The psychotic king who drove himself mad
Introducing Jonathan and David
David is 15-22
years old during this period.
David spends 7 years in Saul's Palace
1 Samuel 16-20
Saul, the psychotic king
who drove himself mad.
Jonathan and David
David is 15-22 years old during this period.
David spends 7 years in Saul's Palace
1 Samuel 16-20
“So Saul died for his trespass which he committed against the Lord, because of the word of the Lord which he did not keep; and also because he asked counsel of a medium, making inquiry of it, and did not inquire of the Lord. Therefore God killed him and turned the kingdom to David the son of Jesse.” (1 Chronicles 10:13-14)
1. The setting:
a. The Ark of covenant is at Kiriath-jearim.
b. The Mosaic Tent of Meeting is located at Nob after Shiloh goes extinct. But in the next section, the Tabernacle will be moved to Gibeon in 1012 BC after Saul kills all the priests of the Eli lineage, except one. (This was about the same time that Samuel died.) This was to partially fulfill the prophecy through Samuel that the descendants of Eli would no long serve as priests. This prophecy was totally fulfilled when David replaced Abiathar with Zadok. (2 Sam 8:17)
c. There are still altars at Ramah (Samuel's), Bethel (Jacob’s Gen 35:1), Gilgal and at the two Levitical cities of Gibeon and Geba.
d. Saul’s home is Gibeah of Benjamin, also called Gibeah of Saul. It is here Saul builds his palace where David initially communes from Bethlehem to sooth Saul’s “panic attacks” because he realizes he God has replaced him as king.
e. Saul’s royal palace at Gibeah is the center of the stories until the end of 1 Samuel.
2. Timeline and chronology:
a. In 1076 BC, Saul is born.
b. In Jonathan is likely born around 1061 BC since he is Saul’s oldest son.
i. It is important to note that Jonathan was old enough to lead the defeat of the Philistines at Geba and then singlehandedly defeat them at Michmash with his armor bearer.
ii. So Saul was only 30 years old when he became king, yet he had a son old enough to lead a battle against the philistines.
iii. He would have to be at least 15 years old but not much older than that, given Saul is 30 when Jonathan defeats the Philistines at Michmash.
iv. This would mean that Saul was 15 when he became the father of Jonathan and that Jonathan was 15 when Saul became king.
v. David was about 15 when he killed Goliath some 27 years later. David is born in the 10th year of Saul’s reign.
vi. So here we have the portrait of three 15 year olds.
1. Saul who became the father of Jonathan at age 15 in 1061 BC.
2. Then 15 years later, Jonathan who defeated the philistines at age 15 in 1046 BC.
3. Then 25 years later, David kills Goliath at age 15 in 1019 BC.
4. Although Jonathan was 45 years old when David killed Goliath, it was probably this youthful valiancy of faith that formed the bond of love the friendship between David and Jonathan.
c. In 1046 BC, Samuel was 52 years old when he anointed Saul at age 30 year old as king. 1 Sam 13:1
i. Jonathan is 15 years old.
ii. David is not born for ten more years.
d. In 1034 BC, David is born when Jonathan is about 27 years old and Saul is 42.
e. In 1019 BC, Saul had been king for 27 years but had failed to obey God twice and is told another will replace him. (David)
i. David is anointed king in Saul’s place in 1019 BC at age 15 years old. Saul is now 57 years old
ii. In 1019 BC, David kills Goliath when he is about 15 years old, the same year he was anointed by Samuel as king.
iii. Jonathan is 42 years old when David killed Goliath and it is now that they first form a friendship.
iv. Samuel lives another 11 years until he dies in 1008 BC, but never sees Saul again.
v. David is hunted by Saul for 15 years until Saul dies in 1004 BC
f. 1019- 1012 BC: David’s time in the Saul’s palace at Gibeah of Benjamin: 7 years
i. This period starts when David killed Goliath in1019 BC
ii. This period ends when David flees Gibeah to seek refuge from Samuel in Ramah in 1012 BC.
iii. The first indication we have of time passing is this passage:
1. “Therefore Saul removed him from his presence and appointed him as his commander of a thousand; and he went out and came in before the people. David was prospering in all his ways for the Lord was with him. When Saul saw that he was prospering greatly, he dreaded him. But all Israel and Judah loved David, and he went out and came in before them.” (1 Samuel 18:13–16)
2. Enough time had to pass for David to win a few more battles and for his reputation to grow in all of Israel
3. This may have been 1 - 3 years, but it is hard to tell. It is after this period passed, that David marries Michal at about age 18.
iv. Saul’s psychotic rages began the same day David Killed Goliath when he heard the women praising David for killing 10,000’s and Saul 1000’s.
v. During this time period David is offered Saul’s older Daughter as a wife but then marries, Michal, Saul’s younger daughter.
1. Michal is David’s first wife.
2. It is strange that although Saul is 57 years old, neither of his daughters are married.
3. Either they are older, or they are merely the two remaining oldest unmarried daughters of Saul.
4. Jonathan was 42-47 years old when David married Michal.
5. David would have been between 16 - 18 years old when he married Michal.
vi. The second indication of passing time after David married Michal is here:
1. “Then the commanders of the Philistines went out to battle, and it happened as often as they went out, that David behaved himself more wisely than all the servants of Saul. So his name was highly esteemed.” (1 Samuel 18:30)
2. This may have been anywhere from 1-4 years.
vii. So after having David in his own personal service for about 7 years, Saul tries to kill David the second with a spear, and then tries to kill Jonathan with a spear, David goes on the run throughout southern Judah until the death of Saul.
g. 1012-1004 BC: David’s time on the run: 8 years.
i. This period begins in 1012 BC, when Saul tried to kill his own son Jonathan for supporting David. Saul had already made two failed attempts on David’s life.
ii. This period ends when Saul dies in 1004 BC.
iii. The Moaic Tabernacle is moved from Nob after Saul kills all the priests in 1012 BC.
h. In 1008 Samuel dies an old man, likely 90 years old. 1 Sam 25:1. For about 4 years, Samuel can look down from Ramah where he lives and see the Tabernacle between 1012-1008 BC.
i. In 1004 BC Saul and Jonathan die.
i. Saul was 72 years old when he died
ii. Jonathan was 57 years old when he died.
iii. David was 30 when he began to reign as king in Hebron between 1004-997 BC
j. In 997 BC David captures Jerusalem and begins his reign at age 37.
K. In 993 BC, Solomon is born.
3. In this section of 1 Samuel 16-20, we have four key characters: Samuel, Saul, Jonathan (Saul’s son) and David.
a. Samuel is the last judge and the first prophet. He stands alone in his day as the most famous and top authority as God’s human representative on earth. He has a Moses/Joshua level of respect and fame. When Samuel spoke from God, it was never questioned. The people universally understood Samuel was a spokesman for God. Once Samuel anoints David in 1019 BC, Saul never again sees Saul until he died around 1008 BC. at likely around the age of 90 years old.
b. We have no idea why God chose Saul as the first king. Saul was evil from the very beginning. Saul is the opposite of all the good seen in his son Jonathan and David.
c. Jonathan, (Saul’s son) as seen from the previous section of 1 Sam 9-15, was probably one of the most spiritual minded and righteous men on earth to ever live. Jonathan’s faith in God let him to singlehandedly defeat the Philistines. While we use David killing Goliath as an example of faith, Jonathan’s faith was not only equal, but preceded David by many years. In fact, it may have been the example of Jonathan singlehandedly defeating the Philistine garrison at Geba, that later inspired David’s faith to defeat Goliath. Surely this story would have been taught to David at a young age as an example of pure faith. Although he was next in line to the throne, Jonathan accepted the word of God that David was to be the next king (something his father never accepted) and even swore an oath to David to serve him in his kingdom. Whereas other men would kill for a chance to be king, Jonathan abdicated the throne to David as soon as he understood David had been anointed by God as his father’s successor. Jonathan and David were like-minded, like-faithed and best friends who dearly loved each other in the highest and purest form.
d. David is truly the most righteous king to ever walk the earth. Just as Jonathan would never think of killing David to become a king of divine rebellion, so too David, the true divinely appointed king, never thought to kill Saul even when God gave him permission to do so. Whereas David killed those who killed Saul, latter kings came to power through assassinations, exterminating entire royal families and bloody coups. David stands so far above all other kings in the Bible, that it is no wonder God described him as a “man after God’s own heart”. It is generally understood that David was a type of God, the Father and Solomon was a type of God, the son.
A. Insanity in the Bible: Saul
1. Saul drove himself mad through a lack of repentance:
a. Schizophrenia, insanity, madness are synonymous terms that describe an individual who has chosen to allow themselves to form the habit of engaging in sinful behaviours that annoy, bother, offend, threaten others and create their own false reality of self-delusion for the purpose of escaping some personal life problem which they achieve through the control of others for personal gain through lies, manipulation, and sympathy through outward displays of self-created suffering, hardship and victimhood.
b. The term, "mental illness" is a non-medical metaphoric term like, "spring fever" or "computer virus". Mental lllness is a personal behaviour choice, not a bodily disease and is cured through a spiritual change of will, not drugs.
c. Psychiatrists and psychologists point to Saul as a man who drove himself mad because we observe that Saul transforms from an insecure average guy into a wicked tyrant fraught with delusion, paranoia, and psychotic unrepentant rage. Saul has his first psychotic fit of angry rage when he physically assaults Samuel… the most respected spiritual man in the world. Samuel and David are the two men on earth that Saul is most angry with. Samuel told Saul he was no longer king and David was the replacement. Saul’s never saw Samuel again indicating that his angry rage against Samuel continued for 11 years until Samuel died. Saul’s anger against David continued for the next 15 years until Saul died. Rather than just humbly accept the decree of the creator and step down as king, Saul’s pattern of rebellion is transformed into a lifelong obsession of killing David. Saul wanted to be king so bad that he rejected God’s word and in the end it destroyed him.
d. Saul fabricated his own delusional world of victimhood by convincing others what a bad person or a threat David was, in order to justify getting an entire palace staff on his side to help him in killing David.
e. From a clinical point of view, Saul could have “cured himself”, by simple repentance, low self-esteem, and self-control. Sinners who refuse to repent, bring upon themselves the consequences of what today’s psychologists call “cognitive dissonance” and what the Bible calls “a bad conscience” which may or may not lead to delusion and paranoia.
f. The "evil spirit from the Lord" was the penalty Saul paid for refusing to repent and admit he was an evil sinner, that David was indeed a much better man than he and vacate his throne for David.
g. Whereas psychiatrists today would drug Saul into behavior submission, a 10 year old could see that Saul was jealous of David, disobedient to God, was most interested in retaining power and simply needed a spanking and a change of heart.
2. The Bible clearly says that God will strike sinners with madness as a curse. When God defeated the armies who attacked Israel, he did so by striking them with madness so that they began to kill each other in a psychotic panic of confusion and delusion. Originally madness simply means: “one who has sudden, unpredictable, wild outbursts of uncontrollable anger for no apparent reason accompanied with delusion and paranoia”.
a. "For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence (delusion) so that they will believe what is false" 2 Thessalonians 2:11
b. Notice the Hebrew word used by the Philistine king of Gath to describe a madman and madness is the same one used in Deuteronomy 28:34 to describe the curse of madness God will inflict on sinners: “So David disguised his sanity before them, and acted insanely [halal, 1984, Hithpoel] in their hands, and scribbled on the doors of the gate, and let his saliva run down into his beard. Then Achish said to his servants, “Behold, you see the man behaving as a madman [shaga, 7696]. Why do you bring him to me? “Do I lack madmen [shaga, 7696], that you have brought this one to act the madman [shaga, 7696] in my presence? Shall this one come into my house?”” (1 Samuel 21:13–15)
c. "The Lord will send upon you curses, confusion [mehumah, 4103], and rebuke, in all you undertake to do, until you are destroyed and until you perish quickly, on account of the evil of your deeds, because you have forsaken Me. " Deuteronomy 28:20
i. "there would come idiocy, blindness, and confusion of mind, three psychical maladies; for although blindness signifies primarily bodily blindness, the position of the word between idiocy and confusion of heart, i.e., of the understanding, points to mental blindness here. (Keil, C. F., & Delitzsch, F., Deut 28:28)
d. "The Lord will smite you with the boils of Egypt and with tumors and with the scab and with the itch, from which you cannot be healed. "The Lord will smite you with madness [shiggaon, 2328] and with blindness and with bewilderment ["timmahown", 8541] of heart; and you will grope at noon, as the blind man gropes in darkness, and you will not prosper in your ways; but you shall only be oppressed and robbed continually, with none to save you. " Deuteronomy 28:27-29
e. ““A people whom you do not know shall eat up the produce of your ground and all your labors, and you will never be anything but oppressed and crushed continually. “You shall be driven mad [shaga, 7696] by the sight of what you see. “The Lord will strike you on the knees and legs with sore boils, from which you cannot be healed, from the sole of your foot to the crown of your head. “The Lord will bring you and your king, whom you set over you, to a nation which neither you nor your fathers have known, and there you shall serve other gods, wood and stone.” (Deuteronomy 28:33–36)
f. "For oppression makes a wise man mad [halal, 1984, Hithpoel], And a bribe corrupts the heart." Ecclesiastes 7:7
g. "Go up, you horses, and drive madly [halal, 1984, Hithpoel], you chariots, That the mighty men may march forward: Ethiopia and Put, that handle the shield, And the Lydians, that handle and bend the bow. " Jeremiah 46:9
h. "The chariots race madly [halal, 1984, Hithpoel] in the streets, They rush wildly in the squares, Their appearance is like torches, They dash to and fro like lightning flashes." Nahum 2:4
i. ““For many days Israel was without the true God and without a teaching priest and without law. “But in their distress they turned to the Lord God of Israel, and they sought Him, and He let them find Him. “In those times there was no peace to him who went out or to him who came in, for many disturbances afflicted all the inhabitants of the lands. “Nation was crushed by nation, and city by city, for God troubled [mehumah, 4103] them with every kind of distress.” (2 Chronicles 15:3–6)
j. “Better is a little with the fear of the Lord Than great treasure and turmoil [mehumah, 4103] with it.” (Proverbs 15:16)
3. Examples of when God struck gentiles armies with madness in order to fight Israel’s wars for them: (Armies that killed themselves after they went mad)
a. "But the Lord your God will deliver them before you, and will throw them into great confusion [mehumah, 4103] until they are destroyed. " Deuteronomy 7:23
b. Punishment of Babylon: "They will drink and stagger and go mad (Nebuchadnezzar) [halal, 1984, Hithpoel] because of the sword that I will send among them." Jeremiah 25:16
c. "Babylon has been a golden cup in the hand of the Lord, Intoxicating all the earth. The nations have drunk of her wine; Therefore the nations are going mad [halal, 1984, Hithpoel]." Jeremiah 51:7
d. "For the Lord God of hosts has a day of panic, subjugation and confusion [mehumah, 4103] In the valley of vision, A breaking down of walls And a crying to the mountain. " Isaiah 22:5
e. "'Your doom has come to you, O inhabitant of the land. The time has come, the day is near—tumult [mehumah, 4103] rather than joyful shouting on the mountains. " Ezekiel 7:7
f. ““I will call for a sword against him on all My mountains,” declares the Lord God. “Every man’s sword will be against his brother.” (Ezekiel 38:21)
g. "In that day," declares the Lord, "I will strike every horse with bewilderment and his rider with madness [shiggaon, 2328]. But I will watch over the house of Judah, while I strike every horse of the peoples with blindness. " Zechariah 12:4
h. "It will come about in that day that a great panic [mehumah, 4103] from the Lord will fall on them; and they will seize one another's hand, and the hand of one will be lifted against the hand of another. " Zechariah 14:13
i. Gideon conquers Midian: "When they blew 300 trumpets, the Lord set the sword of one against another even throughout the whole army; and the army fled as far as Beth-shittah toward Zererah, as far as the edge of Abel-meholah, by Tabbath. " Judges 7:22
j. When Philistines captured the ark: "After they had brought the ark of God around, the hand of the Lord was against the city with very great confusion [mehumah, 4103]; and He smote the men of the city, both young and old, so that tumors broke out on them. " ... "They sent therefore and gathered all the lords of the Philistines and said, "Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it return to its own place, so that it will not kill us and our people." For there was a deadly confusion [mehumah, 4103] throughout the city; the hand of God was very heavy there. " 1 Samuel 5:9,11
k. Jonathan single handedly routes the Philistines and starts the victory over them. God strikes the Philistines with madness and confusion so they begin killing each other: "While Saul talked to the priest, the commotion [hamown, 2162, commotion, riot] in the camp of the Philistines continued and increased; so Saul said to the priest, "Withdraw your hand." Then Saul and all the people who were with him rallied and came to the battle; and behold, every man's sword was against his fellow, and there was very great confusion [mehumah, 4103]. " 1 Samuel 14:19-20
l. “When David inquired of the LORD, He said, “You shall not go directly up; circle around behind them and come at them in front of the balsam trees. “It shall be, when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees, then you shall act promptly, for then the LORD will have gone out before you to strike the army of the Philistines.” Then David did so, just as the LORD had commanded him, and struck down the Philistines from Geba as far as Gezer.” (2 Samuel 5:23–25)
m. “The oracle concerning Egypt. Behold, the Lord is riding on a swift cloud and is about to come to Egypt; The idols of Egypt will tremble at His presence, And the heart of the Egyptians will melt within them. “So I will incite Egyptians against Egyptians; And they will each fight against his brother and each against his neighbor, City against city and kingdom against kingdom. “Then the spirit of the Egyptians will be demoralized within them; And I will confound their strategy, So that they will resort to idols and ghosts of the dead And to mediums and spiritists.” (Isaiah 19:1–3)
n. Jehoshaphat conquers Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir "Jehoshaphat said ... put your trust in the Lord your God and you will be established. ... When they began singing and praising, the Lord set ambushes against the sons of Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; so they were routed. For the sons of Ammon and Moab rose up against the inhabitants of Mount Seir destroying them completely; and when they had finished with the inhabitants of Seir, they helped to destroy one another. When Judah came to the lookout of the wilderness, they looked toward the multitude, and behold, they were corpses lying on the ground, and no one had escaped. ... And they were three days taking the spoil because there was so much." 2 Chronicles 20:20-25
o. “‘I will overthrow the thrones of kingdoms and destroy the power of the kingdoms of the nations; and I will overthrow the chariots and their riders, and the horses and their riders will go down, everyone by the sword of another.’” (Haggai 2:22)
B. The anointing of David: 1019 BC age 15 years old
1. In the previous section (1 Sam 9-15) we see Saul physically assaulting Samuel in the first of many psychotic outbursts of anger that resulted in Saul’s robe being torn. Saul is told he has been replaced as king by “someone better than he” and never sees Samuel again until he died.
2. Samuel weeps and mourns for Saul. The universal pattern is that the righteous weep for the sins of the wicked but the wicked shed no tears for their own sin.
3. God tells Samuel go to Bethlehem to anoint Saul’s replacement as king. Notice that Samuel fears that Saul will kill him if he anoints David. Saul is so wicked, that he would kill God’s highest representative on earth just to overpower God’s judgement upon himself that he is no longer king.
4. The anointing ceremony does not happen at Jesse’s house, but at the public place of the sacrifice.
5. Eliab is another Saul: “tall dark and handsome”, but worthless.
a. Later Eliab’s heart is revealed when David killed Goliath: “Now Eliab his oldest brother heard when he spoke to the men; and Eliab’s anger burned against David and he said, “Why have you come down? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your insolence and the wickedness of your heart; for you have come down in order to see the battle.” (1 Samuel 17:28).
b. The only the possible reference to Eliab is if David made him head of Judah: “Now in charge of the tribes of Israel: chief officer for the … Judah, Elihu, one of David’s brothers” (1 Chronicles 27:16–18)
6. At David’s anointing, the Holy Spirit filled David and departed from Saul.
a. In place of the Holy Spirit, Saul had an “evil spirit from the Lord”.
b. This is not a demon possession, but like so many other examples, the Lord used natural circumstances to create suspicion, unhappiness and anxiety in the life of the sinner.
C. David is introduced to Saul by stealth:
1. With incredible providence the very man chosen to comfort Saul is David who will replace him. Unaware for quite some time of this fact, David sings and plays spiritual songs for Saul.
2. God rejects Saul as king for the second time and sends Samuel to anoint David. Saul has his first psychotic fit of angry rage when he physically assaults Samuel… the most respected spiritual man in the world. Samuel and David are the two men on earth that Saul is most angry with. Samuel told Saul he was no longer king and David was the replacement. Saul’s never saw Samuel again indicating that his angry rage against Samuel continued for 11 years until Samuel died. Saul’s anger against David continued for the next 15 years until Saul died.
a. The sins of Saul were "rebellion and insubordination": "For rebellion is as the sin of divination, And insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He has also rejected you from being king." 1 Samuel 15:23
b. Saul got very angry at Samuel who told him a better man than Saul would replace him: "As Samuel turned to go, Saul seized the edge of his robe, and it tore. So Samuel said to him, "The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today and has given it to your neighbor, who is better than you." 1 Samuel 15:27-28
3. Samuel anointed David, who would replace Saul as king without Saul's knowledge. Saul had his first psychotic fit that day. In God's providence Saul unknowing brought David, his replacement as King, into the palace to give Saul relief:
a. "Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed David in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward. And Samuel arose and went to Ramah. Now the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord terrorized him. Saul's servants then said to him, "Behold now, an evil spirit from God is terrorizing you. "Let our lord now command your servants who are before you. Let them seek a man who is a skillful player on the harp; and it shall come about when the evil spirit from God is on you, that he shall play the harp with his hand, and you will be well." " 1 Samuel 16:13-16
4. David's music functioned as modern psychiatric drugs do by temporally remove the symptoms without addressing the root cause. David was Saul's prescribed drug! If he had simply accepted God’s judgement of being replaced as king and humbly repented, God would have forgiven him and restored his spiritual communion.
a. "So it came about whenever the evil spirit from God came to Saul, David would take the harp and play it with his hand; and Saul would be refreshed and be well, and the evil spirit would depart from him." 1 Samuel 16:23
b. Today’s chemical biopsychiatry seeks to coddle and comfort sinful people through counsel and drugs, in order to remove all guilt and responsibly for their sinful behaviour choices… when what they really need is a stern rebuke. Likewise Saul didn’t need to be surrounded by his entire staff of who spent much time and effort trying to find a way to comfort him with kind and reassuring words and David’s soft beautiful harp music… he needed his butt kicked around the block and told not to come home until he repented!
5. Saul knows he is being replaced, but doesn’t know who his successor is. Like Moses being cared for by his own mother, God had providentially brought David into the closest contact with Saul without knowing David was his replacement. However, when David kills Goliath, Saul then first suspects that David may replace him:
a. "The women sang as they played, and said, "Saul has slain his thousands, And David his ten thousands." Then Saul became very angry, for this saying displeased him; and he said, "They have ascribed to David ten thousands, but to me they have ascribed thousands. Now what more can he have but the kingdom?" Saul looked at David with suspicion from that day on. Now it came about on the next day that an evil spirit from God came mightily upon Saul, and he raved [Lit: prophecied: naba, 5012] in the midst of the house, while David was playing the harp with his hand, as usual; and a spear was in Saul's hand. Saul hurled the spear for he thought, "I will pin David to the wall." But David escaped from his presence twice. Now Saul was afraid of David, for the Lord was with him but had departed from Saul. Therefore Saul removed him from his presence and appointed him as his commander of a thousand; and he went out and came in before the people. David was prospering in all his ways for the Lord was with him. When Saul saw that he was prospering greatly, he dreaded him. " 1 Samuel 18:7-15
b. A second time Saul tries to kill David, as he is singing spiritual hymns: "When there was war again, David went out and fought with the Philistines and defeated them with great slaughter, so that they fled before him. Now there was an evil spirit from the Lord on Saul as he was sitting in his house with his spear in his hand, and David was playing the harp with his hand. Saul tried to pin David to the wall with the spear, but he slipped away out of Saul's presence, so that he stuck the spear into the wall. And David fled and escaped that night." 1 Samuel 19:8-10
D. David and Goliath:
1. Cultural observations in 1019 BC:
a. The representative warfare is unique: Each army puts forth a champion and whoever loses, their representative army must submit to the victor. Of course when the Philistines lost, they reneged on their own challenge and ran for the hills instead of submitting to Saul as promised. It is a puzzle why Saul would allow an inexperienced youth to try to defeat Goliath. If David lost, Saul would have to submit to the Philistines. But it is likely that Saul had no more intention of submitting to the Philistines than they Saul. For that reason, Saul would allow any man a chance to fight knowing nothing, except one life, not a nation, was being wagered.
b. Jesse sent provisions to the army commander to support the troops in exchange for a “pledge”. 17:18. This pledge was likely a portion of the booty of war if they won the battle.
2. Goliath challenges Israel and Israel is filled with “fear and dismay”: Again the Philistine said, “I defy the ranks of Israel this day; give me a man that we may fight together.” When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid.” (1 Samuel 17:10-11)
a. God commanded Israel not to be dismayed or fearful, but that He would fight their fights for them:
b. “‘See, the LORD your God has placed the land before you; go up, take possession, as the LORD, the God of your fathers, has spoken to you. Do not fear or be dismayed.’” (Deuteronomy 1:21)
c. ““The LORD is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”” (Deuteronomy 31:8)
d. “Now the LORD said to Joshua, “Do not fear or be dismayed. Take all the people of war with you and arise, go up to Ai; see, I have given into your hand the king of Ai, his people, his city, and his land.” (Joshua 8:1)
e. “Joshua then said to them, “Do not fear or be dismayed! Be strong and courageous, for thus the LORD will do to all your enemies with whom you fight.”” (Joshua 10:25)
f. “and he said, “Listen, all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: thus says the LORD to you, ‘Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God’s.” (2 Chronicles 20:15)
g. “‘You need not fight in this battle; station yourselves, stand and see the salvation of the LORD on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out to face them, for the LORD is with you.”” (2 Chronicles 20:17)
h. ““Be strong and courageous, do not fear or be dismayed because of the king of Assyria nor because of all the horde that is with him; for the one with us is greater than the one with him.” (2 Chronicles 32:7)
i. ““Listen to Me, you who know righteousness, A people in whose heart is My law; Do not fear the reproach of man, Nor be dismayed at their revilings.” (Isaiah 51:7)
j. ““And you, son of man, neither fear them nor fear their words, though thistles and thorns are with you and you sit on scorpions; neither fear their words nor be dismayed at their presence, for they are a rebellious house.” (Ezekiel 2:6)
3. “Israeli warriors in battle array shouting the war cry” (17:20). Twice every day, morning and evening, Goliath would challenge Israel and make them quiver with fear. Israel’s hollow daily routing of shouting the war cry was pure hypocrisy.
a. What shall I compare this war cry to? Who do you know that “thinks he’s all that”, bristles up with battle array, looks tough, but when challenged, runs like a chicken? Doorbell, my pet Chihuahua, who, when the door bell rings, launches into a ferocious attack complete with battle array of hair standing on end and bouncing around while giving his battle cry… until you open the door and he runs away like a chicken. Or while at the leash-free park, Doorbell will have his hair stand on end and bark at another dog until that dog turns around and Doorbell instantly flips on his back in terrified submission.
b. That is what this Israeli battle array and cry were really like. All talk, no action.
c. They get dressed into their battle clothes, start screeching and hollering their battle cry until they see Goliath and they all run home to mommy while the Philistines laugh.
4. Many of God’s choice as leaders were shepherds. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, Amos and metaphorically for the highest office in the church.
a. Being a shepherd means you love and fearlessly protect the flock without regard to your own personal peril. It is a denial of self.
b. But the good shepherd even recovers parts of the dead sheep that had been killed by a lion on the basis of ownership and principle. To bring the animal home to its proper place and likely burial, instead of leaving it to decay: “Thus says the Lord, “Just as the shepherd snatches from the lion’s mouth a couple of legs or a piece of an ear, So will the sons of Israel dwelling in Samaria be snatched away— With the corner of a bed and the cover of a couch!” (Amos 3:12)
c. This is the kind of shepherd David was.
5. David fights Goliath without armor. When Luke Skywalker turned off his targeting computer and used the “force”, this is like when David took the armor off and relied upon his “faith”. In fact, while David “had not tested” his physical armor, his spiritual armor was well tested and what he relied upon.
a. “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.” (Ephesians 6:10–13)
6. David’s physical weapons were his shepherd’s stick and 5 tennis ball sized stones he selected from the creek. Some think it is small stone 1 inch in diameter, but archeology proves otherwise. A small stone would not likely crush the skull, while a tennis ball size surely would. Sling stones the size of tennis balls and even larger are common finds in Israel. I have excavated several myself at khirbet el-Maqatir, biblical Ai.
a. The Benjaminites were left handed sling stone experts with a reputation that they could hit a hair on a wall: “Out of all these people 700 choice men were left-handed; each one could sling a stone at a hair and not miss.” (Judges 20:16)
b. Goliath met his fate according to Jewish law: “‘Moreover, the one who blasphemes the name of the Lord shall surely be put to death; all the congregation shall certainly stone him. The alien as well as the native, when he blasphemes the Name, shall be put to death.” (Leviticus 24:16)
c. So Goliath was executed for blaspheming YHWH by stoning, just like the law said.
7. How could Saul not know who David’s father was? (17:55)
a. Some use this as a contradiction, that Saul did not know who David was. Saul knew who David, but he did not know who David’s father was. The question was to grant David’s family tax free status, as promised by the king for killing Goliath.
b. Saul had sent a message to Jesse to allow David to serve him. Saul’s own palace staff were personally acquainted with David and his father Jesse. Saul had been told who David’s father was from the very beginning.
c. Saul is therefore so self -centered that he didn’t care to remember anything personal about David or his family. Saul simply didn’t care about anything except himself. Even though David had been playing music in his court to bring great peace and comfort to Saul, it was a relationship of one-way giving. Saul had ample opportunity to take a bit of interest in David and his family, but instead was only concerned about his own selfish needs being met.
d. While Saul didn’t know the most basic personal things about his closest and most important palace staff, David was described as “my lord is wise, like the wisdom of the angel of God, to know all that is in the earth.” (2 Samuel 14:20)
8. Why did David put the head of Goliath in Jerusalem (17:54)
a. Jerusalem had been partially conquered by Israel but the Jebusites were still in control of the city and lived along side of Israel.
i. “Now as for the Jebusites, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the sons of Judah could not drive them out; so the Jebusites live with the sons of Judah at Jerusalem until this day.” (Joshua 15:63)
ii. “They found Adoni-bezek in Bezek and fought against him, and they defeated the Canaanites and the Perizzites. But Adoni-bezek fled; and they pursued him and caught him and cut off his thumbs and big toes. Adoni-bezek said, “Seventy kings with their thumbs and their big toes cut off used to gather up scraps under my table; as I have done, so God has repaid me.” So they brought him to Jerusalem and he died there. Then the sons of Judah fought against Jerusalem and captured it and struck it with the edge of the sword and set the city on fire.” (Judges 1:5–8)
b. Adoni-bezek the great enemy of Israel, who had killed 70 gentile kings, was brought to Israel and killed. Why? We don’t know.
c. Perhaps Nob was equated with Jerusalem. First David put the sword in his tent, but later it ends up at Nob. The Mosaic tent of Meeting was located at Nob at this time until Saul killed all the priests because they gave David, Goliath’s sword which had been stored there. Nob is located at the mount of Olives less than 1km to what would become the temple mount. Perhaps David took the head to the high priest and later, Goliath’s sword.
d. Perhaps David had already chosen Jerusalem as his royal city. A young man full of big dreams would likely have planned for such things. Taking the head to the Jebusites might serve as a warning. However David’s capture of the city didn’t include striking fear into them from his reputation, but a stealth entrance through the water way by Joab, who simply opened the gates to let David in. Further, the head of Goliath was intended as an intimidation tactic, it failed: “Now the king and his men went to Jerusalem against the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land, and they said to David, “You shall not come in here, but the blind and lame will turn you away”; thinking, “David cannot enter here.”” (2 Samuel 5:6)
9. David’s victory over Goliath: Much is made about the faith David had in defeating Goliath when all others cowered in fear. However there are several factors that need to kept in mind:
a. David was a prophet and had the Spirit of God directing him. Perhaps God told David directly that he would defeat Goliath.
b. Jonathan was not a prophet, yet he indeed had the faith to defeat the Philistines first at Geba then single-handedly Michmash.
E. David is introduced to Jonathan:
1. Jonathan was born in 1061 BC when Saul was 15 years old. David wasn’t even born when Jonathan single-handedly defeated the Philistines at Geba and Michmash shortly after Saul became king in 1046 BC. This 25 year generational gap in age between David and Jonathan did not impede their friendship or love for each other because it was built on faith.
2. David’s unilateral victory over Goliath attracted the attention of Jonathan, Saul’s oldest and firstborn son and next in line to the throne.
a. Their deep faith in God was the clue that bound them together in love.
b. Jonathan had defeated the Philistines in a singlehanded act of faith at age 15 is replicated in David’s singlehanded act of faith in defeating Goliath at age 15.
c. Jonathan was 42 years old when David killed Goliath at age 15.
d. The 27 year difference in their age was overshadowed by their heroic faith in God that brought about famous victories over the Philistines.
e. What caught Jonathan’s attention was he saw himself in David!
f. Jonathan to David, may have been an antitype of Barnabas to Paul. Both Jonathan and Barnabas were spiritual giants who preceded men who would outshine them.
3. Jonathan said that his Father does nothing without telling him.
a. “Far from it, you shall not die. Behold, my father does nothing either great or small without disclosing it to me. So why should my father hide this thing from me? It is not so!” (1 Samuel 20:2)
b. Jonathan therefore knew that Samuel had told Saul the kingdom was given to another, but may not have known who the new anointed king was. Just how Jonathan came to understand David was his own father’s replacement is unknown, but clearly he knew the day David killed Goliath.
4. Jonathan makes a covenant to selflessly serve David as King. This is another example of the pure obedient, selfless faith of Jonathan. This covenant would have included an oath from Jonathan to serve David as his king.
a. Jonathan gave up his rightful place as a king to David since this is what God had proclaimed. While Saul spent his life trying to kill David to keep his throne, Jonathan abdicated his throne to David in love and faith. Contrast Jonathan’s abdication to the bloody coups of most the kings after Solomon in order to become or remain kings.
b. It is clear that Jonathan was abdicating his throne to David because Saul clearly points this out later:
i. “Then Saul’s anger burned against Jonathan and he said to him, “You son of a perverse, rebellious woman! Do I not know that you are choosing the son of Jesse to your own shame and to the shame of your mother’s nakedness? “For as long as the son of Jesse lives on the earth, neither you nor your kingdom will be established. Therefore now, send and bring him to me, for he must surely die.”” (1 Samuel 20:30–31)
c. “Therefore deal kindly with your servant, for you have brought your servant into a covenant of the Lord with you. But if there is iniquity in me, put me to death yourself; for why then should you bring me to your father?”” (1 Samuel 20:8)
d. “If it please my father to do you harm, may the Lord do so to Jonathan and more also, if I do not make it known to you and send you away, that you may go in safety. And may the Lord be with you as He has been with my father. “If I am still alive, will you not show me the lovingkindness of the Lord, that I may not die? “You shall not cut off your lovingkindness from my house forever, not even when the Lord cuts off every one of the enemies of David from the face of the earth.” So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, “May the Lord require it at the hands of David’s enemies.” Jonathan made David vow again because of his love for him, because he loved him as he loved his own life.” (1 Samuel 20:13–17)
e. “Jonathan said to David, “Go in safety, inasmuch as we have sworn to each other in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘The Lord will be between me and you, and between my descendants and your descendants forever.’ ” Then he rose and departed, while Jonathan went into the city.” (1 Samuel 20:42)
f. “For all of you have conspired against me (Saul) so that there is no one who discloses to me when my son makes a covenant with the son of Jesse, and there is none of you who is sorry for me or discloses to me that my son has stirred up my servant against me to lie in ambush, as it is this day.” (1 Samuel 22:8)
g. “And Jonathan, Saul’s son, arose and went to David at Horesh, and encouraged him in God. Thus he said to him, “Do not be afraid, because the hand of Saul my father will not find you, and you will be king over Israel and I will be next to you; and Saul my father knows that also.” So the two of them made a covenant before the Lord; and David stayed at Horesh while Jonathan went to his house.” (1 Samuel 23:16–18)
h. “But the David spared Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan the son of Saul, because of the oath of the Lord which was between them, between David and Saul’s son Jonathan.” (2 Samuel 21:7)
i. The day David killed Goliath, David acquired the most highly prized sword of the Philistines and the sword of Jonathan, heir to the throne of Saul.
j. David wore the king’s clothes in defeating Goliath and was given the Royal robe of prince Jonathan. Jonathan gave David all the symbols of he possessed as next in line to the throne without a though for himself.
F. Saul’s love turns to hate and jealousy: “David killed his 10,000’s”
1. Saul and Jonathan both “loved” David.
a. “Then David came to Saul and attended him; and Saul loved him greatly, and he became his armor bearer.” (1 Samuel 16:21)
b. “Then Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself.” (1 Samuel 18:3)
2. It was through beautiful songs of praise to God from the mouths of the women of Israel, that Saul suddenly realizes that David is the man who will replace him as king. Up to this point he never suspected David. Indeed, he had taken so little notice of him that he didn’t even know who his father was when he killed Goliath.
3. Saul’s paranoia and rage festered all night after David killed Goliath Saul heard the women praising David.
a. The next day, Saul was in a troubled a state of uncontrollable anger, jealously, hatred, fear and dread. David was called in to sooth Saul with his beautiful spiritual songs. This would be like rubbing salt into Saul’s wounds.
b. Saul begins to “rage” (fake prophecy) in the palace before his staff in an effort to make himself look righteous and God is with him.
i. The word rage used here is used two other times when Saul really did speak from God as a true prophet. (When he first visited Geba after being anointed king and when he attempted to retrieve David from Raioth (19:23)
ii. Saul chose to deceive himself by fantasying through delusions of grandeur of being super-spiritual above most others.
iii. Saul had once enjoyed the notoriety and respect of being a prophet and he engages in crass fakery to regain this desperately needed praise.
iv. When Christians are engaging in secret sin, they will often take the forefront of doing evangelism, presiding at the Lord’s Supper table and make a point of telling all the members how much they read the Bible and pray ever day. It is what Jesus said: “they want to be noticed by men”.
v. It is a conn and a fraud whose purpose is to create a smokescreen to hide their own rampant sin which they desperately do not want discovered.
c. Saul hurled his spear at David in a fit of rage, but David escaped. This scene would happen one time later.
4. Saul begins to plot how to dispose of David without actually killing him via his two daughters:
a. Remember that David had already won the hand of Saul’s daughter by killing Goliath. This is another broken promise made by Saul who should have just given his daughter to David without any conditions.
b. First, Saul offers his oldest daughter, Merab, under the condition David would fight the Philistines with the hope David would be killed in battle.
c. Next Saul offers David Michal as a wife who has severe character flaws and was as faithless as her father. It seems that Saul knew the flaws of his daughter and wanted to unload her onto David so she would cause him trouble. Saul may have calculated that Michal was a type of Delilah:
i. “Saul thought, “I will give her to him that she may become a snare to him” (1 Samuel 18:21)
ii. Obviously Saul knew something about his daughter’s charms that would cause David trouble.
iii. Unlike David, Michal was an idolater and had a life size idol in her David’s house.
1. Why David would allow his wife to do this is a puzzle as much as it was a warning. His son Solomon was led away from God via his pagan wives: “Michal took the household idol [Strongs 8655] and laid it on the bed, and put a quilt of goats’ hair at its head, and covered it with clothes.” (1 Samuel 19:13)
2. The word here for Michal’s Idol was the same word Samuel used against Saul: “For rebellion is as the sin of divination, And insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry [Strongs 8655]. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He has also rejected you from being king.”” (1 Samuel 15:23)
iv. Rich, good looking and spoiled “bad-girl” Michal couldn’t help but love the pure and honest David. This brought even more terror upon Saul.
1. “When Saul saw and knew that the Lord was with David, and that Michal, Saul’s daughter, loved him, then Saul was even more afraid of David. Thus Saul was David’s enemy continually.” (1 Samuel 18:28–29)
2. But Michal’s love was superficial and short lived and she was struck barren by God for her mocking of David when he danced when the Ark of the Covenant entered Jerusalem after the death of Saul.
3. We are reminded of how Solomon was swayed by his idolatrous “hottie” wives who looked good on the outside but were spiritual death on the inside.
d. David won every battle with the Philistines which made his fame grow more among the people and make Saul angrier.
i. “Then the commanders of the Philistines went out to battle, and it happened as often as they went out, that David behaved himself more wisely than all the servants of Saul. So his name was highly esteemed.” (1 Samuel 18:30)
G. Jonathan’s second intercession for David to Saul:
1. Through an intersession of Jonathan, Saul vows not to kill David and he is restored to his former position of playing and singing to Saul.
a. Jonathan “speaks well” of David and Saul vows to God not to kill David.
i. “Saul listened to the voice of Jonathan, and Saul vowed, “As the LORD lives, he shall not be put to death.”” (1 Samuel 19:6)
ii. This irreverent vow to God merely illustrates the black heart of Saul. Only the wicked would invoke God in a vow he has no intention to keep.
b. Saul has a short “rage” fuse. When David returns to the palace after defeating the Philistines again, the praise and honour David obviously got from the people, Saul’s fuse was lit.
c. Once again Saul tries to spear David to the wall in a psychotic, jealous rage but David escapes.
d. It seems that God was using providence and circumstance to deliberately disquiet Saul. Had Saul merely repented and accepted David was king, none of this sinful behaviour would have happened.
2. Saul sends messengers to David’s house in order to kill him:
a. Michel not only warns David, but also helps David escape. However she lies to her father that David threatened to kill her to save her own skin.
b. Michel lied to her father, King Saul, when he asked why she betrayed him in letting David escape. Instead of saying, “look Pop, get a grip, repent, stop this evil and stop trying to kill innocent David. I helped him escape from you because it was the right thing to do”. Instead she lied to make herself look like a victim and make David look bad.
c. In fact, her lie that David threatened to kill her would add to the psychotic delusion of Saul and become grounds to justify killing David even more. Rather than having the courage to take the rap for good, her lies fuelled the anger of her father for trying to kill his baby girl. Of course David would not even kill Saul who deserved it much less his own wife.
3. David seeks refuge with Samuel who is the most holy man on earth and lives at the prophet’s school called “Naioth”.
a. Soon Saul learns David is there and sends three sets of messengers to collect David. Each of these “Rave” or prophecy, but this time for real. This is a sign to both the messengers and Saul not to mess with David.
b. Finally wicked Saul goes himself and the Holy Spirit genuinely comes upon him and he “raves” or prophecies all night as he lay naked on the ground. (19:24) This was a humiliation and a sign to Saul, but he refused to repent even with this and continued to pursue David.
i. Here is another Biblical example of wicked, lost sinners being filled with the Holy Spirit.
ii. Saul, Balaam, the high priest who prophesied about Jesus dying for the people and Cornelius etc. are all examples of how the Holy Spirit indwelt unsaved sinners.
iii. This is a warning to charismatics and Pentecostals today, who always equate such an indwelling with salvation.
4. After David flees from Naioth, he asks Jonathan the most important question in this entire section: “Then David fled from Naioth in Ramah, and came and said to Jonathan, “What have I done? What is my iniquity? And what is my sin before your father, that he is seeking my life?”” (1 Samuel 20:1)
a. Just as the wicked never shed tears for their own sins, while the righteous always shed tears for the wicked, so too the wicked hate the righteous without a cause, while the righteous pray and fret about how they may have offended the wicked and thus be deserving of condemnation, even though they are righteous.
b. David wrote this perhaps with Saul in mind: “Do not let those who are wrongfully my enemies rejoice over me; Nor let those who hate me without cause wink maliciously.” (Psalm 35:19)
c. Jesus words of himself, apply to all the righteous and especially to Saul and David: “He who hates Me hates My Father also. “If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well. “But they have done this to fulfill the word that is written in their Law, ‘They hated Me without a cause.’” (John 15:23–25)
d. “This is the how the judgment works; that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.” (John 3:19)
e. Today, many psychotic people needlessly attack innocent people in order to hide their own sin. In the end, David needed not exert any energy on why the wicked were trying to kill him. Evil psychotic people act in illogical ways. Asking why the psychotic illogically attack the righteous is itself illogical and futile. This is what evil is. Don’t ask why as David did, just accept it and place your trust in God.
f. Biopsychiatrists give the psychotic a “get out of judgement” monopoly playing card to excuse their sinful behaviour choices on earth. The foolish accept the so called “mentally ill” are not responsible for their actions, but the wise realize God will not accept this card on judgement day.
g. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:10)
h. The wicked ignore their own sin and accuse the righteous of sin. The righteous examine themselves to see if they have sinned… when they are innocent all along.
5. Jonathan makes one last attempt at reconciliation between Saul and David at the new moon fest. (20:5)
6. When Saul asked Jonathan at the new moon feast why David wasn’t in attendance, he realized that Jonathan was protecting David. This launched Saul into another psychotic outburst of rage, but this time it was his own son he tried to “pin to the wall” with a spear:
a. It wasn’t until Jonathan once again defends David’s righteousness, that Saul threw his spear at him.
b. “Then Saul’s anger burned against Jonathan and he said to him, “You son of a perverse, rebellious woman! Do I not know that you are choosing the son of Jesse to your own shame and to the shame of your mother’s nakedness? “For as long as the son of Jesse lives on the earth, neither you nor your kingdom will be established. Therefore now, send and bring him to me, for he must surely die.” But Jonathan answered Saul his father and said to him, “Why should he be put to death? What has he done?” Then Saul hurled his spear at him to strike him down; so Jonathan knew that his father had decided to put David to death.” (1 Samuel 20:30–33)
c. Notice that Jonathan had already given his succession rights to David as king, while Saul was still trying to kill David so he could remain king. The contrast in character and actions is dramatic.
d. Jonathan’s righteousness is seen in that his anger, was not over almost getting killed, but in that David have been dishonored.
e. The righteous do not get angry when they are personally attacked, but when other innocents are attacked. Notice that Jesus never got angry when people attacked him, but overturned the tables twice when men dishonored God.
H. David is now on the run: 1012 BC
1. In a beautiful conclusion to an ugly scene, Jonathan reaffirms his vow to server David as his king:
a. “Jonathan said to David, “Go in safety, inasmuch as we have sworn to each other in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘The Lord will be between me and you, and between my descendants and your descendants forever.’ ” Then he rose and departed, while Jonathan went into the city.” (1 Samuel 20:42)
2. When they part ways, David will be on the run until the death of Saul.
a. One last time Jonathan and David meet where Jonathan reaffirms his vow to David:
i. “And Jonathan, Saul’s son, arose and went to David at Horesh, and encouraged him in God. Thus he said to him, “Do not be afraid, because the hand of Saul my father will not find you, and you will be king over Israel and I will be next to you; and Saul my father knows that also.” So the two of them made a covenant before the Lord; and David stayed at Horesh while Jonathan went to his house.” (1 Samuel 23:16–18)
3. In the end Jonathan is killed at the same time as his father and he never get the chance to serve David when he is King.
a. Notice that the righteous weep for the wicked. David weeps for Saul.
b. “They mourned and wept and fasted until evening for Saul and his son Jonathan and for the people of the Lord and the house of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword.” (2 Samuel 1:12)
4. David said this about Jonathan after he dies:
a. “How have the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle! Jonathan is slain on your high places. “I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; You have been very pleasant to me. Your love to me was more wonderful Than the love of women.” (2 Samuel 1:25–26)
I. Comparing Saul, Jonathan and David:
1. With the clear understanding that all behavior is a choice, including so called “mental illnesses” and insanity, Saul clearly exhibits behaviors that are psychotic, delusional and paranoid. He did not begin this way, but gradually began to behave this way when he would not repent of his sins when rebuked by God, but instead blamed innocent David. This pattern of refusing to repent when rebuked, leads many people down the path of psychotic, delusional and paranoid behavior. It is the end result of rebellion, a lack of repentance and ignoring the open rebukes of God.
a. Saul’s lack of overall faith is apparent in that he begs Samuel to come with him so he can worship “the Lord YOUR God” instead of saying, “our God” or “my God”. 1 Sam 15:15,21,30. For Saul, religion was a political convenience he used to gain popularity.
b. Compare Saul’s shallow “your God” faith with David’s “my God” faith that saved him from faithless Saul: “My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; My savior, You save me from violence.” (2 Samuel 22:3)
2. Jonathan (Saul’s son) and David are almost mirror images of character and among the most God-like men in the Bible.
a. Jonathan gave up his rightful place as a king to David since this is what God had proclaimed. While Saul spent his life trying to kill David to keep his throne, Jonathan abdicated his throne to David in love and faith. Contrast Jonathan’s abdication to the bloody coups of most the kings after Solomon in order to become or remain kings.
3. Saul is the opposite of Jonathan and David in Character.
a. The contrast between Saul and Samuel is striking: Samuel, the man of spiritual insight (the “seer”), knew all about an obscure young man even before he met up with him; Saul, the paragon of spiritual blindness, knew nothing of the most famous man in Israel even after he encountered him. The narrative motif of Saul’s incapacity to see the true nature of people would later be expressed in the context of his relationships with Jonathan, David, and Ahimelech. He would misjudge Jonathan to be an unworthy son and traitor; David, a treacherous revolutionary; and Ahimelech, a co-conspirator against the throne. All of these misreadings of others resulted in tragedy, both for Saul and others. (New American commentary, 1 Sam 9:14-18)
b. However, this opinion that Saul did not know the spiritual nature of Samuel and David is unlikely. Rather Saul was jealous and angered by David who was described as, “better than you”.
c. Saul attacked innocent David merely to retain power as a king.
d. “So Saul died for his trespass which he committed against the Lord, because of the word of the Lord which he did not keep; and also because he asked counsel of a medium, making inquiry of it, and did not inquire of the Lord. Therefore He killed him and turned the kingdom to David the son of Jesse.” (1 Chronicles 10:13–14)
e. While Saul didn’t know the most basic personal things about his closest and most important palace staff, David was described as “my lord is wise, like the wisdom of the angel of God, to know all that is in the earth.” (2 Samuel 14:20)
J. Saul’s psychotic, delusional and paranoid behavior choice:
1. Insanity, depression and anxiety are not biological or medical disorders but personal freewill moral choices of behaviour patterns. “Mental illness” is nor a real illness like diabetes or cancer, but a metaphoric term like “spring fever” or “computer virus”. Scientifically, there is no evidence to support the myth that bad behaviour is driven through chemical imbalances of the brain and corrected through psychiatric drugs. While Christians are fully aware of the many faults in Darwinian evolution theory, they are often totally ignorant that modern psychiatry is based 100% on evolution which denies man is dichotomous with both body and spirit. Psychiatry views man as nothing more than a soup of sparks and chemicals and is wholly physical. They have no choice but to look for the cause of behaviours in biochemical etiologies, and in fact have done so for hundreds of years to utter failure.
2. From a psychiatric point of view, the “case” of Saul is perhaps the most important document on earth because God shows us, under inspiration, how someone goes insane and what behaviours are associated with so called, “mental illness”. Even in the world of nutty world of psychiatry and psychology, Saul is seen as a clear Bible example of someone who drove himself “insane”.
3. The Bible is the all-sufficient word of God that fully equips of for all truth and every good word and the pattern of divine behaviour for us to imitate.
4. With the clear understanding that all behavior is a choice, including so called “mental illnesses” and insanity, Saul clearly exhibits behaviors that are psychotic, delusional and paranoid. He did not begin this way, but gradually began to behave this way when he would not repent of his sins when rebuked by God, but instead blamed innocent David. This pattern of refusing to repent when rebuked, leads many people down the path towards psychotic, delusional and paranoid behavior. It is the end result of a long process where an individual continues to reject advice on good and holy living.
5. All behavior is a conscious moral choice. When someone has been labeled as mentally ill by a psychiatrist, the Christian wisely ignores the diagnosis and checklists the 153 sinful behaviors using the bible as the standard of morality. Once the sinful behaviours have been identified, the Christian need only ask this question: What personal benefit does this individual derive from engaging in these behaviours?
6. Saul’s checklist of sinful behaviours is vast as seen in the conclusion of this paper.
7. What personal gain did Saul derive from these behaviours? Simple! He had been told he was being replaced as king and rather then step down as king, he chose to behave in any way that would allow him to remain as king! What personal gain did Saul derive from his psychotic behaviour? He was trying to remain king!
8. Saul had two behavior choices:
a. Accept God’s judgement, repent, then step down as king
b. or spend the rest of his life trying to kill his God appointed replacement: David.
c. He chose the latter and it destroyed him.
9. Imagine if an angel appeared during a Sunday morning church service and told the preacher that God has decided he is unfit to preach and a new preacher has been chosen to replace him. That man, like Saul has two choices:
a. Humbly accept God’s judgement and resign on the spot, then sit down in the pews
b. Or begin to bad mouth, destroy even kill the new preachers. (Like Saul did to David.)
10. While it is true that Saul was clearly psychotic, delusional and paranoid, most of all he was a wicked sinner who was unwilling to repent and obey God.
a. Psychiatrists call this a disease or chemical imbalance of the brain.
b. Christians call it sinful behavior for which they will make account to God in judgement.
11. Saul transfers the blame for his anxiety onto innocent David so that David becomes the cause of Saul's problems, rather than the solution! Saul’s refusal to repent and take responsibility for his own sin is compounded by his demonizing and blaming innocent David instead of himself. Rather than be angry at himself, he transfers this anger towards David. Saul’s inversion is pure self-delusion and is an attempt to make himself look good and blame another for his own problems.
12. Super-spiritualism: Saul’s rave: Transference of blame from sinful self to another innocent target combined with super-spiritual elitism is common method of creating a smokescreen.
a. Saul's behaviour: "raved" [Lit: prophesied: naba, 5012] and twice tried to kill innocent David. Every other time this word is used in Hebrew, it means prophecy except here and one other place: "When midday was past, they raved [Lit: prophesied: naba, 5012] until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice; but there was no voice, no one answered, and no one paid attention. " 1 Kings 18:29 It seems that Saul, like modern Pentecostals, fake-prophesied in a frenzied state. Saul could be attempting to making himself appear like God is with him as a prophet to his staff OR it could be nonsensical gibberish of a psychotic man. OR it could be a combination of both.
b. Saul’s “rave” (prophecy) was not real prophecy, but an act, a con job, to make it appear to others, that he is the righteous victim with whom God is well pleased and then tries to kill David with the appearance that this is the will of God and proof that David is the problem.
c. People that know they are under the condemnation of God will often become super-spiritual by telling others how often or how long they pray, how they are inviting many people to attend church, how they are reading their Bible through once a month, how they never miss a service, how they give deep spiritual mini-talks in preparation for the Lord’s supper.
d. It is all what Jesus said, “they have their reward in full, being noticed by men.” It is an evil deception designed to avoid repenting of their own sin which they are desperately trying to hide from themselves and others.
e. David was a genuinely spiritual man and Saul was the fake. David had been composing spiritual psalms as a shepherd, before he ever met Saul. Indeed, his reputation in composing, singing and playing is why he was brought into the palace of Saul.
13. The importance of convincing others that you are righteous and the other innocent person is wicked:
a. Saul remembered the praise and honor he received when had genuinely prophesied at the first.
b. Saul wanted to make himself appear to be as spiritual as David really was, so he faked that he was prophesying (raved).
c. Saul’s fake-prophesying was designed to convince his place staff that he God was still with him. Then when Saul tries to kill David, they will say, “Well Saul is a prophet, with whom God is well pleased… obviously this David must be evil since God told Saul to kill him.”
d. Saul’s delusion and lies are common behaviours seen among many psychotic people today who often target an innocent person as a smokescreen for their own sin to achieve their own evil goals.
e. The common pattern of the wicked attacking the righteous requires repentance to fix, not psychiatric drugs.
1. Twice Saul was told he had been replaced as king but he refused to obey God and step down and let David replace him:
a. When Saul failed to wait seven days at Gilgal, but instead offered animal sacrifices: 1 Samuel 13:8–14
b. When Saul spared king Agag and sheep and oxen in the Amalekite war: 1 Samuel 15:12,10–31
2. It is important to remember that only Samuel, Saul and Jonathan knew he had been rejected as king. Saul’s staff never knew the real cause of the “evil spirit from the Lord” that vexed Saul. Indeed, Saul was a master of deception who hid the real cause of his anger, paranoia and fears. Saul’s staff never knew what the real etiology of Saul’s psychotic behaviour was, and like most who participate in professional counseling, will lie to hid the real and root cause. Saul knew why he was angry and paranoid of David and if his staff knew what Samuel said to him and why, they would likely have abandoned him rather than seek to comfort him of Saul’s puzzling ailment. But there is always a simple reason why any person choses to be psychotic, paranoid and delusional. They will never come right out and tell you, but he wise person can sometimes see the truth.
3. Saul’s checklist of sinful behaviour choices would get his “certified” as a mental patient by today’s bio-psychiatrists who blame such behaviour choices on genetics, wiring and chemical imbalances, instead of freewill:
a. Saul’s checklist of sinful behaviours include: unspiritual, small-faithed, delusion, paranoia, anxious, suspicious and phobic of David, insincere humility, self-righteous, faithless, prideful, insubordinate, unrepentant, jealous, rebellious, vengeful, outbursts of anger, panic attacks, lack of self-control, hatred, murderer, narcissistic, spiritual elitism, delusions of self-greatness and deception of self and others (prophesying), physical assault, unable to accept responsibility for his own actions, blame shifter, self-serving, self-justifying, unwise, irreconcilable, broke a vow sworn in God’s name to his own son, rejects all counselable foolish decisions and a liar (deceitful in claiming he killed the garrison of Philistines at Geba, when in fact it was Jonathan his son.), sought relief of guilt symptoms through music (like psychiatric drugs) rather than fixing the source of the problem through repentance, extreme slandering of a single person to the point of character assassination, making the innocent victim guilty (David) and the guilty perpetrator (Saul) into the innocent victim, obsessively targets a single person as the source and cause of all their personal problems, dishonored david for no reason.
b. Notice the words used to describe how Saul viewed David, in contrast to how everyone else viewed David:
i. Saul viewed david: loved until he killed goliath and was praised (16:21), then: suspicion (18:9), murderous, angry rage and Jealousy (18:11; 19:10), dreaded David (18:15),afraid of David and viewed him as an enemy (18:29), dishonored David (20:34).
ii. The people, Jonathan and Michal viewed David: loved, pleased with David, viewed him as more wise than Saul and greatly esteemed (18:30), greatly delighted (19:1), spoke well of David (19:4)
iii. Just as the Jewish leaders wanted Jesus killed out of simply envy and to keep their place of authority, so too Saul wanted David killed our of envy to remain king. “For Pilate knew that because of envy they had handed Jesus over.” (Matthew 27:18)
c. No big mystery here to explain Saul’s psychotic behaviour. Just as a group of children why Saul chose to behave I this way and their answer is wiser and more correct than Psychiatrists who believe the body forces behaviour and deny freewill.
4. Regardless of whether you know why someone is behaving in a psychotic manner, such wicked and sinful behaviour should be marked and never tolerated. While drug companies spread the lie that these behaviours are a medical issue that cannot be helped, nor should the person be faulted any more than if they had a broken leg, Christians reject such as delusion. Christians know that there is no “get out of judgement free” cards to excuse their sinful behaviours.
5. Saul is instructive to Christians to defining the etiology and solution to insanity and the sinful behaviours associated with so called, “mental illness”.
a. Saul began on a good food, but through rebellion, disobedience and a lack of repentance, he drives himself mad.
b. We see in Saul how God strikes the wicked with madness. (cf Deuteronomy 28:27-29)
i. It was not demon possession
ii. God does not strike sinners with some “irresistible urge” to act psychotic.
iii. At all times Saul was a free-will agent in full control of his behaviour choices.
iv. Cognitive dissonance is the modern term psychologists use to describe what the Bible calls a “bad conscience”. It is a condition rife with anxiety, guilt and shame and it can rip the mind in two and the result is all kinds of sinful behaviours that could have been avoided with mere repentance.
v. God used David as an irritant to Saul's paranoia and fear. When men refuse to repent of their sin, God hardens their heart in the most surprising ways and with the most surprising people.
vi. In the same way, Moses was an agent to harden Pharaoh’s heart through lack of repentance. Pharaoh’s pride and psychotic rage caused the destruction of Egypt and the death of the firstborn and finally the death of his entire army in the Red Sea at the Straits of Tiran.
vii. Saul’s lack of repentance made him an angry, jealous, bitter, rebellious, vengeful man and caused the death of his righteous firstborn as well as his own life.
c. The psychotic hide their own sin while attacking the righteous.
i. Saul assaulted Samuel (who feared Saul would kill him), twice tried to kill David and once tried to kill is own son Jonathan.
ii. Saul spent his whole life trying to kill David.
d. The psychotic (like Saul) are delusional when they fabricate false enemies (David and Jonathan) and make themselves false victims, all the while seeking attention and sympathy. Notice this important passage where Saul trolls on the waters of victimhood for some attention and sympathy:
i. “For all of you (palace officials) have conspired against me (Saul) so that there is no one who discloses to me when my son (Jonathan) makes a covenant with the son of Jesse (David), and there is none of you who is sorry for me or discloses to me that my son has stirred up my servant against me to lie in ambush, as it is this day.” (1 Samuel 22:8).
e. “So Saul died for his trespass which he committed against the Lord, because of the word of the Lord which he did not keep; and also because he asked counsel of a medium, making inquiry of it, and did not inquire of the Lord. Therefore He killed him and turned the kingdom to David the son of Jesse.” (1 Chronicles 10:13–14)
f. Jesus said it this way: “This is how the judgment works: that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. “For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. “But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”” (John 3:19–21)
g. Saul was darkness, Samuel David and Jonathan were light.
6. In the next section, we see Saul spent the rest of his life chasing David around Judah and even though David spared Saul’s life twice, Saul went to his grave, marked as one of the most wicked men in the Bible. David truly was “better than Saul” in every way. Saul is so intent on holding onto power, he is even willing to kill the entire priesthood.
a. In 1 Sam 22, Saul orders his court officials and military commanders to kill all the priests who officiate at the Mosaic tent of meeting (including the High priest) but they refuse to do so. He then orders a gentile "Doeg the Edomite" to kill the priests and he is more than willing to do so for great personal reward from the King.
b. This order shows just how wicked Saul was. He was so intent on rebelling against the will of God that David was king and was dethroned, that he was prepared to kill the highest ranking and most holy priests in Israel: The high priest and the priest who officiated at the Mosaic tent of Meeting. Even Saul's closest and highest ranking officials dare not raise a hand against the priesthood.
c. While Saul was willing to wipe out the entire anointed priesthood for a righteous deed to David, David was unwilling to kill wicked, sinful and rebellious Saul, even though he had permission from God to kill Saul. Saul drove himself insane because he refused to repent and was intent on holding on to power as king for his own personal benefit. In a psychotic rage, Saul orders the extinction of every man, woman, child and animal at Nob.
d. This was an example of vicarious rage against the priests with David as the ultimate target in view. This shows just how much Saul hated David. If Saul did this to the priest, how much worse was his wrath against David, given the chance to kill him.
7. David was seen as more righteous than any king who followed him:
a. 1 Kings 15:1-5. “In the eighteenth year of King Jehoram the son of Nebat, Abijam became king over Judah. He reigned three years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Maachah the granddaughter of Abishalom. And he walked in all the sins of his father, which he had done before him; his heart was not loyal to the Lord his God, as was the heart of his father David. Nevertheless for David’s sake the Lord his God gave him a lamp in Jerusalem, by setting up his son after him and by establishing Jerusalem; because David did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, and had not turned aside from anything that He commanded him all the days of his life, except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.”
8. Ps 35 was written during the period that Saul attacked David:
a. “A Psalm of David. Contend, O LORD, with those who contend with me; Fight against those who fight against me. Take hold of buckler and shield And rise up for my help. Draw also the spear and the battle-axe to meet those who pursue me; Say to my soul, “I am your salvation.” Let those be ashamed and dishonored who seek my life; Let those be turned back and humiliated who devise evil against me. Let them be like chaff before the wind, With the angel of the LORD driving them on. Let their way be dark and slippery, With the angel of the LORD pursuing them. For without cause they hid their net for me; Without cause they dug a pit for my soul. Let destruction come upon him unawares, And let the net which he hid catch himself; Into that very destruction let him fall. And my soul shall rejoice in the LORD; It shall exult in His salvation. All my bones will say, “LORD, who is like You, Who delivers the afflicted from him who is too strong for him, And the afflicted and the needy from him who robs him?” Malicious witnesses rise up; They ask me of things that I do not know. They repay me evil for good, To the bereavement of my soul. But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth; I humbled my soul with fasting, And my prayer kept returning to my bosom. I went about as though it were my friend or brother; I bowed down mourning, as one who sorrows for a mother. But at my stumbling they rejoiced and gathered themselves together; The smiters whom I did not know gathered together against me, They slandered me without ceasing. Like godless jesters at a feast, They gnashed at me with their teeth. Lord, how long will You look on? Rescue my soul from their ravages, My only life from the lions. I will give You thanks in the great congregation; I will praise You among a mighty throng. Do not let those who are wrongfully my enemies rejoice over me; Nor let those who hate me without cause wink maliciously. For they do not speak peace, But they devise deceitful words against those who are quiet in the land. They opened their mouth wide against me; They said, “Aha, aha, our eyes have seen it!” You have seen it, O LORD, do not keep silent; O Lord, do not be far from me. Stir up Yourself, and awake to my right And to my cause, my God and my Lord. Judge me, O LORD my God, according to Your righteousness, And do not let them rejoice over me. Do not let them say in their heart, “Aha, our desire!” Do not let them say, “We have swallowed him up!” Let those be ashamed and humiliated altogether who rejoice at my distress; Let those be clothed with shame and dishonor who magnify themselves over me. Let them shout for joy and rejoice, who favor my vindication; And let them say continually, “The LORD be magnified, Who delights in the prosperity of His servant.” And my tongue shall declare Your righteousness And Your praise all day long.” (Psalm 35)
By Steve Rudd: Contact the author for comments, input or corrections.