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Bible Commentaries

Kingcomments on the Whole Bible

1 Samuel 18

Verses 1-4

Jonathan Loves David


David means ‘beloved’, meaning that he is loved. In this chapter much is said about love for David. You love David or you hate him. Neutrality is not possible. There are five people or groups of people who love him.

We have already read about the first one, that is Saul. Saul loves him (1Sam 16:21). However, it is a love that turns into hatred. This is because David is no longer his servant, but his superior, not in position, but in prosperity and spiritually. As long as David is his servant, he loves him, but if Saul must go aside to give David priority, he will not.

Thus, the Lord Jesus not only wants to be the One Who has defeated the enemy – i.e. Satan, of whom Goliath is a picture – but He wants to be everything in our lives. He wants to be not only Savior, but also Lord. Especially children of believing parents should learn this. The Lord wants to be number one. We should not remain king of our own life.

The second of whom we read that he loves David is Jonathan. He connects himself with heart and soul and all that he has with David. Perhaps David’s answer in the previous verse (1Sam 17:58) is so attractive to Jonathan that he connects himself with David. As soon as Jonathan connects with David, he sees himself as nothing. Jonathan is crown prince, but nonetheless he sees his superior in David. There is no jealousy or wounded pride.

Between the description of Jonathan’s love for David in 1Sam 18:1 and 1Sam 18:3, there is something about Saul’s relationship to David in 1Sam 18:2. Saul’s love for David is a selfish love. He sees in David mainly someone from whom he can benefit. Therefore David must remain fully in the service of Saul after his victory. Saul claims him for himself.

In 1Sam 18:3 we read for the second time that Jonathan loves David as himself. We will read it again later (1Sam 20:17). We do not read here that David loves Jonathan. We read this in his song about Jonathan when he has died in the battle with the Philistines (2Sam 1:26). David’s appreciation of Jonathan’s love for him shows that David’s love is more than a human love. It indicates the love of the Lord Jesus for those who serve and follow Him out of love. It is great to hear such an expression of His love from His mouth. A father loves all his children, but he has a special relationship with those who appreciate his love.

Jonathan’s love is the love of friendship. It is a selfless love. He knows David will be king and he gives him that place by giving him everything. His love for David also starts from the victory over Goliath, but he has seen deeper than just the result. He loves David for who David himself is and not just for what he has done. The same must be true of our love for the Lord Jesus. We see this with Paul for whom Christ is everything because he is seized by Him (Phil 3:12).

Jonathan gives everything to David out of love for him. Everything that gives him dignity as king and warrior, he puts at the feet of David. It is not just outward tribute, but the expression of what is in his heart for David. Anything he can boast of is nothing compared to David. In this way we also want to give everything to the Lord Jesus out of love for Him. Jonathan, however, does not give him his shoes, which symbolically points to the fact that he does not follow David in his wanderings.

Verses 5-9

David’s Prosperity and Saul’s Envy


David is in school with God and is prosperous in it. We also see his prosperity in 1Sam 18:14; 1,.30. Here his prosperity is a recommendation to the servants of Saul. A life in Godliness provides appreciation. Again and again the testimony sounds that God is with him. David grows and Saul goes backwards. What is the case with us?

Saul sets David over the men of war, for he who can defeat Goliath can defeat any enemy. Just as David plays the harp before Saul when he needs it, so David is busy in the battle everywhere Saul sends him. He uses him in the affairs of government and David pulls out wherever Saul sends him. He is as obedient as he is brave.

Those who look forward to reigning must first learn to obey. David showed himself to be an obedient son to Jesse his father, and now he shows himself to be an obedient servant to Saul his master. It is to be expected of those who are faithful in one relationship that they will be faithful in another.

His prosperity leads to a hymn of praise from women. They have a proper appreciation of the deeds of David. That is not to Saul’s liking, however. His jealousy is aroused. What the women sing is true. After all, David has slain his ten thousands and Saul only his thousands. The victory of David is many times greater than the victories of Saul.

But while Jonathan has resigned, Saul refuses to acknowledge David’s excellence. He realizes that David is a competitor for the throne, and he does not want under any circumstances to come from his throne. Therefore, from that day on he watches David with suspicion and here begins the way of suffering of David. From now on Saul will be a persecutor of God’s anointed and thereby he becomes a picture of the antichrist.

Here is the turning point in David’s history after his prosperity. Thus the Lord Jesus is honored first, and then they want to cast Him from the steepness into the abyss (Lk 4:22; 28-29). The love of the people for David arouses hatred in Saul. At the birth of the Lord Jesus, all Jerusalem is troubled, but Herod wants to kill Him. Jealousy leads to murderousness. It also happens in our time.

Verses 10-13

Saul Tries to Kill David


A wicked spirit sent by God brings Saul to rage. When David wants to calm him down by playing the harp, Saul hurls his spear at him. Saul shows his murderousness by wanting to kill David with his spear twice, without succeeding in his intention. David dodges him both times.

The LORD has protected him, and He has done so by giving David the presence of mind to dive away at the right moment. He will undoubtedly have kept a watchful eye on Saul’s hand with the spear in it. When he has escaped the danger, he appears to be destined for something extraordinary.

David did not hurl the spear back to Saul. He has withdrawn. He did not fight but fled for his own safety. Although he has enough strength and courage, and the appearance of the right to resist and avenge the insult, he has done nothing more than bring himself to safety by avoiding danger.

We do not read that David is afraid for Saul, but on the contrary that Saul is afraid for David. By the failure of two murder attempts Saul must have understood that he has no power over David. For an experienced spear thrower like Saul, his miss is proof that David is under the protection of God. Otherwise he would certainly have killed him. With other people it would have led to conversion, but Saul hardens himself. He can no longer bear David in his surroundings and gives him the supreme command over his army, hoping that David dies in the war.

Verses 14-16

The LORD Is With David


Unlike Saul, David is prosperous in his school of suffering. He must be perfected through suffering, as was the case with the Lord Jesus. Again, we read about Saul’s fear of David because the LORD is with David, by which David has prosperity. He has a wisdom that embarrasses all his opponents, and which is undeniable.

All Israel and Judah, all the people, love David. For he has delivered them from Goliath. They love David because of the blessing he gives them. This also applies to the Lord Jesus in relation to God’s people today. Israel and Judah love David, but from a distance. None of that people has a personal relationship with him. Jonathan and later Michal do.

There are many Christians who love the Lord Jesus in this way. Young people often float on their parents’ love for the Lord Jesus. However, there must be a personal love relation with the Lord Jesus. How many wives are there who have a relationship with the Lord Jesus through their husbands? They do not read and pray themselves, perhaps because of the man’s fault. They rely on the faith life of their husband. But each one must have an own relationship with the Lord. The life of prayer shows the intimacy of the relationship with the Lord. If there is no such thing, there is no life.

Verses 17-19

Saul Promises David Merab


David still must get the promised daughter because of the victory over Goliath (1Sam 17:25). Saul does not feel like it. He abuses his promise to present a new condition to David with a cunning intent. He is hypocritical when he asks David to wage the wars of the LORD, for he hopes that David will be killed in battle.

The wars of God’s people are truly wars of the LORD, as Saul calls them, because they are waged on God’s express order. But if the spirit of the world and domination are mixed with it, they are no longer. Then they are only wars of worldly desires.

Whether David is aware of this or not, he shows humility in his response to Saul’s promise. He says he feels too small to become Saul’s son-in-law. Whether he believes Saul at his word, we do not know. He knows Saul as an incalculable man. It will soon become clear what Saul’s word is worth.

Saul breaks his word by giving the daughter promised to David to another. This is the greatest insult Saul can inflict on him. He thus strikes him both in his honor and in his love. He may want to elicit a reaction from David that he can use to condemn and eliminate him.

Verses 20-25

Michal’s Love for David


What Saul may have intended to hurt David, becomes the reason for a new love to reveal itself. There is a new candidate. Michal loves David. Saul is told that, and he sees a new chance to get rid of David.

Michal really loves David (1Sam 18:28). She later provides proof of her love (1Sam 19:12). She defies her father and helps David escape. However, Michal is always called “the daughter of Saul”. Her origins continue to play tricks on her, as is often the case with us. She has never been able to subject the character of her origin to her love for David and has never really known him.

In Michal we see believers who are like all in Asia who have left Paul (2Tim 1:15). They love the Lord, but they do not know the Lord as Paul knows Him. Michal represents a carnal Christian. We see that in her love when David, full of happiness that the ark goes to the city of God, dances before the ark. Then she despises him (2Sam 6:16; 20-23). Michal loves certain aspects of David, but others not. If there is anything about the Lord Jesus that does not please us, it is our problem. Michal remains infertile until the day of her death. If we confess the Lord Jesus as Savior, but do not approach Him as a worshipper, spiritual infertility is the result.

By saying to David that he can become his son-in-law for the second time, Saul presents it as if his first daughter was also connected to David as wife. He claims him as it were. He also involves his servants in the plot to persuade David to take Michal to wife. Saul also knows that all his servants love David. They have seen how this young man has felled Goliath. David is their hero. Whoever hears of the Lord Jesus as the great Conqueror can only love Him.

We do not read of the servants that they hated David, but they have not chosen undividedly his side either. When Saul speaks about killing David, they keep their mouths and do not speak up for him (1Sam 19:1). It is not easy to testify of the Lord Jesus when He is blasphemed, but he who really loves Him is not silent. When you come somewhere, they don’t know you, it is important to let them know as soon as possible that you belong to Him, such as at school, at work, in the neighborhood. If you do not do it right away, it often becomes only more difficult.

When the servants come to David and tell him what Saul said, David repeats his humble position. With this David indicates that he wants to be Saul’s son-in-law. When the servants return to Saul with this answer, Saul understands. As with Merab, Saul also connects a condition with David’s marriage to his daughter Michal. He asks for a dowry, but a strange one: a hundred foreskins of the Philistines. David is not rich, but Saul has a dowry in mind that makes him think he can get rid of David thereby.

Verses 26-29

David Gets Michal


David agrees with the condition. He succeeds in his mission and does even more than Saul wanted. Everything Saul means as an attempt to get rid of David becomes a means by which the power of David against the enemy only becomes more apparent. Thus all the attacks of the Pharisees on the Lord Jesus only prove His glory and exaltedness, in which the light of His grace shines.

For the third time we read that Saul fears for David. On the other hand, we read of Michal that she loves David. Saul's fear for David does not bring about a surrender to David; on the contrary, he is an enemy to David every day of his life.

Verse 30

Prosperity of David in the Battle


The law exempts men in the first year of their marriage from military service (Deu 24:5), but David has too much patriotism to take advantage of that exemption. After he is married, he perseveres in his good services to Israel.

David’s action against the Philistines, as soon as they go out to battle, is much more successful than anything that the servants of Saul have undertaken against them. By his prosperity, His name comes upon the lips of all. His name shows who he is. The people are impressed by his unselfishness and pleasant character.

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Kingcomments on the Whole Bible © 2021 Author: G. de Koning. All rights reserved. Used with the permission of the author
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Bibliographical Information
de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op 1 Samuel 18". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kng/1-samuel-18.html. 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniël', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.