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1 Samuel 18:5-19:24

David went wherever Saul sent him and was successful in battle; and as a result, Saul made him commander of his army. And all the people, even those who served Saul, were pleased.

On the day they were returning from David’s victory over the Philistine, the women came out from all the cities of Israel to meet the king, singing and dancing with tambourines and other instruments, making joyful music. At one point, the women sang as they danced and celebrated.

Women: Saul has slain his thousands,
and David, his tens of thousands.

This chant made Saul tremble with fury.

Saul: Do you hear this? They have said that David killed tens of thousands and that I only killed thousands. What else is left for him but my kingdom?

From that moment on, Saul was suspicious of David.

10 On the next day, the True God sent an evil spirit to overwhelm Saul and put him in a prophetic state inside his residence. While David was playing the harp, as he did every day to try and soothe the king, Saul had his spear in his hand 11 and decided to throw it at David, thinking, “I will pin him to the wall.” But David twice escaped Saul’s angry attacks.

12 Saul was afraid of David because the Spirit of the Eternal was with him but had left Saul. 13 So, at last, Saul removed David from his presence, making him a commander over 1,000 men, hoping he would die in battle. But David went out to the battle and returned. 14 David was successful in everything he did because the Eternal One was present with him.

15 When Saul saw that David achieved such success, he was amazed and afraid of him. 16 All of Israel and Judah loved David, who led their soldiers into battle and brought them back victorious.

Saul came up with a plan and called David.

Saul: 17 David, I want you to take my oldest daughter Merab in marriage. I ask only one thing in return: valiantly fight the Eternal One’s battles on my behalf.

Saul was thinking that he did not need to murder David himself; instead, the Philistines would eventually kill David.

David (to Saul): 18 Who am I, what have I done, and who is my family in Israel, that I should become the king’s son-in-law?

19 But at the time when Saul’s daughter Merab was to be given to David as his wife, she was instead given in marriage to Adriel the Meholathite. 20 Saul’s daughter Michal, however, loved David; and when Saul heard this, he was pleased.

Although Michal is the only woman in the Bible described as loving a man, this is not a beautiful love story between David and Michal. Michal, the daughter of a king, was born to be a political pawn, not to marry for love. First Saul offers her as a reward to David if he slays 100 Philistines, a task the king is certain will kill David. When David succeeds, Michal helps him build credibility as the future king among the Israelites who do not know that God has already anointed him king. But those Israelites also don’t know that God has condemned Saul’s lineage, declaring that none of his descendants will ascend the throne of Israel. That decry excludes any of Michal’s children, too, so her marriage to David is doomed to failure, no matter how much she loves him.

21 He thought that he would give her to David to trap him in a dangerous situation where the Philistines could still destroy David. So Saul spoke to David again.

Saul (to David): I want you to marry my other daughter.

22 (to his servants) Talk to David privately. Tell him, “The king is very happy with you, and you are loved by those who serve him. So why don’t you become the king’s son-in-law?”

23 So Saul’s servants spoke these words to David as requested, but again he replied modestly.

David: Does it seem to you such a simple thing that I should become the king’s son-in-law? What about the fact that I have no money to pay the brideprice and come from an unknown family with no political connections?

24 Saul’s servants reported David’s concerns back to the king.

Saul: 25 Tell David that in place of the traditional dowry, I want only the foreskins of 100 Philistines, so the king will be avenged against his enemies.

Saul thought David would be killed by the Philistines while attempting this task. 26 When the servants repeated Saul’s words, he agreed to Saul’s terms and decided to fulfill these conditions to be the king’s son-in-law. Before the allotted time elapsed to pay the dowry, 27 David went with his men, killed 200 Philistines, and presented their foreskins to the king so that he could become the king’s son-in-law. So Saul gave David his daughter Michal in marriage; 28 but when the king saw how David enjoyed the favor of the Eternal One, and that his daughter Michal loved him, 29 he felt even more threatened by David. After his plan failed, Saul considered David his constant enemy.

30 Whenever the commanders of the Philistine army came out to fight, David distinguished himself against them more than any of Saul’s other servants, so that everyone valued him.

19 Saul ordered his son Jonathan and all his servants to figure out a way to kill David, but Jonathan was very fond of David.

In the friendship between Jonathan and David, Jonathan stands to lose everything he has if David becomes king, yet he betrays family and ambition by befriending him. These two young men make a pact to protect and love each other in life; and if something should happen to Jonathan, David agrees to honor Jonathan’s descendants out of the love he bears for Jonathan. Later that promise results in David elevating one of Jonathan’s sons to the king’s table. In a time when any reminders of the previous regime would have been distracting and even dangerous, David shows he can do more than just be strategic and political.

Love knocks down barriers and makes us set aside our selfish concerns. This friendship has long been counted as a model for how two people might love and serve each other.

Jonathan (warning David): My father wants you dead. Watch out tomorrow morning. Think of a safe place to hide that nobody knows about. I will go into the field near where you are hiding, and I will speak on your behalf to my father. If I learn anything, I will tell you.

Jonathan spoke generously on behalf of his friend to his father, Saul.

Jonathan: The king should not sin against his servant David, who has never sinned against you. Indeed his achievements have been of real service to you and your kingdom. He faced death when he fought against the Philistine, and the Eternal One gave David a great victory for all of Israel. When you saw it then, you were filled with joy. Why would you now sin against an innocent person like David by killing him without a proper cause?

Saul (considering this counsel): As the Eternal One lives, David should not be murdered.

Jonathan found David and told him everything that had happened, and then Jonathan brought David back into the service of Saul the king.

Once again there was war between Israel and the Philistines, and David went out to fight them. He crushed them and made them flee.

Again the Eternal sent an evil spirit to disturb Saul as he sat at home, spear in hand, listening to David play music; 10 again Saul tried to pin David to the wall with his spear, but Saul missed him and the spear stuck into the wall. David escaped that night and ran to his home.

11 Saul dispatched some of his officers to watch David’s house so that they could kill him the next day. David’s wife Michal warned him.

Michal: If you don’t save yourself tonight, tomorrow morning you’ll be killed.

12 So Michal lowered David down through the window, and he escaped. 13 Then she laid a large idol on the bed, made it a wig of goat’s hair, and covered it with clothes. 14 When Saul’s officers came to take David to the king, she told them, “He’s sick.”

15 Hearing this report, Saul ordered his officers to return and see David for themselves. He would not be deterred.

Saul: Even if you have to carry him to me in his bed, do it so I can kill him.

16 When the officers returned, they threw back the blankets and, instead of David, they discovered the idol with its goat-hair wig in the bed. So they took Michal to Saul.

Saul (to Michal): 17 Why have you betrayed me like this, daughter, and let my enemy escape?

Michal (lying): He said to me, “Let me go. Don’t make me kill you.”

18 David fled to Samuel in Ramah, and he told him everything that had happened. Samuel took David to the town of Naioth, and they lived there.

19 Saul soon learned that David was at Naioth in Ramah, 20 so he sent officers to arrest him and bring him back. But when they came, they found a group of prophets in a prophetic trance with Samuel standing and leading them, and the Spirit of the True God entered Saul’s officers so that they, too, were caught up and prophesied.

21 When Saul heard this news, he sent other officers who were also affected in this way. He sent a third set of officers, and again, the same thing happened when they encountered Samuel and the prophets.

22 So finally Saul went, himself, to Ramah. When he arrived at the large cistern at Secu, he asked where he might find Samuel and David and was told they were at Naoith in Ramah. 23 As Saul traveled, the Spirit of God entered him, and he, too, fell into a constant prophetic trance. When he reached Naoith in Ramah, 24 he stripped off all his clothes and fell into a prophetic ecstasy before Samuel, lying naked all that day and night. (This is another way the saying arose, “Is Saul also one of the prophets?”)

The Voice (VOICE)

The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.

John 8:31-59

Even though many believe, they can not imagine what He means about the lifting up of the Son of Man.

Jesus (to the new Jewish believers): 31 If you hear My voice and abide in My word, you are truly My disciples; 32 you will know the truth, and that truth will give you freedom.

Jewish Believers: 33 We are Abraham’s children, and we have never been enslaved to anyone. How can You say to us, “You will be set free”?

Jesus: 34 I tell you the truth: everyone who commits sin surrenders his freedom to sin. He is a slave to sin’s power. 35 Even a household slave does not live in the home like a member of the family, but a son belongs there forever. 36 So think of it this way: if the Son comes to make you free, you will really be free.

Jesus notices that some of His opponents are listening, so He speaks louder and turns His remarks to them.

37 I know you are descendants of Abraham, but here you are plotting to murder Me because you do not welcome My voice into your lives. 38 As I speak, I am painting you a picture of what I have seen with My Father; here you are repeating the things you have seen from your father.

Jews: 39 Abraham is our father.

Jesus: If you are truly Abraham’s children, then act like Abraham! 40 From what I see you are trying to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth that comes from the Father. This is not something Abraham would do, 41 but you are doing what you have learned from your father.

Jews: We were not born from adulterous parents; we have one Father: God.

Jesus: 42 I come from the one True God, and I’m not here on My own. He sent Me on a mission. If God were your Father, you would know that and would love Me. 43 You don’t even understand what I’m saying. Do you? Why not? It is because You cannot stand to hear My voice. 44 You are just like your true father, the devil; and you spend your time pursuing the things your father loves. He started out as a killer, and he cannot tolerate truth because he is void of anything true. At the core of his character, he is a liar; everything he speaks originates in these lies because he is the father of lies. 45 So when I speak truth, you don’t believe Me. 46-47 If I speak the truth, why don’t you believe Me? If you belong to God’s family, then why can’t you hear God speak? The answer is clear; you are not in God’s family. I speak truth, and you don’t believe Me. Can any of you convict Me of sin?

Jews: 48 We were right when we called You a demon-possessed Samaritan.

Jesus: 49-50 I’m not taken by demons. You dishonor Me, but I give all glory and honor to the Father. But I am not pursuing My own fame. There is only One who pursues and renders justice. 51 I tell you the truth, anyone who hears My voice and keeps My word will never experience death.

Jews: 52 We are even more confident now that You are demon-possessed. Just go down the list: Abraham died, the prophets all died. Yet You say, “If you keep My word, you will never taste death.” 53 Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died; remember? Prophets—are any of them still alive? No. Who do You think You are?

Jesus: 54 If I were trying to make Myself somebody important, it would be a waste of time. That kind of fame is worth nothing. It is the Father who is behind Me, urging Me on, giving Me praise. You say, “He is our God,” 55 but you are not in relationship with Him. I know Him intimately; even if I said anything other than the truth, I would be a liar, like you. I know Him, and I do as He says. 56 Your father Abraham anticipated the time when I would come, and he celebrated My coming.

Jews: 57 You aren’t even 50 years old, yet You have seen and talked with Abraham?

Jesus: 58 I tell you the truth; I AM before Abraham was born.

59 The people picked up stones to hurl at Him, but Jesus slipped out of the temple. Their murderous rage would have to wait.

The Voice (VOICE)

The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.

Psalm 112

Psalm 112

Praise the Eternal!
How blessed are those who revere the Eternal,
who turn from evil and take great pleasure in His commandments.
Their children will be a powerful force upon the earth;
this generation that does what is right in God’s eyes will be blessed.
His house will be stocked with wealth and riches,
and His love for justice will endure for all time.
When life is dark, a light will shine for those who live rightly—
those who are merciful, compassionate, and strive for justice.
Good comes to all who are gracious and share freely;
they conduct their affairs with sound judgment.
Nothing will ever rattle them;
the just will always be remembered.
They will not be afraid when the news is bad
because they have resolved to trust in the Eternal.
Their hearts are confident, and they are fearless,
for they expect to see their enemies defeated.
They give freely to the poor;
their righteousness endures for all time;
their strength and power is established in honor.
10 The wicked will be infuriated when they see the good man honored!
They will clench their teeth and dissolve to nothing;
and when they go, their wicked desires will follow.

The Voice (VOICE)

The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.

Proverbs 15:12-14

12 Those who mock others don’t like being corrected,
so they keep their distance from the wise.
13 A warm, smiling face reveals a joy-filled heart,
but heartache crushes the spirit and darkens the appearance.
14 Those who have understanding hearts hunger after knowledge,
but those with no understanding feast on foolishness.

The Voice (VOICE)

The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.




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