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Jonathan Proves his Friendship for David.
v. 1. And Saul spake to Jonathan, his son, and to all his servants that they should kill David; he openly announced his intention of putting David out of the way, for he could no longer control his deadly hate.
v. 2. But Jonathan, Saul's son, delighted much in David, his great love for his friend was unchanged; and Jonathan told David, saying, Saul, my father, seeketh to kill thee, his loyalty for his friend urged him to warn David, even at the risk of offending his father. Now, therefore, I pray thee, take heed to thyself until the morning, and abide in a secret place, and hide thyself;
v. 3. and I will go out and stand beside my father in the field where thou art, probably a place where Saul often talked over private matters with his son, and I will commune with my father of thee; and what I see, that I will tell thee; he would immediately make known to David just what he would find out from his father, and it was for this reason that he had David hide nearby, lest his going to some distant place after the conversation with his father awaken suspicion of an understanding with David.
v. 4. And Jonathan, in the interview which he obtained, spake good of David unto Saul, his father, pointing out all his excellent qualities and his fine services to the entire nation, and said unto him, Let not the king sin against his servant, for David had always occupied this position with great cheerfulness, against David, because he hath not sinned against thee, and because his works have been to thee-ward very good; far from doing the king any harm, he had always and in all things done him great service by his feats of arms and by his attendance at court.
v. 5. For he did put his life in his hand, risking his most precious possession, and slew the Philistine, and the Lord wrought a great salvation for all Israel, in delivering the people from the danger threatened by the Philistines; thou sawest it and didst rejoice. Wherefore, then, wilt thou sin against innocent blood to slay David without a cause? It was an urgent, yet modest appeal to whatever nobility was still left in Saul's character; a fine example to all men of how to speak the best of their neighbors.
v. 6. And Saul hearkened unto the voice of Jonathan, he was persuaded by his son's noble intercession. And Saul sware, going to the other extreme, as usual, As the Lord liveth, he shall not be slain.
v. 7. And Jonathan called David, and Jonathan showed him all those things, giving him the joyful information that he was reinstated in Saul's favor. And Jonathan brought David to Saul, and he was in his presence, resumed his place at court, as in times past. True love and friendship to our neighbor demands of us that we defend him against all evil suspicions, put the best construction on everything, and calm down the anger of the jealous.
Michal Saves David's Life.
v. 8. And there was war again, for the Philistines would not remain quiet; and David went out, marched forth to battle, and fought with the Philistines, and slew them with a great slaughter, administered a decisive defeat; and they fled from him.
v. 9. And the evil spirit from the Lord was upon Saul; a judgment of the covenant God upon the reprobate king, as he sat in his house with his javelin in his hand; and David played with his hand, for he had again taken his position as harpist.
v. 10. And Saul, apparently in a fit of jealousy on account of the latest success of David, sought to smite David even to the wall with the javelin, by driving the spear through his body; but he slipped away out of Saul's presence, dodging the threatened blow once more, and he smote the javelin into the wall. And David fled, and escaped that night.
v. 11. Saul also sent messengers unto David's house, which he had reached before nightfall, to watch him, and to slay him in the morning; and Michal, David's wife, told him, saying, If thou save not thy life tonight, tomorrow thou shalt be slain. The description given by David in Psalms 59, where he tells of this event, shows that there were jealous courtiers in attendance upon Saul, who were anxious to remove their powerful rival and therefore even added fuel to Saul's jealousy.
v. 12. So Michal let David down through a window. And he went, and fled, and escaped, for Saul's watchmen were guarding only the door.
v. 13. And Michal took an image, a picture of a household god, such as the Israelites still retained as the remnant of the idolatrous practices brought from their Chaldean home, Genesis 31:19-34, and laid it in the bed, and put a pillow of goats' hair for his bolster, a braided or woven quilt, and covered it with a cloth. Thus the figure, covered with the upper garment which served as a covering at night, looked very much like that of a human being.
v. 14. And when Saul sent messengers to take David, in the morning, she said, He is sick, for she probably thought, by telling this falsehood, to gain time for David, in order that he might have a longer start on his pursuers.
v. 15. And Saul sent the messengers again to see David, saying, Bring him up to me in the bed that I may slay him; he was determined to carry out his purpose this time.
v. 16. And when the messengers were come in, behold, there was an image in the bed, with a pillow of goats' hair for his bolster. So the deceit was discovered.
v. 17. And Saul, angry because he had been duped, said unto Michal, Why hast thou deceived me so and sent away mine enemy, the expression implying that the enemy of the father should be the enemy of the daughter as well, that he is escaped? And Michal answered Saul, her fear of her father and her anxiety to save her own life causing her to tell another falsehood, He said unto me, Let me go; why should I kill thee? There is no wrong in throwing raging, ravening, murderous pursuers off the track, for such murderers are the instruments of Satan, who seeks to destroy the children of God in every possible manner.
Saul In Ramah
v. 18. So David fled, and escaped, and came to Samuel to Ramah, he turned to the prophet, his fatherly friend, first of all, and told him all that Saul had done to him. And he and Samuel went and dwelt in Naioth, the place where the children of the prophets lived, with Samuel at their head.
v. 19. And it was told Saul, saying, Behold, David is at Naioth in Ramah, where there was a complex of buildings enclosed with a fence or wall.
v. 20. And Saul sent messengers to take David; and when they saw the company of the prophets prophesying, praising God in a state of ecstasy, and Samuel standing as appointed over them, for he was the head of this prophets' seminary, the Spirit of God was upon the messengers of Saul, and they also prophesied, singing divine praises under the direction of an influence which they could not resist.
v. 21. And when it was told Saul, he sent other messengers, and they prophesied likewise. And Saul sent messengers again the third time, and they prophesied also. All this was to be a hint, on the part of Divine Providence, that God was hindering the messengers from carrying out Saul's command; it was He who was protecting David against willful murder.
v. 22. Then went he, Saul, also to Ramah, in a stubborn determination to carry out his will, and came to a great well that is in Sechu, a large cistern not far from Ramah; and he asked and said, Where are Samuel and David? And one said, Behold, they be at Naioth in Ramah.
v. 23. And he went thither to Naioth in Ramah; and the Spirit of God was upon him also, He took hold of him and held him in His power; and he went on and prophesied until he came to Naioth in Ramah. "The difference between Saul and his messengers was that the inspiration came on him as he was approaching the residence of the prophet, and that it attained a higher grade and lasted longer, completely suppressing his self-consciousness. "
v. 24. And he stripped off his clothes also, either by removing all his clothes or at least his outer garment, leaving only the inner shirt of linen or cotton, and prophesied before Samuel in like manner, and lay down, literally, "fell," naked all that day and all that night. The length and the vehemence of the attack of ecstasy which Saul experienced was to indicate to him and others that his persecution of David was a battling against Jehovah and His Spirit, which should therefore not be persisted in, lest more serious effects follow. Wherefore they say, Is Saul also among the prophets? The proverbial saying, which had first gone the rounds when Saul returned from Ramah after meeting Samuel, was now given new nourishment. Unfortunately the heart of Saul remained unchanged, just as the hearts and minds of unbelievers in our days are sometimes drawn into a wave of religious excitement, without a subsequent change of life. Nevertheless, God has even the hearts of His enemies in His power, and they sometimes confess the truth against their will, thus serving the interests of the Lord's kingdom.
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Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 19". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany