1 Samuel 18 Commentary

David’s success and Saul’s jealousy (18:1-30)

Once David came to live at Saul’s court, he and Jonathan became close friends. In fact, Jonathan promised loyalty to David as if bound to him by covenant. David continued to produce outstanding successes as a soldier, and Saul made him an officer. The promotion was popular with army officers and common people alike (18:1-5). David’s popularity, however, stirred up Saul’s jealousy, and Saul tried to kill him (6-11). Saul was now afraid of David, so removed him from the court by giving him a military command that kept him on the battlefield. But this only resulted in more success and more fame for David (12-16).

Determined to force David into wrongdoing, Saul offered to give his eldest daughter to David for a wife, and then deceived David by giving her to someone else. But David remained guiltless (17-19; cf. 17:25).

When Saul learnt that another of his daughters, Michal, was in love with David, he saw another opportunity to try to trap him (20-22). He asked David to kill one hundred Philistines as the bride price, thinking that David would surely be killed in the attempt. David was pleased at this sort of bride price, for he was too poor to pay money. He was successful against the Philistines, and Saul hated him even more. Through his marriage to Michal, David became part of the royal family (23-30).


By this time David had probably written some of the psalms that are now part of the biblical book of Psalms (cf. 2 Sam 23:1). The introductions and titles to these psalms indicate that a number of them were written during the time of his flight from Saul. These, along with other psalms he wrote over a long and eventful career, give David’s personal views of events that the writer of 1 and 2 Samuel describes in narrative form.

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