1 Samuel 18 The Message (MSG)
Jonathan and David—Soul Friends
18 By the time David had finished reporting to Saul, Jonathan was deeply impressed with David—an immediate bond was forged between them. He became totally committed to David. From that point on he would be David’s number-one advocate and friend.
2 Saul received David into his own household that day, no more to return to the home of his father.
3-4 Jonathan, out of his deep love for David, made a covenant with him. He formalized it with solemn gifts: his own royal robe and weapons—armor, sword, bow, and belt.
5 Whatever Saul gave David to do, he did it—and did it well. So well that Saul put him in charge of his military operations. Everybody, both the people in general and Saul’s servants, approved of and admired David’s leadership.
David—The Name on Everyone’s Lips
6-9 As they returned home, after David had killed the Philistine, the women poured out of all the villages of Israel singing and dancing, welcoming King Saul with tambourines, festive songs, and lutes. In playful frolic the women sang,
Saul kills by the thousand,
This made Saul angry—very angry. He took it as a personal insult. He said, “They credit David with ‘ten thousands’ and me with only ‘thousands.’ Before you know it they’ll be giving him the kingdom!” From that moment on, Saul kept his eye on David.
10-11 The next day an ugly mood was sent by God to afflict Saul, who became quite beside himself, raving. David played his harp, as he usually did at such times. Saul had a spear in his hand. Suddenly Saul threw the spear, thinking, “I’ll nail David to the wall.” David ducked, and the spear missed. This happened twice.
12-16 Now Saul feared David. It was clear that God was with David and had left Saul. So, Saul got David out of his sight by making him an officer in the army. David was in combat frequently. Everything David did turned out well. Yes, God was with him. As Saul saw David becoming more successful, he himself grew more fearful. He could see the handwriting on the wall. But everyone else in Israel and Judah loved David. They loved watching him in action.
17 One day Saul said to David, “Here is Merab, my eldest daughter. I want to give her to you as your wife. Be brave and bold for my sake. Fight God’s battles!” But all the time Saul was thinking, “The Philistines will kill him for me. I won’t have to lift a hand against him.”
18 David, embarrassed, answered, “Do you really mean that? I’m from a family of nobodies! I can’t be son-in-law to the king.”
19 The wedding day was set, but as the time neared for Merab and David to be married, Saul reneged and married his daughter off to Adriel the Meholathite.
20-21 Meanwhile, Saul’s daughter Michal was in love with David. When Saul was told of this, he rubbed his hands in anticipation. “Ah, a second chance. I’ll use Michal as bait to get David out where the Philistines will make short work of him.” So again he said to David, “You’re going to be my son-in-law.”
22 Saul ordered his servants, “Get David off by himself and tell him, ‘The king is very taken with you, and everyone at court loves you. Go ahead, become the king’s son-in-law!’”
23 The king’s servants told all this to David, but David held back. “What are you thinking of? I can’t do that. I’m a nobody; I have nothing to offer.”
24-25 When the servants reported David’s response to Saul, he told them to tell David this: “The king isn’t expecting any money from you; only this: Go kill a hundred Philistines and bring evidence of your vengeance on the king’s behalf. Avenge the king on his enemies.” (Saul expected David to be killed in action.)
26-27 On receiving this message, David was pleased. There was something he could do for the king that would qualify him to be his son-in-law! He lost no time but went right out, he and his men, killed the hundred Philistines, brought their evidence back in a sack, and counted it out before the king—mission completed! Saul gave Michal his daughter to David in marriage.
28-29 As Saul more and more realized that God was with David, and how much his own daughter, Michal, loved him, his fear of David increased and settled into hate. Saul hated David.
30 Whenever the Philistine warlords came out to battle, David was there to meet them—and beat them, upstaging Saul’s men. David’s name was on everyone’s lips.