When the giant from Gath, Goliath, was slain by David it seems everyone took notice. There were 2 reactions to David, as we shall see. In the rest of the book of I Samuel we will see the love of Jonathan for David (18:1-5), and the envy of his father, King Saul (18:6-9). Jonathan was taken with David immediately. “Jonathan loved him like his very self.” So Jonathan and David cut a covenant. This covenant was probably initiated by severing an animal, and by both Jonathan and David passing between the 2 pieces saying “if I am unfaithful to my word in this covenant, may I end up in pieces like this animal.” This is how ancient covenants were made at this time.
There was more to this relationship than the covenant. Jonathan also stripped himself of his rightful office to be the next king of Israel and gave it to David. He stripped himself of his robe, his armor, his belt, bow and sword (vs.4). This is just an unthinkable thing for him to have done. When Jonathan relinquished his future office, and made the covenant, he was displaying a great act of faith. Only faith makes us willing to be the lesser of the two. Faith causes us to surrender the rights that we pretend to have over to Christ, Who is truly Israel’s King.
Saul was not going to have any of this. Not after he heard all of the ladies ascribing such might to David in song (vs.8-9). We see David drawing such different reactions; faithful love from Jonathan, jealousy and envy from Saul. I mentioned earlier that David is an Old Testament type of Christ. Remember that David’s Descendant, Jesus, had the same kind of knack for bringing division. Jonathan would have understood Him perfectly.
I want to point out the repetitions in chapter 18. There are 4 references to David’s success (vs. 5,14,15,30). There are 3 mentions that God is with David (vs.12,14,28). And there are 6 uses of the verb “to love” with David being the object (vs.1,3,16,20,22,28). It seems that almost everyone loves David; Jonathan loves David; Michal loves David; all Israel and Judah love David. But King Saul doesn’t love David. But he does fear him, and he stands in awe of David. We are told this 3 times in vs. 12,15,29. It is evident to see by the end of this chapter that David is successful because God is with him, and almost everyone loves him.
There is one other emphasis in this chapter that is not as easily seen. We can see it, but David did not see it at the time. He could see God’s favor, but he failed to see Saul’s envy. You are probably thinking now, “how could he say that?” Saul twice threw his spear at David (vs. 10,11). David’s life was in danger. Remember that David was playing his lyre because Saul was having one of his spells. Probably Saul’s attendants thought that he was just having a fit that day that was beyond his control. Saul was a very moody person, so David would have had no reason to think at this time that he was the object of his envy. But that it was just an outburst of his madness.
Another thing that David could not see was Saul’s motive in the offering of his daughters in marriage. Saul had a plan, but it was secret (vs.17,21,25). If David fought enough Philistines, surely he would be killed eventually. David would be dead, and Saul wouldn’t look bad as if he had planned it. Who knows why Saul reneged on the marriage of his first daughter Merab (vs.17-19). But Saul was happy when he found that Michal loved David. Saul made it clear that if he had 100 foreskins of the Philistines that Michal was his. Saul just knew that out of 100 Philistines David’s chances were slim to survive. David took Saul up on his offer, but thought that Michal was worth 200 foreskins. He presented them to Saul and he walks away with his daughter. Saul’s plan had backfired again.
This is where God’s favor appears very brightly, but quietly. God was protecting David even when he was not aware of it. We see that God’s favor is much stronger than Saul’s envy. David didn’t realize God’s protection at this time. Many times we fail to realize His protection for us as well. These are some things that should make us ponder. We should remember some of Jesus final words, “and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age”. God is ever present with us. We are never alone. Praise God for His ever present protection!