The events in 1 Samuel are likely to have occurred over a few days. They are informative and entertaining. No one should think that Old Testament times were crude and rustic or unsophisticated and dull. Sometimes we stress how advanced our 21st century societies are, but here is a snapshot from Saul’s reign over ancient Israel (1 Samuel 19) which shows a king mired in folly (1 Sam 19:1, 10, 15, 19, 20, 21), a prince and princess mightily in love (2, 11, 12, 13), a warrior-king in-waiting humble and needy (18), tricks in the family (12, 13, 14), and prophecy sprinkled around (20, 21, 23) like the grains at a wedding.
Observations and Comparisons
Typically the 21st century is hard on ancient figures and kind to itself even though we are aware more downward plunges than sparkling climbs. Generally it is recognized that humanity is accelerating towards a spiritual and sensual abyss. We are not improving. Technological advancements are fleeting value when selfishness and conflict are not seen as mortal threats.
Had Saul succeeded in his murderous plot would that not have been an extrajudicial killing? If Saul’s children had been totally loyal to their father Israel’s second and greatest king would not have acceded to the throne. Notice however that God gave Saul a taste of prophetic experience even as he persisted to seek David’s life.
Kings change their minds, so do people in love, students, married couples, employees and employers. Not every affliction is the result if a malevolent spirit, that is, a demon.
The snapshot ends with a saying “Saul…a prophet” and we have no idea what his prophecies were but we have hundreds of David’s.
It would be extremely unhealthy to cling to views of the ancient world that trash the witnesses, like Saul, Jonathan, Michal, and David while we pat ourselves on the back for a better testimony than Adam, Eve, and Abraham, to name a few. Jonathan speaks enduring wisdom to us:
For he took his life in his hand and he struck down the Philistine, and the Lord worked a great salvation for all Israel. You saw it, and rejoiced. Why then will you sin against innocent blood by killing David without cause? 1 Samuel 19:5