Chapter 18- Saul’s son Jonathan becomes besties with David. David starts doing a lot of things for the king, and does them really well, which makes the people start to praise David more than Saul. This makes Saul jealous, and he tries to stab David with a spear a couple times, then he decides to put David in a position where the Philistines will kill him. He also tries to get David to marry his daughter Merab so she can lure him into temptation. She ends up marrying some other guy, but luckily Saul’s other daughter Michal actual likes David and volunteers for the job. David is hesitant about becoming son-in-law to the king, since he is just a poor, lowly boy who can’t afford a dowry. Saul says he wants 100 Philistine foreskins for a dowry (thinking that David would get killed by the Philistines in the process) but David actually comes back with 200, and he and Michal are wed. They’re happy together, which makes Saul even more angry. David continues to act wisely, and things go well for him.
Let’s just start from the very beginning here.
Now when he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. 2 Saul took him that day, and would not let him go home to his father’s house anymore. 3 Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul. 4 And Jonathan took off the robe that was on him and gave it to David, with his armor, even to his sword and his bow and his belt.
That sounds like more than platonic friendship going on here. I’m totally cool with David and Jonathan undressing for each other, but I don’t think people should use the Bible to hate on homosexuality considering that this passage exists.
Then there’s this business about foreskins. 200 foreskins as a dowry?! Brutal. I know women didn’t really get a say back then, but I would have been strongly protesting against marrying the guy who murdered 200 people so he could bring my father the extra fleshy bits of their penises. Not romantic at all!
Chapter 19- Saul asks Jonathan to kill David. Jon tells David to go hide until he can have chat with Saul. Jon convinces Saul not to kill David, and David returns home. Alas, God sends a distressing spirit to Saul, which causes him to try to stab David with a spear again. David flees again, with the help of his wife Michal who puts goat hair and some other stuff under a blanket to look like David is sick in bed. David ends up going to stay with Samuel. Ever messenger Saul sends to try to bring David back ends up catching the Holy Spirit and prophesying instead. When Saul himself goes, he ends up prophesying naked.
So God sends this distressing spirit to Saul which causes him to try to kill David. I suspect this is some convoluted step in God’s plan to make David king instead of Saul, but it seems so ridiculous that this was part of the process. Why is David’s misery an imperative part of the plan?
Verse 24, ” And he [Saul] also stripped off his clothes and prophesied before Samuel in like manner, and lay down naked all that day and all that night.” Seriously, something double entendre’d is happening here.
Chapter 20- David has to leave Samuel’s place, so he and Jonathan work out a system to figure out what Saul plans to do to David and act accordingly. David will skip a feast with the king and hide in a field, and based on Saul’s reaction, they would know if he plans to harm David. Jonathan would then go shoot arrows in to the field like secret code to let David know if he could come home or if he needed to run away. They also make a pact that they will be BFFs forever and always look out for each other. Turns out Saul plans to harm David (and actually tries to spear Jonathan in the process, too) so Jon gives David the signal to run away. They both cry.
Verse 17, “Now Jonathan again caused David to vow, because he loved him; for he loved him as his own soul.” Yeah, forcing someone to make promises because you claim to love them? That’s something abusers do.
When Saul realizes that David isn’t at the feast, he asks, “Why has the son of Jesse not come to eat, either yesterday or today?” (27) Because you keep trying to KILL him! There’s a limit to how many times you can try to spear a guy before he stops accepting your invitations to dinner.