Sermon Study Guide



Answers (Lesson 73) - March 26, 2023 - Rev. Alan Cousins


Text: Selected Scriptures from the NASB


Introduction: Today, we’re going to look at how God brought abut the end of Saul’s reign and the beginning of David’s.


I.  SAUL’S DEATH (1 Sam. 30:7-10; 31:1-13; 28:15-19)


Achish gave David the city of Ziklag to live in, along with his men and their families.


1 Samuel 29 describes how David showed up as the Philistines gathered for battle against Israel. The Philistine leaders demanded David not go with them to battle. So David returned to Ziklag to find that the Amalekites had burned the city and taken hostage the wives and children of David’s men, and their belongings.


1 Samuel 30:7-10


David and his men overcame the Amalekites and recovered all their people and possessions, plus what the Amalekites had. David sent some of this spoil as gifts to leaders in Judah.


Saul, in his distress of facing the Philistines, had sought the Lord but not heard from Him. Chapter 28 tells of how Saul sought out a witch (or medium) to contact Samuel, who had died, though he knew it was forbidden by God.


1 Samuel 31:1-13


This battle took place on Mount Gilboa. Saul had gathered the Israelites there before he went to consult the medium/witch (1 Sam. 28:1-7). This mountain is southwest of the sea of Galilee, overlooking the Valley of Jezreel. The Israelites fled from the Philistines and fell slain. The battle was a massive victory for the Philistines. The three sons of Saul: Jonathan, Abinidab, and Malchi-shua were killed. Then, the Philistine archers pursued Saul and wounded him. Saul commanded his armor-bearer to kill him with his sword. This was because Saul was afraid the Philistines would find him wounded and mistreat him in some way; or he may not have wanted to be remembered as having been killed by the Philistines. He used the derogatory term “uncircumcised” to contrast the Philistines with the circumcised Israelites. But the armor-bearer was afraid to obey Saul, and he would not kill him. So, Saul committed suicide by falling on his sword.


Now, we’re going to back up a couple of chapters to chapter 28 and see how the Scripture we’ve just read compares to what Samuel told Saul when he required the services of the witch/medium.


1 Samuel 28:15-19


Here we see that Samuel revealed to Saul that the following day he and his sons would be with him the realm of the dead. He also said that Israel would be given over to the Philistines. All that Samuel said to Saul came true. Remember, God tore the kingdom away from him and gave it to David because Saul was disobedient in not wiping out the Amalekites, along with his other sins and direct disobedience to God.


In 1 Samuel 31, the other Israelites in the area responded to their defeat by abandoning their cities, then the Philistines came and took them over. When the Philistines discovered Saul’s body, as they were looting the dead, they cut off his head, sent his armor to the temple of Ashtaroth, and hung his body on the city wall of Beth-shan.


In verse 9, the message sent out by the Philistines is called the “good news” of the defeat of the Israelites. In the Septuagint (LXX), the Greek translation of the Old Testament, this is the same word, euangelizo, from which we get our word evangelize, or “proclaim good news.” The Philistine’s “good news” was proclaimed in the house of their idols (temples) and among the people. The outcome of this battle was seen as a victory of their gods over the God of the Israelites, and it no doubt led to worship and thanksgiving to their false gods.


When they heard the new of what had happened to the bodies of Saul and his sons, the brave men of Jabesh-gilead went and recovered their bodies, burned them, and buried their bones. They followed this with seven days of fasting. You may wonder why the men of this city, on the eastern shore of the Jordan would come to claim the bodies of the slain king and princes. First Samuel 11, describes how Saul came to the aid of this city, so they were grateful for Saul’s aid and were loyal to him. They likely did this as an act of gratitude for their king’s previous deliverance, to honor him and his sons.


God used this defeat to remove the kingdom from Saul so that it would be given to David. This was also part of Samuel’s prophecy.


     II.  DAVID ASCENDS THE THRONE (2 Sam. 1:1-27; 21-4, 8-11; 5:1-10)

Second Samuel is not really a new book, but a continuation of what is recorded in 1 Samuel. Samuel has died at this point, so we know he is not the author of these texts. Much of 1 Samuel and certainly 2 Samuel was no doubt written by the prophets who came out of the school of the prophets, established by Samuel. The accounts in 1 Samuel are also found in overlapping sections of other historical books in the Bible.



2 Samuel 1:1-27


David is brought the news of the deaths of Saul and his sons by an Amalekite. He brought Saul’s crown and armlet as proof. He claimed he had found Saul wounded and killed him at Saul’s request. Upon hearing this news, David and his men tore their clothes, mourning, weeping, and fasting until evening. Then David had the Amalekite put to death for killing the king. David must have believed the man’s report even though we know it was false and that Saul fell on his own sword. David administered a just punishment on this man for taking the life of Saul. Not even Saul’s own armor-bearer was willing to kill Saul.


In verse 19, the text moves from historical narrative to a poetic lament for Saul and Jonathan. The Book of Jasher is given as a reference. It’s a historical book that was used by the Israelites but not considered to be inspired Scripture. We’ve seen it mentioned before in Joshua 10:13. In his lament David extolled Saul and Jonathan, and mourned for Israel’s loss of these mighty men.


2 Samuel 2:1-4


David wasn’t really sure what he should do next, so he prayed and asked God if he should go to Judah. God responded to David with specific guidance, telling him to go to Hebron. The people of Judah anointed David as king over the tribe of Judah. Abner, Saul’s cousin and general, must have survived the battle on Mount Gilboa, so let’s see what he did.



2 Samuel 2:8-11


Abner took Saul’s remaining son, Ish-bosheth, and made him king over all Israel. It is from this point forward that Judah refers to the territory in the southern half of the country and the northern tribes are referred to as Israel. Ish-bosheth reigned in the north and David in the south. Abner was Israel’s commander, and Joab was Judah’s commander. In self-defense, Abner killed Asahel, Joab’s brother, so Joab was looking for vengeance.


2 Samuel 3:1


Abner was really the one in power (Ish-bosheth feared him, according to 3:11). Abner eventually decided to defect to David but wound up being murdered by the vengeful Joab. Then Ish-bosheth got killed by two of his commanders, and David had them put to death for their treacherous acts.


2 Samuel 5:1-10


After this, the elders of the tribes of Israel in the north came to David in Hebron in the south. They had recognized that God had anointed him to be the king, and he was faithful to Israel even when Saul was king. Then they anointed him as their king. This meant that David was now king over all of the tribes of Judah and Israel.


Seven years and six months had passed since Saul had died and God told David to go to Hebron (2:1-4). David would rule for a total of 40 years, partly from Jerusalem. After his third anointing, David went to attack the Jebusites and set up his capital in Jerusalem. Jerusalem is sometimes called the stronghold of Zion, or the city of David. It was also known as Jebus, the city of the Jebusites. The God of hosts (armies) was with David, and he became greater and greater as king.


Saul’s reign began in 1095 BC, and he died in 1055 BC, when David took over. Ish-bosheth was reigning in the north. David finally took control over all of Israel in 1048 BC. Since this period was the United Kingdom, it suggests a future time when the kingdom would be divided. Though it took 15 years, Samuel’s call of David to become king was now fully in place. Samuel had anointed David, then Judah, and finally, the elders of Israel had anointed him. What God had promised was finally here.




David allowed God’s plans to be carried out rather than taking things into his own hands. He brought just judgment upon those who took the lives of Saul and Ish-bosheth. While David had his flaws, he sought to be faithful to God.


In the excitement of becoming king, David faced the sad news of his friend Jonathan being killed in battle. As far as we know, over a year had past since they had last seen one another. David’s poetic lament displays his emotions.


David’s life reminds us that we all have feet of clay; we are all sinners. One moment David was letting God bring vengeance in His own time, and the next he was ready to kill Nabal for not paying him. This is a reminder that he was a person like us. Scripture records both the good and the bad in people.


Many skeptics have denied that David actually existed and that he was a real person who led Israel. They considered him to be no more than a hero figure for the Israelites. Those denials became much harder to make in the face of an amazing discovery in northern Israel -- the Tel Dan stele.


The life of David points us forward to the Son of God who stepped into history as the Son of David to die for our sins and reign as King over the house of David forever.