Saul Tries to Kill David
19 And Saul spoke to Jonathan his son and to all his servants, that they should kill David. But Jonathan, Saul’s son, delighted much in David. And Jonathan told David, “Saul my father seeks to kill you. Therefore be on your guard in the morning. Stay in a secret place and hide yourself. And I will go out and stand beside my father in the field where you are, and I will speak to my father about you. And if I learn anything I will tell you.” And Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul his father and said to him, “Let not the king sin against his servant David, because he has not sinned against you, and because his deeds have brought good to you. For he took his life in his hand and he struck down the Philistine, and the LORD worked a great salvation for all Israel. You saw it, and rejoiced. Why then will you sin against innocent blood by killing David without cause?” And Saul listened to the voice of Jonathan. Saul swore, “As the LORD lives, he shall not be put to death.” And Jonathan called David, and Jonathan reported to him all these things. And Jonathan brought David to Saul, and he was in his presence as before.
And there was war again. And David went out and fought with the Philistines and struck them with a great blow, so that they fled before him. Then a harmful spirit from the LORD came upon Saul, as he sat in his house with his spear in his hand. And David was playing the lyre. And Saul sought to pin David to the wall with the spear, but he eluded Saul, so that he struck the spear into the wall. And David fled and escaped that night.
Saul sent messengers to David’s house to watch him, that he might kill him in the morning. But Michal, David’s wife, told him, “If you do not escape with your life tonight, tomorrow you will be killed.” So Michal let David down through the window, and he fled away and escaped. Michal took an image and laid it on the bed and put a pillow of goats’ hair at its head and covered it with the clothes. And when Saul sent messengers to take David, she said, “He is sick.” Then Saul sent the messengers to see David, saying, “Bring him up to me in the bed, that I may kill him.” And when the messengers came in, behold, the image was in the bed, with the pillow of goats’ hair at its head. Saul said to Michal, “Why have you deceived me thus and let my enemy go, so that he has escaped?” And Michal answered Saul, “He said to me, ‘Let me go. Why should I kill you?’”
Now David fled and escaped, and he came to Samuel at Ramah and told him all that Saul had done to him. And he and Samuel went and lived at Naioth. And it was told Saul, “Behold, David is at Naioth in Ramah.” Then Saul sent messengers to take David, and when they saw the company of the prophets prophesying, and Samuel standing as head over them, the Spirit of God came upon the messengers of Saul, and they also prophesied. When it was told Saul, he sent other messengers, and they also prophesied. And Saul sent messengers again the third time, and they also prophesied. Then he himself went to Ramah and came to the great well that is in Secu. And he asked, “Where are Samuel and David?” And one said, “Behold, they are at Naioth in Ramah.” And he went there to Naioth in Ramah. And the Spirit of God came upon him also, and as he went he prophesied until he came to Naioth in Ramah. And he too stripped off his clothes, and he too prophesied before Samuel and lay naked all that day and all that night. Thus it is said, “Is Saul also among the prophets?”
1 Samuel 19 Commentary
by Hank Workman
“The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the defense of my life; whom shall I dread? 2 When evildoers came upon me to devour my flesh, my adversaries and my enemies, they stumbled and fell. 3 Though a host encamp against me, my heart will not fear; Though war arise against me, In spite of this I shall be confident.”David (Psalm 27)
The heat is on and rising to a swift boiling point. It would be immediately after David’s marriage in hopes of securing a reprieve from the insane antics of Saul, if anything it’s turned up several notches. Saul becomes hell bent on destroying and killing David. His jealousy has taken over to a point of irrationality.
God provided 4 different escapes for David throughout this chapter alone. The first was provided by Jonathan himself in his cautious and practical sense. Jonathan’s voice of reason to his father gave a reprieve, even if ever so briefly.
One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to meditate in His temple. 5 For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle; in the secret place of His tent He will hide me; He will lift me up on a rock. 6 And now my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me, and I will offer in His tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.
His quick thought and actions deliver him in another case and the third being his wife Michal, defending and covering for him.
Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice, and be gracious to me and answer me. 8 When You said, “Seek My face,” my heart said to You, “Your face, O Lord, I shall seek.” 9 Do not hide Your face from me, do not turn Your servant away in anger; you have been my help; do not abandon me nor forsake me, O God of my salvation! 10 For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me up.
His fourth would be from the prophet Samuel himself. And to me, this is a fascinating thought and good reminder. We haven’t heard much of Samuel in the last few chapters but what is so powerful is David didn’t run home to his own family or flesh and blood for counsel or protection; he ran to Samuel.
Samuel the one who had anointed him king and had a direct relationship with God; Samuel the one who had given him the assurance of the crown – this was where he ran. Samuel was the one who could give spiritual encouragement as all the crazy and horrific behavior of Saul was amped up. David needed hope and it would be found in a man of God.
Truly, it is only 1 sentence of his fleeing to Samuel but says so much. For in flight, he made God his refuge. He would be encouraged to put his trust in the shadow of His wings where safety and reassurance would be given.
There are times for all of us where we need reminders of what God is doing and his absolute control over all circumstances even though we don’t see that. Far too often we run or seek out counsel from the world; we look at things in how they ‘should’ play out. For David at this moment, he needed God’s encouragement and perspective. It would be found with Samuel.
As there are potential things that are robbing you of your own perspective – where are you seeking counsel? As things have maybe taken a turn beyond what was expected – to whom are you taking refuge?
Teach me Your way, O Lord, and lead me in a level path because of my foes. 12 Do not deliver me over to the desire of my adversaries,for false witnesses have risen against me, and such as breathe out violence. 13 I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord In the land of the living. 14 Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord.
1 Samuel 19 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
Saul has tried everything by this point. He will not be satisfied until David is dead. Saul plotted. God protected. David escaped. Through all of this, Saul never changed. He believed he was fighting David, not God. This is evident when his son Jonathan comes to him and plainly explains the error of his ways. There was no conviction or second thought. Saul made it his goal to end David’s life.
Jonathan had a tough choice to make. Biblically, you could make a case on both sides. The law said he must honor his father and obey him at all times. This meant he should help Saul kill David. However, he loved David and knew he was an innocent man. It is beneficial for us to feel the tension of such a choice because we will face similar circumstances in life. There will be times when we feel we have to hurt or betray someone we love in order to follow God’s will.
How did Jonathan know?
- Saul commanded him to do something that went against God’s character. Jonathan chose to obey God over man. It probably would have been easier for him to obey Saul. He would have the king on his side and earn his father’s approval. But in the end, he knew it violated God’s standard. It may seem like Jonathan chose a lesser sin (not honoring his father) over a greater sin (murder), but the key here is that Saul was not following God, which leads me to my second point.
- Jonathan evaluated the fruit. Just look at the destruction of Saul’s life. His willingness to sin is now a full-grown beast. He is recruiting others to help him get what he wants. His decisions are causing division within his family. And let’s not forget, God has handed him over to this evil. David, on the other hand, demonstrated incredible integrity and grace throughout this process. The hatred of Saul’s heart becomes crystal clear against the backdrop of David’s integrity, and Jonathan knows it.
David didn’t fight back. He didn’t defend himself. He didn’t even run away until he was forced to. Looking back in hindsight, it could be said that God allowed David to experience this incredible storm so that he would become the king he needed to be. What Saul planned for evil, God used for good. As soldiers of Christ, the strengthening and arming of our spiritual armor is absolutely dependant upon God allowing trials to come our way. For David, he would not only develop as a leader, but he would prove to all those around him that he was willing to abandon his desires and accept whatever the Lord had for him.
God promises us we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.