1 Samuel 18:15

And Saul eyed David from that day forward (ver. 9). How extraordinary are the moral contrasts which are often presented in human life! The friendship of Jonathan here stands in opposition to the envy of Saul. Hardly had David experienced the one before he was exposed to the other. "His victory had a double issue, Jonathan's love and Saul's envy, which God so mixed that the one was a remedy of the other" (Hall). On the day of public rejoicing the seeds of jealousy, envy, and hatred were sown in his heart. He eyed David not with favour, as before, but with dislike on account of the honour given to him beyond himself. The general suspicion which he entertained in consequence of the intimations of Samuel concerning his successor also seems to have fastened on him as the man; and henceforth he looked upon him as a dangerous rival. "Mingling with his constitutional malady, it poisoned his whole future relations with David." Of envy notice that -

I. IT TAKES ROOT IN AN EVIL HEART. In the case of Saul the soil was congenial and ready prepared by -

1. Alienation from God and conviction of his disfavour.

2. Selfishness and morbid concentration of thought upon himself.

3. Self-will, pride, and worldly ambition, still continuing and increasing.

4. Wrathful passion. He was very wroth, and the saying displeased him (ver. 8). "He who is apt to feel indignation, feels pain at those who are undeservedly successful; but the envious man, going beyond him, feels pain at every one's success" (Aristotle, 'Ethics').


1. Popular estimation. "They have ascribed unto David ten thousands," etc. (ver. 8). "What properly occasions envy is the fruit of the accomplishments of others; the pre-eminence which the opinion of the world bestows, or which we dread it will bestow, on their talents above ours" (Blair).

2. Successful achievements, from which such preference proceeds. "The bright day brings out the adder." Prosperity is generally attended by envy.

3. Personal excellences. David "behaved himself wisely" (ver. 5); "very wisely" (ver. 15); "more wisely than all" (ver. 30). He acted prudently, cautiously, skilfully, and therefore prosperously. Base envy withers at another's joy, And hates the excellence it cannot reach (Thomson).

4. Divine approbation, which appears in prosperous enterprises. "And Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with him," etc. (ver. 12). "And Cain was very wroth," etc. (Genesis 4:5; 1 John 3:2). The envy felt at the favour shown to another by God is peculiarly criminal, because of its opposition to God himself.


1. Unreasonableness.

2. In most cases ingratitude. David had conferred a great benefit on Saul and Israel by his victory over Goliath; he "went out whithersoever Saul sent him," and fought his battles; and often soothed his melancholy with the music of his harp (ver. 10).

3. Injustice. He did him "shame" (1 Samuel 20:34) by entertaining suspicions of his loyalty and treating him as a traitor.

4. Ungodliness and all uncharitableness. "Charity envieth not." "Envy is the worst of all passions, and feedeth upon the spirits, and they again upon the body; and so much the more because it is perpetual, and, as it is said, keepeth no holidays" (Bacon, 'Essays').

IV. IT IS PRODUCTIVE OF MUCH DEADLY FRUIT, in relation both to others (Proverbs 27:4) and to the envious man himself (Proverbs 14:30); partly of hatred and partly of grief. "As it shows itself in hatred it strikes at the person envied; but as it affects a man in the nature of grief it recoils and does execution upon the envier. It lies at the heart like a worm, always gnawing and corroding and piercing it with a secret, invisible sting and poison" (South, 'Sermons,' 58.). In Saul it produced unrest of soul, increased subjection to the power of evil - "it came to pass on the morrow," etc. (ver. 10); ungovernable rage - "he poised the javelin" twice; craft and hypocrisy; fear (vers. 11, 15); continual enmity (ver. 21); deliberate avowal of murderous intentions (1 Samuel 19:1); open and unceasing persecution; despair and self-destruction. "When in the last judgment envy is placed at the bar of God, what an indictment will he laid against the evil spirit! The insulting anger of Eliab, the cruelty of Joseph's brethren, the murderous wrath of Cain, and the greatest share in the greatest crime in the world - the crucifying of the Lord of glory - will be charged upon him. To cast this demon out of our bosoms before that final condemnation is one purpose of Jesus, and with all our hearts we should pray for his complete and. speedy victory" (C Vince). Conclusion: - In order to the cure or prevention of this evil passion, seek a renewed heart; dwell much on the Divine love "that spurns all envying in its bounty;" estimate aright temporal advantages; entertain lowly thoughts of self; learn to admire excellence in others, and regard it as if it were your own; check the first impulse of jealous or envious feeling; and "commit thy way unto the Lord."

"O man! why place thy heart where there doth need
Exclusion of participants in good?
Heaven calls, And, round about you wheeling, courts your gaze
With everlasting beauties. Yet your eye
Turns with fond doting still upon the earth.
Therefore he smites you who discerneth all"

(Dante, 'Purg.' 14.) - D.

And David behaved himself wisely in all his ways.
Monday Club Sermons.
I. THE WISDOM OF DAYS. The wisdom of David was shown by his conduct in extraordinary prosperity. Suddenly David found himself the popular idol; he was set above the king; but his head was not turned.

1. When Robert Burns was introduced into the brilliant society of Edinburgh — of literary men and gifted women, of peers and noble ladies, the titled of the lend — when all Scotland was at his feet he bore himself as to the manner born. He was as gallant a gentleman as any in the salons of the northern capital. But his head, alas! was turned. His heart was seduced. The praise of men, the flattery of beautiful women, corrupted his simplicity, ruined him. He had poetic inspiration unsurpassed since Shakespeare; but he lacked the inspiration of wisdom. Under temptations far greater, David bore himself undazzled. The excuse has been made for Burns that he was a poet; he had a poet's exquisite sensibility; the exposure was greater for him than for common mortals. The palliation is admitted. He was more tempted than other men. But David, too, was a poet; he was a musician beside; he had the sensibility which attends both these Divine gifts; he had also the impassioned enthusiasm of a youthful hero. Yet his wisdom did not fail; because it was his mastering inspiration.

2. It increases our admiration of David to remember that he had no preparation for prosperity. Trial is a discipline for success. It has been usual to ascribe the wisdom of Queen Elizabeth, in the extraordinary elevation of her great reign, to the discipline of her exile in youth, at Hatfield, beset by scheming friends and enemies, dreaded and hated by Mary and the Catholic nobles, and only secure of her life by incessant and extreme circumspection. Such wisdom as she displayed in the long struggle through which England safely passed to such a pitch of glory was truly admirable. But this wisdom she might not have sustained if. she had been taken to her sister's court and made a favourite there; if she had been put, with all her youthful charms and accomplishments, in contrast with the sickly, suspicious, bigoted Mary. Yet, even for this trial, Elizabeth had had a partial preparation, in being born a princess. But David was a farmer's boy. Suddenly, without preparation of any kind, save the native correctness of his judgment and the simple rectitude of his heart he was lifted to the pinnacle of earthly glory. His trials came afterward. His success was his first experience. How few public men who have ever lived have shown such marvellous modesty and self-restraint! The example is a noble one for all young men.


III. THE WISDOM OF DAVID WAS SHOWN IN HIS PURPOSE TO HAVE THE FAVOUR OF GOD. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom."

(Monday Club Sermons.)

These words, "he behaved himself wisely," might be also translated, "he prospered;" and this version the margin affords; either interpretation would be strictly true, as applied to this period of David's life; and even afterwards, he may truly be said to have prospered, even although his apparent circumstances were adverse; for he was preserved in dangers and calamities to an extent clearly proving that "God was with him" in an especial sense, sheltering him by the presence of his Providence; and, in the midst of his deepest misfortunes and bitterest persecutions, his language is that of a mind absorbed in happiness beyond the control of earthly circumstances. In whichever sense therefore we take the words of the text, either that "he behaved himself wisely," or that "he prospered in all his ways," the observation will allow of being extended over that whole portion of David's life in which he was subject to the persecutions of Saul, and before he was settled in his kingdom.

1. Perhaps in no instance is the truth of the Apostolic observation, "the wisdom of the world is foolishness with God," more clearly exemplified than in this. God says, "David behaved himself wisely;" the world would say, he behaved himself foolishly, and discovered a defect of spirit. But of what spirit? Of the spirit of him who was a murderer from the beginning. There was no deficiency of courage in the character of David; this his bitterest foes muss allow him. He did not conceive revenge at all necessary to his military reputation. He was totally unaware of that meanness which it is now the fashion to attribute to those who have the fortitude and high-mindedness to forgive. Even a wise and virtuous heathen has justly retorted this charge of meanness, and pronounced revenge to be the passion of a low, weak, and little mind. And if such be the words of Nature and the works of the Law, how shall resentment be tolerated beneath the Gospel?

2. David had sustained deliberate and premeditated injury; but frequently resentment is at groundless as it is guilty; your brother may haw offended unintentionally and inadvertently; you may yourself, also inadvertently, have given him a provocation no less than that which is operating within your own bosoms; or, perhaps, he is even now stung with remorse and sorrow for his fault, and only wants the opportunity of repairing it. Do not forget that others have their passions, prejudices, propensities, and habitual feelings, as well as yourselves.

3. David, during his persecution, was once placed in a dangerous situation. He had his most inveterate enemy within his grasp, and could at once have gratified revenge and shown his own security forever. But he had no revenge to gratify: and security he sought from another quarter. Had the opportunity been offered to him again and again, it would never have occurred to him to embrace it; but treacherous counsellors are at hand, who would persuade him to sin and destruction. They knew that David was only assailable by religious motives: they therefore urge him with "Behold the day of which the Lord said unto thee: Behold, I will deliver thine enemy into thy hand, that thou mayest do to him as it shall seem good unto thee." But David knows that what may seem good to him may not seem good to God; and therefore he takes not the advantage which circumstances had placed in his power.

4. We may also observe that the passage of David's life to which the text may be especially applied, when "he behaved himself wisely in all his ways," and when "the Lord was with him," was the time of his outward humiliation and adversity: and this may serve to show us that, although such a state as this is not good or to be sought after for itself, it has its securities: it teaches us to seek protection and comfort where we can only seek them with confidence, and in the same proportion it renders our actions safe.

(H. Thompson, M. A.)

Adriel, David, Jonathan, Merab, Michal, Saul
Acting, Afraid, Awe, Behaved, Dreaded, Fear, Greatly, Prospered, Prospering, Saul, Stood, Success, Successful, Wherefore, Wisely
1. Jonathan befriends David
5. Saul envies his praise
10. seeks to kill him in his fury
12. fears him for his good success
17. offers him his daughters for snare
23. David persuaded to be the king's son-in-law,
25. gives two hundred foreskins of the Philistines for Michal's dowry
28. Saul's hatred and David's glory increase

Dictionary of Bible Themes
1 Samuel 18:15

     5086   David, rise of
     8754   fear
     8796   persecution, forms of

1 Samuel 18:6-15

     5965   temperament

A Soul's Tragedy
'And David went out whithersoever Saul sent him, and behaved himself wisely: and Saul set him over the men of war; and he was accepted in the sight of all the people, and also in the sight of Saul's servants. 6. And it came to pass as they came, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women came out of all cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tabrets, with joy, and with instruments of musick. 7. And the women answered one another as they played,
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

War! War! War!
At the present crisis, the minds of men are exceedingly agitated with direful prospects of a terrible struggle. We know not whereunto this matter may grow. The signs of the times are dark and direful. We fear that the vials of God's wrath are about to be poured out, and that the earth will be deluged with blood. As long as there remains a hope, let us pray for peace, nay, even in the time of war let us still beseech the throne of God, crying, that he would "send us peace in our days." The war will
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 5: 1859

And V the Kingdom Undivided and the Kingdom Divided
THE HISTORICAL BOOKS: I and II Samuel. I and II Kings. I and II Chronicles. NOTE.--As these three pairs of books are so closely related in their historical contents, it is deemed best to study them together, though they overlap the two divisions of IV and V. I. CHARTS Chart A. General Contents +--+ " I AND II SAMUEL " +-------------+-----+------+ "Samuel "Saul "David " +-------------+-----+------+----------+ " " " " I AND II KINGS "NOTE.--Biblical
Frank Nelson Palmer—A Bird's-Eye View of the Bible

The Exile.
David's first years at the court of Saul in Gibeah do not appear to have produced any psalms which still survive. "The sweetest songs are those Which tell of saddest thought." It was natural, then, that a period full of novelty and of prosperous activity, very unlike the quiet days at Bethlehem, should rather accumulate materials for future use than be fruitful in actual production. The old life shut to behind him for ever, like some enchanted door in a hill-side, and an unexplored land lay beckoning
Alexander Maclaren—The Life of David

Salvation Published from the Mountains
O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid: say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God! I t would be improper to propose an alteration, though a slight one, in the reading of a text, without bearing my testimony to the great value of our English version, which I believe, in point of simplicity, strength, and fidelity, is not likely to be excelled by a new translation
John Newton—Messiah Vol. 1

How the Poor and the Rich Should be Admonished.
(Admonition 3.) Differently to be admonished are the poor and the rich: for to the former we ought to offer the solace of comfort against tribulation, but in the latter to induce fear as against elation. For to the poor one it is said by the Lord through the prophet, Fear not, for thou shalt not be confounded (Isai. liv. 4). And not long after, soothing her, He says, O thou poor little one, tossed with tempest (Ibid. 11). And again He comforts her, saying, I have chosen thee in the furnace of
Leo the Great—Writings of Leo the Great

The Publication of the Gospel
The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it [or of the preachers] P erhaps no one Psalm has given greater exercise to the skill and patience of commentators and critics, than the sixty-eighth. I suppose the difficulties do not properly belong to the Psalm, but arise from our ignorance of various circumstances to which the Psalmist alludes; which probably were, at that time, generally known and understood. The first verse is the same with the stated form of benediction
John Newton—Messiah Vol. 2

Ramah. Ramathaim Zophim. Gibeah.
There was a certain Ramah, in the tribe of Benjamin, Joshua 18:25, and that within sight of Jerusalem, as it seems, Judges 19:13; where it is named with Gibeah:--and elsewhere, Hosea 5:8; which towns were not much distant. See 1 Samuel 22:6; "Saul sat in Gibeah, under a grove in Ramah." Here the Gemarists trifle: "Whence is it (say they) that Ramah is placed near Gibea? To hint to you, that the speech of Samuel of Ramah was the cause, why Saul remained two years and a half in Gibeah." They blindly
John Lightfoot—From the Talmud and Hebraica

The Sixth Commandment
Thou shalt not kill.' Exod 20: 13. In this commandment is a sin forbidden, which is murder, Thou shalt not kill,' and a duty implied, which is, to preserve our own life, and the life of others. The sin forbidden is murder: Thou shalt not kill.' Here two things are to be understood, the not injuring another, nor ourselves. I. The not injuring another. [1] We must not injure another in his name. A good name is a precious balsam.' It is a great cruelty to murder a man in his name. We injure others in
Thomas Watson—The Ten Commandments

Alike from the literary and the historical point of view, the book[1] of Samuel stands midway between the book of Judges and the book of Kings. As we have already seen, the Deuteronomic book of Judges in all probability ran into Samuel and ended in ch. xii.; while the story of David, begun in Samuel, embraces the first two chapters of the first book of Kings. The book of Samuel is not very happily named, as much of it is devoted to Saul and the greater part to David; yet it is not altogether inappropriate,
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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