I Samuel 19: Saul Tries to Kill David
In the last passage, Saul became jealous of David, but we’re not told how David felt about it—or if he was even aware of it. In this passage, however, there will be no mistake about it. In fact, the passage begins with Saul commanding Jonathan and his attendants to kill David.
But Jonathan likes David, so he has David hide. He promises to have a talk with his father, and find out what’s going on. David does go into hiding, and Jonathan has a talk with his father, in which he tries to convince him that David has done nothing but serve Saul, and that God has given David success. Saul seems to change his mind, and swears to Jonathan that he won’t put David to death, so David comes back into Saul’s service, as before. And there is also a battle with the Philistines, in which David—as usual—has great success in routing them.
But after this, an episode happens which is almost exactly the same as something that happened in the last passage: Saul’s evil spirit comes upon him, and David is playing the harp, when Saul takes a spear and tries to pin David to the wall. Again, David manages to elude him, and escape. The next morning Saul sends men to David’s house to kill him, but Michal warns him to flee, and lowers him down through a window. She then takes an idol and puts it in David’s bed, with some goat hair at its head. The men—with or without Saul, I’m not clear on that—find the idol, and Saul questions Michal as to why she would deceive him, and let his enemy escape. But Michal tells Saul that David had threatened to kill her, if she didn’t let him get away.
David goes to Samuel, and they both head to a place called Naioth. Saul hears about it, and sends some men to Naioth to capture him, but when they get there the Spirit of the LORD comes upon them, and they begin prophesying. Saul hears about this and sends a second group, but they also end up prophesying. And he sends a third group, which also ends up prophesying. Finally, Saul himself goes to Naioth, but the Spirit even comes upon him, and he prophesies too. In fact…
He stripped off his robes and also prophesied in Samuel’s presence. He lay that way all that day and night. This is why people say, “Is Saul also among the prophets?” (verse 24)
For such a bad king, Saul spent a lot of time prophesying!
When Jonathan has his heart-to-heart with Saul, my guess—although I wouldn’t be surprised if I was wrong—is that Saul really does change his mind, and decide not to kill David. I don’t think it’s a ruse, just to try and get him back. I think Saul just has mental issues, caused by his evil spirit.
It’s interesting that Michal claims David had threatened to kill her, if she didn’t let him get away. But we can clearly see by this point that Saul is bent on murdering David, so I’m sure she was just afraid for her life.