1 Samuel 13

* The invasion of the Philistines. (1-7) Saul sacrifices, He is

reproved by Samuel. (8-14) The policy of the Philistines.

(15-23)

1-7 Saul reigned one year, and nothing particular happened; but

in his second year the events recorded in this chapter took

place. For above a year he gave the Philistine time to prepare

for war, and to weaken and to disarm the Israelites. When men

are lifted up in self-sufficiency, they are often led into

folly. The chief advantages of the enemies of the church are

derived from the misconduct of its professed friends. When Saul

at length sounded an alarm, the people, dissatisfied with his

management, or terrified by the power of the enemy, did not come

to him, or speedily deserted him.
8-14 Saul broke the order expressly given by Samuel, see ch.

#1Sa 10:8|, as to what should be done in cases of extremity.

Saul offered sacrifice without Samuel, and did it himself,

though he was neither priest nor prophet. When charged with

disobedience, he justified himself in what he had done, and gave

no sign of repentance for it. He would have this act of

disobedience pass for an instance of his prudence, and as a

proof of his piety. Men destitute of inward piety, often lay

great stress on the outward performances of religion. Samuel

charges Saul with being an enemy to himself. Those that disobey

the commandments of God, do foolishly for themselves. Sin is

folly, and the greatest sinners are the greatest fools. Our

disposition to obey or disobey God, will often be proved by our

behaviour in things which appear small. Men see nothing but

Saul's outward act, which seems small; but God saw that he did

this with unbelief and distrust of his providence, with contempt

of his authority and justice, and with rebellion against the

light of his own conscience. Blessed Saviour, may we never, like

Saul, bring our poor offerings, or fancied peace-offerings,

without looking to thy precious, thy all-sufficient sacrifice!

Thou only, O Lord, canst make, or hast made, our peace in the

blood of the cross.
15-23 See how politic the Philistines were when they had power;

they not only prevented the people of Israel from making weapons

of war, but obliged them to depend upon their enemies, even for

instruments of husbandry. How impolitic Saul was, who did not,

in the beginning of his reign, set himself to redress this. Want

of true sense always accompanies want of grace. Sins which

appear to us very little, have dangerous consequences. Miserable

is a guilty, defenceless nation; much more those who are

destitute of the whole armour of God.

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