Urim and Thummim

David had the ephod which meant that David could inquire about God’s will using the Urim and Thummim.  Here is what the Holman Concise Bible Dictionary has to say about Urim and Thummim:

Objects Israel, and especially the high priest, used to determine God’s will; kept by high priest in a ‘breastplate of judgment” (Ex. 28:15-30; see Num. 27:18-23; 1 Sam. 14:41-45). Later, Moses gave Levi special responsibility for their care (Deut. 33:8).  They apparently were two objects that served as sacred lots.  They were “given”, perhaps drawn or shaken from a bag.  ONe object gave one answer.  The other lot gave another answer.  Probably whichever lot came out first was understood to be God’s answer.  God could refuse to answer (1 Sam. 28:6-25).  Expectation continued that someday a priest would arise with Urim and Thummim (Ezra 2:63; Neh. 7:65).

Although to my skeptical mind this can look like consulting the magic eight ball, I must remember that God has control over all objects so that random ‘chance’ can be eliminated.

1 Samuel 23

 1 When David was told, “Look, the Philistines are fighting against Keilah and are looting the threshing floors,” 2he inquired of the LORD, saying, “Shall I go and attack these Philistines?”

   The LORD answered him, “Go, attack the Philistines and save Keilah.”

3But David’s men said to him, “Here in Judah we are afraid. How much more, then, if we go to Keilah against the Philistine forces!”

4 Once again David inquired of the LORD, and the LORD answered him, “Go down to Keilah, for I am going to give the Philistines into your hand.” 5 So David and his men went to Keilah, fought the Philistines and carried off their livestock. He inflicted heavy losses on the Philistines and saved the people of Keilah. 6(Now Abiathar son of Ahimelek had brought the ephod down with him when he fled to David at Keilah.)

Saul Pursues David

7 Saul was told that David had gone to Keilah, and he said, “God has delivered him into my hands, for David has imprisoned himself by entering a town with gates and bars.” 8And Saul called up all his forces for battle, to go down to Keilah to besiege David and his men.

9 When David learned that Saul was plotting against him, he said to Abiathar the priest, “Bring the ephod.” 10 David said, “LORD, God of Israel, your servant has heard definitely that Saul plans to come to Keilah and destroy the town on account of me. 11Will the citizens of Keilah surrender me to him? Will Saul come down, as your servant has heard? LORD, God of Israel, tell your servant.”

   And the LORD said, “He will.”

12Again David asked, “Will the citizens of Keilah surrender me and my men to Saul?”

   And the LORD said, “They will.”

13So David and his men, about six hundred in number, left Keilah and kept moving from place to place. When Saul was told that David had escaped from Keilah, he did not go there.

14David stayed in the wilderness strongholds and in the hills of the Desert of Ziph. Day after day Saul searched for him, but God did not give David into his hands.

15 While David was at Horesh in the Desert of Ziph, he learned that[a] Saul had come out to take his life. 16 And Saul’s son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God. 17 “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “My father Saul will not lay a hand on you. You will be king over Israel, and I will be second to you. Even my father Saul knows this.” 18The two of them made a covenant before the LORD. Then Jonathan went home, but David remained at Horesh.

19 The Ziphites went up to Saul at Gibeah and said, “Is not David hiding among us in the strongholds at Horesh, on the hill of Hakilah, south of Jeshimon? 20Now, Your Majesty, come down whenever it pleases you to do so, and we will be responsible for giving him into your hands.”

21 Saul replied, “The LORD bless you for your concern for me. 22 Go and get more information. Find out where David usually goes and who has seen him there. They tell me he is very crafty. 23Find out about all the hiding places he uses and come back to me with definite information. Then I will go with you; if he is in the area, I will track him down among all the clans of Judah.”

24 So they set out and went to Ziph ahead of Saul. Now David and his men were in the Desert of Maon, in the Arabah south of Jeshimon. 25Saul and his men began the search, and when David was told about it, he went down to the rock and stayed in the Desert of Maon. When Saul heard this, he went into the Desert of Maon in pursuit of David.

26 Saul was going along one side of the mountain, and David and his men were on the other side, hurrying to get away from Saul. As Saul and his forces were closing in on David and his men to capture them, 27 a messenger came to Saul, saying, “Come quickly! The Philistines are raiding the land.” 28 Then Saul broke off his pursuit of David and went to meet the Philistines. That is why they call this place Sela Hammahlekoth.[b] 29 And David went up from there and lived in the strongholds of En Gedi.

Questions

  1. Which significant person is now traveling with David?
  2. How does this person discern God’s will?
  3. How does knowledge of God’s will help David?
  4. How do people discern God’s will in their lives today?
  5. How has the Bible changed the direction of your life?
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About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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14 Responses to Urim and Thummim

  1. Moon Jung Kim[ED 2203;Mon 6:00pm class] says:

    1.Which significant person is now traveling with David?Jonathan
    2.How does this person discern God’s will? He knew God chose David as a king and he himself is second to David.
    3.How does knowledge of God’s will help David? i think it might have been encouraged David in the midst of the trials.
    4.How do people discern God’s will in their lives today? sometimes people pursue whatever is good in their eyes and wish it to be God’s will. But God’s will needs to be discerned based on the Bible, not on human mere desire or knowledge.
    5.How has the Bible changed the direction of your life? I was pursuing worldly values, when I was a high school student. one day i was reading the Bible, God showed me the passage about Jesus’ calling the disciples. I realized that Jesus did not call them by their ability or their status and I was so proud and ashamed before God. it changed my life and I prayed that day that I would follow God not by my strength but only God’s power and for His glory.

  2. Amy Kringle says:

    1. Abiathar the priest.
    2. He uses an ephod.
    3. It helped him escape from Saul and his army.
    4. Through the Bible and council from wise believers.
    5. It has changed where I go to school, and what I believe is the purpose of my life.

  3. Rebecca Langer says:

    1. Which significant person is now traveling with David?
    Abiathar the priest travels with David.
    2. How does this person discern God’s will?
    He uses an ephod and does a sort of chance maneuver to discern God’s will.
    3. How does knowledge of God’s will help David?
    He knows what to so next.
    4. How do people discern God’s will in their lives today?
    They read the Bible, pray, and talk to spiritual mentors.
    5. How has the Bible changed the direction of your life?
    There are many times when I read something and was convicted by it and so I did things differently because of what I read.

  4. Melisa Guiles says:

    1. He has Abiathar the priest with him.
    2. He discerns God’s will by using the ephod.
    3. He knows that he needs to escape because Saul is coming to the place where he is at.
    4. They pray and read through the word. They also seek out godly council.
    5. It has highlighted areas of my life that need to change and it has also reminded me of who I am in Christ. These things have changed how I view life and how I go about life.

  5. Cassie Clark says:

    1. Abiathar the priest.
    2.He uses an ephod
    3.He knew to stay in the wilderness stronghold.
    4.Hopefully through Scripture, but often through some kind of guessing game.
    5.It has reversed my patterns of behavior.

  6. Sokloon Dy says:

    1. Here, Abiathar the priest travels with David.
    2. He uses an ephod.
    3. It served as a guidance for His life.
    4. By praying and reading His Word. Also, through confirmation.
    5. I live by faith. i dont know what will happen next. But i trust in God’s promises that I find in the Bible.

  7. [ED2203-01] HyeJin Lee says:

    1.Which significant person is now traveling with David?
    Abiathar
    2.How does this person discern God’s will?
    He was able to discern God’s will through ephod.
    3.How does knowledge of God’s will help David?
    The knowledge of God saved David’s life.
    4.How do people discern God’s will in their lives today?
    People usually pray, and then see if what’s happening.is biblical.
    5.How has the Bible changed the direction of your life?
    When I am not able to discern what God’s will is, i read the Bible and pray and try to hear God’s word.

  8. trishaindonesia says:

    1. the priest, Abiathar
    2.Through an ephod
    3.It saves his life and keeps him safe
    4.By keeping strong and connected in His word and through constant communication through prayer
    5. It has encouraged me more in life and have me act less as myself and more as Him

  9. Kristin Goffinet says:

    1) Abiathar, the priest is now traveling with him
    2) He helps him discern through an ephod that the citezens of Keilah will submit to him.
    3) It gives him reasurrance and comfort.
    4) Through prayer and consultation
    5) It has made me desire a life of service to the Lord

  10. Kristen Patush says:

    1.Which significant person is now traveling with David?

    Johnathan

    2.How does this person discern God’s will?

    An ephod

    3.How does knowledge of God’s will help David?

    It gave him guidance, and also comfort and security, I suppose.

    4.How do people discern God’s will in their lives today?

    Prayer, talking with godly people and asking their opinions, signs from the Lord, God’s Word, ect.

    5.How has the Bible changed the direction of your life?

    Where to start…..the Bible has played a siginifcant part in my life and what I chose and choose to do, to put lightly. When I need direction, I look to God’s Word and see what He says to do. It’s the best way to live.

  11. Sandra Tindle says:

    1. Jonathan is now traveling with David.
    2. Jonathan discerns God’s will by acknowledging that even Saul knows what will happen, what is God’s will.
    3. Knowledge of God’s will helps David be more confident in his actions and what God wants him to do.
    4. People discern God’s will through scripture and the counsel of other Christians.

  12. Jessica Gentry says:

    1. Jonathon is now traveling with David.
    2. He used an ephod to discern the will of God.
    3. Knowledge of God’s will helps David to do what he knows he should.
    4. People often try to discern God’s will by either testing things, like saying, “If this happens then I am going to assume your will is this..” or they seek to listen for God to reveal to them in some way, shape, or sign what he wants for them, including using the Bible.
    5. The Bible has changed the direction of my life by changing my view on suffering, in going through some pretty hard times, the Bible taught me how to find joy and to seek eternal things above earthly things, even such as health and things that are not bad to seek after. The Bible really just changed how I view the priority of everything, and how there is nothing, no joy that compares to the one we find in the Lord, and therefore in any difficulty we can still rejoice in the fact that we have that.

  13. Grace Yoo says:

    1. Jonathan is now traveling with David.

    2. This person discerns God’s will through an ephod.

    3. Knowledge of God’s will helps David by providing him security and guidance.

    4. People today discern God’s will by prayer and the Bible.

    5. The Bible has changed the direction in my life and has changed the way I view things. It helps me to be more understanding and tells me how to live my life.

  14. aaron wright says:

    1. Jonathan
    2. He had a correct view of God’s anointed and humbly submitted to second
    4. prayer, reading scripture
    5. reading it in DEPTH has caused me to live radically for Christ rather than just know about Him, but live like the world

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