November 19, 2023 – 1 Samuel 18 – 25

Lesson Date: November 19, 2023

Focal Scripture Passage: 1 Samuel 18:5-16; 19:8-10; 23:14-18; 24:1-12; 25:1

AIM: To lead students to discover how David responded to hatred and personal attacks, and to commit themselves to responding to hatred in a godly manner.


Before class: Read the notes on 1 Samuel 18 – 25 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book.  Write the word “Hatred” on the board (or screen).


INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Direct the students’ attention to the word “Hatred” written on the board (or screen).  Ask: “How would you define the word hatred?” (extreme dislike, disgust, or ill will).  Ask: “How does hatred manifest itself?  How is it shown?” (usually in a desire to hurt or do harm to someone).

Tell the class that we see examples of hatred every day, as we hear about violent crimes, murders, and mass shootings.  Tell them that sometimes hatred is expressed toward an entire group of people, as in the racial hatred in our nation’s past and the hatred of Jewish people we are seeing today.  Tell them that sometimes hatred is more personal: one person disliking and desiring to harm another.

Ask: “Has anyone every hated you and tried to do you harm?  If so, how did you respond?”  (allow time for some responses).

Tell the students that the natural, fleshly thing to do when someone hates us and tries to hurt us is to respond in kind: to try to hurt them.  Ask: “That is the natural way, but is it the Christian way?” (allow time for some responses).

Tell the class that the title of today’s lesson is Responding to Hatred.  Tell them as we study some events in 1 Samuel 18 – 25, we will learn how David responded to hatred and personal attacks.



  1. Review.
    • Tell the students that we are nearing the end of our study of 1 Samuel.
    • Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (the title was How Will You Face Your Giants?)
    • Remind the students that as we studied the familiar story of David and Goliath, we learned about three different ways to face fearful “giants” in our lives.
  2. Saul Envied, Hated, and Feared David.
    • Ask a volunteer to read 1 Samuel 18:5.
    • Ask: “How did David handle his responsibility as a military commander?” (he followed Saul’s orders and behaved wisely).
    • Ask: “How did the people of Israel (including Saul’s servants and advisers) feel about David?” (they accepted and loved him).
    • Ask a volunteer to read 1 Samuel 18:6-7.
    • Ask: “What did the women say about Saul, and what did they say about David?” (they said Saul had killed thousands, but David had killed tens of thousands).
    • Read 1 Samuel 18:8-9.
    • Ask: “How did Saul feel about this?” (he was hurt, angry, and envious of David).
    • Ask: “Had David done anything wrong to deserve such hatred?” (no).
    • Ask a volunteer to read 1 Samuel 18:10-11.
    • Ask: “What happened in verse 10?” (the evil spirit came upon Saul again, and David played music to soothe him).
    • Ask: “What did Saul try to do to David?” (kill him with a javelin).
    • Ask: “What did David do?” (ran away to save his life; note that this happened twice).
    • Stress the fact that it is not wrong to flee from bodily harm.
    • Ask a volunteer to read 1 Samuel 18:12.
    • Ask: “Why was Saul afraid of David?” (he recognized that the Lord was with David, but had departed from Saul).
    • Stress the fact that sometimes people will hate us simply because we belong to God.
    • Read 1 Samuel 18:13-16.
    • Tell the class that Saul sent David away in command of a thousand soldiers.
    • Ask: “According to verse 14, how did David perform as a military commander?” (he behaved wisely because the Lord was with him).
    • Ask: “According to verse 15, how did Saul feel about David?” (he was afraid of him).
    • Ask: “According to verse 16, how did all the people feel about David?” (they loved him).
    • Read 1 Samuel 19:8-10.
    • Explain that once again, Saul tried to kill David with a javelin, but David escaped.
    • Ask: “Did David do anything to harm Saul or the nation?” (no, he served faithfully).
    • Summarize: In spite of the fact that David had done nothing but good for Saul and for Israel, Saul envied, hated, and feared David.
  3. Saul Hated and Tried to Kill David.
    • Explain the following:
      • Saul’s son Jonathan loved David very much.
      • He saw in David spiritual qualities that were lacking in his father.
      • Jonathan made a covenant with David and helped him escape from Saul, who still wanted to kill David.
    • Read 1 Samuel 23:14-15.
    • Tell the students that David was hiding in the wilderness of Ziph (south of Bethlehem; locate on the Map).
    • Ask: “Why did David hide in the wilderness?” (Saul was searching for him every day, trying to kill him).
    • Ask a volunteer to read 1 Samuel 23:16-18.
    • Ask: “What did Jonathan do in verse 16?” (went to David where he was hiding and encouraged him).
    • Ask: “According to verse 17, what did Jonathan know about David’s future?” (that he would one day be king).
    • Ask: “Who else knew this?” (Saul).
    • Ask: “How do you think that made Saul feel toward David?” (it gave him even more desire to kill David so he would not take his throne).
    • Remind the students that God had rejected Saul from being king (1 Sam. 15:23).
    • Summarize: Saul hated and wanted to kill David, not for anything David had done, but because God had chosen David to replace Saul as king.
  4. David Refused to Harm Saul.
    • Read 1 Samuel 24:1-2.
    • Ask: “What did Saul learn and what did he do?” (he learned that David was in En-gedi, so he went after him with 3,000 men; locate En-gedi on the Map).
    • Read 1 Samuel 24:3-6.
    • Explain that Saul went into a certain cave to relieve himself, and it “just happened” (by Divine providence) to be the very cave in which David and his men were hiding!
    • Ask: “What did David’s men urge him to do?” (kill Saul).
    • Ask: “What did David do?” (cut off a part of Saul’s robe).
    • Tell the class that afterward, David was sad that he had done this.
    • Ask: “Why did he feel that way?” (he felt he should not raise a hand against Saul since he was still the Lord’s anointed king over Israel).
    • Stress the fact that David had great respect for those in authority over him, regardless of how that person treated him.
    • Ask a volunteer to read 1 Samuel 24:7-8.
    • Tell the students that Saul left the cave and David followed him; David called out to Saul and bowed down before him.
    • Read 1 Samuel 24:9-12.
    • Ask: “What did David show to prove that he did not want to kill Saul?” (he showed the piece of cloth he had cut from Saul’s garment, proving that he could have easily killed Saul in the cave).
    • Ask: “What did David promise Saul at the end of verse 10?” (that he would not raise a hand against Saul, because he was “the Lord’s anointed” king of Israel).
    • Tell the class in verse 11 David insisted that he had done nothing to harm Saul, yet Saul pursued him like a hunted animal.
    • Ask: “In verse 12, who did David say would settle things between him and Saul?” (God).
    • Explain the following:
      • David trusted God to deal with Saul in His way and in His time.
      • David was willing to wait to become king until God removed Saul.
    • Tell the students that David lived out the words of Romans 12:19, which says, “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”
    • Summarize: David responded to Saul’s murderous hatred with respect and restraint, recognizing that God was sovereignly in control of his circumstances.
  5. Samuel Died.
    • Read 1 Samuel 25:1.
    • Tell the class that Samuel, Israel’s great prophet and priest who had anointed both Saul and David, died.
    • Ask: “How did all Israel react to Samuel’s death?” (they mourned his death).
    • Tell the students that David moved his headquarters to the wilderness of Paran, which was far to the southwest in the Sinai Peninsula.
    • Summarize: Samuel died, marking the end of the transition from the time of the Judges to the centralized rule of Israel’s kings.


PERSONAL APPLICATION: Direct the students’ attention once again to the word “Hatred” written on the board.  Stress the fact that Saul hated David and wanted to kill him.  Ask: “What did David do to deserve such hatred?” (absolutely nothing).  Tell the students if they live for the Lord, some people will hate them.

Remind the class that the title of today’s lesson is Responding to Hatred.  Ask: “How did David respond to Saul’s hatred and attacks?” (he maintained a good testimony, he fled and hid from Saul when his life was in danger, and he refused to take vengeance upon Saul).

Ask: “What lessons can we learn from David’s actions about responding to hatred?” (those who oppose God may hate us for no reason, we must remain faithful and obedient to God in spite of man’s hatred, and we must not lash back at those who hate us, but trust God to deal with them).

Explain that in Matthew 5:44, Jesus said it this way, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”

Ask: “Is that easy to do?” (no).  Ask everyone to bow their head and close their eyes.  Urge them to commit to God right now to responding to hatred in a godly manner.  Allow a moment for silent prayer, and then voice a closing prayer.


CONCLUSION: Ask everyone to memorize Matthew 5:44.  Encourage them to respond in a godly fashion to anyone who hates or persecutes them this week.  Give everyone a copy of the new Sunday School Member Quarterly for the winter quarter.  Tell them next quarter we will continue our study of the life of David as we explore the book of 2 Samuel.

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