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Jealousy

1 Samuel 18:1-9

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"After David had finished talking with Saul, he met Jonathan, the king's son. There was an immediate bond of love between them, and they became the best of friends. [2] From that day on Saul kept David with him at the palace and wouldn't let him return home. [3] And Jonathan made a special vow to be David's friend, [4] and he sealed the pact by giving him his robe, tunic, sword, bow, and belt. 

[5] Whatever Saul asked David to do, David did it successfully. So Saul made him a commander in his army, an appointment that was applauded by the fighting men and officers alike. [6] But something happened when the victorious Israelite army was returning home after David had killed Goliath. Women came out from all the towns along the way to celebrate and to cheer for King Saul, and they sang and danced for joy with tambourines and cymbals. [7] This was their song: 'Saul has killed his thousands, and David his ten thousands!'

[8] This made Saul very angry. 'What's this?' he said. 'They credit David with ten thousands and me with only thousands. Next they'll be making him their king!' [9] So from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David." (NLT)

It should have been a day of great celebration. Israel had defeated the threat against their national security. Goliath was dead, and his army was defeated. Saul's army was victorious in battle and the women came to cheer the soldiers as they returned home, but their song did not please the king. 'Saul has killed his thousands,' they said, 'and David his ten thousands!' Instead of rejoicing with the crowd at David's success, Saul became jealous and paranoid.

When Goliath defied the army of the Living God, Saul had his armor with him and he was quick to loan it to David, but wasn't willing to don it himself to protect his kingdom. When David came up with a plan and volunteered to help, Saul was eager to criticize his plan and belittle David for offering to help, but never did he say to the shepherd boy, "no, I'll do this, it is my place not yours." (As far as I'm concerned, David's plan for getting the job done was better than Saul's plan of not getting the job done.) But, as soon as the fighting was over, Saul wanted to ride at the front of the parade and take all the credit for victory. Really the women were gracious to Saul, they could have said, "Saul has really nice armor that he is willing to loan to men with courage, while David has courage that needs no armor." Instead of being angry that David was included in the song, he should have been grateful that the generous women mentioned his name at all. But we all know human nature and I don't think a single person here is surprised by Saul's reaction.

Verse 9 says he "kept a jealous eye on David."

Before the women welcomed the men from the battlefield, Saul appeared to be pleased with David and was promoting him through the ranks. In effect, he gave him a battlefield commission, making him a commander. The more seasoned soldiers and officers took no offense in the promotion-they didn't become jealous of David's success, instead they were pleased with it. After all, David had conquered the giant, I'm sure they were proud to serve under a man of such distinction, even if it meant they had to follow a younger, less experienced man. Saul's men were able to do what he couldn't-be happy for David's success. And well they should, because David's success meant they were successful too. Unfortunately, Saul couldn't comprehend that when a man under his command distinguishes himself, it reflects well on his country, his fellow soldiers and on his king. Instead, Saul chose to become jealous.
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