“Whose Son is He?”

“Whose son is he?” (1 Samuel 17:55).

The story of David and Goliath is legendary. There’s no need for me to belabor it here. There is, however, one part of the story that is seldom ever mentioned; and in my opinion it is the key to the whole event.

The moment David stood in triumph over the corpse of the beheaded Goliath, with the Philistine army running off in seven directions and all Israel shouting to the heavens, a most curious thing occurred. King Saul turned to Abner, his chief aide, and asked a very interesting question about David.

David&Goliath“Whose son is he?

One would have thought that Saul might ask, “Who is that boy?” But that wasn’t his question. No, he didn’t want to know about David, as it were, but wanted to know about David’s father. His question, in so many words, was another way of saying, “I want to meet the father that produces that kind of a son!” Obviously, Saul had never met such a father as this; certainly not in his own home as a boy.

History does not tell us much about Saul’s family life. His dad raised wild donkeys and his uncle was somewhat of an overbearing busybody. We don’t know if it was a happy home or not, but we do know that Saul, as a grown man, was still an undeveloped child in many ways. While he had indeed been sired, he had not really been fathered.

He was an ambiguous man, appearing kind and humble on the one hand, and yet angry and vengeful on the other. One time he was so anointed by the Spirit of God that he actually prophesied. Yet he also sought counsel from a witch when he could no longer hear God’s voice.

Saul was also terribly insecure. In fact, he needed constant affirmation to prop up his temperamental soul. He was impetuous, self-willed, and pretentious. He would weep in repentant sorrow for a deed done wrong, then turn around and do it again without remorse.

Self-conscious about his gangly height, he preferred to not even be noticed at times. In fact, he actually hid among the baggage at the very moment when Samuel called him out to become the King of Israel.

We could do well at this point to ask, “Whose son is he?”

Solomon tells us in his Proverbs that a wise son makes a glad father; but a foolish son will cause him grief and calamity, and ultimately bring reproach to his name. I can imagine that Kish, Saul’s father, found little consolation from his friends as Saul’s reign deteriorated into a national embarrassment. And one cannot help but wonder how often Kish regretted not having been a better father to Saul.

You know – “Dear God, son, I built that prison.”

(Excerpt from Released from the Prison My Father Built, pg.82, James Ryle. Get Your Copy Today!

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