The King is Dead

Text: I Samuel 31
Speaker: Jim Newheiser
Outline: PDF
Date: March 8, 2009

The theme of I Samuel has been Israel’s need for a leader. It opens in the final days of the Judges as Eli’s dynasty fails because of his wicked sons. Samuel is the last Judge who anoints Saul, the people’s choice for king (“man looks at the outward appearance”), and later David, who is chosen by the LORD (“God looks at the heart”) to replace disobedient Saul. The book ends as it began as Saul’s house falls, just as Eli’s house fell, in one disastrous day in which the Philistines defeat Israel in battle and the leader and his sons die. This final chapter also reminds us of Hannah’s Psalm in chapter 2 in which she declared how the LORD will bring down the mighty and exalt the humble (the theme of the book).

I Samuel 31, however, is not the end of the story, but rather it is the end of the beginning. I and II Samuel were originally part of one larger book which was divided into two parts, much as our Bible has been divided into chapters. The LORD removes Saul at the end of I Samuel so that he can install His chosen King, David, in II Samuel.

There are some practical issues addressed in the gruesome death of Saul and the defeat of Israel. We are reminded that the LORD is in control of life and death. We are faced with the issues of euthanasia (when Saul tries to convince his armor bearer to kill him) and suicide (when Saul attempts to kill himself). We are challenged to consider our own mortality. Are we ready to die? We are also reminded that God’s people can hope in Him, even in the darkest of times.

We also see Christ in our text as we compare and contrast His triumphant death with the tragic death of Saul. Saul was defeated by death. Jesus took the curse of death and conquered death for us.

Posted on March 8th, 2009 | Permalink