Obama, Bin Laden, and Old King Saul

President Obama and Osama Bin Laden have made front page news in recent days. The current events relate to the killing of Bin Laden. Similar events are recorded in the Bible. In comparing current events with Old Testament records Obama will be likened to King Saul and Bin Laden will be likened to the king of the Amalekites, specifically King Agag. The backdrop is the way in which nations and kings treat God’s chosen people, i.e. national Israel and the resulting consequences.

The referenced Biblical events began shortly after the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt.

“Then all the congregation of the children of Israel set out on their journey…and camped in Rephidim…Now Amelek came and fought with Israel in Rephidim…Then the LORD said to Moses… ‘I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.’”
Exodus 17:1, 8, 14

Approximately a generation after the above declaration, God reiterated to the Israelites His intentions relative to the Amalekites.

“Remember what Amalek did to you on the way as you were coming out of Egypt, how he met you on the way and attacked your rear ranks, all the stragglers at your rear, when you were tired and weary; and he did not fear God. Therefore it shall be…that you will blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven. You shall not forget.”
Deuteronomy 25:17-19

Approximately 400 years later, after the rule of the Judges, it was time to fulfill God’s declaration to rid the world of the Amalekites for their infliction of pain on God’s chosen nation. God spoke to Saul through His early prophet, i.e. Samuel.

“Samuel also said to Saul, ‘The LORD sent me to anoint you king over His people, over Israel…Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘I will punish Amalek for what he did to Israel, how he ambushed him on the way when he came up from Egypt. Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them…’”
I Samuel 15:1-3

Well Saul began to do as he was told, but then he altered his instructions. He compromised thinking he had a better plan.

“And Saul attacked the Amalekites…But Saul and the people spared Agag (king of the Amalekites) and the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the lambs, and all that was good, and were unwilling to utterly destroy them…”
I Samuel 15:7-9

Saul’s partial obedience brought immediate response.

“Now the word of the LORD came to Samuel, saying, ‘I greatly regret that I have set up Saul as king, for he has turned back from following Me, and has not performed My commandments.’”
I Samuel 15:10-11

When confronted with his error in judgment, Saul replied to Samuel.

“I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD and your (Samuel’s) words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice.”
I Samuel 15:24

King Saul admitted to Samuel that he was more concerned with being a people pleaser than to follow God’s instructions. That decision cost him his kingship as declared by Samuel.

“…you have rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD has rejected you from being king over Israel.”
I Samuel 15:26

At this time, Agag, king of the Amalekites, although in King Saul’s custody, was confident his life would be spared.

“Then Samuel said, ‘Bring Agag king of the Amalekites here to me.’ So Agag came to him cautiously. And Agag said, ‘Surely the bitterness of death is past.’”
I Samuel 15:32

Agag, however, totally underestimated God’s resolve in dealing with those who harm Israel. The prophet Samuel then did what Saul didn’t.

“But Samuel said, ‘As your sword has made women childless, so shall your mother be childless among women.’ And Samuel hacked Agag in pieces before the LORD in Gilgal.”
I Samuel 15:33

Saul’s successor, i.e. king David was left to deal with the Amalekites during his reign.

Therefore, Agag was killed openly and violently because of the Amalekites’ hatred and persecution of the Jews. Bin Laden’s death was similar to Agag’s in several ways. Their executions were also in accord with previous scripture relative to capital punishment.

“Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed; for in the image of God He made man.”
Genesis 9:6

Capital punishment was instituted immediately after the Genesis flood and never subsequently abolished.

Another significant lesson is that King Saul was deposed because he ruled according to public opinion and not according to God’s instructions. It doesn’t take much imagination to see the similarities between Saul’s leadership style and that which is employed in today’s political climate.

And lastly, National Israel is still the ‘Apple of God’s Eye’ and anyone who messes with them will bring on themselves the wrath of God. And although it may appear the current turmoil in the Middle East does not involve Israel, the truth is that it is all about Israel. Ishmael and Isaac are still at it.

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