Summary: In this story we see the unmistakable contrast between Saul's choices and David's choices.
November 19, 2022
After David defeated Goliath, Saul did not allow David to return home – because David did not swear loyalty to him. Even so, there’s no doubt that Saul felt some gratitude toward David. After all, David was Saul’s favorite musician and he had taken care of the “Goliath Problem,” but Saul’s gratitude lasted about a minute. The reason? Overnight David became the hero of the story and replaced Saul in the minds of the people - listen:
• 1 Samuel 18:6-7 - And it happened as they were coming, when David returned from killing the Philistine, that the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with joy and with musical instruments. 7 And the women sang as they played, and said, "Saul has slain his thousands, And David his ten thousands."
David was now a threat – not only to Saul personally, but more importantly, to Saul’s monarchy ---- remember the words of Samuel:
• 1 Samuel 15:28 - The LORD has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today, and has given it to your neighbor who is better than you.
Was David THAT neighbor? Was David BETTER than Saul?
The truth was David posed no threat to Saul. He was content to let Yahweh work out the details of what He had promised.
However, as David’s popularity increased, the more afraid and paranoid Saul became. Paranoid people look for problems where non exist, and that’s exactly what Saul did.
• 1 Samuel 18:8-9 - Then Saul became very angry, for this saying displeased him; and he said, "They have ascribed to David ten thousands, but to me they have ascribed thousands. Now what more can he have but the kingdom?" 9 And Saul looked at David with suspicion from that day on.
Saul recognized that Yahweh was now with David and from that time until his death, Saul would seek to kill David:
• While David played his harp during one of Saul’s violent episodes – Saul threw his spear hoping to pin David to the wall – David escaped.
• Saul promoted David to a commander in the army in charge of 1000 men – simply to get him out of the house – but this backfired because, “David was prospering in all his ways for the LORD was with him. When Saul saw that he was prospering greatly, he dreaded him. But all Israel and Judah loved David….” 1 Samuel 18:14-16
• Hoping that the Philistines would do his “wet” work for him, Saul offered David his eldest daughter (Merab) in marriage if he would go out and “valiantly” fight the Philistines – David declined, thinking himself not worthy enough to be the king’s son-in-law. Saul then used the knowledge that his youngest daughter, Michal, loved David, to suggest that David marry her instead – again David humbly declined – so Saul sweetened the deal. “I won’t ask for a dowry.” Saul said, “Just bring me 100 Philistine foreskins.” Once again hoping the Philistines would take care of his “David Problem.” David thought this was a great idea – He and his men brought back 200 Philistine foreskins!!!
Foiled again!! What is it going to take to kill this guy?!
Still looking for someone to do his dirty work, Saul went to Jonathan and told him to kill David.
This order put Jonathan in a difficult position.
He loved his father, and as the heir-apparent, he should have done everything in his power to protect his own future, but David was his best friend. And if that wasn’t reason enough to protect David, the fact that Jonathan had made a covenant with and sworn loyalty to David….
• 1 Samuel 18:3-4 - Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. 4 Jonathan stripped off the robe that he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his fighting attire, and even his sword, his bow, and his belt.
…. made it impossible for him to carry out his father’s wishes. So, instead of killing him, Jonathan told David to hide, while he attempted to make intersession on his behalf. Jonathan went to Saul:
• 1 Samuel 19:4-5 – “Do not let the king sin against his servant David, since he has not sinned against you, and since his deeds have been very beneficial to you. 5 "For he took his life in his hand and struck the Philistine, and the LORD brought about a great deliverance for all Israel; you saw it and rejoiced. Why then will you sin against innocent blood, by putting David to death without a cause?"
Jonathan was successful. Saul changed his mind - swore that David would not be killed - and restored him to his former position as court musician.