Shmuel 1-Chapter 19: Shaul tries to kill Dovid

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Chapter 19: Shaul tries to kill Dovid

1. Yehonason informs Dovids of his father’s desire to kill him:

  • Shaul relays his desires to his son and servants: Shaul spoke to his son Yehonason and to all of his servants of his intent to kill Dovid [through causing his accidental death[1]]. However, Yehonason loved Dovid very much.
  • Yehonason informs Dovid of the plot and devises a plan: Yehonason informed Dovid that his father Shaul desires to kill him, and that he should be very careful starting from the morning and sit in a secluded area [in the field that Shaul takes a morning walk[2]], in hiding. I will go out and stand near my father in the field which you are hiding in, and I will speak about your situation to my father, and I will see what he says and inform you.

2. Yehonason reasons with his father to desist from killing Dovid:

  • Yehonason spoke with his father Shaul about Dovid saying: The king should not sin with his servant Dovid, ad he has not sinned to you, and his actions have only benefited you in a very great way. He placed his life on the line to kill the Philistine, and G-d performed a great miracle through him for all of Israel, and you witnessed this and rejoiced, so why should you now sin with the spilling of innocent blood to kill Dovid for no reason. So Shaul listened to Yehonosaon, and swore that by the life of G-d, Dovid will not be put to death.
  • Shaul reconciles with Dovid: Yehonosaon called Dovid and informed him of the conversation, and Yehonosaon then brought Dovid to Shaul, and he served before him as by the previous days.

3. Dovid is successful in battling the Philistines:

  • The battle against the Philistines continued, and Dovid went out to wage war against them and he smote them greatly.

4. Shaul tries to kill Dovid and Dovid escapes:

  • The evil spirit from G-d resided on Shaul while he was in his house holding his sword, and Dovid was playing the instrument before him. Shaul attempted to smite Dovid with his sword, piercing it through him and the through the wall. Dovid however managed to slip away [as he saw the sword leave the hand of Shaul being thrown in his direction[3]], and the sword pierced the wall.
  • Dovid ran away [back to his home[4]] and escaped that night.

5. Michal helps Dovid escape from his home:

  • Shaul plans to put Dovid to death in the morning: Shaul sent messengers to the house of Dovid to guard him and to then put him to death the next day, in the morning.
  • Michal helps Dovid escape: Michal, the wife of Dovid told him that if he does not run away that night, tomorrow he will be put to death. So, Michal helped Dovid descend from the window, and Dovid fled and escaped his
  • Michal makes a mannequin to fool the guards: Michal [attempted to fool the guards to think that Dovid was still sleeping in his bed, and delay them from chasing after him[5] and she thus] took the Terafim [i.e. human shaped figures[6]] and placed it on the bed [of Dovid], and she placed a coat of goat skin over it by its head [to make it appear like human hair[7]] and covered it with a garment [to make it appear as if he was sick and was shielding his head from the cold[8]].

6. Shaul discovers that his daughter tricked him and helped Dovid escape:

  • The Terafim are discovered in Dovid’s bed: When Shaul then sent the emissaries to come bring Dovid, Michal told them that he is sick [and is bedridden]. So, Shaul sent the emissaries to see Dovid and bring him with his bed back to Shaul so he can kill him. The messengers came and recognized that Dovid was nowhere to be found, as there were Terafim in his bed, and a coat of goat skin over its head.
  • Shaul confronts his daughter: Shaul said to his daughter Michal: Why have you fooled me? Why have you sent away my enemy and allowed him to escape. Michal replied to Shaul [with a lie, in order to protect her own life from her father’s wrath[9]]: [You married me to a murderer[10] as] Dovid forced me to do so, as he [held a sword over my head[11] and] told me to send him away lest he will put me to death.

7. Dovid runs away to Shmuel and they settle in Nayos:

  • Dovid fled and ran away to Shmuel in Rama and he told him all that Shaul had done to him.
  • He and Shmuel went and settled in Nayos [which was a Yeshiva for prophets[12] located within Rama[13]].

8. Shaul sends messengers to Nayos to bring Dovid:

  • Shaul was then informed that Dovid was staying in Nayos, in Rama. So, Shaul sent messengers to Nayos to bring Dovid.
  • The messengers join the prophets: The messengers of Shaul arrived in Nayos and saw a group of prophets in a state of giving prophetic vision, with Shmuel standing at their head, orchestrating the prophetic experience. The spirit of G-d then dwelled upon the messengers of Shaul and they too joined the prophetic experience and began prophesizing.
  • A second and third set of messengers are sent and the same occurs: Shaul was informed of what happened with his first batch of messengers, so he sent forth a second group of messengers, and they too joined the prophecy. So, Shaul sent forth a third set of messengers, and they too joined the prophecy.
  • Shaul personally goes to Rama: Shaul went himself to Rama and arrived by a great pit in Shecho and asked as to the whereabouts of Shmuel and Dovid, and was told that they are in [the Yeshiva of] Nayos, which is in Rama. So Shaul arrived in Nayos, in Rama, and the spirit of G-d resided also on him, and he walked back and forth and prophesized until he arrived at Noyos in Rama. He also took off his clothing [of kingship and wore the clothing of the students[14]] and he too prophesized before Shmuel, and he fell [on his face[15]] naked [without his clothing of kingship[16], or like an insane person[17]] that entire day and all that night. They therefore say “Is also Shaul amongst the prophets.”


[1] Metzudos David 19:1

[2] Metzudos David 19:3

[3] Metzudas Dovid 19:10

[4] Metzudas Dovid 19:10

[5] Rashi 19:13

[6] See Metzudos Tziyon 19:13 that Terafim are mannequins of human figures, and some are made for the purpose of idolatry while others are made as a sculpture of a famous person. Now, it was accustomed back then for wives to make a sculpture of their husbands in order to look at their features to to their great love for them.

[7] Rashi 19:13

[8] Ralbag 19:13

[9] Mahariy Karo 19:17

[10] Rashi 19:17

[11] Rashi 19:17

[12] Rashi 17:19

[13] Metzudos David 19:18

[14] Rashi 19:24

[15] Metzudos David 19:24

[16] Metzudos David 19:24

[17] Rashi 19:24

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