“And there was war again: and David went out, and fought with the Philistines, and slew them with a great slaughter; and they fled from him. And the evil spirit from the LORD was upon Saul, as he sat in his house with his javelin in his hand: and David played with his hand. And Saul sought to smite David even to the wall with the javelin; but he slipped away out of Saul’s presence, and he smote the javelin into the wall: and David fled, and escaped that night. Saul also sent messengers unto David’s house, to watch him, and to slay him in the morning: and Michal David’s wife told him, saying, If thou save not thy life to night, to morrow thou shalt be slain. So Michal let David down through a window: and he went, and fled, and escaped. And Michal took an image, and laid it in the bed, and put a pillow of goats’ hair for his bolster, and covered it with a cloth. And when Saul sent messengers to take David, she said, He is sick. And Saul sent the messengers again to see David, saying, Bring him up to me in the bed, that I may slay him. And when the messengers were come in, behold, there was an image in the bed, with a pillow of goats’ hair for his bolster. And Saul said unto Michal, Why hast thou deceived me so, and sent away mine enemy, that he is escaped? And Michal answered Saul, He said unto me, Let me go; why should I kill thee? So David fled, and escaped, and came to Samuel to Ramah, and told him all that Saul had done to him. And he and Samuel went and dwelt in Naioth” (1 Samuel 19:8-18).
As we saw in a previous study, Michal was meant to be a trap to ensnare David. Saul knew what she was capable of and thought that she could be used to get rid of David once and for all. The only problem was that Michal loved David and would lie to her father about his escape from his clutches. It is interesting to note that Michal is the only woman mentioned in the Bible that is said to love a man.
King Saul must have been envious of David’s victory over the Philistines, or it is possible that his hatred of him grew when his dreams of him dying in battle were shattered. Once again David was called upon to play music because Saul was in another of his foul moods and fits of depression. The demonic attacks on his mind were making a lunatic out of him. How quickly Saul had forgotten his promise to Jonathan, “As the LORD liveth, he shall not be slain” (1 Samuel 19:6). Though he was in a state of madness, Saul knew what he wanted to do, for he was sitting there with his javelin in his hand. David was alert to what the king might do, so managed, by the grace of God, to flee from his presence without harm as the javelin was thrown.
Maybe because of conquest and the notion that David was about to make his move to take the throne, Saul placed spies around his house to watch his every move. They were ordered to kill David early the next morning, but Michal told him of her father’s evil plan. There was no other choice but to flee from Jerusalem, so David escaped through a window in the night. Psalm 59:1-4 is David’s reflection on this event, “Deliver me from mine enemies, O my God: defend me from them that rise up against me. Deliver me from the workers of iniquity, and save me from bloody men. For, lo, they lie in wait for my soul: the mighty are gathered against me; not for my transgression, nor for my sin, O LORD. They run and prepare themselves without my fault: awake to help me, and behold.”
As commanded, the men watching David entered the house the next morning to kill David. Michal had set the scene before they arrived. The dummy she had constructed looked like David was in bed. Michal told them that David was sick and could not get up. This deception seemed to work until Saul ordered the bed and David in it to be brought before him.
King Saul was obviously not pleased when he learned that his prize trickster had tricked him. What he thought would be a curse to David actually turned out as a blessing at this instance, “But the LORD thy God turned the curse into a blessing” (Deuteronomy 23:5). Michal lied about David forcing her to help him escape because she was fearful of what her father would do to her. The problem is that her lie only put fuel on the raging fire in Saul’s heart. Now he had some justification to hunt David down, for he had threatened to kill the king’s daughter.
We see something of Michal’s character and spiritual condition here. It is highly unlikely that she loved God, the fact that she had an idol [teraphim] in the house is evidence of this. The teraphim was a household god which woman of that time seemed to like having around, but this does not suggest that she actually worshipped it.
David fled to Samuel in Ramah, “Both for comfort and direction in his distress; and for safety, supposing that Saul would be ashamed to execute his bloody designs in the presence of so venerable a person as Samuel” (John Wesley). But the prophet understanding the seriousness of the situation, knowing that his house would be the first port of call for Saul, took David further away to Naioth.
King Saul had all the military might of the nation at his disposal, but none of it was enough to capture David. Saul had weapons but David had God. While it seemed like a hopeless situation for David, while he put his trust in God, he would always have divine protection. “The LORD hear thee in the day of trouble; the name of the God of Jacob defend thee; Send thee help from the sanctuary, and strengthen thee out of Zion; Remember all thy offerings, and accept thy burnt sacrifice; Selah. Grant thee according to thine own heart, and fulfil all thy counsel. We will rejoice in thy salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners: the LORD fulfil all thy petitions. Now know I that the LORD saveth his anointed; he will hear him from his holy heaven with the saving strength of his right hand. Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God. They are brought down and fallen: but we are risen, and stand upright. Save, LORD: let the king hear us when we call” (Psalm 20).