In the two books of Samuel, God does everything – both good and “bad.” Three times he sends evil spirits to torment Saul; He then tempts David to give a bad census; He “decided to kill” Hophni and Phineus; He closed up Hannah’s womb until her prayer; after Nabal had a massive stroke that left him paralyzed, “The LORD struck Nabal and he died” (1 Samuel 25:38). God is responsible for everything in this book! Hannah would sum up God’s power this way, “The LORD kills and restores to life; he sends people to the world of the dead and brings them back again. He makes some people poor and others rich; he humbles some and makes others great” (1 Samuel 2:6,7).
Does God send evil spirits and tempt us to do evil? Does God kill people after they have had a massive stroke? Does God “decide to kill” people and then execute the plan? Does God make some people poor and others rich? This general subject is critically important to our understanding of God as well as our entire approach to the Old Testament.