The Black Mood of Saul
19 1-3 Saul called his son Jonathan together with his servants and ordered them to kill David. But because Jonathan treasured David, he went and warned him: “My father is looking for a way to kill you. Here’s what you are to do. Tomorrow morning, hide and stay hidden. I’ll go out with my father into the field where you are hiding. I’ll talk about you with my father and we’ll see what he says. Then I’ll report back to you.”
4-5 Jonathan brought up David with his father, speaking well of him. “Please,” he said to his father, “don’t attack David. He hasn’t wronged you, has he? And just look at all the good he has done! He put his life on the line when he killed the Philistine. What a great victory God gave Israel that day! You were there. You saw it and were on your feet applauding with everyone else. So why would you even think of sinning against an innocent person, killing David for no reason whatever?”
6 Saul listened to Jonathan and said, “You’re right. As God lives, David lives. He will not be killed.”
7 Jonathan sent for David and reported to him everything that was said. Then he brought David back to Saul and everything was as it was before.
8 War broke out again and David went out to fight Philistines. He beat them badly, and they ran for their lives.
9-10 But then a black mood from God settled over Saul and took control of him. He was sitting at home, his spear in his hand, while David was playing music. Suddenly, Saul tried to skewer David with his spear, but David ducked. The spear stuck in the wall and David got away. It was night.
11-14 Saul sent men to David’s house to stake it out and then, first thing in the morning, to kill him. But Michal, David’s wife, told him what was going on. “Quickly now—make your escape tonight. If not, you’ll be dead by morning!” She let him out of a window, and he made his escape. Then Michal took a dummy god and put it in the bed, placed a wig of goat’s hair on its head, and threw a quilt over it. When Saul’s men arrived to get David, she said, “He’s sick in bed.”
15-16 Saul sent his men back, ordering them, “Bring him, bed and all, so I can kill him.” When the men entered the room, all they found in the bed was the dummy god with its goat-hair wig!
17 Saul stormed at Michal: “How could you play tricks on me like this? You sided with my enemy, and now he’s gotten away!”
18 Michal said, “He threatened me. He said, ‘Help me out of here or I’ll kill you.’”
David made good his escape and went to Samuel at Ramah and told him everything Saul had done to him. Then he and Samuel withdrew to the privacy of Naioth.
19-20 Saul was told, “David’s at Naioth in Ramah.” He immediately sent his men to capture him. They saw a band of prophets prophesying with Samuel presiding over them. Before they knew it, the Spirit of God was on them, too, and they were ranting and raving right along with the prophets!
21 That was reported back to Saul, and he dispatched more men. They, too, were soon prophesying. So Saul tried a third time—a third set of men—and they ended up mindlessly raving as well!
22 Fed up, Saul went to Ramah himself. He came to the big cistern at Secu and inquired, “Where are Samuel and David?”
A bystander said, “Over at Naioth in Ramah.”
23-24 As he headed out for Naioth in Ramah, the Spirit of God was on him, too. All the way to Naioth he was caught up in a babbling trance! He ripped off his clothes and lay there rambling gibberish before Samuel for a day and a night, stretched out naked. People are still talking about it: “Saul among the prophets! Who would have guessed?”