1 Samuel 18-20; Psalm 11, 59
Jonathan and David made a covenant with one another with Jonathan taking his robe, armor, sword, bow, and belt and giving them to David as a sign of their covenant. Saul placed David over the men of war.
As a result of the slaughter of the Philistines, the people chanted that Saul had slain his thousands and David his ten thousands. This displeased Saul and caused him to become jealous of David.
One particular day, a distressing spirit sent from God came upon Saul and he threw his spear at David; however David escaped. Since Saul was fearful of David, he sent David out from his presence and made him a captain over a thousand men.
David acted wisely in all his ways and God blessed him. This caused further distrust of David by Saul. Trying to be crafty, Saul gave the hand of his daughter Merab to David. When it became time for her to be given to David, she was given instead to Adriel. Another daughter of Saul, Michal, loved David. Word came to Saul of her love for David and it pleased Saul and she was given in marriage to David.
After a bit of attempted manipulation on the part of Saul, David went out and killed 200 Philistines, bringing back their foreskins to Saul. Seeing this act, Saul knew God was with David and that his daughter loved David. This just made Saul all the more fearful and angry.
Saul told Jonathan and his servants that they should kill David. Loving David as a brother, Jonathan told David of his father’s plans to kill him. Jonathan spoke to his father Saul in an effort to convince him to not kill David because he had done nothing against Saul. The advice of Jonathan was heeded by Saul and Saul agreed not to kill David.
War brewed again between Israel and the Philistines and David went out and defeated them.
The distressing spirit was sent again by God upon Saul and he sought to pin David against the wall with his spear yet again. As before, David escaped. Saul sent messengers to try and kill David in the night. Michal let David out through the window so he could escape, placing an image in her bed to appear as David. She told Saul’s messengers that David was sick in bed. Saul told his messengers to bring David to him so that he may kill David. What they brought to Saul was the image covered in goat’s hair.
David fled to Ramah and Saul sent messengers to capture him. They encountered a group of prophets to include Samuel and Saul’s messengers began to prophesy. Saul sent other messengers and the same thing happened. Saul sent a third group with the same thing happening again.
Saul himself went out after David and when he came to Ramah, the Spirit of God came upon Saul and he prophesied, laying down naked all day and night.
David sent word to Jonathan, asking what he had done to anger Saul. Jonathan promised David he would not die and they worked out a series of signals so David would know if it was safe to enter Saul’s presence. David hid in the field and Saul asked Jonathan why David was not present at dinner. Jonathan told his father that David had asked permission to go to Bethlehem. This angered Saul and he cast his spear at Jonathan in an attempt to kill his own son. Knowing it was not safe for David to come back, Jonathan shot an arrow into the field signifying to David he should flee. David and Jonathan wept together and David departed and Jonathan returned to his father.
Psalm 11 reflects this period in David’s life, one that was spent on the run from King Saul. In this Psalm, David notes how he is being pursued by the wicked. He also notes how the righteous can trust in God and the reality that God will rain down judgment upon the wicked for He is righteous and He loves righteousness and He will uphold the upright.
Psalm 59 also reveals what David was experiencing as Saul continually sought to take David’s life. This is a prayer to God for deliverance from the hand of the wicked, in this case from the hand of Saul and his messengers. As with Psalm 11, David notes God will judge the wicked and will laugh at those who seek to lie in wait for the righteous. God is the defense of the righteous and He will consume the wicked in His wrath.