Through the Bible – Day 104

Bible text(s)

1but he thought to himself, “One of these days, Saul is going to kill me. The only way to escape from him is to go to Philistia. Then I'll be outside Israel, and Saul will give up trying to catch me.”

2-3David and his six hundred men went across the border to stay in Gath with King Achish the son of Maoch. His men brought their families with them. David brought his wife Ahinoam whose home town was Jezreel, and he also brought his wife Abigail who had been married to Nabal from Carmel. 4When Saul found out that David had run off to Gath, he stopped trying to catch him.

5One day, David was talking with Achish and said, “If you are happy with me, then let me live in one of the towns in the countryside. I'm not important enough to live here with you in the royal city.”

6Achish gave David the town of Ziklag that same day, and Ziklag has belonged to the kings of Judah ever since.

7David was in Philistia for a year and four months. 8The Geshurites, the Girzites, and the Amalekites lived in the area from Telam to Shur and on as far as Egypt, and David often attacked their towns. 9Whenever David and his men attacked a town, they took the sheep, cattle, donkeys, camels, and the clothing, and killed everyone who lived there.

After he returned from a raid, David always went to see Achish, 10who would ask, “Where did you attack today?”

David would answer, “Oh, we attacked some desert town that belonged to the Judah tribe.” Sometimes David would say, “Oh, we attacked a town in the desert where the Jerahmeel clan lives” or “We attacked a town in the desert where the Kenites live.” 11That's why David killed everyone in the towns he attacked. He thought, “If I let any of them live, they might come to Gath and tell what I've really been doing.”

David made these raids all the time he was in Philistia. 12But Achish trusted David and thought, “David's people must be furious with him. From now on he will have to take orders from me.”

Saul talks with Samuel's ghost

1-3Samuel had died some time earlier, and people from all over Israel had attended his funeral in his home town of Ramah.

Meanwhile, Saul had been trying to get rid of everyone who spoke with the spirits of the dead. But one day the Philistines brought their soldiers together to attack Israel.

Achish told David, “Of course, you know that you and your men must fight as part of our Philistine army.”

David answered, “That will give you a chance to see for yourself just how well we can fight!”

“In that case,” Achish said, “you and your men will always be my bodyguards.”

4The Philistines went to Shunem and set up camp. Saul called the army of Israel together, and they set up their camp in Gilboa. 5Saul took one look at the Philistine army and started shaking with fear. 6So he asked the LORD what to do. But the LORD would not answer, either in a dream or by a priest or a prophet. 7Then Saul told his officers, “Find me a woman who can talk to the spirits of the dead. I'll go to her and find out what's going to happen.”

His servants told him, “There's a woman at Endor who can talk to spirits of the dead.”

8That night, Saul put on different clothing so nobody would recognize him. Then he and two of his men went to the woman, and asked, “Will you bring up the ghost of someone for us?”

9The woman said, “Why are you trying to trick me and get me killed? You know King Saul has got rid of everyone who talks to the spirits of the dead!”

10Saul replied, “I swear by the living LORD that nothing will happen to you because of this.”

11“Who do you want me to bring up?” she asked.

“Bring up the ghost of Samuel,” he answered.

12When the woman saw Samuel, she screamed. Then she turned to Saul and said, “You've tricked me! You're the king!”

13“Don't be afraid,” Saul replied. “Just tell me what you see.”

She answered, “I see a spirit rising up out of the ground.”

14“What does it look like?”

“It looks like an old man wearing a robe.”

Saul knew it was Samuel, so he bowed down low.

15“Why are you bothering me by bringing me up like this?” Samuel asked.

“I'm terribly worried,” Saul answered. “The Philistines are about to attack me. God has turned his back on me and won't answer any more by prophets or by dreams. What should I do?”

16Samuel said:

If the LORD has turned away from you and is now your enemy, don't ask me what to do. 17I've already told you: the LORD has sworn to take the kingdom from you and give it to David. And that's just what he's doing! 18When the LORD was angry with the Amalekites, he told you to destroy them, but you didn't do it. That's why the LORD is doing this to you. 19Tomorrow the LORD will let the Philistines defeat Israel's army, then you and your sons will join me down here in the world of the dead.

20At once, Saul collapsed and lay stretched out on the floor, terrified at what Samuel had said. He was weak because he had not eaten anything since the day before.

21The woman came over to Saul, and when she saw that he was completely terrified, she said, “Your Majesty, I listened to you and risked my life to do what you asked. 22Now please listen to me. Let me get you a little something to eat. It will give you strength for your walk back to camp.”

23“No, I won't eat!”

But his officers and the woman kept on urging Saul, until he finally agreed. He got up off the floor and sat on the bed. 24Straight away the woman killed a calf that she had been fattening up. She cooked part of the meat and baked some thin bread. 25Then she served the food to Saul and his officers, who ate and left before daylight.

David rescues the families of his troops

The Philistines send David back

1The Philistines had brought their whole army to Aphek, while Israel's army was camping near Jezreel Spring. 2-3The Philistine rulers and their troops were marching past the Philistine army commanders in groups of a hundred and a thousand. When David and his men marched by at the end with Achish, the commanders said, “What are these worthless Israelites doing here?”

“They are David's men,” Achish answered. “David used to be one of Saul's officers, but he left Saul and joined my army a long time ago. I've never had even one complaint about him.”

4The Philistine army commanders were angry and shouted:

Send David back to the town you gave him. We won't have him going into the battle with us. He could turn and fight against us! Saul would take David back as an officer if David brought him the heads of our soldiers. 5The Israelites even dance and sing,

“Saul has killed

a thousand enemies;

David has killed

ten thousand enemies!”

6Achish called David over and said:

I swear by the living LORD that you've been honest with me, and I want you to fight by my side. I don't think you've done anything wrong from the day you joined me until this very moment. But the other Philistine rulers don't want you to come along. 7Go back home and try not to upset them.

8“But what have I done?” David asked. “Do you know of anything I've ever done that would keep me from fighting the enemies of my king?”

9Achish said:

I believe that you're as good as an angel of God, but our army commanders have decided that you can't fight in this battle. 10You and your troops will have to go back to the town I gave you. Get up and leave tomorrow morning as soon as it's light. I am pleased with you, so don't let any of this bother you.

11David and his men got up early in the morning and headed back towards Philistia, while the Philistines left for Jezreel.

David rescues his soldiers' families

1It took David and his men three days to reach Ziklag. But while they had been away, the Amalekites had been raiding in the desert around there. They had attacked Ziklag, burnt it to the ground, 2and had taken away the women and children. 3When David and his men came to Ziklag, they saw the burnt out ruins and learnt that their families had been taken captive. 4They started crying and kept it up until they were too weak to cry any more. 5David's two wives, Ahinoam and Abigail, had been taken captive with everyone else.

6David was desperate. His soldiers were so upset over what had happened to their sons and daughters that they were thinking about stoning David to death. But he felt the LORD God giving him strength, 7and he said to the priest, “Abiathar, let's ask God what to do.”

Abiathar brought everything he needed to get answers from God, and he went over to David. 8Then David asked the LORD, “Should I go after the people who raided our town? Can I catch up with them?”

“Go after them,” the LORD answered. “You will catch up with them, and you will rescue your families.”

9-10David led his six hundred men to Besor Gorge, but two hundred of them were too tired to go across. So they stayed behind, while David and the other four hundred men crossed the gorge.

11Some of David's men found an Egyptian out in a field and took him to David. They gave the Egyptian some bread, and he ate it. Then they gave him a drink of water, 12some dried figs, and two handfuls of raisins. This was the first time in three days he had tasted food or water. Now he felt much better.

13“Who is your master?” David asked. “And where do you come from?”

“I'm from Egypt,” the young man answered. “I'm the servant of an Amalekite, but he left me here three days ago because I was sick. 14We had attacked some towns in the desert where the Cherethites live, in the area that belongs to Judah, and in the desert where the Caleb clan lives. And we burnt down Ziklag.”

15“Will you take me to those Amalekites?” David asked.

“Yes, I will, if you promise with God as a witness that you won't kill me or hand me over to my master.”

16He led David to the Amalekites. They were eating and drinking everywhere, celebrating because of what they had taken from Philistia and Judah. 17David attacked just before sunrise the next day and fought until sunset. Four hundred Amalekites rode away on camels, but they were the only ones who escaped.

18David rescued his two wives and everyone else the Amalekites had taken from Ziklag. 19No one was missing—young or old, sons or daughters. David brought back everything that had been stolen, 20including their livestock.

David also took the sheep and cattle that the Amalekites had with them, but he kept these separate from the others. Everyone agreed that these would be David's reward.

21On the way back, David went to the two hundred men he had left at Besor Gorge, because they had been too tired to keep up with him. They came towards David and the people who were with him. When David was close enough, he greeted the two hundred men and asked how they were doing.

22Some of David's men were good-for-nothings, and they said, “Those men didn't go with us to the battle, so they don't get any of the things we took back from the Amalekites. Let them take their wives and children and go!”

23But David said:

My friends, don't be so greedy with what the LORD has given us! The LORD protected us and gave us victory over the people who attacked. 24Who would pay attention to you, anyway? Soldiers who stay behind to guard the camp get as much as those who go into battle.

25David made this a law for Israel, and it has been the same ever since.

26David went back to Ziklag with everything they had taken from the Amalekites. He sent some of these things as gifts to his friends who were leaders of Judah, and he told them, “We took these things from the LORD's enemies. Please accept them as a gift.”

27-31This is a list of the towns where David sent gifts: Bethel, Ramoth in the Southern Desert, Jattir, Aroer, Siphmoth, Eshtemoa, Racal, the towns belonging to the Jerahmeelites and the Kenites, Hormah, Bor-Ashan, Athach, and Hebron. He also sent gifts to the other towns where he and his men had travelled.

Saul and his sons die in battle against the Philistines

1Meanwhile, the Philistines were fighting Israel at Mount Gilboa. Israel's soldiers ran from the Philistines, and many of them were killed. 2The Philistines closed in on Saul and his sons, and they killed his sons Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malchishua. 3The fighting was fierce around Saul, and he was badly wounded by enemy arrows.

4Saul told the soldier who carried his weapons, “Kill me with your sword! I don't want those worthless Philistines to torture me and make fun of me.” But the soldier was afraid to kill him.

Saul then took out his own sword; he stuck the blade into his stomach, and fell on it. 5When the soldier knew that Saul was dead, he killed himself in the same way.

6Saul was dead, his three sons were dead, and the soldier who carried his weapons was dead. They and all his soldiers died on that same day. 7The Israelites on the other side of Jezreel Valley and the other side of the Jordan learnt that Saul and his sons were dead. They saw that the Israelite army had run away. So they ran away too, and the Philistines moved into the towns the Israelites had left behind.

8The day after the battle, when the Philistines returned to the battlefield to take the weapons of the dead Israelite soldiers, they found Saul and his three sons lying dead on Mount Gilboa. 9-10The Philistines cut off Saul's head and pulled off his armour. Then they put his armour in the temple of the goddess Astarte, and they nailed his body to the city wall of Beth-Shan. They also sent messengers everywhere in Philistia to spread the good news in the temples of their idols and among their people.

11The people who lived in Jabesh in Gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul's body. 12So one night, some brave men from Jabesh went to Beth-Shan. They took down the bodies of Saul and his sons, then brought them back to Jabesh and burnt them. 13They buried the bones under a small tree in Jabesh, and for seven days, they went without eating to show their sorrow.

1 Samuel 27:1-31:13CEVOpen in Bible reader

Prayer

1When Jesus had finished praying, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his followers to pray.”

2So Jesus told them, “Pray in this way:

‘Father, help us

to honour your name.

Come and set up

your kingdom.

3Give us each day

the food we need.

4Forgive our sins,

as we forgive everyone

who has done wrong to us.

And keep us

from being tempted.’ ”

5Then Jesus went on to say:

Suppose one of you goes to a friend in the middle of the night and says, “Let me borrow three loaves of bread. 6A friend of mine has dropped in, and I don't have a thing for him to eat.” 7And suppose your friend answers, “Don't bother me! The door is bolted, and my children and I are in bed. I cannot get up to give you something.”

8He may not get up and give you the bread, just because you are his friend. But he will get up and give you as much as you need, simply because you are not ashamed to keep on asking.

9So I tell you to ask and you will receive, search and you will find, knock and the door will be opened for you. 10Everyone who asks will receive, everyone who searches will find, and the door will be opened for everyone who knocks. 11Which one of you fathers would give your hungry child a snake if the child asked for a fish? 12Which one of you would give your child a scorpion if the child asked for an egg? 13As bad as you are, you still know how to give good gifts to your children. But your heavenly Father is even more ready to give the Holy Spirit to anyone who asks.

Jesus and the ruler of demons

14Jesus forced a demon out of a man who could not talk. And after the demon had gone out, the man started speaking, and the crowds were amazed. 15But some people said, “He forces out demons by the power of Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons!”

16Others wanted to put Jesus to the test. So they asked him to show them a sign from God. 17Jesus knew what they were thinking, and he said:

A kingdom where people fight each other will end up in ruin. And a family that fights will break up. 18If Satan fights against himself, how can his kingdom last? Yet you say that I force out demons by the power of Beelzebul. 19If I use his power to force out demons, whose power do your own followers use to force them out? They are the ones who will judge you. 20But if I use God's power to force out demons, it proves that God's kingdom has already come to you.

21When a strong man arms himself and guards his home, everything he owns is safe. 22But if a stronger man comes and defeats him, he will carry off the weapons in which the strong man trusted. Then he will divide with others what he has taken. 23If you are not on my side, you are against me. If you don't gather in the crop with me, you scatter it.

Jesus continued:

24When an evil spirit leaves a person, it travels through the desert, looking for a place to rest. But when it doesn't find a place, it says, “I will go back to the home I left.” 25When it gets there and finds the place clean and tidy, 26it goes off and finds seven other evil spirits even worse than itself. They all come and make their home there, and that person ends up in a worse state than before.

Luke 11:1-26CEVOpen in Bible reader
Canadian Bible Societyv.4.21.9
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