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1 Samuel 18

Jonathan and David

1 Now it came about when he had finished speaking to Saul, that 1the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and 2Jonathan loved him as himself.
2 Saul took him that day and 3did not let him return to his father's house.
3 Then 4Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself.
4 5Jonathan 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.
5 So David went out wherever * Saul sent him, and prospered; and Saul set him over the men of war. And it was pleasing in the sight of all the people and also in the sight of Saul's servants.
6 It happened as they were coming, when David returned from killing the Philistine, that 6the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with joy and with musical instruments.
7 The women 7sang as they played, and said, "8Saul has slain his thousands, 9And David his ten thousands."
8 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 10what more can he have but the kingdom?"
9 Saul looked at David with suspicion from that day on.

Saul Turns against David

10 Now it came about on the next day that 11an evil spirit from God came mightily upon Saul, and 12he raved in the midst of the house, while David was playing the harp with his hand, 13as usual; and 14a spear was in Saul's hand.
11 15Saul hurled the spear for he thought, "I will pin David to the wall." But David escaped from his presence twice.
12 Now 16Saul was afraid of David, 17for the LORD was with him but 18had departed from Saul.
13 Therefore Saul removed him from his presence and appointed him as his commander of a thousand; and 19he went out and came in before the people.
14 David was prospering in all his ways for 20the LORD was with him.
15 When Saul saw that he was prospering greatly, he dreaded him.
16 But 21all Israel and Judah loved David, and he went out and came in before them.
17 Then Saul said to David, "22Here is my older daughter Merab; I will give her to you as a wife, only be a valiant man for me and fight 23the LORD'S battles." For Saul thought, "My hand shall not be against him, but 24let the hand of the Philistines be against him."
18 But David said to Saul, "25Who am I, and what is my life or my father's family in Israel, that I should be the king's son-in-law?"
19 So it came about at the time when Merab, Saul's daughter, should have been given to David, that she was given to 26Adriel 27the Meholathite for a wife.

David Marries Saul's Daughter

20 Now 28Michal, Saul's daughter, loved David. When they told Saul, the thing was agreeable to him.
21 Saul thought, "I will give her to him that she may become a snare to him, and 29that the hand of the Philistines may be against him." Therefore Saul said to David, "30For a second time you may be my son-in-law today."
22 Then Saul commanded his servants, "Speak to David secretly, saying, 'Behold, the king delights in you, and all his servants love you; now therefore, become the king's son-in-law.' "
23 So Saul's servants spoke these words to David. But David said, "Is it trivial in your sight to become the king's son-in-law, 31since I am a poor man and lightly esteemed?"
24 The servants of Saul reported to him according to these words which David spoke.
25 Saul then said, "Thus you shall say to David, 'The king does not desire any 32dowry except a hundred foreskins of the Philistines, 33to take vengeance on the king's enemies.' " Now 34Saul planned to make David fall by the hand of the Philistines.
26 When his servants told David these words, it pleased * David to become the king's son-in-law. 35Before the days had expired
27 David rose up and went, 36he and his men, and struck down two hundred men among the Philistines. Then 37David brought their foreskins, and they gave them in full number to the king, that he might become the king's son-in-law. So Saul gave him Michal his daughter for a wife.
28 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 *.
30 Then the commanders of the Philistines 38went out to battle, and it happened as often as they went out, that David 39behaved himself more wisely than all the servants of Saul. So his name was highly esteemed.

1 Samuel 18 Commentary

Chapter 18

Jonathan's friendship for David. (1-5) Saul seeks to kill David. (6-11) Saul's fear of David. (12-30)

Verses 1-5 The friendship of David and Jonathan was the effect of Divine grace, which produces in true believers one heart and one soul, and causes them to love each other. This union of souls is from partaking in the Spirit of Christ. Where God unites hearts, carnal matters are too weak to separate them. Those who love Christ as their own souls, will be willing to join themselves to him in an everlasting covenant. It was certainly a great proof of the power of God's grace in David, that he was able to bear all this respect and honour, without being lifted up above measure.

Verses 6-11 David's troubles not only immediately follow his triumphs, but arise from them; such is the vanity of that which seems greatest in this world. It is a sign that the Spirit of God is departed from men, if, like Saul, they are peevish, envious, suspicious, and ill-natured. Compare David, with his harp in his hand, aiming to serve Saul, and Saul, with his javelin in his hand, aiming to slay David; and observe the sweetness and usefulness of God's persecuted people, and the barbarity of their persecutors. But David's safety must be ascribed to God's providence.

Verses 12-30 For a long time David was kept in continual apprehension of falling by the hand of Saul, yet he persevered in meek and respectful behaviour towards his persecutor. How uncommon is such prudence and discretion, especially under insults and provocations! Let us inquire if we imitate this part of the exemplary character before us. Are we behaving wisely in all our ways? Is there no sinful omission, no rashness of spirit, nothing wrong in our conduct? Opposition and perverseness in others, will not excuse wrong tempers in us, but should increase our care, and attention to the duties of our station. Consider Him that endured contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be weary and faint in your minds, ( Hebrews 12:3 ) . If David magnified the honour of being son-in-law to king Saul, how should we magnify the honour of being sons to the King of kings!

Cross References 39

  • 1. Genesis 44:30
  • 2. Deuteronomy 13:6; 1 Samuel 20:17; 2 Samuel 1:26
  • 3. 1 Samuel 17:15
  • 4. 1 Samuel 20:8-17
  • 5. Genesis 41:42; 1 Samuel 17:38; Esther 6:8
  • 6. Exodus 15:20, 21; Judges 11:34; Psalms 68:25; Psalms 149:3
  • 7. Exodus 15:21; 1 Samuel 21:11; 1 Samuel 29:5
  • 8. 1 Samuel 21:11
  • 9. 2 Samuel 18:3
  • 10. 1 Samuel 15:28
  • 11. 1 Samuel 16:14
  • 12. 1 Samuel 19:23, 24
  • 13. 1 Samuel 16:23
  • 14. 1 Samuel 19:9
  • 15. 1 Samuel 19:10; 1 Samuel 20:33
  • 16. 1 Samuel 18:15, 29
  • 17. 1 Samuel 16:13, 18
  • 18. 1 Samuel 16:14; 1 Samuel 28:15
  • 19. Numbers 27:17; 1 Samuel 18:16; 2 Samuel 5:2
  • 20. Gen 39:2, 3, 23; Joshua 6:27; 1 Samuel 16:18
  • 21. 1 Samuel 18:5
  • 22. 1 Samuel 17:25
  • 23. Numbers 21:14; 1 Samuel 17:36, 47; 1 Samuel 25:28
  • 24. 1 Samuel 18:21, 25
  • 25. 1 Samuel 9:21; 1 Samuel 18:23; 2 Samuel 7:18
  • 26. 2 Samuel 21:8
  • 27. Judges 7:22; 1 Kings 19:16
  • 28. 1 Samuel 18:28
  • 29. 1 Samuel 18:17
  • 30. 1 Samuel 18:26
  • 31. Genesis 29:20; Genesis 34:12
  • 32. Genesis 34:12; Exodus 22:17
  • 33. 1 Samuel 14:24
  • 34. 1 Samuel 18:17
  • 35. 1 Samuel 18:21
  • 36. 1 Samuel 18:17
  • 37. 2 Samuel 3:14
  • 38. 2 Samuel 11:1
  • 39. 1 Samuel 18:5

Footnotes 16

Chapter Summary


This chapter gives an account of the respect shown to David by Saul and Jonathan, by the servants of Saul, and all the people, and of what was said in his praise in the songs of the women, 1Sa 18:1-7; which latter gave Saul a great offence, and upon which he envied him, and eyed him, and indeed sought his life, and removed him from him; and yet still he continued the darling of the people, behaving wisely among them, which greatly embarrassed Saul, that be knew not what to do, 1Sa 18:8-16; he proposed his eldest daughter to him in marriage, which he had a claim to by killing the Philistine, and then he cheated him by giving her to another, 1Sa 18:17-19; and then he offered his youngest daughter to him, on condition that he would bring him an hundred foreskins of the Philistines, execution of which he thought his life would be exposed to danger, which yet he performed, 1Sa 18:20-27; and having the affection of his wife, and the good esteem of the servants of Saul, Saul was more afraid of him, and became his enemy, 1Sa 18:28-30.

1 Samuel 18 Commentaries

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