Story 2: David-A Complicated Life
David, chosen by God, Saul’s harp player, he defeated the giant Goliath, he becomes a war hero, but in doing so makes his king jealous, luckily Saul’s attempts to get rid of David do not work and some have negative effects.
The story of David is one filled with irony. Perception is part of the point with irony, one gets it where another may not. Does this person in the story recognize the truth and reveal it to us, or sometimes the narrator does, occasionally we are not told but left to discern.
It is in this place where we begin. 1 Sam. 13:13-14 Saul displeases God and the spirit of God was no longer with him, and Samuel arrives and God instructs Samuel not to focus on the outward appearance of the sons of Jesse. (1 Sam. 16:6-7)Things aren’t always as they seem. God looks at the heart. We cannot always see or recognize the heart of a person. We should be careful of the difference. The contrast between appearance and reality will follow David most of his life. He is the shepherd boy, the youngest who would later be king. Each of Jesse’s sons or so we thought was presented to Samuel and also rejected by Samuel. So things aren’t going well from the start.
Jesse essential says well my youngest boy is not here to which Samuel basically responds, didn’t I say all the first time 1 Sam. 16:11 & 12. David finally gets there and the description is all about the appearance of the one who we are to be looking at his heart and his character. What does David’s looks have to do with how he would be as a king? David was anointed by Samuel but would need to be recognized and affirmed by the people.
Saul is beginning to crack mentally, God’s spirit is upon David and now an “evil spirit”, from the Lord, is upon Saul. Now on to music to sooth King Saul we have David 1 Samuel 16:23 to help with the evil spirit.
Then Saul puts David in his armor to go out and fight the giant. Upon returning there is a victory parade where the people come out to see Saul but gives more glory to David. David already had the glory due Saul and now he is concerned about his throne. Got to be careful if David is a threat, then Saul could kill him, but if David is God’s choice, he would be in opposition to God. 1 Samuel 18:6-10
David, God’s anointed, plays the harp to comfort Saul, who has an evil spirit from the Lord, and picks up a spear and tries to kill him. Although David was the one being physically threatened, it was Saul who was afraid. 1 Samuel 18:10-12
Saul then looks for more indirect ways to get rid David. David’s great military experience (killing one Philistine) Saul puts David in the army hoping he would die in battle instead it only fosters David’s reputation as a conquering hero and actually fulfills the praise offered him earlier.
The next plan was if you can’t beat them have them join you. He offers his daughter’s hand in marriage to David. As they say, these days half of all marriages may end in divorce, but the other half end in death. David at first refuses on the basis that he has no dowry to pay the king for the propose marriage to Michal. So the king says, no worries, how about 100 Philistine foreskins as the dowry, and David says sure and he and his men set off. Saul knows these men will put up a fight and therefore perhaps David will be killed trying to fulfill this obligation. 1 Samuel 18:25-28. A while later they have killed and collected (Hebrew text says 100, the Greek 200) of the Philistine foreskins, which were given in full number to the king. Who has to count them and what will he do with them?
Saul sends men directly to kill David as he sleeps but he found out and fled. He sends groups to David and they all fall down in prophetic trances. Saul says well I will do it myself and also ends up in a trance and laying there naked for a night and a day. 1 Samuel 19:18-23
Jonathan is trying to make sure it is safe for David to come back to the king’s court devises a plan for his safety involving arrows. David then directly puts himself in harm’s way by not listening. He finds out it is truly not safe and goes on the run and begins to run with a group of men, becomes more cunning gains Abigail as a wife Nabal, eventually seeking refuge in the camp of the Philistines, Israel’s enemy. The king did not trust David and needed proof.
To satisfy Achish, David made a practice of leading his army on raids against “the Geshurites, the Girzites, and the Amalekites” (1 Sam 27: 8), Israel’s historical enemies, raids in which he would ruthlessly annihilate entire populations of cities and villages. Returning to Ziklag rich in booty, he would report a successful raid on Israel! In effect and unwittingly, Achish had employed David to fight against Israel’s ancient enemies! David skillfully “ played both ends against the middle.” All the while, his reputation in Israel grew as Achish remained clueless: “Achish trusted David, thinking, ‘He has made himself utterly abhorred by his people Israel; therefore he shall be my servant always ’” (1 Sam 27: 12, NRSV). David even survived the last, very dangerous episode in his “fugitive” period that arose from his entanglement with Achish.
Biddle, Mark E. (2013-11-18). A Time to Laugh: Humor in the Bible (Kindle Locations 896-902). Smyth & Helwys Publishing, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
Surviving all this David consolidates power. First, David took Jerusalem and established it as the capital. Second, he made it the center of religious worship, and try to do so by bringing the Ark of the Covenant without asking or receiving instruction from God. Uzzah dies from touching it, so they hold off and ask Obed-Edom if it can stay with him for a while to see if anything bad happens. 2 Samuel 6.
Who would be the next king? Israel had only two kings Saul and David. Samuel had anointed each and now he is dead. Saul and David were not family so who would be the rightful heir to the throne? Does it have anything to do with the Ark? As they are bringing the Ark into the city, to its place David is dancing with all his might in essential very little on. It upset his wife Michal who was watching the slave girls observe her husband. 2 Samuel 6:21-23. Michal got mad at David’s actions and David has a heated exchange with her and then the next thing we hear she dies with having no children. We might presume that his anger meant he no longer had relations with her. Michal, Saul’s daughter, David’s wife if she had a son would be the natural resolution to this story of who is the heir. David made many great military decisions, but was not the best husband or father.
At the end of David’s life he was unable to stay warm. Perhaps poor circulation, so the kings men have a beauty contest to find the prettiest girl in all the land to help keep him warm. It is recorded that he had no relations with her. Here was David’s personal life which also met with the affections of a good number of women in the end was with a beautiful women but not able to be “warm.”
Irony is not limited to David it runs in and out through the bible. One example is Joseph being sold into slavery to save his family from starvation. Another example is Ruth finding Boaz. There is even irony in Jesus’ death being good in the light of his resurrection.
What do you see in David’s life? What can or does it instruct us about our own? David was complicated at times he was meek and naïve, and at others ruthless and calculated. It is perhaps important to remember that in free will people may do things that are not what God desires or perhaps works against what God desires. God, however, works behind the scenes where He is not always visible but continues to work the unseen for His will and purposes.