Lesson 88: 1 Samuel 18–24
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“Lesson 88: 1 Samuel 18–24,” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual (2014)

“Lesson 88,” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual

Lesson 88

1 Samuel 18–24


Saul appointed David leader over his armies but became jealous of David’s success and sought to kill him. David fled from Saul, and he and the men who joined him received help from several people. While hiding in a cave, David had the opportunity to kill Saul but chose to let him live because a prophet of God had anointed Saul.

Suggestions for Teaching

1 Samuel 18

As David behaves wisely and is blessed by the Lord, Saul grows increasingly jealous

Invite students to name some poor choices that people could make because of anger or jealousy. Explain that as students study 1 Samuel 18, they will learn principles that will help them better understand the dangers of anger and jealousy and help them know how to respond when others are angry or jealous.

Summarize 1 Samuel 18:1–5 by explaining that after David defeated Goliath, he became close friends with Saul’s son Jonathan. Saul set David over the army. Jonathan could have been jealous of David’s success, but he instead rejoiced. When Jonathan gave his clothing and weapons to David, he was showing his friendship and his support of David becoming the next king (see 1 Samuel 23:16–17).

Invite a few students to read 1 Samuel 18:6–9 aloud, and ask the class to follow along and look for how Saul felt about David’s success.

  • How did Saul respond to David’s success and recognition in battle?

Point out the phrase “Saul eyed David from that day and forward” in verse 9, and explain that it refers to Saul’s growing jealousy and anger toward David.

Invite students to read 1 Samuel 18:10–11 silently, looking for what Saul did because of his jealousy and anger toward David. Explain that the Joseph Smith Translation changes the phrase “the evil spirit from God” in verse 10 to “the evil spirit which was not of God” (in 1 Samuel 18:10, footnote a).

  • According to verse 11, what did Saul do because of his jealousy and anger toward David?

  • Based on this account, what happens to us when we allow ourselves to be jealous and angry? (After students respond, write the following principle on the board: When we are jealous and angry, we allow the influence of the adversary into our lives.)

  • Why do you think jealousy and anger allow the influence of the adversary into our lives?

Provide each student with a copy of the following statement by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Invite a student to read the statement aloud, and ask the class to follow along.

Holland, Jeffrey R.

“There are going to be times in our lives when someone else gets an unexpected blessing or receives some special recognition. May I plead with us not to be hurt—and certainly not to feel envious—when good fortune comes to another person? We are not diminished when someone else is added upon. We are not in a race against each other. … The race we are really in is the race against sin, and surely envy is one of the most universal of those” (“The Laborers in the Vineyard,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2012, 31).

  • What reasons did Elder Holland give for why we should not feel envious when others receive blessings?

Encourage students to strive to avoid jealousy when others receive a blessing or some other recognition but instead to be excited for others’ blessings or achievements.

Invite a student to read 1 Samuel 18:12–16 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how David behaved in response to Saul’s jealousy and anger.

  • What do you think it means to behave wisely?

Invite a student to read Alma 37:35 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Alma taught his son about being wise.

  • Based on what Alma told his son, what does it mean to behave wisely?

  • What does the phrase “behaved himself wisely in all his ways” in 1 Samuel 18:14 tell us about David? (One way David was wise was through keeping the commandments in everything he did.)

  • What can we learn about behaving wisely from this account about David? (After students respond, write the following principle on the board: As we behave wisely, we invite the Lord to be with us.)

Invite students to answer the following questions in their class notebooks or scripture study journals:

  • When have you seen someone behave wisely in a difficult situation? What lessons did you learn?

  • What can you do to behave wisely in your everyday life? Give specific examples.

Summarize 1 Samuel 18:17–27 by explaining that Saul devised a plan to have David killed. He offered one of his daughters for David to marry if David would kill one hundred Philistines. Saul hoped that David would be killed in battle, but David was victorious and married Saul’s daughter Michal.

Invite a student to read 1 Samuel 18:28–30 aloud, and ask students to look for the differences in the choices Saul and David made. Ask students to report what they find.

1 Samuel 19–22

David receives help as he flees from Saul

Ask students what they would do if someone was chasing them and trying to harm them.

Summarize 1 Samuel 19:1–17 by explaining that Saul commanded his son Jonathan and all his servants to kill David. Jonathan informed David of his father’s plans and persuaded Saul to promise not to kill David. However, after David returned victorious from another battle with the Philistines, Saul’s jealousy returned and he tried repeatedly to kill David.

Invite a student to read 1 Samuel 19:18 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for whom David fled to for help.

  • Why do you think it was wise for David to go to the prophet?

Summarize 1 Samuel 19:19–24 by explaining that when Saul found out David was with the prophet Samuel, he attempted to capture David. However, because of the Lord’s influence, Saul was unable to take him.

Explain that in 1 Samuel 20 we learn that after David left the prophet Samuel, David met with Jonathan and they made a covenant of friendship. Jonathan covenanted to warn David of danger from his father and David covenanted to watch over Jonathan’s family, including his posterity. David decided to hide from the king the next day instead of eating with him, and he requested Jonathan’s help in discovering Saul’s plot against him. When Saul did not see David at his table the next day, he became angry and told Jonathan that if David was allowed to live then Jonathan would never be king. Jonathan sent a message to David to flee for safety.

Invite students to read the chapter headings for 1 Samuel 21–22 silently, looking for whom David fled to for safety and what Saul did to those who helped David.

1 Samuel 23–24

David defeats the Philistines and chooses not to kill Saul

Ask students to imagine the following scenario: You are being continually ridiculed and belittled by a peer at school. This peer also tries to turn your friends against you. One day, you discover a way to get revenge or retaliate.

  • How should you respond to the opportunity to get revenge? Why?

Invite students to look for a principle as they study 1 Samuel 23–24 that can guide them when they are tempted to retaliate against others.

Summarize 1 Samuel 23 by explaining that when Saul discovered David’s location, he again sent his men to capture David. These men pursued David into the wilderness. While in the wilderness, Jonathan found David and encouraged him in his ordeal. While chasing David, Saul learned that the Philistines had again invaded his land, and he returned home to fight the Philistines.

Invite a student to read 1 Samuel 24:1–3 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the situation David found himself in when Saul resumed his pursuit.

  • What situation did David find himself in?

  • How might you have felt if you had been in David’s position and realized that the man who had been trying to kill you was vulnerable and in the cave where you were hiding?

Invite several students to take turns reading aloud from 1 Samuel 24:4–7. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what David did to Saul.

  • What did David do to Saul? (Explain that cutting off the skirt of Saul’s robe meant that David cut off the border of Saul’s robe that symbolized Saul’s authority [see 1 Samuel 24:4, footnote a]. It also showed that David had been close enough to Saul to harm him, but he had chosen not to.)

  • Why didn’t David kill Saul? (If students need help, direct them to verse 6.)

  • If you had been in Saul’s position, how might you have felt when you found out that David had spared your life?

Divide the class into small groups. Invite them to read 1 Samuel 24:8–15 together, looking for why David said he would not kill Saul. Then have them discuss the following questions:

  • Who did David say was the judge between him and Saul?

  • What does David’s remark that he would not stretch forth his hand against the Lord’s anointed (see verses 6 and 10) teach us about David? What principle can we learn from David about not seeking revenge against those who have hurt us?

Ask someone from each group to write on the board the principle they identified. Among the principles students may identify is the following: Because the Lord is a perfect judge, we do not need to seek revenge against those who have hurt us.

Invite students to consider how this principle might help someone know what to do when they have a chance to retaliate against someone who has hurt them.

  • What might be the danger in our trying to judge others?

Encourage students to let the Lord be the judge in situations when others hurt them and to not seek revenge. Remind students to pray for help to overcome any desires to seek revenge they may have. (Note: Seeking revenge is different from seeking justice. Letting the Lord be the judge does not mean you should not seek help when it is needed. For example, victims of any type of abuse should still seek help from parents and priesthood leaders as needed.)

Commentary and Background Information

1 Samuel 19:19–24. “They also prophesied”

Saul attempted to capture David while he was at the dwelling place of Samuel the prophet. “A spiritual phenomenon” saved David from Saul and his messengers (Ellis T. Rasmussen, A Latter-day Saint Commentary on the Old Testament [1993], 246). The phrase “they also prophesied” (1 Samuel 19:20) refers to “a religious exercise of singing or chanting praises to God” (A Latter-day Saint Commentary on the Old Testament, 246).

1 Samuel 24:12. “The Lord avenge me of thee”

President James E. Faust of the First Presidency explained that we should not seek revenge against people who have hurt us:

“We should not respond by seeking personal revenge but rather let justice take its course and then let go. It is not easy to let go and empty our hearts of festering resentment. The Savior has offered to all of us a precious peace through His Atonement, but this can come only as we are willing to cast out negative feelings of anger, spite, or revenge” (“The Healing Power of Forgiveness,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2007, 69).