Scripture reading – 1 Samuel 19

David’s fame as a warrior inspired Israel. Yet, the people’s affection for David and the praise of the women who applauded his successes incensed the king (1 Samuel 18:6-7). As David’s popularity increased, so did the king’s anxieties. We read that Saul became “more afraid of David…[and his] enemy continually” (1 Samuel 18:29). 

The king found himself in an untenable position, for “David behaved himself more wisely than all [his servants]; so that his name [among the people] was much set by” (1 Samuel 18:30). Sadly, David’s rapid promotion to an officer in the king’s army was paralleled by his precipitous fall from grace in the king’s heart (1 Samuel 19).

1 Samuel 19

Jonathan’s Intercession for David with the King (1 Samuel 19:1-6)

King Saul would not be content until David was slain. The king’s murderous thoughts toward David were no secret in the palace, for he had “spake to Jonathan his son, and to all his servants, that they should kill David” (19:1). Yet, despite his father’s threats, Jonathan’s friendship with David was undeterred (19:2).

Perhaps evidencing some naïveté regarding his father’s character, Jonathan hoped he might dissuade his father’s murderous spirit. Prudently, he encouraged David to distance himself from the king’s court in hopes of seeing him restored to the king’s graces (19:2-3). Jonathan then sought to sway his father’s spirit and encouraged him not to “sin against his servant…because he hath not sinned against thee, and because his works have been to thee-ward very good” (1 Samuel 19:4). Persuaded by his son, Saul vowed peace toward David and invited him back to the palace (19:6-7). 

David’s Flight from the King’s Spear (1 Samuel 19:8-10)

It appeared Saul’s spirit was changed toward David, however, until his successes on the battlefield once again provoked the king’s envy. 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” (1 Samuel 19:10). 

Michal, David’s Wife, Saved Her Husband (1 Samuel 19:11-17)

Saul’s plot to kill his son-in-law reached even David’s household. Only with the intervention and assistance of Michal, David’s wife, could he escape into the night (1 Samuel 19:10-17).

The Prophet Samuel’s Protection (1 Samuel 19:18-24)

David’s flight took him to Ramah, the prophet Samuel’s hometown (1 Samuel 19:18). There he confided to the elderly prophet “all that Saul had done to him” (1 Samuel 19:18b). David and Samuel then “went and dwelt in Naioth,” which is believed to have been a compound near Ramah where prophets dwelled (1 Samuel 19:19).

Nevertheless, Saul was undeterred by David’s flight and sent “messengers” [special envoys of the king] to pursue David. The king’s men came upon a company of prophets, with Samuel as their leader, and “the Spirit of God was upon the messengers of Saul, and they also prophesied” (1 Samuel 19:20). Saul then sent a second, and a third group of messengers. They also began to prophesy with the prophets (1 Samuel 19:21). Finally, no doubt frustrated by the failures of those he had sent, Saul went to Ramah himself and asked, “Where are Samuel and David?” (1 Samuel 19:22) 

Saul continued his journey to Naioth in Ramah. Like the men he had sent before him, Saul also came under the power of the Spirit of God (1 Samuel 19:23). The king “stripped off his clothes also, and prophesied before Samuel in like manner, and lay down naked [the meaning is most likely not wearing his outer royal robe] all that day and all that night. Wherefore they say, Is Saul also among the prophets?” (1 Samuel 19:24)

Closing thoughts: 

What did it mean for the power of the Spirit of God to come upon Saul and the messengers he sent to apprehend David? I believe the Spirit of God occupied Saul and his messengers, allowing David the opportunity to flee Ramah. 

David, the once-celebrated hero of Israel, was stripped of everything. He became a fugitive and lost his position as an officer in the king’s army. His flight from Saul took him from his wife, and he found himself alone in the wilderness. Though he would seek the counsel and intervention of his friend Jonathan (1 Samuel 20), that too would fail.

Lesson – When David lost every earthly security, he turned to the one place that never failed him…the LORD. (Isaiah 41:10)

Where do you turn in difficult times? 

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

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