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18 When David had finished speaking to Saul, the soul[a] of Jonathan became bound to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved David as he loved his own soul.[b] Saul took David into his service that day and would not let him go back to his father’s house anymore. Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because Jonathan loved David as his own soul. Jonathan took off the robe that he was wearing and gave it to David, as well as his other gear, including his sword, his bow, and his belt.

David went out wherever Saul sent him, and he was successful. So Saul put him in charge of a group of soldiers. All the people approved, as did Saul’s officials.

As the army was coming back from battle, when David was returning from striking down the Philistine, women came out from all the cities of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing, with joyful music, with hand drums, and with noisemakers.[c] The women sang to each other as they played:

Saul has slain his thousands,
and David his ten thousands.

Saul became furious, because he resented this statement. He said, “They have credited David with tens of thousands, but to me they have credited only thousands. What more can be given to him but the kingship?” So Saul eyed David suspiciously from that day on.

10 On the next day, an evil spirit from God overcame Saul, and in a frenzy he prophesied inside the house. David had a lyre in his hand. He was playing as he did day by day. Saul had his spear in his hand. 11 He hurled the spear, because he thought, “I will pin David to the wall!” But David escaped from his presence twice.

12 Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with David but had departed from Saul. 13 So Saul sent David away from his court and made him a commander over a unit of a thousand. So David led the army out to battle and back again. 14 David was successful in everything he did, and the Lord was with him. 15 When Saul saw that David was so successful, he was even more afraid of him. 16 But all Israel and Judah loved David, because he led them out to battle and back again.

17 Saul said to David, “Look, here is my oldest daughter Merab. I will give her to you as your wife. Just be a strong warrior for me, and fight the Lord’s battles.” For Saul thought, “It won’t be my hand against him, but it will be the hand of the Philistines against him.”

18 David said to Saul, “Who am I, and what is the status of my father’s clan in Israel, that I would be able to become the son-in-law of the king?”

19 When the time came that Saul’s daughter Merab was supposed to have been given to David, she was given to Adriel of Meholah as his wife.

20 Michal, Saul’s other daughter, loved David. When they told Saul about it, this situation pleased him. 21 Saul said, “I will give her to him, so that she will be a snare for him, and the hand of the Philistines will be against him.”

So Saul said to David, “Today you have another opportunity to become my son-in-law.”

22 Saul commanded his officials to speak with David privately and to say, “Look, the king is delighted with you, and all his officials love you, so you should become the king’s son-in-law.” 23 Saul’s officials spoke those words to David’s ears.

But David said, “Does it seem to you to be a trivial thing for me to be the king’s son-in-law, since I am a poor man and not highly regarded?”

24 Then Saul’s officials told him what David had said.

25 So Saul said, “Tell David that the king desires no price for the bride except one hundred foreskins of the Philistines, for revenge against the king’s enemies.” Saul intended to make David fall by the hand of the Philistines.

26 When Saul’s officials told David these words, David was very pleased to become the king’s son-in-law. Before the deadline, 27 David got up and went out with his men and killed two hundred men of the Philistines. Then David brought their foreskins and counted them out for the king, so that he could become the king’s son-in-law.

Then Saul gave his daughter Michal to David as his wife. 28 Saul realized that the Lord was with David and that Michal, his daughter, loved David. 29 So Saul was even more afraid of David, and he was hostile to David all the time.

30 The commanders of the Philistines were regularly going out for battle, and as often as they went out, David was more successful than all the other officers of Saul. So his name was highly regarded.

Footnotes

  1. 1 Samuel 18:1 Or heart. The base meaning of the Hebrew term is soul, but in this context English might prefer the connotation heart.
  2. 1 Samuel 18:1 Or life
  3. 1 Samuel 18:6 The Hebrew term shalish very likely refers to a type of noisemaker known as a sistrum, but some think it refers to a three-stringed instrument or a type of song.

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