Thursday in Week 2

I Samuel 18.6-9; 19.1-7; Psalm 55; Mark 3.7-12

The contest between Saul and David continues in today’s first reading.  The outcome of this race is, of course, determined.  God himself has removed his favour from Saul (‘the lord regretted having made Saul king of Israel’ [I Samuel 15.35]) and had put his Spirit onto David. [16.13] Saul is depicted as ‘jealous’ of David [18.9] and as endeavouring to kill him, though without success. [18.11] ‘In all his enterprises David was successful’ [18.14]; moreover ‘all Israel and Judah loved David, because he was their leader in all their exploits’. [18.16]

Saul hatched a different sort of plan.  He offered David his daughter’s hand in marriage.  Such an alliance necessitated the payment of a bride price [cf Genesis 24.53] but David had no resources.  So Saul sent a message to David that ‘the King desires no settlement except a hundred foreskins of the Philistines, for vengeance on the king’s enemies.’ [I Samuel 18.25] The narrator notes that ‘Saul was planning that David should fall by the hand of the Philistines’.  David killed 200 Philistines and ‘Saul now realised that the lord was with David, and that all the House of Israel loved him; then Saul feared David all the more and became David’s lasting enemy’. [18.28-29]

Surprisingly, though, Saul’s son Jonathan ‘held David in great affection’ [19.1] and interceded with his father on David’s behalf.  ‘Saul was impressed by Jonathan’s words and took an oath, “As the lord lives, I will not kill him”’. [19.6]  The odd and intertwined relationships between Saul’s and David’s families had been set in motion.

Posted in Daily Reflection.