Scripture reading – 1 Samuel 18
David’s Fame in Israel and His Friendship with Jonathan (1 Samuel 18:1-7)
We find in 1 Samuel 18 one of the great and enduring examples of friendship in the Scriptures. Though their backgrounds were dissimilar, David’s friendship with Jonathan, King Saul’s son, is a model of brotherly love and self-sacrifice (1 Samuel 18:1-4).
David had proven himself in battles with the Philistines and was beloved by the men he led in battle. He had slain Goliath, the champion of the Philistines, and Jonathan had seen in him the faith and courage of one with whom he established a lifetime bond. We read, “Jonathan and David made a covenant because he loved him as his own soul” (1 Samuel 18:3). In a display of humility and patriotic fervor, “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” (1 Samuel 18:4).
The shepherd of Bethlehem was no longer a shepherd or a mere court musician. He was the intimate friend of the prince of Israel, numbered among the king’s inner circle, and celebrated as a mighty warrior (1 Samuel 18:5-7).
King Saul’s Hatred and Fear of David (1 Samuel 18:8-27)
With the Spirit of the LORD upon him, David’s valor on the battlefield inspired songs of praise in Israel and provoked Saul to envy him and seek his death (1 Samuel 18:8-12). Yet, despite the growing animosity of the king, “David behaved himself wisely in all his ways; and the Lord was with him. 15Wherefore when Saul saw that he behaved himself very wisely, he was afraid of him. 16But all Israel and Judah loved David, because he went out and came in before them” (1 Samuel 18:14-16).
Remembering his promise to give a daughter to be the wife of the man who slew Goliath (1 Samuel 17:25), the king feigned friendship with David and offered his eldest daughter to be his wife (1 Samuel 18:17-19). That offer failed, perhaps because David realized he lacked the resources to honor the king with a dowry worthy of the royal family (1 Samuel 18:18). Later, when Saul understood his second daughter, Michal, “loved David” (1 Samuel 18:20), the sly king renewed his scheme. He hoped David might be slain when he required the deaths of a hundred Philistines as his gift to the king (1 Samuel 18:25).
David accepted the bloody proposal (1 Samuel 18:25-26) and promptly slew two hundred Philistines (1 Samuel 18:27), and “Saul gave him Michal his daughter to wife” (1 Samuel 18:27b).
In closing, let us take a moment and consider David’s integrity. We read that David “behaved himself more wisely than all the servants of Saul; so that his name was much set by” (1 Samuel 18:30). Surely, that should be the aspiration of all believers–that we would be, like David, men and women of faith whose godly character and integrity remain constant amid promotions or unfair demotions.
Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith
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