The Agora
Bible Commentary
1 Samuel

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1 Samuel 19

1Sa 19:1

1Sa 19: "The true character of Saul is revealed in the murderous intent that developed against his servant David, which was only frustrated by the action of Jonathan. The king's envy burst forth without disguise, as he instructed his son and other servants. Thus is revealed the trials of David, and in type, as shown by Psalm 59, those also of Messiah. Saul's murderous intentions were frustrated by Jonathan (vv 1-3). David's evident success continued to incite Saul's jealousy, even though Jonathan effected a temporary reconciliation (vv 4-7). This was not undertaken without personal risk. Saul was not a man with whom to be reasoned, and might well have turned on his son as he had on David. Then comes the turning point in the palace of the king. David's success again incites Saul's jealousy (vv 8-11). David's success, doubtless applauded by the people, caused the insane jealousy of Saul to flood back. The very sight of the bright-faced young hero drowned all this antipathy. David escapes from his enemies (vv 12-17). Then is mentioned the association of David with Samuel (v 18). He had need of comfort, assurance and advice. Samuel was well qualified to strengthen his faith. Then came a strange incident as Saul was found among the prophets (vv 19-24). The messengers from the king to David saw the formal company of prophets engaged upon their service, presided over by Samuel. Stirred by the sight and sound, affected by the remarkable experience of these men of remarkable intent, they forgot the purpose of their visit, and entered into the service with the others. When, at last, Saul journeyed to Ramah, he was affected by the emotion of the moment, so that it became proverbial that Saul was one of the company. It was, however, only a facade; a veneer, for outwardly Saul was seen in company with the prophets, but inwardly he was unconverted" (GEM).

SAUL TOLD HIS SON JONATHAN AND ALL THE ATTENDANTS TO KILL DAVID: When the name of the "Beloved" (1Sa 18:30) becomes precious, his enemies seek his life (cp Act 4:12,18; 5:40).

1Sa 19:6

AS SURELY AS THE LORD LIVES: Note the ease with which wicked men use pious expressions.

1Sa 19:9

AN EVIL SPIRIT FROM THE LORD CAME UPON SAUL: As a result of another of David's successes.

1Sa 19:10

THAT NIGHT DAVID MADE GOOD HIS ESCAPE: "The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them" (Psa 34:7). Jesus commands his followers to flee when men seek their hurt (Mat 10:23).

1Sa 19:12

LET DAVID DOWN THROUGH A WINDOW: Cp Jos 2:15 (spies at Jericho); 2Co 11:32,33 (Paul at Damascus).

HE FLED AND ESCAPED: "Deliver me from my enemies, O God; protect me from those who rise up against me... They return at evening, snarling like dogs, and prowl about the city... " (Psa 59:1,6,14). While his enemies -- the men from Saul -- prowled about like dogs!

1Sa 19:15

Saul asks that David be carried to him in his sickbed... so that Saul may kill him personally!

1Sa 19:16

"But when the men [sent by Saul] entered [looking to arrest David while he lay in his sickbed]"... they found he was escaped from their grasp... "there was the idol in the bed, and at the head was some goats' hair" (1Sa 19:16).

Here is an easy echo of the familiar NT incident: "They came to the place where he lay" -- this time the New Testament "David", or "Beloved", or "Anointed" -- but THEY FOUND NO BODY!" (Mat 28:6; John 20:2,6-8)

1Sa 19:17

Michal, who used deceit to save David, now lies to save herself.

1Sa 19:18

"And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it" (1Co 10:13).

HE AND SAMUEL WENT TO NAIOTH AND STAYED THERE: During this time together, David and Samuel conferred about temple arrangements (ie 1Ch 9:22; cp Mal 3:16).

NAIOTH: "Apparently a section of Ramah, not a separate village. Because the word means something like 'dwelling places,' it may have referred to the common living place or monastery of the band of prophets to whom Samuel gave inspiration and leadership. Cf a similar settlement or school under the direction of Elisha (2Ki 6:1-7). Reference to Naioth is confined to 1Sa 19:18-20:1" (WyE).

1Sa 19:20

Like the officers sent by the Pharisees to apprehend Christ, who returned empty-handed, saying, "No one ever spoke the way this man does" (Joh 7:32,45,46).

1Sa 19:24

HE STRIPPED OFF HIS ROBES... AND LAY THAT WAY ALL THAT DAY AND NIGHT: By contrast... "Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed" (Rev 16:15).

IS SAUL ALSO AMONG THE PROPHETS?: That is, this was so much out of character! What strange methods God often uses!

This is no contradiction of 1Sa 15:35 -- "Samuel came no more to see Saul" -- since here Saul is the one who came to see Samuel (WS 240).

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