This chapter of the Saul–David saga feels a lot like those classic Tom and Jerry cartoons where the mouse repeatedly outwits and eludes the pursuing cat. Over and over again Saul tries to attack David, and David narrowly escapes, aided by none other than Saul’s own children. The chapter begins with Saul’s ill-conceived attempt to enlist the help of his son Jonathan. The author reminds the reader of Jonathan’s affection for David, and Jonathan demonstrates that love by immediately warning David of his father’s plot (vv. 1–2).
Then Jonathan hatched a plan of his own. He used persuasive techniques to change the heart and mind of his father. He started with logic. David had not harmed Saul. In fact, David’s actions had benefited Saul. Jonathan even provided the specific evidence of Goliath. He cited the authority of the Lord, the actual source of Saul’s deliverance. He finished with an emotional appeal. Why would Saul sin against innocent blood (v. 5)? Jonathan was persuasive, and Saul vowed in the Lord’s name that David would not be harmed. But the reprieve was temporary. When war returned and David experienced further victory, the evil spirit came again to Saul (v. 9). Once more, Saul hurled his spear at David who was playing his harp. David escaped.
Saul was on the rampage yet again. This time Michal came to David’s defense. She took charge of the situation and directed David to flee out the window. She fooled her father’s messengers by covering an idol with goat hair and clothes and lying that David was sick. When Saul learned of the ruse, he was furious. His children had given him a taste of his own medicine. In response, David composed Psalm 59.
>> The running theme of this dramatic chapter is that God preserved David as Israel’s next king, even when the odds seemed to be stacked in Saul’s favor. How have you observed or experienced God’s preservation?
“You are my strength, I sing praise to you; you, God, are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely” (Psalm 59:17). For the times You have protected our bodies and guarded our souls, we thank You.