1 Samuel 19:24—Why did Saul strip off his clothes as he danced and prophesied before Samuel?
Problem: Samuel was conducting a service in which the group of prophets were prophesying. When Saul’s men came to capture David, they were overcome by the Spirit of the Lord and they also prophesied. However, when Saul came, he prophesied, danced, and stripped off his clothes. Why does Saul do this when apparently none of the others did?
Solution: Some commentators say that this was apparently an act of judgment upon Saul in that Saul was humiliated in the presence of Samuel and the prophets. Saul was a man who was characterized by drastic mood changes (cf. 1 Sam. 16:14–23; 18:10–11; 19:9). Saul was so carried away by his enthusiasm that he stripped off his clothes and danced until he fell to the ground totally exhausted and remained there over night.
Others claim that the Spirit of God overcame Saul to a greater degree than in the case of the others in an attempt to soften the hard heart of Saul. If Saul continued in his obstinate way after this powerful experience of divine grace, then Saul would be swiftly hardened and ultimately destroyed.
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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.