1 Samuel 19

1 Samuel 19

Saul Tries to Kill David

19 And Saul spoke to Jonathan his son and to all his servants, that they should kill David. But Jonathan, Saul’s son, delighted much in David. And Jonathan told David, “Saul my father seeks to kill you. Therefore be on your guard in the morning. Stay in a secret place and hide yourself. And I will go out and stand beside my father in the field where you are, and I will speak to my father about you. And if I learn anything I will tell you.” And Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul his father and said to him, “Let not the king sin against his servant David, because he has not sinned against you, and because his deeds have brought good to you. For he took his life in his hand and he struck down the Philistine, and the LORD worked a great salvation for all Israel. You saw it, and rejoiced. Why then will you sin against innocent blood by killing David without cause?” And Saul listened to the voice of Jonathan. Saul swore, “As the LORD lives, he shall not be put to death.” And Jonathan called David, and Jonathan reported to him all these things. And Jonathan brought David to Saul, and he was in his presence as before.

And there was war again. And David went out and fought with the Philistines and struck them with a great blow, so that they fled before him. Then a harmful spirit from the LORD came upon Saul, as he sat in his house with his spear in his hand. And David was playing the lyre. And Saul sought to pin David to the wall with the spear, but he eluded Saul, so that he struck the spear into the wall. And David fled and escaped that night.

Saul sent messengers to David’s house to watch him, that he might kill him in the morning. But Michal, David’s wife, told him, “If you do not escape with your life tonight, tomorrow you will be killed.” So Michal let David down through the window, and he fled away and escaped. Michal took an image and laid it on the bed and put a pillow of goats’ hair at its head and covered it with the clothes. And when Saul sent messengers to take David, she said, “He is sick.” Then Saul sent the messengers to see David, saying, “Bring him up to me in the bed, that I may kill him.” And when the messengers came in, behold, the image was in the bed, with the pillow of goats’ hair at its head. Saul said to Michal, “Why have you deceived me thus and let my enemy go, so that he has escaped?” And Michal answered Saul, “He said to me, ‘Let me go. Why should I kill you?’”

Now David fled and escaped, and he came to Samuel at Ramah and told him all that Saul had done to him. And he and Samuel went and lived at Naioth. And it was told Saul, “Behold, David is at Naioth in Ramah.” Then Saul sent messengers to take David, and when they saw the company of the prophets prophesying, and Samuel standing as head over them, the Spirit of God came upon the messengers of Saul, and they also prophesied. When it was told Saul, he sent other messengers, and they also prophesied. And Saul sent messengers again the third time, and they also prophesied. Then he himself went to Ramah and came to the great well that is in Secu. And he asked, “Where are Samuel and David?” And one said, “Behold, they are at Naioth in Ramah.” And he went there to Naioth in Ramah. And the Spirit of God came upon him also, and as he went he prophesied until he came to Naioth in Ramah. And he too stripped off his clothes, and he too prophesied before Samuel and lay naked all that day and all that night. Thus it is said, “Is Saul also among the prophets?”


1 Samuel 19 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

Saul has tried everything by this point. He will not be satisfied until David is dead. Saul plotted. God protected. David escaped. Through all of this, Saul never changed. He believed he was fighting David, not God. This is evident when his son Jonathan comes to him and plainly explains the error of his ways. There was no conviction or second thought. Saul made it his goal to end David’s life.

Jonathan’s Predicament

Jonathan had a tough choice to make. Biblically, you could make a case on both sides. The law said he must honor his father and obey him at all times. This meant he should help Saul kill David. However, he loved David and knew he was an innocent man. It is beneficial for us to feel the tension of such a choice because we will face similar circumstances in life. There will be times when we feel we have to hurt or betray someone we love in order to follow God’s will.

How did Jonathan know?

  1. Saul commanded him to do something that went against God’s character. Jonathan chose to obey God over man. It probably would have been easier for him to obey Saul. He would have the king on his side and earn his father’s approval. But in the end, he knew it violated God’s standard. It may seem like Jonathan chose a lesser sin (not honoring his father) over a greater sin (murder), but the key here is that Saul was not following God, which leads me to my second point.
  2. Jonathan evaluated the fruit. Just look at the destruction of Saul’s life. His willingness to sin is now a full-grown beast. He is recruiting others to help him get what he wants. His decisions are causing division within his family. And let’s not forget, God has handed him over to this evil. David, on the other hand, demonstrated incredible integrity and grace throughout this process. The hatred of Saul’s heart becomes crystal clear against the backdrop of David’s integrity, and Jonathan knows it.

David’s Courage

David didn’t fight back. He didn’t defend himself. He didn’t even run away until he was forced to. Looking back in hindsight, it could be said that God allowed David to experience this incredible storm so that he would become the king he needed to be. What Saul planned for evil, God used for good. As soldiers of Christ, the strengthening and arming of our spiritual armor is absolutely dependant upon God allowing trials to come our way. For David, he would not only develop as a leader, but he would prove to all those around him that he was willing to abandon his desires and accept whatever the Lord had for him.

God promises us we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

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