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Passage: 1 Samuel 18:6-20:42

1 Samuel 18:6-20:42 – David Flees Saul

Summary

As David's support grows, Saul becomes increasingly more jealous, and he seeks to take David's life, forcing David to flee. Fortunately, David will receive help from all those around him.

Analysis

David's success caused Saul to "eye" him with suspicion "from that day on" (18:5-9). This chronological reference signals a major literary break in the narrative and hints at the growing rift between Saul and David that will continue. As Saul sinks deeper into his depression, even his own family members throw their support to David, who marries Saul's daughter, Michal (18:17-30). There follows a series of five episodes designed to drive home the point that David's only choice is to flee from a Saul blinded by jealousy:

  • 19:1-7. When Saul explicitly informs Jonathan of his intention to kill David, Jonathan mediates between the antagonists.
  • 19:8-10. Saul's second attempt to kill David fails when David escapes Saul's spear.
  • 19:11-17. Saul's third attempt to kill David is foiled when Michal deceives her father with an "idol" placed in David's bed after David's escape through the window.
  • 19:18-24. Saul's fourth attempt to kill David is thwarted by Samuel in the only meeting of these three.
  • 20:1-42. This long account shows how Jonathan relinquished his claim to the throne (v. 13). His signal to David warns David of Saul's evil intent so that David can flee yet again. As did Michal, his sister, Jonathan deceives his father to save his friend.