Relationships –Saul and David

Then Jesse called Abinadab and had him pass in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, “The Lord has not chosen this one either.” Jesse then had Shammah pass by, but Samuel said, “Nor has the Lord chosen this one.” Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The Lord has not chosen these.” So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?”
“There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.”
Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.”
So he sent for him and had him brought in. He was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features.
Then the Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.”
So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David. Samuel then went to Ramah.
Now the Spirit of the Lord had departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord tormented him.
Saul’s attendants said to him, “See, an evil spirit from God is tormenting you. Let our lord command his servants here to search for someone who can play the lyre. He will play when the evil spirit from God comes on you, and you will feel better.”
So Saul said to his attendants, “Find someone who plays well and bring him to me.”
One of the servants answered, “I have seen a son of Jesse of Bethlehem who knows how to play the lyre. He is a brave man and a warrior. He speaks well and is a fine-looking man. And the Lord is with him.”
Then Saul sent messengers to Jesse and said, “Send me your son David, who is with the sheep.” So Jesse took a donkey loaded with bread, a skin of wine and a young goat and sent them with his son David to Saul.
David came to Saul and entered his service. Saul liked him very much, and David became one of his armor-bearers. Then Saul sent word to Jesse, saying, “Allow David to remain in my service, for I am pleased with him.”
Whenever the spirit from God came on Saul, David would take up his lyre and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him.

  • 1 Samuel 16:8-23

For a link to 1 Samuel 17, click HERE.

After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself. From that day Saul kept David with him and did not let him return home to his family. And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt.
Whatever mission Saul sent him on, David was so successful that Saul gave him a high rank in the army. This pleased all the troops, and Saul’s officers as well.
When the men were returning home after David had killed the Philistine, the women came out from all the towns of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing, with joyful songs and with timbrels and lyres. As they danced, they sang:
“Saul has slain his thousands,
    and David his tens of thousands.”
Saul was very angry; this refrain displeased him greatly. “They have credited David with tens of thousands,” he thought, “but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?” And from that time on Saul kept a close eye on David.
The next day an evil spirit from God came forcefully on Saul. He was prophesying in his house, while David was playing the lyre, as he usually did. Saul had a spear in his hand and he hurled it, saying to himself, “I’ll pin David to the wall.” But David eluded him twice.
Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with David but had departed from Saul. So he sent David away from him and gave him command over a thousand men, and David led the troops in their campaigns. In everything he did he had great success, because the Lord was with him. When Saul saw how successful he was, he was afraid of him. But all Israel and Judah loved David, because he led them in their campaigns.
Saul said to David, “Here is my older daughter Merab. I will give her to you in marriage; only serve me bravely and fight the battles of the Lord.” For Saul said to himself, “I will not raise a hand against him. Let the Philistines do that!”
But David said to Saul, “Who am I, and what is my family or my clan in Israel, that I should become the king’s son-in-law?” So when the time came for Merab, Saul’s daughter, to be given to David, she was given in marriage to Adriel of Meholah.
Now Saul’s daughter Michal was in love with David, and when they told Saul about it, he was pleased. “I will give her to him,” he thought, “so that she may be a snare to him and so that the hand of the Philistines may be against him.” So Saul said to David, “Now you have a second opportunity to become my son-in-law.”

  • 1 Samuel 18:1-21

Saul told his son Jonathan and all the attendants to kill David. But Jonathan had taken a great liking to David and warned him, “My father Saul is looking for a chance to kill you. Be on your guard tomorrow morning; go into hiding and stay there. I will go out and stand with my father in the field where you are. I’ll speak to him about you and will tell you what I find out.”
Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul his father and said to him, “Let not the king do wrong to his servant David; he has not wronged you, and what he has done has benefited you greatly. He took his life in his hands when he killed the Philistine. The Lord won a great victory for all Israel, and you saw it and were glad. Why then would you do wrong to an innocent man like David by killing him for no reason?”
Saul listened to Jonathan and took this oath: “As surely as the Lord lives, David will not be put to death.”
So Jonathan called David and told him the whole conversation. He brought him to Saul, and David was with Saul as before.
Once more war broke out, and David went out and fought the Philistines. He struck them with such force that they fled before him.

  • 1 Samuel 19:1-8

David went to Nob, to Ahimelek the priest. Ahimelek trembled when he met him, and asked, “Why are you alone? Why is no one with you?”
David answered Ahimelek the priest, “The king sent me on a mission and said to me, ‘No one is to know anything about the mission I am sending you on.’ As for my men, I have told them to meet me at a certain place. Now then, what do you have on hand? Give me five loaves of bread, or whatever you can find.”
But the priest answered David, “I don’t have any ordinary bread on hand; however, there is some consecrated bread here—provided the men have kept themselves from women.”
David replied, “Indeed women have been kept from us, as usual whenever I set out. The men’s bodies are holy even on missions that are not holy. How much more so today!” So the priest gave him the consecrated bread, since there was no bread there except the bread of the Presence that had been removed from before the Lord and replaced by hot bread on the day it was taken away.
Now one of Saul’s servants was there that day, detained before the Lord; he was Doeg the Edomite, Saul’s chief shepherd.
David asked Ahimelek, “Don’t you have a spear or a sword here? I haven’t brought my sword or any other weapon, because the king’s mission was urgent.”
The priest replied, “The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you killed in the Valley of Elah, is here; it is wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you want it, take it; there is no sword here but that one.”
David said, “There is none like it; give it to me.”
That day David fled from Saul and went to Achish king of Gath. 

  • 1 Samuel 21:1-10

When David was told, “Look, the Philistines are fighting against Keilah and are looting the threshing floors,” he inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I go and attack these Philistines?”
The Lord answered him, “Go, attack the Philistines and save Keilah.”
But David’s men said to him, “Here in Judah we are afraid. How much more, then, if we go to Keilah against the Philistine forces!”
Once again David inquired of the Lord, and the Lord answered him, “Go down to Keilah, for I am going to give the Philistines into your hand.” So David and his men went to Keilah, fought the Philistines and carried off their livestock. He inflicted heavy losses on the Philistines and saved the people of Keilah. (Now Abiathar son of Ahimelek had brought the ephod down with him when he fled to David at Keilah.)
Saul was told that David had gone to Keilah, and he said, “God has delivered him into my hands, for David has imprisoned himself by entering a town with gates and bars.” And Saul called up all his forces for battle, to go down to Keilah to besiege David and his men.

  • 1 Samuel 23:1-8

After Saul returned from pursuing the Philistines, he was told, “David is in the Desert of En Gedi.” So Saul took three thousand able young men from all Israel and set out to look for David and his men near the Crags of the Wild Goats.
He came to the sheep pens along the way; a cave was there, and Saul went in to relieve himself. David and his men were far back in the cave. The men said, “This is the day the Lord spoke of when he said to you, ‘I will give your enemy into your hands for you to deal with as you wish.’” Then David crept up unnoticed and cut off a corner of Saul’s robe.
Afterward, David was conscience-stricken for having cut off a corner of his robe. He said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, or lay my hand on him; for he is the anointed of the Lord.” With these words David sharply rebuked his men and did not allow them to attack Saul. And Saul left the cave and went his way.

  • 1 Samuel 24:1-7

David took up this lament concerning Saul and his son Jonathan, and he ordered that the people of Judah be taught this lament of the bow (it is written in the Book of Jashar):
“A gazelle lies slain on your heights, Israel.
    How the mighty have fallen! …

  • 2 Samuel 1:17-19

A Quote

[1 Samuel 23:7] ”Psalm 57 was written by David when fleeing from Saul and surrounded by his foes. in that brilliant way he had of describing things, David said that he found himself among lions, men whose teeth were spears and arrows and whose tongues were as sharp swords. He was surrounded by them and they had the authority of King Saul back of them, and David had nobody but God. So David, being taught in the ways of the Spirit, did something that we probably wouldn’t have thought of doing. David immediately put God between him and his enemies.
“David knew that he must have the victory; but he knew if he was to have anything like permanent victory he couldn’t ask God to exalt him. So he didn‘t say, ‘Oh God, l am Your king, to be successor to Saul, the sinning king. Now God, I want You to come to my rescue and crush these enemies under my feet.’ He knew better than that. So, he prayed … ‘Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens; let thy glory be above all the earth’ (Psalm 57:5). … He was saying, ‘Whatever happens to me, God, be exalted. Whatever these men with sharp teeth and claws and spears and arrows do to me, God, let Your glory be over all the earth. My heart is fixed on this, O God, and l will sing praise because I want You to be exalted above the heavens and Your glory over all the earth.’ ”

  • A. W. Tozer, Success and the Christian

What Do We Know about their Relationship?

David is already anointed to take Saul’s place as king.  But David first appears on the royal scene to sooth King Saul with his music.  He is welcome.  Then David volunteers to kill Goliath.  Saul tries to fit his armor on the boy, but the armor only weighs David down.  All of this shows a positive relationship between the king and his musician.

David goes on to other military victories and the song is chanted in Saul’s hearing that David is, for all intents and purposes, ten times greater.  But the Scriptures state that Saul becomes both jealous and fearful.  Jealous of the praise David receives, and fearful that the spirit has left Saul and is obviously present in David.

Saul tries to marry off a daughter to David, so that he could have better control over David’s movements.  David marries Michal, who loved him at first.  Michal would be given to someone else when Michal helped affect David’s escape from Saul.  Eventually, there was a rift between David and Michal when she thought David’s dancing around the Ark of the Covenant was not dignified and not worthy of a king.

David means no harm to King Saul, but on two well-documented occasions, Saul tries to kill David.  Saul pursues David rather than pursuing the enemies of Israel.

David had two well-documented occasions in which he could have easily killed Saul.  David even lamented that he even cut a corner of Saul’s garment off to prove that he meant no harm to the king.

And finally, after Saul dies, David laments the deaths of Saul and Jonathan.

What Can We Infer about their Relationship?

In the quote, we can see David’s dilemma as well as his character.  David means no harm to Saul, regardless of how much hatred Saul exhibits.

Saul, in trying to kill David, may have understood that David was the chosen king to replace him.  In patterning his reign after the other kings in the area, a purging of all viable rivals solidifies the reign of the king.  But in this case, God was involved to see that did not happen.

Even after Saul’s death, David mourns.  David loved Saul regardless of the abuse he received.  And note that David was anointed to be king before he had met Saul.  David intellectually knew what had to happen, but he emotionally became attached, and even spiritually, he wanted to not harm God’s anointed, in that Saul had been anointed before David was.

In What Ways Can We Fill in the Gaps about their Relationship?

The gap filling is not really necessary, but Saul seemed to have a mental breakdown once the spirit had left him.  Before Saul received the spirit, he argued with Samuel that he was not the right man to be king.  Once the spirit left Saul, he proved his argument.  But he wavered between needing David around and not being able to be in David’s presence without anger boiling over.

Today, they would pump Saul full of medicine, but the Scriptures state that God’s Spirit left Saul and an evil spirit took its place.

What Can We Learn from this Relationship?

In the case of David, the lesson might be that “love conquers all.”  Regardless of what happened, David loved Saul.  Even in Psalm 57, David wanted relief from his pursuers, but he had no ill-will against them.

But David’s love for Saul was not returned in kind.  Saul hated David due to fear and jealousy.  That hatred grew as it became more and more obvious that David was blessed by God, and Saul already knew that he was cursed.

It is too tempting to strike back when someone hates us, but Jesus taught us to love our enemies and love each other.  David, hundreds of years before Jesus, lived out those qualities.  No wonder David was a man after God’s own heart.

And from a practical, but really spiritual aspect, look at what David does in 1 Samuel 23 compared to what Saul had done when he provided unauthorized sacrifices.  David was about to do something, and he stopped to pray.  He had to know that it was God’s Will.  But Saul was determined to attack the enemy and he knew that he would be defeated without “getting God on his side,” thus the sacrifice.  David and Saul relied on God.  David asked for a wise decision while Saul demanded that God help him for the glory of Saul.  Why would Saul be so upset that David was being praised for ridding the Israelites of many of their enemies?  Saul’s pride could not take it.

From a practical standpoint, but showing what is within the heart, we need to inquire of God first.  But if we are focusing on what we want rather than yielding to what God wants, we may not get the answer we desire.  While this discussion is focused on our relationship with God, it also works that way with our relationship with others, especially family.  Even if the father “pulls rank,” for example as it could be anyone in the family, and says his will must be obeyed, an adverse outcome of that decision will work against that father in the future, less trust in his decision making.

For God, He allows us to have a choice, but God reigns over us.  A poor decision by us can lead to consequences.

And we must never let jealousy and anger overtake us.

Forgiveness is important.

What Have We Learned thus far?

We have learned to:

  • Own our own mistakes and not blame others.
  • Be faithful to God, and worship properly, in the proper spirit.
  • Go to God in prayer, especially before any major decisions.
  • Do not show favoritism among family members, but always go to God.
  • Forgiveness is extremely important for none of us are perfect except for God.
  • Beyond physical love, there are other expressions of love, and respect is very important.
  • A relationship requires maintenance, nurturing, and an acceptance of the roles.
  • Be humble and listen to wise advice, and even wait when necessary.
  • At times, we must be bold and trust God, and we must obey.
  • And to love, love, and love.
  • Be trustworthy.  Trust is required.
  • And don’t worry.  God has this situation, and He has us in the palm of His hand.
  • And remember to forgive others and confess our sins.
  • And never go against what God instructs us to do.

A Closing Prayer

We look to You for guidance.  We should inquire of You with as many daily decisions as are practical.  In You is our Hope.  Please, help us to forgive even those who hate us when we have done nothing but show love to them.  And help us; give us strength to continue loving them, no matter of the consequences.
In Thy Name we pray,

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

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