1 Samuel 14:47–52
So Saul established his sovereignty over Israel, and fought against all his enemies on every side, against Moab, against the people of Ammon, against Edom, against the kings of Zobah, and against the Philistines. Wherever he turned, he harassed them. And he gathered an army and attacked the Amalekites, and delivered Israel from the hands of those who plundered them.
The sons of Saul were Jonathan, Jishui, and Malchishua. And the names of his two daughters were these: the name of the firstborn Merab, and the name of the younger Michal. The name of Saul’s wife was Ahinoam the daughter of Ahimaaz. And the name of the commander of his army was Abner the son of Ner, Saul’s uncle. Kish was the father of Saul, and Ner the father of Abner was the son of Abiel.
Now there was fierce war with the Philistines all the days of Saul. And when Saul saw any strong man or any valiant man, he took him for himself.
Saul is now living a life of war. That stinks. Even when you win, war is still all hell—as William Tecumseh Sherman famously said. The last sentence in today’s passage is describing a draft. Anyone who looks useful for the war effort is immediately conscripted by Saul. That makes the people just as miserable as Saul.
Saul didn’t want this job; he even tried to hide from being selected into it. Now he’s stuck.
Matthew Henry’s commentary on this passage brilliantly describes how awful Saul’s life must be:
He had little reason to be proud of his royal dignity, nor had any of his neighbours cause to envy him, for he had little enjoyment of himself after he took the kingdom. He could not vex his enemies without some vexation to himself, such thorns are crowns quilted with. — Matthew Henry
Saul is living out the tale of the sword of Damocles.
Americans chase after money, fame, and power in ways that look clinically insane. People who reach solid financial security typically keep risking it all in pursuit of greater wealth. There doesn’t seem to be a level where people become contented and want to just be prepared for a rainy day. Thus, bankruptcies are just as common among wealthy people as among common folk.
What are they chasing after? Why can’t they ever be satisfied?
Something deep inside is empty—something they think will be filled by money, fame, or power.
But those things don’t satisfy. So they pursue even more, thinking that they just haven’t reached the right level.
Meanwhile, those who know God are at rest.
These weekday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. The Weekend ones are written by Matt Richardson. To subscribe click here: https://www.ailbe.org/resources/community
The weekly study guides, which include questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here: https://www.ailbe.org/resources/itemlist/category/91-deep-studies
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.