1 Samuel Chapter 18

David defended Israel and had fought and killed Goliath, the giant who fought as the champion for the Philistine army. Once Goliath had been slain, the Israelites were able to have victory over their enemy. Afterwards, King Saul had called for David to come and speak to him. This chapter begins after David had told Saul that he was the son of Jesse of Bethlehem. It starts as follows:

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.
2 And Saul took him that day, and would let him go no more home to his father’s house.
3 Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul.
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, was the son of Saul. Up to this point, Jonathan has shown he was a man of faith and courage. When David had finished speaking to Saul, Jonathan loved David. Jonathan being a good man, probably recognized the righteous spirit in David. Saul took David in as his own family, and did not allow him to return to his father’s home. Jonathan and David had a strong bond and made a covenant with one another. Jonathan gave David his robe, garments, sword, bow and girdle.

I love the word knit when used as a description for the love and heart between these two men. I can imagine two hearts, with the kind of love and unity that makes one unable to see where one ends and the other begins. Jonathan and David had the kind of friendship where their souls were united one with another and love abounded. I know this kind of friendship and love. It is stronger than any other and it sees beyond faults and appearances, to the spirit within. This would have been a true blessing in both of their lives. This kind of friendship is eternal and it reminds me a lot of the relationship that the Savior desires to have with each of us. The Savior taught of this friendship:

12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

We can be knit together in love with the Savior, if we are willing to covenant with him to keep his commandments. He has already extended his loving friendship to us, by giving of his own life for us. His love for us, is eternally forgiving, and without a doubt it can look beyond our faults and appearances to the soul that we truly are.

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.
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 musick.
7 And the women answered one another as they played, and said, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.
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?
9 And Saul eyed David from that day and forward.

David followed the directions given to him by Saul, and did so with wisdom. Saul made him the leader of his armies, and all the people accepted him, including Saul’s servants. Women sang and danced to honor David and Saul for the success against the Philistines. They gave greater honor to David, and Saul became very jealous of David. Had Saul been a man of God, he would not have been more interested in the praising of the Lord, for his guiding hand in their battles, than in the greater praise going to David. But Saul was not a man of God, so he became wary of David and what might become of him, from that time forward. I am sure that somewhere inside, Saul remembered Samuel’s promise that the kingdom would not remain his. He was probably continually looking for who might be chosen to replace him, though he did not know that David had already been anointed to become the king.

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.
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 this time, Saul had temptations of an evil spirit come upon him, giving him a prophecy. In the Joseph Smith Translation of verse 11, it reads, “that the evil spirit [which was not of God] came upon Saul…” In his prophecy, David played the harp, as he had many times before, and Saul had a javelin in his hand. Saul said he would kill David with the javelin, but David got away two times. I think that Saul was being persuaded by an evil spirit, to have a greater fear of David, which would drive his desire to want him dead.

12 And Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with him, and was departed from Saul.
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.
14 And David behaved himself wisely in all his ways; and the Lord was with him.
15 Wherefore when Saul saw that he behaved himself very wisely, he was afraid of him.
16 But all Israel and Judah loved David, because he went out and came in before them.

Saul was afraid of David, knowing that the Lord was with David, but not with him. Saul decided to send David away from his presence, by having him lead at the front of his army. David continued to do what he was told and continued to have the Lord with him. This made Saul afraid of him, but the people loved David because he protected them.

As a side note, it is interesting to see that there has been a shift in reference to the people. In the records of the bible, the people were referred to as Israelites, or the people of Israel. There has been a shift to referring to the people as Israel and Judah. Instead of being one nation, they were two groups of people associated because of God. Eventually, these two groups will be divided into two kingdoms.

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.
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?
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.
20 And Michal Saul’s daughter loved David: and they told Saul, and the thing pleased him.
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.

Saul wanted to be rid of David, but felt he could not kill him. He wanted instead, for David to die in battle against the Philistines. Saul offered his oldest daughter’s hand in marriage, if David would continue to fight valiantly for the Lord’s army. David thought this honor too much for someone of such a humble background as he was. So, when it was time for him to be married to Merab, Saul gave her to another man. Saul’s other daughter, Michal, loved David and she told Saul. Saul was happy with this, because he felt that she would be a snare to David. As the son-in-law to the king, it could bring the Philistines down upon him.

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.
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?
24 And the servants of Saul told him, saying, On this manner spake David.
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.
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.
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.

Saul told his servants to talk David into becoming his son-in-law. David wondered if the servants thought that being the son-in-law to the king was a simple or insignificant thing, but he was too lowly for this privilege. They went back to Saul and told him. Saul had them return and tell him he did not need to offer a dowry for marriage, but he could instead offer a sacrifice of part of 100 Philistines, so that Saul could be avenged of his enemies. Saul had an ulterior motive in this, and that was that he hoped David would be killed in battle. David was glad to hear what Saul asked of him, and he desired to marry his daughter. So, David took him men and killed 200 of the Philistines, bringing the offering back to Saul with the story of what had happened. Saul gave Michal to David.

28 And Saul saw and knew that the Lord was with David, and that Michal Saul’s daughter loved him.
29 And Saul was yet the more afraid of David; and Saul became David’s enemy continually.
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.

This did not please Saul, because he knew that his daughter loved David and that the Lord continued to be with him. Saul grew in animosity towards David. David become the wisest among all of the servants of Saul, and became well-known and loved for his service.

One of the things that comes to mind as I ponder on this chapter, is that there is a need to be watchful of the choices we make and the influences in our lives. When we make choices that drive the spirit out of our lives, just as Saul had done in moments of fear and pride, we make a space in our lives for something else. Saul allowed that space to be filled with an evil spirit, which persuaded him into fear. This kind of spirit attaches itself to a person’s soul, bringing temptations to them to do wrong, and binding that person to wickedness. Pretty soon, all that that person is able to think about is their own selfish desires, as was the case with Saul. His greater desire became wanting to see David dead, instead of wanting to accept the honors that David was bringing to his king. Sadly, these feelings were never provoked by David himself, only by others who gave honor to him. David did not seek to make himself better than the king, in fact, he felt he was not even worthy of the honor of even becoming the king’s son-in-law.

It is sad to see the kind of effect this had on the relationship between Saul and David. When Saul first met David, he adored him. He took him in as if his own son, because he was a talented young man. Saul gave David honors by setting him over a portion of his army. While the relationship between Jonathan and David grew stronger out of love, the relationship between Saul and David became weakened out of envy and hatred. However, through all of this, David remained a loyal servant and son-in-law, because he was a good man who was faithful and blessed with the spirit. This causes me to consider my own life. What kind of friend am I? Do I allow feelings of self-doubt to creep in and bring along the partners of envy and jealousy? Or do I rejoice in the accomplishments of my friends and show greater gratitude to God for the things that he blesses others with? It is better to be humble, faithful, loyal and wise like David, rather than prideful, envious and yet, powerful like Saul.

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I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.

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