“On David’s return from killing the Philistine, Abner took him and brought him before Saul, with the head of the Philistine in his hand. Saul said to him, “Whose son are you, young man?” And David answered, “I am the son of your servant Jesse the Bethlehemite.” (I Samuel 17:57 – 28)
Earlier, in the previous chapter, Saul had met David. But I guess did not give much credence to David’s declaration that he would kill Goliath and rescue Israel from ranting and ravings of this Philistine who seemed to have no respect for the God of Israel. Now, however, Saul wants to know more about this man; and David told Saul about himself.
“When David had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was bound to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father’s house. Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that he was wearing, and gave it to David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt. David went out and was successful wherever Saul sent him; as a result, Saul set him over the army. And all the people, even the servants of Saul, approved.” (Chapter 18, Verses 1 – 5)
Bro-mance, it is a thing, beloved reader. As a youth I did not understand this concept. But I understand know. For I have experience a close sisterhood with several other women; have also had close friendships with brothers in Christ. Some of these relationships have endured from my youth through my adult life. And they have been blessing. But not all friendships, in fact not all relationships last and stand the test of time.
“The next day an evil spirit from God rushed upon Saul, and he raved within his house, while David was playing the lyre, as he did day by day. Saul had his spear in his hand; and Saul threw the spear, for he thought, “I will pin David to the wall.” But David eluded him twice. Saul was afraid of David, because the LORD was with him but had departed from Saul.” (Verses 6 – 12)
Remember that Saul had not followed the direction of the Lord and had not destroyed the Amalekites completely. We are not told, or it is not made clear here, how that timeline intersects with this timeline. But one can imagine that Saul realized David was what Saul once had been (maybe). And moreover, David could become more that what Saul ever was. And there was Saul’s own son Jonathon who most likely looked up to David more that he looked up to his own father (maybe). Jealousy and envy is an ugly thing, beloved reader. I am reminded of what Paul said in the New Testament, that believers bring unique gifts to a faith fellowship, and all gifts are worthy and useful.
“So Saul removed him from his presence, and made him a commander of a thousand; and David marched out and came in, leading the army. David had success in all his undertakings; for the LORD was with him. When Saul saw that he had great success, he stood in awe of him. But all Israel and Judah loved David; for it was he who marched out and came in leading them.” (Verses 13 – 16)
Beloved reader, do you remember how “fear” of the Lord is meant to be reverence and adoration of the Divine? Well here “awe” actually means that Saul was afraid of David and what David’s continued success might mean for Saul. A paradox and twist to what our usual understanding is.
In most cases, no matter how good you are at something – there is bound to be someone who can or has done it better. The question is, what are you going to do? You can pout and mope, get angry and rage, or plot revenge and/or destruction on the one how shows you up. Or, you can learn from them and team up so the two of you together are better than either one of you are apart. That is sort of like what it means to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. No one does “Jesus” better than Jesus.
May you beloved reader, learn from those around you; and may you be the best that you can be so that others can learn from you. Shalom & Selah!