1. Lesson One of the Book of Daniel, Introduction to the Book of Daniel

Lesson 54,  Geography Study Concerning the Scriptures, The Battle of Mt. Gilboa and King David's Exploits

 

The Battle of Mt. Gilboa 

 

The confederated Philistine armies, determined to effectively slice the country of Israel in half while reinforcing their own hold over the Great Trunk Road (goes to Damascus from Egypt through Israel) , marched from Aphek to Shunem and pitched a battle line against the kingdom of Saul.

 

I Samuel 28:4,  And the Philistines gathered themselves together, and came and pitched in Shunem: and Saul gathered all Israel together, and they pitched in Gilboa.

 

Saul responded to that challenge by mobilizing his troops and deploying them on an outlying spur of Mt. Gilboa near Jezreel.

 

Saul probably realized that the battle was practically lost before it even began. 

 

For Saulís army was greatly outclassed in manpower and technology, and the gently rolling terrain around Jezreel would do little to deter the effectiveness of the Philistine chariot force. 

 

But more important to Saul was that God refused to answer dream, Urim, or prophet, which meant that He had already abandoned Saul.

 

URIM AND THUMMIM (ew' rihm uhnd Thuhm' mihm) Objects Israel, and especially the high priest, used to determine Godís will. Little is known about the Urim and Thummim. They are first mentioned in Exodus as being kept by the high priest in a ďbreastplate of judgmentĒ (Ex. 28:15-30). Later, Moses gave the tribe of Levi special responsibility for their care (Deut. 33:8). After Aaronís and Mosesí death, Eleazar was to carry and to use the lots to inquire of the Lord (Num. 27:18-23). They apparently were two objects that served as sacred lots. See Lots. That is, they were used to determine Godís will or to receive a divine answer to a question. Saul called for their use, for instance, in determining who had broken Saulís vow in a battle with the Philistines (1 Sam. 14:41-45). This text also hints as to how the objects were used. They were ďgiven,Ē perhaps drawn or shaken from a bag. One object gave one answer. The other lot gave another answer. Probably, whichever lot came out first, that was understood to be Godís answer. The Urim and Thummim were not, however, automatic or mechanical. God could refuse to answer. Saul sought the spirit of Samuel through a witch because God would not answer Saul through Urim or dreams or prophets (1 Sam. 28:6-25). The ultimate fate of the Urim and Thummim is unknown. In Nehemiahís time, expectation continued that someday a priest would arise with Urim and Thummim (Ezra 2:63; Neh. 7:65). This probably refers to the ability to receive an answer from the Lord, however, rather than a return of the lots given to Aaron.

 

As a consequence of being unable to discern Godís will by conventional means, Saul resorted to the extreme measure of the calling back of the dead (neocromancy). 

 

Disguised and under cover of darkness, he sought out a witch in the town of Endor and employed her divining powers to conjure up Samuel. 

 

But Samuelís words brought Saul neither counsel nor comfort; he prophesied only calamity:

 

I Samuel 28:15-19,  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. 16Then said Samuel, Wherefore then dost thou ask of me, seeing the LORD is departed from thee, and is become thine enemy? 17And 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: 18Because 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. 19Moreover the LORD will also deliver Israel with thee into the hand of the Philistines: and to morrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me: the LORD also shall deliver the host of Israel into the hand of the Philistines.

 

As the battle ensued the following day, a Philistine victory was swift and decisive. 

 

Saulís army was decimated, and the casualty list included three of his sons. 

 

I Samuel 31:1-2,  Now the Philistines fought against Israel: and the men of Israel fled from before the Philistines, and fell down slain in mount Gilboa. 2And the Philistines followed hard upon Saul and upon his sons; and the Philistines slew Jonathan, and Abinadab, and Melchishua, Saulís sons.

 

The king himself had been wounded by an arrow; and wishing to avoid the indignity that his capture would have entailed, Saul fell on his own sword and died. 

 

I Samuel 31:3-6,  And the battle went sore against Saul, and the archers hit him; and he was sore wounded of the archers. 4Then said Saul unto his armourbearer, Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and abuse me. But his armourbearer would not; for he was sore afraid. Therefore Saul took a sword, and fell upon it. 5And when his armourbearer saw that Saul was dead, he fell likewise upon his sword, and died with him. 6So Saul died, and his three sons, and his armourbearer, and all his men, that same day together. 

Interesting sidelight

 

2 Samuel 1:1-16,  Now it came to pass after the death of Saul, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Amalekites, and David had abode two days in Ziklag; 2It came even to pass on the third day, that, behold, a man came out of the camp from Saul with his clothes rent, and earth upon his head: and so it was, when he came to David, that he fell to the earth, and did obeisance. 3And David said unto him, From whence comest thou? And he said unto him, Out of the camp of Israel am I escaped. 4And David said unto him, How went the matter? I pray thee, tell me. And he answered, That the people are fled from the battle, and many of the people also are fallen and dead; and Saul and Jonathan his son are dead also. 5And David said unto the young man that told him, How knowest thou that Saul and Jonathan his son be dead? 6And the young man that told him said, As I happened by chance upon mount Gilboa, behold, Saul leaned upon his spear; and, lo, the chariots and horsemen followed hard after him. 7And when he looked behind him, he saw me, and called unto me. And I answered, Here am I.  8And he said unto me, Who art thou? And I answered him, I am an Amalekite. 9He said unto me again, Stand, I pray thee, upon me, and slay me: for anguish is come upon me, because my life is yet whole in me. 10So I stood upon him, and slew him, because I was sure that he could not live after that he was fallen: and I took the crown that was upon his head, and the bracelet that was on his arm, and have brought them hither unto my lord.  11Then David took hold on his clothes, and rent them; and likewise all the men that were with him: 12And they mourned, and wept, and fasted until even, for Saul, and for Jonathan his son, and for the people of the LORD, and for the house of Israel; because they were fallen by the sword. 13And David said unto the young man that told him, Whence art thou? And he answered, I am the son of a stranger, an Amalekite. 14And David said unto him, How wast thou not afraid to stretch forth thine hand to destroy the LORDíS anointed? 15And David called one of the young men, and said, Go near, and fall upon him. And he smote him that he died. 16And David said unto him, Thy blood be upon thy head; for thy mouth hath testified against thee, saying, I have slain the LORDíS anointed.

 

On the day after the battle, as the Philistine soldiers returned to Gilboa to gather their spoil, they happened upon the body of Saul, which they recognized .

 

The Philistines brought Saulís corpse to Beth-shan. 

 

This strongly fortified city remained an island of Philistine domination in the midst of Saulís kingdom.

 

At Beth-shan, Saulís decapitated body was impaled on the city wall and his armor was placed inside the temple of Ashtaroth.

 

As reports spread abroad, some citizens of Jabesh-gilead heard of the desecretion against Saul. 

 

They remembered with gratitude the fearlessness Saul had demonstrated to them on another day when he delivered them from certain disaster. (instance concerning the covenant of Nahash with regard to thrusting out the right eyes of all the men of Jabesh-gilead)

 

As a result, a band of men from Jabesh-gilead crossed the Jordan River at night, secretly gathered the remains of Saul and his sons, and carried them back to their city for a decent burial.

 

When news of the calamity atop Mt. Gilboa reached David at Ziklag, he lamented over the deaths of Saul and Jonathan, his son. 

 

II Samuel 1:17-27,  And David lamented with this lamentation over Saul and over Jonathan his son: 18(Also he bade them teach the children of Judah the use of the bow: behold, it is written in the book of Jasher.) 19The beauty of Israel is slain upon thy high places: how are the mighty fallen! 20Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Askelon; lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph. 21Ye mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew, neither let there be rain, upon you, nor fields of offerings: for there the shield of the mighty is vilely cast away, the shield of Saul, as though he had not been anointed with oil. 22From the blood of the slain, from the fat of the mighty, the bow of Jonathan turned not back, and the sword of Saul returned not empty. 23Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their lives, and in their death they were not divided: they were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions. 24Ye daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you in scarlet, with other delights, who put on ornaments of gold upon your apparel. 25How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle! O Jonathan, thou wast slain in thine high places. 26I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan: very pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women. 27How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished!

 

King Davidís Exploits

2 Samuel 5:1-10,  Then came all the tribes of Israel to David unto Hebron, and spake, saying, Behold, we are thy bone and thy flesh. 2Also in time past, when Saul was king over us, thou wast he that leddest out and broughtest in Israel: and the LORD said to thee, Thou shalt feed my people Israel, and thou shalt be a captain over Israel. 3So all the elders of Israel came to the king to Hebron; and king David made a league with them in Hebron before the LORD: and they anointed David king over Israel. 4David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years. 5In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months: and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty and three years over all Israel and Judah. 6And the king and his men went to Jerusalem unto the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land: which spake unto David, saying, Except thou take away the blind and the lame, thou shalt not come in hither: thinking, David cannot come in hither. 7Nevertheless David took the strong hold of Zion: the same is the city of David. 8And David said on that day, Whosoever getteth up to the gutter, and smiteth the Jebusites, and the lame and the blind, that are hated of Davidís soul, he shall be chief and captain. Wherefore they said, The blind and the lame shall not come into the house. 9So David dwelt in the fort, and called it the city of David. And David built round about from Millo and inward. 10And David went on, and grew great, and the LORD God of hosts was with him.

 

During the course of Davidís thirty-three year reign at Jerusalem, he converted the city into the nerve center of an empire whose dimensions stretched from Egypt to the vicinity of the Euphrates River.

 

He engaged in considerable building and expansion of the city, and eventually he brought the Ark of the Covenant within its walls, thereby merging for the first time in Israelís history its political and religious capitals. 

 

II Samuel 6:12-19,  And it was told king David, saying, The LORD hath blessed the house of Obededom, and all that pertaineth unto him, because of the ark of God. So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obededom into the city of David with gladness. 13And it was so, that when they that bare the ark of the LORD had gone six paces, he sacrificed oxen and fatlings. 14And David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod. 15So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet. 16And as the ark of the LORD came into the city of David, Michal Saulís daughter looked through a window, and saw king David leaping and dancing before the LORD; and she despised him in her heart. 17And they brought in the ark of the LORD, and set it in his place, in the midst of the tabernacle that David had pitched for it: and David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD. 18And as soon as David had made an end of offering burnt offerings and peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the LORD of hosts. 19And he dealt among all the people, even among the whole multitude of Israel, as well to the women as men, to every one a cake of bread, and a good piece of flesh, and a flagon of wine. So all the people departed every one to his house.

 

It only remained for David to make permanent this arrangement, to enshrine Jehovah in Jerusalem forever by building Him a temple. 

 

And that is what David aspired to do, but the execution of his dream was reserved for a son of David, because the warrior himself was a man whose hands had shed blood in battle. 

 

I Chron 28:2,3,  Then David the king stood up upon his feet, and said, Hear me, my brethren, and my people: As for me, I had in mine heart to build an house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and for the footstool of our God, and had made ready for the building: 3But God said unto me, Thou shalt not build an house for my name, because thou hast been a man of war, and hast shed blood.