The friendship of Saul’s son Jonathan and David is a beautiful truth in this text (a story greatly perverted by those with a homosexual agenda). Jonathan “became one in spirit with David”, we are told, for “he loved him as himself” (v. 1). Jonathan makes a covenant with David “because he loved him as himself (v. 3). He gave David his robe and tunic and his weapons!
The Lord gave David success on whatever mission assigned to him by Saul. It’s not easy to please “all the troops and the officers” of the army, but David did!
Military success is one thing. But adulation is quite another. The women of the towns sing to David, emphasizing his slaying “tens of thousands” versus Saul’s slaying only “thousands.” This makes Saul very angry and he asks, “What more can David get but the kingdom?” (v. 8).
“An evil spirit from God” comes forcefully on Saul while he is prophesying. While David is playing his lyre, Saul hurls a spear at David. Twice. We are told that “Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with David but had departed from Saul” (v. 12).
Saul sends David away to command the troops and we are told that “in everything he did he had great success, because the Lord was with him.” (v. 14). Saul is overcome by a fear of David and his successes, but David is loved by all Israel and Judah (v. 16).
Saul plans David’s demise, promising his older daughter Merab to him if he will “only serve me bravely and fight the battles of the Lord” (v. 17). Saul says to himself, “I will not raise a hand against him. Let the Philistines do that!” [This certainly foreshadows what David himself will do when he has to get rid of Uriah!].
David’s response to King Saul’s offer of his daughter is one of humility: “Who am I, and what is my family or my clan in Israel, that I should become the king’s son-in-law?” (v. 18). But Saul did not keep his word — and subsequently gives his daughter Merab to someone else!
Some takeaways for me:
1. Jealousy is a very real danger — and can be born in any believer’s heart. I must be careful when it comes to others’ receiving praise. I am to rejoice with those who rejoice!
2. I want to long for the Lord to be “with” me. “With” here in this context means much more than a kind of physical presence. The Lord’s being “with” David produces fear in Saul (v. 12), leading him to try to kill David.
3. Any of us can use religious language to justify our agenda! Saul speaks of David’s fighting “the battles of the Lord” — and he wants him dead!
4. Disappointments will come to us. They may not be the reneging of a daughter’s hand in marriage, but people don’t always keep their word.