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The Rage of Envy 

The envious destroy themselves, not the ones they envy

First Samuel 18–19

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • January 11, In the year of our Lord, 2014

Song Leader and Song Suggestions: Larry Amberg – I have no suggestions


  1. Augustine once said,

    “From Abel to the end of times, the people of God will always suffer persecution on their journey through time,”

    1. and so it happened in the life of David
    2. by the hands of one who should have protected him.
  2. David single-handedly killed Goliath. 
    1. Every one rejoiced,
      1. including King Saul and his son Jonathan, although
      2. we do not think the Philistines were too happy about it.
    2. However, the rejoicing of Israel caused a problem in Saul’s mind.
  3. Let us see how King Saul and his family reacted to David. 


  1. First Samuel 18.1–7 | Someone Is Honored More than You

    1 Now when he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. 2 Saul took him that day, and would not let him go home to his father’s house anymore. 3 Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul. 4 And Jonathan took off the robe that was on him and gave it to David, with his armor, even to his sword and his bow and his belt. 5 So David went out wherever Saul sent him, and behaved wisely. And Saul set him over the men of war, and he was accepted in the sight of all the people and also in the sight of Saul’s servants. 6 Now it had happened as they were coming home, when David was returning from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women had come out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with joy, and with musical instruments. 7 So the women sang as they danced, and said:

    “Saul has slain his thousands,
    And David his ten thousands.”

    1. Jonathan knit himself to David, becoming one with him.
      1. They became soul brothers,
        1. making a covenant with one another, and
        2. Jonathan gave his armor and weaponry to David,
          1. who did not have any,
          2. although he did not necessarily need it.
      2. What did Jonathan like in David?
        1. Remember how Jonathan defeated about twenty Philistines?
        2. Jonathan believed it was all of the Lord.
          1. David believed his victory over Goliath was all of the Lord.
          2. Therefore, Jonathan saw a kindred spirit in David,

            63 I am a companion of all who fear You,
            And of those who keep Your precepts.
            (Psa 119.63)

            74 Those who fear You will be glad when they see me,
            Because I have hoped in Your word.
            (Psa 119.74)

    2. Saul kept David close,
      1. wanting him for more than harp-playing for relief from a distressing spirit,
      2. sending David out in battles, and
      3. setting David over the men of war of Israel.
    3. The women also praised Saul and David, but (and here was the problem),
      1. they gave more praise to David than to Saul,
      2. crediting Saul with killing thousands, but
        1. David as having slain ten thousands.
        2. If I gave $1000 to each person on left side of the auditorium,
          1. would you all be happy?
          2. Would you be grateful?
        3. If I gave $10,000 to each person on the right side of the auditorium,
          1. what would you on the left think?
          2. Would you start to question why you received only $1000?
  2. First Samuel 18.8–9 | Envy Comes from Discontentment

    8 Then Saul was very angry, and the saying displeased him; and he said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed only thousands. Now what more can he have but the kingdom?” 9 So Saul eyed David from that day forward.

    1. Saul would have been happy with the credit for thousands
    2. until someone got credit for ten thousands.
      1. The spirit of discontentment and envy
      2. settled into his heart.
  3. First Samuel 18.10–15 | Envy Leads to Hatred

    10 And it happened on the next day that the distressing spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied inside the house. So David played music with his hand, as at other times; but there was a spear in Saul’s hand. 11 And Saul cast the spear, for he said, “I will pin David to the wall!” But David escaped his presence twice. 12 Now Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with him, but had departed from Saul. 13 Therefore Saul removed him from his presence, and made him his captain over a thousand; and he went out and came in before the people. 14 And David behaved wisely in all his ways, and the Lord was with him. 15 Therefore, when Saul saw that he behaved very wisely, he was afraid of him.

    1. As a cunning politician,
      1. Pilate knew the motive of the Jewish leaders, and
      2. the following passage from Mark illustrates the danger of envy,

        10 For he knew that the chief priests had handed Him over because of envy (Mark 15.10).
    2. Watch out for envy!
      1. It will create rage in you,
      2. making you want to destroy another person, but
        1. envy destroys the one who has it.
        2. Envy makes you fear a successful person as Saul feared David.
          1. Yet, David meant no harm to Saul.
          2. David would have given his life to save Saul.
            1. Rather than wishing for the glory David received,
            2. Saul should have used David to glorify God and Israel.
  4. First Samuel 18.16 | Envy Sees Others Loved

    16 But all Israel and Judah loved David, because he went out and came in before them.

    1. Saul feared David, but
    2. the whole nation loved him, because
      1. he led them in defeating their enemies,
      2. something that should have pleased Saul.
  5. First Samuel 18.17–27 | Envy Plots

    17 Then Saul said to David, “Here is my older daughter Merab; I will give her to you as a wife. Only be valiant for me, and fight the Lord’s battles.” For Saul thought, “Let my hand not be against him, but let the hand of the Philistines be against him.” 18 So David said to Saul, “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?” 19 But it happened at the time when Merab, Saul’s daughter, should have been given to David, that she was given to Adriel the Meholathite as a wife. 20 Now Michal, Saul’s daughter, loved David. And they told Saul, and the thing pleased him. 21 So Saul said, “I will give her to him, that she may be a snare to him, and that the hand of the Philistines may be against him.” Therefore Saul said to David a second time, “You shall be my son-in-law today.” 22 And Saul commanded his servants, “Communicate with David secretly, and say, ‘Look, the king has delight in you, and all his servants love you. Now therefore, become the king’s son-in-law.’” 23 So Saul’s servants spoke those words in the hearing of David. And David said, “Does it seem to you a light thing to be a king’s son-in-law, seeing I am a poor and lightly esteemed man?” 24 And the servants of Saul told him, saying, “In this manner David spoke.” 25 Then Saul said, “Thus you shall say to David: ‘The king does not desire any dowry but one hundred foreskins of the Philistines, to take vengeance on the king’s enemies.’” But Saul thought to make David fall by the hand of the Philistines. 26 So when his servants told David these words, it pleased David well to become the king’s son-in-law. Now the days had not expired; 27 therefore David arose and went, he and his men, and killed two hundred men of the Philistines. And David brought their foreskins, and they gave them in full count to the king, that he might become the king’s son-in-law. Then Saul gave him Michal his daughter as a wife.

    1. Saul envied and feared David greatly,
      1. leading the king to want David dead,
      2. offering his daughter to David as a wife,
        1. if he would fight the Philistines and defeat them, but
        2. hoping the Philistines would kill David.
    2. Then David shows his humility,
      1. believing he was unworthy to be the king’s son-in-law.
      2. He had only been a shepherd.
    3. Another person in Saul’s family loved David,
      1. Saul’s other daughter Michal, and
      2. Saul would use her to get to David!
    4. David again showed his humility,
      1. believing he was not worthy to be son-in-law to the king, but
      2. when he learned that he could kill 100 Philistines to marry Michal,
        1. David did it, even getting 200 foreskins of the Philistines.
        2. David had to perform circumcisions on 200 dead Philistines.
          1. Afterward, he counted them in number to the king.
          2. Now that was a lovely gift.
  6. First Samuel 18.28–30 | Envy Fears

    28 Thus Saul saw and knew that the Lord was with David, and that Michal, Saul’s daughter, loved him; 29 and Saul was still more afraid of David. So Saul became David’s enemy continually. 30 Then the princes of the Philistines went out to war. And so it was, whenever they went out, that David behaved more wisely than all the servants of Saul, so that his name became highly esteemed.

    1. Saul’s fear grew when he saw two things:
      1. That the Lord supported David, and
      2. that Michal loved David.
        1. Was that not a time to give up?
        2. How could Saul win?
          1. However, I am attempting to reason,
          2. whereas the envious no know logic.
    2. David kept increasing in wisdom,
      1. becoming more popular,
      2. also increasing Saul’s hatred of him.
  7. First Samuel 19.1–6 | Envy Recruits

    19.1 Now Saul spoke to Jonathan his son and to all his servants, that they should kill David; but Jonathan, Saul’s son, delighted greatly in David. 2 So Jonathan told David, saying, “My father Saul seeks to kill you. Therefore please be on your guard until morning, and stay in a secret place and hide. 3 And I will go out and stand beside my father in the field where you are, and I will speak with my father about you. Then what I observe, I will tell you.” 4 Thus Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul his father, and said to him, “Let not the king sin against his servant, against David, because he has not sinned against you, and because his works have been very good toward you. 5 For he took his life in his hands and killed the Philistine, and the Lord brought about a great deliverance for all Israel. You saw it and rejoiced. Why then will you sin against innocent blood, to kill David without a cause?” 6 So Saul heeded the voice of Jonathan, and Saul swore, “As the Lord lives, he shall not be killed.”

    1. Saul sought to get others on his side,
      1. even his own son who loved David.
      2. The envious in their rage cannot see that they are on the losing side.
    2. For the moment, Saul listened to the wisdom of his son Jonathan.
      1. The envious will sometimes know of their evil, but
      2. if they do not repent their evil returns.
  8. First Samuel 19.7–8 | Envy Watches

    7 Then Jonathan called David, and Jonathan told him all these things. So Jonathan brought David to Saul, and he was in his presence as in times past. 8 And there was war again; and David went out and fought with the Philistines, and struck them with a mighty blow, and they fled from him.

    1. Everything appeared to revert back to normal.
    2. However, what made Saul envious initially,
      1. still existed, and
      2. continued as David went to fight the Philistines.
        1. Doing so brought more glory to him, and
        2. more rage from Saul.
  9. First Samuel 19.9–18 | Envy Becomes Jealous

    9 Now the distressing spirit from the Lord came upon Saul as he sat in his house with his spear in his hand. And David was playing music with his hand. 10 Then Saul sought to pin David to the wall with the spear, but he slipped away from Saul’s presence; and he drove the spear into the wall. So David fled and escaped that night. 11 Saul also sent messengers to David’s house to watch him and to kill him in the morning. And Michal, David’s wife, told him, saying, “If you do not save your life tonight, tomorrow you will be killed.” 12 So Michal let David down through a window. And he went and fled and escaped. 13 And Michal took an image and laid it in the bed, put a cover of goats’ hair for his head, and covered it with clothes. 14 So when Saul sent messengers to take David, she said, “He is sick.” 15 Then Saul sent the messengers back to see David, saying, “Bring him up to me in the bed, that I may kill him.” 16 And when the messengers had come in, there was the image in the bed, with a cover of goats’ hair for his head. 17 Then Saul said to Michal, “Why have you deceived me like this, and sent my enemy away, so that he has escaped?” And Michal answered Saul, “He said to me, ‘Let me go! Why should I kill you?’” 18 So David fled and escaped, and went to Samuel at Ramah, and told him all that Saul had done to him. And he and Samuel went and stayed in Naioth.

    1. David was a versatile man.
      1. One day he engaged in warfare,
      2. the next day he played a harp for a king.
    2. Saul’s envy reemerged and he attempted to kill David,
      1. although Saul kept missing.
      2. Either he was a bad shot or the Lord protected David, or both.
        1. Saul’s rage may have kept him from having good aim.
        2. Nothing good associates itself with envy.
    3. First, Saul’s son helped David,
      1. then Saul’s daughter helped the leader of Israel’s army.
      2. When would Saul finally see the truth
        1. that David was a good man and
        2. had the approval of the Lord and of the nation?
          1. However, the Rage of Envy focuses only on the object of its hatred.
          2. It can see and hear nothing else.
    4. David joined himself to Samuel,
      1. the very man who had anointed Saul as the first king of Israel, but
      2. even this did not show Saul the truth.
        1. Saul had become full of himself, and
        2. nothing would turn his fury away from David,
          1. except for David himself
          2. when later David would do something unbelievably kind for Saul,
            1. that not even the rage of his envy could overcome.
  10. First Samuel 19.19–24 | Envy Fails

    19 Now it was told Saul, saying, “Take note, David is at Naioth in Ramah!” 20 Then Saul sent messengers to take David. And when they saw the group of prophets prophesying, and Samuel standing as leader over them, the Spirit of God came upon the messengers of Saul, and they also prophesied. 21 And when Saul was told, he sent other messengers, and they prophesied likewise. Then Saul sent messengers again the third time, and they prophesied also. 22 Then he also went to Ramah, and came to the great well that is at Sechu. So he asked, and said, “Where are Samuel and David?” And someone said, “Indeed they are at Naioth in Ramah.” 23 So he went there to Naioth in Ramah. Then the Spirit of God was upon him also, and he went on and prophesied until he came to Naioth in Ramah. 24 And he also stripped off his clothes and prophesied before Samuel in like manner, and lay down naked all that day and all that night. Therefore they say, “Is Saul also among the prophets?”

    1. This should have shown Saul
    2. that the Lord backed David fully.
      1. However, when you are in a rage,
      2. you cannot see the hand of the Lord.


  1. When someone gets more credit than you, rejoice. 
    1. Perhaps you feel slighted, but
    2. someone, whether God or man or both, knows what you have done, and
      1. you shall be rewarded
      2. on another day in another way.
  2. David did things in the name of the Lord, and 
    1. Saul persecuted David for it,
    2. although Saul may have denied it.
  3. Saul also persecuted his own son, 
    1. who did things in the name of the Lord, and again
    2. I am sure that Saul would have denied it.
  4. However, both David and Jonathan had success, because 
    1. they put their faith in the Lord, and
    2. Saul hated them for that success.
  5. If you live your life in the name of the Lord, 
    1. doing all in the name of the Lord Jesus (Col 3.17),
    2. people will love you for it, but
      1. that will also cause others to envy you, and
      2. they might try to ruin you.
        1. However, remember the words of Jesus,

          11 “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake” (Matt 5.11).
        2. You may even think to yourself as David did,
          1. “What did I do wrong?” but
          2. just keep living as you are.
  6. Follow in the steps of our David, Jesus the son of David. 
    1. Obey Him today.