As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. And Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father’s house. Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, and his armour, and even his sword and his bow and his belt. And David went out and was successful wherever Saul sent him, so that Saul set him over the men of war. And this was good in the sight of all the people and also in the sight of Saul’s servants.
As they were coming home, when David returned from striking down the Philistine, the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with songs of joy, and with musical instruments. And the women sang to one another as they celebrated,
“Saul has struck down his thousands,
and David his ten thousands.”
And Saul was very angry, and this saying displeased him. He said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed thousands, and what more can he have but the kingdom?” And Saul eyed David from that day on.
Comment: The timeline of 1 Samuel 16-18 isn’t totally clear to me. It’s not that it matters for the whole thing hangs together but it almost seems like several scenes of a movie, all of which are important, but are shot at overlapping times and then are put together to make the story complete. The facts are pretty easy to understand but you have to think about how they fit together.
Jonathan’s relationship with David was a a developing thing. It may have started at the recent war. Jonathan was a professional fighter and Saul’s son. David was a ‘nothing’ as a national hero until he dealt with Goliath. Jonathan could have been jealous of that victory as he was not prepared to fight Goliath himself. Instead he was man enough to see virtue before his eyes and the two of them formed a pact and were as if brothers in the cause of Saul’s conquests. David, with Jonathan’s fighting gear went out as Saul’s ‘captain’ over the men of war. David was a favourite with the people.
But this ‘hero status’ with the people led to Saul being displeased, angry and I suspect jealous of David. I guess from a human point of view we can understand why the unfavourable comparison of Saul’s and David’s prowess did that. So Saul is shown as keeping a very watchful eye on Jonathan’s friend. Was Saul his own worst enemy?
Prayer: Help me to rise above base characteristics and be a true person in Your sight.