Then Saul was very angry, and the saying displeased him; and he said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed only thousands. Now what more can he have but the kingdom?” So Saul eyed David from that day forward. (1 Samuel 18:8-9)
The Poison Of Jealousy
Israel had the greatest army in the world, and it was under the leadership of King Saul. From the beginning of the nation at Mount Sinai, the army of Israel was victorious in almost all of its battles. Only one battle was lost during the wilderness wanderings, and then the travesty of Ai. Saul had a small army compared to the Philistines, but God was on the side of Israel. Nothing could stop the army of Israel.
The Philistines gathered their armies together to battle around the valley of Elah. Saul positioned his army before the great Philistine force in battle array. A champion went out from the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath. He was a giant of a man in size and spirit. Every day for forty days, Goliath would stand before the army of Israel, spewing out curses and threats. Morning and evening, the Philistine challenged anyone in the army of Israel to fight him. When Saul and all of Israel heard about Goliath, they were dismayed and greatly afraid. No one had the courage to face Goliath.
A shepherd boy named David brought food to his brothers, who were among the frightened soldiers of Israel. When David heard the threats of Goliath, he wanted to know why someone had not killed the profaner of the Lord God. His brothers chastised him, and King Saul discouraged the young man not to face Goliath, for it was certain death. David went before Goliath in the name of the Lord and killed the great giant. Israel had a great victory that day at the hand of a shepherd boy who believed in the power of God.
After the defeat of Goliath, Saul enlisted David into his army and became one of the military leaders in the Israeli army. David went out wherever Saul sent him, having great success in his battles. The shepherd boy showed great wisdom in his fighting abilities, winning him many victories over the Philistines. When Saul set David over his men of war, it pleased the entire army and the people. Through the power of God, the Philistines were defeated through David’s leadership. As King of Israel, Saul should have enjoyed the victories gained by his young protégé, but there was a poison of jealousy that filled the heart of Saul.
When the army returned from its victories, the women came out of the cities singing of David’s victory over tens of thousands and Saul’s victories over thousands. Saul was very angry because the people ascribed tens of thousands to David but only thousands to the King. His heart became bitter. The poison of jealousy would drive the King to hate David. Saul would spend the rest of his life chasing David like a flea in the wilderness. His wrath was because David received more accolades than he did, and it infuriated him. Jealousy slowly began killing the heart of Saul.
The sad part of Saul’s jealousy was he could not see that thousands of God’s enemies were being defeated. Saul made a matter of numbers to be a matter of hatred. If David killed ten thousand and Saul killed one thousand, could not the King see that eleven thousand were defeated? Did it matter who received the credit? The truth came from the lips of Goliath when he defied the army of God. Goliath said, “Am I not a Philistine, and you the servants of Saul?” If Saul had dared to trust in God and fight the Philistines, Goliath would have realized the army belonged to the Lord God, not Saul. The jealousy of Saul destroyed him because he did not give glory to God.
It is easy to be consumed by jealousy. Preachers suffer from it, businessmen and women are consumed by it, and young people are pressured into conforming to the world to be accepted. God created man to show His glory in their lives in whatever abilities they have. The only man who was a perfect example of the glory of God was Jesus Christ, and He never was jealous of anyone. The Jewish leaders were jealous of Jesus, and they killed him. Saul should have gloried in the life of David. Instead, he allowed jealousy to destroy his life and good name.