1 Samuel 18:5-19:24 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
5 David was a success in everything that Saul sent him to do, and Saul made him a high officer in his army. That pleased everyone, including Saul’s other officers.
Saul Becomes David’s Enemy
6 David had killed Goliath, the battle was over, and the Israelite army set out for home. As the army went along, women came out of each Israelite town to welcome King Saul. They were singing happy songs and dancing to the music of tambourines and harps. 7 They sang:
Saul has killed
8 This song made Saul very angry, and he thought, “They are saying that David has killed ten times more enemies than I ever did. Next they will want to make him king.” 9 Saul never again trusted David.
10 The next day the Lord let an evil spirit take control of Saul, and he began acting like a crazy man inside his house. David came to play the harp for Saul as usual, but this time Saul had a spear in his hand. 11 Saul thought, “I’ll pin David to the wall.” He threw the spear at David twice, but David dodged and got away both times.
12 Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was helping David and was no longer helping him. 13 Saul put David in charge of a thousand soldiers and sent him out to fight. 14 The Lord helped David, and he and his soldiers always won their battles. 15 This made Saul even more afraid of David. 16 But everyone else in Judah and Israel was loyal to[a] David, because he led the army in battle.
17 One day, Saul told David, “If you’ll be brave and fight the Lord’s battles for me, I’ll let you marry my oldest daughter Merab.” But Saul was really thinking, “I don’t want to kill David myself, so I’ll let the Philistines do it for me.”
18 David answered, “How could I possibly marry your daughter? I’m not very important, and neither is my family.”
19 But when the time came for David to marry Saul’s daughter Merab, Saul told her to marry Adriel from the town of Meholah.
20 Saul had another daughter. Her name was Michal, and Saul found out that she was in love with David. This made Saul happy, 21 and he thought, “I’ll tell David he can marry Michal, but I’ll set it up so that the Philistines will kill him.” He told David, “I’m going to give you a second chance to marry one of my daughters.”
22-23 Saul ordered his officials to speak to David in private, so they went to David and said, “Look, the king likes you, and all of his officials are loyal to you. Why not ask the king if you can marry his daughter Michal?”
“I’m not rich[b] or famous enough to marry princess Michal!” David answered.
24 The officials went back to Saul and told him exactly what David had said. 25 Saul was hoping that the Philistines would kill David, and he told his officials to tell David, “The king doesn’t want any silver or gold. He only wants to get even with his enemies. All you have to do is to bring back proof that you have killed a hundred Philistines!”[c] 26 The officials told David, and David wanted to marry the princess.
King Saul had set a time limit, and before it ran out, 27 David and his men left and killed two hundred Philistines. He brought back the proof and showed it to Saul, so he could marry Michal. Saul agreed to let David marry Michal. 28 Saul knew that she loved David,[d] and he also realized that the Lord was helping David. 29 But knowing those things made Saul even more afraid of David, and he was David’s enemy for the rest of his life.
30 The Philistine rulers kept coming to fight Israel, but whenever David fought them, he won. He was famous because he won more battles against the Philistines than any of Saul’s other officers.
Saul Tries To Have David Killed
19 One day, Saul told his son Jonathan and his officers to kill David. But Jonathan liked David a lot, 2-3 and he warned David, “My father is trying to have you killed, so be very careful. Hide in a field tomorrow morning, and I’ll bring him there. Then I’ll talk to him about you, and if I find out anything, I’ll let you know.”
4-5 The next morning, Jonathan reminded Saul about the many good things David had done for him. Then he said, “Why do you want to kill David? He hasn’t done anything to you. He has served in your army and has always done what’s best for you. He even risked his life to kill Goliath. The Lord helped Israel win a great victory that day, and it made you happy.”
6 Saul agreed and promised, “I swear by the living Lord that I won’t have David killed!”
7 Jonathan called to David and told him what Saul had said. Then he brought David to Saul, and David served in Saul’s army just as he had done before.
8 The next time there was a war with the Philistines, David fought hard and forced them to retreat.
Michal Helps David Escape
9-10 One night, David was in Saul’s home, playing the harp for him. Saul was sitting there, holding a spear, when an evil spirit from the Lord took control of him. Saul tried to pin David to the wall with the spear, but David dodged, and it stuck in the wall. David ran out of the house and escaped.
11 Saul sent guards to watch David’s house all night and then to kill him in the morning.
Michal, David’s wife, told him, “If you don’t escape tonight, they’ll kill you tomorrow!” 12 She helped David go through a window and climb down to the ground.[e] As David ran off, 13 Michal put a statue in his bed. She put goat hair on its head and dressed it in some of David’s clothes.
14 The next morning, Saul sent guards to arrest David. But Michal told them, “David is sick.”
15 Saul sent the guards back and told them, “Get David out of his bed and bring him to me, so I can have him killed.”
16 When the guards went in, all they found in the bed was the statue with the goat hair on its head.
17 “Why have you tricked me this way?” Saul asked Michal. “You helped my enemy get away!”
She answered, “He said he would kill me if I didn’t help him escape!”
Samuel Helps David Escape
18 Meanwhile, David went to Samuel at Ramah and told him what Saul had done. Then Samuel and David went to Prophets Village[f] and stayed there.
19 Someone told Saul, “David is at Prophets Village in Ramah.”
20 Saul sent a few soldiers to bring David back. They went to Ramah and found Samuel in charge of a group of prophets who were all prophesying. Then the Spirit of God took control of the soldiers and they started prophesying too.
21 When Saul heard what had happened, he sent another group of soldiers, but they prophesied the same way. He sent a third group of soldiers, but the same thing happened to them. 22 Finally, Saul left for Ramah himself. He went as far as the deep pit[g] at the town of Secu, and he asked, “Where are Samuel and David?”
“At Prophets Village in Ramah,” the people answered.
23 Saul left for Ramah. But as he walked along, the Spirit of God took control of him, and he started prophesying. Then, when he reached Prophets Village, 24 he stripped off his clothes and prophesied in front of Samuel. He dropped to the ground and lay there naked all day and night. That’s how the saying started, “Is Saul now a prophet?”
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