When Jealousy Dominates

KEY VERSE: “Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.” —I Samuel 18:7


THE prosperity of Israel under Saul, their new king, was short lived. Saul was engaged in a war with the Philistines which began to go badly for him, and he sent for Samuel to meet with him, to petition the Lord for help in the battle, but Samuel did not arrive at the set time. Saul felt that the time element was important to the outcome of the battle, and so, not waiting for Samuel, he made an offering unto the Lord. In doing this he disobeyed the commandment of the Lord, and demonstrated that he did not have faith in the overruling providence of God. Samuel appeared on the scene after Saul had offered the sacrifices. He denounced the king, indicating the Lord would eventually take the kingdom from him. (I Sam. 13:14,15) The Lord then sent Samuel to Jesse to select from among his sons one who would succeed Saul as the future king of Israel; the son selected was David.

Although David was anointed as a young lad, it was many years before he was installed as the king. In the meantime he proved himself to be a man after God’s own heart because of his faith and love for the Lord. There is nothing in the Scriptures to indicate that David’s anointing was known to any outside of his own family except Samuel. Among his many accomplishments, David was a musician and Saul requested his service before the throne. This was a happy arrangement for a time, but the fame of David spread far and wide. He slew Goliath in full view of the armies of Israel, and his abilities as a very successful leader of the army added to his stature. He soon became a national hero and prompted the statement in our key verse, “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.”—I Sam. 18:7

The account states that “Saul eyed David from that day and forward. … And it came to pass on the morrow… David played with his hand, as at other times, and there was a javelin in Saul’s hand. And Saul cast the javelin; for he said, I will smite David even to the wall with it. And David avoided out of his presence twice. And Saul was afraid of David because the Lord was with him and was departed from Saul.” (I Sam. 18:9-12) Saul was aware that the Lord had forsaken him, and that his former capacity to rule effectively was diminished. At the same time he was aware that the Lord had given David peculiar wisdom, and was with him to prosper in all of his undertakings. This increased the anguish in Saul’s mind and the dread of David as a rival.

Jealousy has its roots in pride, position, and material things. In Saul’s case he could see all these things evaporating with the rise of David’s popularity among the people. In Proverbs 16:18,19 we read, “Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.” As time went on, the mind of Saul was consumed with jealousy, and he removed David from his presence and gave him a command in the army some distance away. But because of the victories, David continued to grow in popularity with the people.

Saul, by a prior commitment, was to give his daughter to David for a wife and he agreed to do this, but demanded that David perform a very dangerous deed involving the slaying of a number of Philistines. But it came to pass that when the daughter should have been given to David, Saul insulted David by giving her to another man. However, another of Saul’s daughters loved David, and Saul saw in this a way to lead David into the dangerous situation with the Philistines, in the hopes that he would be killed. But David was successful in the venture and he and Michal, Saul’s daughter were married. In contrast to the spirit manifested by Saul, David had the utmost respect for the king, for the Lord had not removed Saul from the position of king over Israel and therefore he was still the anointed of the Lord. “Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.”—I Chron. 16:22

We appreciate David’s attitude all the more when we realize that he knew he had been anointed as the future king of Israel and yet he was willing to patiently abide his time, waiting upon the Lord.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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