Friday, August 31, 2012

pride goeth before the fall

Good afternoon brothers and sisters,
We've been reading about Hezekiah and his faithfulness. We read yesterday about how God saved Jerusalem from the mighty Assyrians. Today we see Hezekiah slip up. You can read and decide for yourself, but it seems to me like it's boasting that gets Hezekiah in trouble. We're going to skip the next couple of kings, but as many of the kings before them, they are unfaithful to God and become part of Judah's fall. Fortunately, the judgment we see descending on Hezekiah and Judah here will not be the end of the story.

God bless,


2 Kings 20:12-21
12At that time King Merodach-baladan son of Baladan of Babylon sent envoys with letters and a present to Hezekiah, for he had heard that Hezekiah had been sick. 13Hezekiah welcomed them; he showed them all his treasure house, the silver, the gold, the spices, the precious oil, his armory, all that was found in his storehouses; there was nothing in his house or in all his realm that Hezekiah did not show them. 

14Then the prophet Isaiah came to King Hezekiah, and said to him, “What did these men say? From where did they come to you?” Hezekiah answered, “They have come from a far country, from Babylon.” 15He said, “What have they seen in your house?” Hezekiah answered, “They have seen all that is in my house; there is nothing in my storehouses that I did not show them.”

16Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the Lord: 17Days are coming when all that is in your house, and that which your ancestors have stored up until this day, shall be carried to Babylon; nothing shall be left, says the Lord. 18Some of your own sons who are born to you shall be taken away; they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.”

19Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “The word of the Lord that you have spoken is good.” For he thought, “Why not, if there will be peace and security in my days?” 20The rest of the deeds of Hezekiah, all his power, how he made the pool and the conduit and brought water into the city, are they not written in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Judah? 21Hezekiah slept with his ancestors; and his son Manasseh succeeded him.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Assyria and Jerusalem

Good morning friends,

Our reading for today follows up on yesterday's reading in which the officers of the King of Assyria came to threaten the leaders and people of Jerusalem. When the leaders who had spoken with the Assyrians reported back to King Hezekiah, he responded by seeking God in prayer, both in the temple and through the Prophet Isaiah. God's response is powerful, reminding us that God can do things we would never expect.

God bless,


2 Kings 19:1-7, 35-37
When King Hezekiah heard it, he tore his clothes, covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the Lord. 2And he sent Eliakim, who was in charge of the palace, and Shebna the secretary, and the senior priests, covered with sackcloth, to the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz. 3They said to him, “Thus says Hezekiah, This day is a day of distress, of rebuke, and of disgrace; children have come to the birth, and there is no strength to bring them forth. 4It may be that the Lord your God heard all the words of the Rabshakeh, whom his master the king of Assyria has sent to mock the living God, and will rebuke the words that the Lord your God has heard; therefore lift up your prayer for the remnant that is left.”

5When the servants of King Hezekiah came to Isaiah, 6Isaiah said to them, “Say to your master, ‘Thus says the Lord: Do not be afraid because of the words that you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have reviled me. 7I myself will put a spirit in him, so that he shall hear a rumor and return to his own land; I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land.’”…

35That very night the angel of the Lord set out and struck down one hundred eighty-five thousand in the camp of the Assyrians; when morning dawned, they were all dead bodies. 36Then King Sennacherib of Assyria left, went home, and lived at Nineveh. 37As he was worshiping in the house of his god Nisroch, his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer killed him with the sword, and they escaped into the land of Ararat. His son Esar-haddon succeeded him.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Assyrian negotiations

Good morning sisters and brothers,
Yesterday we heard about Hezekiah, King of Israel's reforms and his faithfulness to God. We also heard that he rebelled against Assyria, the Kingdom that had conquered Israel and made Judah a vassal state. Today we find out the King of Assyria's response. It's an interesting passage that gives us an insight into ancient diplomacy and the interaction between rulers and subjects. It's also interesting that the Assyrian leaders know about Hezekiah's reforms and say that God sent the King to destroy Jerusalem. God's role in political events is often hard to discern, but that doesn't keep politicians from claiming God is on their side. As people of faith we are called to look for God's will and to support that will in our lives, both as individuals, church members and voters.

God bless,


2 Kings 18:17-32
17The king of Assyria sent the Tartan, the Rab-saris, and the Rabshakeh with a great army from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem. They went up and came to Jerusalem. When they arrived, they came and stood by the conduit of the upper pool, which is on the highway to the Fuller’s Field. 18When they called for the king, there came out to them Eliakim son of Hilkiah, who was in charge of the palace, and Shebnah the secretary, and Joah son of Asaph, the recorder.

19The Rabshakeh said to them, “Say to Hezekiah: Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria: On what do you base this confidence of yours? 20Do you think that mere words are strategy and power for war? On whom do you now rely, that you have rebelled against me? 21See, you are relying now on Egypt, that broken reed of a staff, which will pierce the hand of anyone who leans on it. Such is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who rely on him. 22But if you say to me, ‘We rely on the Lord our God,’ is it not he whose high places and altars Hezekiah has removed, saying to Judah and to Jerusalem, ‘You shall worship before this altar in Jerusalem’? 23Come now, make a wager with my master the king of Assyria: I will give you two thousand horses, if you are able on your part to set riders on them. 24How then can you repulse a single captain among the least of my master’s servants, when you rely on Egypt for chariots and for horsemen? 

25Moreover, is it without the Lord that I have come up against this place to destroy it? The Lord said to me, Go up against this land, and destroy it.” 26Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah, and Shebnah, and Joah said to the Rabshakeh, “Please speak to your servants in the Aramaic language, for we understand it; do not speak to us in the language of Judah within the hearing of the people who are on the wall.” 27But the Rabshakeh said to them, “Has my master sent me to speak these words to your master and to you, and not to the people sitting on the wall, who are doomed with you to eat their own dung and to drink their own urine?” 

28Then the Rabshakeh stood and called out in a loud voice in the language of Judah, “Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria! 29Thus says the king: ‘Do not let Hezekiah deceive you, for he will not be able to deliver you out of my hand. 30Do not let Hezekiah make you rely on the Lord by saying, The Lord will surely deliver us, and this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.’ 31Do not listen to Hezekiah; for thus says the king of Assyria: ‘Make your peace with me and come out to me; then every one of you will eat from your own vine and your own fig tree, and drink water from your own cistern, 32until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of grain and wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive oil and honey, that you may live and not die. Do not listen to Hezekiah when he misleads you by saying, The Lord will deliver us.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Good morning friends,
Today we get a change of pace and get to read about a good king. Hezekiah was one of two important, reforming Kings of Judah towards the end of Judah's independence. Notice that the standard of reference for kings is David. David, despite his flaws, remains the ideal of faithful kings, and Hezekiah, it seems, measures up.

Another fascinating piece of this passage is that the bronze serpent Moses made at God's command in Numbers 21, had become an idol. That's a good reminder that even things that are good in themselves can take the place of God and become idols for us. In our day the temptation isn't a bronze serpent, but maybe a special cross or something religious that means a lot to us. Even the Bible can become an idol if we think of it as divine rather than a witness to God. Hezekiah's courage in guiding Israel back to right faith in God can inspire us to reform the parts of our life that need change.

Blessings as you seek God's calling for you today,


2 Kings 18:1-8
In the third year of King Hoshea son of Elah of Israel, Hezekiah son of King Ahaz of Judah began to reign. 2He was twenty-five years old when he began to reign; he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Abi daughter of Zechariah. 3He did what was right in the sight of the Lord just as his ancestor David had done. 4He removed the high places, broke down the pillars, and cut down the sacred pole. He broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the people of Israel had made offerings to it; it was called Nehushtan.

5He trusted in the Lord the God of Israel; so that there was no one like him among all the kings of Judah after him, or among those who were before him. 6For he held fast to the Lord; he did not depart from following him but kept the commandments that the Lord commanded Moses. 7The Lord was with him; wherever he went, he prospered. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and would not serve him. 8He attacked the Philistines as far as Gaza and its territory, from watchtower to fortified city.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Samaria resettled

Good morning brothers and sisters,
Saturday we read about how Israel was conquered by the Assyrian Empire and it's people were taken away to Assyria. The King of Assyria then resettled people from other conquered lands in Samaria. This kind of population shifting seems to have been somewhat common among empires of the time. The goal was creating a more governable empire by taking people away from their homeland while sowing some kind of good will by giving them land. Of course, recent rulers have tried similar experiments; we call it ethnic cleansing.

This story paves the way for an important fact in the New Testament. In Jesus' day Jews hated and looked down on Samaritans. This story tells us where that animosity came from. The Samaritans were the people the Assyrians resettled to what had been Israel (whose capital was Samaria). As the story tells us, they worshiped the Lord, but they also worshiped the gods they had worshiped before. As we know, in Christ there's welcome for everyone. May we be generous and loving as we witness to God's love to the world.

God bless,

2 Kings 17:24-33
24The king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria in place of the people of Israel; they took possession of Samaria, and settled in its cities. 25When they first settled there, they did not worship the Lord; therefore the Lord sent lions among them, which killed some of them. 

26So the king of Assyria was told, “The nations that you have carried away and placed in the cities of Samaria do not know the law of the god of the land; therefore he has sent lions among them; they are killing them, because they do not know the law of the god of the land.” 27Then the king of Assyria commanded, “Send there one of the priests whom you carried away from there; let him go and live there, and teach them the law of the god of the land.” 28So one of the priests whom they had carried away from Samaria came and lived in Bethel; he taught them how they should worship the Lord.

29But every nation still made gods of its own and put them in the shrines of the high places that the people of Samaria had made, every nation in the cities in which they lived; 30the people of Babylon made Succoth-benoth, the people of Cuth made Nergal, the people of Hamath made Ashima; 31the Avvites made Nibhaz and Tartak; the Sepharvites burned their children in the fire to Adrammelech and Anammelech, the gods of Sepharvaim. 32They also worshiped the Lord and appointed from among themselves all sorts of people as priests of the high places, who sacrificed for them in the shrines of the high places. 33So they worshiped the Lord but also served their own gods, after the manner of the nations from among whom they had been carried away.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

fall of Israel

Good morning sisters and brothers,
Today we move ahead a bit further in the history of Israel to 722 BCE. We've been reading about how the Kings of Israel led Israel into sin and how God sent prophets, like Elijah, to call them back to faith. Today the story of the Kingdom of Israel reaches its conclusion (for the moment). Assyria, one of the most powerful empires in the region, conquers Israel, taking the people into exile. Judah remains an independent nation for another hundred and forty years, but eventually they will face a similar fate for similar reasons.

God bless,


2 Kings 17:1-14
In the twelfth year of King Ahaz of Judah, Hoshea son of Elah began to reign in Samaria over Israel; he reigned nine years. 2He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, yet not like the kings of Israel who were before him. 3King Shalmaneser of Assyria came up against him; Hoshea became his vassal, and paid him tribute. 4But the king of Assyria found treachery in Hoshea; for he had sent messengers to King So of Egypt, and offered no tribute to the king of Assyria, as he had done year by year; therefore the king of Assyria confined him and imprisoned him. 5Then the king of Assyria invaded all the land and came to Samaria; for three years he besieged it. 6In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria captured Samaria; he carried the Israelites away to Assyria. He placed them in Halah, on the Habor, the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.

7This occurred because the people of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God, who had brought them up out of the land of Egypt from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. They had worshiped other gods 8and walked in the customs of the nations whom the Lord drove out before the people of Israel, and in the customs that the kings of Israel had introduced. 9The people of Israel secretly did things that were not right against the Lord their God. They built for themselves high places at all their towns, from watchtower to fortified city; 10they set up for themselves pillars and sacred poles on every high hill and under every green tree; 11there they made offerings on all the high places, as the nations did whom the Lord carried away before them.

They did wicked things, provoking the Lord to anger; 12they served idols, of which the Lord had said to them, “You shall not do this.” 13Yet the Lord warned Israel and Judah by every prophet and every seer, saying, “Turn from your evil ways and keep my commandments and my statutes, in accordance with all the law that I commanded your ancestors and that I sent to you by my servants the prophets.” 14They would not listen but were stubborn, as their ancestors had been, who did not believe in the Lord their God.

Friday, August 24, 2012


Good morning friends,
Yesterday we read about how a prophet anointed Jehu to be King of Israel and how he and his followers killed the reigning King of Israel. That was part of the fulfillment of Elijah's prophecy about what would happen as a result of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel's injustice and sin against God. Today's reading shows what happened to Queen Jezebel. Her death takes place at Jezreel, which is where the vineyard that she and King Ahab had stolen from Naboth was. Justice for Naboth took a while to come about, but did happen in the end.

God bless,


2 Kings 9:27-37
27When King Ahaziah of Judah saw this, he fled in the direction of Beth-haggan. Jehu pursued him, saying, “Shoot him also!” And they shot him in the chariot at the ascent to Gur, which is by Ibleam. Then he fled to Megiddo, and died there. 28His officers carried him in a chariot to Jerusalem, and buried him in his tomb with his ancestors in the city of David.

29In the eleventh year of Joram son of Ahab, Ahaziah began to reign over Judah.
30When Jehu came to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; she painted her eyes, and adorned her head, and looked out of the window. 31As Jehu entered the gate, she said, “Is it peace, Zimri, murderer of your master?” 32He looked up to the window and said, “Who is on my side? Who?” Two or three eunuchs looked out at him. 33He said, “Throw her down.” So they threw her down; some of her blood spattered on the wall and on the horses, which trampled on her.

34Then he went in and ate and drank; he said, “See to that cursed woman and bury her; for she is a king’s daughter.” 35But when they went to bury her, they found no more of her than the skull and the feet and the palms of her hands. 36When they came back and told him, he said, “This is the word of the Lord, which he spoke by his servant Elijah the Tishbite, ‘In the territory of Jezreel the dogs shall eat the flesh of Jezebel; 37the corpse of Jezebel shall be like dung on the field in the territory of Jezreel, so that no one can say, This is Jezebel.’”

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Jehu is King!

Good morning friends,
Yesterday we read about how one of the young prophets working with Elisha anointed Jehu, a military commander, as King of Israel. Today we see what happens as a result. The passage starts out with the other officers asking what the prophets wanted. Even though they call him a "madman," as soon as Jehu tells them he has been anointed King, they accept that word and begin a rebellion. Jehu sees God's hand in his calling as he becomes king.

God bless,


2 Kings 9:11-26
11When Jehu came back to his master’s officers, they said to him, “Is everything all right? Why did that madman come to you?” He answered them, “You know the sort and how they babble.” 12They said, “Liar! Come on, tell us!” So he said, “This is just what he said to me: ‘Thus says the Lord, I anoint you king over Israel.’” 13Then hurriedly they all took their cloaks and spread them for him on the bare steps; and they blew the trumpet, and proclaimed, “Jehu is king.”

14Thus Jehu son of Jehoshaphat son of Nimshi conspired against Joram. Joram with all Israel had been on guard at Ramoth-gilead against King Hazael of Aram; 15but King Joram had returned to be healed in Jezreel of the wounds that the Arameans had inflicted on him, when he fought against King Hazael of Aram. So Jehu said, “If this is your wish, then let no one slip out of the city to go and tell the news in Jezreel.”

16Then Jehu mounted his chariot and went to Jezreel, where Joram was lying ill. King Ahaziah of Judah had come down to visit Joram. 17In Jezreel, the sentinel standing on the tower spied the company of Jehu arriving, and said, “I see a company.” Joram said, “Take a horseman; send him to meet them, and let him say, ‘Is it peace?’” 18So the horseman went to meet him; he said, “Thus says the king, ‘Is it peace?’” Jehu responded, “What have you to do with peace? Fall in behind me.” The sentinel reported, saying, “The messenger reached them, but he is not coming back.” 19Then he sent out a second horseman, who came to them and said, “Thus says the king, ‘Is it peace?’” Jehu answered, “What have you to do with peace? Fall in behind me.”

20Again the sentinel reported, “He reached them, but he is not coming back. It looks like the driving of Jehu son of Nimshi; for he drives like a maniac.” 21Joram said, “Get ready.” And they got his chariot ready. Then King Joram of Israel and King Ahaziah of Judah set out, each in his chariot, and went to meet Jehu; they met him at the property of Naboth the Jezreelite. 22When Joram saw Jehu, he said, “Is it peace, Jehu?” He answered, “What peace can there be, so long as the many whoredoms and sorceries of your mother Jezebel continue?”

23Then Joram reined about and fled, saying to Ahaziah, “Treason, Ahaziah!” 24Jehu drew his bow with all his strength, and shot Joram between the shoulders, so that the arrow pierced his heart; and he sank in his chariot. 25Jehu said to his aide Bidkar, “Lift him out, and throw him on the plot of ground belonging to Naboth the Jezreelite; for remember, when you and I rode side by side behind his father Ahab how the Lord uttered this oracle against him: 26‘For the blood of Naboth and for the blood of his children that I saw yesterday, says the Lord, I swear I will repay you on this very plot of ground.’ Now therefore lift him out and throw him on the plot of ground, in accordance with the word of the Lord.”

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Elisha continues the work

Good morning sisters and brothers,
We skip ahead in our story, but you'll notice that today's passage follows up on the events we've been reading about. We read how much injustice Ahab and Jezebel encouraged as King and Queen of Israel. We also saw how the Prophet Elijah opposed them. God told Elijah to anoint Elisha as his successor and told him he would also anoint Jehu as King of Israel. In today's reading Elijah has gone to heaven and Elisha has taken over his ministry. Elisha sends a younger prophet on a stealth mission to anoint Jehu as King of Israel.

Like when Samuel anointed David, there's great danger in anointing the next king while the current king is still ruling. In this case, part of the reason for anointing Jehu is to bring God's punishment on Ahab and his family. The best example of how Ahab and Jezebel earned God's anger is the story of Naboth's vineyard in 1 Kings 21, in which they take a vineyard from an innocent man by having him killed. The story continues in the passage below.

God bless,


2 Kings 9:1-10
Then the prophet Elisha called a member of the company of prophets and said to him, “Gird up your loins; take this flask of oil in your hand, and go to Ramoth-gilead. 2When you arrive, look there for Jehu son of Jehoshaphat, son of Nimshi; go in and get him to leave his companions, and take him into an inner chamber. 3Then take the flask of oil, pour it on his head, and say, ‘Thus says the Lord: I anoint you king over Israel.’ Then open the door and flee; do not linger.”

4So the young man, the young prophet, went to Ramoth-gilead. 5He arrived while the commanders of the army were in council, and he announced, “I have a message for you, commander.” “For which one of us?” asked Jehu. “For you, commander.” 6So Jehu got up and went inside; the young man poured the oil on his head, saying to him, “Thus says the Lord the God of Israel: I anoint you king over the people of the Lord, over Israel. 7You shall strike down the house of your master Ahab, so that I may avenge on Jezebel the blood of my servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of the Lord. 8For the whole house of Ahab shall perish; I will cut off from Ahab every male, bond or free, in Israel. 9I will make the house of Ahab like the house of Jeroboam son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha son of Ahijah. 10The dogs shall eat Jezebel in the territory of Jezreel, and no one shall bury her.” Then he opened the door and fled.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Elijah and Baal

Good morning sisters and brothers,

Yesterday we read about a contest the Prophet Elijah arranged between God and Baal to show the people of Israel who was God. Baal's many prophets (supported by the King and Queen of Israel) tried to offer a bull to Baal, but Baal didn't respond. Today, Elijah gets his turn. The violent ending is troubling, but it reminds us that when it comes to our ultimate allegiance, there can only be one God.

Blessings on your discipleship today,


1 Kings 18:30-40
30Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come closer to me”; and all the people came closer to him. First he repaired the altar of the Lord that had been thrown down; 31Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord came, saying, “Israel shall be your name”; 32with the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord. Then he made a trench around the altar, large enough to contain two measures of seed. 

33Next he put the wood in order, cut the bull in pieces, and laid it on the wood. He said, “Fill four jars with water and pour it on the burnt offering and on the wood.” 34Then he said, “Do it a second time”; and they did it a second time. Again he said, “Do it a third time”; and they did it a third time, 35so that the water ran all around the altar, and filled the trench also with water. 36At the time of the offering of the oblation, the prophet Elijah came near and said, “O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your bidding. 37Answer me, O Lord, answer me, so that this people may know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.”

38Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering, the wood, the stones, and the dust, and even licked up the water that was in the trench. 39When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, “The Lord indeed is God; the Lord indeed is God.” 40Elijah said to them, “Seize the prophets of Baal; do not let one of them escape.” Then they seized them; and Elijah brought them down to the Wadi Kishon, and killed them there.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Elijah and Baal

Good morning brothers and sisters,
When Ahab and Elijah meet, it is obvious the two don't care much for each other. Elijah dislikes Ahab for his worship of other gods, while Ahab feels threatened by Elijah's message. Elijah proposes a contest between God and Baal, so he assembles the people and the prophets of Baal to see which god is supreme. The first part of the contest is in today's reading; we'll finish the story tomorrow.

Blessings on the new week,


1 Kings 18:16-29
17When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, “Is it you, you troubler of Israel?” 18He answered, “I have not troubled Israel; but you have, and your father’s house, because you have forsaken the commandments of the Lord and followed the Baals. 19Now therefore have all Israel assemble for me at Mount Carmel, with the four hundred fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.” 20So Ahab sent to all the Israelites, and assembled the prophets at Mount Carmel.

21Elijah then came near to all the people, and said, “How long will you go limping with two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” The people did not answer him a word. 22Then Elijah said to the people, “I, even I only, am left a prophet of the Lord; but Baal’s prophets number four hundred fifty. 23Let two bulls be given to us; let them choose one bull for themselves, cut it in pieces, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire to it; I will prepare the other bull and lay it on the wood, but put no fire to it. 24Then you call on the name of your god and I will call on the name of the Lord; the god who answers by fire is indeed God.” All the people answered, “Well spoken!”

25Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose for yourselves one bull and prepare it first, for you are many; then call on the name of your god, but put no fire to it.” 26So they took the bull that was given them, prepared it, and called on the name of Baal from morning until noon, crying, “O Baal, answer us!” But there was no voice, and no answer. They limped about the altar that they had made. 27At noon Elijah mocked them, saying, “Cry aloud! Surely he is a god; either he is meditating, or he has wandered away, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.” 28Then they cried aloud and, as was their custom, they cut themselves with swords and lances until the blood gushed out over them. 29As midday passed, they raved on until the time of the offering of the oblation, but there was no voice, no answer, and no response.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Elijah on the run

Good evening friends,
We skip ahead quite a bit to the divided kingdoms of Israel (Northern Kingdom with Samaria as its capital) and Judah (Southern Kingdom with Jerusalem as its capital.) Ahab has become King of Israel and, along with his wife, Jezebel, has led Israel deeper into sin. The passage refers to Jezebel killing the Lord's prophets, but doesn't tell us that story. It seems that overall, Jezebel promoted the worship of another god, Baal, and persecuted those who worshiped the Lord. At the same time, many still worshiped the God of their ancestors.

The most famous prophet of that time was Elijah. He had prophesied a drought as a sign of God's anger for Israel's unfaithfulness. When we get to this passage, it has been more than three years since the last rain. We get a sense in this passage that Elijah spent much of his life on the run, fleeing from Ahab and other rulers upset by God's judgment. There are many great stories of the prophets from this part of scripture, and this is one of them.

God bless,


1 Kings 18:1-16
After many days the word of the Lord came to Elijah, in the third year of the drought, saying, “Go, present yourself to Ahab; I will send rain on the earth.” 2So Elijah went to present himself to Ahab. The famine was severe in Samaria. 3Ahab summoned Obadiah, who was in charge of the palace. (Now Obadiah revered the Lord greatly; 4when Jezebel was killing off the prophets of the Lord, Obadiah took a hundred prophets, hid them fifty to a cave, and provided them with bread and water.) 5Then Ahab said to Obadiah, “Go through the land to all the springs of water and to all the wadis; perhaps we may find grass to keep the horses and mules alive, and not lose some of the animals.” 6So they divided the land between them to pass through it; Ahab went in one direction by himself, and Obadiah went in another direction by himself.

7As Obadiah was on the way, Elijah met him; Obadiah recognized him, fell on his face, and said, “Is it you, my lord Elijah?” 8He answered him, “It is I. Go, tell your lord that Elijah is here.” 9And he said, “How have I sinned, that you would hand your servant over to Ahab, to kill me? 10As the Lord your God lives, there is no nation or kingdom to which my lord has not sent to seek you; and when they would say, ‘He is not here,’ he would require an oath of the kingdom or nation, that they had not found you. 11But now you say, ‘Go, tell your lord that Elijah is here.’ 12As soon as I have gone from you, the spirit of the Lord will carry you I know not where; so, when I come and tell Ahab and he cannot find you, he will kill me, although I your servant have revered the Lord from my youth. 13Has it not been told my lord what I did when Jezebel killed the prophets of the Lord, how I hid a hundred of the Lord’s prophets fifty to a cave, and provided them with bread and water? 14Yet now you say, ‘Go, tell your lord that Elijah is here’; he will surely kill me.” 15Elijah said, “As the Lord of hosts lives, before whom I stand, I will surely show myself to him today.” 16So Obadiah went to meet Ahab, and told him; and Ahab went to meet Elijah.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

political worship

Good morning brothers and sisters
Now that Jeroboam and Israel are separate from Judah and Rehoboam, Jeroboam worries that worshiping in Jerusalem will lead his people back to their brothers and sisters. As a result, he builds new houses of worship for Israel, which is a problem. The author of 1 and 2 Kings will refer to this worship decision as the “sin of Jeroboam” throughout the story. Notice that Jeroboam makes the decision not based on religious reasons but based on geography and political power. The reality is that political rulers can’t control religion and stay faithful to God.


1 Kings 12:25-33
25Then Jeroboam built Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim, and resided there; he went out from there and built Penuel. 26Then Jeroboam said to himself, “Now the kingdom may well revert to the house of David. 27If this people continues to go up to offer sacrifices in the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, the heart of this people will turn again to their master, King Rehoboam of Judah; they will kill me and return to King Rehoboam of Judah.” 28So the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold. He said to the people, “You have gone up to Jerusalem long enough. Here are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.”

29He set one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan. 30And this thing became a sin, for the people went to worship before the one at Bethel and before the other as far as Dan. 31He also made houses on high places, and appointed priests from among all the people, who were not Levites. 32Jeroboam appointed a festival on the fifteenth day of the eighth month like the festival that was in Judah, and he offered sacrifices on the altar; so he did in Bethel, sacrificing to the calves that he had made. And he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places that he had made. 33He went up to the altar that he had made in Bethel on the fifteenth day in the eighth month, in the month that he alone had devised; he appointed a festival for the people of Israel, and he went up to the altar to offer incense.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

leadership conference

Good morning brothers and sisters,
Today we read about the transition of power from Solomon to his son Rehoboam. We know from what God said to the prophets to Solomon and to Jeroboam that this transfer of power won't go smoothly, but now we find out how it plays out.

Blessings on your day,


1 Kings 11:42-12:5
42The time that Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel was forty years. 43Solomon slept with his ancestors and was buried in the city of his father David; and his son Rehoboam succeeded him. Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all Israel had come to Shechem to make him king. 

2When Jeroboam son of Nebat heard of it (for he was still in Egypt, where he had fled from King Solomon), then Jeroboam returned from Egypt. 3And they sent and called him; and Jeroboam and all the assembly of Israel came and said to Rehoboam, 4“Your father made our yoke heavy. Now therefore lighten the hard service of your father and his heavy yoke that he placed on us, and we will serve you.” 5He said to them, “Go away for three days, then come again to me.” So the people went away.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Jeroboam on the scene

Good evening friends,
Two quick announcements: one is a reminder that Laurelton is hosting a chicken barbecue on Saturday, August 18 from 4:30-7pm. We could still use servers, so if you'd like to help, that would be wonderful. If you'd like to come eat, that's a big help too. This evening will be a great opportunity to support community and to raise some much needed funds for the church. Also, Robyn Fitzgerald has secured some free ticket to the Redwings game on Sunday, August 19th at 6:05pm against the Empire State Yankees. Talk to Scott or email me if you'd like a ticket.

On Sunday we talked about how Solomon was a wise king, following in David's footsteps, but that he also fell into temptation. Solomon worshiped other gods and so lost his reliance on God. In response, God warned Solomon that his descendent would loose the kingdom. We see the other side of that threat in our reading for today. This dynamic will set the tone for much of Israel's history between this moment and the exile.

God bless,


1 Kings 11:26-40
26Jeroboam son of Nebat, an Ephraimite of Zeredah, a servant of Solomon, whose mother’s name was Zeruah, a widow, rebelled against the king. 27The following was the reason he rebelled against the king. Solomon built the Millo, and closed up the gap in the wall of the city of his father David. 28The man Jeroboam was very able, and when Solomon saw that the young man was industrious he gave him charge over all the forced labor of the house of Joseph.

29About that time, when Jeroboam was leaving Jerusalem, the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite found him on the road. Ahijah had clothed himself with a new garment. The two of them were alone in the open country 30when Ahijah laid hold of the new garment he was wearing and tore it into twelve pieces. 31He then said to Jeroboam: Take for yourself ten pieces; for thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, “See, I am about to tear the kingdom from the hand of Solomon, and will give you ten tribes. 32One tribe will remain his, for the sake of my servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem, the city that I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel.

33This is because he has forsaken me, worshiped Astarte the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the god of Moab, and Milcom the god of the Ammonites, and has not walked in my ways, doing what is right in my sight and keeping my statutes and my ordinances, as his father David did. 34Nevertheless I will not take the whole kingdom away from him but will make him ruler all the days of his life, for the sake of my servant David whom I chose and who did keep my commandments and my statutes; 35but I will take the kingdom away from his son and give it to you—that is, the ten tribes. 36Yet to his son I will give one tribe, so that my servant David may always have a lamp before me in Jerusalem, the city where I have chosen to put my name. 

37I will take you, and you shall reign over all that your soul desires; you shall be king over Israel. 38If you will listen to all that I command you, walk in my ways, and do what is right in my sight by keeping my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did, I will be with you, and will build you an enduring house, as I built for David, and I will give Israel to you. 39For this reason I will punish the descendants of David, but not forever.” 40Solomon sought therefore to kill Jeroboam; but Jeroboam promptly fled to Egypt, to King Shishak of Egypt, and remained in Egypt until the death of Solomon.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Solomon's wisdom

Good afternoon friends,
Today we read probably the most familiar story from King Solomon's reign. He asked God for wisdom, and God provided. We also read just briefly that Solomon led Israel to great prosperity. In itself, that's wonderful, but we also hear that Solomon himself was very rich. If we remember back to Deuteronomy when Moses told the people God's law for the king, God warns the people that the king shouldn't exalt himself over the rest of his people. It also said the king shouldn't acquire many horses. So, even though the text isn't explicit about it, we can take this passage as a warning that Solomon is treading on dangerous ground.

May we be wise in our living as well,

1 Kings 3:16-28, 4:25-28
16Later, two women who were prostitutes came to the king and stood before him. 17The one woman said, “Please, my lord, this woman and I live in the same house; and I gave birth while she was in the house. 18Then on the third day after I gave birth, this woman also gave birth. We were together; there was no one else with us in the house, only the two of us were in the house. 19Then this woman’s son died in the night, because she lay on him. 20She got up in the middle of the night and took my son from beside me while your servant slept. She laid him at her breast, and laid her dead son at my breast. 21When I rose in the morning to nurse my son, I saw that he was dead; but when I looked at him closely in the morning, clearly it was not the son I had borne.”  

22But the other woman said, “No, the living son is mine, and the dead son is yours.” The first said, “No, the dead son is yours, and the living son is mine.” So they argued before the king. 23Then the king said, “The one says, ‘This is my son that is alive, and your son is dead’; while the other says, ‘Not so! Your son is dead, and my son is the living one.’” 24So the king said, “Bring me a sword,” and they brought a sword before the king. 25The king said, “Divide the living boy in two; then give half to the one, and half to the other.” 26But the woman whose son was alive said to the king—because compassion for her son burned within her—“Please, my lord, give her the living boy; certainly do not kill him!” The other said, “It shall be neither mine nor yours; divide it.” 27Then the king responded: “Give the first woman the living boy; do not kill him. She is his mother.” 28All Israel heard of the judgment that the king had rendered; and they stood in awe of the king, because they perceived that the wisdom of God was in him, to execute justice.

4:25During Solomon’s lifetime Judah and Israel lived in safety, from Dan even to Beer-sheba, all of them under their vines and fig trees. 26Solomon also had forty thousand stalls of horses for his chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen. 27Those officials supplied provisions for King Solomon and for all who came to King Solomon’s table, each one in his month; they let nothing be lacking. 28They also brought to the required place barley and straw for the horses and swift steeds, each according to his charge.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Solomon's prayer

Good morning brothers and sisters,
We read yesterday about how Solomon followed in his father David's footsteps as King of Israel. Today we read about how Solomon first met God and how that meeting shaped much of his rule. When we think about David, we often think about stories of bravery like his fight with Goliath. We also think about Psalms like the 23rd Psalm. When we think about Solomon, we usually think about wisdom. Tradition associates him with much of the Book of Proverbs and with Ecclesiastes. This story is the root of Solomon's great wisdom. It's also a reminder to ask God for what we need for the ministries to which God calls us.

God bless,


1 Kings 3:3-14
3Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of his father David; only, he sacrificed and offered incense at the high places. 4The king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for that was the principal high place; Solomon used to offer a thousand burnt offerings on that altar.

5At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, “Ask what I should give you.” 6And Solomon said, “You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant my father David, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward you; and you have kept for him this great and steadfast love, and have given him a son to sit on his throne today.

7And now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David, although I am only a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. 8And your servant is in the midst of the people whom you have chosen, a great people, so numerous they cannot be numbered or counted. 9Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil; for who can govern this your great people?”

10It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. 11God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches, or for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, 12I now do according to your word. Indeed I give you a wise and discerning mind; no one like you has been before you and no one like you shall arise after you. 13I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor all your life; no other king shall compare with you. 14If you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your life.”

Thursday, August 9, 2012


Good morning brothers and sisters,
Yesterday we read about God's promise to David to raise his descendants to the throne as well. This promise comes early in David's reign, after he becomes king of the whole country. Today's reading skips ahead to the end of David's reign. David has been king for 40 years and has had many sons. As he sees his father getting old, the oldest son, Adonijah, gathers a group of leaders and has himself crowned as king. Other leaders, especially Nathan the Prophet, rally to have Solomon crowned instead. Israel is God's kingdom, but it still has the same scheming for power that every other nation faces. Still, God's plans move forward and humans have a chance to participate.

blessings as you serve God's kingdom today,


1 Kings 1:15-31
15So Bathsheba went to the king in his room. The king was very old; Abishag the Shunammite was attending the king. 16Bathsheba bowed and did obeisance to the king, and the king said, “What do you wish?” 17She said to him, “My lord, you swore to your servant by the Lord your God, saying: Your son Solomon shall succeed me as king, and he shall sit on my throne. 18But now suddenly Adonijah has become king, though you, my lord the king, do not know it. 19He has sacrificed oxen, fatted cattle, and sheep in abundance, and has invited all the children of the king, the priest Abiathar, and Joab the commander of the army; but your servant Solomon he has not invited.

20But you, my lord the king—the eyes of all Israel are on you to tell them who shall sit on the throne of my lord the king after him. 21Otherwise it will come to pass, when my lord the king sleeps with his ancestors, that my son Solomon and I will be counted offenders.” 22While she was still speaking with the king, the prophet Nathan came in. 23The king was told, “Here is the prophet Nathan.” When he came in before the king, he did obeisance to the king, with his face to the ground. 24Nathan said, “My lord the king, have you said, ‘Adonijah shall succeed me as king, and he shall sit on my throne’?

25For today he has gone down and has sacrificed oxen, fatted cattle, and sheep in abundance, and has invited all the king’s children, Joab the commander of the army, and the priest Abiathar, who are now eating and drinking before him, and saying, ‘Long live King Adonijah!’ 26But he did not invite me, your servant, and the priest Zadok, and Benaiah son of Jehoiada, and your servant Solomon. 27Has this thing been brought about by my lord the king and you have not let your servants know who should sit on the throne of my lord the king after him?” 28King David answered, “Summon Bathsheba to me.” So she came into the king’s presence, and stood before the king. 29The king swore, saying, “As the Lord lives, who has saved my life from every adversity, 30as I swore to you by the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Your son Solomon shall succeed me as king, and he shall sit on my throne in my place,’ so will I do this day.” 31Then Bathsheba bowed with her face to the ground, and did obeisance to the king, and said, “May my lord King David live forever!”

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

God's promise to David

Good morning brothers and sisters,
We read this passage on Sunday. Once David had become firmly established as King of Israel, God promises to continue his dynasty through many generations. David responds with humility and praise. He realizes in this moment that God is giving him a gift; he didn't earn this power. As we know, the future for David will include temptation, and sometimes he will be corrupted by his power. David is far from perfect, but he strives to follow God. When he messes up, he repents and seeks God again with prayer.

God uses all of us for ministry in the world. We are not kings or queens, but we all have power we can use for good or for evil. We all face temptation and choices, so let's follow David's example of seeking the way forward with prayer.

God bless,


2 Samuel 7:1-20
Now when the king was settled in his house, and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies around him, 2the king said to the prophet Nathan, “See now, I am living in a house of cedar, but the ark of God stays in a tent.” 3Nathan said to the king, “Go, do all that you have in mind; for the Lord is with you.”

4But that same night the word of the Lord came to Nathan: 5Go and tell my servant David: Thus says the Lord: Are you the one to build me a house to live in? 6I have not lived in a house since the day I brought up the people of Israel from Egypt to this day, but I have been moving about in a tent and a tabernacle. 7Wherever I have moved about among all the people of Israel, did I ever speak a word with any of the tribal leaders of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, saying, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?” 8Now therefore thus you shall say to my servant David: Thus says the Lord of hosts: I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep to be prince over my people Israel; 9and I have been with you wherever you went, and have cut off all your enemies from before you; and I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. 10And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may live in their own place, and be disturbed no more; and evildoers shall afflict them no more, as formerly, 11from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel; and I will give you rest from all your enemies.

Moreover the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house. 12When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come forth from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me. When he commits iniquity, I will punish him with a rod such as mortals use, with blows inflicted by human beings. 15But I will not take my steadfast love from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you. 16Your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me; your throne shall be established forever. 17In accordance with all these words and with all this vision, Nathan spoke to David.

18Then King David went in and sat before the Lord, and said, “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far? 19And yet this was a small thing in your eyes, O Lord God; you have spoken also of your servant’s house for a great while to come. May this be instruction for the people, O Lord God! 20And what more can David say to you? For you know your servant, O Lord God!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

David crowned

Good morning friends,

Yesterday's reading told the story of Saul's defeat and death. Today's reading tells about David's coronation (over Judah) and the set up for the civil war between Saul's son Ishbaal and David. This division between the tribe of Judah and the rest of Israel will come back to haunt them in the future as well. Notice that David takes care to praise the people of Jabesh Gilead, who buried Saul. The narrator is careful to point out at every step that Saul's blood is not on David's hands and that David always stays loyal to his king.

God bless,


2 Samuel 2:1-10

After this David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I go up into any of the cities of Judah?” The Lord said to him, “Go up.” David said, “To which shall I go up?” He said, “To Hebron.” 2So David went up there, along with his two wives, Ahinoam of Jezreel, and Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel. 3David brought up the men who were with him, every one with his household; and they settled in the towns of Hebron. 4Then the people of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah.

When they told David, “It was the people of Jabesh-gilead who buried Saul,” 5David sent messengers to the people of Jabesh-gilead, and said to them, “May you be blessed by the Lord, because you showed this loyalty to Saul your lord, and buried him! 6Now may the Lord show steadfast love and faithfulness to you! And I too will reward you because you have done this thing. 7Therefore let your hands be strong, and be valiant; for Saul your lord is dead, and the house of Judah has anointed me king over them.”

8But Abner son of Ner, commander of Saul’s army, had taken Ishbaal son of Saul, and brought him over to Mahanaim. 9He made him king over Gilead, the Ashurites, Jezreel, Ephraim, Benjamin, and over all Israel. 10Ishbaal, Saul’s son, was forty years old when he began to reign over Israel, and he reigned two years. But the house of Judah followed David.

Monday, August 6, 2012

the death of Saul

Good morning sisters and brothers,
We talked about Saul and David yesterday in worship. This story gives us the conclusion of the conflict between David and Saul. Though David spent years running from Saul, he never fought against him. In fact, the beginning of Second Samuel shows David hearing the news of this passage and grieving Saul's death. With Saul dead, David's path to the throne seems clear. The Philistines continue to be the most important enemies for Israel for much of David's reign.

God bless,


1 Samuel 31:1-6
Now the Philistines fought against Israel; and the men of Israel fled before the Philistines, and many fell on Mount Gilboa. 2The Philistines overtook Saul and his sons; and the Philistines killed Jonathan and Abinadab and Malchishua, the sons of Saul. 3The battle pressed hard upon Saul; the archers found him, and he was badly wounded by them. 4Then Saul said to his armor-bearer, “Draw your sword and thrust me through with it, so that these uncircumcised may not come and thrust me through, and make sport of me.” But his armor-bearer was unwilling; for he was terrified. So Saul took his own sword and fell upon it. 5When his armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he also fell upon his sword and died with him. 6So Saul and his three sons and his armor-bearer and all his men died together on the same day. 7When the men of Israel who were on the other side of the valley and those beyond the Jordan saw that the men of Israel had fled and that Saul and his sons were dead, they forsook their towns and fled; and the Philistines came and occupied them.

Friday, August 3, 2012


Good morning brothers and sisters,
Today's reading brings us forward quite a bit in the story of David and Saul. As we saw Wednesday, Saul was jealous of David and tried to kill him. That jealously continued until David finally left Saul's presence to wander in the wilderness. During that time Saul pursued David off and on and David gathered followers, especially those who were disadvantaged in society, including foreigners and those in debt. You could sort of imagine Robin Hood and his Merry Men, and you'll have the right idea. Our story today focuses on a time when Saul went looking for David to kill him. The same basic story is told twice, but we'll only read it once. David's prayer in this passage comes true: eventually Saul is killed by his enemies and David is vindicated. Throughout the story of David's succession the narrator is careful to emphasize that David kept his promise to Saul and his descendants.

Blessings on your weekend,


1 Samuel 24:1-12, 16-22
When Saul returned from following the Philistines, he was told, “David is in the wilderness of En-gedi.” 2Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel, and went to look for David and his men in the direction of the Rocks of the Wild Goats. 3He came to the sheepfolds beside the road, where there was a cave; and Saul went in to relieve himself. Now David and his men were sitting in the innermost parts of the cave.

4The men of David said to him, “Here is the day of which the Lord said to you, ‘I will give your enemy into your hand, and you shall do to him as it seems good to you.’” Then David went and stealthily cut off a corner of Saul’s cloak. 5Afterwards David was stricken to the heart because he had cut off a corner of Saul’s cloak. 6He said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my lord, the Lord’s anointed, to raise my hand against him; for he is the Lord’s anointed.” 7So David scolded his men severely and did not permit them to attack Saul. Then Saul got up and left the cave, and went on his way. 8Afterwards David also rose up and went out of the cave and called after Saul, “My lord the king!” When Saul looked behind him, David bowed with his face to the ground, and did obeisance.

9David said to Saul, “Why do you listen to the words of those who say, ‘David seeks to do you harm’? 10This very day your eyes have seen how the Lord gave you into my hand in the cave; and some urged me to kill you, but I spared you. I said, ‘I will not raise my hand against my lord; for he is the Lord’s anointed.’ 11See, my father, see the corner of your cloak in my hand; for by the fact that I cut off the corner of your cloak, and did not kill you, you may know for certain that there is no wrong or treason in my hands. I have not sinned against you, though you are hunting me to take my life. 12May the Lord judge between me and you! May the Lord avenge me on you; but my hand shall not be against you...

16When David had finished speaking these words to Saul, Saul said, “Is this your voice, my son David?” Saul lifted up his voice and wept. 17He said to David, “You are more righteous than I; for you have repaid me good, whereas I have repaid you evil. 18Today you have explained how you have dealt well with me, in that you did not kill me when the Lord put me into your hands. 19For who has ever found an enemy, and sent the enemy safely away? So may the Lord reward you with good for what you have done to me this day. 20Now I know that you shall surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in your hand. 21Swear to me therefore by the Lord that you will not cut off my descendants after me, and that you will not wipe out my name from my father’s house.” 22So David swore this to Saul. Then Saul went home; but David and his men went up to the stronghold.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

David and Saul

Good morning brothers and sisters,
David's defeat of Goliath was the beginning of his rise to fame in Israel. As we see today, it was also the beginning of his difficulties with King Saul. Saul quickly became jealous of David, a fact that gives shape to the rest of First Samuel. We'll watch David and Saul alternate between love and distrust, even to the point of violence. In all this we will see political maneuvering and the mysterious guidance of God.

Blessings on your day,


1 Samuel 18:1-16
When David had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was bound to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. 2Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father’s house. 3Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. 4Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that he was wearing, and gave it to David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt. 5David went out and was successful wherever Saul sent him; as a result, Saul set him over the army. And all the people, even the servants of Saul, approved.

6As they were coming home, when David returned from killing the Philistine, the women came out of all the towns of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with songs of joy, and with musical instruments. 7And the women sang to one another as they made merry, “Saul has killed his thousands, and David his ten thousands.” 8Saul was very angry, for this saying displeased him. He said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed thousands; what more can he have but the kingdom?” 9So Saul eyed David from that day on. 10The next day an evil spirit from God rushed upon Saul, and he raved within his house, while David was playing the lyre, as he did day by day. Saul had his spear in his hand; 11and Saul threw the spear, for he thought, “I will pin David to the wall.” But David eluded him twice.

12Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with him but had departed from Saul. 13So Saul removed him from his presence, and made him a commander of a thousand; and David marched out and came in, leading the army. 14David had success in all his undertakings; for the Lord was with him. 15When Saul saw that he had great success, he stood in awe of him. 16But all Israel and Judah loved David; for it was he who marched out and came in leading them.