1 Samuel 28 & 29

We are almost finished with 1 Samuel! I know the last few weeks haven’t been posted on a regular day. Our internet has been insanely terrible, and then we had to leave the country with very little chance to prepare for a visa trip. All part of the joy of being missionaries in a different country. This week we have both chapter 28 and 29, so hopefully you still read a chapter 3 times last week, and you can read 29 this week 3 times, and this study talks about both chapters together.


The Philistines are going to war against Israel. Achish (from chapter 27 we know he is the son of Maoch, king of Gath) has asked David and his men to go into battle with him with David as his bodyguard because he believes that David has been battling the Negeb rather than Achish’s own, the Philistines. So, Achish trusts David and brings him along to battle. However, the Philistine lords do not like this idea and believe that as soon as possible David and his men will turn against the Philistines to get back into Saul’s good graces. So, David and his men leave the battle to go back to Ziklag.

In the meantime Samuel has died and the people have mourned for his death. Saul had put all of the mediums and necromancers out of the land, and now is seeking the Lord about this battle he faces with the Philistines, but God does not answer. So, Saul goes against his own laws and seeks out a medium to raise Samuel to ask him for help. Samuel is indeed raised by this medium who fears for her life in even attempting to raise someone, let alone when she finds out that it is Saul asking. Saul promises no harm will come to her, and pays homage to Samuel. Samuel is not all that happy that he has been disturbed, and in response to Saul’s pleas for aid in his dire situation, reminds him that this is what Samuel had prophesied. Then Samuel goes on to share that Saul and his children will die in this battle, and that Israel will fall to the Philistines.

Saul is so scared that he lays flat out on the ground, losing all strength because he hasn’t eaten since the afternoon prior. The medium gets food for Saul and his companions make him eat against his arguments.


The Philistines, Israel, Achish, David, David’s men, Achish’s army, Samuel, Saul, mediums, necromancers, Saul’s army, Saul’s companions, the Lord, the commanders of the Philistines

Key Verse

Then Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?” Saul answered, “I am in great distress, for the Philistines are warring against me, and God has turned away from me and answers me no more, either by prophets or by dreams. Therefore I have summoned you to tell me what I shall do.” Verse 15

Cross References

1 Samuel 16:14 Now the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and a harmful spirit from the Lord tormented him.

1 Samuel 18:12 Saul was afraid of David because the Lord was with him but had departed from Saul.

1 Samuel 28:6 And when Saul inquired f the Lord, the Lord did not answer him, either by dreams, or by Urim, or by prophets.


Perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18). Saul is terrified, he has been scared over and over and it is just getting worse in these two chapters. Saul is in a full blown panic as impending doom is upon him.

What stands out to me in these two chapters is what is not said. Saul does not repent and turn to God, he desperately seeks God for a way out. When we seek God with all of our heart, wanting to hear His Will, it may not always be the words we want to hear from God, but we have His promises throughout the Bible that he is near to those who call on him in truth (Psalm 145:18). Saul is seeking God out of self preservation and fear, desperate for a solution that is what he wants to hear. But he does not receive that. Samuel reminds him that this is all what was prophesied before. God doesn’t need to say new words, Saul just needs to hear the words God has spoken already and believe them.

Saul returns to his bad habits over and over again. Again he is not eating at a time when he needs strength. Again he is afraid when God has already spoken about what is going to happen and who is meant to be king. The story of Saul is truly very sad, and yet we have all been there I believe. We have all taken step after step away from what we know is right justifying along the way until we are steeped in sin. When I finally recognize my sin has gotten me into a deep whole, oftentimes pride keeps me from saying it out loud. Have you ever felt that icky feeling of admitting how wrong you were? It doesn’t feel all that good to admit, to sit in the pain and the consequences of wrong actions. However, it is the right thing to do.

David’s part here also contains negative space, the unspoken words. I am left wondering what he would have done if he went to battle with them. Was he excited at the chance to fight the Israelites because now he would be somehow justified in his mind? Was David looking for a way out, but didn’t want to seem hesitant because Achish would figure out his ruse? Was David relieved to leave the battle behind? Would David have turned on the Philistines in the battle, just as the lords predicted? So much is left unsaid. What seems to be happening is God providing when there was no good way for it to turn out. David and his men would have been in a tight place in that battle.

Jesus in the Old Testament

*A person’s true character is often most evident when the person is under great pressure. The looming Philistine battle with which chapter 28 begins puts both David and Saul under great pressure. Saul is terrified (28:5) and, having ignored or rejected the word of the Lord all his life, he now seeks it in desperation (28:6). When God remains silent, however, instead of asking what in his life may have caused this, Saul turns to a medium, specifically a necromancer (28:7). Saul is not concerned with repentance or a relationship with God, but only with rescue.*

*Note: I am using the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible for the Jesus in the Old Testament section, so these are paraphrases and quotes from the commentary with my own ideas sprinkled in.

Thank you for reading. I am excited to hear your key verses, observations, and thoughts! Please take a moment to leave a comment to share them with us.

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1 Samuel 27

First I was delayed in getting this chapter out because of Davy starting school; then, almost simultaneously, our internet started to have major problems, so hopefully this will post now and all will be well. Rather than post all of the missed weeks, I am just going to pick up from here so we continue to do basically a chapter per week. Sorry for the gap, but if any of you have gotten behind this gives you a chance to catch up at least. Stay tuned for updates on Davy’s school as I get my routine in place for blogging again.


After his meeting with Saul, yelling across the hilltops and getting Saul’s word that he isn’t planning on killing David since David had such mercy on Saul, David flees the caves. The chapter begins with David saying “Now I shall perish one day by the hand of Saul.” So, he goes to live among the Philistines. The king of Gath, Achish, even gives him Ziklag which remains a city owned by the kings of Judah. David and his six hundred men go out and make raids against the Geshurites, the Girzites, and the Amalekites as their new habit in the land. They kill every person so no one can report to the Philistines what David is doing. When asked about his activities he says he is killing Negeb. Achish trusts David, and so thinks that David truly has made himself a stench to his people and is on the Philistines’ side now.


David; Saul; the Philistines; David’s 600 men; Achish, the son of Moach, the king of Gath; David’s wives Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail of Carmel; the kings of Judah; the Geshurites; the Girzites; the Amalekites; and the Negeb.

Key Verse

Verse 1 “Then David said in his heart, “Now I shall perish one day by the hand of Saul. There is nothing better for me than that I should escape to the land of the Philistines. Then Saul will despair of seeking me any longer within the borders of Israel, and I shall escape out of his hand.”

Cross References

Verse 1 Cross References

1 Samuel 22:5 Then the prophet Gad said to David, “Do not remain in the stronghold; depart, and go into the land of Judah.” So David departed and went into the forest of Hereth.

Exodus 14:12 Is not this what we said to you in Egypt: ‘Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.”

Numbers 14:3 “Why is the Lord bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become a prey. Would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt?”

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Isaiah 30:15 For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” But you were unwilling, and you said, “No! We will flee upon horses”; therefore you shall flee away; and, “We will ride upon swift steeds”; therefore your pursuers shall be swift.

Lamentations 3:26-27 It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. Is is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.


The crux of this chapter as well as of his life, and the other examples in the cross references goes back to the lawyer who asks Jesus, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” The answer: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”

Jesus says, “Do this, and you will live.” (This story is in Luke 10.) But how often throughout the Bible and our own lives do we say in our hearts, “God is never going to come through on his promise. I probably just heard Him wrong from the beginning”?

God promised David the throne. Yet, our chapter today begins with David falling into the belief that Saul is going to kill him. It is good to wait, says Lamentations. Waiting is so hard to do, even with a cell phone to text. So, David decides to bide his time by going on his own personal raiding parties.

In my life I have a habit of self-sabotage which seems to me like David’s subconscious plan here. At the last minute before a stressful event I might start to nitpick little things or come up with a thousand legitimate reasons that I can’t be ready or I will get physically ill. David doing these raids is sure to backfire. He is sure to miss someone who runs to the king of the Philistines. Someone is sure to find out. But I think that David is feeling hopeless and trying to tip God’s hand.

I think there is a little bit of him that thinks, getting caught for this would be so much better than just being slaughtered in my sleep in a dirty rotten cave. I get to live with my wives here in Ziklag, we are comfortable. I still get to kill evil people all the time. Life is going my way, and darn it, if it doesn’t I will be in control of everything going South, too.

Boy do I feel that way a lot of the time. Sometimes I feel like I have been waiting so long that I forget what I am waiting for. I spend so much time thinking about how things should be better, I forget to focus on the promises God has made. My eyes stray from the goal to my comfort.

Love the Lord with all your heart—not saying in your heart, “God will never come through on His word.”

All your soul—my very being is tied up in God, I cannot worship comfort or money or possessions or anything else that I am tempted to believe would make my life better than God is making my life right now.

All your strength—I need my body to be fit for duty. I need to give God my best energy, my alertness, my abilities, and to strengthen my body for Him, for the actions He has called me to take.

All your mind—it takes discipline to meditate on His word day and night. So discipline your mind! Take the time to focus. Not just 5 minutes, but try 5 years of focusing on God, then another 5 years, then another and another and another, until you are face to face with God for eternity, then keep focusing your mind on Him.

Jesus in the Old Testament

*Even men and women of great faith can falter. David’s regular practice in the books of Samuel is to turn to God for guidance (23:2, 4; 30:8; 2 Sam. 2:1; 5:19, 23), to trust him, and to obey him. But in this episode, we hear nothing of David seeking God’s guidance through prayer or any other means.*

*The biblical writers are not in the business of sugar-coating even their more laudable human characters. David was a sinner, as will become much more painfully evident in 2 Samuel 11 and following. But David was also a man in honest relationship with God and capable of genuine repentance. Only the Greater Son of David, Jesus, was without sin (Heb. 4:15). God’s desire for his people is that we lean not on our own understanding but, rather, get to know and trust him with all our hearts (Prov. 3:5-6). But even when we fail, the good news is that “we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1).*

Hebrews 4:14-16 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

1 John 2:1-3 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments.

*Note: I am using the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible for the Jesus in the Old Testament section, so these are paraphrases and quotes from the commentary with my own ideas sprinkled in.

Thank you for reading. I am excited to hear your key verses, observations, and thoughts! Please take a moment to leave a comment to share them with us.

To receive this Bible Study in your email CLICK HERE