(Critical Survey of Literature for Students)

After his famous victories over the Philistines, which began with his triumph over the giant Goliath, David rose to great power in Saul’s kingdom. He became the best friend of Saul’s son and heir, Jonathan, entertained Saul with his music, and married Saul’s daughter, Michal. David’s success and popularity, however, made Saul so jealous and envious that he has driven David from Israel and threatened to kill him if he returns from exile. Saul has fallen from favor with God (Jehovah) because he failed to execute the captured Amalekite king, Agag, but he does not blame himself. Instead, in his madness he has come to fear that David is scheming to assassinate him.

Knowing of the upcoming battle with the Philistines, David slips into the Israelite camp in the night and meets with Jonathan and with Michal, whom he has not seen for a long time. Jonathan informs him that Abner, the king’s cousin and a conniving courtier, is deceiving the insane king and encouraging him to kill David. David’s plan is to abase himself before Saul and beg his pardon, although he knows he has done no wrong.

When Saul appears, he complains about his age and the loss of his champion, but Abner insists that David is the cause of Saul’s misfortunes, along with the now-dead priest Samuel, who had anointed David. The confused Saul has come to hate David, but he still admires his qualities of character. In a dream, Saul has seen Samuel take the crown from Saul’s...

(The entire section is 544 words.)