Previous Studies in 1 Samuel…
We have already discussed 1 Samuel in several chapter studies. You can find them in the following places.
You can find Tammy’s previous studies in her Blogging Through the Bible series HERE.
Angela has hers set us HERE, where they are very easy to follow from start to finish.
I wrote my most recent post HERE.
1 Samuel Chapter 19
As chapter 19 of 1 Samuel opens, Saul has made the proclamation to his son and servants that they are to kill David. Jonathan, Saul’s son, immediately told David of his father’s plans and told him to hide. Basically, he said that he was going to talk to his father on David’s behalf, and that’s just what he did.
Jonathan reminded Saul that David had not sinned against him. Even more than that, David had killed the Philistine and Saul himself had rejoiced at Israel’s deliverance! He told Saul that to kill David would be a sin against innocent blood. So Saul repented of the very thought and swore, that David would not be killed.
Saul Changes His Mind…
That didn’t last long, though. After the next war, when David killed many Philistines in a great slaughter, Saul once again tried to kill him. Apparently, Saul’s anger towards David was based on nothing less than jealousy. David’s wife convinced him to flee, and that’s just what he did. But Michal, his wife and Saul’s own daughter, went a little bit further. It appears that she was actually trying to buy her husband a little time.
Michal made up the bed so that it would look as if David were sleeping. When Saul’s messengers came, she told them he was sick. They returned the message to Saul, who told them to go back, get David and the bed both, and bring them to him so that he could kill David. This time the messengers realized what was going on! (250)
Family Disputes & the Spirit of God
Saul immediately asked Michal why she had deceived him and allowed David to escape. She told him that David has asked to go, wondering why she should have to die with him.
David had fled all the way to Ramah where he met up with Samuel, telling him all that Saul had done. Together, they went to Naioth and when it was found out, word got back to Saul. He sent his messengers straightaway to take David, and bring him for execution, but what happened next was no less than amazing.
God’s Spirit Takes Over
The messengers went, as instructed, to bring David back for his punishment. When they arrived, the found both David and Samuel standing with a great group of prophets and they were all prophesying, with Samuel leading them. The Spirit of God was so great that even the messengers fell under the anointing and began to prophesy as well.
In the text, we don’t know if the messengers returned to Saul or not, but it does say he sent out a second round of messengers for the purpose of retrieving David. The same thing happened to them, and they prophesied as well. A third time, Saul sent messengers, and a third time, they fell under the anointing of the Spirit of God and prophesied.
Finally, Saul decided he would just go for himself. After asking around for the whereabouts of Samuel and David, and started on his way. Long before he ever even got there, he began to prophesy as well. When he finally reached Samuel, he stripped off all his clothes and lay on the ground, prophesying the entire day and all that night. He prophesied so long and so vehemently, those nearby even thought that he was a prophet! (549)
Strange Behaviors Indeed
We aren’t told how long it took Saul to get from the place he asked about Samuel and David to where they actually were. What we do know is that the Spirit of God fell, even on this ungodly man! With murder in his heart and an evil plan for one of God’s own chosen vessels, he prophesied more than all the messengers he had sent before.
At this point, we might wonder why? Why did God place His Spirit on Saul? Why would God allow such an ungodly man to prophesy? (I would sure love to have known what he prophesied about, wouldn’t you??)
I suppose some answers we’ll never receive this side of heaven. But in this case, I’m pretty sure the Spirit fell so that David would remain safe. Obviously, Saul was unlikely to be changed, so we know that this is a momentary thing. And that’s sad! It could have been so different for his family, had he truly followed the One True God. (721)
1 Samuel Chapter 20, More of Saul’s Misplaced Anger
Where Chapter 19 left off with Saul prophesying, naked, before Samuel, Chapter 20 picks up with David fleeing back to Jonathan. I can almost hear the panic in his voice as he asked Jonathan, “What have I done? What wrong have I committed that makes Saul want to kill me?”
Apparently, Jonathan knew nothing of Saul’s plan, or the messengers he sent. He even assured David that Saul wouldn’t do anything without telling him first. He’s basically telling David, “I just can’t believe that’s true.”
But David “sware moreover,” meaning he was pretty fervent in the things he was saying. He told Jonathan that the king knew of their friendship, and that’s probably why he hadn’t said anything. But David made it clearer this time that he was no more than a step away from death, with Saul not ever far behind him.
When Jonathan realized that David was quite serious, and sure of his impending faith, he assured David he was on his side. He told him that whatever he wanted, he would do it for him. He would stand by his friend, even if his own father would not.
And David had a plan… (921)
Letting Saul Prove Himself
I won’t go into great detail about David’s plan here. You can read the entirety of it in 1 Samuel Chapter 20. But it is very sad, I think. Jonathan didn’t really want to believe that his father, once again, wanted to murder David. But David was sure that was the case.
As it turns out, of course, it was. After the scene had played out and the truth came out, the chapter closes with Jonathan and David in a field, parting ways for an untold amount of time. But just LOOK at how beautiful this is worded:
(vs. 41)… David arose out of a place toward the south, and fell on his face to the ground, and bowed himself three times: and they kissed one another, and wept one with another, until David exceeded. (vs. 42) And Jonathan said to David, Go in peace, forasmuch as we have sworn both of us in the name of the LORD, saying, The LORD be between me and thee, and between my seed and thy seed for ever. And he arose and departed: and Jonathan went into the city.
I just love the true friendship, admiration, and dedication between these two. At this point, they are saying they will care for one another, and for one another’s children, forever! This comes into play in a MAJOR way later in David’s life, but we’ll revisit this later when we reach that place.
Not As Peaceful As It Could Have Been
Saul’s jealousy ruled him. It wasn’t love, or protection, or anything else that drove him to hate David the way that he did. In reality, especially as many times as David had come through for him, it should have been just the opposite. In fact, he swore that it would be when Jonathan reminded him of the time David killed the Philistine.
Back when the people had first cried out for a king, when Samuel had gotten old and his troublesome sons had taken over, God warned about this. Samuel prophesied as such to the people, but they still wanted a “king to lead them.” And this was just exactly what fleshly direction had yielded.
There are many lessons to be learned throughout David’s life. One of those lessons is that even if you are chosen by God and called to do a thing, you cannot assume that the road will be smooth sailing. In fact, between the sling and being king, David experienced so much heartbreak, fear, and despondency, we wonder if he would make it another day sometimes!
The other thing is that even when people find themselves in great places of power, it doesn’t mean that it is the favor of God. In that, there are great lessons to be learned as well.
And we will continue with the next Chapter set, coming up!
Be sure to come back here for links to the next Chapter’s study when Tammy and Angela carry on from here.
Father, we thank you for these Old Testament stories that remind us we are all just “doing life” together. Sometimes the road is hard, sometimes we are hardpressed on every side, and sometimes we receive favor when it isn’t even from Your Hand! We ask that You always allow Your Spirit to guide us and show us the steps to take forward. We ask your mercy and grace on our lives and the lives of our children. And we never fail to give you the glory and honor, in Jesus’ mighty Name! Amen.
Ever In His Service,