Sunday, December 9, 2012

XCVIII - Saul's Love for David Turns to Jealousy, Then Hate

I Samuel - Chapter 18 - 20

After David's defeat of Goliath, everything changed.  The first verse of this chapter tells of David and Jonathan becoming best of friends "one in spirit".  Jonathan and David made many oaths to each other.  This would become a very important bond as we continue our study of David.

In verses 6 and 7, it tells how the women sang a song:

"Saul has slain his thousands,
   and David his tens of thousands."

As we've seen in earlier books, this was a common practice for women to write and sing songs as a way of celebrating.  Of course they wanted to give David tribute, but they made a big mistake when they mentioned Saul in the same song.  In vs 8 it says Saul was very angry about the song because he thought it belittled him.  This turned Saul's thoughts of David towards the negative, and it would only get worse.  Saul always did have a probem controling his emotions, but he got increasingly uncontrollable.  The Scripture tells us that one day when David was playing music for Saul that Saul grabbed a spear and tried to kill David with it.  All involved, including David, attributed this action to Saul's affliction.  But Saul knew exactly what he was doing.  He then decided to plot against David by actually promoting him to a high rank in the military.  Saul even commented to himself to "let the Philistines take care of him".  The Scripture tells of Saul offering his daughters in marriage to David, but David refused two of the daughters saying he was too poor to provide a dowry.  Saul solved that problem by pronouncing that he would give his second daughter Michal to David if he would bring evidence of killing a hundred Philistines.  This would take the place of a traditional dowry.  Saul did this to further the chances of David being killed by the Philistines, but David went out and killed two hundred.  Each time David had success, Saul would not only become more jealouse, but more frightened of David because these successes proved that God was with David in everything he did.  In verse 28 it tells us that Saul would consider David his enemy for the rest of his days.

Chapter 19 begins with Saul ordering Jonathan and all of his attendants to kill David.  But remember from the last chapter that Jonathan and David had become best of friends, having made a number of oaths to each other.  So Jonathan contacted David and told him what was happening.  Jonathan told David that he would reason with his father away from such an order.  Jonathan was able to do just that, and David returned to the king's service as before.

In verse 8 war with the Philistines had broken out again.  David was sent out against them and defeated their army as he had done before.  David's success made Saul all the more jealous of him.  He again tried to kill David with a spear, but David, being young and quick, eluded him.  So Saul sent a garrison of soldiers to David's residence to kill him.  But David's wife Michal heard of it and helped David escape before the soldiers arrived.  Saul was upset with Michal for helping David but he did not take any punitive action against her yet.  When David made his escape, he ran to Ramah to see Samuel.  Saul found out where David was hiding and sent soldiers there to kill him.  But when the soldiers saw David with Samuel, the Spitit of God came upon them and the soldies stopped their pursuit and prophesied with Samuel.  Saul sent more soldiers and the same thing happened.  So Saul decided to go himself.  But God was so powerfully with Samuel that even Saul was overtaken by the Spirit.

Chapter 20  -  David and Jonathan  -  This chapter picks up with David returning to king's city and of course he sought out Jonathan, his best friend.  Not only was Jonathan his best friend, but he was the best source of accurate infomratin concerning his father, the king.  Jonathan assured David that Saul meant no harm to him, but David was skeptical and fearful for his life.  So David devised a test of Sual's attitude toward him.  There was supposed to be a feast the next day.  David would not attend.  When Saul discovered David's seat was empty, he would inquire of David's whereabouts.  Jonathan was to tell his father that David chose to go to Bethlehem to participate in an annual sacrifice.  If Saul said OK, then everything was right with David.  But if Saul lost his temper when hearing of David going to Bethlehem, then David would know that Saul still wanted to kill him.  Jonathan agreed to this.  Then they made yet another covenant with each other.  This time Jonathan wanted David to promise that he would always show kindness to Jonathan's family, no matter what the circumstances.  {I think Jonathan knew that David would become king of Israel and would have the power to destroy Saul's entire family.  It was customary in that day to destroy all known enemies of a new king.}  In vss 18-->  is the familiar story of Jonathan shooting three arrows as a signal as to whether or not is will be safe for David to return into Saul's service.
The next day during the feast, Saul indeed noticed David being missing and asked Jonathan about it.  Jonathan told him about David going to his family in Bethlehem to participate in a worship ceremony.  Saul then turned very angry.  Jonathan tried to convince his father that David should not be harmed.  Then Saul revealed to all that he knew God's plan for David when he told all that Jonathan would never become king as long as David was alive.  So Saul had the sanity enough to realize this as obvious, based upon all that had happened.  So as to their agreement, Jonathan (vs 35) shot the three arrows and instructed his servant to go beyond the arrows.  This signaled David that he was never to return to Saul's service.  Vs 41 describes the mournful good-bye between Jonathan and David, knowing they would probably never get to spend time with one another ever again.  Then in vs 42 they separated for what they knew would be the last time.

This marks the time when David and Saul would become forever enemies.

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