1 Samuel 18 (NRSV)
Jonathan’s Covenant with David
When David had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was bound to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. 2Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father’s house. 3Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. 4Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that he was wearing, and gave it to David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt.
We have already met Jonathan — he single-handedly warred against the Philistines in 1 Samuel 14! When he heard David tell his father about his faith in God during the Goliath episode, Jonathan knew David and he were one in the spirit. Yet on other counts, how different! Jonathan was the first-born son of King Saul, the crown prince. David was the last-born son of a farmer. But Jonathan understood, I think, and by giving David his robe and his armor, he was saying, “These belong to you, David.” Jonathan had a pure love for God, for Israel, and for David.
David and Jonathan had such a remarkable friendship, each so faithful to the other. As I have been considering that, this song from Twila Paris came to mind. She and Steven Curtis Chapman sing “Faithful Friend.” The video HERE is from the 1996 Dove Awards.
5David went out and was successful wherever Saul sent him; as a result, Saul set him over the army. And all the people, even the servants of Saul, approved.
6As they were coming home, when David returned from killing the Philistine, the women came out of all the towns of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with songs of joy, and with musical instruments. 7And the women sang to one another as they made merry,
“Saul has killed his thousands,
and David his ten thousands.”
8Saul was very angry, for this saying displeased him. He said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed thousands; what more can he have but the kingdom?” 9So Saul eyed David from that day on.
The old saying, Like father, like son, doesn’t seem to apply to Saul and Jonathan. Jonathan loved David. But Saul is jealous of him, afraid of him, angry at him, as the Scriptures say over and over.
from Experiencing God Day-by-Day
by Henry T. Blackaby and Richard Blackaby
WHEN GOD BLESSES OTHERS
Jealousy is a destructive attitude that poisons the way you view life. It is so harmful that God condemned jealousy in the Ten Commandments. King Saul was a jealous and insecure man. He had been elevated to the highest position in Israel. He had been blessed in numerous ways. But Saul saw that David was gaining the attention and praise of the Israelites. The Israelites recognized Saul’s accomplishments, but they also praised David, whom God was using to accomplish even more. Rather than rejoicing that God had empowered another to defeat their enemies, Saul became murderously jealous and sought to destroy David.
Jealousy is an abomination in the life of a Christian. God has made us His children. None of us deserves to be God’s child, so there is no need to compare our blessings with those of other children of God. Jealousy is self-centeredness at its worst. Jealousy robs us of joy and chokes our contentment. Jealousy hardens the heart and stifles gratitude. Jealousy assumes that God’s resources are too limited for Him to bless another and still bless us.
Watch over your heart! If you find yourself unable to rejoice in the success of others, beware! Do not let jealousy taint your heart. Repent before it robs you of any more of the joy and contentment God desires for you. When you are tempted to compare your success in life to that of another, ask God to remind you of all the ways He has blessed you undeservedly.
Saul Tries to Kill David
When the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul (1 Samuel 16:14), this evil spirit found its way in.
10The next day an evil spirit from God rushed upon Saul, and he raved within his house, while David was playing the lyre, as he did day by day. Saul had his spear in his hand; 11and Saul threw the spear, for he thought, “I will pin David to the wall.” But David eluded him twice.
12Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with him but had departed from Saul. 13So Saul removed him from his presence, and made him a commander of a thousand; and David marched out and came in, leading the army. 14David had success in all his undertakings; for the Lord was with him. 15When Saul saw that he had great success, he stood in awe of him. 16But all Israel and Judah loved David; for it was he who marched out and came in leading them.
David Marries Michal
17Then Saul said to David, “Here is my elder daughter Merab; I will give her to you as a wife; only be valiant for me and fight the Lord’s battles.” For Saul thought, “I will not raise a hand against him; let the Philistines deal with him.”
This was a trap because of the dowry that Saul would demand. In that day, a dowry was required whenever a man married. The dowry was paid to the bride’s father, and the more important and prestigious the bride and her family, the higher the dowry price. Since David was from a humble family, there was no way he could pay the dowry for the daughter of a king. Saul knew this and will demand that David kill 100 Philistines as a dowry. Saul figured that the job was too big and too dangerous for David, and he would be killed gaining the dowry to marry a king’s daughter. Yes, Saul thinks, I want David to be valiant for me and to fight the Lord’s battles for me. But more than that, I want David dead.
18David said to Saul, “Who am I and who are my kinsfolk, my father’s family in Israel, that I should be son-in-law to the king?” 19But at the time when Saul’s daughter Merab should have been given to David, she was given to Adriel the Meholathite as a wife.
A slap in the face to David.
20Now Saul’s daughter Michal loved David. Saul was told, and the thing pleased him. 21Saul thought, “Let me give her to him that she may be a snare for him and that the hand of the Philistines may be against him.” Therefore Saul said to David a second time, “You shall now be my son-in-law.”
22Saul commanded his servants, “Speak to David in private and say, ‘See, the king is delighted with you, and all his servants love you; now then, become the king’s son-in-law.’”
23So Saul’s servants reported these words to David in private. And David said, “Does it seem to you a little thing to become the king’s son-in-law, seeing that I am a poor man and of no repute?”
24The servants of Saul told him, “This is what David said.” 25Then Saul said, “Thus shall you say to David, ‘The king desires no marriage present except a hundred foreskins of the Philistines, that he may be avenged on the king’s enemies.’” Now Saul planned to make David fall by the hand of the Philistines.
26When his servants told David these words, David was well pleased to be the king’s son-in-law. Before the time had expired, 27David rose and went, along with his men, and killed one hundred of the Philistines; and David brought their foreskins, which were given in full number to the king, that he might become the king’s son-in-law. Saul gave him his daughter Michal as a wife.
The NIV says David and his men killed TWO hundred Philistines, and presented the king with twice as many foreskins as he had requested. (You can be grateful that I am deliberately omitting any accompanying picture!)
28But when Saul realized that the Lord was with David, and that Saul’s daughter Michal loved him, 29Saul was still more afraid of David. So Saul was David’s enemy from that time forward.
Proverbs 11:17 (NIV)
A kind man benefits himself,
but a cruel man brings trouble on himself.
30Then the commanders of the Philistines came out to battle; and as often as they came out, David had more success than all the servants of Saul, so that his fame became very great.
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.