When the men were returning home after David had killed the Philistine, the women came out from all the towns of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing,(A) with joyful songs and with timbrels(B) and lyres. As they danced, they sang:(C)

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

Saul was very angry; this refrain displeased him greatly. “They have credited David with tens of thousands,” he thought, “but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?(E) And from that time on Saul kept a close(F) eye on David.

10 The next day an evil[a] spirit(G) from God came forcefully on Saul. He was prophesying in his house, while David was playing the lyre,(H) as he usually(I) did. Saul had a spear(J) in his hand 11 and he hurled it, saying to himself,(K) “I’ll pin David to the wall.” But David eluded(L) him twice.(M)

12 Saul was afraid(N) of David, because the Lord(O) was with(P) David but had departed from(Q) Saul. 13 So he sent David away from him and gave him command over a thousand men, and David led(R) the troops in their campaigns.(S) 14 In everything he did he had great success,(T) because the Lord was with(U) him. 15 When Saul saw how successful he was, he was afraid of him. 16 But all Israel and Judah loved David, because he led them in their campaigns.(V)

17 Saul said to David, “Here is my older daughter(W) Merab. I will give her to you in marriage;(X) only serve me bravely and fight the battles(Y) of the Lord.” For Saul said to himself,(Z) “I will not raise a hand against him. Let the Philistines do that!”

18 But David said to Saul, “Who am I,(AA) and what is my family or my clan in Israel, that I should become the king’s son-in-law?(AB) 19 So[b] when the time came for Merab,(AC) Saul’s daughter, to be given to David, she was given in marriage to Adriel of Meholah.(AD)

20 Now Saul’s daughter Michal(AE) was in love with David, and when they told Saul about it, he was pleased.(AF) 21 “I will give her to him,” he thought, “so that she may be a snare(AG) to him and so that the hand of the Philistines may be against him.” So Saul said to David, “Now you have a second opportunity to become my son-in-law.”

22 Then Saul ordered his attendants: “Speak to David privately and say, ‘Look, the king likes you, and his attendants all love you; now become his son-in-law.’”

23 They repeated these words to David. But David said, “Do you think it is a small matter to become the king’s son-in-law?(AH) I’m only a poor man and little known.”

24 When Saul’s servants told him what David had said, 25 Saul replied, “Say to David, ‘The king wants no other price(AI) for the bride than a hundred Philistine foreskins, to take revenge(AJ) on his enemies.’” Saul’s plan(AK) was to have David fall by the hands of the Philistines.

26 When the attendants told David these things, he was pleased to become the king’s son-in-law. So before the allotted time elapsed, 27 David took his men with him and went out and killed two hundred Philistines and brought back their foreskins. They counted out the full number to the king so that David might become the king’s son-in-law. Then Saul gave him his daughter Michal(AL) in marriage.

28 When Saul realized that the Lord was with David and that his daughter Michal(AM) loved David, 29 Saul became still more afraid(AN) of him, and he remained his enemy the rest of his days.

30 The Philistine commanders continued to go out to battle, and as often as they did, David met with more success(AO) than the rest of Saul’s officers, and his name became well known.

Saul Tries to Kill David

19 Saul told his son Jonathan(AP) and all the attendants to kill(AQ) David. But Jonathan had taken a great liking to David and warned him, “My father Saul is looking for a chance to kill you. Be on your guard tomorrow morning; go into hiding(AR) and stay there. I will go out and stand with my father in the field where you are. I’ll speak(AS) to him about you and will tell you what I find out.”

Jonathan spoke(AT) well of David to Saul his father and said to him, “Let not the king do wrong(AU) to his servant David; he has not wronged you, and what he has done has benefited you greatly. He took his life(AV) in his hands when he killed the Philistine. The Lord won a great victory(AW) for all Israel, and you saw it and were glad. Why then would you do wrong to an innocent(AX) man like David by killing him for no reason?”

Saul listened to Jonathan and took this oath: “As surely as the Lord lives, David will not be put to death.”

So Jonathan called David and told him the whole conversation. He brought him to Saul, and David was with Saul as before.(AY)

Once more war broke out, and David went out and fought the Philistines. He struck them with such force that they fled before him.

But an evil[c] spirit(AZ) from the Lord came on Saul as he was sitting in his house with his spear in his hand. While David was playing the lyre,(BA) 10 Saul tried to pin him to the wall with his spear, but David eluded(BB) him as Saul drove the spear into the wall. That night David made good his escape.

11 Saul sent men to David’s house to watch(BC) it and to kill him in the morning.(BD) But Michal, David’s wife, warned him, “If you don’t run for your life tonight, tomorrow you’ll be killed.” 12 So Michal let David down through a window,(BE) and he fled and escaped. 13 Then Michal took an idol(BF) and laid it on the bed, covering it with a garment and putting some goats’ hair at the head.

14 When Saul sent the men to capture David, Michal said,(BG) “He is ill.”

15 Then Saul sent the men back to see David and told them, “Bring him up to me in his bed so that I may kill him.” 16 But when the men entered, there was the idol in the bed, and at the head was some goats’ hair.

17 Saul said to Michal, “Why did you deceive me like this and send my enemy away so that he escaped?”

Michal told him, “He said to me, ‘Let me get away. Why should I kill you?’”

18 When David had fled and made his escape, he went to Samuel at Ramah(BH) and told him all that Saul had done to him. Then he and Samuel went to Naioth and stayed there. 19 Word came to Saul: “David is in Naioth at Ramah”; 20 so he sent men to capture him. But when they saw a group of prophets(BI) prophesying, with Samuel standing there as their leader, the Spirit of God came on(BJ) Saul’s men, and they also prophesied.(BK) 21 Saul was told about it, and he sent more men, and they prophesied too. Saul sent men a third time, and they also prophesied. 22 Finally, he himself left for Ramah and went to the great cistern at Seku. And he asked, “Where are Samuel and David?”

“Over in Naioth at Ramah,” they said.

23 So Saul went to Naioth at Ramah. But the Spirit of God came even on him, and he walked along prophesying(BL) until he came to Naioth. 24 He stripped(BM) off his garments, and he too prophesied in Samuel’s(BN) presence. He lay naked all that day and all that night. This is why people say, “Is Saul also among the prophets?”(BO)


  1. 1 Samuel 18:10 Or a harmful
  2. 1 Samuel 18:19 Or However,
  3. 1 Samuel 19:9 Or But a harmful

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