Yesterday I’d said that David, the shepherd boy who’d killed the giant the whole Israelite army had run from, had defended both his Lord and his people. I then asked the question: what did he get for his trouble? The answer? A new enemy. Jealous King Saul tried on more than one occasion to kill him.
But what was David supposed to have gotten? Looking back at First Samuel 17, we see that David heard Goliath taunting the Israelite army. The soldiers said to him, “The king has offered a huge reward to anyone who kills him. He will give that man one of his daughters for a wife” (I Samuel 17:25b, NLT).
Did David get what Saul had promised? Fast forward to First Samuel 18:13 and we see that “Saul… appointed him commander over 1,000 men, and David faithfully led his troops into battle.” He made David a military leader, hoping that he’d be killed in battle. Remember, Saul’s jealousy was still a major problem.
A problem that led Saul to go back on his word. Instead of handing over the promised daughter as David’s wife, Saul waited to see if one of the Israelite army’s enemies would take care of David for him. But as we’ve already read, “David continued to succeed in everything he did, for the Lord was with him” (I Samuel 18:14).
So Saul formulates a new plan: “‘I am ready to give you my older daughter, Merab, as your wife. But first you must prove yourself to be a real warrior by fighting the Lord’s battles.’ For Saul thought, ‘I’ll send him out against the Philistines and let them kill him rather than doing it myself’” (I Samuel 18:17).
If you continue reading First Samuel 18, you’ll learn that David turned down Saul’s offer of his eldest daughter Merab, humbly stating in verse 18, “Who am I, and what is my family in Israel that I should be the king’s son-in-law?” So Merab was given in marriage to another man. “In the meantime, Saul’s daughter Michal had fallen in love with David” (I Samuel 18:20a).
David apparently liked the idea of marrying Michal, but he insists that he can’t accept a royal bride without paying a worthy price. So Saul demands: “‘I want for the bride price… 100 Philistine foreskins! …But what Saul had in mind was that David would be killed in the fight” (I Samuel 18:24b).
Instead of backing down from such a daunting challenge, “David was delighted to accept the offer. …he and his men went out and killed 200 Philistines. So Saul gave his daughter Michal to David to be his wife” (I Samuel 18:26a, 27a, 27c).
David was faithful to his Lord. He was faithful to his people. He was faithful to Saul. Yet Saul “remained David’s enemy for the rest of his life” (I Samuel 18:29b).
Not every person is going to like you, even if you’ve never wronged them in any way. As one wise grandmother told her complaining granddaughter, “Honey, fare is what you pay to ride the bus.” Life isn’t fair. You will be hurt. You will be wronged. But you must remain faithful because “He who calls you is faithful” (I Thessalonians 5:24b).
Copyright © 2012
Judy Woodward Bates