Journey Through The Scriptures

David, Part I

Lesson 7: The Deaths of Saul and Jonathan

(Scripture to Read: 1 Samuel 30:1–31:13)

David had been spared the agonizing decision of whether to fight with the Philistines against his fellow Israelites, or turn on his Philistine hosts and risk his own life and the lives of his men.

But David’s dismissal from the Philistine army did not mean he was free of trouble. Amalakite raiders had come to Ziklag in David’s absence and burned the city, taking the women and children away as captives.

This was a crisis in more ways than one, because David’s men were ready to take out their anger and grief by stoning him!

But all was forgiven when the men’s families were recovered, along with a large amount of plunder. David showed diplomatic skill by sending some of this wealth to the elders of Judah, in anticipation of his coming to the throne of Israel. That day was just ahead, as Saul and his sons died in battle against the Philistines on Mount Gilboa.

Fellowship friends who participated in our Journey Home tours of Israel have stood at Beit She’an and looked across to Jabesh Gilead, from where brave men came to give Saul a proper burial.

Study Questions

  1. Where did David turn for strength when his own men turned against him?
  2. Why was David careful to divide his spoils with the elders and people of Judah?
  3. Explain why Saul’s faithful armor-bearer was so reluctant to kill Saul, even though it was Saul who commanded him to do so.
  4. What happened to the Israelites in the battle zone when they saw their king dead and their army defeated?

Something to Think About

There is an important lesson for us in the example of the men from Jabesh Gilead. They proclaimed a fast to mourn Saul. Even though Saul failed in many ways as king, these men still honored him as the king. We are to honor those placed in leadership over us, even if their individual actions are not always praiseworthy.