Saul’s disdain for David has not decreased and he still desires to kill him. In this chapter, Saul’s insecurities and jealousy of David’s abilities and blessings have grown. But Jonathan, a son of Saul, remains loyal to David and warns David that Saul has instructed his servants to kill David. David is on high alert as Jonathan convinces his father to relent from killing David. Jonathan reminds Saul of how David put himself in great danger for the sake of the kingdom to kill Goliath.
The persuasion works and Saul relents. David then joins Saul again as in times past, but we have another occurrence of Saul attempting to kill David in verse 10: “Then Saul sought to pin David to the wall with the spear, but he slipped away from Saul’s presence; and he drove the spear into the wall. So David fled and escaped that night.” You will remember a very similar passage from I Samuel 18:10-11.
Saul could not get over his desire to kill David, such was the depth of his jealousy and anger. He sends messengers to David’s house to watch him, then kill him in the morning. Saul’s wife Michal, another loyal advocate in David’s life, detects the danger and warns David. Recall that Michal is also Saul’s daughter, so we can be inspired that her loyalty to David is greater than her loyalty to her father. She tells David to flee the house and he does. Michal then fashioned a sleeping disguise in David’s bed using goat’s hair and clothes.
When Saul’s messengers came to the house, Michal played interference saying that David is sick. We get another look into the depth of Saul’s anger in verse 15 when Saul reveals that he would even kill David as he slept: “Bring him up to me in the bed, that I may kill him.” Saul is perturbed when he discovers that his daughter had deceived him.
David escapes Saul’s presence for the moment by fleeing further to Samuel at Ramah. But Saul is determined that David will die and when he hears where David is, he sends messengers to take David. But the Spirit of God comes on the messengers of Saul as they come to see Samuel leading a group of prophets prophesying at Naioth at Ramah. The messengers begin prophesying and they do not seek David. When Saul hears of this, he sends more messengers, a second and a third time, and all three times, the messengers do not complete their mission to take David because the Spirit of God comes upon them and they being prophesying.
Then, Saul takes the journey himself and the same thing happens to him. At the end of this chapter, Saul is naked and on the ground for an entire day and an entire night, prophesying. We can see many things working together in this chapter to protect God’s righteous servant David. We also see them working together to thwart and embarrass the “king” of Israel.
If we are righteous and seek to do God’s will as David did:
- God will help us
- God will protect us through others
- God will reward us
If we give in to our selfish urges as Saul did:
- We will find ourselves willing to do horrible things
- We will go to great lengths to do evil
- God will create the conditions for our shame
David did what was necessary to save his life. He heeded the advice to those close to him that he trusted. David had faith to do what was needed to survive. God was the orchestrator of the entire sequence of events. Recall that Saul was not meant to be a great or even a good king. Rather, Saul’s most likely purpose is to show the people how poor of a leader a fallible human king could be. David, for his part, is God’s chosen servant, and inspires the people to righteousness and faith in the one true God.