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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: 1 Samuel

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FRAMEWORKS: 1 Samuel 18: Saul's Growing Fear of David


v.1-4 David & Jonathan become strong friends

v.5-7 David's success makes him famous

v.8-12 Saul becomes jealous of David and tries to kill him

v.13-16 David ongoing success make him even more famous

v.17-19 Saul seeks to use his older daughter to bring about David's death

v.20-25 Saul seeks to use Michal to threaten David's life

v.26-30 When David rises to the challenge, Saul becomes more fearful



v.1-4 David & Jonathan become strong friends


v.1 After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself.

v.2 From that day Saul kept David with him and did not let him return home to his family.

v.3 And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself.

v.4 Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt.


[Notes: Saul's son, Jonathan, enters the picture again and being a warrior finds his heart knit to David's and so when Saul keeps David with him Jonathan and David enter into a covenant of friendship, which we'll see more of later.]



v.5-7 David's success makes him famous


v.5 Whatever mission Saul sent him on, David was so successful that Saul gave him a high rank in the army. This pleased all the troops, and Saul's officers as well.

v.6 When the men were returning home after David had killed the Philistine, the women came out from all the towns of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing, with joyful songs and with timbrels and lyres.

v.7 As they danced, they sang:

“Saul has slain his thousands,
     and David his tens of thousands.”


[Notes: Having proved himself, David is placed in Saul's army and soon does so well that he is promoted. His success continues and he wins the favour of the troops and gains such a reputation that they even made up songs about him.]



v.8-12 Saul becomes jealous of David and tries to kill him


v.8 Saul was very angry; this refrain displeased him greatly. “They have credited David with tens of thousands,” he thought, “but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?”

v.9 And from that time on Saul kept a close eye on David.

v.10 The next day an evil spirit from God came forcefully on Saul. He was prophesying in his house, while David was playing the lyre, as he usually did. Saul had a spear in his hand

v.11 and he hurled it, saying to himself, “I'll pin David to the wall.” But David eluded him twice.

v.12 Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with David but had departed from Saul.


[Notes: At this point, the story turns dark. Saul has already shown a negative side to his character and possibly together with ‘his mental illness' which is more clearly seen to be of demonic origin, his insecurity arises in the form of jealousy which turns murderous, and he heaves a spear at David while he is playing one day. What is intriguing is that when David played, Saul could prophesy, but his life not being surrendered to God is vulnerable to demonic attack. What a mess!]



v.13-16 David ongoing success make him even more famous


v.13 So he sent David away from him and gave him command over a thousand men, and David led the troops in their campaigns.

v.14 In everything he did he had great success, because the Lord was with him.

v.15 When Saul saw how successful he was, he was afraid of him.

v.16 But all Israel and Judah loved David, because he led them in their campaigns.


[Notes: The outcome is that he sends David away and further promotes him, perhaps hoping he will over-extend himself and be killed by the Philistines. But David continues to be successful.]



v.17-19 Saul seeks to use his older daughter to bring about David's death


v.17 Saul said to David, “Here is my older daughter Merab. I will give her to you in marriage; only serve me bravely and fight the battles of the Lord.” For Saul said to himself, “I will not raise a hand against him. Let the Philistines do that!”

v.18 But David said to Saul, “Who am I, and what is my family or my clan in Israel, that I should become the king's son-in-law?”

v.19 So when the time came for Merab, Saul's daughter, to be given to David, she was given in marriage to Adriel of Meholah.


[Notes: Saul's twisted mind now seeks ways of getting David into dangerous situations where he might get killed. He offers his older daughter [see 14:49] to David if he continues to fight bravely for him. In the event he marries her off to someone else.]



v.20-25 Saul seeks to use Michal to threaten David's life


v.20 Now Saul's daughter Michal was in love with David, and when they told Saul about it, he was pleased.

v.21 “I will give her to him,” he thought, “so that she may be a snare to him and so that the hand of the Philistines may be against him.” So Saul said to David, “Now you have a second opportunity to become my son-in-law.”

v.22 Then Saul ordered his attendants: “Speak to David privately and say, ‘Look, the king likes you, and his attendants all love you; now become his son-in-law.'”

v.23 They repeated these words to David. But David said, “Do you think it is a small matter to become the king's son-in-law? I'm only a poor man and little known.”

v.24 When Saul's servants told him what David had said,

v.25 Saul replied, “Say to David, ‘The king wants no other price for the bride than a hundred Philistine foreskins, to take revenge on his enemies.'” Saul's plan was to have David fall by the hands of the Philistines.


[Notes: Michal, Saul's younger daughter falls for the dashing warrior-victor, David, and so Saul sets him a gruesome task to win her, thinking he would be likely to be killed trying to achieve it.]



v.26-30 When David rises to the challenge, Saul becomes more fearful


v.26 When the attendants told David these things, he was pleased to become the king's son-in-law. So before the allotted time elapsed,

v.27 David took his men with him and went out and killed two hundred Philistines and brought back their foreskins. They counted out the full number to the king so that David might become the king's son-in-law. Then Saul gave him his daughter Michal in marriage.

v.28 When Saul realized that the Lord was with David and that his daughter Michal loved David,

v.29 Saul became still more afraid of him, and he remained his enemy the rest of his days.

v.30 The Philistine commanders continued to go out to battle, and as often as they did, David met with more success than the rest of Saul's officers, and his name became well known.


[Notes: David has now changed his mind about becoming Saul's son-in-law and so promptly goes off and kills two hundred Philistines and so Saul gives him Michal as his wife. David continues to have great success as a warrior.]