took five ladies with her, following the servants of David. She became his wife, along with Ahinoam.

44 But Saul had given Michal his daughter, David’s wife, to Phalti the son of Laish, which was of Gallim.

Michal, David’s first wife and daughter of Saul, who had loved him and saved him, had been given to another man named Phalti.

This chapter is part of the ongoing narrative of the life of David, before he became king of Israel. It seems that David was responding in anger against Nabal, and that it would have been an unnecessary loss of many lives. The Lord continued to be an influence in David’s life, through the actions of Abigail. She was inspired to offer what had been denied to David and his men, and to intercede for her husband without his knowledge. Because she had the courage to do this, her household was spared. Moreover, the Lord did not leave Nabal without consequences for refusing to return kindness to David and his men, but rather allowed his body to fail him when he was shocked to learn what his wife had done without his knowledge. David did not do anything that would have caused the Lord to withdraw his influence, which was a great blessing for his future.

Abigail is an example of one who was willing to sacrifice themselves in order to spare others. She was a peacemaker. Even though her husband was not a kind man, he and his household were not deserving of destruction by David’s men. I am sure that approaching men armed for battle, was a dangerous thing. She very likely could have been killed as she met them, but she still went forward with a heart full of courage. She became the mediator between David and Nabal, even without Nabal’s knowledge, and was able to talk David into leaving in peace. Abigail was blessed for her courage and desire to do what felt right.

Sometimes we, like David and his men, are wronged by another. It may feel like the only fair thing to do, is to retaliate, but this is not what God would want of us. The right thing to do, is to forgive others of those offenses and move on, trusting that the Lord will make all things right. At other times, we have the opportunity to be like Abigail, who decided to put others before herself. She took on the role of mediator, much like the Savior does with each of us. She interceded and pleaded for the forgiveness of another. If we can choose to be like Abigail, being Christ-like in our character, we can not only help others to be spared of excessive responses, but also help stop those who took the offense, so that they might not do something they will later regret. In thinking about these possible roles for ourselves, we should look to the Savior. We should remember that He is the one who intercedes for us. He will not only persuade us to stop before making additional mistakes when we have been wronged, but will plead for our forgiveness in the day of judgement. He, like Abigail, knows that we can be foolish, but that we deserve a chance at forgiveness. He alone can plead for us, when we eventually stand in front of God, and He has the ability to offer us the gift of Eternal Life.

Jesus-Portrait

1 Samuel Chapter 22

David fled from king Saul, who wanted to kill him. He had gone to a place called Nob and received help from the priest, Ahimelech. After that, David had fled to Gath, where he was recognized by the ruler’s servants. He decided to pretend to be mad, and the ruler of Gath decided he did not want him there. This chapter continued to tell the places that David went to while hiding from Saul. It begins:

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

David left Gath and hid in a cave called Adullam. His family heard he was there, so they went down to him. People began to gather to him, because they were in debt or in distress. He became their captain. In all, he had gained about 400 men to follow him.

3 And David went thence to Mizpeh of Moab: and he said unto the king of Moab, Let my father and my mother, I pray thee, come forth, and be with you, till I know what God will do for me.
4 And he brought them before the king of Moab: and they dwelt with him all the while that David was in the hold.

He left Adullam and went to a place in Moab, called Mizpeh. He asked that his family be allowed to say with the king of Moab, until David could figure out what was going to happen to him. They remained with the king of Moab, while David hid in the hold.

5 And the prophet Gad said unto David, Abide not in the hold; depart, and get thee into the land of Judah. Then David departed, and came into the forest of Hareth.

Gad, the prophet, told David that he should go to the land of Judah. David left and went to the forest of Hareth.

6 When Saul heard that David was discovered, and the men that were with him, (now Saul abode in Gibeah under a tree in Ramah, having his spear in his hand, and all his servants were standing about him;)
7 Then Saul said unto his servants that stood about him, Hear now, ye Benjamites; will the son of Jesse give every one of you fields and vineyards, and make you all captains of thousands, and captains of hundreds;
8 That all of you have conspired against me, and there is none that sheweth me that my son hath made a league with the son of Jesse, and there is none of you that is sorry for me, or sheweth unto me that my son hath stirred up my servant against me, to lie in wait, as at this day?

Saul heard that David had been found, and that he had men who followed him. Saul was in Gibeah, prepared to fight, with all his servants around him. Saul asked his servants if they had made some kind of deal with David, because none of them had told him David and his son, Jonathan, had been in league with one another. He questioned their motives, I think, in hopes of getting more information out of them.

9 Then answered Doeg the Edomite, which was set over the servants of Saul, and said, I saw the son of Jesse coming to Nob, to Ahimelech the son of Ahitub.
10 And he inquired of the Lord for him, and gave him victuals, and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine.
11 Then the king sent to call Ahimelech the priest, the son of Ahitub, and all his father’s house, the priests that were in Nob: and they came all of them to the king.
12 And Saul said, Hear now, thou son of Ahitub. And he answered, Here I am, my lord.
13 And Saul said unto him, Why have ye conspired against me, thou and the son of Jesse, in that thou hast given him bread, and a sword, and hast inquired of God for him, that he should rise against me, to lie in wait, as at this day?
14 Then Ahimelech answered the king, and said, And who is so faithful among all thy servants as David, which is the king’s son in law, and goeth at thy bidding, and is honourable in thine house?
15 Did I then begin to inquire of God for him? be it far from me: let not the king impute any thing unto his servant, nor to all the house of my father: for thy servant knew nothing of all this, less or more.
16 And the king said, Thou shalt surely die, Ahimelech, thou, and all thy father’s house.

The servant of Saul, Doeg, who had been in Nob when David was there, told Saul that he had seen him going to the priest, Ahimelech. Doeg told him that the priest had fed him, given him the sword of Goliath, and prayed for him. Ahimelech and his family were called to come to the king. He called for the priest, who answered. Saul asked him why he conspired against him with David by doing these things, so that David was prepared to fight against the king. Ahimelech answered by saying that David was a faithful servant of Saul, and his son-in-law, who had been allowed to go about doing as he pleased. He had no reason not to do as David asked. He only did what he thought was right. Saul told Ahimelech that he and all his family would die.

17 And the king said unto the footmen that stood about him, Turn, and slay the priests of the Lord; because their hand also is with David, and because they knew when he fled, and did not shew it to me. But the servants of the king would not put forth their hand to fall upon the priests of the Lord.
18 And the king said to Doeg, Turn thou, and fall upon the priests. And Doeg the Edomite turned, and he fell upon the priests, and slew on that day fourscore and five persons that did wear a linen ephod.
19 And Nob, the city of the priests, smote he with the edge of the sword, both men and women, children and sucklings, and oxen, and asses, and sheep, with the edge of the sword.

Then Saul turned to his soldiers and commanded them to kill the priest and his family, because they had helped David and had not made Saul aware of where David was. The servants refused to kill them. Saul commanded Doeg to kill them, and he turned and killed 84 priests, who wore the garments of the holy priesthood. Then Saul had the city of Nob destroyed, including all the people and animals there.

20 And one of the sons of Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped, and fled after David.
21 And Abiathar shewed David that Saul had slain the Lord’s priests.
22 And David said unto Abiathar, I knew it that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would surely tell Saul: I have occasioned the death of all the persons of thy father’s house.
23 Abide thou with me, fear not: for he that seeketh my life seeketh thy life: but with me thou shalt be in safeguard.

One son of Ahimelech was able to get away, and went looking for David. When he found him, he told him what Saul had done. David told him that he had thought Doeg would tell Saul, when he had seen him in Nob. He felt he had brought this death of Abiathar’s family upon him. He asked Abiathar to stay with him, because Saul was after both of them, and David would do what he could to keep him safe.

The priest had only done what he felt was expected of him, and I believe he and his family were in no way deserving of the death they received. Likewise, the destruction of a city of innocent people because they were associated with the priests, was evil. Saul had truly allowed an evil spirit to influence his feelings, stirring his heart to anger against David and anyone who had anything to do with him. Throughout the history of the world, Satan has had this kind of influence over the hearts of men, who turn away from good. It was nothing new then, and it continues even today. It doesn’t take much or even too long, for this kind of change to take place in people if they allow it. Studying this story of Saul, causes me to reflect on the choices I am making in my own life. A few weeks ago, a gospel teacher asked the class I was attending, if we could part with our favorite sin. It was an interesting question, and one I have thought about a bit since that time. Saul’s favorite sin seems to have been jealousy or anger. I wonder what thing I hang on to, my favorite sin, which I know God would not want me to do? Would I be willing to let it go for Him? If not, how far away am I from allowing Satan and his many followers to influence my heart and mind? I hope as I reflect more on these things, that I can have the courage to allow the Lord to change my heart through His influence, and give up my own favorite sin.

1 Samuel Chapter 17

The Israelites were in an ongoing fight against the Philistines. Saul was the acting king of Israel, but he no longer had the support of the Lord or His spirit. David had been anointed by Samuel to be the next king of Israel, but he was still young at this point. He had been chosen to be the armor bearer of Saul, and played the harp for him when Saul was feeling troubled. The war with the Philistines continues in the chapter, which begins:

1 Now the Philistines gathered together their armies to battle, and were gathered together at Shochoh, which belongeth to Judah, and pitched between Shochoh and Azekah, in Ephes-dammim.
2 And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together, and pitched by the valley of Elah, and set the battle in array against the Philistines.
3 And the Philistines stood on a mountain on the one side, and Israel stood on a mountain on the other side: and there was a valley between them.

In the land of Judah, a Philistine army gathered together to fight against Israel. Saul prepared his men for the fight. Both armies camped on the opposing sides of a valley.

4 And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span.
5 And he had an helmet of brass upon his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail; and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of brass.
6 And he had greaves of brass upon his legs, and a target of brass between his shoulders.
7 And the staff of his spear was like a weaver’s beam; and his spear’s head weighed six hundred shekels of iron: and one bearing a shield went before him.
8 And he stood and cried unto the armies of Israel, and said unto them, Why are ye come out to set your battle in array? am not I a Philistine, and ye servants to Saul? choose you a man for you, and let him come down to me.
9 If he be able to fight with me, and to kill me, then will we be your servants: but if I prevail against him, and kill him, then shall ye be our servants, and serve us.
10 And the Philistine said, I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together.
11 When Saul and all Israel heard those words of the Philistine, they were dismayed, and greatly afraid.

The Philistines chose to take a different approach, and sent out their champion to represent them. The champion was a giant, named Goliath. He was from Gath, where the remaining giants had been in the land. He was around 9 feet tall and very large. He was heavily armored over nearly his whole body. He and a man bearing his shield, went out of the Philistine camp. He stood and challenged the Israelite army to choose their own champion to fight him. He dared the Israelites to choose anyone who would be able to fight him. Saul and his people were afraid.

12 Now David was the son of that Ephrathite of Beth-lehem-judah, whose name was Jesse; and he had eight sons: and the man went among men for an old man in the days of Saul.
13 And the three eldest sons of Jesse went and followed Saul to the battle: and the names of his three sons that went to the battle were Eliab the firstborn, and next unto him Abinadab, and the third Shammah.
14 And David was the youngest: and the three eldest followed Saul.
15 But David went and returned from Saul to feed his father’s sheep at Beth-lehem.
16 And the Philistine drew near morning and evening, and presented himself forty days.
17 And Jesse said unto David his son, Take now for thy brethren an ephah of this parched corn, and these ten loaves, and run to the camp to thy brethren;
18 And carry these ten cheeses unto the captain of their thousand, and look how thy brethren fare, and take their pledge.
19 Now Saul, and they, and all the men of Israel, were in the valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines.

Three of the oldest of eight sons of Jesse (Eliab, Abinadab, and Shammah) had gone to the battle front with Saul. These sons followed Saul. His youngest son, David, had returned home to the work of a shepherd, when Saul had left to fight. For forty days, Goliath challenged the Israelite army. Meanwhile, Jesse sent David to the battle lines, with food for his sons. He wanted to know how his sons were doing and I think to make sure they were okay.

20 And David rose up early in the morning, and left the sheep with a keeper, and took, and went, as Jesse had commanded him; and he came to the trench, as the host was going forth to the fight, and shouted for the battle.
21 For Israel and the Philistines had put the battle in array, army against army.
22 And David left his carriage in the hand of the keeper of the carriage, and ran into the army, and came and saluted his brethren.
23 And as he talked with them, behold, there came up the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, out of the armies of the Philistines, and spake according to the same words: and David heard them.
24 And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him, and were sore afraid.
25 And the men of Israel said, Have ye seen this man that is come up? surely to defy Israel is he come up: and it shall be, that the man who killeth him, the king will enrich him with great riches, and will give him his daughter, and make his father’s house free in Israel.
26 And David spake to the men that stood by him, saying, What shall be done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel? for who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?
27 And the people answered him after this manner, saying, So shall it be done to the man that killeth him.

David arrived at the trenches, as the host of Israel went out to fight. David ran out to find his brothers, and as he greeted them, Goliath challenged the Israelites again. David heard the words and saw that the Israelites ran away in fear. They told David that any man who killed him, would be blessed by the king with riches, the hand of his daughter, and a family who was free in Israel. David tried to remind the men that this champion was an uncircumcised Philistine, and could not challenge the armies of the Lord.

28 And Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spake unto the men; and Eliab’s anger was kindled against David, and he said, Why camest thou down hither? and with whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart; for thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle.
29 And David said, What have I now done? Is there not a cause?

David’s brother, Eliab, became angry with him for coming and saying these things to their men. He asked why David had come and left his sheep. He called David prideful for desiring to come see the battle instead of doing his own work. David asked what he had done?

30 And he turned from him toward another, and spake after the same manner: and the people answered him again after the former manner.
31 And when the words were heard which David spake, they rehearsed them before Saul: and he sent for him.

Instead of leaving after the harsh words of his brother, David turned to another and asked the same questions. He got the same reply from others. Eventually Saul heard the words of David and sent for him. David’s steadfastness and determination earned him an audience with the king.

32 And David said to Saul, Let no man’s heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine.
33 And Saul said to David, Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.
34 And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock:
35 And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him.
36 Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God.
37 David said moreover, The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the Lord be with thee.

David went to Saul and said the king should not worry about another man fearing, because he would go and fight Goliath. David had the faith and courage to do what was necessary, and did not fear Goliath more than he trusted God. Saul told David he could not do this, because he was just a young man, and Goliath had been trained in battle since he was young. David to Saul that he had had to face a lion and a bear, which had attacked his flock of sheep, and that he had fought them, and after getting his lamb, the animal got up and he killed it and brought his lamb back. David believed Goliath was like the animals, and since the Lord had delivered him against them, he would deliver him out of the hand of the Philistine. Saul allowed David to go and fight Goliath.

Sometimes it is hard to trust that youth can do great things. David was seen as a young man compared to the great men of war around him, and yet he had the faith to do what others could not do. If Saul had already known his servant, he would probably have had more faith in David from the beginning, but he did not and needed to be persuaded by learning of the things which David had been able to do with the help of the Lord. We can have greater trust in our own youth, if we help them to be faithful to the Lord.

In my personal experience, the Lord gives us small steps to build our trust in him, before sending us the Goliaths in our own lives. For David, the Lord had given him the experiences with the lion and the bear, so that he would feel confident in receiving help from the Lord. David knew he was not gifted with strength, and may have cowered with the rest of the army, if he had not been prepared with the other experiences. Because he had chosen to have faith before, he knew the Lord would bless him again. If we accept the challenges that are smaller, and face them head-on with faith in the Lord, we will gain the confidence and trust in God that we will need for the more difficult things in our future.

38 And Saul armed David with his armour, and he put an helmet of brass upon his head; also he armed him with a coat of mail.
39 And David girded his sword upon his armour, and he assayed to go; for he had not proved it. And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them. And David put them off him.
40 And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine.
41 And the Philistine came on and drew near unto David; and the man that bare the shield went before him.
42 And when the Philistine looked about, and saw David, he disdained him: for he was but a youth, and ruddy, and of a fair countenance.
43 And the Philistine said unto David, Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves? And the Philistine cursed David by his gods.
44 And the Philistine said to David, Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field.
45 Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.
46 This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.
47 And all this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hands.
48 And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came and drew nigh to meet David, that David hasted, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine.
49 And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth.
50 So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him; but there was no sword in the hand of David.
51 Therefore David ran, and stood upon the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it out of the sheath thereof, and slew him, and cut off his head therewith. And when the Philistines saw their champion was dead, they fled.
52 And the men of Israel and of Judah arose, and shouted, and pursued the Philistines, until thou come to the valley, and to the gates of Ekron. And the wounded of the Philistines fell down by the way to Shaaraim, even unto Gath, and unto Ekron.
53 And the children of Israel returned from chasing after the Philistines, and they spoiled their tents.
54 And David took the head of the Philistine, and brought it to Jerusalem; but he put his armour in his tent.

Before sending him off, Saul put his armor on David. David attempted to make due with the armor and sword, but it was not working for him. David told Saul he could not use them and then he took them off. Instead, he grabbed his own staff and five smooth stones from the brook. He armed himself with his sling and went out to meet Goliath. Goliath and the man who bore his shield, went out to meet David. Goliath looked around for who had come, but when he saw David, he did not see him as a worthy opponent. Goliath felt this was a bit of a joke, like their amry was sending a dog to play with him, and Goliath cursed David by his own gods. Goliath threatened David by saying he would fight him and then give his body to the birds and beasts. David told him that he might come at him with weapons and a shield, but that he came with the Lord of Israel whom Goliath had challenged. David knew that the Lord could deliver Goliath into his hands, so he told Goliath this, and that his death would show to the Philistines the power of the God of Israel. It would show all the host of the Philistines that God could win the battle without the weapons of men, because this was God’s battle with the Philistines. Goliath came closer to David and David quickly went towards him. David grabbed a stone from his bag, and used his sling to hit Goliath in the forehead. The stone hit so hard that it went into his head and Goliath fell face-down upon the ground. David had beaten Goliath with only a sling and stone, so he went to the body and removed Goliath’s own sword, and cut off his head. The Philistines saw this and were afraid, so they ran away. The Israelites went after the Philistines, destroying them. Then they went back to the camp of the Philistines and took their spoil. David took the head of Goliath to Jerusalem, and took his armor to his own tent.

55 And when Saul saw David go forth against the Philistine, he said unto Abner, the captain of the host, Abner, whose son is this youth? And Abner said, As thy soul liveth, O king, I cannot tell.
56 And the king said, Inquire thou whose son the stripling is.
57 And as David returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, Abner took him, and brought him before Saul with the head of the Philistine in his hand.
58 And Saul said to him, Whose son art thou, thou young man? And David answered, I am the son of thy servant Jesse the Beth-lehemite.

Saul saw David go against the Philistine and asked the captain of his army who the boys father was. The captain, Abner, did not know. Saul told him to find out. Abner brought David before Saul. Saul asked David who his father was, and David replied that his father was Jesse of Bethlehem.

It is amazing to think of the kind of faith and trust that David had in the Lord. Here, he was among men of war, who would have been strong and brave. By the world’s standard, he was nothing in comparison to them. To men, he was nothing in comparison to the man, who the entire Israelite army feared. This did not matter, because David knew that God would fight the battles with their enemies, if they had faith in Him. The opinions of the world and even our own families, do not matter when we put our faith in God. God matters, and if He has chosen us for some purpose in this life, great or small, God can make it possible. I think about my own purposes in life. Right now, my life is filled with the responsibilities of motherhood. God has called me to this position in life. He has given me my children and placed them in my earthly care. In this calling, I have many battles to fight, especially with the outside influences of the world. What the world may say about how I choose to raise my children, does not matter. What matters is that I trust in God and act in faith. These are His children. These are His battles. God will help me to be victorious. Even though I may seem weak and incapable, with God I have the power to do all that is necessary for my children to have what they need and be faithful and successful in those things that matter most. This is true for anything which places our faith in direct conflict with something of the world. No matter what we may stand against, if our faith is stronger, the Lord will help us.

Ponderizing – Week 6 Thoughts

The verse I have chosen to ponderize this week, is
Ether 12:27.

And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.

Everyone on this earth has weaknesses. Growth and progression are eternal principles, and one cannot achieve either, without weaknesses. As part of the plan of mortality, God has allowed us to have these weaknesses, so that we will desire to become more through the atonement and grace of God. As mortal beings, we tend to become prideful and assume that we alone can do or become anything we want. It takes courage to look at ourselves and realize that we are not able to become the best version of us, without help from God. This help comes only when we can put aside our pride and humble ourselves. Then, we must go forward with faith in Christ, doing all that he asks of us. Then as we act upon the impressions we receive and answers to prayers, His grace becomes part of our lives. It is at this point, that God strengthens us and we can then overcome our weaknesses. In overcoming weakness, the things that may have once held us back, can become our strengths. This principle applies to all men on earth, because His grace is sufficient for us all.

As a simple example, years ago, I was totally afraid to prepare talks or lessons for church. The idea that I could give a message that had anything of value, was beyond me. When asked to speak, I would accept and then spend the days in fear until it was done. There would always come a time in the preparation, where I would become completely overwhelmed and break down tears. I felt so inadequate and so afraid that what I said would not be right. I wanted to be asked to sing instead, because that was completely comfortable to me. I begged. When we moved into new wards, my husband would tell the Bishopric that I could not speak because of my anxiety. This was a weakness. Then, the Lord extended a calling to me, that would change everything. I was called to be a leader in the women’s organization, the Relief Society. As part of that calling, I would need to prepare lessons to teach several times during the year. I was humbled by my new responsibility. I felt so weak and turned to the Lord for help. It came in the form of inspiration to study the scriptures consistently rather than read them occasionally. In faith, I followed the inspiration I received, and as I did I found myself becoming more willing to share the things I learned with those I taught. I was gaining confidence in my knowledge. I was given several opportunities to speak in front of the Relief Society, and then in front of the congregation in our Sacrament meetings. I was still nervous, but I was no longer afraid. I knew I was then able to be an instrument in the hands of the Lord, because he was transforming my weakness into a strength.

And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.

If we have a desire to become strong physically, mentally, or spiritually, the Lord can help us. We all have the capability of becoming people of great strength. I know that we can gain strength by allowing God to show us our weaknesses. When we recognize our weaknesses, and then humbly live the gospel of Jesus Christ, He will give us what we need to become stronger. I am grateful for my weaknesses, because they help me to remember that I am not perfect and they help me remember that I need God in my life. I know that I have been blessed greatly and will continued to be blessed by God, if I follow these principles.

Judges Chapter 21

At some point in the time of judges, the tribes of Israel had gathered together against the tribe of Benjamin, because of wickedness that had occurred among them. Benjamin put up a good fight, but because the Lord was with the Israelite host, the Benjamites were destroyed, along with all of their cities in the land. A handful of the army of Benjamin had escaped and hidden themselves during the destruction. This experience is referenced a number of times later in the scriptures, so I imagine it was a memorable loss to the Israelite nation, and something they spoke about as an example, for many years afterwards. This chapter begins:

1 Now the men of Israel had sworn in Mizpeh, saying, There shall not any of us give his daughter unto Benjamin to wife.
2 And the people came to the house of God, and abode there till even before God, and lifted up their voices, and wept sore;
3 And said, O Lord God of Israel, why is this come to pass in Israel, that there should be to day one tribe lacking in Israel?
4 And it came to pass on the morrow, that the people rose early, and built there an altar, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings.
5 And the children of Israel said, Who is there among all the tribes of Israel that came not up with the congregation unto the Lord? For they had made a great oath concerning him that came not up to the Lord to Mizpeh, saying, He shall surely be put to death.
6 And the children of Israel repented them for Benjamin their brother, and said, There is one tribe cut off from Israel this day.
7 How shall we do for wives for them that remain, seeing we have sworn by the Lord that we will not give them of our daughters to wives?

The men of the Israelite nation, made a covenant at the tabernacle, that they would not allow their daughters to marry any remaining man of Benjamin. The men of Benjamin had lived wickedly and were no longer living as covenant men of Israel. The Israelites gathered at the tabernacle and mourned the loss of one of their tribes, namely Benjamin. They made sacrifices to the Lord and denounced those remaining of the tribe of Benjamin, having been cut off from the Lord and from Israel. They also decided that they would destroy any who had not stood with them against Benjamin.

8 And they said, What one is there of the tribes of Israel that came not up to Mizpeh to the Lord? And, behold, there came none to the camp from Jabesh-gilead to the assembly.
9 For the people were numbered, and, behold, there were none of the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead there.
10 And the congregation sent thither twelve thousand men of the valiantest, and commanded them, saying, Go and smite the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead with the edge of the sword, with the women and the children.
11 And this is the thing that ye shall do, Ye shall utterly destroy every male, and every woman that hath lain by man.
12 And they found among the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead four hundred young virgins, that had known no man by lying with any male: and they brought them unto the camp to Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan.
13 And the whole congregation sent some to speak to the children of Benjamin that were in the rock Rimmon, and to call peaceably unto them.
14 And Benjamin came again at that time; and they gave them wives which they had saved alive of the women of Jabesh-gilead: and yet so they sufficed them not.
15 And the people repented them for Benjamin, because that the Lord had made a breach in the tribes of Israel.

The Israelites knew that no man of the area of Jabesh-gilead, had joined them to fight Benjamin. A portion of the army was sent to destroy the city and the people there, specifically the men and their wives. They found 400 virgins in the city, which were taken to Shiloh. Then, the Israelites sent men to peacefully speak to the remainder of the tribe of Benjamin, who had escaped the destruction and hidden themselves. The Israelites gave the virgins of Jabesh-gilead, to the remaining men of Benjamin. The Israelites were then at peace with the tribe of Benjamin, because the Lord provided a way for them to do so.

16 Then the elders of the congregation said, How shall we do for wives for them that remain, seeing the women are destroyed out of Benjamin?
17 And they said, There must be an inheritance for them that be escaped of Benjamin, that a tribe be not destroyed out of Israel.
18 Howbeit we may not give them wives of our daughters: for the children of Israel have sworn, saying, Cursed be he that giveth a wife to Benjamin.
19 Then they said, Behold, there is a feast of the Lord in Shiloh yearly in a place which is on the north side of Beth-el, on the east side of the highway that goeth up from Beth-el to Shechem, and on the south of Lebonah.
20 Therefore they commanded the children of Benjamin, saying, Go and lie in wait in the vineyards;
21 And see, and, behold, if the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance in dances, then come ye out of the vineyards, and catch you every man his wife of the daughters of Shiloh, and go to the land of Benjamin.
22 And it shall be, when their fathers or their brethren come unto us to complain, that we will say unto them, Be favourable unto them for our sakes: because we reserved not to each man his wife in the war: for ye did not give unto them at this time, that ye should be guilty.
23 And the children of Benjamin did so, and took them wives, according to their number, of them that danced, whom they caught: and they went and returned unto their inheritance, and repaired the cities, and dwelt in them.
24 And the children of Israel departed thence at that time, every man to his tribe and to his family, and they went out from thence every man to his inheritance.
25 In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.

There were some men of the tribe of Benjamin, who remained without wives. The leaders of Israel did not know what to do for them, but they did not want to entirely lose a tribe of Israel. They knew they could not give their own daughters, because of the covenant they had made against the tribe. They told the men of Benjamin, of a yearly ritual in Shiloh, where the women would go out to dance. Shiloh was also where they had moved the virgins they had captured. The Benjamites were to go and hide themselves while they waited for this ritual. Then, they were to take their wives from the women of Shiloh. They were to return to the land of Benjamin and explain their situation to any who questioned them. The men of Benjamin went and, after taking wives, they returned to the land of Benjamin and repaired it. The host of Israel dispersed back to their own lands, and returned back to their separate lives.

The men of Benjamin were punished for standing against the host of Israel. They had defended wickedness and suffered greatly for it. Likewise, the people of Jabesh-gilead had chosen not to stand with the Lord in their fight, and were punished for it. The Lord has promised that wickedness will be destroyed, and that those who side with it, will also be destroyed. This promise is still a part of the Lord’s plan in our day. We have a choice to make. That choice is whether we will stand on the Lord’s side, or on the side of the world. If we choose the Lord, He will lead us and great blessings will follow. If we choose to side with the world, our eventual destruction will come. We, like the individual cities of Israel, might think that we can choose to sit out of the battle. If we actively stand aside and try to remain a neutral party, we are in effect choosing the world and wickedness. Blessings will only come to those who take courage and join the battle against the enemies of God.

Judges Chapter 1

When Moses was preparing the people for his death, the Lord called Joshua as the next prophet and leader of Isreal. Joshua had the duty of leading the people into the land of Canaan, and dividing the inheritances among the tribes, as well as reminding them of the laws God had given to them. As he neared his own death, the Lord did not call a new prophet to take his place as both a prophet and leader. In the bible dictionary, a description is given for the book of Judges, which reads, “This book and Ruth contain all the Jewish history that has been preserved to us of the times between the death of Joshua and the birth of Samuel.” (See Bible Dictionary) The first 3 chapters are described as an introduction. Chapter 1 begins as follows:

1 Now after the death of Joshua it came to pass, that the children of Israel asked the Lord, saying, Who shall go up for us against the Canaanites first, to fight against them?
2 And the Lord said, Judah shall go up: behold, I have delivered the land into his hand.
3 And Judah said unto Simeon his brother, Come up with me into my lot, that we may fight against the Canaanites; and I likewise will go with thee into thy lot. So Simeon went with him.
4 And Judah went up; and the Lord delivered the Canaanites and the Perizzites into their hand: and they slew of them in Bezek ten thousand men.
5 And they found Adoni-bezek in Bezek: and they fought against him, and they slew the Canaanites and the Perizzites.
6 But Adoni-bezek fled; and they pursued after him, and caught him, and cut off his thumbs and his great toes.
7 And Adoni-bezek said, Threescore and ten kings, having their thumbs and their great toes cut off, gathered their meat under my table: as I have done, so God hath requited me. And they brought him to Jerusalem, and there he died.
8 Now the children of Judah had fought against Jerusalem, and had taken it, and smitten it with the edge of the sword, and set the city on fire.

The children of Israel asked the Lord, who should be the first to fight against the remaining Canaanites. Before his passing, Joshua had been promised that the host of Israel would continue to fight against the Canaanites, and that he was to divide the land because he was in his old age. If this was made known to the host of Israel, they knew that they needed to continue to fight after Joshua had died. The Lord told them, that the tribe of Judah was to fight, and that the land had been delivered to them by the Lord. The tribe of Judah asked for help from the tribe of Simeon, and they were able to destroy the people in Bezek, but the king fled. They caught him and took him to Jerusalem where he died. Jerusalem had been taken and set on fire.

9 And afterward the children of Judah went down to fight against the Canaanites, that dwelt in the mountain, and in the south, and in the valley.
10 And Judah went against the Canaanites that dwelt in Hebron: (now the name of Hebron before was Kirjath-arba:) and they slew Sheshai, and Ahiman, and Talmai.
11 And from thence he went against the inhabitants of Debir: and the name of Debir before was Kirjath-sepher:
12 And Caleb said, He that smiteth Kirjath-sepher, and taketh it, to him will I give Achsah my daughter to wife.
13 And Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, took it: and he gave him Achsah his daughter to wife.
14 And it came to pass, when she came to him, that she moved him to ask of her father a field: and she lighted from off her ass; and Caleb said unto her, What wilt thou?
15 And she said unto him, Give me a blessing: for thou hast given me a south land; give me also springs of water. And Caleb gave her the upper springs and the nether springs.

The tribe of Judah fought against those in the mountain, in the south, and in the valley. They destroyed the people there. Caleb promised the hand of his daughter, Achsah, to whomever took the land of Kirjath-sepher (later known as Debir). Caleb’s nephew, Othniel, took the land and received Achsah to wife. Achsah asked Caleb for a blessing, and he gave her the upper and nether springs. (see also Joshua 15)

16 And the children of the Kenite, Moses’ father in law, went up out of the city of palm trees with the children of Judah into the wilderness of Judah, which lieth in the south of Arad; and they went and dwelt among the people.
17 And Judah went with Simeon his brother, and they slew the Canaanites that inhabited Zephath, and utterly destroyed it. And the name of the city was called Hormah.
18 Also Judah took Gaza with the coast thereof, and Askelon with the coast thereof, and Ekron with the coast thereof.
19 And the Lord was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.
20 And they gave Hebron unto Caleb, as Moses said: and he expelled thence the three sons of Anak.
21 And the children of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites that inhabited Jerusalem; but the Jebusites dwell with the children of Benjamin in Jerusalem unto this day.

The tribe of Judah, who had the Lord with them, and the help of the tribe of Simeon, fought against their enemies in Zephath, Gaza, Askelon, and Ekron. The people in the mountains were expelled, but they were not able to drive out those who were in the valley because of their chariots. It seems that those who had chariots, had the upper hand in battles of that time. The Jebusites were not driven out of Jerusalem by the tribe of Benjamin, but remained in Jerusalem.

22 And the house of Joseph, they also went up against Beth-el: and the Lord was with them.
23 And the house of Joseph sent to descry Beth-el. (Now the name of the city before was Luz.)
24 And the spies saw a man come forth out of the city, and they said unto him, Shew us, we pray thee, the entrance into the city, and we will shew thee mercy.
25 And when he shewed them the entrance into the city, they smote the city with the edge of the sword; but they let go the man and all his family.
26 And the man went into the land of the Hittites, and built a city, and called the name thereof Luz: which is the name thereof unto this day.

The tribe of Joseph was also able to fight, with the help of the Lord. They sent spies to city of Beth-el, who learned where the entrance to the city was by offering mercy to a man and his family for telling them. They destroyed the city, and the man who had helped them founded the city of Luz in the Hittite land.

27 Neither did Manasseh drive out the inhabitants of Beth-shean and her towns, nor Taanach and her towns, nor the inhabitants of Dor and her towns, nor the inhabitants of Ibleam and her towns, nor the inhabitants of Megiddo and her towns: but the Canaanites would dwell in that land.
28 And it came to pass, when Israel was strong, that they put the Canaanites to tribute, and did not utterly drive them out.

The tribe of Manasseh did not drive out all of the Canaanites in their land, but allowed some to remain and pay tribute to Israel.

29 Neither did Ephraim drive out the Canaanites that dwelt in Gezer; but the Canaanites dwelt in Gezer among them.

Some Canaanites among the tribe of Ephraim were also allowed to stay.

30 Neither did Zebulun drive out the inhabitants of Kitron, nor the inhabitants of Nahalol; but the Canaanites dwelt among them, and became tributaries.

The tribe of Zebulun allowed some to stay as well, and they made them pay tribute.

31 Neither did Asher drive out the inhabitants of Accho, nor the inhabitants of Zidon, nor of Ahlab, nor of Achzib, nor of Helbah, nor of Aphik, nor of Rehob:
32 But the Asherites dwelt among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land: for they did not drive them out.

Likewise, the tribe of Asher did not drive out all of the Canaanites in their land. Interestingly, it reads here that the tribe of Asher dwelt among the Canaanites, which sounds like there were greater number of the other nations, then of the tribe of Asher.

33 Neither did Naphtali drive out the inhabitants of Beth-shemesh, nor the inhabitants of Beth-anath; but he dwelt among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land: nevertheless the inhabitants of Beth-shemesh and of Beth-anath became tributaries unto them.
34 And the Amorites forced the children of Dan into the mountain: for they would not suffer them to come down to the valley:
35 But the Amorites would dwell in mount Heres in Aijalon, and in Shaalbim: yet the hand of the house of Joseph prevailed, so that they became tributaries.
36 And the coast of the Amorites was from the going up to Akrabbim, from the rock, and upward.

The tribe of Naphtali were also unable to drive the Canaanites out of the land, and so their people lived among the Canaanites, but were able to make them pay tribute. The tribe of Dan could not take their land from the Canaanites, and were forced into the mountain. Because the house of Joseph, the Amorite people paid the Israelites tribute.

The commandment given to the Israelites, was to destroy the people of the land, because this was the land of promise. For one reason or another, they did not do this completely. The Israelites had been warned, and they would need to heed these warnings. In his parting words, Joshua gave them the message from the Lord, that they were not to join themselves with the nations that could possibly remain among them. They were not to mention or turn to their false gods or marry their people, because these choices would separate them from the Lord and eventually bring destruction upon the tribes of Israel. Joshua 23:13 reads, “Know for a certainty that the Lord your God will no more drive out any of these nations from before you; but they shall be snares and traps unto you, and scourges in your sides, and thorns in your eyes, until ye perish from off this good land which the Lord your God hath given you.” I’m not sure why the Israelites were not able to drive all the nations out of the land, but in leaving so many other nations among themselves, they made their chances of eventual failure that much greater. The temptations to follow the ways of these other people, would have been great.

There are many things that we are warned about in our own day. It takes great courage, to truly remove the temptations from our lives, and I think that sometimes we leave just enough to tempt us and cause us to fall back into our old ways. I know that if we have the courage to remove the negative influences around us, the Lord will be there to help us overcome our temptations. He can truly make us strong and He will bless us for our courageous choices.

Joshua Chapter 23

The role of a prophet, in ancient times as well as today, has been to “act as God’s messenger and make known God’s will.” (see Bible Dictionary: Prophet) What we read of Joshua up to this point, includes the directions he gave from the Lord, to fight their enemies, and to settle the promised land. I am sure that along the way, Joshua was frequently delivering messages of doctrine to the Israelites as well, but those words would most likely be found in the laws and commandments given through the prophet Moses. In this chapter, I believe we receive the parting words of the prophet Joshua to the people. It reads as follows:

1 And it came to pass a long time after that the Lord had given rest unto Israel from all their enemies round about, that Joshua waxed old and stricken in age.
2 And Joshua called for all Israel, and for their elders, and for their heads, and for their judges, and for their officers, and said unto them, I am old and stricken in age:
3 And ye have seen all that the Lord your God hath done unto all these nations because of you; for the Lord your God is he that hath fought for you.
4 Behold, I have divided unto you by lot these nations that remain, to be an inheritance for your tribes, from Jordan, with all the nations that I have cut off, even unto the great sea westward.
5 And the Lord your God, he shall expel them from before you, and drive them from out of your sight; and ye shall possess their land, as the Lord your God hath promised unto you.
6 Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left;
7 That ye come not among these nations, these that remain among you; neither make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause to swear by them, neither serve them, nor bow yourselves unto them:
8 But cleave unto the Lord your God, as ye have done unto this day.
9 For the Lord hath driven out from before you great nations and strong: but as for you, no man hath been able to stand before you unto this day.
10 One man of you shall chase a thousand: for the Lord your God, he it is that fighteth for you, as he hath promised you.
11 Take good heed therefore unto yourselves, that ye love the Lord your God.
12 Else if ye do in any wise go back, and cleave unto the remnant of these nations, even these that remain among you, and shall make marriages with them, and go in unto them, and they to you:
13 Know for a certainty that the Lord your God will no more drive out any of these nations from before you; but they shall be snares and traps unto you, and scourges in your sides, and thorns in your eyes, until ye perish from off this good land which the Lord your God hath given you.
14 And, behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth: and ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof.
15 Therefore it shall come to pass, that as all good things are come upon you, which the Lord your God promised you; so shall the Lord bring upon you all evil things, until he have destroyed you from off this good land which the Lord your God hath given you.
16 When ye have transgressed the covenant of the Lord your God, which he commanded you, and have gone and served other gods, and bowed yourselves to them; then shall the anger of the Lord be kindled against you, and ye shall perish quickly from off the good land which he hath given unto you.

I believe that the tradition of the time, was for a man to gather his family together before he passed away, to deliver a final message to his posterity, and oftentimes to leave them with a blessing. It seems that this same tradition occurred with the prophets to the people of the Lord as well. Joshua grew old when Israel had received rest in the promised land. In his age, he gathered the elders and leaders of Israel together. First, he reminds them of the blessings from the Lord. It was the Lord, who had given them this land by subduing their enemies and delivering them into the hands of Israel. They are reminded that the land had been divided and given to them for an inheritance, and also, that the Lord would continue to dispel their enemies so that they might continue to gain the land of promise. However, this is not without an expectation of the people of Israel.

Joshua gives and exhortation to the elders, that they lead the people in righteousness. He tells them to be courageous and keep the commandments. He tells them that they need to avoid being part of the other nations that still remained in the land. They should not mention or worship the gods of those other nations, but they should continue to love the Lord by cleaving to Him. He reminds them, that they have been promised that the Lord would fight for them and make them mighty and strong. No nation could stand against even one man with God on His side. They needed to love the Lord wholly, or else they would turn to the false gods of other nations. If they did this, they would begin to marry people of these other nations, even those that remained among them. If they chose that path, the Lord would no longer fight for them. Instead, the Lord would allow those nations to be a temptation in their lives, until the Israelites were removed from the land. Joshua reminded the elders, that God had fulfilled all that He had promised them. All the good that they had been promised, had been given to them. Because they knew this, they could know that everything bad that had been promised if they would be disobedient, would also be given to them.

It takes courage to keep the commandments of God, especially when the ways of the world are so far from them. It takes courage to follow the prophets called to lead us today. I believe as time passes and we draw nearer to the second coming of the Savior and the millennium, that it will take greater courage than ever before. We are preparing for the day when all the wicked will be done away, and the Lord will reign on this earth. Only those who can live in this world, but avoid becoming part of the world, will be able to stand at that day. This message for the ancient Israelites, is the message that all of us need to hear. If we desire to be called the people of the Lord, we must be willing to give up the pleasures of the world and give our whole hearts to the Lord. If we do not follow His commandments and love Him, He will allow us to experience greater temptations. I think that I have enough temptation in my life now, and hope to be able to have the courage to do what is right, so that the Lord will help me to fight my personal enemies.


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.
Testimony

Testimony

I made an album with my dad in 2011. Check it out!

Testimony

NEW!!! Digital Downloads (mp3) available directly from the site.

Current Study

Currently I am studying the The Old Testament. I will be studying from the LDS - King James Version of the Bible (see link below). I am studying along with the book, Scripture Study for Latter-day Saint Families: The Old Testament by Dennis H. Leavitt and Richard O. Christensen.

Learn More:

I'm a Mormon

The Book of Mormon

You can order a free copy of the Book of Mormon here:

Book of Mormon Request

Archives

Follow me on Facebook:

My Wonderful Husband and Artist

Advertisements

%d bloggers like this: