1 Samuel Chapter 19

King Saul had loved David as a young man, but that had changed as David had grown into strong and wise leader of Saul’s army. When the people began to give greater praises to David, Saul became jealous and desirous to destroy him. He sent him to fight in the front lines so that he might die at the hands of their enemies. His plans were frustrated, so in hopes of causing his downfall, Saul gave his younger daughter to David, to be his wife. Saul had a revelation, that he would try to take David’s life, but David would escape twice. Saul’s hatred grew, but David continued to be a loyal and righteous servant. David had also become great friends with Saul’s son, Jonathan. This chapter begins:

1 And Saul spake to Jonathan his son, and to all his servants, that they should kill David.
2 But Jonathan Saul’s son delighted much in David: and Jonathan told David, saying, Saul my father seeketh to kill thee: now therefore, I pray thee, take heed to thyself until the morning, and abide in a secret place, and hide thyself:
3 And I will go out and stand beside my father in the field where thou art, and I will commune with my father of thee; and what I see, that I will tell thee.

Saul told his servants and Jonathan, that they were to kill David, but Jonathan loved David. He told David that his father wanted to kill him. He made a plan for David to hide himself in a secret part of a field. Jonathan would try to talk to his father about David, so that he could tell David, what Saul would do.

4 And Jonathan spake good of David unto Saul his father, and said unto him, Let not the king sin against his servant, against David; because he hath not sinned against thee, and because his works have been to thee-ward very good:
5 For he did put his life in his hand, and slew the Philistine, and the Lord wrought a great salvation for all Israel: thou sawest it, and didst rejoice: wherefore then wilt thou sin against innocent blood, to slay David without a cause?
6 And Saul hearkened unto the voice of Jonathan: and Saul sware, As the Lord liveth, he shall not be slain.
7 And Jonathan called David, and Jonathan shewed him all those things. And Jonathan brought David to Saul, and he was in his presence, as in times past.

Jonathan spoke to his father of the good that David, his servant, had done for Saul. He reminded his father of David’s innocence and just how bad a thing it would be, to kill him and sin against his innocent blood. Saul listened to his son, and made an oath that David would not be killed. Jonathan told him all that his father said, and then he took David back to Saul.

8 And there was war again: and David went out, and fought with the Philistines, and slew them with a great slaughter; and they fled from him.
9 And the evil spirit from the Lord was upon Saul, as he sat in his house with his javelin in his hand: and David played with his hand.
10 And Saul sought to smite David even to the wall with the javelin; but he slipped away out of Saul’s presence, and he smote the javelin into the wall: and David fled, and escaped that night.
11 Saul also sent messengers unto David’s house, to watch him, and to slay him in the morning: and Michal David’s wife told him, saying, If thou save not thy life to night, to morrow thou shalt be slain.

Time passed, and war came again. David fought against the Philistines and was victorious. Those that were not slain, ran away. Again, Saul was touched by an evil spirit, and jealousy grew within him. The Joseph Smith Translation of verse nine, makes a correction. It says that the evil spirit, was not from the Lord. This correction is needed, because God is not evil and does not give anything evil to mankind. If He did, He would not be God. He does, however, allow evil to work for itself in the lives of men, so that we can learn how to recognize it and then use our agency to decide if we will choose the good or the evil. The evil spirit in Saul’s life, came from his own thoughts and choices, not from God.

While David played the harp for him, he sat with a javelin, just as he had seen in his revelation. He tried to kill him with the javelin, but David escaped, and Saul hit the wall instead. This was Saul’s first attempt to personally kill David. Next, Saul sent men to watch David’s house, in order to kill him in the morning, but David’s wife, Michal, told him to escape their home, because the men would kill him in the morning.

12 So Michal let David down through a window: and he went, and fled, and escaped.
13 And Michal took an image, and laid it in the bed, and put a pillow of goats’ hair for his bolster, and covered it with a cloth.
14 And when Saul sent messengers to take David, she said, He is sick.
15 And Saul sent the messengers again to see David, saying, Bring him up to me in the bed, that I may slay him.
16 And when the messengers were come in, behold, there was an image in the bed, with a pillow of goats’ hair for his bolster.
17 And Saul said unto Michal, Why hast thou deceived me so, and sent away mine enemy, that he is escaped? And Michal answered Saul, He said unto me, Let me go; why should I kill thee?

Michal helped David to get away, by lowering him down from a window. David escaped, while Michal put a statue in the bed, with fake hair and clothes. The men came in the morning, and tried to take David, but she told them he was sick. Saul sent the men a second time, to bring David to him, so that he could kill him, but the men went in and found the statue that Michal had put in his place. Saul demanded to know why his daughter had lied to him and allowed David to escape. Mical told Saul that David had told her to help him escape.

18 So David fled, and escaped, and came to Samuel to Ramah, and told him all that Saul had done to him. And he and Samuel went and dwelt in Naioth.
19 And it was told Saul, saying, Behold, David is at Naioth in Ramah.
20 And Saul sent messengers to take David: and when they saw the company of the prophets prophesying, and Samuel standing as appointed over them, the Spirit of God was upon the messengers of Saul, and they also prophesied.
21 And when it was told Saul, he sent other messengers, and they prophesied likewise. And Saul sent messengers again the third time, and they prophesied also.
22 Then went he also to Ramah, and came to a great well that is in Sechu: and he asked and said, Where are Samuel and David? And one said, Behold, they be at Naioth in Ramah.
23 And he went thither to Naioth in Ramah: and the Spirit of God was upon him also, and he went on, and prophesied, until he came to Naioth in Ramah.
24 And he stripped off his clothes also, and prophesied before Samuel in like manner, and lay down naked all that day and all that night. Wherefore they say, Is Saul also among the prophets?

David escaped to Samuel who was in Ramah. He told Samuel what had happened with Saul. David went to stay with Samuel. Saul learned that David was with Samuel and he sent men to take him. The men saw that he was among the prophets as they prophesied. The spirit fell upon the men of Saul and they also prophesied. Word got back to Saul of what happened, he sent more men, who did the same thing. Saul sent men a third time, and they also had the same thing happen to them. Saul decided to go for himself, and stopped at a well to ask where Samuel and David were. He was told where they were, and as he continued on to the place, he was also touched by the spirit and prophesied. When he got to Samuel, he prophesied there and the people wondered if their king was among the prophets. It is interesting to note, that this had already been an experience for Saul. When he was first set apart to be the king of Israel, he prophesied among the prophets.

One thing I learn from this chapter, is that our thoughts and resulting feelings can drive us to do awful things, especially to things that we love. Thoughts are powerful. Saul had been a humble young man, before being anointed as the king. The idea of the power he should have, had influenced his heart. He had allowed his position to become more important that doing what was right. His thoughts had become influenced by the ways of the world. He was the first king of Israel, after the reign of judges, and as such, he only had the examples of the kings and rulers of other nations. I’ve studied some of what kings of the nearby nations would have been like. It seems that often times, they expected that their subjects were completely dependent upon them. Many of them were self-titled gods to their people. They expected to be worshipped and adored above everything. These expectations could have easily influenced Saul. When others praised David for his successes, they wounded the pride of Saul. Jealousy took hold of his heart. Saul felt he deserved the greatest praises and adoration. These feelings caused him to hate someone he had once loved. Then they drove him to command others to do evil against David. He had turned far from the good man he had once been. I don’t know how long it took for this change in Saul to occur, but I know from my own experiences, that it does not take long for individuals to turn from good and from God. We need to be constantly watchful of our own thoughts. If there is something beginning to work into our thoughts, which is in opposition to that which is good, we need to quickly cast it away. Replace evil thoughts with things that are good. Replace evil thoughts with praise to God. As a result, our own thoughts will have a power for good in our lives, rather than bringing negative and harmful feelings.

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