Did God agree to a suggestion to give Saul a depressing spirit?

Q. Is their a description of a meeting, presumably in heaven, in which King Saul is discussed? God’s present but is letting subordinates talk and make suggestions. None of the suggestions are acceptable to God until one participant declares that he would give Saul a depressing spirit. God likes this idea and the matter is settled.

I believe you are thinking of two Scripture passages at once. There is a passage in 1 Kings much like the one you describe, except that the discussion is about King Ahab. The prophet Micaiah tells Ahab:

I saw the Lord sitting on his throne with all the multitudes of heaven standing around him on his right and on his left. And the Lord said, ‘Who will entice Ahab into attacking Ramoth Gilead and going to his death there?’

“One suggested this, and another that. Finally, a spirit came forward, stood before the Lord and said, ‘I will entice him.’

“‘By what means?’ the Lord asked.

“‘I will go out and be a deceiving spirit in the mouths of all his prophets,’ he said.

“‘You will succeed in enticing him,’ said the Lord. ‘Go and do it.’

“So now the Lord has put a deceiving spirit in the mouths of all these prophets of yours. The Lord has decreed disaster for you.”

There is another Scripture passage, in 1 Samuel, about the Lord sending a depressing spirit to Saul, but it says simply:

Now the Spirit of the Lord had left Saul, and the Lord sent a tormenting spirit that filled him with depression and fear.

So I hope that answers your question about whether there was a meeting in heaven about what to do about Saul, who had disobeyed God. The meeting was actually about Ahab, who had also disobeyed God and who was, in fact, one of the most wicked kings Israel ever had.

Each passage raises further questions, however. How could God make use of lying or deception? And how could God send someone depression? I discuss these questions in these other posts, which I invite you to read:

Does God let us use deception for a good cause? (Part 3)

Did God really send an evil spirit to torment Saul?

Author: Christopher R Smith

The Rev. Dr. Christopher R. Smith is an an ordained minister, a writer, and a biblical scholar. He was active in parish and student ministry for twenty-five years. He was a consulting editor to the International Bible Society (now Biblica) for The Books of the Bible, an edition of the New International Version (NIV) that presents the biblical books according to their natural literary outlines, without chapters and verses. His Understanding the Books of the Bible study guide series is keyed to this format. He was also a consultant to Tyndale House for the Immerse Bible, an edition of the New Living Translation (NLT) that similarly presents the Scriptures in their natural literary forms, without chapters and verses or section headings. He has a B.A. from Harvard in English and American Literature and Language, a Master of Arts in Theological Studies from Gordon-Conwell, and a Ph.D. in the History of Christian Life and Thought, with a minor concentration in Bible, from Boston College, in the joint program with Andover Newton Theological School.

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