1 Samuel 18:2

1 Samuel 18:1-30. (GIBEAH.)
On his victory over Goliath, David was conducted by Abner (1 Samuel 14:50) into the presence of Saul, "with the bead of the Philistine in his hand." He appears to have been unrecognised by the king, perhaps because of the alteration that had taken place in his personal appearance. Henceforth he resided at Gibeah (ver. 2), where he remained for two or three years. The court of Saul, while unlike that of Solomon, half a century later, was not destitute of worldly show, and was marked by the obsequiousness, self-seeking, emulation, and intrigue which too often prevail in such places, especially when the monarch is capricious, proud, and without the fear of God (1 Samuel 22:6, 7). David's connection with it was of great importance in relation to the position which he was destined by Divine providence to occupy; continued his education for it; and afforded (as every promotion to high place does in its measure a wider scope for -


1. Outward circumstances, though they may not create eminent ability, serve to call it forth. Much excellence doubtless exists, but is never displayed on account of the absence of favourable conditions.

2. Great genius is shown in one who has the faculty of adapting himself to varied positions in life and their varied requirements.

3. The proper use of power strengthens it and develops it to perfection.

4. The humble, faithful, and efficient discharge of duty in one position prepares the way for another and a higher. It was thus with David, who passed from the narrow circle of private life to the wider one of public life, from the sheepfold to the palace, from contending against a lion and a bear to military expeditions (vers. 5, 13, 30) against the enemies of Israel, and ultimately from loyal obedience to royal rule.

II. ACQUAINTANCE WITH MEN, and the knowledge of human nature. David was familiar with "fields, and flocks, and silent stars," but needed training in another school.

1. There are few things more valuable than an accurate and extensive knowledge of men: their divers temperaments, tendencies, and capacities; their peculiar excellences and defects; their varied wishes and aims; and underneath all the great principles of humanity that are the same in all.

2. Some circumstances afford special opportunity for the attainment of such knowledge. What a field of observation were the court and camp of Saul to one of such mental activity and profound insight as David!

3. The knowledge of men produces in the heart that is sincere, devout, and acquainted with itself a large sympathy with them in their sorrows, joys, imperfections, and strivings after higher things. Of this sympathy the psalms of David are a wonderful expression.

4. It is necessary to the knowledge of the most effectual methods of dealing with them - one of the most needful and desirable qualifications in a ruler.

III. THE TRIAL OF PRINCIPLE. David, no less than Saul, must be put to the test, and his fidelity to Jehovah tried as silver "in a furnace of earth."

1. Trial is needful to prove the reality of principle, and manifest its strength and brightness.

2. One trial is often followed by another and a greater. The royal favour into which David was suddenly raised was as suddenly succeeded by royal jealousy, hatred, and craft. Surely no man was ever more fiercely assailed by temptation.

3. When endured aright, in faith and obedience, trial, however painful, is morally beneficial.

4. The victory which is gained over one temptation is an earnest of a victory over the next. The triumph of humility in David was followed by that of simplicity, patience, and forbearance.

IV. ADVANCEMENT IN POPULAR FAVOUR (vers. 7, 16, 30), which, in the case of David, paved his way to the throne; though he neither coveted nor, during the life of Saul, put forth any effort to gain that object.

1. A course of wise and prosperous action, as it well deserves, so it generally obtains the approbation of the people.

2. Such a course of action ought to be aimed at, rather than the popular favour with which it is attended.

3. The favour of the people is to be valued only in subordination to the favour of God, and in so far as it accords with it.

4. Popular favour should be regarded not as an end in itself, but as a means of promoting the Divine glory and human welfare. - D.

What is my life?
"Who am I?" and "What is my life?" Am I only like some larger ephemera on the leaves of the green bay tree of existence, born in the morning and gone at evening? Is the inner world of memory, conscience, and hope, only some mocking dreamland of existence? Are all its agonies of remorse, its stretchings-forth into the infinite, its feelings of accountability, only the workings of a diseased imagination? Or am I what I feel to be — a soul — an immortal soul — a responsible soul; having, after the close of life's brief stewardship, to give account of myself to God? Now there are really two questions involved in this text. The first is, What is life? The second is, "What is my life?" If the Christian ideal be a true one, if each man carries within him the grandeur of immortality, how am I acting with my own great nature? Am I despising and treading under foot my birthright? Am I weaving it into a vestment of beauty, or into a garment of shame?

I. IS MY LIFE A NEW LIFE? Amongst the Hebrews the birth of a child was an occasion of gladdest joy. Its birthday was a festival. So now "there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth." If we are in Christ we are new creatures, old things are passed away; old ideas of life, old habits of life, old associations of life — all things are become new. Another world has come into sight, as clearly as this world came into the view of the blind man to whom Jesus gave sight. I do not say the old life is altogether gone. No. The silkworm's winter skin clings to the moth until it is ready to spread its wings and soar away, and much of the old nature clings to the Christian till he is ready to "depart and be with Christ, which is far better." Paul felt the old man still clinging to him. "O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" So shall we. But for all this, the new life is there. We love prayer, we love God's house, we love to talk with Christ; we bear the blossoms in us of the better life — the fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace.

II. IS MY LIFE A DIGNIFIED LIFE? Yes! Dignified! Have we come to this, that we think ermine-clad judges, and purple-clad rulers, alone have dignified estate? Let me hope not! It was once thought a great dignity to be a Roman citizen — but there was a greater dignity. I am a man! sounds a deeper depth of dignity than I am a Roman citizen. Yes, and what the world wants just now is to feel this: the dignity of life, as life. Why the greatest physical wonder in creation is man; and the greatest moral wonder is man. Do you think if men and women felt this, that our towns and cities would be disgraced as they are by lascivious songs and dances at our places of public entertainment, or by debasing drunkenness, or by hollow-hearted profanity, which misnames itself wit? Do you think, if the dignity of life itself was properly estimated, that men would not rather be bankrupt in cash, than bankrupt in character? Men would say, Think what manner of men we are; and pointing to the lofty hills, or the all-surrounding sea, they would say: these shall perish, but we shall remain.

III. IS MY LIFE A DIVINE VOCATION? I hold, with Mr. Ruskin, that we were never sent into this world to do anything into which we cannot put our hearts. That is a serious statement, and not to be adopted without reflection; but I for one believe it to be quits true. Now let us remember that every honourable vocation is a Divine vocation; that circumstances and fitnesses constitute the calling of God, the voice speaking to us and saying "Son, go there." If we miss this, we shall come to artificial ideas of vocation.

IV. IS MY LIFE A PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY? Is it like imprisoned air, that once released returns to the universal atmosphere? Is it like the tiny mountain rill which flows into the great river, and thence into the wide sea? Is it, that is to say, in any personal sense mine? Upon our answer to this depends our deliverance from all these Pantheistic ideas of God, which make Him the great Spirit of the Universe; all life being His life, and our own spirits only part of the great spirit, departing at death to its central source. Now the Bible declares emphatically our personal and unalterable individuality, and our consciousness accords with this. We are, in the strictest sense of the word, separate existences, and when we depart hence we shall be separate existences still. Any property we may possess, be it large or small, changes hands at death; we brought nothing into the world, and it is certain we shall carry nothing out. But we do not lose ourselves; thought, conscience, memory, remain the same, I cannot change my life for yours, nor can you change with your brother. "What is my life?" Is it a dreary fatalism? Our inner life answers with swift decision, — No! Is it the result of influences which have helplessly overborne us? No. The Spirit of the Living God has been nigh to every one of us. Had this poor man cried, the Lord would have heard him and delivered him out of all his troubles.

V. IS MY LIFE A REDEEMED LIFE? It depends upon which side of Redemption you look at it. In one sense, all lives are redeemed lives. Christ is "the propitiation not for our sins only, but for the sins of the whole world." Christ "died for all." So far then as the Great Atonement is concerned, the oblation was for all. "Once in the end of the world Christ appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself." But on the other side of the Redemption comes in our personality again. "Whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life." "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved." Faith then, as you well know, is the condition of redemption, and faith is the trust of the soul in the redeeming Christ. Surely we know whether we have trust or not. In human affairs it is not so hard to tell. I saw a diamond this week, and held it in my hand, which at the African diggings was sold for three thousand five hundred pounds; it had been consigned to an agent here, far away from its finder and possessor. Could that man, across the seas, have any difficulty in deciding if he had trusted his agent here? I trow not And what does Paul say, "I know in whom I have believed, and that He is able to keep that which I have committed to Him unto that day." Beautiful are human trusts — in love, in commerce, in friendship — there is poetry enough in human trusts. But there may be failure here. Alas, there often is! But Christ never deserted or failed the soul committed to Him. Never!

VI. IS MY LIFE A MORTAL LIFE. Here again it depends upon which side you study it. On one side it is, "For what is your life, it is even as a vapour which appeareth for a little time and then passeth away." Yes! "All flesh is grass." Yes! "The wind passeth over it and it is gone, and the place thereof shall know it no more." Sad enough on this side is human life. The fairest forms and faces lie tonight amid the clods of the valley. Tennyson's little May Queen sees the hawthorn blossom no more, and the Pride of the Village becomes the prey of worms. It has been ever so. The dark Egyptian beauties, the fair Grecian forms, the proud Roman damsels, descend to the dust. Pharoahs leave their palaces for the pyramids. Caesars leave their purples for the same chambers that their meanest slaves occupy. There, the rich and the poor — the strong and the weak — the servant and the master — all meet together. Few of us like to think of it. The tabernacles we have dwelt in so long, tended so carefully, adorned so constantly, and have come to consider part of our very selves — these must not only die, but become the subjects of corruption tool. "The grass withereth, the flower thereof falleth away." And is this, we may ask, all of life? Did God introduce us into this world, where temptation tries, care wearies, doubt perplexes, sorrow burdens, sickness weakens, bereavement embitters — only to pass through much tribulation to the tomb! Oh! it cannot be! All the teachings of Scripture, all the promises of Christ, all the undying hopes of the human heart, tell us it cannot be. Immortality is the birthright of humanity, and though, during long ages the light of this truth burned dimly, Christ "came to bring light and immortality to light through the Gospel." My life is mortal — and it is immortal too.

(W. H. Statham.)

Adriel, David, Jonathan, Merab, Michal, Saul
David, Father's, Home, Kept, Permitted, Return, Saul, Taketh, Turn
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 18:1-2

     5086   David, rise of

1 Samuel 18:1-3

     5691   friends, good

1 Samuel 18:1-4

     7032   unity, God's people

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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