ripple effect: vacaville

d93 Out with Saul, In with David

Read 2 Samuel 5:1-12.

[We’re going to do some serious skipping…so…

* David’s about to go to battle with the Philistines and King Achish, but the commanders tell him to go away. Achish had to send David home. So…we don’t know if he would have fought.

* When David returned to Ziklag, he saw that the Amalekites had raided the town and stolen all the women and children (including David’s wives, Ahinoam and Abigail). David asked God (through Abiathar, the priest) whether or not they could beat the Amalekites. God said they could; and, on the way to find them, David met an Egyptian servant of the Amalekites who promised to lead them to the bad guys. He did, and they beat them down and got everything back.

* The Philistines beat down the Israelites, killing Saul’s sons: Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malchi-shua. Saul was struck by an arrow, and he begged his armor bearer to go ahead and kill him. He wouldn’t, so Saul had to kill himself. Then the armor-bearer killed himself. So…Saul’s whole unit got killed that day. Then the Philistines cut of Saul’s head and fastened his body to a wall in Bethshan. The men of Jabesh-gilead rescues Saul and his sons’ bodies and gave them a proper burial.

* 2 Samuel starts with David hearing of Jonathan and Saul’s death from some random guy. This guy lies and says that he killed Saul (thinking that David would like that). Instead, David mourns and has the guy killed for daring to lift his hand agains the Lord’s anointed.

* David sings a lament that includes the famous words, “how the mighty have fallen.”

* David then goes and becomes king of the tribe of Judah. He also commends the men of Jabesh-gilead for honoring Saul.

* Abner, Saul’s commander, made one of Saul’s other sons, Ish-bosheth, the king of Israel. He was the king for two years.

* Abner and Ish-bosheth’s men fought Joab (David’s commander…brother to Abishai) and David’s men. David’s guys won. Joab had another brother, Asahel, who was a fast guy. He followed Abner’s chariot on foot, and Abner ended up stabbing Asahel through with the butt end of his spear. Joab and Abishai hunted down Abner, but they ended up calling it off after Abner makes a speech about not killing fellow Israelites.

* Ish-bosheth’s army got weaker and weaker, and David’s army got stronger and stronger. We learn that David had sons through his many wives. Turns out David has a couple more than two wives. Here’s the breakdown: son #1 Amnon (mom is Ahinoam); son #2 Chileab (mom is Abigail); son #3 Absalom (mom is Maacah?); son #4 Adonijah (mom is Haggith?); son #5 Shephatiah (mom is Abital?); and son #6 Ithream (mom is Eglah?). Wow…six sons from six mamas!

* So…Ish-bosheth accuses Abner of sleeping with one of his father’s concubines (big insult). Abner says the accusation is insulting and tells him that he’s going to go help David become king from now on! Abner sends a message to David, and David says that the only way he can join the good side is by bringing him Michal (Saul’s daughter). Ish-bosheth ends up allowing this, and poor Palti (her husband) cries the whole way as Michal leaves for David. Abner tells him to go home, so he does.

* Abner rallies all the leaders of Israel to David’s side. Joab catches wind of Abner helping David and refuses to trust Abner. Then Joab calls Abner for a “private meeting” and murders him. When David finds out about this, he places a curse on the house of Joab. David wins over the people by the way that he mourns for Abner. They realize that he didn’t assassinate him– Joab did.

* We are informed that Jonathan had a son named Mephibosheth (who was crippled in the feet). He’ll come into play later.

* Two of Ish-bosheth’s captains, Rechab and Baanah, ended up murdering him. They brought his head to David, thinking he would be happy. Instead, David kills the two men because he considered Ish-bosheth “innocent.” David buried Ish-bosheth’s head with Abner’s body.

Wow…sounds like a soap opera.]

1. David finally becomes kind. Don’t you think the people would be happier to follow him?
2. The Jebusites (who were living in Jerusalem) talked smack to David because they didn’t think his army could get in the city. They went in though the sewers, and cleaned house. Then Israel became known as “the city of David.” It still is. The promised land is looking like it’s finally taking shape.
3. Hiram of Tyre sent lumber to build David’s home. Sweet. It says that David knew that he was blessed because of God.

So…we obviously have some unresolved issues…

1. What’s going to happen to Joab and Abishai?
2. What’s going to happen to Jonathan’s crippled son, the heir to Saul’s throne?
3. Are all the people going to buy in to David’s leadership?

Stay tuned…


d92 The Witch of Endor
July 8, 2007, 11:58 am
Filed under: 1 samuel, abishai, abner, achish, ahinoam, david, god, michal, palti, samuel, saul, witch of endor

Read 1 Samuel 28:1-25.

[Things we’re breezing past…

* David also got another wife named Ahinoam. As far as Michal (Saul’s daughter) went, Saul actually gave her away to some guy named Palti.

* The Ziphites tipped off Saul again where David was. So Saul went with his army to track him down. He fell asleep surrounded by his soldiers, including his commander, Abner. David snuck into the camp with a guy named Abishai and got close enough to kill Saul. Of course, David wouldn’t do it; but he instead took his spear and water bottle. David goes a distance from the camp and shouts out to Abner, telling him that he deserves to die for not keeping a good watch on the king. He tells him to check out Saul’s spear and water bottle. What, oh…he must have snatched them! Saul heard David’s voice and cried out to him. David again asked why Saul was chasing him, and Saul replied that David was a good man for not killing him. Then he went home, again. Deja vu.

* David decided that Saul would leave him alone if he lived with the Philistines, in Achash’s palace. He did, and Saul did. Achish actually gave David a town to live in named Ziklag. He lived there for 16 months. David smartly raided the former inhabitants of the promised land to a) fulfill what God had called him to do in the first place and b) make it look like (to Achish) that David was a traitor to the Israelites (he wasn’t killing Israelites, though!)]

Ever wonder where George Lucas got the name for the planets where the Ewoks lived? Maybe it was from this story…

1. Achish wanted David to fight with him against the Israelites. He says ok, but do you really think he’s going to fight against his countrymen?
2. Samuel has died. Then again, it’s not like he would have helped Saul in the first place. Also, Saul had kicked out all of the mediums and necromancers (people who communicate with the dead); but he needed to talk to someone because God wasn’t talking to him. So…genius comes up with the idea to go to a medium (witch?) in Endor. This Saul isn’t really that bright…
3. Saul actually has to go in a disguise to this “spiritist.” She balks at summoning a spirit because it was outlawed, ironically by Saul.
4. When Saul tells her to summon Samuel, instantly she freaks out and realizes that this guy was no other than the king himself. OK…first question, do you think (apart from God) that it is possible to communicate with the dead?
5. Saul bows to the spiritist in reverence to Samuel? What an idiot.
6. Samuel says that if God is against him, how can he be for him. That’s kind of a spin on “If God is for me, who can be against me?”
7. Samuel tells Saul like it is…”You’re going to lose. Remember when you didn’t kill those sheep or the king of the Amalekites? You know you do. You’re going to lose! Oh, and ‘p.s.,’ you and your sins are going to die tomorrow at the hand of the Philitines!” Wow. Saul going to this witch is going to literally be “the nail in the coffin.”
8. So Saul almost passes out because of the news and because he had not eaten. The woman urges him to eat, and he finally does. I guess this is the first “last supper.”

Hey, to me this chapter opens up a pandora’s box of questions about spiritists and mediums. People ask me all the time, “Do you believe in ghosts?” And this story actually has the “ghost” of Samuel talking to Saul through a woman. So…the basis of my beliefs is the Bible, and I have to at least admit that there might be some credibility in it. But, also notice the fact that Saul is punished mightily for seeking to talk to a dead person. What do you think?

d91 Dear Abby
July 7, 2007, 11:15 am
Filed under: 1 samuel, abigail, david, god, nabal, samuel

Read 1 Samuel 25:1-42.

1. Samuel dies. Sadness.
2. OK, so David sends ten of his men to this guy named Nabal (who has a wife who he mistreats named Abigail), and they ask him for a place to crash while they are having a feast. We know that this guy mistreats his wife, so how do you think he treats strangers?
3. Some response. I guess David didn’t like that. What do you think Nabal’s response to the request meant?
4. Abigail must have been some woman. Notice how the servants go to HER with the problem. They even call Nabal worthless.
5. Apparently, David had been protecting Nabal’s men; so Nabal was being really ungrateful. It says that David is going to kill every one of Nabal’s men.
6. Wow…with a name like “Nabal” (which means fool), you have to think that he would end up being an idiot.
7. Abigail makes a pretty good speech. She basically steps in for her idiot husband and makes it so that David doesn’t kill all the men (who she says are innocent because they are stupid). What do you think about Abigail’s plea?
8. David is thankful that he didn’t have to kill anybody.
9. When Abigail told Nabal about all the had done, he died. Maybe he had a heart attack? We don’t know. All we know is that he died ten days from then.
10. Notice that David gives credit to God for killing Nabal. And by killing Nabal Himself, God made it so that David didn’t have to do it. God truly avenged David. Do you think it is right for people to take revenge?
11. The icing on the cake is that David sent for Abigail to be his wife. And she accepted. So…he got himself an awesome wife, and she got a man who would actually see her for what she was, an awesome woman.

d90 Am I Not Merciful?
July 6, 2007, 11:56 am
Filed under: 1 samuel, abiathar, achish, ahimelech, david, doeg, gad, god, goliath, mizpeh, saul

Read 1 Samuel 24:1-22.

[Stuff we’re gliding past…

* David’s on the run from Saul, so he goes to a priest named Ahimelech. While there, he gets bread to eat (from the holy bread) and a sword (Goliath’s old sword). The lead herdsman of Saul, Doeg, sees David there.

* David flees to a foreign place to a foreign king named Achish. They recognize him as the dude who kills “tens of thousands,” so David cleverly acts like he’s insane so that they don’t kill him. He doodles on the walls and spits all over his beard. That David…

* David his in a cave, and people found out about it. The people who were sick of Saul’s reign joined him; and he ended up gathering about 400 men. Interestingly, David actually has his father and his family stay with Mizpeh, the king of the Moabites (bad guys?) until he knows that Saul is done trying to do him harm. Also, a prophet named Gad told him to leave the cave and go to the land of Judah.

* Saul’s feeling sorry for himself and talking smack about David when Doeg tells Saul where and when he saw him. Saul summons Ahimelech and all the other priests. He accuses them of being traitors and tells the guard to kill them. They won’t, so Doeg does. Doeg kills 85 priests and kills everyone who lives in their city. Jerk. But one of Ahimelech’s sons escapes– Abiathar. David takes care of Abiathar.

* The people of Keliah were being raided by the Philistines, so David took his group and beat down the Philistines with his little band of fugitives. Saul tried to ambush him in Keliah, but God had already tipped off David to leave.

* While David is hiding in Ziph, Jonathan comes to him and tells him that Saul won’t ever find him and that David will become king and he’ll stand beside him. The Ziphites told Saul that David was hiding there, and he pursued him. At one point, they were actually opposite sides of the same mountain; but Saul had to go because the Philistines were attacking his kingdom.]

Sounds like a big game of cat and mouse…

1. Saul goes into a cave to take a leak. Little does he know that David and his boys are hiding in that very cave! Time to kill, right?
2. Instead, David cuts off a piece of his robe; and he feels guilty about THAT?!?! His explanation is that he should not lift his hand against “the Lord’s anointed.” What do you think about that?
3. David follows Saul out of the cave and gives him a piece of his…respect?!?! Yeah, respect. He shows Saul mercy and tells him that he could have killed him, but he didn’t. He shows the little corner of his robe as “proof” he was close enough to kill him. If you were Saul, what would you be thinking at this point? (That I’m going to be like a girl and always bring someone with me to the bathroom.)
4. David says he didn’t do anything wrong, so why is he chasing him?
5. Wow…Saul cries. Why?
6. Strangely, Saul says that David is more righteous than him (because he doesn’t kill him when he had the chance). And he tells him that he knows that he is going to become king. His only request is to not kill all of his family. David agrees. And then, Saul just goes home. Wow…
7. Do you think that there are times in which you can do something so good (so different than what people expect) that it would shock them into doing the right thing too?

d89 Guess Who’s Not Coming to Dinner
July 5, 2007, 10:41 am
Filed under: 1 samuel, david, god, jonathan, michal, samuel, saul

Read 1 Samuel 20:1-42.

[Stuff we’re flying through:

* Saul tells everyone in his household (including Jonathan) to kill David. Jonathan tips off David, and David hides. Jonathan talks Saul down, and David gets to move back in.

* David kicks more Philistine butt. Saul tries to throw another spear at David.

* Saul instructed the people of David’s household to kill David. Michal tips off David, and sneaks him out of the house.

* David flees to live with Samuel. Saul sends messengers to kill David; but everytime he does, they end up “prophesying” and not killing. Eventually Saul goes himself, and he ends up stripping naked and prophesying too.]

1. OK, so David’s great question is “What did I do to Saul?” I would imagine this would be quite confusing for David. Put yourself in his shoes. What would you be thinking?
2. Yeah, it makes sense that Saul isn’t going to tell Jonathan that he’s going to kill him at this point. It’s pretty obvious that Jonathan is on David’s side.
3. OK, so the plan is for Jonathan to have dinner with Saul. If Saul asks where David is (as he will inevitably do), Jonathan is going to say that he’s sacrificing in Bethlehem. (Hmm…does this mean that sometimes it’s ok to lie?) If Saul is cool, no problem. If he wigs out, more than likely he was planning on killing David. Nice plan.
4. OK, so the two young guys are making oaths and whatnot; and Jonathan interestingly notes that God is on David’s side. So…if it comes to the point that David kills all his enemies, please don’t destroy all of Jonathan’s family just because they were related to Saul.
5. Everything pans out as planned. Saul wigs out after two days and basically tells Jonathan that he’s stupid for choosing David (his rival) over Saul (his chance at becoming king). What does Jonathan get for talking back to his dad? A spear thrown at him! Wow…good thing Saul had such bad aim.
6. The whole sending a kid to pick up the arrows plan was pretty slick. Then he sends the kid back, so the coast is clear. At that point, they weep because they know that they’ll probably never see each other again. Why do you think it points out that David wept the most?

d88 Old School Engagement Rings?
July 4, 2007, 10:10 am
Filed under: 1 samuel, adriel, david, jonathan, merab, michal, saul

Read 1 Samuel 18:1-30.

1. OK..I’m going at this one head-on. There are pockets of people (like some of my college professors) who think that David and Jonathan had a homosexual romance because of the first verse of this chapter. To me, that’s pretty primitive thinking–that the only way that I man can love another man deeply is if they have a desire to have sex with them. Yet, the theory is out there. Let me be the first to say that I love my wife with all my heart, and I think it would be weird for me to love any other woman with all my heart. But, I do believe that there are some guys in this world who I love with all my being too. I think Jonathan was inspired by and had a profound respect for David. Who wouldn’t? Anyway, David and Jonathan gay? There’s no evidence to support that. Any thoughts?
2. As far as Jonathan “stripping” his garment goes, this is a sign of acceptance and respect. Jonathan had special “princely” robes, and he gave them to David. He probably felt like David “deserved” them. What’s ironic is that he is Jonathan’s “competition” to be the next king, and he doesn’t even know that yet. Do you think Jonathan would feel any differently if he knew that David was the Lord’s new anointed king?
3. Don’t you think the women singing is a little over the top? I know that people get persnickety about their political leaders and like to lampoon them all the time (no one deserves that kind of harsh treatment), but this almost seems intentional, doesn’t it? “Saul, you aren’t the man. David is!”
4. David was quickly becoming the “people’s champion,” so Saul started to become paranoid.
5. How about Saul tossing a spear at David twice? Am I missing something here? Why would David stick around for the second throw? You see that there is more to this than meets the eye–God is behind David, not Saul. So…I guess my question would be, how control of his actions is Saul right now?
6. Saul says he’s going to give David his daighter, Merab, as his wife; but instead pawns off a foreign girl, Adriel. [edit: actually, upon further review (and help from Miloisis), Adriel was the guy that Saul tossed Merab to. So…David didn’t even get a girl in this deal.] Weird.
7. Talk about an engagement ring! Saul tries to get David killed (because of his love for his daughter, Michal) by telling him that he needs 100 Philistine foreskins as the price to marry her. Hmm…and I thought diamond rings were hard to get!
8. I love David’s “overkill.” He decides to get 200. I’m thinking that a Philistine isn’t just going to let you cut the skin of his penis, so he probably killed them all. In a way, a plot from Saul ends up accomplishing God’s work by destroying 200 Philistines.
9. Imagine being Saul. David brings a baggy full of foreskins, and he has to give David his daughter. That would tick me off as a dad. And the fact that he is his “rival” only makes it worse.

Any thoughts about Saul, David, or God?

d87 Stone Cold
July 3, 2007, 9:32 am
Filed under: 1 samuel, abner, david, god, goliath, jesse, saul

Read 1 Samuel 17:32-58.

1. Imagine the guts of David here. He’s not even in the army, and he’s telling Saul that he will take on Goliath. Saul doesn’t know about David’s anointing. For all he knows, he’s just the young guy who plays the lyre and carries his armor (when he’s not helping his dad take care of sheep).
2. David is new to war, but he’s not a small, wimpy little kid. The “kid” has killed bears and lions with his bare hands. And I like the fact that, to him, this isn’t about the Philistines versus the Israelites…this is an affront to “the armies of the living God.” He believes that God was with him against the animals and that He’ll be with him against Goliath. How about that faith?
3. David wasn’t a swordsman, and he wasn’t even used to wearing armor. So…when he gets all of Saul’s stuff, it’s more of a liability than if he just fought his way. So…he goes with what he knows–a staff, a sling, and some rocks.
4. Talking smack Bible style. Goliath is saying that you can’t just poke at him with a staff and get him to yelp and go away. He’s a warrior. Can you imagine how overconfident this guy is right now?
5. Whoah. Then David brings it right back on him. He tells him that he’s not only going to beat him, but he’s going to cut off his head. All the dead Philistines are about to bird food. And why? Because they stepped to God. God is on their side. This is all going to be done for God’s glory. Isn’t that man’s purpose, to glorify God?
6. The forehead was probably one of the few places on Goliath that wasn’t covered by armor. Just think about that aim and power. Sign him up to play shortstop. And the giant fell.
7. David used Goliath’s own sword to cut his head off. Imagine how demoralized the Philistines would have been.
8. The rout was on. Without their emotional leader, the Philistines folded.
9. I’ve always thought this was weird. Saul doesn’t seem to know David here, but he loved him so much that he made him his armor-bearer back in the day. Maybe he grew up since then?
10. Abner, the army commander, gets him and brings him to Saul. Saul reminds him that he is Jesse’s kid. OK…so I believe all of this is a historical account, so what’s up with Saul’s amnesia here?