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  #1  
Unread 24th May 2011, 11:02 AM
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Why didn't God show Saul mercy?

Why do you think David was granted special favour in spite of what he did, while Saul was cut off at the first hint of disobedience?

King Saul is told to attack the Amalekites: "And utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them...But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey." When Saul fails to do this, God takes away his kingdom. Saul's sin is arguably failing to complete genocide (which I struggle with in and of itself), whereas as we all know David sinned in a whole string of ways - and must have known he was sinning. But I understand there are heart issues here:

“Has 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,
And to heed than the fat of rams.

23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft,
And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the LORD,
He also has rejected you from being king.”


On a side note, I am disturbed to find out how these genocide passages echo through Christian history. It was often used, for example, in American stories of the confrontation with Indians. During the Crusades in the Middle Ages, the Catholic popes declared the Muslims Amalekites, and in the great religious wars in the 16th, 17th and 19th centuries, Protestants and Catholics each believed the other side were the Amalekites and should be utterly destroyed.
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  #2  
Unread 24th May 2011, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by AudioArtist View Post
Why do you think David was granted special favour in spite of what he did, while Saul was cut off at the first hint of disobedience?

King Saul is told to attack the Amalekites: "And utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them...But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey." When Saul fails to do this, God takes away his kingdom. Saul's sin is arguably failing to complete genocide (which I struggle with in and of itself), whereas as we all know David sinned in a whole string of ways - and must have known he was sinning. But I understand there are heart issues here:

“Has 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,
And to heed than the fat of rams.

23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft,
And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the LORD,
He also has rejected you from being king.”


On a side note, I am disturbed to find out how these genocide passages echo through Christian history. It was often used, for example, in American stories of the confrontation with Indians. During the Crusades in the Middle Ages, the Catholic popes declared the Muslims Amalekites, and in the great religious wars in the 16th, 17th and 19th centuries, Protestants and Catholics each believed the other side were the Amalekites and should be utterly destroyed.
I'm deprived of time so forgive me for not posting scriptures. But, the impressions I've always got of Saul is that he had a history of falling farther and farther from God culminating in the dramatic confrontation with Samuel where Samuel warns him his Kingdom will be given to another.

David obviously had his failings but he really did have a passion and desire to please God.

I think the fact that Saul eventually sought out a witch tells us a lot of where he was at in his spiritual state towards the end. David despite his sins never fell that far.
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  #3  
Unread 24th May 2011, 12:09 PM
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Well, MY answer is:

Just because God uses the Bible to speak to us, does not make it right for us to exchange His image as the Incorruptible God, for one we read in the parts of the Bible we don't understand. God reveals Himself to us as the God of Love, the God of Forgiveness and Mercy.

When Man's belief that each verse in the entire Bible is equally inspired, causes us to see Him as the God of Genocide, or the God of unjust favor to one particular tribe of people in the Middle East; or the God of petty Jealousy and Anger, then we have IMO a failure in Man's doctrine.


God is Who He is. I see no reason to compromise His glory for the sake of Man's doctrine or understanding. Verses of the Bible I read that do not support the revealed knowledge of God that He's given to me, I set aside for the time being and do not worry about them!
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  #4  
Unread 24th May 2011, 12:33 PM
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This falls under the heading of “Questions I Plan to Ask God Someday.” Of course, I believe it will all be clear when we no longer see through a glass darkly, but these are troubling questions.

Why does God behave so “badly” sometimes? That’s a question David Lamb attempts to answer in a book I just received in the mail yesterday: God Behaving Badly: Is the God of the Old Testament Angry, Sexist, and Racist? (see here). Maybe he will clear things up for me. But at the moment, I see God’s imagined atrocities in the OT as evidence of how pervasive and contagious sin can be. Perhaps, like a cancer, God had to remove an entire culture or a life in order to deal with their sinfulness. If that is so, then it is God’s mercy on the rest of humanity that he had to take such drastic measures to protect the many from the few.

~Jim


I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen,


not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.


~C.S. Lewis
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  #5  
Unread 24th May 2011, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by AudioArtist View Post
Why do you think David was granted special favour in spite of what he did, while Saul was cut off at the first hint of disobedience?

King Saul is told to attack the Amalekites: "And utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them...But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey." When Saul fails to do this, God takes away his kingdom. Saul's sin is arguably failing to complete genocide (which I struggle with in and of itself), whereas as we all know David sinned in a whole string of ways - and must have known he was sinning. But I understand there are heart issues here:

“Has 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,
And to heed than the fat of rams.

23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft,
And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the LORD,
He also has rejected you from being king.”


On a side note, I am disturbed to find out how these genocide passages echo through Christian history. It was often used, for example, in American stories of the confrontation with Indians. During the Crusades in the Middle Ages, the Catholic popes declared the Muslims Amalekites, and in the great religious wars in the 16th, 17th and 19th centuries, Protestants and Catholics each believed the other side were the Amalekites and should be utterly destroyed.

Saul didn't kill the Amelakites as he was told, but an Amelakite killed him. An Amelakite also almost wiped out the Jews in the days of Esther, and yet another, known as Herod the Great, killed many Jewish children in an attempt to kill Jesus.

He probably should ahve done what he was told to do
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  #6  
Unread 24th May 2011, 02:55 PM
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Originally Posted by AudioArtist View Post
Why do you think David was granted special favour in spite of what he did, while Saul was cut off at the first hint of disobedience?
Besides being the "First" hint it was also the first command that God gave Saul. Saul disobeyed from the get go. David did not. Davids intentions were to obey. Saul's was not.
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  #7  
Unread 24th May 2011, 05:18 PM
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It helps to understand the back round.



Exo 17:8 Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim.
Exo 17:9 And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: to morrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand.
Exo 17:10 So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek: and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill.
Exo 17:11 And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed.
Exo 17:12 But Moses' hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.
Exo 17:13 And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.
Exo 17:14 And the LORD said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.
Exo 17:15 And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovahnissi:
Exo 17:16 For he said, Because the LORD hath sworn that the LORD will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.

Num 24:20 And when he looked on Amalek, he took up his parable, and said, Amalek was the first of the nations; but his latter end shall be that he perish for ever.

Deu 25:17 Remember what Amalek did unto thee by the way, when ye were come forth out of Egypt;
Deu 25:18 How he met thee by the way, and smote the hindmost of thee, even all that were feeble behind thee, when thou wast faint and weary; and he feared not God.
Deu 25:19 Therefore it shall be, when the LORD thy God hath given thee rest from all thine enemies round about, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance to possess it, that thou shalt blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven; thou shalt not forget it.



All of this back round is the context for The Lord's instructions to Saul.

1Sa 15:1 Samuel also said unto Saul, The LORD sent me to anoint thee to be king over his people, over Israel: now therefore hearken thou unto the voice of the words of the LORD.
1Sa 15:2 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.
1Sa 15:3 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.

1Sa 28:15 And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up? And Saul answered, I am sore distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God is departed from me, and answereth me no more, neither by prophets, nor by dreams: therefore I have called thee, that thou mayest make known unto me what I shall do.
1Sa 28:16 Then said Samuel, Wherefore then dost thou ask of me, seeing the LORD is departed from thee, and is become thine enemy?
1Sa 28:17 And the LORD hath done to him, as he spake by me: for the LORD hath rent the kingdom out of thine hand, and given it to thy neighbour, even to David:
1Sa 28:18 Because thou obeyedst not the voice of the LORD, nor executedst his fierce wrath upon Amalek, therefore hath the LORD done this thing unto thee this day



Saul knew that he was disobeying God. It was not an accident or over site. it was willful disobedience.


One reason why Saul was judged more harshly was that he was not just being judged for his personal sin. he had been given a responsibility to represent and act in the name of God. In other words , the issue was a lot bigger than just Saul. I believe we see a similar thing happen with Moses not being allowed to enter the promised land. This was a key moment and God had selected Saul to play the key role. He acted in the name of God and under the anointing of God as a leader over all of God's people.


This was not just any old side issue either. This came at the end of centuries of God patiently waiting to bring his wrath and judgment upon Amalek. This was not an assignment to be taken lightly.
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  #8  
Unread 24th May 2011, 07:12 PM
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This explanation doesn't make sense. David's sin with Bathsheba resulted in the death of an innocent man and child, not to mention his selfish adulterous act with Bathsheba, and his last recorded sin resulted in the death of 70,000 Israelis (2 Sam. 24.10-15). IMO, Saul sparing Agag and a few livestock pales by comparison. There has to be more to this than what you have offered.

I wish I knoew what it was.

~Jim
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Unread 24th May 2011, 09:11 PM
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With David v. Saul. it comes down to the heart. When David was first anointed, the Lord had to explain to even Samuel that "man judges by outer appearance, but God looks on the heart". Saul disobeyed, lied about it, and then had no faith and presumed to make himself a priest to God. When caught, all he cared about was how he looked before the people, not how he had offended God. He never truly repented. Later, Saul even prophesied, even naked, yet it still did not effect heart transformation. David fell to lust, and even murder, but his repentance was genuine (Ps 51, et al). He paid dearly for his sin, but he was reinstated with the Lord because his heart was right. The contrast between the two is classic.

As for the genocide, God has chosen to work with man and his structures throughout human history. Since the Cross, under the Kingdom dispensation, He does not "officially" involve himself in theocracies, and he has not invested his name in only one people. But under the Mosaic covenant, he did exactly that. He deigned to work through human agencies - as very imperfect as they were - primarily in order to bring his Son into the world in the fullness of time, in order to save the world from just these kinds of horrific things. And He still works through very flawed vessels of clay, in order to establish His kingdom.

Also, recall that the nations of Canaan were exceedingly depraved, and were given to such things as offering their infants to the flaming belly of the detestable Molech. When the Lord cut the covenant with Abrahm, he told him it would be four hundred years before his descendants would enter their promised land:
As for yourself, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age. And they shall come back here in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.” -Gen 15:15-16
Here the Lord is actually delaying the Israelites entering their own land because He did not want to destroy a people (the Amorites) that did not yet deserve it. This shows His fairness, and also the detail with which He weaves His way in human history. By the time of Joshua and then Saul, we can conclude that the error of the Canaanites was indeed complete. Once again, the Lord is proven innocent in all His judgments.
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Unread 25th May 2011, 06:35 AM
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Originally Posted by paul1149 View Post
With David v. Saul. it comes down to the heart. When David was first anointed, the Lord had to explain to even Samuel that "man judges by outer appearance, but God looks on the heart". Saul disobeyed, lied about it, and then had no faith and presumed to make himself a priest to God. When caught, all he cared about was how he looked before the people, not how he had offended God. He never truly repented. Later, Saul even prophesied, even naked, yet it still did not effect heart transformation. David fell to lust, and even murder, but his repentance was genuine (Ps 51, et al). He paid dearly for his sin, but he was reinstated with the Lord because his heart was right. The contrast between the two is classic.

As for the genocide, God has chosen to work with man and his structures throughout human history. Since the Cross, under the Kingdom dispensation, He does not "officially" involve himself in theocracies, and he has not invested his name in only one people. But under the Mosaic covenant, he did exactly that. He deigned to work through human agencies - as very imperfect as they were - primarily in order to bring his Son into the world in the fullness of time, in order to save the world from just these kinds of horrific things. And He still works through very flawed vessels of clay, in order to establish His kingdom.

Also, recall that the nations of Canaan were exceedingly depraved, and were given to such things as offering their infants to the flaming belly of the detestable Molech. When the Lord cut the covenant with Abrahm, he told him it would be four hundred years before his descendants would enter their promised land:
As for yourself, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age. And they shall come back here in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.” -Gen 15:15-16
Here the Lord is actually delaying the Israelites entering their own land because He did not want to destroy a people (the Amorites) that did not yet deserve it. This shows His fairness, and also the detail with which He weaves His way in human history. By the time of Joshua and then Saul, we can conclude that the error of the Canaanites was indeed complete. Once again, the Lord is proven innocent in all His judgments.
Thanks for this - I found it helpful.

I know David didn't write all of them, but I believe he did write many of them...I am often taken aback by the Psalms. They are the biggest case for intimacy with God and are a beautiful revealing of the power of worship. When I was very young in the faith, I would ask - 'where does the Bible really point towards an 'intimate relationship' with the Lord? Where is it played out?' I was attacked with the silly doubt that this was a modern invention!

Well, like the epistles of Paul and John, the psalms are so self-authenticating that I find it impossible not to accept their Divine origins. They are the inspired overflow of someone enamoured with the real, living God - someone deeply involved in intimate and reverent relations to the Lord and Saviour of the universe. I find it amazing one could real the Psalms and not be challenged about an exclusively theoretical, academic, information-laden 'relationship' with Christ. Thanks to David's God-breathed words, we have a glimpse of what is possible, and thanks to Jesus Christ's blood, all of us have access to the same reality today!
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