1 Samuel 18 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of 1 Samuel 18)

Verse 1

[1] And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.

Loved him — For his excellent virtues and endowments, which shone forth both in his speeches and actions; for the service he had done to God and to his people; and for the similitude of their age and qualities.

Verse 2

[2] And Saul took him that day, and would let him go no more home to his father's house.

Took him, … — By which it appears, that before this David had not his constant residence at court.

Verse 5

[5] And David went out whithersoever 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.

Went — Upon military expeditions, of which that word is often used.

Verse 10

[10] And it came to pass on the morrow, 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.

The evil spirit, … — His fits of frenzy returned upon him. The very next day after he conceived envy at David, the evil spirit was permitted by God to seize him again. Such is the fruit of envy and uncharitableness.

Prophesied — That is, he used uncouth gestures, and signs, as the prophets often did.

Verse 11

[11] And Saul cast the javelin; for he said, I will smite David even to the wall with it. And David avoided out of his presence twice.

And Saul cast the javelin — Being now quite under the power of that evil spirit.

Twice — Once now, and another time upon a like occasion, chap. 19:10.

Verse 12

[12] And Saul was afraid of David, because the LORD was with him, and was departed from Saul.

Afraid — Lest as he had gained the favour of God and of all the people, he should also take away his kingdom.

Verse 13

[13] Therefore Saul removed him from him, and made him his captain over a thousand; and he went out and came in before the people.

Removed him from him — From his presence and court; which he did, because he feared lest David should find an opportunity to kill him, as he had designed to kill David; because his presence now made him more sad than ever his musick made him chearful: and principally, that hereby he might expose him to the greatest hazards.

Verse 18

[18] And David said unto 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?

What is my life — How little is my life worth, that by the exposing of that to some hazard, I should purchase a king's daughter! In these expressions David sheweth not only his humility, but also his wisdom, in discovering so deep a sense of his own meanness, that Saul might see how far he was from aspiring at the kingdom.

Verse 19

[19] But it came to pass at the time when Merab Saul's daughter should have been given to David, that she was given unto Adriel the Meholathite to wife.

Adriel — The son of Bar-zillai, as he is called, 2 Samuel 21:8. This was an act of great injustice; and accordingly this marriage was accursed by God, and the children begotten in it, were, by God's appointment cut off, 2 Samuel 21:8,9.

Verse 26

[26] And when his servants told David these words, it pleased David well to be the king's son in law: and the days were not expired.

The days — That is, the time allowed by Saul to David for the execution of this exploit.

Verse 27

[27] Wherefore 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 tale to the king, that he might be the king's son in law. And Saul gave him Michal his daughter to wife.

Two hundred — He doubled the number required; to oblige Saul the more to the performance of his promise; and to shew his great respect and affection to Saul's daughter.

Verse 30

[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 set by.

Went forth — To war against the Israelites, being provoked by their former losses, and especially by that act of David's.