The Story of Patriarchs and Prophets
by Ellen G. White
Chapter 64: David a Fugitive
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The king kept a strict watch upon David, hoping to find some
occasion of indiscretion or rashness that might serve as an excuse
to bring him into disgrace. He felt that he could not be satisfied [p. 652] until he could take the young man's life and still be justified
before the nation for his evil act. He laid a snare for the feet of
David, urging him to conduct the war against the Philistines with
still greater vigor, and promising, as a reward of his valor, an
alliance with the eldest daughter of the royal house. To this
proposal David's modest answer was, "Who am I? and what
is my life, or my father's family in Israel, that I should be
son-in-law to the king?" The monarch manifested his insincerity
by wedding the princess to another.
An attachment for David on the part of Michal, Saul's youngest
daughter, afforded the king another opportunity to plot against
his rival. Michal's hand was offered the young man on condition
that evidence should be given of the defeat and slaughter of a
specified number of their national foes. "Saul thought to make
David fall by the hand of the Philistines," but God shielded
His servant. David returned a victor from the battle, to become
the king's son-in-law. "Michal Saul's daughter loved him," and
the monarch, enraged, saw that his plots had resulted in the
elevation of him whom he sought to destroy. He was still more
assured that this was the man whom the Lord had said was
better than he, and who should reign on the throne of Israel in
his place. Throwing off all disguise, he issued a command to
Jonathan and to the officers of the court to take the life of the
one he hated.
Jonathan revealed the king's intention to David and bade
him conceal himself while he would plead with his father to
spare the life of the deliverer of Israel. He presented before the
king what David had done to preserve the honor and even the life
of the nation, and what terrible guilt would rest upon the
murderer of the one whom God had used to scatter their enemies.
The conscience of the king was touched, and his heart was
softened. "And Saul sware, As the Lord liveth, he shall not be
slain." David was brought to Saul, and he ministered in his presence,
as he had done in the past.
Again war was declared between the Israelites and the
Philistines, and David led the army against their enemies. A great
victory was gained by the Hebrews, and the people of the realm
praised his wisdom and heroism. This served to stir up the former
bitterness of Saul against him. While the young man was
playing before the king, filling the palace with sweet harmony. [p. 653] Saul's passion overcame him, and he hurled a javelin at David,
thinking to pin the musician to the wall; but the angel of the
Lord turned aside the deadly weapon. David escaped and fled to
his own house. Saul sent spies that they might take him as he
should come out in the morning, and put an end to his life.
Michal informed David of the purpose of her father. She
urged him to flee for his life, and let him down from the window,
thus enabling him to make his escape. He fled to Samuel at
Ramah, and the prophet, fearless of the king's displeasure,
welcomed the fugitive. The home of Samuel was a peaceful place in
contrast with the royal palace. It was here, amid the hills, that
the honored servant of the Lord continued his work. A company
of seers was with him, and they studied closely the will of God
and listened reverently to the words of instruction that fell from
the lips of Samuel. Precious were the lessons that David learned
from the teacher of Israel. David believed that the troops of Saul
would not be ordered to invade this sacred place, but no place
seemed to be sacred to the darkened mind of the desperate king.
David's connection with Samuel aroused the jealousy of the king,
lest he who was revered as a prophet of God throughout all
Israel should lend his influence to the advancement of Saul's rival.
When the king learned where David was, he sent officers to bring
him to Gibeah, where he intended to carry out his murderous
The messengers went on their way, intent upon taking David's
life; but One greater than Saul controlled them. They were met
by unseen angels, as was Balaam when he was on his way to
curse Israel. They began to utter prophetic sayings of what
would occur in the future, and proclaimed the glory and majesty
of Jehovah. Thus God overruled the wrath of man and manifested
His power to restrain evil, while He walled in His servant
by a guard of angels.
The tidings reached Saul as he eagerly waited to have David
in his power; but instead of feeling the rebuke of God, he was
still more exasperated, and sent other messengers. These also
were overpowered by the Spirit of God, and united with the first
in prophesying. The third embassage was sent by the king; but
when they came into the company of the prophets, the divine
influence fell upon them also, and they prophesied. Saul then
decided that he himself would go, for his fierce enmity had [p. 654] become uncontrollable. He was determined to wait for no further
chance to kill David; as soon as he should come within reach of
him, he intended with his own hand to slay him, whatever might
be the consequences.
But an angel of God met him on the way and controlled him.
The Spirit of God held him in Its power, and he went forward
uttering prayers to God, interspersed with predictions and sacred
melodies. He prophesied of the coming Messiah as the world's
Redeemer. When he came to the prophet's home in Ramah, he
laid aside the outer garments that betokened his rank, and all day
and all night he lay before Samuel and his pupils, under the
influence of the divine Spirit. The people were drawn together to
witness this strange scene, and the experience of the king was
reported far and wide. Thus again, near the close of his reign, it
became a proverb in Israel that Saul also was among the prophets.
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