The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The First Book of Kings
By the time he had finished speaking with Saul, David’s heart was knit to the heart of Jonathan by a close bond, and Jonathan loved David thenceforward as dearly as his own life.
It was then that Saul took David into his service, and would not allow him to go back home;
and Jonathan, loving him dearly as his own life, made a covenant of friendship with David,
took off his robe and all his gear, even to sword and bow and belt, and gave them to David to wear.
This way and that David went at Saul’s bidding, and his skill never failed him; when Saul put him at the head of his army, he earned the good will of the whole people, and of Saul’s servants above the rest.
But when David returned from slaying the Philistine, the women who came out from every part of Israel to meet Saul, singing and dancing merrily with tambour and cymbal,
matched their music with the refrain, By Saul’s hand a thousand, by David’s ten thousand fell.
And at this Saul was much displeased; it was no song to win his favour. What, he said, ten thousand for David, and but a thousand for me? What lies now between him and the kingship?
So ever after, Saul eyed him askance.
Next day, the evil mood had come upon Saul, divinely sent, and a frenzy took him, there in his house;✻ David was playing, as he ever did, upon the harp, and Saul, who had a lance in his hand,
threw it at him, thinking to pin David to the wall. Twice David must needs flee from his presence, thus threatened.
Saul, then, began to fear David, as the heir to that divine favour he had lost;
to remove him from his person, he gave him command of a thousand warriors, so that he must take the field at the head of his men.
David’s skill never failed him in his enterprises, and the Lord was ever at his side;
and Saul, seeing how well he prospered, began to be afraid of him;
he was in high favour, too, with the men of Israel and Juda, marching out to battle at their head.
Saul, therefore, promised him the hand of his elder daughter, Merob, in marriage, if he would play a man’s part in fighting the Lord’s battles; No need for me to touch him, Saul thought to himself, let the Philistines rid me of him.
Why, David answered, who am I, what rank have I, what place does my father’s kindred hold in Israel, that I should become the king’s son-in-law?
And sure enough, when the time came that David should have wedded Saul’s daughter Merob, her hand was given to Hadriel the Molathite instead.
Meanwhile, David had fallen in love with his younger daughter, Michol; and Saul was well pleased when he heard of it.
I will promise her, thought Saul, in such a way as to entrap him; the Philistines shall rid me of him. And he told David, I have a second condition for thee to fulfil, and thereupon thou shalt have my daughter.✻
Meanwhile, Saul had bidden his servants encourage David, when he himself was not by, telling him what favour the king, what love the king’s servants bore him; it was time he became the king’s son-in-law.
But when they whispered these hopes to him, David said, Think you such a prize is won easily, when a man has neither purse nor station?
When his servants came back to him with the news that David had answered thus,
Saul bade them tell David, The king claims no bridal gifts, if thou wilt bring him the foreskins of a hundred Philistines, to give him a royal revenge on his enemies. In this way, Saul thought to betray David into the power of the Philistines;
but when they told him what their master had said, David was well pleased to win the king’s daughter so.
A few days afterwards, he set out with the men under his command, slew two hundred Philistines, and brought back their foreskins, which he counted out before the king as the price of his bride. And now Saul must give David his daughter Michol’s hand.
That the Lord was with David, Saul could tell beyond doubt, and here was his daughter Michol David’s loving wife;
more than ever Saul grew afraid of him, and remained thenceforward his enemy.
Meanwhile, the Philistine chiefs came out to battle; David, from the time when their attacks began, shewed greater skill than all the rest of Saul’s officers, and his name was in high renown.
The Holy Bible