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9 Saul, sharing the fear of his people, and impatient of Samuel's advance, proceeds, in his terror and want of faith, to do what was evil, by taking upon himself the priest's office. The page of history shows us, that, both in ancient and modern times, fear has wrought evil *.
came; and Saul went out to And Samuel said, What Because I saw that the
were distressed,) then the people did hide themselves in caves, and in thickets, and in rocks, and in high places, and in pits. And some of the Hebrews went over Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead. As for Saul, he was yet in Gilgal, and all the people followed him trembling. And he tarried seven days, according to the set time that Samuel had appointed: but Samuel came not to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him. And Saul said, Bring hither a burnt offering to me, and peace offerings. And he offered the burnt offering. And it came to pass, that as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel meet him, that he might salute him. hast thou done? And Saul said, people were scattered from me, and that thou camest not within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered themselves together at Michmash; therefore said I, The Philistines will come down now upon me to Gilgal, and I have not made supplication unto the LORD: I forced myself therefore, and offered a burnt offering. 13 And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly thou hast not kept the commandment of the LORD thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the LORD have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever. 14 But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the LORD hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the LORD commanded thee. And Samuel arose, and gat him up from Gilgal unto Gibeah of Benjamin. And Saul num
13 A straightforward course is the only safe course. Saul had received specific commands. Those commands he disobeyed, and then pretended a pious zeal for honouring God by a sacrifice. No wonder that, not trust
ing in God, and relying on his own plans for success, his reliance was vain.
14 God in due time raised up David. David was called a man "after God's own heart" for his public virtues. He abhorred idolatry, and by observing with scrupulous exactness all the civil and religious laws of his country, did in public life seek God's honour and glory.
There is no other security for that moral courage, which rather meets a sorrow than commits a wrong, than a holy faith. That alone steels the heart against fear-enabling us to do right under all dangers, and leave the event to God.
bered the people that were present with him, about six hundred men. And Saul, and Jonathan his son, and the people that were present with them, abode in Gibeah of Benjamin: but the Philistines encamped in Michmash. And the spoilers came out of the camp of the Philistines in three companies: one company turned unto the way that leadeth to Ophrah, unto the land of Shual: and another company turned the way to Beth-horon: and another company turned to the way of the border that looketh to the valley of Zeboim toward the wilderness. Now there was no smith found throughout all the land of Israel for the Philistines said, Lest the Hebrews make them swords or spears: 20 but 20 Into so grievous a state of deall the Israelites went down pendance were the people of God to the Philistines, to sharpen brought. every man his share, and his coulter, and his ax, and his mattock. Yet they had a file for the mattocks, and for the coulters, and for the forks, and for the axes, and to sharpen the goads. So it came to pass in the day of battle, that there was neither sword nor spear found in the hand of any of the people that were with Saul and Jonathan: but with Saul and with Jonathan his son was there found. And the garrison of the Philistines went out to the passage of Michmash.
The fifth Sunday after Trinity.
MORNING. 1 SAMUEL XV.
also said unto 1 Kings and their subjects are alike Saul, The LORD sent me to responsible to God, the searcher of anoint thee to be king over hearts-kings, that they rule well; his people, over Israel: now subjects, that they obey faithfully. therefore hearken thou unto the voice of the words of the LORD. Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt. Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass. And 6 God, by sparing the Kenites, shews Saul gathered the people to- us, that kindness towards others never gether, and numbered them fails its sure recompense at last. in Telaim, two hundred thousand footmen, and ten thousand men of Judah. And Saul came to a city of Amalek, and laid wait in the valley. And Saul said unto the Kenites, Go, depart, get you down from among the Amalekites, lest I destroy
you with them: for ye showed kindness to all the children of Israel, when they came up out of Egypt. So the Kenites departed from among the Amalekites. And Saul smote the Amalekites from Havilah until thou comest to Shur, that is over against Egypt. And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed 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 fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them but every thing that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly. Then came the word of the LORD unto Samuel, saying, It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the LORD all night. And when Samuel rose early to meet Saul in the morning, it was told Samuel, saying, Saul came to Carmel, and, behold, he set him up a place, and is gone about; and passed on, and gone down to Gilgal. And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said unto him, Blessed be thou of the LORD: I have performed the commandment of the LORD. 14 And Samuel said, 14 What shame follows sin detected! meaneth then this
17 Prosperity too often leads to a forgetfulness of God, and a departure from virtue. Art thou prosperous? Religion alone can bless thy prosperity.
What bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear? And Saul said, They have brought them from the Amalekites: for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed. Then Samuel said unto Saul, Stay, and I will tell thee what the LORD hath said to me this night. And he said unto him, Say on. "And Samuel said, When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the LORD anointed thee king over Israel? And the LORD sent thee on a journey, and said, Go and utterly destroy the sinners the Amalekites, and fight against them until they be consumed. Wherefore then didst thou not obey the voice of the LORD, but didst fly upon the spoil, and didst evil in the sight of the LORD? 20 And Saul said unto Samuel, Yea, I have obeyed the voice of the LORD, and have gone the way which the LORD sent me and have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. But the people took of the spoil,
20 Saul shifts the blame from himself to others. Thus did Adam and Eve at their fall. (Gen. iii. 12.)
sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been
unto the LORD thy God in
22 By this flimsy pretence, Saul adds to his crime,-adding sin to sin. It was his duty to have controlled the people; and obedience to God would have been his sure safety. and to hearken than the fat of
23 It were vain to get rid of one sin, merely to adopt another. If worldliness were left, idol worship
were removed in vain".
utterly destroyed, to sacrifice Gilgal. And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, rams. 23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king. And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice. Now therefore, I pray thee, pardon my sin, and turn again with me, that I may worship the LORD. And Samuel said unto Saul, I will not return with thee: for thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD hath rejected thee from being king over Israel. And as Samuel turned about to go away, he laid hold upon the skirt of his mantle, and it rent. And Samuel said unto him, The LORD hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbour of thine, that is better than thou. And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent. 30 Then he said, I have sinned: yet honour me now, I pray thee, before the elders of my people, and before Israel, and turn again with me, that I may worship the LORD thy God. So Samuel turned again after Saul; and Saul worshipped the LORD. Then said Samuel, Bring ye hither to me Agag the king of the Amalekites. And Agag came unto him delicately. And Agag said, Surely the bitterness of death is past. And Samuel said, As thy sword hath made women childless, so shall thy mother be childless among women. And Samuel hewed Agag in pieces
30 When sin conquers a man, his whole tone of feeling is lowered. The haughty king dreads even his subjects. Indeed, sin is our degradation and
shame it deceitfuily works our ruin, and cruelly mocks us in our fall.
* At last, Saul humbled and debased by a succession of mean subterfuges, confesses the mortifying truth :-"I feared the people and believed their voice." Fatal principle of action! The whole tenor of God's word; his recorded dealings with mankind; and right reason; show to us, that rulers are to direct the people, not the people to rule their rulers.
before the LORD in Gilgal. Then Samuel went to Ramah: and Saul went up to his house to Gibeah of Saul. And Samuel came no more to see Saul until the day of his death: nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul: and the LORD repented tha he had made Saul king over Israel.
EVENING. 1 SAMUEL Xvii.
1 Thus principalities, and the powers of darkness, gather together and array themselves against the soldiers of the cross-God's Israel now.
Now the Philistines gathered together their armies to battle, and were gathered together at Shochoh, which belongeth to Judah, and pitched between Shochoh and Azekah, in Ephes-dammim. And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together, and pitched by the valley of Elah, and set the battle in array against the Philistines. And the Philistines stood on a mountain on the one side, and Israel stood on a mountain on the other side: and there was a valley between them. And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. And he had an helmet of brass upon head, and he was armed with a coat of mail; and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of brass. And he had greaves of brass upon his legs, and a target of brass between his shoulders. And the staff of his spear was like a weaver's beam; and his spear's head weighed six hundred shekels of iron and one bearing a shield went before him. And he stood and cried unto the armies of Israel, and said unto them, Why are ye come out to set your battle in array? am not I a Philistine, and ye servants to Saul? choose you a man for you, and let him come down to me. If he be able to fight with me, and to kill me, then will we be your servants: but if I prevail against him, and kill him, then shall ye be our servants, and serve us. And the Philistine said, I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man that we may fight together. When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed, and greatly afraid. Now David was the son of that Ephrathite of Beth-lehem-judah, whose name was Jesse; and he had eight sons: and the man went among men for an old man in the days of Saul. And the three eldest sons of Jesse went and followed Saul to the battle and the names of his three sons that went to the battle were Eliab the firstborn, and next unto him Abinabab, and
10 In like manner the sinner now defies God's servants. But fear not thou-a greater than David is at hand, to fight and to conquer for thee,