OLD TESTAMENT - LESSON 23
1 Samuel 18-20; 23-24
- Jonathan and David make a covenant of friendship. Saul becomes jealous
of David and tries to kill him.
- Saul fails in three more attempts to take David's life.
- David and Jonathan renew their covenant of friendship, and Jonathan
saves David's life.
- Saul is consumed by hatred for David. David spares Saul's life.
Jonathan & David - 1 Samuel 18:1-16
- After David killed Goliath, he was taken before Saul.
- "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" (18:1).
Saul honored David by bringing him into his home and setting him up
as head of the army (18:2,5).
READ 1 SAMUEL 18:6-9. Saul displeased with the
acclaim David received.
- WHO WAS JONATHAN?
- The eldest son of Saul, and normally, the heir apparent to the throne.
- First mentioned after the ascension of Saul to the throne. Probably
about 30 years of age at this time.
- Verse 2 says that Saul retained David and would not let him return
to his father's house. It must have been during this time, that David spent
in the home of Saul, that he and Jonathan became close friends.
- Jonathan and David made a covenant of friendship because of their love
for each other (18:3).
- "And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him,
and gave it to David, and his garments, even to his sword, and to his bow,
and to his girdle" (18:3).
We find in these verses an interesting contrast in the way that Saul
and Jonathan reacted to David.
- Verse 10 says that "And it came to pass on the morrow, that
the evil spirit from God came upon Saul".
- The Joseph Smith Translation corrects this verse, "And it came
to pass on the morrow, that the evil spirit which was not of God came upon
- Saul was jealous of David and attempted to take his life.
- "And David avoided out of his presence twice" (18:11).
- "And Saul was afraid of David, because the LORD was with him"
- "Wherefore when Saul saw that he [David] behaved himself very
wisely, he was afraid of him" (18:15).
- MIGHT THERE HAVE BEEN CAUSE FOR JONATHAN TO BE JEALOUS OF DAVID?
- Saul had brought David into their household.
- David was made captain over the armies of Saul.
- David had been anointed king, a position that Jonathan would normally
assume upon his father's death.
- WHY DO YOU SUPPOSE THAT JONATHAN WAS NOT JEALOUS OF DAVID?
- Jonathan and David were true friends. Jonathan must have been a man
who was pure in heart and rather than display jealosy, he rejoiced in David's
- Neal A. Maxwell: "When we are struggling to learn to love,
we can have faith in God's developmental plans for others as well as for
ourselves. Then we do not feel threatened by those who are our superiors
or who are becoming such. The more unselfish we are, the more able we are
to find joy in their successes, all the while rejoicing without comparing.
In any case, our only valid spiritual competition is with our old selves,
not with each other. True love and friendship enable us to keep that perspective.
The things about other people that truly matter are their qualities such
as love, mercy, justice, and patience, and their service to others."
(Not My Will, But Thine, p70)
- WHAT WAS SAUL'S PROBLEM?
- WHY IS IT SOMETIMES DIFFICULT TO BE HAPPY ABOUT THE SUCCESS OF OTHERS?
- When one becomes focused on oneself, rather than others this can become
a problem. Saul was more concerned with his status among the people rather
than the success of a righteous young man. How different things would have
been had Saul continued to rejoice in the success of David.
- HOW DO JEALOUSY AND PRIDE AFFECT OUR SPIRITUAL WELL-BEING?
- Neal A. Maxwell: "For us to jettison our jealousies is to stop
yet another form of waste, for we cannot go where He is if we worry rather
than rejoice over who else will be there. Jousting for position among peers
and friends is to waste what could better be used in the battle against
the enemy of evil." (Wherefore, Ye Must Press Forward, p94)
- Ezra Taft Benson: "When pride has a hold our hearts, we lose
our independence of the world and deliver our freedoms to the bondage of
men's judgement. The world shouts louder than the whisperings of the Holy
Ghost. The reasoning of men overrides the revelations of God, and the proud
let go of the iron rod." (Ensign, May 1989, p5)
Saul Fails In His Attempts To Take David's Life - 1
- "And Saul said to David, Behold my elder daughter Merab, her
will I give thee to wife: only be thou valiant for me, and fight the LORD'S
Saul's daughter Merab was given to another, but his daughter Michal
loved David (18:19-20).
- WHY WOULD SAUL, WHO HAD BEEN JEALOUS TO THE POINT OF MURDER, OFFER
ONE OF HIS DAUGHTERS TO DAVID AS A WIFE?
- "For Saul said, Let not mine hand be upon him, but let the
hand of the Philistines be upon him" (18:17).
- He offered his daughter as an incentive for David to take up the fight
with the Philistines in hopes that David might be killed in battle.
Saul spoke to Jonathan and all his servants to conspire against David's
- Saul then determined to use Michal to lure David into fighting the
- David took Saul up on his offer, took some of his men and slew 200
of the Philistines and returned with the required evidence. Saul was then
obligated to give Michal to David as wife (18:27).
- "And Saul saw and knew that the LORD was with David, and that
Michal Saul's daughter loved him. And Saul was yet the more afraid of David;
and Saul became David's enemy continually" (18:28-29).
One again David went to war with the Philistines and returned with
great success (19:8).
- JONATHAN HAD BEEN A FRIEND TO DAVID. WHAT PART DID HE TAKE IN THIS
- He reported the conspiracy to David. Jonathan told David to keep a
low profile and he would go out and speak with his father (19:2-3).
- Jonathan kept his word and went out and spoke with his father. He talked
Saul out of murdering David. "And Saul hearkened unto the voice
of Jonathan: and Saul sware, As the LORD liveth, he shall not be slain"
- Jonathan was faced with an interesting dilemma of loyalty. Did he side
with his father or with his friend? Most importantly, I think he chose
to be loyal to the side of right. By choosing to be loyal to correct principles
he honored his father and was true to his friend David.
- While he sat in Saul's house, Saul attempted to smite David with a
javelin, but David fled before Saul could be successful (19:9-10).
- Saul then sent men to David's house to watch for him that he might
be slain. David's wife, Michal, assisted David in escaping and then set
up a decoy in David's bed to deceive Saul (19:11-18).
- The story of Saul and David provides an interesting window into what
pride and jealousy can do to a person if it remains unchecked.
David & Jonathan Renew Their Covenant of Friendship
- 1 Samuel 20
- David fled from Naioth and came to Jonathan. David asked Jonathan what
he had done to incur the wrath of Saul (20:1). David told Jonathan that
"there is but a step between me and death" (20:3).
- Jonathan told David that his Saul would not anything to David without
informing Jonathan (20:2).
- Jonathan in a spirit of friendship and love for David said, "Whatsoever
thy soul desireth, I will even do it for thee" (20:4).
- Jonathan and David renewed their covenant of friendship.
- "So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying,
Let the LORD even require it at the hand of David's enemies. And Jonathan
caused David to swear again, because he loved him: for he loved him as
he loved his own soul" (20:16-17).
- WHAT POWERFUL INFLUENCE AFFECTED THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THESE TWO
- READ 1 SAMUEL 20:23.
- Faith in the Lord was like a bonding element in this relationship.
It took a good relationship and raised it to a higher level.
- One thinks of the Lord and his apostles. It was their love of God that
raised their friendship to one of absolute dedication.
- HOW DOES OUR LOVE FOR THE LORD AND OUR FAITH IN HIM INFLUENCE OUR RELATIONSHIPS
- In many instances it is a lubricant of sorts. When difficult circumstances
develop, our love for the Lord guides us to a higher road, rather the overreacting
- During my teenage years I went around with several LDS friends. We
were not always perfect, but we had common goals. We each desired to serve
a mission, marry in the temple, and remain actively involved in the gospel.
Those friends were a powerful influence in my life. It was our common faith
in the Lord that helped us help each other during those formative years.
The majority of us served on missions and almost all of us remain active
in the Church. Friendship was the most powerful influence on my life during
those years and thank goodness that friendship was guided by faith in the
gospel of Jesus Christ.
- IF WE PLACE LOYALTY TO GOD FIRST IN OUR LIVES, WHAT WILL WE DO IF OUR
FRIENDS OR ASSOCIATES DO THINGS THAT ARE WRONG? WHAT WILL WE DO IF OUR
FRIENDS ASK US TO DO THINGS THAT ARE WRONG?
- READ 1 SAMUEL 20:30-33. Saul reacts to Jonathan's defense of David.
- It must have been difficult for Jonathan to oppose his own father and
yet he made the choice of choosing right.
Saul Is Consumed By Hatred For David - 1 Samuel 23-24
- After enquiring of the Lord, David went to the town of Keilah to fight
against the Philistines.
READ 1 SAMUEL 23:7-10. Saul to pursue David at
- David "smote them with a great slaughter" and saved
the inhabitants of Keilah (23:1-5).
WHAT CHANGED SAUL FROM A RIGHTEOUS KING TO SOMEONE WHO WAS WILLING
TO DESTROY AN ENTIRE CITY IN PURSUIT OF DAVID?
- Saul was so beset with jealousy and hatred for David, that he was willing
to destroy one of the cities of Judah in pursuit.
WHY ARE JEALOUSY AND HATRED SO CONSUMING?
- Joseph Fielding Smith: "Our misery, poverty and jealousy come
because of selfishness and greed and in the failure to heed the word of
the Lord." (Church History and Modern Revelation, 1:202)
- As you recall, prior to going up against the Philistines, Saul had
grown impatient with Samuel and had taken it upon himself to make the burnt
offering (1 Samuel 13:9). At a later time when Saul went up to battle against
the Amalekites, he did not obey the Lord when he allowed the king to live
and spared the best of the livestock.
- By commiting these sins, Saul had put himself on a path that put himself
in opposition to David and the will of the Lord. When we are disobedient
to the Lord, unless we repent, we put ourselves on a dangerous road. Saul
is a perfect example.
- Consider the case of William E. McLellin, a member of the Quorum of
the Twelve when it was first organized in 1835. Pride got the best of him
and set him on path not so different from that of Saul.
- "On Friday, May 11, 1838, he came before a Bishop's court,
in Far West, Mo., where he said he had no confidence in the presidency
of the Church; consequently, he had quit praying and keeping the commandments
of the Lord, and indulged himself in his sinful lusts." (LDS Biographical
- He took an active part with the mob during the Missouri attrocities.
- While Joseph was in prison, with others, he robbed the Prophet's home
and stable of considerable property (LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, 1:83).
- While Joseph and some of the others were imprisoned at Richmond, Missouri,
McLellin went to the sheriff and asked for the privilege of flogging the
Prophet (DHC 3:215).
HOW CAN WE RID OURSELVES OF JEALOUSY AND HATRED?
- When we commit sin and fail to repent, we lose the companionship of
the spirit. When that happens, we allow unsavory influences to direct our
life. The spirit is no longer there to warn us of a tendency towards jealousy
and hatred. As we have seen in the story of Saul, it consumes one's life.
The story of Cain and Abel is another good example. Cain lost his eternal
soul due to his jealousy and hatred.
- John Taylor: "...if we allow covetousness, pride, envy, jealousy,
hatred, malice, lasciviousness, drunkenness, Sabbath-breaking, or any other
influence to corrupt and lead us astray from the light of truth and the
sweet consoling influences of the Spirit of God, we shall get into darkness,
and then, as I said before, if the light that is within us becomes darkness,
how great is that darkness!" (JD 26:133)
- George Q. Cannon: "Whence is it that anger comes? You will
see a man all at once seized with a spirit of anger; another time you will
see a person seized with a spirit of jealousy, or some other evil influence,
infuriated sometimes, so much so that he or she is transformed. You have
seen people's faces completely changed by the spirit that takes possession
of them. They cannot see that power; but it is undoubtedly a spiritual
entity. We may not be conscious of it, but it takes possession of us if
we yield to it." (Collected Discourses, Vol 4, August 26, 1894)
When David learned that Saul was pursuing him, he took his men and
departed from the city of Keilah.
- David O. McKay: "...jealousy, hatred, envy, animosity—all such
evils you must overcome by suppression. That is where your control comes
in. Suppress that anger! Suppress that jealousy, that envy! They are all
injurious to the spirit anyhow." (Gospel Ideals, p356)
- David O. McKay: "As men of the priesthood, as women of the
Church, [we have the responsibility] to make our homes such as will radiate
to our neighbors harmony, love, community duties, loyalty. Let our neighbors
see it and hear it. Never must there be expressed in a Latter-day Saint
home an oath, a condemnatory term, an expression of anger or jealousy or
hatred. Control it Do not express it You do what you can to produce peace
and harmony, no matter what you may suffer." (CR, Apr. 1963)
- George Q. Cannon: "The Lord our God has sent us here to get
experience in these things so that we may know the good from the evil and
be able to close our hearts against the evil…. It is true that some have
greater power of resistance than others, but everyone has the power to
close his heart against doubt, against darkness, against unbelief, against
depression, against anger, against hatred, against jealousy, against malice,
against envy. God has given this power unto all of us, and we can gain
still greater power by calling upon Him for that which we lack. If it were
not so, how could we be condemned for giving way to wrong influences?"
(Gospel Truth, 1:19)
- George W. McCune (one time president of the Eastern States Mission):
"Let us seek earnestly to be truly humble, have a desire to have
our souls fed. If we do this, I know that the Lord will bless us. When
we are in this attitude, there is no room in our hearts for hatred or for
jealousy or anything of that kind; there is true love in our hearts. And
when we get true love in our hearts we are being fed with the bread of
life." (CR, Oct. 1919)
The opportunity arose for David to slay Saul, but he did not. WHY?
- "And David abode in the wilderness in strong holds, and remained
in a mountain in the wilderness of Ziph. And Saul sought him every day,
but God delivered him not into his hand" (23:14).
- "And Jonathan Saul's son arose, and went to David into the
wood, and strengthened his hand in God" (23:16).
- What an amazing contrast between father and son. Saul is consumed with
his hatred for David. Jonathan comes to David and strengthens "his
hand in God". One has driven the spirit from his life and the other
lives by the spirit and blesses his friend.
READ 1 SAMUEL 24:17-19. Saul's response to David.
- READ 1 SAMUEL 24:10-12.
- David certainly had cause to defend himself against this man who was
consumed with killing him, but he said, "The LORD therefore be
judge, and judge between me and thee, and see, and plead my cause, and
deliver me out of thine hand" (24:15).
- WHAT DOES DAVID'S EXAMPLE TEACH US ABOUT REVENGE AND ABOUT RESPONDING
TO THOSE WHO DO EVIL TO US?
- Spencer W. Kimball: "The spirit of revenge, of retaliation,
of bearing a grudge, is entirely foreign to the gospel of the gentle, forgiving
Jesus Christ…." (Teachings of SWK, p105)
- Joseph F. Smith: "We carry to the world the olive branch of
peace. We present to the world the law of God, the word of the Lord, the
truth, as it has been revealed in the latter day for the redemption of
the dead and for the salvation of the living. We bear no malice nor evil
toward the children of men. The spirit of forgiveness pervades the hearts
of the Saints of God, and they do not cherish a desire or feeling of revenge
toward their enemies or those who hurt or molest them or seek to make them
afraid; but on the contrary, the Spirit of the Lord has possession of their
spirits, of their souls, and of their thoughts; they forgive all men, and
they carry no malice in their hearts toward any, no matter what they have
done. They say in their hearts, let God judge between us and our enemies,
and as for us, we forgive them, and we bear no malice toward any."
(Gospel Doctrine, p74)
Throughout the stories contained in this lesson we observe the amazing
contrast between Saul and Jonathan. Jonathan saw the good in David and
became a loyal, loving friend. He was willing to stand on the side of right
and oppose his wicked father. No person could ask for a better friend that
Jonathan. Saul had allowed sin to enter his life and felt threatened by
the rise of David. Rather than befriend this noble man, Saul became consumed
with jealousy, envy, and hatred. He pursued David's life. He was a man
who had lost control. As Jonathan learned, David was not an enemy. Saul
only destroyed his own life by treating David as an enemy instead of a
friend. We should follow the example of Jonathan and treat the actions
of Saul as a solemn warning.
Lesson 24: 2 Samuel 11-12; Psalm 51
Additional Reading: 2 Samuel 2-10
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