Imágenes de páginas

55 and teraphim. Because thou hast rejected the word of Jehovah, he hath also rejected thee from being king."

And Samuel came no more to see Saul. And Samuel mourned on account of Saul, whom Jehovah repented that he had made king. Samuel Selects a New King.—The withdrawal of the support of Samuel possibly had much to do with the attacks of melancholy and wild jealousy which made Saul's later years a burden, and left to posterity the memory of a morose and unjust persecutor of one who was to be his successor, rather than that of the valiant soldier which he as truly was. , But Samuel had not done with kings when from his point of view Saul proved to be a failure. We find him ready as before to seek the man for the times and to forestall the succession in Saul's family. That the following story does not represent Samuel's first introduction to the family of Jesse we can hardly doubt, since his mission to Bethlehem to offer the great sacrifice was probably not an uncommon one.?

And Jehovah said unto Samuel, “How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from being king over Israel ? fill thy horn with oil, and go: I will send thee to Jesse the Beth-lehemite;

for I have provided me a king among his sons.” And Samuel 5 said, “How can I go without Saul's knowledge? If he hear it, he

will kill me."3 And Jehovah said, “Take a heifer with thee, and say, I am come to sacrifice to Jehovah. And call Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show thee what thou shalt do: and thou shalt anoint

unto me him whom I name unto thee.” And Samuel did that which 10 Jehovah spake, and came to Bethlehem. And the elders of the

city came to meet him trembling, s and said, “Comest thou peace

1 *Teraphim: a form of household idol. . I Sam. 16:1-13 (Am. Standard Rev. Ver., by permission).

3*He will kill me: showing how bitter was the estrangement between Samuel and Saul.

4 *Bethlehem, the birthplace of the man who became Israel's ideal king, became also in later prophecy the place from which the great king of the Hebrew ideal state should come. “But thou Bethlehem.... out of thee shall one come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel.”

5*Came to meet him trembling: The fear of the wrath of Jehovah was all-pervading in those days. Samuel's coming might mean some portentous announcement. He is met by the officials of the city.

ably?” And he said, “Peaceably; I am come to sacrifice unto Jehovah: sanctify yourselves,' and come with me to the sacrifice.” And

he sanctified Jesse and his sons, and called them to the sacrifice. 15 And it came to pass, when they were come, that he looked on

Eliab, and said, “Surely Jehovah's anointed is before him.” But Jehovab said unto Şamuel, “Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have rejected him: for Jehovah

seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appear20 ance, but Jehovab looketh on the heart.”. Then Jesse called Abina

dab, and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, “Neither hath Jehovah chosen this.” Then Jesse made Shammah to pass by. And he said, “Neither hath Jehovah chosen this.” And Jesse made

seven of his sons to pass before Samuel. And Samuel said unto 25 Jesse,“Jehovah hath not chosen these.” And Samuel said unto Jesse,

Are here all thy children ?” And he said, “There remaineth yet the youngest, and, behold, he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said unto Jesse, “Send and fetch him; for we will not sit down till

he come hither.”3 And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was 30 ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look

upon. And Jehovah said, “Arise, anoint him; for this is he.” Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of Jehovah came mightily upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up and went to Ramah.

In Death as in Life a Ruler of Kings. It is not our purpose in this volume to present a history of Israel and her kings, except in

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

1 *Sanctify yourselves: Perhaps by ablutions, and by abstinence from anything deemed ceremonially unclean.

2 Line 20: Join this clause in thought with 15: 226. Does the need of such sincerity as this standard demands enter into our modern life? If not what reforms are neces. sary? What changes in methods from those used by Samuel would be desirable : Apply the test to politics and government, religion and the church, as we see them, the business world, individuals in society, ourselves and others.

3 *Line 28: “We will not sit down,” meaning to the sacrificial meal.

4 *Although the monarchy was so new, it was natural to expect that Saul's son would succeed him. Jonathan, an honorable and lovable man, and no mean warrior, perished with his father in the battle on Mount Gilboa, and no other son of Saul seems to have been strong enough to forestall David in the confidence of the people. There was a futile attempt to set up a rival kingdom in the north, but it soon ended in disaster.

so far as the history was influenced by the prophets. David, coming into contact with Saul's court, was, soon attached to his army and became the victorious leader of many battles. His popularity increased while that of Saul waned. Years of persecution followed, during which there was no hint of any sympathy with Saul on the part of Samuel; and David, ever loyal to his people, even when an exile, waited, probably with the expressed approval of Samuel, for his time of authority to come. Of the time or manner of the death of Samuel we have no record, but the last note of triumph for the prophet is given us in a story of Saul's tragic appeal to the spirit of Samuel in the face of an impending battle which he feared to enter without the assurance of Jehovah's assistance. Not even the spirit of Samuel could be prevailed upon to give comfort. Then as before,“Because thou obeyedst not the voice of the Lord” sounded the death knell in the heart of Saul. Whether the visit of Saul to the witch of Endorbe a fact or not, it is clear that to him the favor of the prophet meant the favor of God, without which he could no longer brave the perils of battle with his old undaunted spirit, and his tragic death in defeat soon follows.

Another View of Saul.—The lament of David over Saul and his son Jonathan helps us perhaps to do justice to a king whose lot fell in troubled times, and whose faults, pictured by prophetic writers, may have been made too greatly to overshadow his virtues.

The story of the changing relations of Saul and David is graphically told in I Sam. 16:14-11 Sam., chap. I. The introduction of David to the court of Saul, his friendship with Jonathan, Saul's son, his successes as the leader of Saul's armies, his growing popularity with the people echoed in the ancient song of the streets and the camp,

“Saul hath slain his thousands,

And David his ten thousands,” Saul's estrangement from Samuel, his fits of depression which David's music was said to charm away, his bitter jealousy of the popularity of David resulting in attempts upon the life of the latter by both stratagem and open attack, David's exile and outlaw life--these form a tragic story of unfulfilled hopes and failing courage.

2 The story of Saul's visit to the witch of Endor is found in 1 Sam. 28: 3–25, and that of the fatal battle with the Philistines in 31:1-13. Vs. 3 of chap. 28 shows us that the practice of consulting spirits had been and probably still was common, although the influence of Samuel and the mandate of the king had placed such practices under a formal ban. In Saul's desperate state of mind there is nothing more improbable in this story than in the spiritualistic and clairvoyant tales of our own day, and doubtless the same possibility of deception.

1, 2 And David lamented with this lamentation over Saul and over Jonathan his son (it is written in the book of Jashar):3

Hear, O Judah, hard things,

Be grieved, O Israel.
5 Upon thy heights, the slain;
How are the mighty fallen!
Tell it not in Gath,
Publish it not in the streets of Ashkelon;

Lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice,
10 Lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph.5

Ye mountains of Gilboa,
Let there be no dew nor rain upon you, neither fields of offer-

For there the shield of the mighty was cast away defiled,

The shield of Saul, as of one not anointed. 15 From the blood of the slain,

From the fat of the mighty,
The bow of Jonathan turned not back,
And the sword of Saul returned not empty.

Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their lives, 20 And in their death they were not divided:

They were swifter than eagles,
They were stronger than lions.

Ye daughters of Israel, weep over Saul,

Who clothed you in scarlet delicately, 25 Who put ornaments of gold upon your apparel.

How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle!

1 *Tradition gives to David great prestige as a poet. Much has been ascribed to him which was probably the production of a later date, but this old song is full of poetic feeling, and in all probability genuine.

2 II Sam. 1:19-27.

3 * Book of Jashar: an older collection of national poetry from which our author took this poem.

4 *Gath, Ashkelon: Philistine cities; see note, p. 9.

5*The uncircumcised: The rite of circumcision was shared by the Hebrews with many other ancient nations, but came with them to have the significance of adoption into the covenant relation with Jehovah. All uncircumcised people were supposed to be outside the realm of his interest. 6 *Gilboa: Locate on map.

7 Line 12: as a sign of mourning.

O Jonathan, slain upon thy high places!
I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan:

Very pleasant hast thou been unto me:
30 Thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women.

How are the mighty fallen,
And the weapons of war perished!

Samuel a Typical Prophet.—We have dwelt longer upon the life of Samuel than we should have done, had it not been necessary to establish through the study of this first great prophet certain principles for the study of all prophecy. Is it not clear that we have seen in this man a mighty spirit, rising far above his fellows? As a statesman with sane judgment he read the signs of his times. Forgetful of self he exalted another to an office higher than his own, but in doing so secured the unity necessary for the development of a national political and religious life. As a prophet of Jehovah, denouncing the superstitions of his age, in majestic dignity and calm, he divined without frenzy or outward symbol the will of Jehovah. Interpreting the spirit of Jehovah as well as his power, he established for the religion of Jehovah a new ideal of sincerity, “Obedience is better than sacrifice”—the spirit is more than the act. As we proceed with our study we shall see that these are preeminently the qualities of the great men who led Israel from paganism to the highest spiritual development, and bequeathed to us some of the fundamental principles of our religion. And among them none had a greater task than Samuel, who found Israel a scattered group of warring tribes and left it a nation secure in its faith in Jehovah.

« AnteriorContinuar »