Journey Through The Scriptures

David, Part I

Lesson 3: A Fugitive from Saul

(Scripture to Read: 1 Samuel 18:1–20:42)

David’s defeat of Goliath dramatically changed his life in ways he could not have imagined. His military prowess was such that he soon became the commander of Saul’s army. But when the women of Israel accorded David a higher honor than Saul in their song, Saul became madly jealous of David. It seemed to Saul that David had all but taken the throne from him. David was beloved by the people, and Saul’s daughter Michal was in love with him. Even Jonathan, Saul’s eldest son and heir-apparent, loved David as a brother and gave him his royal garments and weapons, signifying that Jonathan acknowledged David’s divine election as king.

But neither being the favorite in Saul’s court nor becoming the king’s son-in-law afforded David any protection. Saul tried to kill David at least twice — and even tried to kill Jonathan in a rage when Jonathan spoke up to defend David as Saul’s loyal servant. At first, Jonathan was able to soothe his father’s anger toward David (19:1–7). But the peace did not last long, and after Saul tried to kill even him, Jonathan knew David had no choice but to flee. Israel’s next king was about to become the Bible’s most famous fugitive.

Study Questions

  1. Why did the song sung by the women of Israel provoke such jealousy in Saul?
  2. What was behind Saul’s murderous jealousy of David, and his attempted murder of Jonathan?
  3. How did God protect David from Saul’s men when he fled to Samuel in the prophet’s hometown of Ramah (1 Samuel 19:18–24)?
  4. Why did Jonathan ask for David’s oath that he would treat Jonathan’s family well in the future?

Something to Think About

In his love for and loyalty to David, Jonathan exemplified the “friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24). Thank God for the faithful friends He has given you, and renew your commitment to be a friend at all times and in all seasons to the people in your life.