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I Samuel Chapter 18

Memory verses for this week: Eccl 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

Eccl 12:14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.


Introduction: We continue our study on Samuel this week. In last weekís lesson, we studied about David taking on the giant Goliath with just a sling shot and some smooth stones. The giant came in his power and the power of his weapons, but David came in the power of the Lord.

  1. Love Covenant of Jonathan and David

1 Sam 18:1 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.

1 Sam 18:2 And Saul took him that day, and would let him go no more home to his father's house.

It made no sense to me at the end of chapter 17 when King Saul seemed to know nothing about David, whereas the week before we studied about him bringing David in to play the harp to comfort him when the evil spirits came upon him. That was covered in Chapter 16 in verse 14 Ė 23. When the evil spirit came upon Saul, David would play the harp to soothe Saul. After David ended his talk with King Saul in verse 1, it says that his son Jonathan had knit his soul with the soul of David. They became to best of friends, and this is one of the strongest examples of pure brotherly love that we have in the bible. Those that try to make something evil of this relationship have not studied the lives of these two men. David was a man after Godís own heart, and while he made some mistakes in his life, the overwhelming time he was constantly seeking to do the perfect will of God. In verse 2, it says that Saul would at this time no longer allow David to return home to his father Jesse. Perhaps he was concerned about the young man, or perhaps he wanted to keep an eye on him in case he might desire to have ambitions to become the king. For whatever reason, Saul seemed to be suspicious of David from this day forward.

1 Sam 18:3 Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul.

1 Sam 18:4 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.

Jonathan seems to have recognized that David may be the potential successor of his father as King of Israel. It says he made a covenant with David, and stripped from himself the garments and weapons of the crown prince and put them on David.

1 Sam 18:5 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.

1 Sam 18:6 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 music.

1 Sam 18:7 And the women answered one another as they played, and said, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.

We should look to Davidís conduct and try our best to imitate that in every way he brought honor to the Lord. It says he behaved himself wisely

Eccl 9:10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.

Because of his faithfulness and willingness to do things right, Saul set David over the men of war. All the people were knowledgeable about David, and it said that he was accepted in the sight of all the people and the servants of Saul. When they returned from battle, it says the women came out singing and dancing to musical instruments. They sang: ĒSaul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.Ē Saul surely heard this and this probably made him even more suspicious and fearful of David. Jealousy is a bad thing, and it can hinder the unity in Godís church. We need to look out for the best interests of others and not be so concerned with our own interests.

Phil 2:2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

Phil 2:3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

Phil 2:4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

Phil 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

II. Saulís Jealousy

1 Sam 18:8 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?

1 Sam 18:9 And Saul eyed David from that day and forward.

1 Sam 18:10 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.

1 Sam 18:11 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.

After hearing the lyrics to the songs the women sang, it says Saul became very wroth and this displeased him. He questions what can happen more but for him to take the kingdom. From then on, Saul eyed David and kept a close watch upon him. If we let jealousy take hold on us, we too will not have the peace God intends for us to have. Jealousy is a sin that we need to eliminate in our lives. We should be thankful for what God has done for others, and know that even bad times work to our good when we love the Lord and are called according to His purpose. Jealousy is a sign that we have taken our eyes off the Lord and stopped depending on Him. In verse 10, we see the evil spirit returns upon Saul and begins to trouble him as it had in the past. When we have negative thoughts and jealousy in our hearts, we set ourselves up for Satan to bring us down. Saul calls for David, and he comes to play the harp to soothe him as in the past. This time, Saul has a javelin and he tries twice to kill David by throwing the javelin at him. Each time David escaped out of danger without being smitten. Note that in verse 12, Saul realizes that it is God who protected David from the javelin.

Matthew Henry said this about Saulís hatred

In his fury he aimed to kill David, v. 10, 11. Jealousy is the rage of a man; it made Saul outrageous against David and impatient to get him out of the way. 1. His fits of frenzy returned upon him. The very next day after he conceived malice against David the evil spirit from God, that had formerly haunted him, seized him again. Those that indulge themselves in envy and uncharitableness give place to the devil, and prepare for the re-entry of the unclean spirit, with seven others more wicked.

Where envy is there is confusion. Saul pretended a religious ecstasy: He prophesied in the midst of the house, that is, he had the gestures and motions of a prophet, and humoured the thing well enough to decoy David into a snare, and that he might be fearless of any danger and off his guard; and perhaps designing, if he could but kill him, to impute it to a divine impulse and to charge it upon the spirit of prophecy with which he seemed to be animated: but really it was a hellish fury that actuated him.

2. David, though advanced to a much higher post of honour, disdained not, for his masterís service, to return to his harp: He played with his hand as at other times. Let not the highest think any thing below them whereby they may do good and be serviceable to those they are obliged to.

3. He took this opportunity to aim at the death of David. A sword in a madmanís hand is a dangerous thing, especially such a madman as Saul was, that was mad with malice. Yet he had a javelin or dart in his hand, which he projected, endeavoring thereby to slay David, not in a sudden passion, but deliberately: I will smite David to the wall with it, with such a desperate force did he throw it. Justly does David complain of his enemies that they hated him with a cruel hatred, Ps. 25:19. No life is thought too precious to be sacrificed to malice. 1

1 Sam 18:12 And Saul was afraid of David, because the LORD was with him, and was departed from Saul.

1 Sam 18:13 Therefore Saul removed him from him, and made him his captain over a thousand; and he went out and came in before the people.

1 Sam 18:14 And David behaved himself wisely in all his ways; and the LORD was with him.

1 Sam 18:15 Wherefore when Saul saw that he behaved himself very wisely, he was afraid of him.

1 Sam 18:16 But all Israel and Judah loved David, because he went out and came in before them.

Saul was afraid of David because he saw that the Lord was with David and had departed from Saul. It says Saul removed himself in order that he might not kill David in a mad fit. He takes David out and makes him the captain over a thousand, and then he came back in before the people. David again shows wisdom in handling himself wisely in everything that he did. This made Saul fear him even more. Saul decides he needs to come up with a plan to put David to death. The whole nation of Israel grew to love David as went out before them.

1 Sam 18:17 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.

1 Sam 18:18 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?

1 Sam 18:19 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

In chapter 17, we read where King Saul had promised his daughter to whoever could go against Goliath and destroy him. Saul now presents his daughter Merab to David and told him he could marry her if he would continue to fight the Philistines and win the Lordís battles. Probably, in the back of his mind, Saul figured if David kept going out to battle against these Philistines, he would surely die. David did not have any desire for Saulís daughter, and argues that he is of a poor family and not fit to become the son in law to the king. It appears that Saulís promise was all talk and he had no intentions of giving her to David, in that he gave her to another man to be his wife. His name was Adriel the Meholathite.

III. Michal, Saulís Daughter, is Given to David.

1 Sam 18:20 And Michal Saul's daughter loved David: and they told Saul, and the thing pleased him.

1 Sam 18:21 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.

Michal, Saulís daughter, falls in love with David and it says that it pleased Saul. It appears Saul thought he could manipulate this daughter to help him destroy David. Perhaps he felt she would be a snare to David and he would not continue to be the great warrior towards the Philistines. What Saul failed to realize is that God was with David in every step he took. One of my favorite verses in the bible is Psalms 37 and verse 23.

Psa 37:23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.

Psa 37:24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.

1 Sam 18:22 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.

1 Sam 18:23 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?

1 Sam 18:24 And the servants of Saul told him, saying, On this manner spake David.

Saulís servants are to commune with David secretly and tell David that the king had delight in him. They tried to persuade David by telling him that all the kings servants loved him. David was not impressed and told them that he was but a poor man and could not afford to marry the kingís daughter.

1 Sam 18:25 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.

1 Sam 18:26 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.

1 Sam 18:27 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.

1 Sam 18:28 And Saul saw and knew that the LORD was with David, and that Michal Saul's daughter loved him.

1 Sam 18:29 And Saul was yet the more afraid of David; and Saul became David's enemy continually.

1 Sam 18:30 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.

The servants go back and tell Saul what David has said about being a poor man. He directs them to tell David that he did not require a huge dowry for his daughter, but wanted a 100 foreskins of the Philistines. Saul thought this would undoubtedly be more than David could do and he would perish in the battle. But this was not the case, and David and his men went forth and brought back 200 for the king. Saul had little he could do at this point and gave Michal to be Davidís wife. Saul became more afraid of David, and became Davidís enemy continually. David set another great example and behaved himself more wisely than all the servants of Saul.

In the King James Study Bible, Jerry Falwell summarized the last half in the chapter in a few sentences.

To further obligate David in hopes of death in the line of duty, Saul promised to make David his son-in-law with the exhortation: only be thou valiant for me, and fight the Lordís battles. When Merab, Saulís older daughter, was married to another, David was given Michal instead. The purpose was the same; that she may be a snare to him. In order to convince David, and overcome his modesty, he was counseled that the only dowry (a customary Oriental payment of money or valuable gift to the father of the bride) would be a hundred foreskins of the Philistines. David paid double the number, and was completely unharmed. More afraid. The more successful David became, the more threatened Saul felt; every time Saul sent David into a dangerous situation it brought David ever closer to the kingship. 2 

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Prov 4:18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.


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1Henry, Matthew, Matthew Henryís Commentary on the Bible, (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers) 1997.

2Jerry Falwell, executive editor; Edward E. Hinson and Michael Kroll Woodrow, general editors, KJV Bible commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1994.