October 11, 2017
(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
David was a strong believer in Jehovah, God of Israel! He was chosen to be king and the head of the line of descendants who eventually brought forth the Messiah! (See Matthew 1:6-16; Luke 3:23-31). In II Samuel 23:1 he is called, “…the sweet psalmist of Israel…,” having composed 76 of the 150 psalms in our Bible (74 are attributed to him in psalm superscriptions, and two more in Acts 4:25 and Hebrews 4:7). It is written of David in I Kings 15:5 that…
…David did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, and had not turned
aside from anything that He commanded him all the days of his life, ex-
cept in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.
This I Kings 15 Scripture presents too rosy of a picture of King David! For he sinned in the related incident of adultery with Bathsheba (see II Samuel 11:2-5); his multiple wives and concubines (see I Samuel 18:27; 25:39; 25:43; II Samuel 3:3-5; 5:13; 15:16 – in apparent disobedience to Deuteronomy 17:17); and several examples of unbelief. Perhaps the most egregious example of unbelief in David’s life is in I Samuel 27:1 and 2!
And David said in his heart, “Now I shall perish someday by the hand
of Saul. There is nothing better for me than that I should speedily es-
cape to the land of the Philistines; and Saul will despair of me, to seek
me anymore in any part of Israel. So I shall escape out of his hand.”
Then David arose and went over with the six hundred men who were
with him to Achish the son of Maoch, king of Gath.
According to I Samuel 27:7, “…the time that David dwelt in the country of the Philistines was one full year and four months.” That’s a long time to be Dwelling In The Devil’s Dominion!
Why do I call this series Dwelling In The Devil’s Dominion? Because the Philistines were perennial enemies of Israel, and so they were enemies of Israel’s God!
• The Philistines are mentioned in the Old Testament more than any other national group that opposed Israel – 291 times! (Philistines, Philistine, Philistia in the KJV).
• According to I Chronicles 1:12 and Amos 9:7, “…the Philistines [came] from Caphtor….” According to Eerdman’s The New Bible Dictionary, p. 199, Caphtor “…refer[s] in all probability to Crete….At its height in the second millennium, Minoan Crete controlled much of the Aegean area….”
• They were Israel’s enemies…
✡ …from the time of the Exodus (see Exodus 13:17 – circa. 1440 BC); even from the time of the Patriarchs (see Genesis 26:12-21 – circa 1780 BC).
✡ …to the time of Ezekiel and the beginning of the Babylonian captivity (see Ezekiel 25:16 – circa 588 BC).
• Two gods and a goddess are mentioned in relation to the Philistines:
✡ Dagon – possibly was a vegetation or grain god. The worship of Dagon was prevalent in the time of Samson (see Judges 16:23-30); in the days of Samuel, when the ark of God was captured by the Philistines (see I Samuel 5:1-14); and when Saul was killed by this warring tribe (see I Samuel 31:1-4), “…and…they… fastened his head in the temple of Dagon.” (I Chronicles 10:10).
✡ Ashtaroth – We are told in I Samuel 31:10 (English Standard Version) that when the Philistines killed Saul, “They put his armor in the temple of Ashtaroth.” The Good News Bible translates it: “…they put his weapons in the temple of the goddess Astarte….” Ashtaroth /Astarte is identified as “…a mother goddess with aspects as goddess of fertility, love, and war…whose cult as practiced by the Canaanites was depraved in the extreme.” (ibid. p. 96).
✡ Baal-Zebub – is referred to as “…the god of Ekron…” in verses 2, 3, 6, and 16 of II Kings chapter 1. Ekron is identified as one of the five major cities of the Philistines (see Joshua 13:3; I Samuel 5:1, 8, 10; 6:16, 17; 17:4). Baal-Zebub means “lord of flies.” It may be a Hebrew corruption mocking Baal-Zebul, meaning “lord of the high place” (ibid. p. 116). “The Hebrew word ba‘al means ‘master’, ‘possessor’, or ‘husband’….[but] Yahweh was the ‘master’, and ‘husband’ of the Israelites…” (ibid. p. 115). Canaanite Baal worship was often closely associated with that of Ashtaroth /Astarte, and so “…involved the usual lascivious practices of fertility cults…even such abominations as child sacrifice…” (ibid – see Jeremiah 19:5).
And so the Philistines were not just martial enemies of Israel, but they were also corrupters of Israel’s God-given religion (see I Kings 11:4-8) which often resulted in the LORD’s judgment upon His covenant people! (See Jeremiah 25:4-7; 44:2-6).
The point I will make here –and in the next blogs of this series – is that David, who is said by God Himself to be “…a man after My own heart…” (Acts 13:22) – if he can find himself Dwelling In The Devi’s Dominion of Israel’s and God’s enemy; if he can live there for almost a year and a half – how susceptible are we as Christians to find ourselves settling down in Satan’s territory? We will see how it happened to David, and what we need to do to prevent such a tragedy from happening to us!