16. David's Divine Deliverance (1 Samuel 18:30-19:24)
I wanted to begin this message by comparing David to a cat, which is said by some to have “nine lives.” But that would not be appropriate for David because he appears to have more even more “lives” than this. In a mere two chapters (1 Samuel 18 and 19), Saul tries to kill David at least 12 times:
Saul throws his spear at David twice
Saul makes David commander of 1,000, hoping he will be killed
Merab is offered to David, if he will “fight the Lord’s battles like a valiant man”
Michal is offered to David for 100 Philistine foreskins, and he presents 200
Saul orders Jonathan and his servants to kill David
Saul slings his spear at David again
Saul sends messengers to David’s house to kill him
Saul sends three groups of men to Naioth to take David, then comes himself
In chapter 20, Saul not only continues to try to put David to death, he throws his spear at Jonathan for defending David (20:33). In chapter 22, Saul kills Ahimelech and his father’s entire household (except one), and then annihilates those living in Nob, the city of the priests.
I could not help but think that if Saul had worked as hard at killing Israel’s enemies (like the Philistines) as he did his faithful servants (like David, Jonathan, and Ahimelech), he would have been a great military leader and king. In his twisted state of mind, Saul’s best allies are considered his enemies, and his enemies become his allies (in putting David to death). Saul becomes a very paranoid man. He fears his most faithful servant, David, who will not put his king to death even when he has what seems like the perfect opportunity to do so. Saul first seeks to conceal his animosity, jealousy, and hatred toward David, but this ends with the first verse of chapter 19. From here on, Saul becomes openly intent on killing David and anyone he thinks might support or defend him.
Our text depicts four divine deliverances of David from the hand of King Saul. The first is described in verses 1-7, where Jonathan rebukes and reasons with his father about his response to David’s success. The second is recorded in verses 8-10, where Saul providentially misses David when he throws his spear at him. The third deliverance comes from Michal, David’s wife and Saul’s daughter. She lowers David out their window, and then deceives her father and his servants to give David time to escape. Finally, there is the religious deliverance of David through Samuel, and the prophesying of the men whom Saul sends to capture David in verses 18-24.
This message is being preached on the Sunday morning before Christmas. Some may wonder why I would do so when the passage seems so far removed from the holiday we are about to celebrate. Let me assure you that the close relationship between this text and the Christmas story is not contrived. In giving close attention to the words of our text, we will learn what there is about Saul that is so contradictory to the Christmas spirit, indeed, to the Christian spirit. Our text is important for those of us who know Christ as Savior, and for all who need to know Him in this way.
Rescued by Reason
30 Then the commanders of the Philistines went out to battle, and it happened as often as they went out, that David behaved himself more wisely than all the servants of Saul. So his name was highly esteemed. 19:1 Now Saul told Jonathan his son and all his servants to put David to death. But Jonathan, Saul's son, greatly delighted in David. 2 So Jonathan told David saying, “Saul my father is seeking to put you to death. Now therefore, please be on guard in the morning, and stay in a secret place and hide yourself. 3 “And I will go out and stand beside my father in the field where you are, and I will speak with my father about you; if I find out anything, then I shall tell you.” 4 Then Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul his father, and said to him, “Do not let the king sin against his servant David, since he has not sinned against you, and since his deeds have been very beneficial to you. 5 “For he took his life in his hand and struck the Philistine, and the LORD brought about a great deliverance for all Israel; you saw it and rejoiced. Why then will you sin against innocent blood, by putting David to death without a cause?” 6 And Saul listened to the voice of Jonathan, and Saul vowed, “As the LORD lives, he shall not be put to death.” 7 Then Jonathan called David, and Jonathan told him all these words. And Jonathan brought David to Saul, and he was in his presence as formerly.
The one thing Saul cannot stand in his servants is their success. Like Satan, Saul does not take well to being in second place (see Isaiah 14; Ezekiel 28). And so when the Israelite commanders go out to battle, David is among them (see 18:13), and he does better than all of them (18:30). Without intending to do so, David continues to grow in fame. His wisdom (undoubtedly the product of the Spirit; see 16:13) sets him apart from all the other commanders. He is a man highly esteemed.
This is just what Saul fears most. Abandoning his cloak and dagger tactics, Saul now orders his servants – including Jonathan – to kill David. Jonathan has made a covenant with David, which he most certainly does not intend to break. But the underlying reason Jonathan does David no harm is because he “greatly delighted in David.” Protecting David is more than Jonathan’s duty; Jonathan delights in David. He truly loves David as himself (18:1). Jonathan sets out then to reverse his father’s order to kill David. If need be, Jonathan will violate this command, but he would far rather reason with his father to revoke it. This he accomplishes in verses 1-7.
Jonathan first warns David, informing him of his father’s orders. He urges David to be on guard and hide himself until after he can speak to his father. Strangely, he tells David he will meet with his father in the very same area where David is to hide (verses 2-3). Is this so David can observe the whole thing? Does Jonathan want to assure David that nothing is going on behind his back? In addition, he promises to report the outcome of his discussion to David.
Jonathan’s dealings with his father on behalf of David are a model for us in several regards. First, we find here an example of a friend who loves his neighbor as himself. Confronting (or should we say “crossing”) Saul is dangerous business (see 16:2, 4; 20:33; 22:11-19), yet Jonathan does it. Second, Jonathan subordinates himself and his own personal interests (e.g. in the throne) to those of David (see 23:17). Third, Jonathan is a faithful and submissive son to his father, Saul. Jonathan approaches his father directly and speaks to him with respect. He speaks well of David. He appeals for David’s life on the one hand, but on the other he appeals to his father to do that which is in his own best interest. He reminds Saul that David is his most faithful and devoted servant, whose actions have always benefited Saul. He also reminds his father that when David killed Goliath, he rejoiced in David’s victory, because it was Saul’s victory as well (19:5). To act in a hostile manner against David would not be just or wise, and even worse, it would be sin, for it would be shedding innocent blood (19:4-5).80
For the moment, Saul is persuaded by Jonathan’s reasoning. He swears that “as the Lord lives” David will not be put to death (verse 6). It is not a promise that will last long, but it is a temporary and partial admission of guilt on Saul’s part and a confession of David’s innocence. Jonathan calls David, tells him about the meeting with his father and its outcome, and then brings him back into his father’s presence. For a short time, at least, things are like they used to be (verse 7).
A Providential Rescue
8 When there was war again, David went out and fought with the Philistines, and defeated them with great slaughter, so that they fled before him. 9 Now there was an evil spirit from the LORD on Saul as he was sitting in his house with his spear in his hand, and David was playing the harp with his hand. 10 And Saul tried to pin David to the wall with the spear, but he slipped away out of Saul's presence, so that he stuck the spear into the wall. And David fled and escaped that night.
Saul seems to want to have it both ways: he does not seem eager to go out with his men to fight the Philistines, yet, when David goes out against the Philistines and comes back as a hero, Saul is overcome with jealousy and anger. There is no indication that Saul goes to war against the Philistines, but we do know that David goes, and that he wins a decisive victory (verse 8). This brings about a virtual rerun of chapter 18, verses 6-9. An “evil spirit from the Lord” comes upon Saul, who is sitting in his house with his spear in his hand. (David is in the house too, with a harp in his hand – verse 9.) Filled with jealousy, Saul attempts to pin David to the wall with his spear,81 but David somehow manages to slip away and escape from Saul’s presence into the darkness, thus escaping death one more time (verse 10).
The close relationship between Saul’s jealousy toward David, and the coming upon Saul of the “evil spirit from the Lord” in verse 9, is worth noting. We know that this “evil spirit from the Lord” comes upon Saul with the departure of the Holy Spirit (16:14-15). We also know that this spirit does not possess Saul to the same extent at all times. Formerly, when the spirit came upon Saul, David was summoned to play his harp, and the spirit would depart (16:23). While we know that David’s harp playing caused the spirit to leave Saul, we are not told why the spirit came upon him. Saul’s jealousy and anger may have been the cause of the spirit coming on him, perhaps even more than the result. When Saul is “filled with” with jealousy or anger, the spirit would come upon him at that time, when Saul was more vulnerable.82 When we surrender self-control, whether by anger, greed, drugs, or sexual immorality (to name a few examples), we open ourselves up to satanic or demonic influences. I believe this is why Saul is overcome by the evil spirit when he reacts uncontrollably to the success of David at war.
David Is at the End of His Rope
David’s Big Let Down
11 Then Saul sent messengers to David's house to watch him, in order to put him to death in the morning. But Michal, David's wife, told him, saying, “If you do not save your life tonight, tomorrow you will be put to death.” 12 So Michal let David down through a window, and he went out and fled and escaped. 13 And Michal took the household idol and laid it on the bed, and put a quilt of goats' hair at its head, and covered it with clothes. 14 When Saul sent messengers to take David, she said, “He is sick.” 15 Then Saul sent messengers to see David, saying, “Bring him up to me on his bed, that I may put him to death.” 16 When the messengers entered, behold, the household idol was on the bed with the quilt of goats' hair at its head. 17 So Saul said to Michal, “Why have you deceived me like this and let my enemy go, so that he has escaped?” And Michal said to Saul, “He said to me, 'Let me go! Why should I put you to death?'“
David may have escaped into the night, but Saul is in no mood to give up his plan to capture and kill him. Saul puts some of his men on a stakeout outside David’s house. Their orders are to wait until morning and then put David to death. David seems to feel safe once he reaches his own home. Michal knows her father better. She emphatically informs David that unless he escapes during darkness, he will not live another day. Now is the time for David to make his escape. I can almost visualize Michal standing there confronting David, with her hands on her hips, telling her more nave husband how things are with daddy.
David’s reticence may be related to the only way he is able escape. It will not be a very dignified retreat for David. If he is to live, he must leave his dignity behind.83 Their house must have been located along the wall of the city. Michal has to lower her husband down through a window so that he reaches the ground below, outside the city walls, and disappears into the darkness of night.
The other side of his escape is not so glorious either. It is one thing to get David out of the house and into the night unnoticed. But Michal also knows that she must buy David some time to enable him to make his escape good. When the servants of Saul arrive at the door, Michal is ready for them. She has all of her props in place. On the bed, Michal has positioned an idol so that it gives the appearance of David’s form under some of David’s clothes, with a goats’ hair quilt at the head. From a distance, without being able to look too closely, one would assume it is David lying very still in bed, perhaps quite ill.
The messengers Saul sent return and report what Michal has told them. Saul is more suspicious, so he sends messengers back to Michal’s house to bring David to him so he can personally put him to death. This must have been quite a scene when these fellows ripped off the covers, only to find a household idol cleverly placed to deceive them. With red faces, perhaps, Saul’s messengers return to tell him they have been fooled. Saul is angry with his daughter for deceiving him and for letting David escape. Michal again attempts to deceive her father by telling him David threatened to kill her if she did not cooperate. This fits very nicely into Saul’s distorted estimation of David, though it is far from the truth.84
There certainly is a touch of humor in this rescue. It shows how futile Saul’s plans to kill David are. We should pause for a moment to remember how David got his wife. Earlier when Goliath made fun of Saul and the army of Israel, the king offered his daughter to the man who would stand up against Goliath and kill him (17:25). By all rights, David should have had one of Saul’s daughters for a wife back then. After David becomes famous in the land and Saul becomes jealous of him, Saul makes David another offer of a wife:
17 Then Saul said to David, “Here is my older daughter Merab; I will give her to you as a wife, only be a valiant man for me and fight the LORD'S battles.” For Saul thought, “My hand shall not be against him, but let the hand of the Philistines be against him” (1 Samuel 18:17).
David declines that offer, sincerely believing he is unworthy to have one of Saul’s daughters as his wife, and also well aware that he cannot pay the dowry she should require (18:18; see also verse 23).
The next time Saul offers one of his daughters to David, he is much more shrewd about the way in which he goes about it:
20 Now Michal, Saul's daughter, loved David. When they told Saul, the thing was agreeable to him. 21 And Saul thought, “I will give her to him that she may become a snare to him, and that the hand of the Philistines may be against him.” Therefore Saul said to David, “For 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, since I am a poor man and lightly esteemed?” 24 And 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 dowry except a hundred foreskins of the Philistines, to take vengeance on the king's enemies.'“ Now Saul 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. Before the days had expired 27 David rose up and went, he and his men, and struck down two hundred men among the Philistines. Then David 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 (1 Samuel 18:20-27).
When it becomes clear that David wants to marry Michal, and that he will gladly obtain the required number (actually, twice the required number = 200) of Philistine foreskins, Saul is ecstatic. He is certain that Michal’s love for David (and his for her) will be the death of David, as he tries to kill this many Philistines. Once again, Saul’s plan backfires. David obtains the Philistine foreskins (times two), and now he has one of Saul’s own daughters for his wife. She loves her husband and will not willingly be a part of any plot to kill him. More than this, she is the one who saves David from his father. Once again, Saul has just shot (or should I say speared) himself in the foot, trying to kill the Lord’s anointed. I don’t hear Saul laughing, but there must have been much more than a snicker in the courts of heaven.
As we leave this rescue by Michal, we should not overlook Psalm 59, which is David’s reflection on his deliverance here. While we dare not attempt to deal with this psalm in detail, a couple of observations can be made. First, you will notice that Michal is never mentioned in the psalm. It is not that she is somehow being snubbed by David, as though she did not take part in the rescue. David is not looking at the immediate cause of his deliverance in this psalm, but the ultimate cause – God. Thus, David praises God for saving his life. Second, the description of David’s pursuers makes it sound as though they are Gentiles, rather than Jews (see Psalm 59:5-8). I would not be surprised if the men Saul sent to capture David were Gentiles. We know that Saul hired mercenaries (see 1 Samuel 14:52). Such men have no reservations in helping put David to death, where Israelites might. How fitting too that Saul (a Jew) would utilize such mercenaries (Gentiles) to oppose God’s king, just as the Jewish religious leaders later do in opposing Christ. Finally, David speaks of these men who seek his capture as liars (Psalm 59:12). Were these men some of those who falsely accuse David before Saul (see 1 Samuel 24:9; 26:19)?
A Religious Rescue: Saved By the Spirit
A Very Prophetable Effort
18 Now David fled and escaped and came to Samuel at Ramah, and told him all that Saul had done to him. And he and Samuel went and stayed in Naioth. 19 And it was told Saul, saying, “Behold, David is at Naioth in Ramah.” 20 Then Saul sent messengers to take David, but when they saw the company of the prophets prophesying, with Samuel standing and presiding over them, the Spirit of God came upon the messengers of Saul; and they also prophesied. 21 And when it was told Saul, he sent other messengers, and they also prophesied. So Saul sent messengers again the third time, and they also prophesied. 22 Then he himself went to Ramah, and came as far as the large well that is in Secu; and he asked and said, “Where are Samuel and David?” And someone said, “Behold, they are at Naioth in Ramah.” 23 And he proceeded there to Naioth in Ramah; and the Spirit of God came upon him also, so that he went along prophesying continually until he came to Naioth in Ramah. 24 And he also stripped off his clothes, and he too prophesied before Samuel and lay down naked all that day and all that night. Therefore they say, “Is Saul also among the prophets?”
Michal’s efforts at delaying David’s pursuers pays off. David escapes into the night and flees to Ramah, where he meets Samuel and tells him all Saul has done to him. He and Samuel then leave Ramah and go to Naioth.85 Word reaches Saul that David and Samuel are at Naioth in Ramah, and so the king sends some of his men to arrest David. When these men arrive at Naioth, they encounter a group of prophets who are prophesying. Samuel is among them, presiding over the group. The Spirit of God then comes upon the men whom Saul has sent to capture David, and they also begin to prophesy.
We are not told what these men do who are overcome by the Spirit, other than prophesy, but we can venture a guess that may not be too far off the mark. We know for certain that these men do not arrest David or harm Saul. If these men prophesy, it is reasonable to suppose that their words include praising God. It is also possible that they prophesy concerning Israel’s next king. If these men, under the control of God’s Spirit, proclaim David as Israel’s next king, how can they possibly take part in Saul’s plan to kill him? From Saul’s point of view, this first group of men is a write off.
Saul does not learn his lessons very well. We do not know exactly what the report is that comes to Saul about his first “posse” sent to arrest David. The text only indicates that “it was told Saul.” If Saul is informed about the Spirit of God coming upon these men and that they prophesied, he does not get the message this should convey. So he sends a second party to arrest David. (We can be sure that he chooses men who are not as inclined to be “spiritual” this time.) Yet when this second group of men arrives, the very same thing happens to them. Saul then sends a third party, only to have the same thing repeated again.
Saul simply does not yet grasp that his efforts are futile. If on his last effort, Saul said to himself, “The third time is a charm,” this time Saul must have thought, “If you want a job done right, you just have to do it yourself.” And so Saul arrives at Ramah and gets as far as the large well which is at Secu. There he asks where Samuel and David can be found. He is told they are both at Naioth in Ramah, and so he proceeds on toward Naioth in Ramah. While on his way, the Spirit of God comes upon Saul himself, and the king prophesies all the way to his destination.
That must have been quite a sight. Saul surely was greatly aggravated that he had sent out three parties of men to arrest David, and that none succeeded. Now, he is determined to get the job done himself. Can you imagine the mood he must be in as he approaches the place where David and Samuel are staying? Suddenly the Spirit of God overcomes Saul so that he strips off his clothing, laying naked before Samuel all the rest of the day and through the night.
Does Saul intend to kill David and remove him as a threat to his throne? Saul cannot even succeed at arresting David, and now he may even be prophesying that David will surely become king. Does Saul come in his role as king with all of his power and authority, determined to accomplish his plan? He now lays naked before Samuel.
Word of Saul’s arrival and his unexpected conduct circulates quickly. I imagine the people who hear of it come to see for themselves, and see they do. Saul does not seem so tough in the buff (pardon the pun). I am most interested in the question on the lips of all who see Saul in this spiritual state: “Is Saul also among the prophets?” (verse 24).
How can Saul’s coming and his conduct be explained? Does everyone there know that Saul is seeking to kill David? If they do not, then Saul’s coming and his conduct are even more mysterious. What other reason could there be for Saul to act like a prophet, among the prophets? We know. No man can be controlled by the Spirit of God and carry out his demonic plan to kill God’s anointed. Here is one way that God can insure the safety of David. Even when trying to do the job himself, Saul cannot succeed in preventing what God has purposed. As the glorified Christ said to a later “Saul” [Paul, the apostle], “It is hard to kick against the goads” (Acts 26:14).
We should notice one more thing about this final paragraph of chapter 19, and that is its similarity to an incident which occurred earlier in Saul’s life:
5 “Afterward you will come to the hill of God where the Philistine garrison is; and it shall be as soon as you have come there to the city, that you will meet a group of prophets coming down from the high place with harp, tambourine, flute, and a lyre before them, and they will be prophesying. 6 “Then the Spirit of the LORD will come upon you mightily, and you shall prophesy with them and be changed into another man. 7 “And it shall be when these signs come to you, do for yourself what the occasion requires; for God is with you. 8 “And you shall go down before me to Gilgal; and behold, I will come down to you to offer burnt offerings and sacrifice peace offerings. You shall wait seven days until I come to you and show you what you should do.” 9 Then it happened when he turned his back to leave Samuel, God changed his heart; and all those signs came about on that day. 10 When they came to the hill there, behold, a group of prophets met him; and the Spirit of God came upon him mightily, so that he prophesied among them. 11 And it came about, when all who knew him previously saw that he prophesied now with the prophets, that the people said to one another, “What has happened to the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?” 12 And a man there answered and said, “Now, who is their father?” Therefore it became a proverb: “Is Saul also among the prophets?” (1 Samuel 10:5-12, emphasis mine).
Does it not seem just a little too coincidental for this expression, found in chapter 10, to be virtually repeated in chapter 19? The first occasion is at the outset of Saul’s reign as Israel’s king. The Spirit of God was to come upon Saul as proof that he was God’s choice for king, and also to empower him to serve as Israel’s king. Saul’s heart is changed by this and he “became another man” (10:6, 9-10). The Spirit of God comes upon Saul as he comes upon a “group of prophets” (10:5, 10). When Saul prophesies with the other prophets, the people who witness this are surprised and say, “What has happened to the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?” (10:11). This saying then becomes a proverb among the people (10:12).
The similarities between the two incidents are striking, even though separated by a number of years. In both cases, the Spirit of God comes upon Saul, and he prophesies with other prophets. Those who witness this event are surprised and ask, “Is Saul also among the prophets.” In neither case does the prophecy phenomenon last more than a day or so, and then it ends (much like what we see in Numbers 11:16-30).
There are also differences, however. The first prophecy phenomenon comes at the very outset of Saul’s service as Israel’s king. In fact, the Spirit’s coming upon Saul is one evidence that God has prepared him to carry out his duties as king (compare Numbers 11:16-30). It seems to be a kind of accreditation of Saul as the king of Israel. The second and last prophecy phenomenon comes late in Saul’s career, after Saul has been told that his kingship will end. When Saul prophesies this last time, it is more of an accreditation of David (backhanded as it may appear) than of Saul. It is almost as though God uses the first prophecy phenomenon as proof that Saul is the king, and the last instance as proof that his reign is nearly over. Here is something for us to think about further.
On this Sunday before Christmas, one may well wonder why I did not set this series in 1 Samuel aside and preach a “Christmas message,” as I have sometimes done. As I studied this text, I realized just how much like the “first Christmas” this story actually is. We have David, whom God has chosen and anointed as the King of Israel. King Saul knows that David is God’s king, and because of this, he feels threatened, even though David does not seek to remove Saul to reign in his place. In his jealousy, Saul sets out to kill David, and no matter how hard he tries to capture and kill him, his plans always fail. There is no way that David – God’s King – is going to be destroyed by a man like Saul, or anyone else. In a sense, we might say that David leads a charmed life, because it is God’s purpose for him to become the next king.
The Christmas story is about another King, the “Son of David,” whom God appointed to rule over His people Israel. When this King was born, magi from the east sought to find Him in order to worship Him. King Herod, along with all the people of Jerusalem, is greatly troubled (not delighted!) that these noble men from the east are seeking “the King of the Jews” (Matthew 2:1-3). King Herod calls the religious leaders of the Jews, seeking to learn the place where this “King” can be found. He also tells the magi to let him know where they find this “King.” He does this not to worship the Lord Jesus (as do the magi), but to kill Him. Herod is so intent on removing this “King,” whom he perceives to be a threat to his kingdom, that he kills every male child in the area of Bethlehem in the hope that the “King” is among them. In spite of all his best efforts, Herod fails.
Like King Saul, Herod does not learn the lesson which every earthly king should understand: God’s appointed ruler, Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah, cannot be defeated or destroyed. This is the lesson taught in the second Psalm:
1 Why are the nations in an uproar, And the peoples devising a vain thing? 2 The kings of the earth take their stand, And the rulers take counsel together Against the LORD and against His Anointed: 3 “Let us tear their fetters apart, And cast away their cords from us!” 4 He who sits in the heavens laughs, The Lord scoffs at them. 5 Then He will speak to them in His anger And terrify them in His fury: 6 “But as for Me, I have installed My King Upon Zion, My holy mountain.” 7 “I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, 'Thou art My Son, Today I have begotten Thee. 8 'Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Thine inheritance, And the very ends of the earth as Thy possession. 9 'Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron, Thou shalt shatter them like earthenware.'”
10 Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; Take warning, O judges of the earth. 11 Worship the LORD with reverence, And rejoice with trembling. 12 Do homage to the Son, lest He become angry, and you perish in the way, For His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him! (Psalm 2:1-12)
The wise men from the east are right, and Herod (like Saul) is dead wrong. One cannot defeat God’s appointed King. And that King is Jesus Christ. He will come again, and He will overcome His foes. He will then reign over all. Those who submit to Him as God’s anointed and appointed King will reign with Him; he will shatter those who resist.
The babe in the manger, Jesus Christ, is the promised Messiah, the King who will rule over all. He is also the descendant of David. God not only appoints David as the King of Israel, He appoints him as the one through whom the King will be born. How foolish it is for Saul to try to destroy David. As Saul falls prostrate and humble before the prophet Samuel, so every one who resists Jesus Christ, God’s King, will one day fall before Him and profess Him to be the King of Kings:
5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE SHOULD BOW, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:5-11).
This is the message of Christmas. This is the message of the gospel. God has sent His Son to become the Savior of the world. He will send Him a second time to be the King of Kings. All those who reject Jesus as their Savior will be His enemies when He comes again. And all who resist Him now will one day fall before Him as the One who has defeated them. All those who receive Him now as God’s only means of salvation from their sin will reign with Him when He returns. If Saul teaches us anything, it is that it is foolish to resist God’s appointed King. Let us not make the same mistake.
80 I am inclined to appreciate the influence Jonathan has on his father. It becomes more apparent later on in 1 Samuel that Saul’s attitudes and actions toward David are being strongly influenced by others, who seem to gain from Saul’s animosity toward David (see 24:9; 26:19). Jonathan seems to set the record straight, at least for the moment.
81 It is not immediately apparent just how Saul attempts to use his spear to kill Saul this time. He attempts to “pin him to the wall,” as in the past (18:11), but in that instance, he is hurling his spear at David. In this instance, he may be holding on to David with one hand, while he attempts to run him through with his spear with the other, thus “pinning him to the wall.” It would be amusing if Saul gave up trying to kill David at a distance by hurling the spear, because he had been such a bad shot in the past. In which case, Saul could be reasoning, “If I can’t kill him with this spear from a distance (since I can’t seem to hit anything), then I’ll hold him with one hand and run him through with the other, using the spear.” If this were so, Saul couldn’t even hit David at this range. One can only imagine what it would have been like to walk about Saul’s home, seeing all the holes which his spear had made.
84 This is, indeed, a very clever answer which Michal gives to her father. If she says, “He said to me, ‘Let me go! Why should I put you to death?’” then she is implying that David revealed his intention to kill Saul, but not to kill her, unless absolutely necessary. In other words, she would be saying, “He said to me, ‘Let me go! Why should I put you to death, when I really only wish to kill your father?’”
85 It is not certain whether Naioth is a place (of unknown location), or whether this word should be translated “camp,” since the term actually means ‘huts’ or ‘camps.’ See footnote 7, page 57, in Looking on the Heart: Expositions of the Book of 1 Samuel: (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1994), vol. 2, by Dale Ralph Davis. It does seem that Ramah and Naioth are almost interchangeable, and since we do not know of a city by this name, I am inclined to think Samuel and David stayed in one of the huts in this camp, at or very near Ramah.