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Passage: 1 Samuel 17:57-18:16

1 Samuel 17:57-18:16 – Saul Becomes Jealous of David

Summary

David continues to achieve success despite the jealous machinations of a jealous Saul.

Analysis

Poor Saul. No matter what he does, David continues to enjoy unparalleled success while Saul's life and mental state continue to decline into ever-increasing darkness. Following David's success against "the Philistine," that is, against Goliath in chapter 17, the women praise David with the words, "Saul has killed his thousands, and David his ten thousands" (18:7). Recent investigations of Hebrew poetry have determined that the poetic element consists in a "that is true, and what's more, this is also true" approach. In other words, the poetry of the women's praise testifies to David's superiority over Saul, not to actual numbers. Depending upon how one unravels the complicated chronological problems of these chapters, David may have only killed one Philistine--granted a humongous one! The acclamation of the women led to an explicit statement of Saul's jealousy and hatred of David (v. 8-9). Saul's decline is marked by the frequent visitation of an "evil spirit from God" (16:14, 15, 16, 23 twice; 19:9). In his depression, he throws his spear at David, twice (18:10-11), and even makes David a field officer in the hopes of killing him (v. 13). Nevertheless, all Saul's plans crash to the ground as David's success mounts: "for the LORD was with him" (v. 14).