After Saul was anointed by Samuel to be King over Israel, Samuel told Saul to wait 7 days, and he would meet Saul at Gilgal to offer burnt offerings and peace offerings to YHWH. Remember, Samuel was not only a prophet, but also acted in the office of the Priesthood, trained by Eli the High Priest. ever since he was a small child. Only Israel’s consecrated priests could offer animal Sacrifices to the Lord. This had been Israel’s system since the time of Moses.
Samuel, though not a Levite, operated in the office of Priesthood because Eli (the High Priest)’s sons Hophni and Phinehas were corrupt, and the Lord decided to put them to death and hand the Priesthood over to Samuel instead.
1 Samuel 2….
12: Now the sons of Eli were corrupt; they did not know Yahweh.
17: Therefore the sin of the young men was very great before Yahweh, for men (Eli’s sons Hophni and Phinehas) abhorred the offering of Yahweh. 18 But Samuel ministered before Yahweh, even as a child, wearing a linen ephod.
34: “Now this shall be a sign to you that will come upon your two sons, on Hophni and Phinehas: in one day they shall die, both of them. 35 Then I will raise up for Myself a faithful priest who shall do according to what is in My heart and in My mind. I will build him a sure house, and he shall walk before My anointed forever.”
So Samuel, an Ephraimite, had been made a Priest of the Lord, not as a part of the Levitical Priesthood (The Levites had been the only ones who could be priests in Israel UNTIL Hophni and Phinehas sinned against the Lord), but according to the higher order of Melchizedek. (We’ll discuss the Priesthood of Melchizedek in another post). Therefore Samuel was considered a Priest of the Lord, and would be the only one permitted to offer the burnt sacrifices and peace offerings.
Samuel told Saul to wait for him 7 days, and he would show up to offer the Sacrifices….
1 Samuel 10:8: Go down ahead of me to Gilgal. I will surely come down to you to sacrifice burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, but you must wait seven days until I come to you and tell you what you are to do.”
For some reason, Samuel was delayed in coming to Saul at Gilgal. While waiting for Samuel’s arrival, the enormous camp of the Philistines assembled themselves against Israel, and the Israelites became very afraid and went to hide in caves! Saul, impatient and worried that his whole army would desert him, offered the sacrifices himself, just before Samuel arrived. This was in direct disobedience to the Word of the Lord spoken to Saul via Samuel. When Samuel arrived, he was very disturbed at what Saul had done.
1 Samuel 13: 11 But Samuel said, “What have you done?” And Saul said, “Because I saw that the people were scattering from me, and that you did not come within the appointed days, and that the Philistines were assembling at Michmash, 12 therefore I said, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not asked the favor of the Lord.’ So I forced myself and offered the burnt offering.”
1 Samuel 13:13: Samuel said to Saul, “You have acted foolishly; you have not kept the commandment of the Lord your God, which He commanded you, for now the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. 14 But now your kingdom shall not endure. The Lord has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has appointed him as ruler over His people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.”
Wow, so this was it! Saul had totally messed up by ignoring the command of God and offering the Sacrifices himself rather than wait for Samuel!
We may ask, why does it matter so much?
- First of all, Saul was NOT a Priest, he was not a Levite or a priest after the order of Melchizedek, as was Samuel, and therefore lacked the Spiritual authority to offer Sacrifices to YHWH. At the same time, it was common practice for Canaanites “kings” to offer sacrifices to their demonic “gods”, so Saul was acting in accordance with the heathen nations rather than in accordance with the Principles established by YHWH.
- Second, Saul showed a lack of trust in YHWH.
- Third and even most importantly, Saul’s immediate reaction to his disobedient behavior was not to repent and ask forgiveness, but to try to justify his behavior. We later see this “make excuse” behavior again with Saul when he disregards another direct command from YHWH. This was a pattern for Saul, and completely differentiated him from his successor David, who also sinned, but then QUICKLY repented and asked for forgiveness from YHWH. David is described as a man after God’s own heart! (1 Samuel 13:14, Acts 13:22)
The end result of Saul’s disobedience and defiant behavior, is that YHWH took the Kingship away from him and had Samuel anoint a young shepherd boy from the lineage of Jesse of Bethlehem, in the tribe of Judah as King over Israel. Unbeknownst to Saul, Samuel anointed David, son of Jesse, King over Israel. Although Saul actually remained King over Israel for many years (he reigned 42 years over Israel), he immediately lost the favor of the Lord, and the Holy Spirit was no longer with him. The Bible then details that evil spirits tormented Saul, and he became very paranoid, irritable, and afraid. However, the young Shepherd boy, David, who had been secretly anointed by Samuel (1 Samuel 16), was called to serve Saul by playing the harp which drove away the evil spirits that tormented him. David won favor in the eyes of Saul, and of YHWH, and Saul made David his armor-bearer. Saul was basically bringing David right into the Throne-room, without even realizing that David would someday replace him as King.
David had the heart of a lion and the faith of Abraham, and it quickly became obvious that he had the favor of YHWH. Though we later see that David did sin after he became King of Israel, he did not have a hardened heart like Saul, but rather, he quickly repented and asked forgiveness from God. David was humble, and always recognized that YHWH was Faithful, Righteous, and His Judgments were Just.
Even as a young shepherd boy, David showed incredible bravery and faith in YHWH when he volunteered to take down the giant Philistine Goliath (nephilim), who had the whole army camp of Israel terrified. David took down Goliath with just a sling and a stone (and INCREDIBLE FAITH in YHWH) (1 Samuel 17:50).