1 Samuel 18

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This chapter opens with a friendship that I think we all long for. Jonathan and David are connected: “the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.” (verse 1b).

David continues to have success and move up the ranks in Saul’s army, becoming the man in charge of all the men of war. The people are pleased with this position for David and he continues to grow in esteem with all around him. However, Saul becomes jealous of David’s success and then afraid of David because the Lord was with David. One of the days that David is playing the lyre for Saul, Saul throws a spear at him to kill him and misses twice. Saul then tries to snare him by marrying him off to one of his daughters. As the price to wed Michal, Saul asks for 100 foreskins of the Philistines. David goes out and brings back 200. Saul is even more afraid of David when he sees that his daughter truly loves David. “So Saul was David’s enemy continually.” (verse 29b).

The chapter ends with the continued success of David in battle against the Philistines who continue to come out against them.


Saul, Jonathan, David, all the people, Saul’s servants, the women, Merab, Adriel, Michal, the Philistines, and the princes of the Philistines.

Key Verse

1 Samuel 18:1 “As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.”

1 Samuel 18:12 “Saul was afraid of David because the Lord was with him but had departed from Saul.”

Cross References

Cross References for 1 Samuel 18:1:

1 Samuel 20:17 “And Jonathan made David swear again by his love for him, for he loved him as he loved his own soul.”

Deuteronomy 13:6 “”If your brother, the son of your mother, or your son or your daughter or the wife you embrace or your friend who is as your own soul entices you secretly, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods,’ which neither you nor your fathers have known, some of the gods of the people who are around you, whether near you or far off from you, from the one end of the earth to the other, you shall not yield to him or listen to him, nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare him, nor shall you conceal him.”

1 Samuel 19:2 “And Jonathan told David, “Saul my father seeks to kill you. Therefore be on your guard in the morning. Stay in a secret place and hide yourself.”

2 Samuel 1:26 “I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; very pleasant have you been to me; your love to me was extraordinary, surpassing the love of women.”

Cross References for 1 Samuel 18:12:

1 Samuel 18:15, 28-29 “And when Saul saw that he had great success, he stood in fearful awe of him…But when Saul saw and knew that the Lord was with David, and that Michal, Saul’s daughter, loved him, Saul was even more afraid of David. So Saul was David’s enemy continually.”

1 Samuel 16:18 “One of the young men answered, “Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who is skillful in playing, a man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a man of good presence, and the Lord is with him.””

1 Samuel 28:15 “Then Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?” Saul answered, “I am in great distress, for the Philistines are warring against me, and God has turned away from me and answers me no more, either by prophets or by dreams. Therefore I have summoned you to tell me what I shall do.””


    Here are two very different relationships: one of sincere love and devotion, and another of fear and murder. Because the Lord is with David he is well liked among everyone he meets. Because Saul does not have the Lord with him he grows in his anger and murderous desires. We need good friends around us to keep us accountable. The Deuteronomy verse above is one example of why we must keep our friends accountable, so that we stay on the path toward God, following His heart rather than the world’s passions. Also, we must stand firm in what we know is right when we are with God. Saul is the king, a man of authority, and it must have been harder and harder for David as Saul will continue to try to kill him. David is doing the right thing, following God, and yet the leader of his people is trying to kill him.

Jesus in the Old Testament

“Such selflessness is possible only for those in sync with the purposes of God. Believers today are called to just this kind of selflessness: “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves” (Phil. 2:3). In his self-emptying, Jonathan anticipates the far greater act of love rendered by the son of David to come. “Though he was in the form of God,” Jesus “did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant” (Phil. 2:6-7).”*

Philippians 2:1-8 “So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

“Like Jonathan, Saul senses that David is to replace him as king (1 Sam. 18:8). But Saul’s reaction is the precise opposite: anger (v. 8), aggression (v. 11), fear (v. 12), scheming (vv. 17, 25), and enmity (v. 28). Being at odds with God puts one at odds with God’s purpose in other people’s lives.”*

*Note: I am using the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible for the Jesus in the Old Testament section, so these are paraphrases and quotes from the commentary with my own ideas sprinkled in.

Thank you for reading. I am excited to hear your key verses, observations, and thoughts! Please take a moment to leave a comment to share them with us.

Next Week: 1 Samuel 19—20

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Author: Annie Liss

Currently a mother and a wife who loves reading. Formerly a middle school math teacher who kept too busy and stressed out to read. My husband and I are missionaries in Lebanon.

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