David and Jonathan’s Friendship
18 As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. And Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father’s house. Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt. And David went out and was successful wherever Saul sent him, so that Saul set him over the men of war. And this was good in the sight of all the people and also in the sight of Saul’s servants.
Saul’s Jealousy of David
As they were coming home, when David returned from striking down the Philistine, the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with songs of joy, and with musical instruments. And the women sang to one another as they celebrated,
“Saul has struck down his thousands,
and David his ten thousands.”
And Saul was very angry, and this saying displeased him. He said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed thousands, and what more can he have but the kingdom?” And Saul eyed David from that day on.
The next day a harmful 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. And Saul hurled the spear, for he thought, “I will pin David to the wall.” But David evaded him twice.
Saul was afraid of David because the LORD was with him but had departed from Saul. So Saul removed him from his presence and made him a commander of a thousand. And he went out and came in before the people. And David had success in all his undertakings, for the LORD was with him. And when Saul saw that he had great success, he stood in fearful awe of him. But all Israel and Judah loved David, for he went out and came in before them.
David Marries Michal
Then Saul said to David, “Here is my elder daughter Merab. I will give her to you for a wife. Only be valiant for me and fight the LORD’s battles.” For Saul thought, “Let not my hand be against him, but let the hand of the Philistines be against him.” And David said to Saul, “Who am I, and who are my relatives, my father’s clan in Israel, that I should be son-in-law to the king?” But at the time when Merab, Saul’s daughter, should have been given to David, she was given to Adriel the Meholathite for a wife.
Now Saul’s daughter Michal loved David. And they told Saul, and the thing pleased him. Saul 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.” And Saul commanded his servants, “Speak to David in private and say, ‘Behold, the king has delight in you, and all his servants love you. Now then become the king’s son-in-law.’” And Saul’s servants spoke those words in the ears of David. And David said, “Does it seem to you a little thing to become the king’s son-in-law, since I am a poor man and have no reputation?” And the servants of Saul told him, “Thus and so did David speak.” Then Saul said, “Thus shall you say to David, ‘The king desires no bride-price except a hundred foreskins of the Philistines, that he may be avenged of the king’s enemies.’” Now Saul thought to make David fall by the hand of the Philistines. And when his servants told David these words, it pleased David well to be the king’s son-in-law. Before the time had expired, David arose and went, along with his men, and killed two 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. And Saul gave him his daughter Michal for a wife. But when Saul saw and knew that the LORD was with David, and that Michal, Saul’s daughter, loved him, Saul was even more afraid of David. So Saul was David’s enemy continually.
Then 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 name was highly esteemed.
1 Samuel 18 Commentary
by Hank Workman
Relationships hold highs and lows for us. There are those that are such a gem and we treasure greatly. There are others which are such a troublesome tying together. Sometimes we can escape them, other times they are part of our lives and seemingly cannot be free from the struggle they bring. The thought to consider is how are we dealing with these which are God-honoring regardless of which category they fall into?
For David, we’re introduced to the deepest and closest human relationship recorded in Scripture. His friendship with the king’s son, Jonathan is more than admirable. In time this relationship would show the mutual respect, honoring of one another even though the destiny of David would replace the natural lineage of Jonathan as future king once Saul was gone. It is a friendship and relationship that few in this life seem to have.
On the other hand, we begin to see the unraveling of Saul and how it affected David. He goes from being in the court of Saul and holding importance, to ultimately having a bounty on his head. Saul is driven by jealousy and his hard-line growing hatred of David is what will drive him the rest of his days.
It really was on many levels a relationship that was inescapable. He set traps again and again for David to fail and fall. He gave a difficult daughter to him in marriage that would be as he called it, ‘a snare to him’; He set a mission where he was certain David would fail and be killed as he was to go take down more Philistines; he tried to kill him with a spear.
And yet, as the passage and further scriptures reveal, David honored his relationships and did the right thing no matter where they stood and how important or difficult they were to us. This is tough though, right? I mean, there are certainly those in our lives we would rather not have to deal with from time to time. There are those that bring more heartache than joy. Being Christlike in our relationships is no easy task. But it is what He expects from us.
Paul wrote about relationships and our role as a Believer within these. Take a look at Romans 12 and see what all he has to say.
“Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; 11 not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, 13 contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. 17 Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.”Romans 12:9-18
It’s not a lie – these are tough, right?! In particular when we consider the different relationships we hold with one another and the mark of difficulty or joy they bring. It’s easy to love a lovable person; one who is difficult, not so much. No matter, God expects these attributes and actions to be given toward all of our relationships. Where do these words of Paul resonate with you? Where does the life of David and his own living out the relationships he had, speak?
1 Samuel 18 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
“Saul has slain his thousands,
And David his ten thousands.”
The wording here says that “all cities in Israel” had women who danced and sang to this tune. It was literally a Billboard Top Hit in Israel and beyond (as we will find out later). And of course, for Saul, this was not merely a celebratory tune. It was not just a statistic. It was personal and humiliating. These lyrics struck jealousy into King Saul’s heart, and his relationship with David would never be the same.
Even though David was immensely popular, Scripture says he still behaved wisely. This is a tough act for anyone to accomplish, even by today’s standards. It’s amazing, really. How many celebrities do we know who go from rags to riches only to behave unwisely and lose it all in the end? Statistics will tell you that 78% of NFL players and 60% of NBA players will file bankruptcy 5 years after retiring. A lot of them aren’t even that popular!
The point is, David and Saul were polar opposites at how they responded to circumstances. Saul responded out of the flesh. David responded with obedience. It might not seem like a big deal, but it is. It’s the little things that add up over time. And really, it exposes the lens you view life through. Saul’s lenses were clouded over with pride, arrogance, and jealousy. David’s were humility, wisdom, and faith.
Over time, the true nature of the heart will almost always come to fruition. Time will tell if someone’s motives are pure or impure. Those who are putting up a front will eventually have no place to hide any longer. Those who start off well seeking the Lord will only grow stronger. The direction you are headed will always determine your destination.
David was a man true to God’s character and Word. He wasn’t perfect, but he walked it out to the best of his ability. Saul, unfortunately, let the weight of his shortcomings pull him to the ground, never clearly seeing the One who could set him free.