Posts Tagged 'Evil'

2 Kings Chapter 21

Hezekiah, was the king of Judah in a time when most of the land of Israel was taken over by other nations. Hezekiah had ruled in righteousness and had the blessing of the Lord’s protection for himself and the people of Jerusalem. At one point, he allowed himself to give into the temptation to be prideful and showed all his treasures to the Babylonians. In response, the Lord promised Hezekiah that the people of Judah would be taken captive into Babylon. These things would effect his descendants in the days of his sons. When Hezekiah died, his son, Manasseh, became king. This chapter begins as follows:

1 Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Hephzi-bah.
2 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, after the abominations of the heathen, whom the Lord cast out before the children of Israel.
3 For he built up again the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed; and he reared up altars for Baal, and made a grove, as did Ahab king of Israel; and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them.
4 And he built altars in the house of the Lord, of which the Lord said, In Jerusalem will I put my name.
5 And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the Lord.
6 And he made his son pass through the fire, and observed times, and used enchantments, and dealt with familiar spirits and wizards: he wrought much wickedness in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger.
7 And he set a graven image of the grove that he had made in the house, of which the Lord said to David, and to Solomon his son, In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all tribes of Israel, will I put my name for ever:
8 Neither will I make the feet of Israel move any more out of the land which I gave their fathers; only if they will observe to do according to all that I have commanded them, and according to all the law that my servant Moses commanded them.
9 But they hearkened not: and Manasseh seduced them to do more evil than did the nations whom the Lord destroyed before the children of Israel.

At the age of twelve, Manasseh became king. He ruled until he was about 67 years old, or for about 55 years. He did not follow after the ways of his father, who had destroyed all the idols and repaired the temple of the Lord. Instead, he followed after the ways of many others who had ruled before Hezekiah, building the temples, altars and groves for other gods. He also built other altars within the temple of the Lord, which were designed to worship other gods there. He sacrificed his own sons and did all manner of wickedness associated with idolatry. He placed an idol in the temple, in the sacred place where great promises had been made to the faithful kings of the land, such as David and Solomon. He desecrated the Holy temple of the Lord. Manasseh led the people into greater evil than even the heathen nations that were found in the land before the children of Israel arrived there. (see also 2 Chronicles 33)

It is hard to think that the son of one who had lived so righteously, would live so wickedly. His father had only been an influence in his life for twelve years, he was young and I am sure that there were still many people who were wicked, who were able to influence his impressionable mind. It all would come down to his individual agency, or the kinds of choices he made, because of the influences he had. This teaches how important it is to influence our youth for good. Our youth will one day become those who lead the world. All future generations will be influenced by our children and their choices. We can make a difference in the future, by being the right kind of examples and giving our youth the tools they need to make good choices for themselves.

10 And the Lord spake by his servants the prophets, saying,
11 Because Manasseh king of Judah hath done these abominations, and hath done wickedly above all that the Amorites did, which were before him, and hath made Judah also to sin with his idols:
12 Therefore thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Behold, I am bringing such evil upon Jerusalem and Judah, that whosoever heareth of it, both his ears shall tingle.
13 And I will stretch over Jerusalem the line of Samaria, and the plummet of the house of
Ahab: and I will wipe Jerusalem as a man wipeth a dish, wiping it, and turning it upside down.
14 And I will forsake the remnant of mine inheritance, and deliver them into the hand of their enemies; and they shall become a prey and a spoil to all their enemies;
15 Because they have done that which was evil in my sight, and have provoked me to anger, since the day their fathers came forth out of Egypt, even unto this day.
16 Moreover Manasseh shed innocent blood very much, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another; beside his sin wherewith he made Judah to sin, in doing that which was evil in the sight of the Lord.

Prophets were called by God, to speak to the people. The prophecy and word of the Lord, was that Manasseh had done greater wickedness than all those before him and had caused Judah to do these things along with him. Because of this, a great evil would come upon all of Judah and those who heard the prophecy would feel their ears tingle, a witness of its truth. The people of Judah would be destroyed and forsaken, delivered into the hand of their enemies to be killed or made slaves. The Lord also said that Manasseh had shed so much innocent blood, that it filled Jerusalem. A lot of blood can be shed by one man in a reign of 55 years.

17 Now the rest of the acts of Manasseh, and all that he did, and his sin that he sinned, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?
18 And Manasseh slept with his fathers, and was buried in the garden of his own house, in the garden of Uzza: and Amon his son reigned in his stead.

These were not all of the acts of Manasseh, but more were recorded. Manasseh died and his son, Amon, became the king.

19 Amon was twenty and two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned two years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Meshullemeth, the daughter of Haruz of Jotbah.
20 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, as his father Manasseh did.
21 And he walked in all the way that his father walked in, and served the idols that his father served, and worshipped them:
22 And he forsook the Lord God of his fathers, and walked not in the way of the Lord.

Amon reigned from the age of 22 to 24, continuing in the wickedness of his father. He did not follow after God, but chose to follow after idols and continue to lead the people in idolatry.

23 And the servants of Amon conspired against him, and slew the king in his own house.
24 And the people of the land slew all them that had conspired against king Amon; and the people of the land made Josiah his son king in his stead.
25 Now the rest of the acts of Amon which he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?
26 And he was buried in his sepulchre in the garden of Uzza: and Josiah his son reigned in his stead.

His servants conspired against him and killed him. The people of Jerusalem killed those who had conspired against the king and then made Josiah, the son of Amon, the king.

This chapter causes me to think about the Lord’s timing. There had been many years now, in which great wickedness had been allowed to continue, even after the first prophecy of the destruction of the people of Jerusalem and Judah. In their great wickedness, I am sure they would not have believed it was ever going to happen, since they had been allowed to continue to live as they were. But, how often do the wicked believe in the prophecies of the Lord? Nevertheless, the Lord has always done things at the time that was right for his purpose. His purpose being to allow the greatest number of souls to be redeemed as possible, in order to have eternal life. Moses 1:39 reads, “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” The prophets seem to have been proclaiming a warning call, giving the people of Jerusalem every opportunity to repent and return to the Lord. Likewise, there was also going to be a day when a Savior would come, and the timing of their destruction would influence the lives of all the generations that would someday come from these wicked and idolatrous people. The word of this prophecy would eventually be fulfilled , and only those who heeded the word of the Lord, would be able to avoid destruction. We can learn about at least one group who avoided this specific time of destruction in The Book of Mormon (see 2 Kings 24 and 1 Nephi 1). Recognizing this, should help us to see that we have the opportunity to heed the warnings of the prophets as well. Will we follow after the world and be led to destruction, or will we follow after the prophets and avoid it?

2 Samuel Chapter 12

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1 Samuel Chapter 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 19

King Saul had loved David as a young man, but that had changed as David had grown into strong and wise leader of Saul’s army. When the people began to give greater praises to David, Saul became jealous and desirous to destroy him. He sent him to fight in the front lines so that he might die at the hands of their enemies. His plans were frustrated, so in hopes of causing his downfall, Saul gave his younger daughter to David, to be his wife. Saul had a revelation, that he would try to take David’s life, but David would escape twice. Saul’s hatred grew, but David continued to be a loyal and righteous servant. David had also become great friends with Saul’s son, Jonathan. This chapter begins:

1 And Saul spake to Jonathan his son, and to all his servants, that they should kill David.
2 But Jonathan Saul’s son delighted much in David: and Jonathan told David, saying, Saul my father seeketh to kill thee: now therefore, I pray thee, take heed to thyself until the morning, and abide in a secret place, and hide thyself:
3 And I will go out and stand beside my father in the field where thou art, and I will commune with my father of thee; and what I see, that I will tell thee.

Saul told his servants and Jonathan, that they were to kill David, but Jonathan loved David. He told David that his father wanted to kill him. He made a plan for David to hide himself in a secret part of a field. Jonathan would try to talk to his father about David, so that he could tell David, what Saul would do.

4 And Jonathan spake good of David unto Saul his father, and said unto him, Let not the king sin against his servant, against David; because he hath not sinned against thee, and because his works have been to thee-ward very good:
5 For he did put his life in his hand, and slew the Philistine, and the Lord wrought a great salvation for all Israel: thou sawest it, and didst rejoice: wherefore then wilt thou sin against innocent blood, to slay David without a cause?
6 And Saul hearkened unto the voice of Jonathan: and Saul sware, As the Lord liveth, he shall not be slain.
7 And Jonathan called David, and Jonathan shewed him all those things. And Jonathan brought David to Saul, and he was in his presence, as in times past.

Jonathan spoke to his father of the good that David, his servant, had done for Saul. He reminded his father of David’s innocence and just how bad a thing it would be, to kill him and sin against his innocent blood. Saul listened to his son, and made an oath that David would not be killed. Jonathan told him all that his father said, and then he took David back to Saul.

8 And there was war again: and David went out, and fought with the Philistines, and slew them with a great slaughter; and they fled from him.
9 And the evil spirit from the Lord was upon Saul, as he sat in his house with his javelin in his hand: and David played with his hand.
10 And Saul sought to smite David even to the wall with the javelin; but he slipped away out of Saul’s presence, and he smote the javelin into the wall: and David fled, and escaped that night.
11 Saul also sent messengers unto David’s house, to watch him, and to slay him in the morning: and Michal David’s wife told him, saying, If thou save not thy life to night, to morrow thou shalt be slain.

Time passed, and war came again. David fought against the Philistines and was victorious. Those that were not slain, ran away. Again, Saul was touched by an evil spirit, and jealousy grew within him. The Joseph Smith Translation of verse nine, makes a correction. It says that the evil spirit, was not from the Lord. This correction is needed, because God is not evil and does not give anything evil to mankind. If He did, He would not be God. He does, however, allow evil to work for itself in the lives of men, so that we can learn how to recognize it and then use our agency to decide if we will choose the good or the evil. The evil spirit in Saul’s life, came from his own thoughts and choices, not from God.

While David played the harp for him, he sat with a javelin, just as he had seen in his revelation. He tried to kill him with the javelin, but David escaped, and Saul hit the wall instead. This was Saul’s first attempt to personally kill David. Next, Saul sent men to watch David’s house, in order to kill him in the morning, but David’s wife, Michal, told him to escape their home, because the men would kill him in the morning.

12 So Michal let David down through a window: and he went, and fled, and escaped.
13 And Michal took an image, and laid it in the bed, and put a pillow of goats’ hair for his bolster, and covered it with a cloth.
14 And when Saul sent messengers to take David, she said, He is sick.
15 And Saul sent the messengers again to see David, saying, Bring him up to me in the bed, that I may slay him.
16 And when the messengers were come in, behold, there was an image in the bed, with a pillow of goats’ hair for his bolster.
17 And Saul said unto Michal, Why hast thou deceived me so, and sent away mine enemy, that he is escaped? And Michal answered Saul, He said unto me, Let me go; why should I kill thee?

Michal helped David to get away, by lowering him down from a window. David escaped, while Michal put a statue in the bed, with fake hair and clothes. The men came in the morning, and tried to take David, but she told them he was sick. Saul sent the men a second time, to bring David to him, so that he could kill him, but the men went in and found the statue that Michal had put in his place. Saul demanded to know why his daughter had lied to him and allowed David to escape. Mical told Saul that David had told her to help him escape.

18 So David fled, and escaped, and came to Samuel to Ramah, and told him all that Saul had done to him. And he and Samuel went and dwelt in Naioth.
19 And it was told Saul, saying, Behold, David is at Naioth in Ramah.
20 And Saul sent messengers to take David: and when they saw the company of the prophets prophesying, and Samuel standing as appointed over them, the Spirit of God was upon the messengers of Saul, and they also prophesied.
21 And when it was told Saul, he sent other messengers, and they prophesied likewise. And Saul sent messengers again the third time, and they prophesied also.
22 Then went he also to Ramah, and came to a great well that is in Sechu: and he asked and said, Where are Samuel and David? And one said, Behold, they be at Naioth in Ramah.
23 And he went thither to Naioth in Ramah: and the Spirit of God was upon him also, and he went on, and prophesied, until he came to Naioth in Ramah.
24 And he stripped off his clothes also, and prophesied before Samuel in like manner, and lay down naked all that day and all that night. Wherefore they say, Is Saul also among the prophets?

David escaped to Samuel who was in Ramah. He told Samuel what had happened with Saul. David went to stay with Samuel. Saul learned that David was with Samuel and he sent men to take him. The men saw that he was among the prophets as they prophesied. The spirit fell upon the men of Saul and they also prophesied. Word got back to Saul of what happened, he sent more men, who did the same thing. Saul sent men a third time, and they also had the same thing happen to them. Saul decided to go for himself, and stopped at a well to ask where Samuel and David were. He was told where they were, and as he continued on to the place, he was also touched by the spirit and prophesied. When he got to Samuel, he prophesied there and the people wondered if their king was among the prophets. It is interesting to note, that this had already been an experience for Saul. When he was first set apart to be the king of Israel, he prophesied among the prophets.

One thing I learn from this chapter, is that our thoughts and resulting feelings can drive us to do awful things, especially to things that we love. Thoughts are powerful. Saul had been a humble young man, before being anointed as the king. The idea of the power he should have, had influenced his heart. He had allowed his position to become more important that doing what was right. His thoughts had become influenced by the ways of the world. He was the first king of Israel, after the reign of judges, and as such, he only had the examples of the kings and rulers of other nations. I’ve studied some of what kings of the nearby nations would have been like. It seems that often times, they expected that their subjects were completely dependent upon them. Many of them were self-titled gods to their people. They expected to be worshipped and adored above everything. These expectations could have easily influenced Saul. When others praised David for his successes, they wounded the pride of Saul. Jealousy took hold of his heart. Saul felt he deserved the greatest praises and adoration. These feelings caused him to hate someone he had once loved. Then they drove him to command others to do evil against David. He had turned far from the good man he had once been. I don’t know how long it took for this change in Saul to occur, but I know from my own experiences, that it does not take long for individuals to turn from good and from God. We need to be constantly watchful of our own thoughts. If there is something beginning to work into our thoughts, which is in opposition to that which is good, we need to quickly cast it away. Replace evil thoughts with things that are good. Replace evil thoughts with praise to God. As a result, our own thoughts will have a power for good in our lives, rather than bringing negative and harmful feelings.

A Question on Pity

(I had to rename my post due to specific attention it received. Hopefully this helps.)

A friend of mine asked a question over dinner the other night, and I thought it an interesting topic to study and discuss. Should we pity Satan? My immediate answer to the question was a reflection on the commandment to love everyone, as well as the idea in my head, that pity did not seem like something God would want us to have. I spent some time thinking about whether or not there was something wrong with having pity for someone or something, and the conclusion that I have come to is that it is not wrong. Pity for others, in the general sense, leads us to care more about them. In Psalms 103:13 we read, “Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him.” God has pity for His children often, and that pity leads to the mercy he extends when difficulties of life happen, or when justice halts our spiritual and physical progression. If God has pity for us, then we, as his offspring may also have pity on others. It is not uplifting or righteous, however, to have self-pity, which is a negative form of pity which Satan will use to bring us down to destruction.

So, how do pity and love fit into our feelings towards Satan? To feel pity for any being, is to feel sorrow for their misfortunes. If it is okay for me to have pity, should I feel sorrow for Satan’s misfortunes? Is it bad luck that he is in the state he is? No, it was a consequence of his choice in the pre-mortal existence. I feel sorrow, however, for the unfortunate result of the choice he made. This is also pity. I pity the possibilities he had, which he threw away. Satan has not always been that satan we refer to now. He became Satan after he, as Lucifer, rebelled and fought against God and His Son, and was thrust out of God’s presence. In Doctrine and Covenants, section 76, we read the following:

25 And this we saw also, and bear record, that an angel of God who was in authority in the presence of God, who rebelled against the Only Begotten Son whom the Father loved and who was in the bosom of the Father, was thrust down from the presence of God and the Son,
26 And was called Perdition, for the heavens wept over him—he was Lucifer, a son of the morning.
27 And we beheld, and lo, he is fallen! is fallen, even a son of the morning!

“His eventual rebellion and fall were so tragic and complete that he lost all hope for any degree of salvation, which is why the heavens wept over him” (see this lesson on Satan). I think we can feel pity for our spiritual brother, Lucifer, who was lost forever by his choices. I think that we can also feel pity for the third of our spiritual family, which he enticed and led away, lost for eternity as well.

The question still remains, should we pity Satan as the being he is now? If we were to believe that we should treat all beings in the same manner, including those who will never gain a body and experience earth life as we know it, then we would be expected to follow all the commandments in regards to Satan as well. We learn from the scriptures, that when those who know and fear God, suffer in trials of life, the Lord has pity on them. In Isaiah 63:9 we read, “In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old.” There comes a point, though, where God no longer pities those who openly rebel. Rather, the Lord executes righteous judgement against them. In Zechariah 11:6 it says, “For I will no more pity the inhabitants of the land, saith the Lord: but, lo, I will deliver the men every one into his neighbour’s hand, and into the hand of his king: and they shall smite the land, and out of their hand I will not deliver them.” If this is the pattern of God, with living souls, how does it apply to Satan?

We can know what the outcome is for the rebelliously wicked. In Mosiah 2 we learn the following:

38 Therefore if that man repenteth not, and remaineth and dieth an enemy to God, the demands of divine justice do awaken his immortal soul to a lively sense of his own guilt, which doth cause him to shrink from the presence of the Lord, and doth fill his breast with guilt, and pain, and anguish, which is like an unquenchable fire, whose flame ascendeth up forever and ever.
39 And now I say unto you, that mercy hath no claim on that man; therefore his final doom is to endure a never-ending torment.

Again in 3 Nephi 29:7, “Yea, and wo unto him that shall say at that day, to get gain, that there can be no miracle wrought by Jesus Christ; for he that doeth this shall become like unto the son of perdition, for whom there was no mercy, according to the word of Christ!”

God loved his son Lucifer, but Satan is an enemy to God. He has already received God’s judgement and we can know for sure, that he will be eternally damned without the mercy of God. He will never be shown pity for his circumstances. He is the source of all evil. It is my belief even though he once was our spiritual brother Lucifer, that we are not expected to treat him as we are commanded to treat the souls of God who chose to follow Christ and kept their first estate. Psalms 97:10 reads, “Ye that love the Lord, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked.” We are told to hate evil, and as the source of all evil, Satan himself is evil. In Romans 12:9 we read, “Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.” We must not love the effects of evil. We cannot love the source of evil. We loved Lucifer before this life and mourned his loss. I think we will feel that again when we return to God and the veil which blocks our memory of our pre-mortal life is lifted. However, it is my belief that we are not commanded or expected to treat Satan as we would other people.

Moreover, pity is akin to compassion, mercy, and sympathy. Pity is often followed by the compassion and mercy which leads to love and acceptance. With human beings, this would be a good way to forgive, love, and have the charity we desire to have towards them. There is a stanza to a poem, which I found often in my study of this topic, that I thought worth pondering.

‘Vice is a monster of so frightful mien
As to be hated needs but to be seen;
Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,
We first endure, then pity, then embrace.’
[Alexander Pope, Essay on Man, lines 217–20]

If we think of Satan as we read this, the last line would be, “We first endure Satan, then pity Satan, then embrace Satan”. Pity for Satan may just lead the way to embracing him. There would be a fine line there, and having pity for him may open the doors for justification of what he has done and is doing to mankind.

Finally, I found the following statement in the lesson on Satan, that I referenced above. “Although it is useful to understand who Satan is and why he is our adversary, there is potential danger in thinking and talking about Satan too much.” We should learn about Satan, that he is a real being, and come to know how he behaves and what his motivations are. But, there is danger in thinking and talking about Satan too much. I know that when I pity someone or their situations, they are on my mind often. Sometimes their situation can become all-consuming to me. I believe that having pity for Satan, would lead to spending far too much time thinking of him and not nearly enough time focusing on our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

I’m grateful to my friend for posing this question and giving me the desire to ponder it. My final answer is no. I believe that we should not pity Satan. We should not put that much energy into thinking of him. Instead, we pity the unfortunate people in our own sphere, have compassion on them, help them to see the light of Christ through us, and focus our energy on what the Lord would have us do.


About My Scripture Study Buddy

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