The First Book of Samuel

Chapter 18

Jonathan loves David, 1-4. Saul envies his praise, 5-9; seeks to kill him in his fury, 10, 11; fears him for his good success, 12-16; offers him his daughters for a snare, 17-21. David persuaded to be the king's son-in-law, gives two hundred foreskins of the Philistines for Michal's dowry, 22-27. Saul's hatred and David's glory increase, 28-30.

1 And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking to Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. 2 And Saul took him that day and would no longer let him go home to his father's house. 3 Then Jonathan and David made a covenant because he loved him as his own soul. 4 And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him and gave it to David, and his garments, even to his sword, to his bow, and to his girdle. 5 And David went out wherever Saul sent him and behaved himself wisely. And Saul set him over the men of war, and he was accepted in the sight of all the people and also in the sight of Saul's servants.

6 And it came to pass as they came, when David had returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet king Saul, with tambourines, with joy, and with instruments of music. 7 And the women answered one another as they played and said,

"Saul has slain his thousands,/
and David his tens of thousands."

8 And Saul was very angry, and the saying displeased him. And he said, "They have ascribed to David tens of thousands, and to me they have ascribed thousands. And what can he have more but the kingdom?" 9 And Saul eyed David from that day and forward.

10 And it came to pass on the next day, that the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied in the midst of the house. And David played with his hand, as at other times. And there was a javelin in Saul's hand. 11 And Saul cast the javelin, for he said, "I will smite David even to the wall." And David escaped from his presence twice.

12 And Saul was afraid of David because the LORD was with him, and had departed from Saul. 13 Therefore, Saul sent him away from him and made him his captain over one thousand. And he went out and came in before the people. 14 And David behaved himself wisely in all his ways, and the LORD was with him. 15 Therefore, when Saul saw that he behaved himself very wisely, he was afraid of him. 16 But all Israel and Judah loved David because he went out and came in before them.

17 And Saul said to David, "Behold, my elder daughter Merab, I will give her to you for a wife. Only be valiant for me and fight the LORD'S battles." For Saul thought, "Do not let my hand be upon him, but let the hand of the Philistines be upon him." 18 And David said to Saul, "Who am I? And what is my life, or my father's family in Israel, that I should be son-in-law to the king?" 19 But it came to pass at the time when Merab, Saul's daughter, should have been given to David, that she was given to Adriel the Meholathite for a wife.

20 And Michal, Saul's daughter, loved David. And they told Saul, and the thing pleased him. 21 And Saul said, "I will give her to him so that she may be a snare to him, and that the hand of the Philistines may be against him." Therefore, Saul said to David, "You shall this day be my son-in-law, in the one of the two." 22 And Saul commanded his servants, saying, "Commune with David secretly and say, 'Behold, the king has delight in you, and all his servants love you. Now therefore, be the king's son-in-law.'" 23 And Saul's servants spoke those words in the ears of David. And David said, "Does it seem to you a light thing to be a king's son-in-law, seeing that I am a poor man and lightly esteemed?" 24 And the servants of Saul told him, saying, "In this manner David spoke." 25 And Saul said, "Thus you shall say to David: 'The king does not desire any dowry, but one hundred foreskins of the Philistines to be avenged of the king's enemies.'" But Saul thought to make David fall by the hand of the Philistines. 26 And when his servants told David these words, it pleased David well to be the king's son-in-law. And the days had not expired. 27 Therefore, David arose and went—he and his men—and slew of the Philistines two hundred men. And David brought their foreskins, and they gave them in full number to the king so that he might be the king's son-in-law. And Saul gave him Michal his daughter for a wife. 28 And Saul saw and knew that the LORD was with David and that Michal, Saul's daughter, loved him. 29 And Saul was yet the more afraid of David. And Saul became David's enemy continually.

30 Then the princes of the Philistines went forth. And it came to pass after they went forth, that David behaved himself more wisely than all the servants of Saul so that his name was much esteemed.


Matthew Henry Commentary - 1st Samuel, Chapter 18[➚]


[v.12] - "had departed from Saul" - Reference, 1st Samuel 16:14.

[v.23] - "Does it seem to you a light thing to be a king's son-in-law" - David responds in this manner because he feels as if he is unable to present a king with enough of a gift for the hand of the king's daughter. This is indicated by Saul's response in verse 25.