The One Year® Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), April 19
Hundreds of years before the Kingdom Era, Moses records God's promise regarding the Amalekites, who had fought against Israel during the early days of their departure from Egypt: "Then the LORD said to Moses, 'Write this for a memorial in the book and recount it in the hearing of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven"" (Ex. 17:14). Moses repeats this promise to the next generation in Deuteronomy 25:17-19.
Early in Saul's reign, the LORD commands him to destroy the Amalekites. Saul's disobedience costs him the kingdom (even though the LORD allows him to reign for many years) and a successor upon Israel's throne (1 Sam. 15).
Several decades have passed since Saul's disobedience. Suddenly the Amalekites appear again in the story line of the Bible. While David fights for the Philistine army, the Amalekites destroy Ziklag, where his family is staying, and take them captive. David seeks the LORD, and He says, "Pursue, for you shall surely overtake them and without fail recover them all" (1 Sam. 30:8). David tracked them down, rescued his family, and destroyed the Amalekites.
A number of simple, yet profound, truths emerge from this story:
- What seems like simple disobedience by one person always impacts others, even into following generations. Decades later David has to deal with the Amalekites.
- God often gives later generations opportunities to succeed where previous generations have failed. David destroys the Amalekites, and that's the last time they are mentioned in the Bible.
- God always keeps the promises that He makes. The Amalekites lived on borrowed time until the end of Saul's reign, when David wiped them out.
David begins his reign where Saul should have begun his reign, with the defeat of the Amalekites. Perhaps Saul would have defeated the Philistines during his lifetime had he spent less time trying to kill David. Sadly, Saul's reign ends when he dies at the hands of the Philistines―leaving David one more of Saul's messes to clean up.
Questions from today's reading (1 Samuel 30:1-31:13; 1 Chronicles 9:40-10:14; 2 Samuel 1:1-27):
- Review Exodus 17:14; Deuteronomy 25:17-19; 1 Samuel 15:2-3. What does David's destruction of the Amalekites reveal about David?
- How does Saul's death resemble that of Abimelech in Judges 9:54? What does this comparison reveal about Saul's rule?
- What does David's response to Saul's death reveal about David?