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Saul’s Jealousy. At the approach of Saul and David, on David’s return after striking down the Philistine, women came out from all the cities of Israel to meet Saul the king, singing and dancing, with tambourines, joyful songs, and stringed instruments.[a](A) The women played and sang:

“Saul has slain his thousands,
    David his tens of thousands.”(B)

Saul was very angry and resentful of the song, for he thought: “They give David tens of thousands, but only thousands to me. All that remains for him is the kingship.” From that day on, Saul kept a jealous eye on David.

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Footnotes

  1. 18:6 Stringed instruments: perhaps a lute-like instrument with three strings; the Hebrew word, shalshim, perhaps related to the root shlsh (“three”), occurs only here in the Old Testament.

Chapter 19

Persecution of David. Saul discussed his intention to kill David with his son Jonathan and with all his servants. But Saul’s son Jonathan, who was very fond of David,(A) told him: “My father Saul is trying to kill you. Therefore, please be on your guard tomorrow morning; stay out of sight and remain in hiding. I, however, will go out and stand beside my father in the countryside where you are, and will speak to him about you. If I learn anything, I will let you know.”

Jonathan then spoke well of David to his father Saul, telling him: “The king should not harm his servant David. He has not harmed you, but has helped you very much by his deeds.[a] When he took his life in his hands and killed the Philistine, and the Lord won a great victory for all Israel, you were glad to see it. Why, then, should you become guilty of shedding innocent blood by killing David without cause?”(B) Saul heeded Jonathan’s plea and swore, “As the Lord lives, he shall not be killed.” So Jonathan summoned David and repeated the whole conversation to him. He then brought David to Saul, and David served him as before.

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Footnotes

  1. 19:4 Jonathan reminds Saul that David has served him loyally and done nothing to earn a traitor’s death. Cf. 24:18–20.