After their meeting in 1 Samuel chapter 24, Saul returned to Gibeah and David stayed in En Gedi. For a period of perhaps a few months, there was peace between the two men.
It was during this period that Israel heard of the death of Samuel, their prophet (holy man). Samuel had lived a very long life; it upset the whole nation to hear that he was dead. Samuel became a prophet when he was just a boy; hardly anyone could remember the time before Samuel became Israelís national prophet. During his whole life, he had served God loyally among them and he had declared Godís messages to them. His death was a great loss for their nation.
Samuel had not just served God as a holy man. For many years, he was also Israelís national leader. He was the last person who led Israel as its judge. He did that until he appointed Saul to be Israelís first king.
When Saul began to rule, Samuel retired from the leadership of the nation. However, he continued his work as a prophet. He continued to pray for the nation and its king, and he continued to teach them about God. During this period, Saul depended very much on Samuel. Saul was very aware that, unlike Samuel, he did not have a close relationship with God. Saul needed Samuel to guide him and to speak Godís word to him.
However, several years later, Saul decided that he would not obey God. That was a very sad time for Samuel. He refused to visit Saul again. During that period, God sent Samuel to appoint David as Israelís next king.
Both Saul and David would have considered Samuelís death to be very sad news. For the first time in their lives, Israel had no national prophet. However, God had already chosen a new prophet for Israel. His name was Gad; he had already given David a message from God (22:5). Nathan too would serve God as a national prophet during Davidís rule (1 Chronicles 29:29).
Next part: Nabal in Maon (1 Samuel 25:2-3)
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© 2014, Keith Simons.