1 Samuel 18
David marries Princess Michal
Jonathan and David instant best buddies1By the time Saul finished talking with David, Saul’s son Jonathan was convinced he had just met his best buddy and soulmate. He loved and respected what he saw in David that day.
2Saul drafted David into his service at the court and kept him close. He wouldn’t let David go back to shepherding for his father.
3Jonathan promised David, in a sacred covenant agreement,  to be his loyal friend. Jonathan loved David every bit as much as he loved his own life. 4To seal the agreement, Jonathan stripped down and gave David nearly everything he was wearing: robe, armor, belt, sword, and bow.
5David succeeded at whatever mission Saul assigned him. So, the king promoted him to a commander in the army. All Saul’s officials and soldiers approved.
Ladies sing for David6When the army marched home after David killed the Philistine champion, women in the towns along the way ran out to greet King Saul and his men. They came singing and dancing to the rhythm of tambourines and sistrum rattles. 7They sang a happy song:
Saul killed a thousand  men.
David, a thousand times ten.
9Saul kept a close and jealous eye on David from that day on.
Saul wants David dead10The next day a dark and depressing spirit  came over Saul. He ranted and raved all over his house. David played a lyre to try to calm him down, day after day, but it didn’t work. At one point, Saul picked up a spear. 11Saul launched the spear at David, thinking, “I’ll stick him to the wall.” David dodged it. Twice.
12Saul was afraid of David because God’s Spirit had abandoned Saul. 13The king couldn’t stand having David around, so he put him in command of a battalion of a thousand men. David left and led his men into battles and home again. 14He succeeded in every mission because the LORD was with him.
15When Saul realized how successful David was, it stunned him. He was astonished. 16Everyone loved David—all the people in his own tribe of Judah, with all of Israel. That’s because he was the one successfully leading the soldiers into battle and home again.
David’s broken engagement to Princess Merab17Saul told David, “I’m going to let you marry my oldest daughter, Merab. But in return, you have to bravely fight the LORD’s battles.” However, Saul was thinking, “I won’t kill him. I’ll let the Philistines do it.”
18David told Saul, “I’m not worthy of this honor. I come from a humble family. How should I deserve to become the king’s son-in-law?” 19Yet when it came time for Merab to marry David, she married a man named Adriel from Meholah. 
David’s price to marry Princess Michal20Saul’s younger daughter Michal loved David. Saul was happy to hear that. 21He thought, “I can use that against David. I can set a trap that gives him to the Philistines.” So, Saul promised David once again, “You’re going to be my son-in-law.”
22Saul ordered all his officials and servants to talk up the marriage to David: “Tell him how much the king likes him and that the servants all love him and that he should marry the princess.” 23Saul’s people did what he ordered. David answered them, “Really? Does it seem to you like an easy decision for a poor man from a humble family to become the king’s son-in-law?”
24The officials reported David’s words back to the king. 25Saul said, “Tell David that he doesn’t have to pay anything for the right to marry the king’s daughter. All the king wants is the foreskin  of 100 Philistines, as payback to his enemies.” Saul hoped this mission would get David killed.
26David was happy to get this mission from Saul’s officials. But David had a deadline for the killing, so he left.
David hunts for 100 Philistines27David and his men killed 100 Philistines. David gave their foreskins to the king so he could become the king’s son-in-law. Saul let him marry Michal. 28Saul could see Michal truly loved David and that the LORD was still with this young man. 29So, Saul became even more afraid of David. From that time on, Saul considered David his number one enemy.
30When Philistines brought their army up to attack Israel, time after time, David beat them back. He won more victories than any other commander in Israel. That made him even more famous and popular.
18:3. The covenant sounds like a personal and yet formal contract agreement. When David later mourned the death of Jonathan, David called him his covenant brother (2 Samuel 1:26), perhaps like an adopted and dearly loved brother. David said the love he had for Jonathan was better than the love for a woman (2 Samuel 1:26). Some have argued this suggests David was gay. But his adultery with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11) is a counterpoint, along with the bed warming woman David took when he grew old (1 Kings 1:1-4). Others suggest that the love between the two men was more like the love soldiers have for each other after surviving combat, when they’ve risked their lives for each other.
The Hebrew word elep has many meanings, including: thousands, million, group, unit.
More literally, an “evil spirit” (raʽ rûaḥ) See note for 16:14.
Meholah may have been Abel Meholah. Two contenders for the site. Tel Abu Sus, about 20 miles south of the Sea of Galilee, on Israel’s side of the Jordan River (west bank). Tell el-Maqlub, about 8 miles northeast of there, on the east side of the Jordan. Tragedy struck the family: non-Israelites living in the town of Gibeon killed all five of the couple’s sons. They did it to retaliate for Saul’s slaughter of Gibeon citizens. He tried to kill them all. David gave the Gibeon officials permission to kill these five grandsons of Saul (2 Samuel 21:1-9). Gibeon was the town that, centuries earlier, had tricked Joshua into a peace treaty (Joshua 9).
Philistines were apparently uncircumcised. So the foreskins would have proved David hadn’t killed any Israelites.
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