1 Samuel 16 - 18

Chapter 15 of 1 Samuel ends with Saul having been rejected as the King of Israel. As he grasps Samuelís cloak and tears it, he is told that the kingdom of Israel will be torn from him and given to another. This other is a young shepherd boy named David.

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

David Introduced

David on the field of battle

David in the Court of Saul

To Samuel

To Saul

David Anointed by Samuel

David plays for Saul

David slays Goliath

David becomes the object of Saulís fear



1. Samuel Sent to Bethlehem.

Now the Lord said to Samuel, "How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have selected a king for Myself among his sons." (1 Samuel 16:1).

When Samuel pronounced Saulís rejection as king, he did so with a heavy heart. Samuel had been instrumental in choosing Saul as king in the first place. He had been drawn to this young man. And he had watched him become the deliverer of Israel. But from this time onward, he would not see Saul again. And now, the Lord calls Samuel and sends him to anoint a replacement for Saul.

But Samuel said, "How can I go? When Saul hears of it, he will kill me." And the Lord said, "Take a heifer with you, and say, 'I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.í

"And you shall invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do; and you shall anoint for Me the one whom I designate to you." (1 Samuel 16:2-3).

Samuel is no fool. He knows Saul well enough to know that he will do anything to hold onto his kingdom - including murder of a prophet. And so, the Lord instructs Samuel in a "cover story." This is not a lie, for Samuel will indeed offer the specified sacrifice. But neither will Samuel reveal to Saul the fact of the anointing which will take place.

2. Appearances versus the Heart.

Then it came about when they entered, that he looked at Eliab and thought, "Surely the Lordís anointed is before Him."

But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." (1 Samuel 16:6-7).

As Samuel first looked upon Jesseís oldest son, he found himself thinking, "Oldest. Firstborn. Leader. This must be the one." But it wasnít to be. It didnít matter which was the tallest (like Saul). Or the oldest. Or the strongest. Or the most handsome. What mattered was what was on the INSIDE.

That isnít the way in which man normally judges. This is easily illustrated by looking at the men who have been elected as president since the advent of television.

Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, "Neither has the Lord chosen this one."

Next Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, "Neither has the Lord chosen this one."

Thus Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. But Samuel said to Jesse, "The Lord has not chosen these." (1 Samuel 16:8-10).

The first three sons are given by name. We see in the next chapter that all three of these men were warriors in Saulís militia army. One after another, they were rejected until Jesse had run out of sons.

And Samuel said to Jesse, "Are these all the children?" And he said, "There remains yet the youngest, and behold, he is tending the sheep." Then Samuel said to Jesse, "Send and bring him; for we will not sit down until he comes here." (1 Samuel 16:11).

Young David had not even been considered worthy of being called to the sacrifice. There were several reasons for this.

Jesus, the Son of David was to be born in the same town of Bethlehem. He would be deemed a bastard by his community and would also be rejected by his brothers.

3. Davidís Appearance.

So he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, with beautiful eyes and a handsome appearance. And the Lord said, "Arise, anoint him; for this is he." (1 Samuel 16:12).

David is described as being "ruddy," the same term which was used of Esau at his birth (it is from this same word that we derive "Edom"). This may have meant that he had red hair which was highly prized in the Middle East where black hair was the norm.

4. Davidís Anointing.

Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward. And Samuel arose and went to Ramah. (1 Samuel 16:13).

Up to this point, we have not seen the name of David. It is given here for the first time. It is an unusual name and its meaning is obscure. It seems to be from a root used mostly in the Song of Solomon where it is translated "beloved."

The purpose of this anointing was to set David apart as the new king of Israel.

The anointing with oil was accompanied with a spiritual anointing as the Spirit of the Lord came upon David. The Spirit of God came upon him in a special way that would empower him for ministry. There is an interesting parallel between the anointing with David and the baptism of Jesus.



The Lord instructed Samuel to anoint one who would be revealed.

The Lord instructed John the Baptist that One who he would anoint would be Messiah.

Samuel anointed David with oil.

John baptized Jesus with water.

At this anointing, the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David.

As He came out of the water, the Spirit descended upon Jesus in the form of a dove.

In both cases, following the anointing there was no immediate movement toward kingship. The promise continued to be unrealized for a long period.

David would go for many years before eventually coming to the throne of Israel. For many of those years he would be a fugitive. Perhaps there would be times when he would wonder whether Samuel had been mistaken in anointing him. I am certain that there would be times when he did not FEEL anointed. And in those dark times, he would of necessity depend upon the ministry of the Spirit to sustain him.

The Scriptures teach that we have the Spirit of God today in a special sense which is over and above that which was experienced in Old Testament times.

John 7:39 says that the Spirit in the days of Jesus had not yet been given "because Jesus was not yet glorified."

Romans 8:9 says that "if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him."

What does this mean? It means that we are all the more responsible to be filled with the Spirit and to walk in His will and in accordance with His power.



There is a chiastic pattern in verses 13-14 which highlight the comings and goings both of Godís prophet and Godís Spirit.

The Spirit of the Lord comes upon David (16:13)

An evil spirit from the Lord comes upon Saul (16:14)



Samuel leaves David (16:13)


The Spirit of the Lord leaves Saul (16:14)

Whereas Samuel had been directed by the Lord to choose David to be anointed in verses 1-13, now it is Saul who chooses David to be both his companion as well as his armor bearer. And yet, it is the Lord who is the initiator of all of these events.

1. Two Spirits.

Now the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord terrorized him. (1 Samuel 16:14).

Just as the Spirit of God comes upon David, so also it departs from Saul. Does this mean that Saul lost his salvation? No. The presence or absence of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament says nothing about salvation. Prior to Pentecost, the Holy Spirit's presence was rarely permanent, usually coming only for special circumstances and needs. However, since Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4) the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in believers is permanent.

It is important that we keep in mind the various ministries of the Holy Spirit. There are certain aspects of the working of the Spirit which are temporary as well as certain aspects which are permanent.

There are also ministries of the Holy Spirit evident today which were not evident in Old Testament times.

Ministry of the Spirit

Old Testament Times

New Testament Times

Baptism of the Spirit

No mention is ever made of these ever taking place in Old Testament times.

All believers (1 Corinthians 12:13).

Indwelling of the Spirit

All believers (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

Sealing of the Spirit

All believers (Ephesians 1:13).

Filling of the Spirit

Takes place in the same temporal manner throughout Godís economy (Psalm 51:11; Ephesians 5:18).

The Spirit had departed from Saul. But the empty house which has been swept clean is now replaced by an "evil spirit." The startling thing about this evil spirit was that it was from the Lord.

What was the nature of this spirit? Let me suggest that it was NOT necessarily a demon. Rather, it was a messenger from God - and angel sent on an errand of trouble.

This should not surprise us. The Israelites had already seen the Lord send an angel of death against the firstborn of the Egyptians.

2. A Musical Solution.

Saulís servants then said to him, "Behold now, an evil spirit from God is terrorizing you. 16 Let our Lord now command your servants who are before you. Let them seek a man who is a skillful player on the harp; and it shall come about when the evil spirit from God is on you, that he shall play the harp with his hand, and you will be well." (1 Samuel 16:15-16).

We need not take this to mean that music is a cure-all for evil spirits. And yet, God is going to use this situation and this advice to work out His plan and program.



From the tribe of Benjamin

From the tribe of Judah

First seen looking for his fatherís donkeys.

First seen caring for his fatherís sheep.

Head and shoulders above the rest of the men of Israel.

The youngest and least impressive of eight brothers.

Godís Spirit is removed from Saul.

The Spirit of the Lord comes mightily upon David.

An evil spirit from the Lord terrorizes Saul.

Davidís playing of the harp causes evil spirit to depart from Saul.

3. Davidís Call.

Then one of the young men answered and said, "Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite who is a skillful musician, a mighty man of valor, a warrior, one prudent in speech, and a handsome man; and the Lord is with him."

So Saul sent messengers to Jesse, and said, "Send me your son David who is with the flock."

And Jesse took a donkey loaded with bread and a jug of wine and a young goat, and sent them to Saul by David his son. (1 Samuel 16:18-20).

What a wondrous thing is the providence of God! These things seemed to happen just by "chance." By chance, Saul had this dark depression come over him at this period of his life just after David had been anointed. By chance, one of his attendants suggested music as a treatment. By chance, one of those attendance had heard of the musical ability of a shepherd boy from Bethlehem.

Notice the reputation by which David had come to be known.

a. A skillful musician.

If David had never become king of Israel, he still would have achieved renown as one of the great poets and songwriters of all time.

b. A mighty man of valor.

Perhaps some of his experiences in protecting his flocks from predators had become known.

c. A warrior.

At this point in time, David only had the makings of a future warrior. After all, he was still considered a boy.

d. One prudent in speech.

If you are the smallest boy in a huge family, you would probably either become prudent in speech or become the most bruised boy around.

e. A handsome man.

This same word is used with the negative particle is found in Isaiah 53:2 where we read that the Messiah "had no STATELY FORM or majesty that we should look upon Him."

f. The Lord is with him. This was the most important quality of all.

Can you imagine how Jesse might have felt when he received order from the king that David was to be sent to him? What had just happened in the life of David? He had been anointed as the next king of Israel. The only problem is that there was already a king who showed no signs of abdicating.

I am certain what must have flashed through his mind. "Saul has found out about the anointing and is now going to execute my son!" But he hopes for the best and sends his son to stand before the king.

4. In the Court of Saul.

Then David came to Saul and attended him, and Saul loved him greatly; and he became his armor bearer.

And Saul sent to Jesse, saying, "Let David now stand before me; for he has found favor in my sight." (1 Samuel 16:21-22).

Saul would eventually come to the point where he would fear and hate David. But this was not his initial response. He went so far as to make David his armor bearer - a later age would refer to this position as a squire..

So it came about whenever the evil spirit from God came to Saul, David would take the harp and play it with his hand; and Saul would be refreshed and be well, and the evil spirit would depart from him. (1 Samuel 16:23).



The Story of David & Goliath is probably one of the Best known Bible stories, and has been told in Sunday Schools for generations. As such it has perhaps become too familiar, and perhaps as we read it over, we tend to read it through the eyes of a child.



Anointing by Samuel followed by Saulís defeat of Nahash and the Ammonites.

Anointing by Samuel followed by Davidís defeat of Goliath and the Philistines.

1. Setting for the Story.

Now the Philistines gathered their armies for battle; and they were gathered at Socoh which belongs to Judah, and they camped between Socoh and Azekah, in Ephes-dammim.

And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered, and camped in the valley of Elah, and drew up in battle array to encounter the Philistines.

And the Philistines stood on the mountain on one side while Israel stood on the mountain on the other side, with the valley between them. (1 Samuel 17:1-3).

As you leave the coastland area of Palestine along the Mediterranean and move eastward, the first geographical feature you encounter is a range of low foothills known as the Shephelah. Over the years the streams flowing down from these hills have cut deep gorges known as Wadis. The Valley of Elah is one such Wadi.

Located about 15 miles west of Bethlehem, this Wadi served as a pass from east to west (the stream disappears entirely in the dry season leaving a riverbed of small round stones).

The Philistines held the seacoast plains of Canaan. The Israelites held the mountains. The Shephelah was the contested area between.

2. Goliath.

Then a champion came out from the armies of the Philistines named Goliath, from Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span.

And he had a bronze helmet on his head, and he was clothed in scale-armor which weighed five thousand shekels of bronze.

He also had bronze greaves on his legs and a bronze javelin slung between his shoulders.

And the shaft of his spear was like a weaverís beam, and the head of his spear weighed six hundred shekels of iron; his shield-carrier also walked before him. (1 Samuel 17:4-7).

The name "Goliath" seems to be Indo-European in origin. He is described as having the latest armaments in modern warfare. This paragraph leaves us with a number of weights and measures.





Distance from the tip of the fingers to the elbow

18 inches


From the tip of the thumb to the tip of the little finger when the hand is extended

8 inches

Shekel "to weigh"

There is considerable fluctuation as to what constituted a shekel.

4/10's to 3/10's of an ounce

When we put these together, we are presented with the following description:





six cubits and a span

9 feet, 8 inches


5000 shekels of bronze

125 pounds

Head of his Spear

600 shekels of iron

15 pounds

The height of Goliath has brought about considerable speculation since there has been no man in recorded history to achieve such stature. The Hebrew manuscript of Samuel found in the Dead Sea Scrolls (4QSam) contains a textual variant in this description putting him instead at four cubits and a span, making him six feet nine inches. This reading is confirmed both by the Vaticanus, a Greek translation of the Old Testament, as well as in the Antiquities of Josephus.

This does not change the fact that Goliath was the equivalent of a human tank. Standing head and shoulders over the rest of the population, he would have looked indestructible. And to even get to him, one would have to get past the large figure-eight shield which was held by his armor bearer.

3. Goliathís Challenge.

And he stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, and said to them, "Why do you come out to draw up in battle array? Am I not the Philistine and you servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves and let him come down to me.

"If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will become your servants; but if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall become our servants and serve us." (1 Samuel 17:8-9).

Warfare in the ancient world was a violent and bloody affair (this is true for war in any age). It was not uncommon for 20 or 30 thousand men to fall in a single battle. Goliath was a part of a highly cultured race. He offers a relatively peaceful alternative. A representative from each of the two warring nations will fight and decide the issue. Instead of thousands falling in battle, only one man shall die.

The problem is that no one in the Israelite army was willing to accept the challenge. They were all "dismayed and greatly afraid" (17:11). This included Saul.

To make matters worse, verse 16 tells us that this challenge was issued every morning and every evening for 40 days. A total of 80 times, Goliath issued his challenge. And 80 times, the Israelites played the part of the coward.

4. Davidís Errand.

Then Jesse said to David his son, "Take now for your brothers an ephah of this roasted grain and these ten loaves, and run to the camp of your brothers.

"Bring also these ten cuts of cheese to the commander of their thousand, and look into the welfare of your brothers, and bring back news of them." (1 Samuel 17:17-18).

Jesse was an old man (17:12). It was for this reason that he was not with Saulís army. David was evidently on furlough from his duties in the court of Saul. He had gone back to his old duties of caring for the family flocks.

His errand was one of information. There was no post office in those days. And so David was to play the part of a postal worker. He was to learn the latest family news and bring it back to his father.

5. Davidís Reaction to Goliathís Challenge.

As David arrives at the battlefield, it is just in time to hear Goliathís customary challenge. He is prepared to see men empowered with a holy boldness. Instead, he witnesses a scene of devout cowardice.

When all the men of Israel saw the man, they fled from him and were greatly afraid. (1 Samuel 17:24).

I imagine that David might have been a bit disillusioned. Have you ever experienced disillusionment? In the early 1970's Paula and I were at Florida Bible College when the president of the college was caught in an illicit relationship. This was a man who had been greatly used of God to lead thousands to the Lord. But he fell. And a lot of students went through a period of great disillusionment. There were some whose spiritual lives were shipwrecked as a result of that incident.

What is your reaction to disillusionment? Whenever you are disappointed with someone, that means you have appointed them to a position from which they have fallen. There is a lesson here. It is of the danger of placing people on pedestals.

Then David spoke to the men who were standing by him, saying, "What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and who takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should taunt the armies of the living God?" (1 Samuel 17:26).

David sees more at issue than a mere military campaign. The honor of God is at stake. Have you notice how commonplace it has become for the world to picture the church as an object of ridicule? It is easy to rationalize that the church deserves it, as the armies of Israel deserved the ridicule heaped upon them. But the honor of God is at stake. And for that reason, Christians need to be bold to speak out.

6. Eliabís Anger.

Now Eliab his oldest brother heard when he spoke to the men; and Eliabís anger burned against David and he said, "Why have you come down? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your insolence and the wickedness of your heart; for you have come down in order to see the battle." (1 Samuel 17:28).

There is nothing a coward dreads more than to have his cowardice exposed. Eliabís reaction is to shift the blame. He points his finger of blame at David. He finds fault with the actions of David. Whenever you see a fault-finder, there is a fault that the fault-finder is attempting to hide.

Have you ever noticed how often it is when a person determines to make a stand for the Lord that it is a member of his own family who tries to dissuade him?

m Jesus and His brothers.

m Moses versus Aaron and Miriam.

m Job and his wife.

One of the things that I treasure in my own life is the encouragement that Paula has been to me in ministry.

7. David before Saul.

And David said to Saul, "Let no manís heart fail on account of him; your servant will go and fight this Philistine." (1 Samuel 17:32).

Saul's reaction was understandably dubious. He looks at Goliath and sees a giant of a man; a professional soldier who was raised in all the arts of modern military warfare. And then he looks at David - a young shepherd boy. David points to that which Saul has not seen - the presence of the Lord.

Then Saul said to David, "You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are but a youth while he has been a warrior from his youth." (1 Samuel 17:33).

David and Saul are looking at different things. Saul is looking at David and saying, "Heís too small!" David is looking at God and saying, "Heís big enough."

But David said to Saul, "Your servant was tending his father's sheep. When a lion or a bear came and took a lamb from the flock, 35 I went out after him and attacked him, and rescued it from his mouth; and when he rose up against me, I seized him by his beard and struck him and killed him.

"Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, since he has taunted the armies of the living God." (1 Samuel 17:34-36).

David believes that he will be victorious over Goliath, not because HE is so big and strong, but because Goliath has set himself up against the "living God" and therefore cannot help but lose.

God has ordered David to be anointed. This was a covenantal sign. It was a sign that God had a special purpose for him. And if God had a special purpose for him, then he was not going to be slain by this Philistine.

And David said, "The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine." (1 Samuel 17:37a).

There is a play on words here. The word for "paw" is the same as the word for "hand" (Yad). The Philistine is seen as just another animal from whom David will be delivered.

David's victory over a bear or a lion was not due to David's ability, his strength or his size. It was the Lord who had given him these victories. And it was the Lord who would give him the victory over Goliath.

8. David tries on Saulís Armor.

Then Saul clothed David with his garments and put a bronze helmet on his head, and he clothed him with armor.

And David girded his sword over his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. So David said to Saul, "I cannot go with these, for I have not tested them." And David took them off (1 Samuel 17:38-39).

Saul tries to make David over in his own image. He means well. People will often try to get you to wear their armor when you face your Goliath. But it is God who must design your own armor. My armor wonít fit you.

The fact that David succeeded in actually trying on the armor of Saul indicates that it must have come close to fitting. Otherwise he would not have been able to don it in the first place.

Remember that Saul was head and shoulders over all of Israel (10:23). His armor would have been sized as an extra-extra large.

David was not a little boy. But neither was he used to fighting in armor. He was untrained in its use. And he was unaccustomed to moving about while carrying this additional weight. And so, David put the armor of Saul aside, content to wear the armor of God.

And he took his stick in his hand and chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in the shepherdís bag which he had, even in his pouch, and his sling was in his hand; and he approached the Philistine. (1 Samuel 17:40).

A sling consisted of two long cords tied to a pocket at the center. The slinger would place a stone in the pocket, whirl to ends of the cord and then release one of them, letting the stone fly at its target. Iíve used a sling before. And I admit that it takes a LOT of practice.

The sling was one of the accepted weapons of the Israelites. It was not dependent upon the ironworks of the Philistines. There had been an entire brigade of 700 slingers from the tribe of Benjamin who could "sling a stone at a hair and not miss" (Judges 20:16).

Why did David take FIVE stones? I have hears a lot of possible reasons proposed. Because Goliath had four other brothers. Because five is the number of the grace of God. But I think that there was a different reason. I think that was in case he missed.

There is a point here. It is that Christians ought to be practical. It is okay for Christians to...

m Have life insurance.

m Carry a spare tire (except around your waist).

m Plan ahead.

It is okay to utilize some of that planning for this life. On the other hand, the most practical thing that we can do is to make the major thrust of our lives the preparation of eternity.

9. Words between David and Goliath.

Then the Philistine came on and approached David, with the shield-bearer in front of him. When the Philistine looked and saw David, he disdained him; for he was but a youth, and ruddy, with a handsome appearance.

And the Philistine said to David, "Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?" And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. The Philistine also said to David, "Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the sky and the beasts of the field." (1 Samuel 17:41-44).

When we read that "the Philistine cursed David by his gods", we should remember that the term Elohim can either refer to "gods" or "God." While it is possible that Goliath was invoking his own false gods to assist him against David, there is nothing in his demeanor to indicate that he felt the need of such assistance. On the other hand, it is likely that Goliath was cursing both David AND the Lord.

Then David said to the Philistine, "You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted." (1 Samuel 17:45).

To come in the name of a person was to come with all of their authority, their rank and everything that they were. This was not merely a battle between two men. At stake here was the honor of the Lord of hosts. And David was here as the representative, both of the people of God as well as of the Lord Himself. There is a parallel here between David and the last son of David.


Jesus Christ, Son of David

Son of Jesse

A shoot from the stem of Jesse (Isaiah 11:1).

Chastised by his older brother.

He came to His own and those who were His own did not receive Him (John 1:11).

Refused to wear the armor of Saul.

Laid aside His glory to take the form of a man.

He met Goliath as the representative of Israel.

He went to the cross as our representative, dying for our sins.

He also served as the representative of the Lord.

He served as the mediator between God and men.

He used a rock.

He IS the Rock.

He won the victory through the death of Goliath.

Won the victory through his own death, burial and resurrection.

In both cases, they...

m Wrought victory as a humble servant (Philippians 2:8).

m Did it alone (Isaiah 53:3).

m Did it with one mighty blow (Hebrews 10:11-13).

10. The Death of Goliath.

And David put his hand into his bag and took from it a stone and slung it and struck the Philistine on his forehead. And the stone sank into his forehead, so that he fell on his face to the ground. (1 Samuel 17:49).

The later Greek helmets had a protective prong down the center of the face to stop such assaults. But the Philistine helmets left the face exposed.

Do you remember the incident of the Ark within the Temple of Dagon? There is an interesting similarity with the fall of Dagon and the fall of Goliath.

Ark Versus Dagon

David Versus Goliath

The Ark had been captured by the Philistines and placed in the Temple of Dagon.

Goliath saw in David an easy victory.

Dagon was found face down before the Ark.

Goliath fell on his face.

Dagon was found with his head removed which led to an enduring practice.

David cut off Goliathís head and kept it as a trophy.

Dagon was seen by all to be a dead idol of stone.

The Lord is seen to be the living God (17:26).

Then David ran and stood over the Philistine and took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him, and cut off his head with it. When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled. (1 Samuel 17:51).

Do you see what happened? The Philistines forgot their promise. Goliath had promised that if he were to be defeated, then all of the Philistines would become slaves of the Israelites. Instead, they ran.

And the men of Israel and Judah arose and shouted and pursued the Philistines as far as the valley, and to the gates of Ekron. And the slain Philistines lay along the way to Shaaraim, even to Gath and Ekron.

And the sons of Israel returned from chasing the Philistines and plundered their camps.

Then David took the Philistine's head and brought it to Jerusalem, but he put his weapons in his tent. (1 Samuel 17:52-54).

Jerusalem was a Jebusite city. It was closed to Israelites at this time. Why did David bring Goliathís head to Jerusalem? There are several possibilities:



This chapter begins with Saulís son, Jonathan, coming to love David and make a covenant with him. The chapter ends with Saulís daughter, Michal, coming to love David and marry him.






Jonathan loves David

Women sing Davidís praises

Saul throws spear at David

David prospers before the people

Michal loves David

Saul sets David over the men of war.

Saul looks on David with suspicion

Saul is afraid of David

Saul dreads David

Saul is even more afraid of David

1. Jonathan and David.

Now it came about when he had finished speaking to Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as himself. (1 Samuel 18:1).

Jonathan recognized in David a kindred spirit despite very different backgrounds. Jonathan was the son of a king and heir to the throne. David was a simple shepherd boy.

Jonathan was a fully mature man in his prime. David was still a boy, though he had gained the respect of men due to his victory over Goliath.

They had both achieved overwhelming victory in a time when defeat seemed probable. They both were renown as heros. And this naturally kindred spirit led to a close friendship.

Then Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. 4 And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, with his armor, including his sword and his bow and his belt. (1 Samuel 18:3-4).

It has become increasingly popular to assert that the love between Jonathan and David was a homosexual relationship. The truth is that the Hebrew word used here for love is NEVER used of homosexual relationships in the Bible.

Incidentally, this same word is used in 1 Kings 5:1 where we read that King Hiram of Tyre had LOVED David all the days of his life. This usage indicates the friendly relations between two neighboring kings.

Both Saul and Jonathan began by loving David. When David first came to the court of Saul and played the harp in his presence, we read that "Saul loved him greatly" (16:21). Now, as Jonathan came to know this remarkable young man, he also came to love him.

The gift of his own personal weapons was made greater by the fact that weapons were not common among the Israelites. At the start of the campaigns against the Philistines, there had been only two sets of weapon in the entire army of Israel. One set had belonged to Saul. And the other set were Jonathanís - now given to David.

2. The Rejoicing of the Women.

And it happened as they were coming, when David returned from killing the Philistine, that the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with joy and with musical instruments.

And the women sang as they played, and said, "Saul has slain his thousands. And David his ten thousands." (1 Samuel 18:6-7).

As the victorious Israelites made their way back to their homes, they were greeted in each Israelite town and village with singing and rejoicing - the ancient equivalent of a ticker-tape parade.

At the heart of the celebration were the two heroic figures: Saul and David. The fact that Saul was held up as a heroic figure was rather gracious. He hadnít done anything heroic recently. But Saul didnít see it that way. Indeed, he saw it through the green eyes of jealousy.

Then Saul became very angry, for this saying displeased him; and he said, "They have ascribed to David ten thousands, but to me they have ascribed thousands. Now what more can he have but the kingdom?"

And Saul looked at David with suspicion from that day on. (1 Samuel 18:8-9).

In verse 5 we read that Davidís promotion "was pleasing in the sight [eyes] of all the people and also in the sight [eyes] of Saulís servants." Now we read that Saul became very angry, for this saying displeased him (literally, it was displeasing in his eyes).

Saul knew from Samuelís prophecy that the kingdom had already been snatched from him by God and given to another.

m To his "neighbor."

m To "someone closely associated with him.

m To someone who was better than him,

Saul was on the lookout for such a man. And here was one whose praises the people of the land were proclaiming.

What is your reaction when someone else is praised more than you are? Do you feel pangs of jealousy? And if you do, then what do you do about it? Become gloomy or morose? Look for some fault on the part of the one who has outshone you? Or repent of your sinful attitude and seek to further edify that one who has become the object of your jealousy?

There is a contrast here between David and Saul. It is a contrast that has been developing for the past three chapters.



Chapter 16

David is given Godís Spirit

Godís Spirit departs from Saul and he is given an evil spirit.

Chapter 17

David faces Goliath in faith and victory.

Saul fears Goliath.

Chapter 18

David is loved by others, even those of Saulís family.

Saul tries to murder David and have him killed.

3. Attempted Murder.

Now it came about on the next day that an evil spirit from God came mightily upon Saul, and he raved in the midst of the house, while David was playing the harp with his hand, as usual; and a spear was in Saul's hand.

And Saul hurled the spear for he thought, "I will pin David to the wall." But David escaped from his presence twice. (1 Samuel 18:10-11).

For a military leader like Saul, the spear was a sign on authority (in a more peaceful kingdom, he might have held a scepter). Notice the contrast. David had in his hand a harp. Saul had in his hand a spear. David was seeking to minister to Saul through music. Saul sought to murder David with his spear.

Now Saul was afraid of David, for the Lord was with him but had departed from Saul. (1 Samuel 18:12).

David had done nothing to make Saul fear him. It was David who should have been afraid - he had been the intended target of Saulís attack. But Saul was afraid. Why? Because he recognized that the Lord had left him and was now with David.

4. Commander over a Thousand.

Therefore Saul removed him from his presence, and appointed him as his commander of a thousand; and he went out and came in before the people. (1 Samuel 18:13).

It is not entirely clear whether this was a promotion or a demotion. In verse 5 David had been set over the men of war. Now he was the commander of a mere thousand. He was out of the court and possibly away from public attention.

5. Saulís Daughter and Saulís Plot.

Then Saul said to David, "Here is my older daughter Merab; I will give her to you as a wife, only be a valiant man for me and fight the Lordís battle." For Saul thought, "My hand shall not be against him, but let the hand of the Philistines be against him." (1 Samuel 18:17).

Saul had originally promised that whoever killed Goliath would have the hand of his daughter in marriage. Perhaps David had been a bit too young for that. Or perhaps Saul had conveniently forgotten his promise. But now he offers his daughter to David. Unfortunately, his motives leave something to be desired.

Saul wants David dead. But he doesnít want to do the deed himself (he had already tried that and it hadnít worked). Instead, he will try to set it up so that the Philistines will kill him.

Does this sound familiar? A later king would suppose, "If I put Uriah the Hittite in the forefront of the battle..."

But David said to Saul, "Who am I, and what is my life or my father's family in Israel, that I should be the king's son-in-law?"

So it came about at the time when Merab, Saul's daughter, should have been given to David, that she was given to Adriel the Meholathite for a wife. (1 Samuel 18:18-19).

David was a man of true humility. He was not seeking Saulís throne. He was not even seeking the hand of one of Saulís daughters. And so, the daughter that had originally been promised to the slayer of Goliath was given to another.

6. Michal, the Daughter who Loved David.

Now Michal, Saul's daughter, loved David. When they told Saul, the thing was agreeable to him.

And Saul thought, "I will give her to him that she may become a snare to him, and that the hand of the Philistines may be against him." Therefore Saul said to David, "For a second time you may be my son-in-law today." (1 Samuel 18:20-21).

Just as Jonathan had developed a love for David, so also Michal, Saulís youngest daughter, also developed a love for him. Instead of making Saul mad, it pleased him. Not because his attitude had changed toward David, but because he saw this as an opportunity to entrap him. This scene is played out in the form of a chiasm:

Michalís love for David pleases Saul (18:20).

Michalís love for David pleases Saul (18:26).



Saul wants David to fall at the hands of the Philistines (18:21).

Saul wants David to fall at the hands of the Philistines (18:25).



Saul sends a message to David (18:22-23).


David sends a message to Saul (18:23-24).

The offer of marriage is made again to David, who objects that he is "a poor man and lightly esteemed" (18:23). He is told that he will be given the kingís daughter in marriage for a dowry of 100 Philistine foreskins. David responds with not 100, but 200 such trophies from the Philistines.

When Saul saw and knew that the LORD was with David, and that Michal, Saul's daughter, loved him, 29 then Saul was even more afraid of David. Thus Saul was David's enemy continually. (1 Samuel 18:28-29).

Have you ever seen a snowball roll down a hill? It begins very small, but as it continues upon its course, it grows and grows. Saul was like that snowball. And he was rolling toward his own eventual destruction.

In what direction are you moving in your Christian life? The one thing that I can guarantee is that you are not standing still. You are either moving toward God or you are moving away from him. Going faster is not the answer. The answer is always a repentant heart.

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