Have you ever had someone tell someone else that you said something you never actually said? If so, you’ve probably found that your level of appropriate frustration was greater or smaller depending on how serious the misrepresentation was. But regardless, most of us (if not all of us) do not like the idea of somebody putting words in our mouth that were never actually there. And if you find that irritating you are catching a tiny glimpse of how God feels when fallen man does that very thing to Him. It’s one of the reasons why not many ought to be teachers (Jas. 3:1). It is a high and hefty responsibility to divide God’s word accurately (cf. 2 Tim. 2:15) and refrain from giving a message that God never gave (cf. Jer. 23:21b). But the latter was just the kind of thing that Hananiah was doing.
4 Then Saul said to his armorbearer, “Draw your sword, and thrust me through with it, lest these uncircumcised men come and thrust me through and abuse me.” But his armorbearer would not, for he was greatly afraid. Therefore Saul took a sword and fell on it.
(1 Samuel 31:4)
10 So I stood over him and killed him, because I was sure that he could not live after he had fallen. And I took the crown that was on his head and the bracelet that was on his arm, and have brought them here to my lord.”
(2 Samuel 1:10)
Have you ever told a story to make yourself look better than you are? Have you ever changed certain details while recounting a personal story in the hopes that you’d win favor, or approval, or applause with your hearer(s)? That appears to be exactly what the young man in 2nd Samuel was doing – a strategy which didn’t work out well for him. But nonetheless, his fabrication provides an explanation for the different accounts of Saul’s demise.
There are times in Scripture where we receive unique insight into the tragedy of procrastination. There’s the parable of the ten virgins (Mt. 25:1-13), five of whom prepared for the bridegroom’s arrival, and five that did not, but procrastinated, and were shut out of the wedding. In Luke 9:57-62 we see instances where people called to follow Christ offer “but first” excuses. We don’t know what they decided to do after Jesus addressed their attempts to procrastinate but if they did put off following Him we understand what a foolish and dangerous decision that was. That’s the kind of procrastination that is the most tragic of all. Although procrastination in any form of life can be problematic, i.e. letting the sun go down on your wrath because you didn’t address it sooner (Eph. 4:26-27), this kind of procrastination is the pinnacle of folly.
When the children of Israel entered the land of Canaan they were given specific instructions regarding those who were inhabiting the land. God’s judgment was to be executed upon the Canaanites and the nation of Israel was the LORD’s instrument of choice. God could have used any means He wanted; He could have brought massive earthquakes upon the land; He could have brought famine; He could have simply decided not to extend another gracious breath to all those who had come under the righteous wrath; but instead, in this Old Testament context, He used the nation of Israel to be His instrument of choice.
“So the women sang as they danced, and said: “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.” (1 Sam. 18:7)
This song has always struck me a little funny. It’s the ‘exclamation of praise’ that some women began to sing as David and Saul returned from the slaying of Goliath. When you read what they sang it’s almost incumbent upon you to ask, “Really? Did they seriously think that was a good song choice?” Did they really give any thought to the lyrics and think, “I know what we should sing, let’s keep it simple, how about…‘Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.’”