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.
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
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
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.