Our world has been at war for some time now. The end of 1 Samuel is about the first two kings of Israel waging war on two different fronts. 1 Samuel 30 tells of David and his followers going back to Ziklag to find their property and their families, which were raided by the Amalekites. David eventually overtakes the Amalekites and recovers all property for his people. 1 Samuel 31 briefs us on Saul and his sons being defeated by the Philistines. The Philistine response in victory over Saul is to humiliate the fallen king by nailing his body to a wall along with his sons’. We see in all of these instances just how ruthless Israel’s neighbors are in war and in victory. 1 Samuel ends with Israel suffering a humiliating defeat and all of a sudden kingless while living in a war-ravaged land.
This is neither the first nor the last book of the Bible to end on a low note. In a world of happy endings, I find the Bible incredibly honest about our predicament and the frustration of a world in conflict. As I write, a mosque has been attacked in London and a terrorist attack in Paris has been foiled. Last week a man from Illinois opened fire on Republican officials, harming one. These stories are just the ones large scale news companies deem interesting. Daily, people throughout our world face great violence. The Bible paints a realistic picture of the power struggles and the consequences humanity has always faced. Thankfully 1 Samuel isn’t the end of the entire Bible. It just ends on a similar note to most of our days. The end of 1 Samuel invites us to look at our world and hope for a better one. Scripture will inform that hope as we continue.