One of the more notable downfalls in the Bible is that of King Saul, who disobeyed the Lord when he didn’t wait for Samuel to appear at Gilgal to offer sacrifices. Instead of waiting seven days, as directed by Samuel, Saul performed the sacrifices himself before the last day’s close.

He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and Saul’s men began to scatter.

1 Samuel 13:8 (NIV)

Most people say that this verse directly refers to 1 Samuel 10:8.

“Go down ahead of me to Gilgal. I will surely come down to you to sacrifice burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, but you must wait seven days until I come to you and tell you what you are to do.”

1 Samuel 10:8 (NIV)

However, 1 Samuel 13:8 cannot directly refer to 1 Samuel 10:8 because more than seven days passed from 1 Samuel 10:8 to the events leading to 1 Samuel 13:8. Therefore, I posit that 1 Samuel 10:8 is only a reference to how Samuel routinely operated. That’s to say, Samuel would often say, “I’ll be there in seven days. Don’t do anything until I get there.”

1 Samuel 13:8 doesn’t directly refer to 1 Samuel 10:8 because of the events in 1 Samuel 11.

In 1 Samuel 11, the men of Jabesh Gilead were attacked by Nahash the Ammonite.

Nahash the Ammonite went up and besieged Jabesh Gilead. And all the men of Jabesh said to him, “Make a treaty with us, and we will be subject to you.”

1 Samuel 11:1 (NIV)

Instead of granting their request, Nahash gives the men of Jabesh Gilead a proposal.

But Nahash the Ammonite replied, “I will make a treaty with you only on the condition that I gouge out the right eye of every one of you and so bring disgrace on all Israel.”

1 Samuel 11:2 (NIV)

Therefore, the elders of Jabesh ask for some time to decide whether or not they will accept Nahash’s demand.

The elders of Jabesh said to him, “Give us seven days so we can send messengers throughout Israel; if no one comes to rescue us, we will surrender to you” (emphasis added).

1 Samuel 11:3 (NIV)

Trying to count the days from these events and compare them to the days in 1 Samuel 10:8 is one way to determine that 1 Samuel 13:8 isn’t directly referring to 1 Samuel 10:8, but it’s not the best way because we’re not told the number of days for each event from 1 Samuel 10:8 through 1 Samuel 11. However, we are given better information. We are given the places where these events took place.

The messengers from Jabesh Gilead are sent to Saul in Gibeah.

When the messengers came to Gibeah of Saul and reported these terms to the people, they all wept aloud.

1 Samuel 11:4 (NIV)

The distance between Jabesh Gilead and Gibeah is about 40 miles. As seen in Figure One.

Figure One – Map reflecting the events of 1 Samuel 11

After receiving the messengers, Saul sends a message to all of Israel.

He took a pair of oxen, cut them into pieces, and sent the pieces by messengers throughout Israel, proclaiming, “This is what will be done to the oxen of anyone who does not follow Saul and Samuel.” Then the terror of the Lord fell on the people, and they came out together as one. When Saul mustered them at Bezek, the men of Israel numbered three hundred thousand and those of Judah thirty thousand (emphasis added).

1 Samuel 11:7-8 (NIV)

While Bezek is approximately 16 miles from Jabesh Gilead, it is about 30 miles from Gibeah, as seen in Figure One.

After defeating the Ammonites with his 330,000 men, Samuel invites everyone to renew Saul’s kingship at Gilgal, another 20-30 miles from Jabesh Gilead (Figure One).

Therefore, 1 Samuel 13:8 cannot directly refer to 1 Samuel 10:8 because it would take more than seven days to travel the distances mentioned in 1 Samuel 11. Never mind how long it takes to muster an army of 330,000 men and move them.

The Bible doesn’t state that 1 Samuel 13:8 is dependent on 1 Samuel 10:8. All such inferences have come from people trying to match the two. Therefore, there is no Bible contradiction here. Instead, we should focus on the point behind 1 Samuel 13:8.

The point behind 1 Samuel 13:8 is that Saul didn’t wait on the Lord. Instead, Saul allowed fear and pride to get in the way of obedience. Because Saul disobeyed the Lord, his kingship was taken from him and given to King David, who would obey the Lord.

Thus, we can deduce that our lives are always better when we obey God first and foremost, regardless of the circumstances. Indeed, the worse the occasion, the more we must lean into the Lord and trust him.

Do you know God? God knows you, and he loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. No one is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, and he wants you to know him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so we could be free of guilt, freed from death, and live eternally with him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation:

Lord Jesus, forgive me for all my sins. I repent from my ways. Wash me in your blood and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I believe you died on the cross and were buried, and God the Father raised you from the dead on the third day. Right now, Lord Jesus, I open the door to my heart and receive you into my heart as my Lord and personal Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment, and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.