Page images
PDF
EPUB

died within him, and he became as a stone, and about ten days later the LORD smote him with judgment, and he died.

In course of time David sent to Abigail and called her to him, and she became his wife,

After this Saul again came out after David, and once more the LORD delivered him into David's hand. The king lay asleep one night in his camp, with Abner, captain of his host, by him, and his people around. David went down into the camp with Abishai, and they found Saul sleeping thus. Abisbai would have killed him, but David would not suffer him, choosing rather to leave his enemy's life in God's hands. “As the LORD liveth," he said, “the LORD shall smite him, or his day shall come to die, or he shall descend into battle, and perish, the LORD forbid that I should stretch forth mine hand against the Lord's anointed.”

But David took away Saul's spear, and the cruse of water which stood by his bolster, and then he and Abishai went away; no man having waked, because a deep sleep from the LORD was fallen upon them. Then the two warriors went to the top of the opposite hill, and shouted to Saul's army; and David taunted Abner with having kept so careless a watch over his king.

[ocr errors]

Saul came forth, and as before, when David had spared his life, he was touched, and promised no more to try and harm him; and the Lord's Spirit again spoke through Saul, causing him to say, “Blessed be thou, my son David, thou shalt both do great things, and also shalt still prevail.” After this testimony against himself, Saul went back to Gibeah. But David knew Saul too well to put any trust in his promises, and thinking it well to be far off from Gibeah, he took all his household, and the six hundred men that followed him over to Gath. Achish the king gave him the city of Ziklag to dwell in ; and David remained there for a year and four months.

THE WITCH OF ENDOR.

AFTER David had lived all this time in Ziklag, the Philistines began to prepare for war with Israel again. Achish king of Gath wished David to be his right hand man and go forth with him; but the Philistine princes were angry and would not hear of having him.

" Is not this David, of whom they sang one to another in dances, saying, Saul slew his thousands, and David his ten thousands ?” they asked. He would certainly betray them to Saul, and they would have him leave them. Then Achish was very sorry. He said to David, “I know that thou art good in my sight, as an angel of God; notwithstanding the princes of the Philistines have said, He shall not go up with us to the battle. Wherefore now rise up early in the morning with thy master's servants that are come with thee ; and as soon as ye be up early in the morning, and have light, depart.” When Da vid arrived again at Ziklag, he found that the Amalekites had come upon it, burnt the city, and carried away captive all the women and children, David's own family among the rest. He pursued the enemy at once, and recovered the prisoners, and a very great spoil besides. This he sent as a present to all his friends in Judah, at Bethel, Hebron, and the other places where he had met with kindness.

Meanwhile Saul was very greatly afraid when he saw the Philistines coming against him, and pitching their tent in Shunem. He gathered his armies in Gilboabut his heart failed and trembled greatly—and he knew not where to seek for help. Perhaps the worst part of all Saul's misery, was knowing how he had

[ocr errors]

grieved the Holy Spirit of the Lord, and was therefore forsaken of Him. Samuel too, who used to be his adviser and guide in difficulty, was gone. The prophet had kept his word, and never saw Saul again, after his last sentence from God-and now he was dead. He died in a good old age at Ramah, and there he had been buried, and all the people lamented over him.

When the Holy Spirit of God is driven forth, Satan will surely send his evil spirits in ; and this now was shown very wonderfully in Saul's case. All through Holy Scripture we read of Satan's power being used among men, from the time he tempted Eve in the shape of a serpent. Sometimes we read of "enchantments and sorceries”-of "familiar spirits”-divipers, false prophets, and others. And even after our Blessed SAVIOUR Himself came to bruise Satan under His feet, we read of the evil one still having power on earth, though not such power as can prevail against those who cling to Christ in faith. But we read in the New Testament of unclean spirits, who even worked miracles, and who tried to lead God's people astray. 9- All dealings with such powers were strictly forbidden by the law of Moses ; and though we are not told very precisely what these evil spirits were, or how much power God allowed them to have, we are told very plainly not to be over inquisitive, but to take God's word and obey it, without trying overmuch to understand what He has seen fit to hide from us.

Saul had obeyed the law of Moses as to all those people who pretended to have dealings with familiar spirits ; he put them away out of the land, and strictly forbade his subjects having anything to do with them. But now in his trouble and despair, feeling that he had lost all his Lord's favour, Saul determined to seek help through evil spirits, and in spite of his own laws, he bade his servants seek out a woman with a familiar spirit, or as it is translated from the Hebrew in our Bibles, a witch. They told him of such a person living at Endor. Then Saul, who was quite spent with care and fear, put on raiment unlike his own, and disguised himself so as not to be known, and then at night he went with two of his servants to Endor. He asked the woman to call up for him the spirit of Samuel ; and when the woman reminded him that she was running the risk of her life in thus disobeying the king's laws, Saul promised that no evil should happen to her.

Then the woman herself cried out in great

a

« PreviousContinue »