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Bible Highlights: 1 Samuel 19-22 > Theocratic Ministry School

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Bible reading: 1 Samuel 19-22 (8 min.)


1 SAMUEL 19:5


“He risked his life to strike down the Phi•lisʹtine, so that Jehovah brought about a great victory for all Israel. You saw it, and you were overjoyed. So why should you sin against innocent blood in having David put to death for no reason?””

*** it-1 p. 1029 Hand ***
‘putting one’s own life into his hand or palm,’ risking his life (1Sa 19:5; Job 13:14).

1 SAMUEL 19:11


“Saul later sent messengers to David’s house to watch it and to kill him in the morning, but David’s wife Miʹchal told him: “If you do not escape tonight, tomorrow you will be a dead man.””

*** it-2 p. 854 Samuel, Books of ***
King Saul’s sending messengers to watch David’s house in order to kill him provides the background for Psalm 59. (1Sa 19:11)

1 SAMUEL 19:13


“Miʹchal took the teraphim statue and placed it on the bed, and she put a net of goat hair at the place of his head, and she covered it with a garment.”

*** w04 6/1 p. 29 Questions From Readers ***
Questions From Readers
Why did David, a faithful servant of Jehovah, allow his wife Michal to have a teraphim image, or idol, as indicated at 1 Samuel 19:12, 13?
First, let us briefly consider the context. When news of King Saul’s plot to kill David reached David’s wife, she responded immediately. The Bible says: “Michal had David descend through the window, that he might go and run away and escape. Then Michal took the teraphim image [which was evidently the size and shape of a man] and placed it on the couch, and a net of goats’ hair she put at the place of his head, after which she covered it with a garment.” When the messengers of Saul came to seize David, Michal told them: “He is sick.” This ploy bought valuable time, and David made good his escape.—1 Samuel 19:11-16.
Archaeological findings suggest that in ancient times, teraphim images were kept not only for religious use but also for legal purposes. Just as title deeds and written testaments determine inheritance rights today, so did teraphim images long ago. Evidently, the possession of the teraphim could, under certain circumstances, give a son-in-law the right to claim the estate of his deceased father-in-law. This may explain why, on an earlier occasion, Rachel took her father’s teraphim images and why he was so anxious to recover them. In that instance, Rachel’s husband, Jacob, was unaware of what his wife had done.—Genesis 31:14-34.
When the Israelites became a nation, they received the Ten Commandments, the second of which specifically prohibits the making of idols. (Exodus 20:4, 5) Later, the prophet Samuel alluded to this law in speaking to King Saul. He said: “Rebelliousness is the same as the sin of divination, and pushing ahead presumptuously the same as using uncanny power and teraphim.” (1 Samuel 15:23) For this reason, it is not likely that the teraphim served for purposes of inheritance in Israel. Nonetheless, this ancient form of Jewish superstition appears to have continued in some Israelite households. (Judges 17:5, 6; 2 Kings 23:24) That Michal kept a teraphim image among her possessions suggests that her heart was not complete with Jehovah. David either did not know about the teraphim image or tolerated it because Michal was the daughter of King Saul.
David’s view of exclusive devotion to Jehovah is expressed in the words: “Jehovah is great and very much to be praised, and he is to be feared more than all other gods. For all the gods of the peoples are valueless gods. As for Jehovah, he made the heavens.”—1 Chronicles 16:25, 26.
[Picture on page 29]
The second of the Ten Commandments prohibited making idols, such as the teraphim shown here
[Credit Line]
From the book The Holy Land, Vol. II, 1859

*** it-2 p. 1088 Teraphim ***
Hence, the fact that Michal, the wife of David, had a teraphim image among her possessions suggests that her heart was not complete with Jehovah and that David either did not know about her having the teraphim image or else tolerated it because she was the daughter of King Saul.—1Sa 19:12, 13.

1 SAMUEL 19:18


“Now David had run away and escaped, and he came to Samuel at Raʹmah. He told him all that Saul had done to him. Then he and Samuel went away, and they stayed in Naiʹoth.”


1 SAMUEL 19:20


“At once Saul sent messengers to seize David. When they saw the elderly ones of the prophets prophesying and Samuel standing and presiding over them, the spirit of God came to be upon Saul’s messengers, and they began behaving as prophets as well.”

*** it-2 p. 696 Prophet ***
Rather, God’s spirit ‘came upon them’ at certain times, revealing the messages to be announced. (Eze 11:4, 5; Mic 3:8) This had a stirring effect upon them, impelling them to speak. (1Sa 10:10; Jer 20:9; Am 3:8) Not only did they do things that were out of the ordinary but also their expression and manner doubtless reflected intensity and feeling that were truly extraordinary. This may explain in part what is meant by individuals’ “behaving like prophets.” (1Sa 10:6-11; 19:20-24; Jer 29:24-32; compare Ac 2:4, 12-17; 6:15; 7:55.)

*** it-2 p. 697 Prophet ***
“Sons of the Prophets.” As Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar explains (Oxford, 1952, p. 418), the Hebrew ben (son of) or benehʹ (sons of) may denote “membership of a guild or society (or of a tribe, or any definite class).” (Compare Ne 3:8, where “a member of the ointment mixers” is literally “a son of the ointment mixers.”) “The sons of the prophets” may thus describe a school of instruction for those called to this vocation or simply a cooperative association of prophets. Such prophetic groups are mentioned as being at Bethel, Jericho, and Gilgal. (2Ki 2:3, 5; 4:38; compare 1Sa 10:5, 10.) Samuel presided over a group at Ramah (1Sa 19:19, 20),

*** it-2 p. 872 Saul ***
That night David made his escape through a window of his house and ran to Ramah, where Samuel resided. With Samuel he then took up dwelling in Naioth. When news of this reached Saul, he sent messengers to seize David. But, upon arriving, they “began behaving like prophets.” Evidently God’s spirit operated upon them in such a way that they completely forgot the purpose of their mission. When this also happened to two other groups of messengers dispatched by him, Saul personally went to Ramah. He likewise came under the control of God’s spirit, and that for a prolonged period, this evidently providing David sufficient time to flee.—1Sa 19:12–20:1; see PROPHET (Means of Appointment and Inspiration).

1 SAMUEL 19:21


“When they told it to Saul, he immediately sent other messengers, and they too began behaving as prophets. So Saul sent messengers again, a third group, and they too began behaving as prophets.”

*** it-2 p. 696 Prophet ***
Rather, God’s spirit ‘came upon them’ at certain times, revealing the messages to be announced. (Eze 11:4, 5; Mic 3:8) This had a stirring effect upon them, impelling them to speak. (1Sa 10:10; Jer 20:9; Am 3:8) Not only did they do things that were out of the ordinary but also their expression and manner doubtless reflected intensity and feeling that were truly extraordinary. This may explain in part what is meant by individuals’ “behaving like prophets.” (1Sa 10:6-11; 19:20-24; Jer 29:24-32; compare Ac 2:4, 12-17; 6:15; 7:55.)

*** it-2 p. 872 Saul ***
That night David made his escape through a window of his house and ran to Ramah, where Samuel resided. With Samuel he then took up dwelling in Naioth. When news of this reached Saul, he sent messengers to seize David. But, upon arriving, they “began behaving like prophets.” Evidently God’s spirit operated upon them in such a way that they completely forgot the purpose of their mission. When this also happened to two other groups of messengers dispatched by him, Saul personally went to Ramah. He likewise came under the control of God’s spirit, and that for a prolonged period, this evidently providing David sufficient time to flee.—1Sa 19:12–20:1; see PROPHET (Means of Appointment and Inspiration).

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