Old Testament Story List

Saul's Jealousy

That day, Saul took David into his household and would not let him return to his home. And there Saul's brave son, Jonathan, was much in his company, and his own courageous soul reached out to the youth who had slain Goliath.

Jonathan and David made a covenant, vowing love and friendship throughout

their lives. To seal it, as was the custom, Jonathan took off his coat and gave it to David, along with his sword and bow.

And David went about his business and behaved himself wisely. Saul set him over the men-at-arms, and he was accepted as their leader in the sight of all the people and also in the sight of Saul's servants.

As the victorious soldiers returned from pursuit of the Philistines, the people came out of the cities of Israel to meet the king. The women, rejoicing, sand their praise: "Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands."

These words were displeasing to Saul, and jealousy of his young armor-bearer, David, crept into his heard. The thought came to him: "Soon they will want to make him king."

One day when Saul was troubled, David as usual played the harp for him in the king's chamber. There was a javelin in Saul's hand, and suddenly overcome by black rage he hurled it at the crouching youth. But David avoided the thrust. Then Saul was afraid, for he realized that the Lord had departed form him and was with David. So he sent David away from him, and made him captain over a division of the army, hoping he might be killed in battle. But David went unharmed, and acted so wisely that the people grew to love him. This only made Saul more angry and jealous of his captain.

Then, to make him even more unhappy, Saul learned that his younger daughter Michal had fallen in love with David. David, of course, being originally but a poor shepherd-boy, had no hope of marrying a princess. But Saul thinking he had found a way to rid himself of David, had one of his servants tell him, "The king does not want a dowry. But kill a hundred Philistines within a certain period and you shall marry Michal."

David went out with his men and slew two hundred Philistines before the given time had elapsed, and won Michal for his wife. But he won, too, the ever deeper hatred of the jealous king. He even sought to persuade Jonathan to slay his friend. But Jonathan reasoned gently with his father and reminded him of the many proofs of David's service to his king and country.

Saul sent messengers to David's house to waylay him and slay him as he slept. Michal heard of the plan. She helped David to escape, by putting an image in his bed so that the murderers would be deceived. Then she lowered her husband down the wall from a window, and he escaped.

So David fled to Samuel, in Ramah, and told him all that Saul had done to him. And he remained there with Samuel.

When Saul heard that David was with Samuel in Ramah, he went after David. So David became a fugitive from the wrath of Saul. With a band of loyal followers, he went to live in the wilderness, and in the rocky caves on the mountainsides, always in fear that Saul or his men might find them and attack them. For Saul still feared the power and popularity of David among the people.

Once when Saul was returning from a battle with the Philistines, he was told that David was hiding in the rocky wilderness of Engedi. Saul, eager to catch this man whom he regarded as his enemy, took three thousand chosen men and set out to find David and his men in the strongholds. Entering the wilderness, Saul with his guards slept that night in the front part of the large cave in which David and his men were hiding. Saul never suspected that the outlaws he south were there.

During the night when Saul and his followers slept, David stole forward and cut off part of Saul's garment. But he would not harm him, nor would he allow his men to touch him, for he was still loyal to his king.

In the morning, Saul and his men left the cave to resume their search for David. As they left, David went forth after them. David bowed, and then while Saul listened in astonishment, told of his loyalty and of how he had spared Saul's life during the night.

Then, David left and hid in the wilderness of Ziph, but he was not safe. The people of Ziph told Saul where David was. As soon as Saul heard the news, he took his army of three thousand men and went after David.

David had spies on the watch and knew of Saul's coming. "Now," thought David, "I will go and visit Saul's camp tonight." David took Abishai with him.

When the two entered Saul's camp, all the soldiers were sound asleep - even Abner, Saul's captain. David and Abishai made their way to the center of the camp. There they found Saul asleep. His spear was stuck in the ground near his head. His bottle of water was within reach.

Abishai wanted to kill Saul, but David insisted, "We cannot do that, for Saul is God's anointed. The Lord will take care of Saul for the wrong he has done. Let us take his spear and the bottle of water."

The two climbed the hill outside of camp and then called out to Saul, showing him the spear and bottle of water. Saul felt ashamed when he found out how easily David could have harmed him and asked him to return to Gibeah.

Even though Saul wanted David to return to Gibeah, David remembered other times Saul had broken his promise. He was afraid to believe the king. Instead of going back to live in Gibeah, he took his soldiers and went to live in a city the Philistines gave them. Here David lived until he learned about Saul's death.

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