3 July 1 Samuel 13:8-15

3 July. Samuel condemns Saul at Gilgal

“Saul waited seven days, because Samuel had said he would meet him then. But Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and the soldiers began to leave. So Saul said, ‘Bring me the whole burnt offering and the fellowship offerings.’ Then Saul offered the whole burnt offering.”

“Just as he finished, Samuel arrived, and Saul went to greet him. Samuel asked, ‘What have you done?’ Saul answered, ‘I saw the soldiers leaving me, and you were not here when you said you would be. The Philistines were gathering at Michmash. Then I thought, “The Philistines will come against me at Gilgal, and I haven’t asked for the LORD’s approval.” So I forced myself to offer the whole burnt offering.’”

“Samuel said, ‘You acted foolishly! You haven’t obeyed the command of the LORD your God. If you had obeyed him, the LORD would have made your kingdom continue in Israel always, but now your kingdom will not continue.’”

“'The LORD has looked for the kind of man he wants. He has appointed him to rule his people, because you haven’t obeyed his command.’”

“Then Samuel left Gilgal and went to Gibeah in Benjamin. Saul counted the men who were still with him, and there were about 600.”

          (1 Samuel 13:8-15)



Reading through Chapters 8 to 13 of 1 Samuel, it’s not difficult to sense the feeling that Samuel was very annoyed at having to appoint Saul as King of Israel. When the Israelites first approached him to say his sons were dishonest and they would rather have a king to rule over them, we’re told. “Samuel was not pleased.” (1 Samuel 8:6)

When Samuel gathered the tribes of Israel together at Mizpah to present Saul to them, he began by saying, “… you have rejected your God. He saves you from all your troubles and problems, but you said, ‘No! We want a king to rule over us.’” (1 Samuel 10:19)

And when Samuel delivered his ‘farewell’ speech at Gilgal after Saul’s victory over Nahash the Ammonite, Samuel reminded the Israelites, “Both you and the king ruling over you must follow the LORD your God… if you don’t obey the LORD, and if you turn against his commands, he will be against you.” (1 Samuel 12:14-15)

So it should not come as too much of a surprise to discover that Samuel very quickly found fault with the king he had been forced to appoint.

Samuel had arranged with Saul that he would make a sacrificial offering to the LORD before any battle against the Philistines began. Because Chapter 12 was inserted into the Biblical text much later, and therefore interrupts the flow of the story, it’s easy to forget this arrangement that Samuel made with Saul. You can find it in Chapter 10, Verse 8, where Samuel said to Saul, “Go ahead of me to Gilgal. I will come down to you to offer whole burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. But you must wait seven days. Then I will come and tell you what to do.” (1 Samuel 10:8)

So when the story resumes in Chapter 13, we find that Saul is waiting for Samuel to perform the sacrifice at Gilgal. The Philistines have been lured into the hill country of Ephraim by Jonathan’s toppling of the Philistine pillar marking their territory, and they are camped at Michmash ready to attack the Israelites. Their numbers are so overwhelming that many terrified Israelite soldiers have deserted, and Saul is desperate to get them into battle before more leave him.

But seven days later, Samuel still hasn't arrived to perform the sacrifices necessary to gain God’s approval and blessing. So Saul goes ahead and makes the burnt offering himself.

Then Samuel arrives at Gilgal at the end of the seventh day and immediately rebukes Saul for usurping his priestly authority and carrying out the sacrifice himself. Samuel takes the opportunity to condemn Saul and, although Saul was only recently anointed as king, prophesies his downfall, before returning to Gibeah in a huff.

The photo (by Rgrobman) is believed to show the location of Gilgal - near the village of Yafit, north of Jericho in the Jordan Valley.

You can read more about Saul @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/biblejourney2/30-israel-becomes-a-kingdom-under-saul-and-david/samuel-condemns-saul-at-gilgal/

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