Saul Takes His Life (1 Samuel 31; 1 Chronicles 10:1 – 14)

Scripture Text:

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1 Samuel 31

1 Chronicles 10:1 – 14

Questions:

1. How do you think your own death might happen? Why do you think so?

  • rust out with old age?
  • burn out in your prime?
  • drop out in a sudden, accidental death?

2. Why do the Philistines cut off Saul’s head and put his armor in their temple (see chapter 5 verse 2; chapter 17 verse 51 and chapter 21 verse 9)?

3. Where do you think Saul is spending eternity?

4. As a part of the Christian’s witness, the Puritans stressed the importance of “dying well”. How can you get ready to “die well”?

5. What will you take to heart from this first book of Samuel? Any quotable quotes? Life applications? Pray about these.

6. In reference to 1 Chronicles 10, why does the chronicler say “all his house died together” (verse 6), when one son survives to succeed Saul (see 2 Samuel 2:8, 9)?

7. What is the relation between living well and dying well as typified by Saul? Why is Saul’s story sad?

Additional Comments:

#1: It is interesting that Saul’s first military action as king had been the rescue of Jabesh-Gilead (chapter 11). Through all these years its citizens had not forgotten. When they heard the disgraceful display of Saul and his sons’ bodies, they undertook a dangerous night mission to stead the bodies and give them a proper burial.

#2: As you may have noticed thus far, First Chronicles covers much of the same history as First Samuel – but with a distinctive approach. First Samuel gives more details about Saul’s failures, while First Chronicles primarily concerns itself with drawing moral lessons from them. An example – First Samuel tells the background of Saul’s consulting a medium; First Chronicles alludes to it (most original readers would know the story well) and connects that act of disobedience to Saul’s death.

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Saul and the Witch of Endor (1 Samuel 28:3 – 25)

Scripture Text:

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1 Samuel 28:3 – 25

Questions:

1. If you had the power to go back in time and visit any military leader of the world, which hero would you consult and why?

2. If you had just learned you have 24 hours to live, which of your current “do today” items do you forsake? What would you do instead?

3. Why did Saul expel spiritists and mediums from Israel (see Leviticus 19:31; Leviticus 20:6, Deuteronomy 18:10 – 13)? Why then does he consult one anyway? And why covertly?

4. Why is the medium terrified when she see Samuel? What do you think she really sees: Samuel risen from the dead? A spirit impersonating Samuel? Or what? What does this say for the validity of such occult practices?

5. Why has God stopped responding to Saul when he calls? How has Saul responded to God’s calls in the past? In view of his past performances, do you think Saul’s prostrated humility (verse 14) is sincere?

6. How do you suppose the fattened calf tasted to one who now knew he was about to die?

7. Saul was very prone to say one thing and do quite another. In what areas of your life are you like that? Where do your actions speak louder than your words?

8. What “great distress” in your life has you seeking God’s will in earnest? Where are you looking for answers? Whom are you consulting?

9. Do you temporarily “repent” during hard times, only to “harden your heart” when things get better?

10. Do you ever read your horoscope? Is that acceptable in God’s sight? What other occult things do you play with? Ouija boards? Crystals? Tarot cards? “Visualization”? Other “New Age” trends? How do such things compare with Deuteronomy 18:10 – 13?

11. In light of your present relationship with God, what are your feelings about death and dying? Do you know with certainty where you are going to spend eternity? What is the basis of your certainty?

Additional Note on Verse 4:

For their massive assault from Shunem, the Philistines tried a new tactic. They had fought previous battles in the mountains; rough terrain where their chariots were next to useless. Now they chose strategically important level ground that Israel had to defend. The Valley of Jezreel is the only part of Palestine where you can go from west to east without crossing mountains. A Philistine victory here would cut Israel in half.

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David Destroys the Amalekites (1 Samuel 30)

Scripture Text:

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1 Samuel 30

Questions:

1. Has your home (or your friend’s home) ever been destroyed by fire? How did that affect you (or your friend)?

  • you counted your losses and your blessings
  • you pitched in a helped out
  • you provided shelter
  • other?

2. What has been your biggest loss from theft? From a hit-and-run accident? What did you do to replace it?

3. If you had been the Egyptian, what would you be feeling as your master raided and torched Ziklag? As your master then abandoned you without food or water in the desert?

4. If you had been the Egyptian, what would you be feeling as David and his men discovered you? Fed you? Interrogated you? Followed your lead in pursuit of the Amalekites?

5. While David is destroying the Amalekites, Saul is dying in battle. How does David at this point replace Saul as God’s anointed (see chapter 15 verses 2 and 3)?

6. What commodity (time, money, possessions) are you least likely to be generous with? Why?

7. How does the attitude of David’s men toward authority compare with that of David? What might be the key differences (verse 6)?

8. When harm comes to your family or prize possessions, how do you initially respond? With bitterness and fixing blame (as typified by David’s men)? Or by finding strength in the Lord (as David does)?

9. Where do you need that divine strength now?

10. With whom would you like to be especially generous this week, as a reflection of God’s kindness and provision?

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