David Becomes One
55After King Saul had watched David go out to fight Goliath, Saul turned to the commander of his army and said, “Abner, who is that young man?”
“Your Majesty,” Abner answered, “I swear by your life that I don't know.”
56“Then find out!” Saul told him.
57When David came back from fighting Goliath, he was still carrying Goliath's head.
Abner took David to Saul, 58and Saul asked, “Who are you?”
“I am David the son of Jesse, a loyal Israelite from Bethlehem.”
1David and Saul finished talking, and soon David and Jonathan became best friends. Jonathan thought as much of David as he did of himself. 2From that time on, Saul kept David in his service and would not let David go back to his own family.
3Jonathan liked David so much that they promised to always be loyal friends. 4Jonathan took off the robe that he was wearing and gave it to David. He also gave him his military clothes, his sword, his bow and arrows, and his belt.
5David was a success in everything that Saul sent him to do, and Saul made him a high officer in his army. That pleased everyone, including Saul's other officers.
6David had killed Goliath, the battle was over, and the Israelite army set out for home. As the army went along, women came out of each Israelite town to welcome King Saul. They were celebrating by singing songs and dancing to the music of tambourines and harps. 7 They sang:
Saul has killed
a thousand enemies;
David has killed
8This song made Saul very angry, and he thought, “They are saying that David has killed ten times more enemies than I ever did. Next they will want to make him king.” 9Saul never again trusted David.
10The next day the Lord let an evil spirit take control of Saul, and he began acting like a crazy man inside his house. David came to play the harp for Saul as usual, but this time Saul had a spear in his hand. 11Saul thought, “I'll pin David to the wall.” He threw the spear at David twice, but David dodged and got away both times.
12Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was helping David and was no longer helping him. 13Saul put David in charge of 1,000 soldiers and sent him out to fight. 14The Lord helped David, and he and his soldiers always won their battles. 15This made Saul even more afraid of David. 16But everyone else in Judah and Israel was loyal to David, because he led the army in battle.
Outstanding athletes, musicians and actors often struggle to cope with the trappings of stardom. David the harpist turned giant killer also had to face the challenges that accompany heroism!
It’s a little surprising that Saul had to ask his general Abner who David was. After all David had been in the palace playing his harp for Saul during his bouts with depression (16:14-23). The most likely reason is, not that Saul didn’t know who David was, but that he was now viewing David from a military perspective and wanted to know about the social background of his family, from that vantage point.
But the star power of David became a big problem for Saul when all of the women of the Israel began singing a new pop song; it was being sung everywhere “Saul has struck down his thousands, and David his ten thousands!” It was pretty brash of them to sing a song that not only elevated David but put down King Saul!
Saul’s reverts back to his moody despair. David, as before, plays his harp to lift Saul’s spirits. But the circumstances are different! David is now perceived by Saul as a threat to his kingship.
Saul tries to get rid of David, first by killing him and then by making him a commander in his army, a dangerous assignment. He fails at every attempt. On the other hand, David succeeded at every turn because the Lord was with him. This pattern became a reccurring theme for the rest of Saul’s life.
How simple David’s life had been when he only had his father’s sheep and an occasional wild animal to be concerned about. Now his list of people to be thinking about included: the miserable and volatile king, the king’s wonderful son Jonathan, the women of Israel, the army unit he was commanding, the memory of his secret anointing, his not so happy older brother Eliab and the rest of his extended family!
Life was getting complicated!
What assurance and comfort is found in those words, “the Lord was with him”! O my God and Father, may those words be said about me today. We have this great promise “God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5