Summary: At first Saul loved David, until he started seeing him as a threat to his throne. And from that moment he plotted to kill him.
"5 So David went out wherever Saul sent him, and behaved wisely. And Saul set him over the men of war, and he was accepted in the sight of all the people and also in the sight of Saul’s servants. 6 Now it had happened as they were coming home, when David was returning from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women had come out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with joy, and with musical instruments. 7 So the women sang as they danced, and said: “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.” 8 Then Saul was very angry, and the saying displeased him; and he said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed only thousands. Now what more can he have but the kingdom?” 9 So Saul eyed David from that day forward." 1 Samuel 18:5-9.
After David returns from killing Goliath, King Saul invited him to the palace and puts him in charge of some of his soldiers. David conducted himself well and behaved wisely in his new position. He was loyal to the King. Because of his bravery, David became a national hero. Yet he never intentionally raised himself to be above Saul! Even Saul’s son, Jonathan, loved David like a brother. David did his job and served Saul whole-heartedly. Though he had been anointed as Israel's next King by Prophet Samuel, he refused to take part in any attempt to hurry the process. On a certain day, he was returning from the battlefield and the people came out to celebrate him. The women sang and danced saying, “Saul has killed thousands, but David, ten thousands.” Saul heard it and anger filled his heart. He hated it! The comparison infuriated him. At first Saul loved David as a son, until he saw him as a threat to his leadership. The more fame David gains, the more King Saul becomes jealous and envious. He feared losing the kingdom to David. Saul saw him as a threat. And from that moment he plotted to kill David. Saul chased David with an intention to kill him. Sadly, jealousy and envy destroyed Saul.
Jealousy and envy are closely related, but not the same thing. Both were at work in Saul’s life. Together they consumed his soul until his life was filled with anger. The word jealousy can be used in a good sense. Its root is zelos, the same word from which we get zeal, or zealous. This is the jealousy that God experiences for His children. He demands our worship alone. On the other hand, unhealthy jealousy manifests itself through suspicions, fears, lies, threats, self-pity, inadequacy, inferiority and insecurity. It is comparing oneself to others. Unhealthy jealousy is apprehension. It is the fear of losing something valuable. Unhealthy jealousy is viewing someone else’s success as a threat. It is the fear that something which you have will be taken away. Unhealthy jealousy is when you worry someone will take what you have. It robs you of the joy of your achievements. Unhealthy jealousy defiles your motives, thoughts, and actions. "Wrath is cruel and anger a torrent, but who is able to stand before jealousy?" Proverbs 27:4.
In contrast, envy is resentment. It is the feeling of gloom when you see the success of others. Envy strikes when we compare ourselves to those we consider in our class. We only envy those we perceive as close to us. When we envy, we can’t bear to hear others being complimented in our presence. When we envy, we’re glad when others are going through tough times and sad when they are celebrating. Envy starts with desire! Envy is to dislike someone who already has what we desire. "For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there." James 3:16. People who envy you believe you are better or that you're going to be better than them. Envy can make you bitter, insecure, spiteful, unforgiving, and harsh. It devalues your self-esteem, robs you of peace of mind, and destroy your relationships. Envy breeds hatred and resentment. It has led many to steal or kill to make sure the thing they wanted was not enjoyed by others. An example is King Ahab in 1 Kings 21:1-16. In collaboration with his wife, they killed Naboth in other to take his family land. Envy can take you from being a close friend to a bitter adversary. It can break up families, tear apart churches and ruin relationships. Envy blinds you to your own potentials. Psalm 139:13-16. Envy divides your focus and determination. Envy wastes your time and energy. It causes us to doubt the motives of those who are kind to us. Envy hinders our ability to see others objectively. It can kill your joy, hope, and peace. Envy, if not confessed, repented of and controlled can lead to bitterness. “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” Proverbs 14:30.