Usually figuring as the episode of David & Goliath used to emphasize boldness in God & Horatio Alger- type potential, this story can also be appreciated as the romance (ref Fr "roman", a rip- roaring tale) of David & Michal, which is tragically illustrative of the conflict arising when political identities get in the way of personal relationships (viz Roderigo & Chimene of El Cid, Lancelot & Guinivere of Round Table cycle).
Around 900 BC following the period of the Judges. David would become the foremost king in Israel's fledgling kingdom of tribes.
Occupies second half of 1st Samuel, the book which takes the high priest Samuel from cradle to grave (So why is there a 2nd Samuel?), winding up with David set to take over when the original king Saul and his sons are all killed in a battle with the Philistines. ~Paralled by sections of 1st Kings.
`(additional, topical ref.s).
Old Samuel, the high priest, had served as the last of the judges over Israel's twelve tribes ever since God called him when he was a young boy. It had been his duty, as the peoples' representative and at God's direction, to single out and set up the throne of Saul, who became the first of the kings of all Israel.
King Saul, an imposing figure of a man thrust into an unexpected role, exerted all the force he could now command in the thankless task of trying to weld the diverse tribes into a nation. He and his family established the palace at Gibeah, somewhat to the north of what would later be Jerusalem. His family included his wife, three sons and two daughters; all the children being well grown.
In seeking to prove himself the kind of masterful ruler the people would acknowledge, however, Saul on occasion took matters into his own hands in violation of established practices or others' expectations. When Samuel as spokesman openly upbraided him for overreaching and putting his own affairs before concern for God's will, Saul grew to suspect what he felt was jealous criticism of his authority and resistance to his rule on all sides.
Eventually, as the new king was made the focus of responsibility, Saul's troubles of unrest within his kingdom and foes without multiplied, and as he doggedly sought to justify himself rather than look for guidance or admit his limitations, he fell subject to fits of unreasoning fear or violent outbursts. Then Samuel was told by the voice of God that it would now be necessary to find someone who could succeed Saul as king, for Saul in his stubbornness had repudiated God's favor.
Samuel was mystified by all this. Here he was being charged to resume his role as judge, to go and seek out another who would bear the anointing of God, while the existing king would not be replaced, and Saul's eldest son Jonathan would rightly perceive himself the crown prince. When God instructed Samuel to travel to Bethlehem, He told him to go under the pretext of making a sacrifice there, so that what occurred would be in secret, kept from all. Samuel left, shaking his white beard.
In Bethlehem, Samuel repaired after the sacrifice to the expansive house of Jesse, whose name had been revealed to him in God's earlier instructions; proposing to spend the night there. He felt God would inspire him to know on sight whom He had elected for this strange honor. As it did not appear to be Jesse himself, Samuel had his attendants wait outside while he went in to confer privately. At Samuel's request, Jesse informed him that all his sons still lived and worked here at home, and brought his eldest in to be introduced. One after the other, seven men in descending age were presented to Samuel who admired their bearing, yet did not recognize the sign that he'd expected in any of those he saw.
With an awkward smile and a wistful glance toward the strong- featured Eliab (the oldest), Samuel thanked Jesse for having humored him in this wish to look upon all of his sons. At that, Jesse allowed that, well, he did have one more son, who being the youngest had been left to look after the flocks in the field. Samuel hurriedly called for one of the servants who had accompanied his train from the palace to go and fetch the boy in.
When the servant got to the place where the sheep were kept, he followed the sound of soft singing in the dark to find the young David strumming a harp to calm the animals, which seemed to respond to the peaceful notes. Taking over the watch, he told David that his father and the priest were awaiting him at home. David hastened back, and had hardly crossed the threshold when Samuel was struck, despite his impression of the boy's youth and innocence, with the conviction that here was the one he sought.
To the consternation of all in the room, Samuel produced a horn of oil and, invoking God's Holy Spirit, poured it upon David to signify that this was now God's choice for one who would be a symbol and a leader for His people. Feeling unequal to a fuller explanation, Samuel then left the greatly puzzled and slightly incredulous family of Jesse to seek a short retreat away from momentous involvements in his hometown of Ramah. The bulk of his train returned to the capital at Gibeah none the wiser, and things pretty much went back to normal.
The scene at the palace was not a pleasant one, though. King Saul's changeable temperament continued to worsen to the point at which he became a danger to himself and to those around him. At length, the palace were agreed that a way at least to lessen the overall tension and deter Saul's bouts of rage and denial would be to provide a soothing and distracting surrounding with music and song for the king. When word was passed among the servants to try to find musicians who could reliably attend the king and mollify him by singing and playing, the servant who had found David playing for the sheep called him to mind and said he thought he knew of just the sort of guy to fill the bill.
In short order David made his appearance at the palace and soon came to be recognized as one of the very few players whose presence suited the king, as well as one who could handle himself if the raging Saul started throwing things. David's willingness to make himself available as needed in his concern for Saul led to his favorably impressing Saul's younger daughter Michal when together they would have to help the king to his chambers in a state of collapse.
As time went on, David became enamored of Michal, attracted by her gentle behavior and activity, but this only served to bear in upon him the apparent disparity between their upbringing: he until recently a shepherd hired as a musician, and she raised as a princess. Michal for her part fondly returned the emotion, but the likelihood of making any personal commitment seemed very remote to both.
~In his moments of rage and denial he could attack his own family, issue a regrettable decree, alienate his subjects, show an unkingly image, injure or disable someone. - avoid exposure of this condition, lessen the severity of any demonstrations, and hopefully arrest the progress of its influence
God assigns Samuel to annoint new king in secret - God sends Samuel to Jesse's house - Samuel objects that he can't keep such an expedition secret from Saul, and God tells Samuel to "fake it": as though going for sacrifice at (Bethlehem) altar - not surprising that Saul becomes paranoid with such deceptions occuring about him
Samuel can't discern likely candidate in Jesse's sons until he sends one of his servants to the field to get David, the youngest - servant finds & overhears David singing to calm the sheep, then brings him back to Samuel, who privately proclaims him God's choice as the next king, but must wait until Saul is removed in God's time
Samuel returns to court - Saul begins to be taken by bouts of depression and ferocity due to perceived isolation/ persecution - Samuel's servant remembers David's singing ability (not knowing of his annointing) and proposes trying bringing David in as a troubador to calm Saul
David is brought to court - is assisted by Michal, Saul's daughter, in helping Saul recover from his occasional fits - David becomes enamored of Michal, attracted by her gentle behavior and activity, but this serves to impress him with the apparent disparity between their upbringing: he until recently a shepherd hired as a musician, and she raised as a princess - Michal returns the emotion, but likelihood of any personal commitment seems very remote to both
David visits back home & is given picnic food to take to his brothers who are with the army of civil defense arrayed against the Philistine invaders - gawks at appearance of Goliath with the others - upon hearing a soldier say that Saul has offered princeship & Michal's hand to one who could defeat Goliath (note "What's that you say?!" or "Say what?!" doubletake [1Sa 17:26]), David jumps up on a soapbox and yells: "Men, we can't let him insult our God that way. I'll take on the Philistine bum!"
David convinces Saul to let him try it - Saul is swayed by David's incentive & motivation which he admires, but seems to impute/ attribute to a desire for personal advancement - David fights & kills Goliath
Michal & David's brideprice from Saul leads to ascension of David's popularity as warrior leader over Saul
2 Sam 5:4 David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years.
Happy ending of part one. Part two continues with disrupting heartaches and the distancing of the two lovers' souls (sigh).