WISDOM FOR LIVING DEVOTIONAL
DECEMBER 2, 2020
TOPIC: THE GILBOA MASSACRE
BY T. O. BANSO
“Now the Philistines attacked Israel, forcing the Israelites to flee. Many were slaughtered on the slopes of Mount Gilboa. The Philistines closed in on Saul and his sons, and they killed three of his sons — Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malkishua” (1 Chronicles 10:1-3 New Living Translation).
As a history student in secondary school, I used to wonder why the killing of the British Acting Consul-General, James Robert Phillips, and his 250 troops and others, by the Benin forces was regarded as a massacre, whereas, the retaliatory action that reportedly claimed so many lives, was called the Benin Punitive Expedition.
The Benin forces carried out the attack in the process of stopping Philips and his troops from entering Benin because they were not welcomed. It has been said that Phillips’ actual mission was to depose the king of Benin Kingdom for economic reasons. In retaliation to the killing, British forces invaded the kingdom.
In the ambush and the subsequent killing described as the Benin massacre, only two people in the Acting Consul-General’s party escaped death. The Acting Consul-General was killed along with the rest on January 4, 1897. The Benin Punitive Expedition by the British led by Rear-Admiral Harry Rawson in February 1897 saw 1,200 heavily armed British troops invading Benin Kingdom and with their superior fire-power captured it and reportedly killed many people and burnt all houses including the king’s palace.
They also looted the palace carrying away artifacts. The king was arrested, tried, and exiled to Calabar where he later died. I used to wonder why the attack by the Benin forces was a massacre and the retaliatory attack which apparently claimed more lives was not equally described as such. Could it be a matter of who is telling the story?
Currently, in one country, there is a controversy on whether or not some protesters were massacred. There have also been cases of massacres of defenseless rice farmers, communities on the ancestral lands, worshippers, mourners at the burial of those slain by terrorists, etc. This wickedness, evil, callousness is condemnable and the authorities should end it.
In 1 Chronicles 10, the Bible records a massacre. This is not the only massacre recorded in the Bible but it was a significant event that brought an end to a chapter in the nation of Israel. I call it the Gilboa Massacre.
1 Chronicles 10:1-3 says, “Now the Philistines attacked Israel, forcing the Israelites to flee. Many were slaughtered on the slopes of Mount Gilboa. The Philistines closed in on Saul and his sons, and they killed three of his sons — Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malkishua” (New Living Translation).
Some people don’t know that it wasn’t only Saul, the first king of Israel, that died the day he was killed by the Philistines. He was just one of the casualties of the massacre that took place in that battle. Not only that. Jonathan was not the only son of Saul that died in the massacre. Saul lost two other children – Abinadab and Malkishua.
Many Israelites fled when the Philistines attacked them. The Philistines slaughtered many Israelites on the slopes of Mount Gilboa. They closed in on Saul and his three children. The children were unlucky. The Philistines got them and killed them. I pray that the enemy will not get your children. Your children will not die in the hand of the enemy. You will not mourn the loss of your children in Jesus’ name.
The battle continued after three of Saul’s sons had been killed. His life was more precious to the Philistines than the lives of all his children put together. Unfortunate, the fighting became very fierce around Saul, and at last, the Philistine archers caught up with him and wounded him severely. The arrows of the enemy will not hit you in Jesus’ name.
Psalm 91:5 talks about the arrow that flies by day. The enemy’s arrow will not strike your liver, costing you your life (Proverbs 7:23). That was what later happened to one king of Israel, Ahab. He died in the hand of one of the enemy’s archers.
1 Kings 22:34-35 says, “An Aramean soldier, however, randomly shot an arrow at the Israelite troops, and the arrow hit the king of Israel between the joints of his armor. ‘Get me out of here!’ Ahab groaned to the driver of his chariot. “I have been badly wounded!’ The battle raged all that day, and Ahab was propped up in his chariot facing the Arameans. The blood from his wound ran down to the floor of his chariot, and as evening arrived he died” (New Living Translation). You won’t die prematurely in Jesus’ name. With long life will God satisfy you, and show you His salvation (Psalm 91:16).
Saul didn’t want the Philistines to take the credit for killing him. He didn’t want to be disgraced in death. The Philistines and the Israelites were enemies. You’ll recall that in one of the battles between the two nations, David killed the Philistines’ champion, Goliath (1 Samuel 17:48-51). Your enemies shall not triumph over you.
Saul groaned to his armour bearer, “Take your sword and run me through before these pagan Philistines come and humiliate me” (verse 4 New Living Translation). But Saul’s armour bearer was afraid; he refused to kill Saul. Therefore, Saul took his own sword and fell on it. He committed suicide rather than dying from the Philistines’ wound.
On seeing what happened, his loyal armour bearer also killed himself with his own sword. Suicide will not become an option for you in Jesus’ name. Nothing will happen to you that will leave you with no other option but suicide. Your enemies will not have the upper hand against you. Judas committed suicide. You won’t commit suicide.
The Gilboa Massacre. “So Saul and his three sons died there together, bringing his dynasty to an end” (1 Chronicles 10:6 New Living Translation). You won’t die along with your children. Your dynasty, reign, season of glory, relevance, prominence, etc. will not come to an end.
In the case of Eli, his two sons died in the Battle the same day and when the news of their death and the capture of the ark of God by the Philistines was broken to him, he fell backward from his seat beside the gate. He broke his neck and died (1 Samuel 4:18).
When the wife of one of Eli’s son, Phinehas, heard that the Ark of God had been captured and that her husband and father-in-law were dead, she went into forced labour and died immediately after delivery (1 Samuel 4:19-20). It was a harvest of evils in Eli’s family that day. This season shall not be a season of harvest of evils for you and your family.
1 Chronicles 10:7 says that when the Israelites in the Jezreel Valley saw that their army had been routed and that Saul and his sons were dead, they abandoned their towns and fled. Consequently, the Philistines moved in and occupied their towns. You won’t lose power to your enemy. He won’t possess your possession.
Since the battle was lost and won. The victors, the Philistines, went out to strip the dead. They found the bodies of Saul and his sons on Mount Gilboa. The Gilboa Massacre. The Philistines stripped off Saul’s armour and cut off his head. That was exactly what David did to Goliath when he fell down after the stone from his sling hit his forehead (1 Samuel 17:51). It was like payback time.
1 Chronicles 10:9b The Philistines proclaimed the news of Saul’s death before their idols and to the people throughout the land of Philistia. Saul’s enemy announced his obituary and celebrated his death before their idols and their people. Your enemies won’t announce your obituary. They won’t rejoice at your death.
See what more they did: “They placed his armor in the temple of their gods, and they fastened his head to the wall in the temple of Dagon” (1 Chronicles 10:10 New Living Translation). What humiliation! Your enemies won’t humiliate you in life and in death.
It was the people of Jabesh-gilead who redeemed the situation. When they heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, their warriors went out and brought the bodies of Saul and his three sons back to Jabesh. They buried them under the oak tree at Jabesh and fasted for seven days (verses 11-12).
Why did all this happen to Saul? Why? 1 Chronicles 10:13-14 tells us: “So Saul died for his unfaithfulness which he had committed against the LORD, because he did not keep the word of the LORD, and also because he consulted a medium for guidance. But he did not inquire of the LORD; therefore He killed him, and turned the kingdom over to David the son of Jesse” (New King James Version).
Be faithful to the LORD. Obey His Word. Consult with Him, not with mediums or idols. Enquire from Him; don’t depend on worldly wisdom or your intelligence. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (New King James Version).
The Gilboa Massacre. Mourning the death of Saul, David said, “O mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew nor rain upon you, nor fields of offerings. For the shield of the mighty is cast away there! The shield of Saul, not anointed with oil” (2 Samuel 1:21 New King James Version). Saul died as if his shield was not anointed with oil. The enemy won’t kill you like a fowl! You won’t die as a worthless person.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The LORD be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: My enemy will not have the upper hand against me. I shall not flee from my enemy; he will flee from me. No tragedy shall befall my family; no mass death. Father, comfort the families and communities that have suffered from massacres. Let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end.
(For over 300 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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