1 Samuel 18
-This chapter begins with the connection that Saul’s son, Jonathan, formed with David post the killing of Goliath. The text claims that Jonathan was “knit to the soul of David,…loved him as himself,…made a covenant with David,…and gave him his robe, armor, sword, bow, and belt.” David was made to come with Saul from his father Jesse’s house to live with them in royalty being sent out where Saul desired. Everywhere David went he prospered, and soon he was set over the Israeli men of war. This thing was pleasing in the sight of all the people including Saul’s servants. The anointed David was gaining immense favor and blessing by the Hand of the LORD. Prophecy was being fulfilled. It so happened one day as he had returned from killing the Philistine (presumably Goliath) that the women came out of all the cities of Israel singing and dancing before King Saul. With great joy and instruments of tambourines, triangles, and other three stringed instruments they sang, “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands (1 Samuel 18:1-7).”
-Obviously, this did not sit well in the psyche of the fragile minded Saul. He became angry as this saying displeased him very much because they were ascribing much more greatness to the young David than himself as the presiding king. He began to fear his kingdom was slipping away to this upstart, and looked on David with suspicion from that day on (1 Samuel 18:8-9). Notice that David did nothing to instigate or entice this action. He was doing his national service under the authority of the LORD in faith. But, he now had to face the tribulation of a jealous autocrat that was out to remove him from the scene.
-This jealous spirit in Saul is described as “an evil spirit from God,” which came mightily upon him. He raved (naba' – coming under the influence of a divine spirit, as in self-prophesying, a trance, false prophesy) in the midst of his house much like a lunatic. As was David’s custom which we have previously read (1 Samuel 16:16-23), he was attempting to soothe the spirit of the wayward king with his hand to the harp playing some inspirational melodious music in the king’s house. Saul, who had a spear in his hand, however, hurled his weapon at young David thinking that he would pin this fellow to the wall, but David providentially escaped his presence (1 Samuel 18:10-11). Wow! Talk about heightening the tension. The Bible says at this point that Saul was actually afraid of his new counterpart, David, “for the LORD was with him but had departed from Saul.” David was removed by the king from his presence, and now he was appointed as Saul’s commander of a regiment of 1,000. He went out and came in before the people as their general basically, still prospering in all his ways as the LORD continued to be with him. Observing the ascension of this new leader, Saul detested his prosperity and dreaded David with a vehement passion (1 Samuel 18:11-15).
-But, all Israel was loving their newfound hero, God’s anointed, and he continued to gain more and more favor amongst them. Then, Saul cunningly offered his oldest daughter, Merab, as a wife if he would go out and valiantly fight the LORD’s battles. His secret deception was intended to expose him on the battlefield before the enemy so that his own hand would not be against the national superstar. However, David expressed humility stating, “Who am I, and what is my life or my father’s family in Israel, that I should be the king’s son-in-law?” Ironically, when the time came for Merab to be given away, she was actually given to Adriel the Meholathite for a wife sparing David from having to go to a potentially dangerous battle with the Philistines. But, there would still be a family connection between Saul and David. A younger daughter, Michal, loved David and Saul was agreeable to the matrimony. Saul, again being the mischievous-fearful king, concluded in his own mind that Michal would be a snare to David making him more vulnerable before the Philistines. The arrangements were made between Saul and David through his servants. Again David expressed unpretentiousness as he replied to the marriage offer, “Is it trivial in your sight to become the king’s son-in-law, since I am a poor man and lightly esteemed?” Upon hearing this reported back to him, Saul said, “The king does not desire any dowry except a hundred foreskins of the Philistines, to take vengeance on the king’s enemies.” Saul, the text plainly states, planned to make David fall by the hand of the Philistines as before. He had sinister plans inspired by the devil himself. But, these words found favor with David, and he did desire to become the king’s son-in-law. Therefore, before the days expired to complete his requirement, David rose up and went, with his men alongside, striking down 200 men among the Philistines capturing their foreskins. He presented these to the king that he might became the king’s son-in-law, and Saul consented to give away his daughter to his arch nemesis. The chapter concludes with this ominous statement, “When Saul saw and knew that the LORD was with David, and that Michal, Saul’s daughter, loved him, then Saul was even more afraid of David. Thus Saul was David’s enemy continually. Then the commanders of the Philistines went out to battle, and it happened as often as they went out, that David behaved himself more wisely than all the servants of Saul. So his name was highly esteemed (1 Samuel 18:16-30).”
-*Application* There is a reason why the sin of jealousy is such a big deal with God (2 Corinthians 12:20, Galatians 5:19-20, James 3:14-16). It leads to disorder and every evil thing. In other words, it simply destroys things. Whether it’s a relationship, a home, a community, an organization, or a church, when jealousy persists, a lot of demonic activity is present and severe damage occurs. Notice the evil things that flowed from this spirit of demonic jealousy: suspicion, fear, dread, bitterness, deception, cunning, selfishness, anger, rage, etc. We must determine in our lives that we will yield to the Holy Spirit and resist the temptation to be overcome by jealousy. Ask the LORD today to forgive any jealousy we might be holding on to in our hearts.
Verses to Memorize: 1 Samuel 18:9, 12, 15