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What Not to Do

Building a legacy.

1 Samuel 22:6–8

When Saul heard that David and the men who were with him had been discovered—now Saul was staying in Gibeah under a tamarisk tree in Ramah, with his spear in his hand, and all his servants standing about him— then Saul said to his servants who stood about him, “Hear now, you Benjamites! Will the son of Jesse give every one of you fields and vineyards, and make you all captains of thousands and captains of hundreds? All of you have conspired against me, and there is no one who reveals to me that my son has made a covenant with the son of Jesse; and there is not one of you who is sorry for me or reveals to me that my son has stirred up my servant against me, to lie in wait, as it is this day.”

David has fled from Saul, but word of where he is gets around. So David and his men are discovered.

But Saul faces a great dilemma. David is super popular. Saul needs to somehow whip his followers into a murderous frenzy. They must be willing to do his bidding, no matter what that might be.

Not surprisingly, Saul makes some monstrously false allegations. He claims that Jonathan, “has stirred up David against me, to lie in wait.” That’s nonsense. David is simply running away. He’s confident in God’s promises, but he’s not stupid.

Saul even says, to the people he’s speaking to, “All of you have conspired against me.” Does he really think that’s a convincing argument?

But worst of all, Saul implies that “us Benjamites need to stick together.” David is from the tribe of Judah. Saul is claiming that he can’t be trusted to give Benjamites the time of day.

That’s projection. Tribal prejudice hasn’t even crossed David’s mind. When he slew Goliath, no one knew or cared which tribe he was from. It was a victory for Israel, not Judah.

And all the people celebrated as one.

Saul has no idea what he’s messing with. In sowing tribal rivalries, he’s unleashing forces that have the power to tear Israel to pieces. The tribes are currently distinct, but they’re not at odds with each other. That unity is now in jeopardy.

Of course, Saul doesn’t care about jeopardizing Israel’s future; he doesn’t care about anything except his own legacy.

The irony is that this is his legacy. His legacy will not be his descendants on the throne; Samuel already told him that. So, his legacy will be the other kind of legacy—the mark he leaves on history.

Israel’s experiment with monarchy will not go well, and the nation will be torn to pieces. The divided kingdom will be conquered and enslaved.

That’s not all Saul’s fault, but his legacy is still mostly a lesson in what not to do.

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These weekday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. The Saturday ones are written by Matt Richardson. To subscribe to the DEEP click here:

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Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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