Useful Bible Studies > 1 Samuel Commentary > chapter 20

Saulís secret plan to kill David

1 Samuel 20:1-4

Saul had kept his plans to murder David secret. Saulís reason was that he did not want his son Jonathan to know about this matter. Jonathan was a friend of David (18:1-4).

Saul had promised Jonathan that he would not kill David (19:6). However, Saul did not keep that promise. On a series of occasions in 1 Samuel 19:9-24, Saul tried to arrest or to kill David.

We may ask how Saul managed to keep this matter secret. To answer that question, we must study carefully each event in 1 Samuel 19:9-24.

(1) In 19:9-10, Saul tried to kill David with a spear (pole with a sharp metal head). David was playing music privately for Saul then. So probably, only Saul and David were there.

(2) In 19:11, Saul sent some men to kill David at his house. Perhaps those men were guards whom Saul trusted to keep the matter secret. Or perhaps they were cruel men whom Saul controlled, for example Doeg (22:18). It seems clear that Doeg hated David.

(3) In 19:15, Saul wanted to kill David in his bed. However, even David did not know that; he had already escaped. Davidís wife Michal knew, and she might tell Jonathan. However, Jonathan could not believe her; she was telling a series of lies at this time.

(4) In 19:19, Saul received a report that David was at Naioth. Clearly, people were watching for David. However, that might not mean that anything was wrong. David was an army commander; Saul needed to know where his commanders were.

(5) In 19:20-21, Saul sent three groups of men to arrest David. However, even they may not have realised what Saulís true intention was. Saul could have told them to tell David that Saul was not still angry with him. If they had managed to bring David back, Saul would have had another opportunity to kill him.

Next part: A test to establish Saulís attitude towards David (1 Samuel 20:5-7)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.