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  • Writer's pictureEast Martin CRC

Massacre at Nob

1 Samuel 22:17-19

Verse 19 He also put to the sword Nob, the town of the priests, with its men and women, its children and infants, and its cattle, donkeys and sheep.

Following the priest’s report the king is so upset that he orders them all killed. This shows the depth of the spiritual deprivation in the king. Saul has gone long past the, “I hate David” stage, in fact he has jumped feet first into the, “I’m willing to kill anyone associated with him or that helps him” stage. Even if it meant killing God’s priests, chosen through bloodline generations before. Saul’s desire to take out these men shows that even more than just hating David, Saul was rejecting the Lord and His system of dealing with others.

Saul’s men have not lost their conscience and realize that carrying out Saul’s command means that they are going to have to disobey God and His guidelines for dealing with His priests. Saul had already accused them of being disloyal to him though they had been loyal up to this point. They knew what it could mean to tell the king no. It likely meant they would also end up dead when Saul found someone willing to kill for him. But they don’t budge.

There was another man standing there with Saul and his men and he is ready to make a kill for the king. Doeg is a descendant of Esau, brother of Jacob, who is the ancestor of the king, David and the priests. Though he is traditionally thought of as a follower of God, this Edomite shows no remorse about killing not just 85 priests but all the others in the priestly village, including women, babies and even the cattle, donkeys and sheep. This man was making a point to the king that he was all in for the king.

The king was all in for himself, the Edomite was all in for the king and David, the priests and at least some of Saul’s men were in it for God. While Saul and Doeg were willing to throw caution to the wind and kill God’s chosen servants, the priests, David and some of the Benjaminites choose to stand with God and His standards. The priests had done nothing wrong, just as they had explained to the king and the Benjamites knew that killing God’s chosen priests would be wrong. What could have been a deadlock of right versus evil ended with evil seeming to win. But God was still in control.

Making It Personal

Have you ever felt like you were having to choose between obeying God and obeying an earthly authority? Who did you choose to obey? Were there consequences to your decision?

Making It Personal Kids

Have you ever had to choose between obeying Jesus or some adult? Was it hard to choose between them? Who did you choose to obey?

Closing Prayer

Father, we confess there are times when we find ourselves confronted with a choice to obey You or someone else and sadly we don’t always choose correctly. Give us wisdom to see the truth of what we are being asked to do so that we can choose Your way every time. In Jesus’ name, amen.


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