Psalms 6, 7, and 59 are foundational for understanding the events recorded in the latter half of 1 Samuel. Psalm 6, a Davidic prayer, says, “The LORD has heard my plea for help; the LORD accepts my prayer. All my enemies will be ashamed and shake with terror; they will turn back and suddenly be disgraced” (Ps 6:9-10). David’s pleas for divine aid were often from an innocent heart, reflecting the psalmist’s perspective in Psalm 7:3-5: “LORD my God, if I have done this, if there is injustice on my hands, if I have done harm to one at peace with me or have plundered my adversary without cause, may an enemy pursue and overtake me.”
First Samuel 18 records David’s initial success—and Saul’s vengeful response. Seeing that David “was successful in everything Saul sent him to do” (1 Sam 18:5), the king put the young shepherd boy in command of the soldiers. While Saul did not expect David’s popularity to become a threat to his reign, Jonathan’s affection for him—and the dancing and song of the women who honored his victories in battle—aroused Saul’s wrath (1 Sam 18:8-9). In vengeance, Saul directly attacked David (1 Sam 18:10-11), then orchestrated a ruse for David’s demise at the hand of the Philistines (1 Sam 18:12-30). But David was successful against Israel’s enemies and earned the hand of Michal, Saul’s daughter. What Saul had hoped would eliminate David brought the young warrior into the king’s family.
In 1 Samuel 19, two of Saul’s children sought to rescue David from Saul’s hand. When Saul commanded Jonathan to kill David, Jonathan instead came to David’s aid. Yet even Jonathan’s persuasive argument could not ultimately change his father’s mind. When David was victorious against the Philistines, Saul again tried to kill him with a spear (1 Sam 19:1-10). Saul arranged surveillance of David and Michal’s home (during which time David penned Psalm 59), but Michal helped David escape. But neither Michal nor her brother Jonathan were successful in pacifying their father’s hatred for David. The Lord delivered David. When Saul came to Naioth in Ramah, the Spirit came upon him and he prophesied in the presence of Samuel, while David fled (1 Sam 19:18-20:1).
The providential protection David enjoyed in 1 Samuel 18-19, as was the case throughout his life, points to the security and stability of God’s plan for him. In the storyline of Scripture, God’s sovereign protection of David as king provides the opportunity to think about the sovereign timetable of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. In his Gospel, John employed the concept of Jesus’ “hour” to describe the divine moment in history when Christ would be crucified, a reality that could not be hindered.
(1) When Jesus’ mother recognized that during the wedding in Cana of Galilee the host family had run out of wine, Jesus, thinking about the culmination of His ministry in the cross even from the outset, said, “What has this concern of yours to do with Me, woman?…My hour has not yet come” (John 2:4).
(2) Jesus went up to the Festival of Tabernacles secretly because the Jews were looking for Him (John 7:1-13). Nevertheless, once He began teaching in the temple complex news about Him spread and some opponents hoped to apprehend Him. John’s comment is telling: “Yet no one laid a hand on Him because His hour had not yet come” (John 7:30). At the same festival, when the Pharisees were interrogating Jesus and desiring to arrest Him, John reports, “No one seized Him, because His hour had not come” (John 8:20).
(3) After Jesus’ final entry into Jerusalem, Andrew and Philip informed Jesus that some Greeks wished to speak with Him. Knowing that the Pharisees had had enough and that this would spike their anger, Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified” (John 12:23).
(4) Jesus initiated the Passover celebration with His disciples, “knowing that His hour had come to depart from this world to the Father” (John 13:1).
(5) The alarm of the divine clock was ready to sound when Jesus prayed, “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son so that the Son may glorify You, for You gave Him authority over all flesh; so He may give eternal life to all You have given Him. This is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and the One You have sent—Jesus Christ” (John 17:1-3).