The Agora
Bible Commentary
1 Samuel

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1 Samuel 18

1Sa 18:1

Vv 1-4: "The admiration which all the nation felt for David because of his exploit against Goliath was shared by Jonathan, and this quickly ripened into the warm friendship which has now been proverbial for millennia. There was in Jonathan none of the corrosive jealousy which was to be the bane and ruin of his father. Clearly, he loved David, not only because of bravery in face of danger (for he himself was every bit as brave), but because in creasing acquaintance led him to appreciate the fine qualities of David's character more and more.

"Yet even this does not fully explain such an eternal selfless friendship, for all true friendships are forged by influences and personal characteristics past defining. Somehow, in ways utterly inexplicable, personalities blend and a bond is fashioned to last forever.

"This friendship of Jonathan for David was surely the most selfless thing in all the OT. In positive self-giving, David contributed relatively little to their fine partnership. But from the very beginning Jonathan lost himself completely in a consuming eagerness to further his friend's well-being in every possible way.

"Saul was at first eager to have the brave upstanding young fellow as an officer in his army (1Sa 14:52), and Jonathan quickly saw David's need of suitable equipment and accoutrements of war (which were not easily come by: 1Sa 13:19-22), so without any concern for himself he forthwith insisted that David have the best of his own. Nothing could be too good for this stalwart son of Bethlehem who was now his friend and a rising star in Israel" (SSD 86,87).

JONATHAN BECAME ONE IN SPIRIT WITH DAVID: Was it at this time that he learned of David's call and anointing?

1Sa 18:4

Jonathan strips away ALL his tokens of royalty, and gives them to David. (David had refused Saul's offers of weaponry, but he accepts Jonathan's.)

Jonathan is acting as though he had been defeated by Goliath, and then stripped of all his armaments and clothes; he sees himself now as "vanquished" by David... vanquished and now his servant!

1Sa 18:5

AND DID IT SO SUCCESSFULLY: Or "wisely" (NIV mg). "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might" (Ecc 9:10). Cp Col 3:23. "Wise as serpents" (Mat 10:16). "My servant will act wisely" (Isa 52:13). The elements of wisdom: humility (Pro 16:18-20), trust in God (Pro 6:20), restraint of words (Pro 10:19; 16:23), diligence (Pro 10:5), and teachableness (Pro 21:11).

1Sa 18:8

Notice that David's righteous behavior precipitates his great trials. He has done nothing wrong, and yet he is suffering for it (cp Act 14:22).

WHAT MORE CAN HE GET BUT THE KINGDOM?: Saul now remembers Samuel's prophecy (1Sa 13:14; 15:23). Note the quick -- but great -- change from 1Sa 16:21.

1Sa 18:10

AN EVIL SPIRIT FROM GOD: When we follow ways of sin, God turns from us, and hardens our heart.

HE WAS PROPHESYING IN HIS HOUSE: Under the influence of the evil spirit (cp 1Jo 4:1). Thus Saul tries to take David offguard.

1Sa 18:11

We have more to fear from our "friends" than from our enemies.

1Sa 18:16

ALL ISRAEL AND JUDAH: A sort of natural division by inclination and geography, long before the political division.

1Sa 18:17

FOR SAUL SAID TO HIMSELF, "I WILL NOT RAISE A HAND AGAINST HIM": David was now too popular for Saul to attempt to kill him personally. Cp Christ: they feared to take him openly because of the people.

LET THE PHILISTINES DO THAT: Thus Saul pronounces his own fate (1Sa 31:1-5)!

1Sa 18:18

MY FATHER'S CLAN IN ISRAEL: Jesse was prob poor, and a social outcast because of his ancestress Ruth, of Moab (cp v 23). God gives grace to humble (Jam 4:6), "lowly in heart" (Mat 12:29).

1Sa 18:19

This was done to arouse David's anger.

1Sa 18:23

A POOR MAN: Cp v 18. David was unable to bring a sufficient dowry (cp v 25). Cp Gen 29:18; 34:12; Exo 22:16,17.

1Sa 18:25

A HUNDRED PHILISTINE FORESKINS: To demonstrate that David had killed Philistines and not Jews. Such an atrocity would greatly offend the Philistines, and make them David's sworn enemies.

1Sa 18:27

MICHAL: Fem of "Michael", ie "one like El". The younger daughter of Saul, king of Israel (1Sa 14:49), and the wife, first of David (1Sa 18:27), then of Palti/Paltiel (1Sa 25:44; 2Sa 3:15–17), and then finally again of David (2Sa 3:15–17). Michal is introduced in a genealogical note concerning Saul (1Sa 14:49–52). Appearing fifth and last in a list of Saul's offspring (v 49), she is preceded by her three brothers (Jonathan, Ishvi, and Malchishua) and an older sister (Merab). In the narrative, Michal loves David, a fact which pleases her father Saul (1Sa 18:20).

1Sa 18:28

The narrative concludes with a David whom Saul fears and hates (v 29), but whom both Yahweh and Michal (or "Israel", LXX) love (v 28).

1Sa 18:30

HIS NAME BECAME WELL KNOWN: Cp Christ: Song 1:3; Heb 1:4; Phi 2:9.

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