... Jerusalem ... 22 Just as the new earth and the new heavens will endure by my power, so your descendants and your name will endure ... Isaiah 66 (GNT), 18 ... Jerusalem will be rebuilt, and its PALACE restored. Jeremiah 30:18 (GNT)


David and Saul: father and son's reconciliation!

21 So David came to Saul and stood before him. And he loved him greatly, and he became his armorbearer. 22 Then Saul sent to Jesse, saying, “Please let David stand before me, for he has found favor in my sight.” 1 Samuel 16:21-22 (NKJV)

When you hear about David and Saul it's always the same story: they were each other's enemy. But, if we take a closer look to the relationship between David and Saul we will find a different story.

The friendship between David and Saul's eldest son Jonathan generally catches people's attention and gets their approval, while the relationship that existed between David and Saul is hardly noticed or mentioned. Even though it's true that Saul the son of Kish a Benjamite - 1 Samuel 9:1-2 - wanted and tried to kill David, the son of Jesse of Bethlehem - 1 Samuel 16:1, 12-13 - because he didn't want David to take over his place as the king of Israel, still these two did have a bond other than that of being enemies. So, how was their relationship like, what was it based on and to which purpose? 

Father and son
David arrived at Saul's court as an artist to play the lyre so Saul's mind - he had evil attacks, which must have been very painful, for evil tortures people both physically and spiritually - would be at ease, 1 Samuel 16:14-23,

23 ... David would take up his lyre and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him.

David was sent by his father to King Saul after he was anointed by Samuel to become king of Israel, 1 Samuel 16:1-13. So, the Almighty Father by his wisdom and grace sent the person he had chosen to become the next king of Israel to serve the one who's reign he was about to bring to an end.

David served King Saul first as an artist and later as his soldier and officer after he defeated Goliath, 1 Samuel 17 and 18:2. Saul took David, whom was a young man at the time - 1 Samuel 17:33 - under his wing. He loved David and called him his son - 1 Samuel 16:21-22, 26:17, 25 - even though he had four sons, Jonathan, Malki-Shua, Abinadab and Esh-baal also known as Ish-Bosheth, 1 Chronicles 9:39.

King Saul gave David his first daughter to marry as promised to the person who would defeat Goliath - 1 Samuel 17:25 - but he refused. Later Saul gave his second daughter Michal, who was in love with David, to marry, 1 Samuel 18:17-30. Jonathan was David's best friend, 1 Samuel 18:1-4. David sat at the table of the king - 1 Samuel 20:24-25 - with him, Abner and Jonathan.

So, David whom was loved by King Saul that treated him as if he was his own son, became his loyal servant, his son-in-law, captain of his bodyguard, highly respected in his household, and someone for whom the priest Ahimelek made inquiries of God, 1 Samuel 22:14. To David Saul was like a father, besides him being the king of Israel chosen by God as he himself said - 1 Samuel 24:7 and 26:9-14 and 1 Samuel 24:12 - whom he respected even when later Saul was trying to kill him, 1 Samuel 9:10. David remained, trust wordy in his duties to his King Saul.

The enemy
So, what went wrong? Despite their friendship and David's loyalty to the king, gradually King Saul became jealous of David, because of the people's praise for him, 1 Samuel 18:7-8. Saul also came to fear David because of his success and because he realized God was with him, 1 Samuel 18: 5-9, 10-13, 14-16. He even set up a trap for David by having him marrying one of his daughters while having one condition, which was that David would have to serve him bravely by fighting the battles of the Lord while he hoped the Philistines would kill him, 1 Samuel 18:17-25. Ultimately he started to consider David as his enemy, 1 Samuel 20:30-31, 1 Samuel 18:28-30 (NIV),

28 When Saul realized that the LORD was with David and that his daughter Michal loved David, 29 Saul became still more afraid of him, and he remained his enemy the rest of his days. 30 The Philistine commanders continued to go out to battle, and as often as they did, David met with more success than the rest of Saul’s officers, and his name became well known.

So, to Saul even though David was like a son to him and his best officer ever, he felt threaten by him because of his fame as a military officer, the love of his daughter for him and the fact that he was anointed by Samuel to become the next king of Israel. Saul loved David, but he just loved his position as a king more. Isn't it in todays royal circles the same? They do love their families, but love their position more, as if that is all in life. Obviously it is all in life for most of them, so some go to great lengths to keep it.

Saul's trouble was actually not caused by David himself but was the result of Saul losing favour with God because of his disobedience that started after two years of his reign, 1 Samuel 13:1-14, 15. Later, at that time Samuel already died, he made his cause with God worse by consulting with a medium, 1 Samuel 28, 1 Chronicles 10:13-14. Still King Saul considered David as his enemy.

David on the other hand didn't perceive Saul as his enemy - When a man finds his enemy, does he let him get away unharmed?, 1 Samuel 24:19 - but he feared for his life and he was very sad to tears about all this, 1 Samuel 20:41. Much later so was King Saul, 1 Samuel 24: 16. Saul attempted twice to kill David with his spear, 1 Samuel 18:7-11 and 19:8-10. Both times after David's victory in battle over the Philistines. David had no other choice but to flee.

David hunted
David had just left after King Saul tried to kill him for the second time with a spear - 1 Samuel 19:8-10 - and fled to Rama after his wife Michal warned him about her father and got him out of their house through the window so Saul's soldiers couldn't get him, 1 Samuel 19:11-17. Saul give her to be a wife to Paltie, but later David - he already had two more wives, 1 Samuel 25 - claimed her back, 2 Samuel 3:13-16.

David went to Samuel in the house of the prophets in Rama, but he had to leave because Saul himself came there searching for him, 1 Samuel 19:18-24. So he went to see Jonathan, after he left Rama,1 Samuel 20. King Saul nearly killed his son with a spear because he was defending David. Saul set up a trap meant to capture David when he sat at his table during the festivities of new moon, 1 Samuel 20:24-29, but David didn't go. After what happened Jonathan was convinced his father wanted to capture David, and kill him. David flees, and hide, 1 Samuel 21, 22, after Jonathan made clear to him his father really wants to kill him. When Saul went to look for him in the desert, Jonathan went to see David again, 1 Samuel 27:16-18. That would be the last time they met.

David went afterwards to the priest Ahimelek in Nob - 1 Samuel 21 - whom he tells that he is on a secret mission for the king. Even though David was unarmed, Ahimelek trembled when he saw him. King Saul ordered his Edomite servant who saw David with Ahimelek, after his own officials didn't dare to kill the priests of the Lord, to kill Ahimelek, the priests of Nob and to attack and kill many in the town of Nob - 1 Samuel 22 - for he perceived them as siding with David against him because they helped David by giving him provisions being consecrated bread and the sword of Goliath that was kept there.

Of the priest's from Nob only Ahimelek's son Abiathar escaped - much later he will resume his work as a priest, 2 Samuel 15:25-29 - and went to David in the hills, where he was hiding with the six hundred men in total including his family who joined him, 1 Samuel 22, 23 and 23:13, 1 Chronicles 12:17-20. David tells him to stay with him to be safe. David and his men at one time nearly lost their families, 1 Samuel 30. Although before that happened David did bring his parents to the king of Moab to stay there for as long as he was hiding. Saul with his men were relentlessly searching to find David, 1 Samuel 23, verse 1 and 14 to 15.

No harm to God's king
It must have been painful for David to realize that this new found father figure became his enemy and wanted to kill him while he himself meant no harm to him. David must have liked the idea of eventually becoming the king of Israel, but not to that extend that he would take King Saul's life to achieve this faster. Although he was given the power at being successful to become king, his morale code based on God's commandments - 1 Kings 15:5 and Psalm 40:8 - prevented him from becoming lawless as some people would to achieve what is to them their egotistic goals. Given power just isn't meant to be used for own egotistic greed for success. So, having the power doesn't necessarily mean having it your way, that being to some, the lawless way. How many in the course of history to this day would have followed or would follow David's example?

Twice David had the chance to kill Saul, but he didn't, 1 Samuel 24 and 26. Why not? His moral code at not wanting to kill God's anointed king,

… 6 He said to his men, “The LORD forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the LORD’s anointed, or lay my hand on him; for he is the anointed of the LORD.” 7 With these words David sharply rebuked his men and did not allow them to attack Saul. And Saul left the cave and went his way. .. 1 Samuel 24 (NIV)

And he told King Saul,

...12 May the LORD judge between you and me. And may the LORD avenge the wrongs you have done to me, but my hand will not touch you. 13 As the old saying goes, ‘From evildoers come evil deeds,’ so my hand will not touch you. … 1 Samuel 24 (NIV)

At another occasion,

… 9 But David said to Abishai, “Don’t destroy him! Who can lay a hand on the LORD’s anointed and be guiltless? 10 As surely as the LORD lives,” he said, “the LORD himself will strike him, or his time will come and he will die, or he will go into battle and perish. 11 But the LORD forbid that I should lay a hand on the LORD’s anointed. … 1 Samuel 26 (NIV)

David even rebuked Abner one of Saul's officers, who brought David to King Saul after he defeated Goliath - 1 Samuel 17 - that he wasn't giving King Saul proper protection, 1 Saul 26:14-16.

Despite King Saul's attitude, David and Saul did reconciled with each other as described in 1 Samuel 24 and especially chapter 26.

Saul's reaction to David for not harming him,

… 16 When David finished saying this, Saul asked, “Is that your voice, David my son?” And he wept aloud. 17 “You are more righteous than I,” he said. “You have treated me well, but I have treated you badly. … 18 You have just now told me about the good you did to me; the LORD delivered me into your hands, but you did not kill me. 19 When a man finds his enemy, does he let him get away unharmed? May the LORD reward you well for the way you treated me today. 20 I know that you will surely be king and that the kingdom of Israel will be established in your hands.
21 Now swear to me by the LORD that you will not kill off my descendants or wipe out my name from my father’s family.” 22 So David gave his oath to Saul. … 1 Samuel 24 (NIV)

After David refused to kill King Saul when he had the chance, and the conversation between David and Saul which resulted in David giving his oath to King Saul concerning his descentants, Saul went home and David continued to his own destination, his stronghold, to some believed to be Massada in the dessert of Judah. Later despite of Saul's realization that David will become king after him and the promise David made to him, when Saul hears where David is hiding he again goes out with his 3000 men to find David, 1 Samuel 26:1-2. This second time David spared his life, King Saul reconciles with David whom was still loyal to him and didn't want to kill him in the first place, 1 Samuel 26.

Saul blessed David, 

… 17 Saul recognized David’s voice and said, “Is that your voice, David my son?” ...
21 Then Saul said, “I have sinned. Come back, David my son. Because you considered my life precious today, I will not try to harm you again. Surely I have acted like a fool and have been terribly wrong.” …
25 Then Saul said to David, “May you be blessed, David my son; you will do great things and surely triumph.”... 1 Samuel 26 (NIV)

This would be the last time David and King Saul spoke to each other. A conversation in which Saul admits his sins, that he was wrong, asks David to come back and which ends with Saul blessing David! So, Saul actually really accepts his faith.
But, to David reconciliation didn't equal trust. So, David preferred to go his own separate way again, away form Saul. He fled to the territory of the Philistines with his men and his family - 1 Samuel 27:1-5 - hoping Saul would stop pursuing him. When Saul heard where he had gone, indeed he ceased to search for him. King Achish of Gath, whom had a curious previous encounter with David whom out of fear pretended to be a mad man - 1 Samuel 21:11-16 - gave David and those with him a place in the country side, and later David became his bodyguard. David stayed in Philistine territory a year and four mounts - 1 Samuel 27:7 - until he was asked to leave - 1 Samuel 29:6-7 - because when the Philistines wanted to battle the Israelites they didn't trust him.

King David
After the death of King Saul and his three sons during a battle with the Philistines - 1 Samuel 31 - there was war for a long time between the House of David and the House of Saul, 2 Samuel 3:1. Though he was very sad when he heard of Saul and Jonathan's death - he took up a song of lament concerning Saul and Jonathan and he ordered that it would be taught to the people of Judah, 2 Samuel 1 - and he sent messengers with a well meant message to the people of Jabesh Gelead who buried Saul, 2 Samuel 2:4-7. Much later David himself gave Saul and Jonathan a proper burial, 2 Samuel 21:12-14.

During the course of his life, David kept his promises made to Jonathan and Saul, 1 Samuel 20:15-17 and 24:21-23. He didn't kill their descendants regardless of how they treated him. People like Mefiboseth Jontathan's son - 2 Samuel 4:4-5 and 16:1-4 - and Shimei a member of the same clan as Saul's family mentioned in 2 Samuel 16:5-14, 1 Kings 2:8-10 and 2:36-46. Ish-Bosheth Saul's forth son whom Abner the commander of Saul's army made king after Saul's death - 2 Samuel 2:8-10 - didn't die at David's hand. As for other descendants of Saul, some did receive punishment as a result of Saul's wrong doings in the past concerning the people of Gibeah, the Gebeonites whom the Israelites had sworn to spare but were nearly annihilated by King Saul, 2 Samuel 21:1-14, Exodus 21:12-14. So, crimes committed by a king, even though he and part of his household is death, his descendants are still responsible and they have to answer for them!

David reigned first from Hebron over the tribe of Judah that remained loyal to him and anointed him their king, 1 Samuel 2:1-4. Abner was trying to make a pact between King David and Ish-Bosheth, was murdered by one of David's man without David having any part in it while Abner's death made David very sad, 1 Samuel 3:6-39. Later Ish-Bosheth was also murdered by others, his murderers were punished by David. 2 Samuel 4. The leaders of Israel - already wanted David as their king, 2 Samuel 3:17-18 - came to see King David and asked him to become king over Israel, 2 Samuel 5:1-5,

1 All the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and said, “We are your own flesh and blood. 2 In the past, while Saul was king over us, you were the one who led Israel on their military campaigns. And the LORD said to you, ‘You will shepherd my people Israel, and you will become their ruler.’”

3 When all the elders of Israel had come to King David at Hebron, the king made a covenant with them at Hebron before the LORD, and they anointed David king over Israel.

4 David was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned forty years. 5 In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months, and in Jerusalem he reigned over all Israel and Judah thirty-three years.

After David became the king of Israel he conquered Jerusalem and made Jerusalem the capital city of Israel. Under King David's leadership Judah and Israel were reunited to one kingdom, the Kingdom of Israel.

So, against all odds finally God the Almighty Father put David as king of Israel in place, and the friendship between Saul and David - their reconciliation included - did serve his purpose. These two man did set an example for others. By God's wisdom he made David on his way to become the king of Israel and as the King of Israel a blessing to the Israeli and the departing king.

God bless you,


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Author: © Mrs A. vd Laan-LeitoPosted in: King David