I Samuel 18

The weeds of envy will grow if one thinks more of reputation than of duty (v. 7-8).
It is a sign that the Spirit of God has departed from men,
if they be continually envious and suspicious of those about them and cannot endure to hear anyone praised but themselves (v. 12).

1 And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.

2 And Saul took him that day, and would let him go no more home to his father’s house.

3 Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul.

4 And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, and his garments, even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle.

5 ¶ And David went out whithersoever Saul sent him, and behaved himself wisely: and Saul set him over the men of war, and he was accepted in the sight of all the people, and also in the sight of Saul’s servants.

6 And it came to pass as they came, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women came out of all cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet king Saul, with tabrets, with joy, and with instruments of musick.

7 And the women answered one another as they played, and said, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.

8 And Saul was very wroth, and the saying displeased him; and he said, They have ascribed unto David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed but thousands: and what can he have more but the kingdom?

9 And Saul eyed David from that day and forward.

10 ¶ And it came to pass on the morrow, that the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied in the midst of the house: and David played with his hand, as at other times: and there was a javelin in Saul’s hand.

11 And Saul cast the javelin; for he said, I will smite David even to the wall with it. And David avoided out of his presence twice.

12 ¶ And Saul was afraid of David, because the LORD was with him, and was departed from Saul.

13 Therefore Saul removed him from him, and made him his captain over a thousand; and he went out and came in before the people.

14 And David behaved himself wisely in all his ways; and the LORD was with him.

15 Wherefore when Saul saw that he behaved himself very wisely, he was afraid of him.

16 But all Israel and Judah loved David, because he went out and came in before them.

17 ¶ And Saul said to David, Behold my elder daughter Merab, her will I give thee to wife: only be thou valiant for me, and fight the LORD’S battles. For Saul said, Let not mine hand be upon him, but let the hand of the Philistines be upon him.

18 And David said unto Saul, Who am I? and what is my life, or my father’s family in Israel, that I should be son in law to the king?

19 But it came to pass at the time when Merab Saul’s daughter should have been given to David, that she was given unto Adriel the Meholathite to wife.

20 And Michal Saul’s daughter loved David: and they told Saul, and the thing pleased him.

21 And Saul said, I will give him her, that she may be a snare to him, and that the hand of the Philistines may be against him. Wherefore Saul said to David, Thou shalt this day be my son in law in the one of the twain.

22 ¶ And Saul commanded his servants, saying, Commune with David secretly, and say, Behold, the king hath delight in thee, and all his servants love thee: now therefore be the king’s son in law.

23 And Saul’s servants spake those words in the ears of David. And David said, Seemeth it to you a light thing to be a king’s son in law, seeing that I am a poor man, and lightly esteemed?

24 And the servants of Saul told him, saying, On this manner spake David.

25 And Saul said, Thus shall ye say to David, The king desireth not any dowry, but an hundred foreskins of the Philistines, to be avenged of the king’s enemies. But Saul thought to make David fall by the hand of the Philistines.

26 And when his servants told David these words, it pleased David well to be the king’s son in law: and the days were not expired.

27 Wherefore David arose and went, he and his men, and slew of the Philistines two hundred men; and David brought their foreskins, and they gave them in full tale to the king, that he might be the king’s son in law. And Saul gave him Michal his daughter to wife.

28 ¶ And Saul saw and knew that the LORD was with David, and that Michal Saul’s daughter loved him.

29 And Saul was yet the more afraid of David; and Saul became David’s enemy continually.

30 Then the princes of the Philistines went forth: and it came to pass, after they went forth, that David behaved himself more wisely than all the servants of Saul; so that his name was much set by.

1 Samuel 17:55-58; 18:1-9 – A Loyal Friend and a Jealous Enemy

   These verses make very good reading. They present the one ray of light in a story which, from this point on, becomes more and more somber. David’s bearing in the hour of victory was so modest and unaffected that Jonathan’s heart leaped out to greet him as a kindred soul; while his advances awoke in David a love almost womanly in its tenderness. When we see Jonathan arraying his newfound friend in his own raiment, we are reminded of our Lord’s great exchange with us. He was made sin, that we might become the righteousness of God in him, II Corinthians 5:21.
   David’s harp was now, for the most part, exchanged for the sword, and he became a popular hero. It was the refrain of the women’s ode of victory that opened Saul’s soul to the envenomed dart of jealousy. The milk of human kindness suddenly turned sour. “Saul eyed David from that day,” not with affectionate admiration, but always with desire to place a malicious construction on every act and word and look. With terrible accuracy James shows the certain progress and development of such an attitude, James 1:14-15.

1 Samuel 18:5, 14-15, 30 – David behaved himself wisely.

   There must be some strong reason for the four fold repetition of this phrase in so short a space. It is as though the Holy Ghost would lay very distinct stress on the Divine prudence and circumspection, which must characterize the man whose life is hid in God. Let us walk with God, abiding in Him, subjecting our thoughts and plans to his, communing about all things with Him, talking over our lives with Him, before we go out to live them in the presence of our fellows. Then we too shall have this gracious wisdom, which is more moral than intellectual the product of the grace of God rather than of human culture.
   Our life shall commend itself to men (1 Samuel 18:5). David’s was good in the sight of all the people, and more wonderful still, in the sight of Saul’s servants, who might have been jealous. A life lived in God disarms jealousy and envy. He who, as a boy, did his Father’s business, increased in wisdom and in favor with God and men.
   Our life shall rebuke and awe our foes (1 Samuel 18:15). Saul stood in awe of him. When traps and snares are laid for us we shall be enabled to thread our way through them all, as Jesus did when they tried to entangle Him in his talk. We shall have wisdom which all our foes together shall not be able to gainsay or resist.
   Our name will be precious (1 Samuel 18:30). People loved to dwell on the name of David; it was much set by; they noticed and were impressed with the beauty and nobility of his character. We must always view our lives, amusements, and undertakings, in the light of the result which will accrue to Him whose name it is our privilege to bear.

1 Samuel 18:10-21 – Protected from Dastardly Assaults

   The Lord was evidently with David. Mark how the sacred chronicle keeps this fact in view, I Samuel 18:12, 14, 28. And David behaved himself wisely, I Samuel 18:5, 14-15, 30. How judicious it would have been for Saul to bind David to himself! Instead of this he cherished his mad passion until it broke out in irresistible fury. Oh, beware of jealousy! It opens the soul’s door to the devil. The best way of meeting it, apart from prayer, is to compel yourself to take an interest in your rival, and to put yourself loyally in his place. Overcome your mean and wicked soul, in the power of the Lord Jesus. “Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh,” Romans 13:14.
   The evil spirit that possessed Saul is said to have come from God; that is, God permitted it to come. It came according to the ordered rule of the universe. “God,” says one, “must be something to us; what He shall be depends on ourselves and on what we are to Him.” See Psalm 18:25-26. The king, having failed to murder David, encouraged him in dangerous undertakings. But if David had fallen in battle, his death would still have been justly laid at Saul’s door.

1 Samuel 18:22-30 – Prospered in spite of Plots

   The affection of Michal for the young warrior suggested a way of luring David into personal conflict with the Philistines. Saul’s secret hope was that he might fall a victim to their prowess. David at first took no notice of the royal proposals, because the king had already failed to keep his word; but when the courtiers explained the terms, David accepted the challenge. Saul was playing his game with great adroitness. On the one hand, his attendants genuinely believed that he delighted in David and desired the alliance; while on the other, see his true motive in I Samuel 18:25.
   Once more Saul was foiled, for, within the appointed time, David secured double the king’s requirement, and Michal became his wife. If jealous people would only ponder this story, they would discover the uselessness of setting themselves athwart God’s manifest purpose in another’s life. See Psalm 7:11-13, 16. Don’t sulk, don’t detract, don’t sow suspicions. Take your father’s side, you elder brother! Go into the banqueting-hall, salute your younger brother, and enter into the general joy. If you choose the generous course, and affirm it, you will find the joy welling in your heart. Stand your ground in Christ against your unworthy, selfish, lower self!