When I began my ministerial career, this chapter laid out the awful and detrimental affects of jealousy for me.1 Samuel 18 has always been a fascinating chapter for me.
I'm sure Saul was grateful for David's contribution to the defeat of the Philistine. But in no way did he expect this young man to be more glorified than the king.
Saul was faced with 2 options: let it go, for people will always be fickle or get angry and let it eat at him. He chose the latter.
But he's not the only one who would choose the latter. Think about how many times we get jealous about our neighbor. Or how upset we get when someone else gets the credit we feel we deserve. Saul was already insecure after hearing that God will tear the kingdom away from him.
Now, this guy has risen up and is the people's champion. Everyone is smelling what he's cooking. (Rock reference? Anyone…?) David can do no wrong. This would make anyone upset. We've all drank from Jealousy's kool-aid.
Saul eventually became afraid of David. “Saul was afraid of David” (v. 12a). And as a wise man once said, “Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” (Okay, technically, he wasn't a “man”…)
Saul was consumed with jealousy, anger, and hatred for David. And Saul, his family, and his kingdom suffered because of his obsession with the hatred for David. He used a lot of manpower in hunting David down. I'm sure there were other (and better; productive) things that the king could do.
In fact, he was so blinded by his obsession, he was willing to exploit his daughter's feeling for David to eliminate David. His daughter became nothing more than a pawn in this game that only he was playing. If we're not careful, we can let jealously really do damage to everyone around us.
If we don't get these emotions in check, we can do things that are outside of our character and integrity.
Jealousy can be destructive and damaging.
One “simple” (and I say “simple” because it's easier said than done) antidote to the poison of jealousy (particularly in a ministry setting) is to remind ourselves over and over; through and through that ministry is not about us. It is not about your teammates and what they are doing and what they are accomplishing. It's not about how much hours you spend in your office and how little the other pastor spends in hers. It's not about how much you're getting paid (or not getting paid).
It's not about you.
Nor is it about them.
It's about God.
And if we get that mantra rooted deeply in our hearts, jealousy doesn't become such a poison to our lives.
Shifting gears — I recently (finally) started watching The Walking Dead. I'm only halfway through the 2nd season so save your spoilers.
In the second season, Daryl gets hurt looking for a missing girl and is attacked by zombies. He eventually overcomes them and then wears the ears of the zombies around his neck.
That image of him wearing the necklace of Zombie ears completely reminded me of this chapter.
Saul says he'll give his daughter Michal to David for the price of 100 Philistine foreskins.
David brings 200.
“They counted out the full number to the king” (v. 27b)
Did David carry them back in a sack?
Did he also, a la Daryl, wear them around his neck?
And… how were they able to tolerate the smell…?
And I love the mental imagery of counting the foreskin out in front of Saul. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7… 110. 111. 112. *wait, stop talking for a second* 11… 111? 112? Dang it! I lost count. *sigh* 1. 2….
And what did Saul do with them afterwards? I would've avoided the soup that night at the castle… just in case.
So there you have it — a look at how destructive jealousy can be in our lives followed by having 200 foreskins counted in front of you. All in one chapter.