David and Jonathan Become Friends
1-2 Saul decided to take David with him. He would not let David go back home to his father. After David finished talking with Saul, Jonathan developed a strong friendship with David.* Jonathan loved David as much as himself, so they made a special agreement. Jonathan took off the coat he was wearing and gave it to David. In fact, Jonathan gave David his whole uniform—including his sword, his bow, and even his belt.
Saul Notices David’s Success
David went to fight wherever Saul sent him. He was very successful, so Saul put him in charge of the soldiers. This pleased everyone, even Saul’s officers. David would go out to fight against the Philistines. On the way home, after the battles, women in every town in Israel would come out to meet him. They sang and danced for joy as they played their tambourines and lyres. They did this right in front of Saul! The women sang,
Saul has killed his thousands,
but David has killed tens of thousands.”
This song upset Saul and he became very angry. Saul thought, “The women give David credit for killing tens of thousands of the enemy, and they give me credit for only thousands. A little more of this and they will give him the kingdom itself! So from that time on, Saul watched David very closely.
Saul Is Afraid of David
10 The next day, an evil spirit from God took control of Saul and he went wild in his house. David played the harp to calm him as he usually did, 11 but Saul had a spear in his hand. He thought, “I’ll pin David to the wall.” Saul threw the spear twice, but David jumped out of the way both times.
12 The LORD had left Saul and was now with David, so Saul was afraid of David. 13 Saul sent David away and made him a commander over 1000 soldiers. This put David out among the men even more as they went into battle and returned. 14 The LORD was with David, so he was successful in everything. 15 Saul saw how successful David was and became even more afraid of him. 16 But all the people in Israel and Judah loved David because he was out among them and led them into battle.
Saul Wants His Daughter
to Marry David
17 One day Saul said to David, “Here is my oldest daughter, Merab. I will let you marry her. Then you will be like a son to me and you will be a real soldier.§ Then you will go and fight the LORD’S battles.” Saul was really thinking, “Now I won’t have to kill David. I will let the Philistines kill him for me.”
18 But David said, “I am not an important man from an important family. I can’t marry the king’s daughter.”
19 So when the time came for David to marry Saul’s daughter, Saul let her marry Adriel from Meholah.
20 People told Saul that his daughter Michal loved David. This made Saul happy. 21 He thought, “I will use Michal to trap David. I will let Michal marry David, and then I will let the Philistines kill him.” So Saul said to David a second time, “You can marry my daughter today.”
22 Saul commanded his officers to speak to David in private. He told them to say, “Look, the king likes you. His officers like you. You should marry his daughter.”
23 Saul’s officers said these things to David, but David answered, “Do you think it is easy to become the king’s son-in-law? I am just a poor, ordinary man.”
24 Saul’s officers told Saul what David said. 25 Saul told them, “Say this to David, ‘David, the king doesn’t want you to pay money for his daughter.* He wants to get even with his enemy, so the price for marrying his daughter is 100 Philistine foreskins.’ ” That was Saul’s secret plan. He thought the Philistines would kill David.
26 Saul’s officers told this to David. David was happy that he had a chance to become the king’s son-in-law, so immediately 27 he and his men went out to fight the Philistines. They killed 200 Philistines. David took these Philistine foreskins and gave them to Saul. He did this because he wanted to become the king’s son-in-law.
Saul let David marry his daughter Michal. 28 He saw that the LORD was with David and he also saw that his daughter, Michal, loved David. 29 So Saul became even more afraid of David and was against him all that time.
30 The Philistine commanders continued to go out to fight the Israelites, but David defeated them every time. He became famous as Saul’s best officer.
* 18:1-2 Jonathan … with David Literally, “Jonathan’s soul was tied to David’s soul.” 18:8 A little more … itself This is not in one of the oldest and best copies of the ancient Greek version. 18:10 Saul … wild Or “Saul prophesied.” The Hebrew word means that the person lost control of what they said and did. Usually this meant God was using them to give a special message to other people. § 18:17 real soldier That is, a member of the warrior class. They were free from certain duties of ordinary citizens. * 18:25 money for his daughter In Bible times a man usually had to give money to a woman’s father before he could marry her. 18:27 200 The ancient Greek version has “100.”