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Paul J. Bucknell
Purpose: 1 Samuel 18:5-9 highlights the danger of not rightly dealing with jealous thoughts and how jealousy can destroy even the best of relationships. This is part 2 of 5 in 1 Samuel 18 in a mini-series called Great Friendship and Horrible Jealousy.
Everything seemed to be going right for David. Victory. Love. Friendship. Royal association. King Saul loved him. His son became his best friend. But when things are going great, be careful. They might turn sour as they did for David. We need to be ready for anything.
Is King Saul envious or jealous? Let's first look at a few definitions of envy and jealousy. These terms are often confused.
Check out our Digital Old Testament Library for a huge collection of resources on 1 Samuel and all of the Old Testament!
Definition of Envy
a. A feeling of discontent and resentment aroused by and in conjunction with desire for the possessions or qualities of another.
b. The object of such feeling: Their new pool made them the envy of their neighbors.
Definition of Jealous
1. being supplanted; apprehensive of losing affection or position.
2.a. Resentful or bitter in rivalry; envious: jealous of the success of others. b. Inclined to suspect rivalry.
3.Having to do with or arising from feelings of envy, apprehension, or bitterness: jealous thoughts.
4.Vigilant in guarding something: We are jealous of our good name.
5.Intolerant of disloyalty or infidelity; autocratic: a jealous God.
- The American Heritage Dictionary
From these definitions, one will find that Saul was primarily jealous. He was scared of losing his praise and position. Jealousy is often combined with envy. He probably was envious of the praise that David received.
“So David went out wherever Saul sent him, and prospered; and Saul set him over the men of war. And it was pleasing in the sight of all the people and also in the sight of Saul’s servants. And it happened as they were coming, when David returned from killing the Philistine, that the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with joy and with musical instruments.
And the women sang as they played, and said, “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.” (1 Samuel 18:5-7).
David was Saul’s messenger, warrior, lyre player and faithful servant. Whatever Saul sent David to do, God was with him, and it was done in a way that impressed Saul and others. At times this meant that he would even be in charge of men at war. Everyone was enchanted with this young man including Saul’s own staff.
One day upon returning from war, King Saul heard a new verse to an old song. Do note they had come out to meet King Saul not David but this made little difference. They had their tambourines and were singing and dancing. They still sang out, “Saul has slain his thousands.” They only added one more short line, “And David his ten thousands.” Saul’s arrogant response to this one line changed the rest of his life.
Are you jealous? When was the last time?
How did you deal with the jealousy?
It is important to note what event or words triggered one’s jealousy. The words, such as in this case, point us to some thought that one has not rightly dealt with. Saul could have been a whole lot more alert to his jealousy. He should have:
(1) acknowledged and appreciated David’s gift (David helped his kingdom) and
(2) realized that what he himself had was from God and would be protected as long as the Lord desired.
This would have brought Saul back to being of a humble mind and fearing God.
Continue -> C) Jealousy brings anger (1 Samuel 18: 8-9)
Or other relevant BFF reading:
Scriptures typically quoted from the New American Standard Bible unless noted:
(C) Copyright The Lockman Foundation 1988