Although David rejected the armor of Saul, he receives Jonathan’s garb gladly – and just like John the Baptist who was not worthy to even untie the straps of Christ’s sandals (John 1:27), so also Jonathan prepared the straight path for the typological Saviour to tread on. It is this ‘covenant’ love which defines so much of brotherhood that David and Jonathan’s souls are knit – just as Christ’s Spirit knits our soul to His. What we see here is a picture of the incarnation – that Christ would take on our flesh and restore it; this image of David wearing Jonathan’s entire garb is akin to seeing the victorious Christ as adam, rather than the Angel. This image of Jonathan loving David is akin to that of the second John (the Baptist)’s love for Christ when they were but a fetus (Luke 1:15, 1:41). Yet, more importantly, was that David retained his role as servant (v.23) – but assumed the role of a king. David fought the Philistines regularly, leading the men (v.5-6) and gaining approval – whereas Saul only focused on political manipulation (v.7-9). Where Saul asked for 100 foreskins, David provided twice the amount (v.25-27): and this victory was achieved by the mark of the covenant circumcision, that this circumcision is given to the Philistines as a mark of their death, whilst it is a mark of blessing for those in Israel. It is only by this covenant, this symbol, that David is exalted to be the son of the king, just as Christ was exalted to sonship by the circumcision of his life, the cutting of the Seed on the cross.
Furthermore, David was the centre of attention of the Israelites; of Michal; of Jonathan – and all that supported Saul’s kingdom quickly crumbled around him. Instead of being married to Merab under whom David would have had to submit to Saul, he is instead married to Michal without such a condition of allegiance (compare v. 17 and v.21); and although Saul intends it for evil, this dark prototype of Judas, the LORD meant it for good that David would be thrown into the pit of the Philistines and return as the rightful king of Judah and Israel (beginning with 2 Samuel 2). David is instead married to Michal out of the LORD’s will, and not to Merab in whom lies Saul’s will and remnant lineage, the increase tied to the dancing flock of God, before the crushing of his house in the final chapter of 1 Samuel. This is meant to provide a ray of hope in what is otherwise an ominous future for Saul’s household as being the tool of evil to achieve the ‘resurrection’ of David as true king of Israel.
And similarly, this was the picture of power taken from Satan after it being temporarily supplied to him; the picture of the resurrection and life after death; of dry land after water; of the restoration of Israel in Canaan after her slavery in Egypt. This theme is consistent throughout the Testaments, and here we see once more that Saul had always been a tool (1 Samuel 8, 10) and never the true Anointed King; whereas David is the man after God’s heart, to typify the Christ who is the only true God-man who knows the Father’s will and chose to follow Him perfectly. He maintains his humbleness throughout, like Christ the Jew and son of a carpenter; who is David’s relatives and his father’s clan in Israel that he should be son-in-law to the king (v.18)? His grandfather was Boaz, the kinsman redeemer of Ruth; he was of Israelite-Moabite ancestry; yet he was no high priest. He did not come from Saul’s line of descendants. Like Melchizedek, David came from anonymity – just as Christ would come from anonymity.
And like Christ who was increasingly exalted throughout his life-long ministry as Jesus of Nazareth until the great work on the cross leading to his ascension, so we are pulled up into His ascension, as a body follows the Head, to find ourselves adopted into the lineage of the king. We are sons of God. We are the priesthood. We are the co-heirs of new creation. We are the princes. Just as Christ proved by his works that he was the true son of God, so also David’s exaltation equally exalted Jonathan as he wore his garb, exalted Michal as he entered into marriage with her, exalted the Israelites as he defeated the Philistines and committed himself regularly to the LORD’s battles (v.17, v.30). The only person to disprove of David as the Mediator of Israel is Saul – and such is the jealousy of the man who did not wish for David to mediate between the Father and him, because Saul did not acknowledge David as the typological Son of God. Just as Christ was in the world but not of it, so David was with the people (v.13-16) though he acknowledged before men that he was not worthy to be the son of the king (v.22-?), while Saul raved within his house (v.10) rather than going before his people.
It is from this context that we learn why and how the evil spirit from God rushed upon Saul – because of jealousy, the age-old sin of Satan. His jealousy to sit on the throne when he was but a guardian cherub – as if he was not beautiful enough! (Ezekiel 28) As the Morning Star (Isaiah 16?) this did not please him; and Saul, like Satan, eyed the Christ. Like Esau who could have served Jacob, like Cain who could have served Abel, like the elder brother who could have supported the younger brother – like the tribes of Israel could have served Joseph, the type of Christ (Genesis 37); finally, like Israel with the Gentiles (Romans 3; Romans 10-11). The sin of jealousy runs rife throughout Scripture as a continual theme of Satan’s foundational attribute of his fall running in the veins of several types of the Anti-Christ. “Saul has struck down his thousands, and David his ten thousands” – indeed! What glory it is for our Christ to strike down our enemies with such swiftness and effectiveness without even the need of a sword, the weapons of men (chapter 17:50) because the Father was with him, just as this truth is poured down through Christ onto David, as Christ was with David! But what Saul wanted was not God’s honour; he was afraid of David because the LORD had left him (v.12) – but it would be detrimental if we only focused on the troubling possibility of the LORD leaving someone, or the Spirit leaving someone. The overarching theme of these chapters in 1 Samuel have always been about ‘the true anointed king’ – which Saul was not. Instead, Saul represented the first age of power, the shadow of the truth – Israel; and for the LORD to be with David, the type of Christ, we see that what Samuel wanted to convey is the two headships in contention: there can only be one king. There can only be one LORD of Israel. Is the LORD with David, or is He with Saul? Through David, Israel received her due blessings; yet through Saul, Israel was cursed with hunger, and was war-ridden without rejoice (1 Samuel 14). If Saul was to serve David, he would also receive the blessings of salvation and inherit David’s success (v.30) as his own like what the rest of Israel are doing in this chapter; yet the following chapters will show the length at which Saul would go to continue to usurp the throne of the Father by denying God’s election of David through Christ alone.