Saul now declared that David would be Israelís next king. Jonathan had recently told David that Saul believed that (23:17). Actually, Saul had known it for a long time (15:28), but he did not want it to happen (18:8-9; 20:31).
Now, probably for the only time in his life, Saul wanted David to be king. It was Davidís sincere, loyal and kind attitudes that had this powerful effect on Saul.
Saul himself had always tried to rule in a cruel and impressive manner. He himself saw how such attitudes had ruined both his own life and his rule as king. Those attitudes had caused him to do evil things and even to oppose God.
At last - but only for a moment - Saul realised that there was a better way to rule a nation. He wished that his nation had a king who was loyal to God. In fact, he not only wished it - he also believed it. He had heard the promise that God gave by his servant Samuel (15:28). Saul was confident that God wanted David to be Israelís king. So Saul told David that God would establish his (Davidís) rule over Israel.
Saul then asked David, as Israelís next king, to make a promise to him. It was usual after a revolution for the new king to kill every member of the former kingís family. Saul asked David to show kindness and not cruelty to his family.
We think that David kept that promise. He punished severely the men who killed Saulís son, Ish-Bosheth (2 Samuel chapter 4). He gave great honour to Saulís grandson, Mephibosheth (2 Samuel chapter 9).
However, David did allow the deaths of several of Saulís family in 2 Samuel chapter 21. We think that he was right to do that. It was an act of judgement on behalf of the inhabitants of Gibeon. As the king, David also had to act as a judge.
Next part: Samuelís funeral (1 Samuel 25:1)
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© 2014, Keith Simons.