Friday, May 28, 2010

A Tale Of Two Kings (Part 2)

Continuing on from Wednesday, today we will take a look at the sins of Israel's first two kings - Saul and David - to see if we can start to understand why God rejected Saul but regarded David as a man after God's own heart. On my first journey through the Scriptures I was perplexed by the stories of these two men because I expected God's assessment to be based upon their faithfulness to His commands. But that just didn't seem to be the case . . .

Saul’s Sin

And Samuel said to Saul, "The LORD sent me to anoint you king over his people Israel; now therefore listen to the words of the LORD. Thus says the LORD of hosts, 'I have noted what Amalek did to Israel in opposing them on the way when they came up out of Egypt. Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.'" So Saul summoned the people and numbered them in Telaim, two hundred thousand men on foot, and ten thousand men of Judah. And Saul came to the city of Amalek and lay in wait in the valley. Then Saul said to the Kenites, "Go, depart; go down from among the Amalekites, lest I destroy you with them. For you showed kindness to all the people of Israel when they came up out of Egypt." So the Kenites departed from among the Amalekites. And Saul defeated the Amalekites from Havilah as far as Shur, which is east of Egypt. And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive and devoted to destruction all the people with the edge of the sword. But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep and of the oxen and of the fattened calves and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them. All that was despised and worthless they devoted to destruction. (1 Samuel 15:1-9).

Saul was sent on a mission to totally obliterate a tribe of people known as the Amalekites. This meant people, livestock, and all material goods. Saul only partially destroyed the Amalekites, keeping much of their livestock and valuables as well as sparing the life of Agag their king. Saul was rejected as king for this transgression.

David’s Sin

In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel. And they ravaged the Ammonites and besieged(C) Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem.
2It happened, late one afternoon, when David arose from his couch and was walking on(D) the roof of the king’s house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful. 3And David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, "Is not this(E) Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of(F) Uriah the Hittite?" 4So David sent messengers and took her, and she came to him, and he lay with her. ((G) Now she had been purifying herself from her uncleanness.) Then she returned to her house. 5And the woman conceived, and she sent and told David, "I am pregnant."

So David sent word to Joab, "Send me Uriah the Hittite." And Joab sent Uriah to David. When Uriah came to him, David asked how Joab was doing and how the people were doing and how the war was going. Then David said to Uriah, "Go down to your house and wash your feet." And Uriah went out of the king’s house, and there followed him a present from the king. But Uriah slept at the door of the king’s house with all the servants of his lord, and did not go down to his house. When they told David, "Uriah did not go down to his house," David said to Uriah, "Have you not come from a journey? Why did you not go down to your house?" Uriah said to David, "The ark and Israel and Judah dwell in booths, and my lord Joab and(J) the servants of my lord are camping in the open field. Shall I then go to my house, to eat and to drink and to lie with my wife? As you live, and as your soul lives, I will not do this thing." Then David said to Uriah, "Remain here today also, and tomorrow I will send you back." So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day and the next. And David invited him, and he ate in his presence and drank, so that he made him drunk. And in the evening he went out to lie on his couch with the servants of his lord, but he did not go down to his house. In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it by the hand of Uriah. In the letter he wrote, "Set Uriah in the forefront of the hardest fighting, and then draw back from him, that he may be struck down, and die." (2 Samuel 11:1-15)

In summary:
1.David stays home when he should be leading his army in an important war.
2.He sees a beautiful woman bathing from the roof of his house. She is the wife of one of David’s soldiers who is off fighting in that war.
3.David commits adultery with Bathsheba and she gets pregnant.
4.David calls her husband, Uriah, back from combat duty to “see how the war is going.”
5.He sends Uriah back to Bathsheba hoping he’ll have sex with her thereby covering David’s tracks.
6.Oh no, Uriah won’t do it while his fellow soldiers are risking their lives on the battlefront.
7.David gets Uriah drunk but he still won’t sleep with Bathsheba.
8.David then instructs his generals to send Uriah on an assignment that was so dangerous he would certainly be killed.

Saul was rejected but David is remembered as a man after God’s heart.
Question: whose sin was the worst?
Why then, did God rate them differently?

Continued on Monday . . .

Go On To Part 3
Go Back To Part 1


Cameron Buettel said...

The scale and scope of David's sin is staggering to consider.

tobekiwi said...

I'm just now reading 1 Samuel, not to 2 Samuel yet, but have previously read about David's sin. I'm really looking forward to this series. I won't venture to guess at this point why God rated them differently. Saul did disobey a direct commandment from God. But David broke several of the 10 Commandments...
Like I said, looking forward to the next post.
Thank you!