March 27: Day 86

Reading: 1 Samuel 28-31, Psalm 86 (ESV)

1 Samuel 28

Saul and the Medium of En-dor

1In those days the Philistines gathered their forces for war, to fight against Israel. And Achish said to David, "Understand that you and your men are to go out with me in the army." 2David said to Achish, "Very well, you shall know what your servant can do." And Achish said to David, "Very well, I will make you my bodyguard for life."

3Now Samuel had died, and all Israel had mourned for him and buried him in Ramah, his own city. And Saul had put the mediums and the necromancers out of the land. 4The Philistines assembled and came and encamped at Shunem. And Saul gathered all Israel, and they encamped at Gilboa. 5When Saul saw the army of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart trembled greatly. 6And when Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord did not answer him, either by dreams, or by Urim, or by prophets. 7Then Saul said to his servants, "Seek out for me a woman who is a medium, that I may go to her and inquire of her." And his servants said to him, "Behold, there is a medium at En-dor."

8So Saul disguised himself and put on other garments and went, he and two men with him. And they came to the woman by night. And he said, "Divine for me by a spirit and bring up for me whomever I shall name to you." 9The woman said to him, "Surely you know what Saul has done, how he has cut off the mediums and the necromancers from the land. Why then are you laying a trap for my life to bring about my death?" 10But Saul swore to her by the Lord, "As the Lord lives, no punishment shall come upon you for this thing." 11Then the woman said, "Whom shall I bring up for you?" He said, "Bring up Samuel for me." 12When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out with a loud voice. And the woman said to Saul, "Why have you deceived me? You are Saul." 13The king said to her, "Do not be afraid. What do you see?" And the woman said to Saul, "I see a god coming up out of the earth." 14He said to her, "What is his appearance?" And she said, "An old man is coming up, and he is wrapped in a robe." And Saul knew that it was Samuel, and he bowed with his face to the ground and paid homage.

15Then Samuel said to Saul, "Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?" Saul answered, "I am in great distress, for the Philistines are warring against me, and God has turned away from me and answers me no more, either by prophets or by dreams. Therefore I have summoned you to tell me what I shall do." 16And Samuel said, "Why then do you ask me, since the Lord has turned from you and become your enemy? 17The Lord has done to you as he spoke by me, for the Lord has torn the kingdom out of your hand and given it to your neighbor, David. 18Because you did not obey the voice of the Lord and did not carry out his fierce wrath against Amalek, therefore the Lord has done this thing to you this day. 19Moreover, the Lord will give Israel also with you into the hand of the Philistines, and tomorrow you and your sons shall be with me. The Lord will give the army of Israel also into the hand of the Philistines."

20Then Saul fell at once full length on the ground, filled with fear because of the words of Samuel. And there was no strength in him, for he had eaten nothing all day and all night. 21And the woman came to Saul, and when she saw that he was terrified, she said to him, "Behold, your servant has obeyed you. I have taken my life in my hand and have listened to what you have said to me. 22Now therefore, you also obey your servant. Let me set a morsel of bread before you; and eat, that you may have strength when you go on your way." 23He refused and said, "I will not eat." But his servants, together with the woman, urged him, and he listened to their words. So he arose from the earth and sat on the bed. 24Now the woman had a fattened calf in the house, and she quickly killed it, and she took flour and kneaded it and baked unleavened bread of it, 25and she put it before Saul and his servants, and they ate. Then they rose and went away that night.


1 Samuel 29

The Philistines Reject David

1Now the Philistines had gathered all their forces at Aphek. And the Israelites were encamped by the spring that is in Jezreel. 2As the lords of the Philistines were passing on by hundreds and by thousands, and David and his men were passing on in the rear with Achish, 3the commanders of the Philistines said, "What are these Hebrews doing here?" And Achish said to the commanders of the Philistines, "Is this not David, the servant of Saul, king of Israel, who has been with me now for days and years, and since he deserted to me I have found no fault in him to this day." 4But the commanders of the Philistines were angry with him. And the commanders of the Philistines said to him, "Send the man back, that he may return to the place to which you have assigned him. He shall not go down with us to battle, lest in the battle he become an adversary to us. For how could this fellow reconcile himself to his lord? Would it not be with the heads of the men here? 5Is not this David, of whom they sing to one another in dances,


'Saul has struck down his thousands,

and David his ten thousands'?"


6Then Achish called David and said to him, "As the Lord lives, you have been honest, and to me it seems right that you should march out and in with me in the campaign. For I have found nothing wrong in you from the day of your coming to me to this day. Nevertheless, the lords do not approve of you. 7So go back now; and go peaceably, that you may not displease the lords of the Philistines." 8And David said to Achish, "But what have I done? What have you found in your servant from the day I entered your service until now, that I may not go and fight against the enemies of my lord the king?" 9And Achish answered David and said, "I know that you are as blameless in my sight as an angel of God. Nevertheless, the commanders of the Philistines have said, 'He shall not go up with us to the battle.' 10Now then rise early in the morning with the servants of your lord who came with you, and start early in the morning, and depart as soon as you have light." 11So David set out with his men early in the morning to return to the land of the Philistines. But the Philistines went up to Jezreel.


1 Samuel 30

David's Wives Are Captured

1Now when David and his men came to Ziklag on the third day, the Amalekites had made a raid against the Negeb and against Ziklag. They had overcome Ziklag and burned it with fire 2and taken captive the women and all who were in it, both small and great. They killed no one, but carried them off and went their way. 3And when David and his men came to the city, they found it burned with fire, and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive. 4Then David and the people who were with him raised their voices and wept until they had no more strength to weep. 5David's two wives also had been taken captive, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel. 6And David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because all the people were bitter in soul, each for his sons and daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.

7And David said to Abiathar the priest, the son of Ahimelech, "Bring me the ephod." So Abiathar brought the ephod to David. 8And David inquired of the Lord, "Shall I pursue after this band? Shall I overtake them?" He answered him, "Pursue, for you shall surely overtake and shall surely rescue." 9So David set out, and the six hundred men who were with him, and they came to the brook Besor, where those who were left behind stayed. 10But David pursued, he and four hundred men. Two hundred stayed behind, who were too exhausted to cross the brook Besor.

11They found an Egyptian in the open country and brought him to David. And they gave him bread and he ate. They gave him water to drink, 12and they gave him a piece of a cake of figs and two clusters of raisins. And when he had eaten, his spirit revived, for he had not eaten bread or drunk water for three days and three nights. 13And David said to him, "To whom do you belong? And where are you from?" He said, "I am a young man of Egypt, servant to an Amalekite, and my master left me behind because I fell sick three days ago. 14We had made a raid against the Negeb of the Cherethites and against that which belongs to Judah and against the Negeb of Caleb, and we burned Ziklag with fire." 15And David said to him, "Will you take me down to this band?" And he said, "Swear to me by God that you will not kill me or deliver me into the hands of my master, and I will take you down to this band."

David Defeats the Amalekites

16And when he had taken him down, behold, they were spread abroad over all the land, eating and drinking and dancing, because of all the great spoil they had taken from the land of the Philistines and from the land of Judah. 17And David struck them down from twilight until the evening of the next day, and not a man of them escaped, except four hundred young men, who mounted camels and fled. 18David recovered all that the Amalekites had taken, and David rescued his two wives. 19Nothing was missing, whether small or great, sons or daughters, spoil or anything that had been taken. David brought back all. 20David also captured all the flocks and herds, and the people drove the livestock before him, and said, "This is David's spoil."

21Then David came to the two hundred men who had been too exhausted to follow David, and who had been left at the brook Besor. And they went out to meet David and to meet the people who were with him. And when David came near to the people he greeted them. 22Then all the wicked and worthless fellows among the men who had gone with David said, "Because they did not go with us, we will not give them any of the spoil that we have recovered, except that each man may lead away his wife and children, and depart." 23But David said, "You shall not do so, my brothers, with what the Lord has given us. He has preserved us and given into our hand the band that came against us. 24Who would listen to you in this matter? For as his share is who goes down into the battle, so shall his share be who stays by the baggage. They shall share alike." 25And he made it a statute and a rule for Israel from that day forward to this day.

26When David came to Ziklag, he sent part of the spoil to his friends, the elders of Judah, saying, "Here is a present for you from the spoil of the enemies of the Lord." 27It was for those in Bethel, in Ramoth of the Negeb, in Jattir, 28in Aroer, in Siphmoth, in Eshtemoa, 29in Racal, in the cities of the Jerahmeelites, in the cities of the Kenites, 30in Hormah, in Bor-ashan, in Athach, 31in Hebron, for all the places where David and his men had roamed.


1 Samuel 31

The Death of Saul

1Now the Philistines were fighting against Israel, and the men of Israel fled before the Philistines and fell slain on Mount Gilboa. 2And the Philistines overtook Saul and his sons, and the Philistines struck down Jonathan and Abinadab and Malchi-shua, the sons of Saul. 3The battle pressed hard against Saul, and the archers found him, and he was badly wounded by the archers. 4Then Saul said to his armor-bearer, "Draw your sword, and thrust me through with it, lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and mistreat me." But his armor-bearer would not, for he feared greatly. Therefore Saul took his own sword and fell upon it. 5And when his armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he also fell upon his sword and died with him. 6Thus Saul died, and his three sons, and his armor-bearer, and all his men, on the same day together. 7And when the men of Israel who were on the other side of the valley and those beyond the Jordan saw that the men of Israel had fled and that Saul and his sons were dead, they abandoned their cities and fled. And the Philistines came and lived in them.

8The next day, when the Philistines came to strip the slain, they found Saul and his three sons fallen on Mount Gilboa. 9So they cut off his head and stripped off his armor and sent messengers throughout the land of the Philistines, to carry the good news to the house of their idols and to the people. 10They put his armor in the temple of Ashtaroth, and they fastened his body to the wall of Beth-shan. 11But when the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, 12all the valiant men arose and went all night and took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons from the wall of Beth-shan, and they came to Jabesh and burned them there. 13And they took their bones and buried them under the tamarisk tree in Jabesh and fasted seven days.


Psalm 86

Great Is Your Steadfast Love

A Prayer of David.


1 Incline your ear, O Lord, and answer me,

for I am poor and needy.

2 Preserve my life, for I am godly;

save your servant, who trusts in you—you are my God.

3 Be gracious to me, O Lord,

for to you do I cry all the day.

4 Gladden the soul of your servant,

for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.

5 For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,

abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.

6 Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer;

listen to my plea for grace.

7 In the day of my trouble I call upon you,

for you answer me.

8 There is none like you among the gods, O Lord,

nor are there any works like yours.

9 All the nations you have made shall come

and worship before you, O Lord,

and shall glorify your name.

10 For you are great and do wondrous things;

you alone are God.

11 Teach me your way, O Lord,

that I may walk in your truth;

unite my heart to fear your name.

12 I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart,

and I will glorify your name forever.

13 For great is your steadfast love toward me;

you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.

14 O God, insolent men have risen up against me;

a band of ruthless men seeks my life,

and they do not set you before them.

15 But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious,

slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.

16 Turn to me and be gracious to me;

give your strength to your servant,

and save the son of your maidservant.

17 Show me a sign of your favor,

that those who hate me may see and be put to shame

because you, Lord, have helped me and comforted me.