1 Samuel 18:3

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.

And Saul became David's enemy continually.
1. The possible doings of one sinful feeling. Jealousy was first awakened in the heart of Saul on that day when Hebrew females sung the praises of the young conqueror of Goliath. "Jealousy is cruel as the grave." So it proved. At that moment when the dark feeling rose to consciousness it might not seem as if the new guest were endowed with any special capacities. But it soon swelled out to a proportion which dwarfed and overshadowed all the rest. What tremendous energies of evil lurk in our fallen natural. If God judicially let one slip, and cease to hedge it round with inward remonstrances and providential restraints, it will quickly grow to a tyranny beyond resistance, that shall desolate the soul, and sweep away before it the scruples of conscience, the dictates of prudence, the lingering power of affection, friendly counsels, and the pleadings of honour, interest, or decency. Oh, there are within us materials enough to make earthquakes and volcanoes of the soul! Let us pray that they be not "set on fire of hell." Think not that you are not in danger because neither Saul's circumstances nor special tendencies are yours. Jealousy is one of a gang. Envy, pride, lust, intemperance, love of money, are notorious confederates. They operate singly or in company. Often quarrelling, they are horribly unanimous in destroying the soul's purity and joy. O for Heaven's healing hand to keep them down, to preserve the soul in holy equipoise, to stablish it in self-governing power, and impel it by restraining love.

2. The reality of an invisible power of evil. This is affirmed plainly and frequently. "The Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him." The Holy Spirit who had been striving with him for good was provoked away. His deserted soul was occupied by an evil spirit. And how untiring! The foul and cruel inspiration was no passing breath. It prompted many efforts. It suggested many varieties of operation. It absorbed all other energies into one lordly passion. And all this is sustained for years, in growing power, in spite of many obstacles. How awful this persistent malevolence! O what shall break the spell of this terrible witchery? Who shall put an end to this terrible possession? What power shall awaken fear, and bestow a scrupulous caution, and inspire a holy ardour to be free from the galling thraldom, and endow with a holy strength to resist it and to shut up all those avenues of indulgence through which on-waiting spirits of evil issue from their dwelling of darkness! "Thanks be unto God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." "He hath destroyed the works of the devil."

3. The beautiful character to which Divine grace can frame the human soul. I suppose it will be regarded as sober truth to say that the world's annals present no parallel to the character which the great persecution developes in David. Whence came that marvellous self-government, which kept him equally from despair and violence? The power that girt up all his faculties was from above. Men speak of virtue and its endurance, of heroism and its daring deeds. Both are good — but in the balance of the sanctuary they are electroplate, and nothing more. To be even ideally complete, a human character must have godliness as its central power. Practically to reach the highest level of what men call the virtues is impossible without the mighty presence of supreme regard to God, maintained by His own quickening Spirit. This it was that nerved the heart of the Hebrew outlaw with an enduring vigour that bore him on amid floods of sorrow, and formed his heart to a fortitude beside which the models of Greece and Rome look dim. Did ever Stoic endure so much with meekness so conspicuous? Did ever Epicurean show a sensibility so delicate and so pure as that which wept on the neck of Jonathan? Did the world's men of honour ever spare an enemy as David did the tyrant who thirsted for his blood? I trow not. Such triumphs of noble feeling are wrought only by heavenly grace.

4. The opposition between the Church and the World. It will not be questioned that Saul belonged to the latter and David to the former. Nor, on reflection, will it be doubted that this is the secret of Saul's irreconciliable enmity. The two are ranged on opposite sides. Grace would have quenched the smouldering embers of jealousy. Had the feeling not been rooted in an unsanctified nature, prayer and pains would have dug it up to wither on the surface. And in the bitter, impious and unrelenting nature of this persecution we may see mirrored forth in fearful clearness the world's irreconciliable opposition to the Church. The circumstances of Saul give us the advantage of seeing this feeling honestly displayed. He did not fear God; and as an absolute monarch he did not need to regard men. But, one way or other, the body of believers may count on meeting the world's opposition, aye and until the conflict ceases by the everlasting separation of the parties. Every step of her earthly way lies through a wilderness haunted by enemies, whose hostility is sincere and operative, whether they strive to corrupt her like Midian, or meet her boldly with the Amorite.

5. God's benignant care of His people. To one who looked only on the surface, and took into view nothing more than ordinary human probabilities, it would no doubt have appeared a hopeless folly for David to seek escape from Saul. A private man against a king; a Solitary man against one who had a nation's forces at his back; a scrupulous man, whose conscience forbad violent resistance, against a reckless man, under the impulse of an over-mastering passion. David's life lay constantly in the vicinity of death. He walked as if on a narrow ledge, over a frowning gulf. That he was "preserved from falling" is attributable to nothing but an over-ruling care which could not be surprised, defeated, or wearied out. Almighty energy, working in the service of love, wove the tangled texture of events round the living David, and secured his perfect safety.

(P. Richardson, B. A.).

Adriel, David, Jonathan, Merab, Michal, Saul
Agreement, Covenant, David, Jonathan, Jonathan's, Love, Loved, Loveth, Maketh, Soul
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 18:3

     1346   covenants, nature of
     5781   affection
     5874   happiness
     5895   intimacy
     7925   fellowship, among believers
     8252   faithfulness, relationships
     8298   love, for one another

1 Samuel 18:1-3

     5691   friends, good

1 Samuel 18:1-4

     7032   unity, God's people

1 Samuel 18:3-4

     5592   treaty

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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