Tag Archives: King Saul

John 15:25–16:11: Tag-team Comforters of Israel

Apostle Yokhanan frequently describes Yeshua’s role as Advocate and the Spirit’s role as Helper, particularly in John 14–16. The gospels of Mark and Matthew use the term a couple of times. 

The Helper not only will remind believers of Yeshua’s words but also fully bring prepare them to  comfort. 

The Greek word for helper in Jn. 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7 (cf. Mt. 10:19f; Mk. 13:11; Lk. 12:11f) is παράκλητος paraklētos (G3875), derived from the word παρακαλέω parakaleō (G3870).

God’s Parakletos for Israel foretold

In the Septuagint (Greek translation of the “Old Testament”), parakletos is used for the Hebrew word נחַם nocham (H5164, repentance) and its verb root נָחַם nacham (H5162, to breathe deeply or to sigh out of a deep sorrow). This is the kind of deep sorrow, a sorrow too deep for words that the Holy Spirit translates for us and lifts up to the Father. 

In the intertestamental literature (between the time of the writing of Malachi and Matthew), the name Menakhem, or “instrument of nacham,” is another name for the Mashiakh (Messiah, Christ). The Menakhem would be the consolation of Israel. The prophets promised return from exile(s) and foretold the coming of the Mashiakh. This idea of the Menakhem was not just someone who would come in on a horse but also one who would take away one’s distress and bring comfort. 

The Comforter is also an Advocate who speaks to us before the Father and the Messiah also is an advocate who brings comfort to His people. You see this mirrored in Revelation, when the Menakhem will take away the sorrow and there will be no more distress or anguish. 

Just as God breathed into man to become living being and to become a “reborn” person in the Kingdom of God, God “sighs” over the agony of those who suffer.

According to Scripture, both the Mashiakh and the Spirit of God act as “the consolation of Israel.”

Hated without a cause

Yeshua returned to the message of God’s Helper ― παράκλητος / מְנַחֵם. 

“They hated me without a cause.” (Jn. 15:25)

Those who persecute Yeshua and His disciples hate God, Who sent the Messiah.

The power of God displayed through Yeshua’s words, miracles and actions were in line with Messianic prophecy testify, and the Spirit confirms these by reminding us of them and putting them into the context of the plan of the Kingdom of God. The Jewish leadership were well-versed in Torah and had memorized large portions of Scripture so knowledgeable speakers could quote just a small snipped of Scripture and the hearers who were very learned would understand the entire context of the snipped quote. 

Yeshua is warning His Apostles that just as people hated Him, they will hate them too. 

This is a quotation from Psalm 35:

“Do not let those who are wrongfully my enemies rejoice over me; Nor let those who hate me without cause wink maliciously. For they do not speak peace, But they devise deceitful words against those who are quiet in the land. They opened their mouth wide against me; They said, ‘Aha, aha, our eyes have seen it!'”(Psa. 35:19–21; cf. 69:4)

What is “winking maliciously”? This is “narrowing the eyes” or pinching your eyes together. There’s a lot of angst and anger in the expression. It’s an outward sign of aggression. The Hebrew euphemism is שֹׂנְאַי חִנָּם sheyn’ai khinnam = hating graciously, i.e., freely, without cost. 

What is “hating graciously”? The Talmud gives us an insight into that phrase. Sages reflecting on the destruction of the Temple in A.D. 70 also noted how “free hate” was a big problem for that generation. This hatred was like an illness eating away at the heart of the people of Israel:

“Why was the Second Sanctuary destroyed, seeing that in its time they occupied themselves with studying Torah, obeying mitzvot and practicing charity? Because in it prevailed hatred without a cause. That fact serves to teach you: gratuitous hatred weighs in the balance against the three cardinal sins of idolatry, fornication, and murder.” (Yoma 1.3.5.R–S (9b))

Yeshua touched on this issue when He rebuked them saying: 

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.” (Matthew 23:23 NASB)

You see this in the kangaroo court nature of the proceedings against Yeshua, Stephen and later the Apostle Paul. The Jewish court was not concerned about justice and doing what was right. They did not protect their fellow Jew but threw them to the Roman wolves.

You see this also in the story of King Saul and David. Saul knew that he had sinned so egregiously that his crown and anointing was given to David. Saul had been chosen as the leader but he was deviating from God’s instructions. God stopped talking to Saul and that pain of that silence was devastating to Saul but he took it out on David. He even tried to break into God’s back door by speaking with mediums. 

David wrote Ps. 35 during this period of turmoil. 

Israel had stopped listening to God during the Maccabean period moving into the First Century. There was a revival when the people returned to the Land after exile in Babylon but they quickly devolved after that. The people stopped listening so God stopped talking. The prophets who were heralding the consolation of Israel, the Messiah, were ignored. 

The Sages shifted their views in what the Messiah was supposed to be to the point where today there are many different views of Messiah but none of them match the truth. 

You can understand why Yeshua is quoting Psalm 35 here. The majority of the leaders thought they were doing the will of God by helping Saul chasing down David. 

Spirit convicts on sin, righteousness, judgment

The three convictions by the Spirit upon the world will be “sin and righteousness and judgment” (Jn. 16:8). 

They didn’t want to listen to God or ask for God’s help to understand what was coming. They didn’t want clarity from God. There were a few who reached out to Yeshua such as Nicodemus. There were also a group of priests we read about in the Book of Acts reached out too, but they were not the majority. 

Most of the Jewish leadership heard the words of God about the coming Menakhem–Mashiakh, but they didn’t want to listen or ask for God’s help ― Helper ― to discover and recognize God at work. They were more concerned about the Romans taking away their position than they were about knowing their Messiah. They hated Messiah Yeshua without cause. 

“and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me;” (John 16:10 NAS95)

Dependence on visual signs of God’s power at work can be a roadblock to trust in God.

Yeshua said to a royal official from Capernaum who asked Him to come heal his sick son: “ ‘Unless you people see signs and wonders, you simply will not believe.’ ” (John 4:48) He trusted Yeshua’s word without Yeshua being physically present with his son. That fait was rare. 

You also see that Yeshua had “breathed ― passed along ― the Spirit to 10 closest students, Thomas the Twin came in but wanted lots of physical evidence of Yeshua’s resurrection. On Yeshua’s visit to them eight days later, Thomas confesses not only the truth of Yeshua’s resurrection but Yeshua’s identity as God. Thomas didn’t even touch Yeshua to confirm. Yeshua told him: 

“Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.'” (Jn. 20:29)

This is the reason that Yeshua, the Parakletos had to leave and the other Parakletos had to come. They needed more boldness and more power now that Yeshua would not be physically present on the earth. 

“In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.” (1Pet. 1:6–9)

This is why Yeshua had to leave. We see the immense, horrific trials that people who hate God freely do to those who trust in God, yet they trust God with their lives. For example, the martyrs who have been butchered by ISIS in Syria, Libya and Iraq are not throwing their lives away but are making a proclamation of God’s greatness. 

It is not random that the Apostle Yokhanan uses the same word to describe both Yeshua and the Holy Spirit. The people kept demanding a sign and Yeshua said the only sign you will get is the sign of Jonah. The people of Nineveh were told that 40 days and you will be dead. They repented so much that they even made their animals repent. This foreign nation had more trust in God than the nation the prophet Jonah came from.

They had a prophet Yokhanan the Baptist, they had Yeshua, they had the Apostles going two-by-two throughout the land. They had a chance to repent and did not take it. 

Everyone has a bias. There is no such thing as objectivity and detached. But you can test and see if your bias is valid or not. You can have a hypothesis but as the experiment goes, do you skew your readings to fit your hypothesis or can you acknowledge the hypothesis is wrong? 

Even those who have no fleshly connection to Yeshua can put their trust in God because of the Holy Spirit. 

“concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged” (Jn. 16:11) Light had come, so darkness (places unlit) must run:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” (Jn. 1:1–5; cf. spiritual things being spiritually discerned, 1Cor. 2:14)

The English word translated as comprehend is καταλαμβάνω katalambanō in Greek (G2638), which means to lay hold of so as to make one’s own or to seize. That’s why some translations use overcome or overpower.

People shrink from the light because they don’t want their deeds to be exposed. The ruler of this world brings darkness and confusion but in the light, it goes away because of the tag-team of Messiah Yeshua and the Holy Spirit. 

You become a new person with a new heart. It’s not a matter of a list of do’s and don’ts but God changes your inclinations so that you don’t want to do what is wrong. Yeshua and the Holy Spirit knows our deepest anguish. Yeshua lived it Himself and the Holy Spirit experiences it in us. That is why the Holy Spirit can translate our deepest groaning to God for us. 

Speaker: Jeff. Summary: Jeff and Tammy. 

1st Kings 7:1-12: Lessons from the design of Solomon’s palace

Daniel AgeeThere a few details worth sharing about the design of Solomon’s house (1st Kings 7:1-12). Why was this recorded? There isn’t even a parallel passage in Chronicles. Why does Solomon’s personal residence matter? Why should we even care?

There is nothing arbitrary recorded in the Scriptures (2nd Tim. 3:16). God made sure this information was included in the Bible for a reason.

A description of the design of Solomon’s palace seems more appropriate for an architecture textbook than the Scriptures. Yet the elements of the design tap frequent symbols in Scripture, pointing to the roles of “priest” and “king” in the Messianic Age.

Continue reading 1st Kings 7:1-12: Lessons from the design of Solomon’s palace

2nd Samuel 21: Messianic parallels in Gibeonites’ demand for David to atone for Saul’s Nob massacre

The stated cause of the drought-caused three-year famine was David’s failure to deal with the wrongs done to Gibeonites by the late ruler Saul. 

Other texts: Joshua 11; Numbers 35; Romans 3

There is a scribal error in some translations of 2nd Sam. 21:8. Following the main body of Hebrew texts (Masoretic) and the Septuagint, some English texts say the five grandsons were from Michal, the younger daughter of Saul. This is not the case, based on a parallel account from 2nd Sam. 18:19. These five grandsons of Saul were the sons of Saul’s older daughter Merab. The other two descendants of Saul who were killed were the sons of Riza, Saul’s concubine. 

Saul’s slaughter of the Gibeonites is not recorded specifically in earlier texts, so there’s a question about when this slaughter occurred and when David addressed the issue. Jewish tradition says this conversation between David and the Gibeonites occurred about 30 years after he was king of Israel. 

The only recorded slaughter under Saul’s reign was the massacre of the priests in the town of Nob who had given David food, drink and Goliath’s sword. Doeg, an Edomite, told Saul about this benevolence.  Saul ordered his men to execute these priests for helping David. After they refused, Doeg did it.

Were the Gibeonites there too? If so, who killed them, Doeg or the Israelite soldiers?

If you go back into the history of the Gibeonites, who were a clan of the Hivites, you find that their ancestors had deceived Yehoshua (Joshua) into sparing them (Joshua 9–11). Yehoshua did spare them, but they were relegated to serving in the temple as water carriers and wood cutters. It’s reasonable that there would have been a sizable community of Gibeonties in or near Nob too. 

David took direct responsibility for this slaughter when the high priest’s son survived the slaughter of Nob. David put upon himself the duty of dealing with the consequences of the slaughter, even though Saul, the man who was actually guilty of it, died without paying the ultimate price for it. 

When David asked the Gibeonites what they want, they said two things:

  1. They can’t — and won’t — take any money because Torah forbids cash reimbursement for murder. 
  2. They also said that Saul, the man, who committed the crime, is no longer among the living of Israel to pay for the crime with his life.

Only taking a life could atone for taking another person’s life. The Gibeonites then ask for the lives of seven male descendants of Saul. Even though, strictly speaking, this punishment is outside of the Torah, a penalty had to be paid according to the Torah. God had brought a famine on the land of Israel for three years due to this egregious unpunished crime. Innocent blood eventually paid for this crime. 

The Gibeonites killed these men and hung them in Saul’s hometown around the time of the barley harvest which is when Passover comes.

Some interpreters believe the bodies were left hanging until the next natural rainy period, the “latter rain” in the fall, which would have been about seven months after Passover. If the bodies had hung there for that length of time, that would be very clearly against Torah, which requires hanging bodies to be removed at sunset.

However, since God brought the drought, God could have quickly restored the rain to acknowledge David’s atonement for the blood of the innocent Gibeonites who were slaughtered by Saul all those many years before.

Rizpah had been the concubine of Saul, and she stayed by the bodies as they hung. David responded to her loyalty by bringing the bones of the seven sons as well as those of Saul and Yonatan (Jonathan) to the family graveyard of Kish, the family patriarch. Thus, they would be reunited. 

This chapter also records the death of five Philistine “giants,” including Goliath (2nd Sam. 21:18–22). The deaths of the giants are not listed in chronological order, which is not important. Some were killed when David was an old man. However, David killed Goliath he was a young man. One of the giants is described as a “brother” of Goliath, but we don’t know whether the other giants were of Goliath’s family line or not.

Messianic symbolism

This chapter contains a number of details that uncannily parallel the life of Yeshua.

  • Three years of famine — lack of water. (Gibeonites’ job was to bring water to the temple. This is God’s sense of irony/humor at work.) Yeshua was dead for three days.
  • Seven men died. This is the death in the account that links with the number three to suggest this is a messianic prophecy.
  • The innocent seven sons took upon themselves the sin of others, their father Saul. David took the massacre at Nob upon himself.
  • The men, all descendants of the king, were hanged on a tree. Yeshua was hung on a tree.
  • Rizpah is in sackcloth and mourning her two sons. Rachel had two sons and mourned for them, as in the prophecy connected to Herod the Great’s massacre of the children in Bethlehem. 
  • Rizpah mourned her sons in a similar way — chasing off the birds of carrion from the dead bodies — as Abraham did from the sacrifices.
  • Rain came down as a result of the seven sons’ punishment for their father’s crime. Water poured from Yeshua’s side when He was stabbed with a spear. This suggests “living water” — the Spirit of God — descends when the Innocent was punished for those of the guilty world who wanted God’s mercy.
  • Gibeonites (“gentiles” to Israel but allowed to remain in the Land by Yehoshua) were killed as a result of their service with the priesthood. The king’s son died as a consequence. The Messiah was turned over to the gentiles (Romans) by the priests. 

Reader: Dave De Fever. Speaker: Daniel Agee. Summary: Tammy.

1st Samuel 31 — Saul’s final battle

Few generals and kings approach an upcoming battle and know for absolute certainty that they will be dead by the end of it. This was Saul’s predicament here. The burden of that knowledge must have been unbearable.

Questions about how Saul actually died abound since there seems to be two different version of the story in the Scriptures which need to be reconciled. This chapter also sparked conversation about ancient Israelite burial methods and suicide.

Continue reading 1st Samuel 31 — Saul’s final battle

1st Samuel 28-29 — Sha’ul sought knowledge from God, resorted to a medium when God stopped talking to him

(click on image to enlarge map)

As Sha’ul (Saul) faced his end, he became so frustrated with God’s silence that he sought out counsel in a way he knew was wrong. David, on the other hand, considered coming back to Israel alongside the Philistine army but is rebuffed just as Saul was rebuffed by God — and Samuel.
Continue reading 1st Samuel 28-29 — Sha’ul sought knowledge from God, resorted to a medium when God stopped talking to him

1st Samuel 27 — David flees Saul to Philistia

David grows weary of trying to keeping one step away from Saul in the land. David doesn’t want Israelite blood on his hands so he flees to Philistia to hide from Saul there. During his time under the Philistines, David continues his attacks on the enemies of God.

Continue reading 1st Samuel 27 — David flees Saul to Philistia