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Bible Commentaries
1 Samuel 19

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-7

First Samuel - Chapter 19

Jonathan’s Intercession for David, vs. 1-7

As Saul’s attempts against David’s life became more frustrated he came out into the open in an effort to enlist others in his nefarious scheming. He orders Jonathan and all his servants that they should kill David. Saul possibly did not know that in confiding in his son, Jonathan, he was giving David a channel of information in the king’s very house. Once again it is apparent that Jonathan had the good of Israel at heart, as he did in the battle against the Philistines (1 Samuel 14:29-30), and he put that concern ahead of loyalty to the king, his father.

Jonathan had seen in David the man Israel needed for king and for his own part had abdicated any rights to the throne (see 1 Samuel 18:1; 1 Samuel 18:3-4). So he communicated at once with David, advising him to hide in the field until morning in a secret place. Jonathan would then intercede with his father in an attempt to effect a reconciliation toward David, whereupon he would inform David of the result.

True to his word Jonathan accosted his father on David’s behalf. In doing this Jonathan made several pointed arguments in David’s favor: 1) Saul was sinning against David, but David had not sinned against him; 2) all of David’s deeds had consisted of good for Saul; 3) David had risked his life in killing Goliath, and the king and all Israel had rejoiced in the feat; 4) to take David’s life would, therefore, be shedding innocent blood without cause.

Saul listened to reason this time and was persuaded by his son. Consequently he swore by the life of the Lord that David would not be slain. Jonathan then sought out David and delivered to him the good news. He brought David back into the family circle and things proceeded as they had been before Saul’s wrath was last aroused.

Verses 8-17

Saul’s Jealousy Renewed, vs. 8-17

The continuing war with the Philistines flared up again, and once again David went out with his men to battle. Once again, also, he had great success against the enemy, so that the Philistines were beaten and fled before David. All this was very pleasing to the people, and he was easily the hero of the hour.

All this drove Saul back to his madness, and David was called on with his harp to attempt to soothe him. It appears that when Saul was seized by the demon he had some kind of obsession with his javelin, and was constantly brandishing it. This time, however, David was wary, and as he played kept his eyes on the spear in the king’s hand. Thus he dodged the thrust of the spear and escaped, but the javelin embedded itself in the wall.

David went to his house, where Saul set messengers to watch lest David escape that night, intending to take him and kill him the next day. The devotion of Michal was used of the Lord to save David, for she realized that David would be killed if he remained until that night without making his escape. Therefore she let him down through a window and he escaped. There is no account that David saw his wife, Michal, again until many years later, when he was at last enthroned as king over all. Israel (see 2 Samuel 3:13-16).

Michal took further measures to protect David until he could make good his escape. She took a statue and put it in his bed, with a goats’ hair pillow at the head to look like his hair, and covered it with a sheet. The next morning she told Saul’s messengers who came to take him that David was sick in bed. When Saul heard this he commanded his messengers to bring David to him in the bed so that he might kill him. He was very angry with Michal when he learned that she had concealed David and helped him to escape. Because of her father’s insane rage for David Michal was compelled to lie to save her life. She told him that David had threatened her life if she did not allow him to escape.

Verses 18-24

David’s Flight to Samuel, vs. 18-24

David first sought refuge from Saul with the prophet Samuel at his home in Ramah. Samuel heard his account of how Saul was seeking to kill him and gave David sanctuary in the school of the prophets at Naioth. Naioth was in Ramah and scholars think is the name of the school of the prophets.

However, David was not safe from the wicked intent of Saul here, for the king did not honor the refuge. He sent his men to take David and return him to Saul, and the Lord protected him. He caused His Spirit to move on them so that they joined the class of the young prophets before whom Samuel was standing, evidently instructing them, and began to prophesy, or preach, as they were doing. When Saul heard what had happened he sent other messengers, and they also joined the prophets. This happened the third time, completely frustrating Saul’s intentions.

Finally, Saul determined to go to Ramah himself and take David. At the well of Sechu, a notable place on the road from Gibeah, he paused to get directions to Naioth. But now the Spirit of the Lord overruled the demon spirit and made Saul also join the prophets and to preach. The prophesying was not, however, in character with Saul, and the insane man stripped himself naked and lay shamefully on the ground all day and night in that condition., Though he uttered words the Lord compelled him to say, his nakedness illustrated the state of his soul before the God whom he had rejected. This incident was cause for the people to recall the old proverb made notorious by his early spell of prophesying (1 Samuel 10:11-12). It was, "Is Saul .also among the prophets?" and was asked in ridicule and mockery of the insincere "prophet."

Lessons from chapter 19: 1) the Lord can raise up friends to help His people in time of need; 2) the devil will use every means to ruin the life, or testimony, of a child of God; 3) in protecting David God was protecting the line of the coming Messiah; 4) even Satan will be compelled to bow to the will of God.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 19". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/1-samuel-19.html. 1985.
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