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6. David

6.3 David And Saul

6-3-1 David As A Type Of Christ

We have shown elsewhere that David was a clear type of the Lord Jesus (1). This is what makes the book of Psalms so exciting; for no other Bible character do we have such an intimate expression of his innermost mind. And because David typified Christ, we have here an exquisite insight into the mind of Christ, into the thought processes of the Son of God  . Now this alone should fill us with a sense of wonder. But this morning we want to consider specifically the relationship of David to Saul. It becomes apparent that in the typology, David and his men represent Christ and us, and Saul and his men represent the persecutors of the Lord Jesus in the first century. Consider the evidence for David as a type of Christ from this table:              

Saul vs. David (1 Samuel)

The Jews / Judas vs. Christ

Saul's jealousy was on account of David's victories, especially over Goliath, which represented Christ's conquest of sin (2) (18:7,8; 19:8,9), and his subsequent popularity with the people. Saul watched David's spirituality, observing the close fellowship David had with God (18:15,28)

The Jews were jealous of the evident moral perfection of the Lord Jesus, and his popularity with the people which he seemed to effortlessly achieve. Joseph's brothers had a similar motivation to Saul. David as a type of Christ comes out clearly here.

Saul drove David away from his presence and that of Yahweh, to become a fugitive and vagabond; Saul would not accept any sacrifice from David (1 Sam. 26:19). This has so many connections with the driving out of Cain in Gen. 4:14. In other words, Saul was saying that David was not spiritually fit to be in the land and must therefore be destroyed.

The Jews maintained that Christ was a sinner and therefore merited their persecution.


Jn. 7:46


Christ slipping away from Jews bent on killing him, Jn. 8:59; 7:19


" Ye seek to kill me...which of you convinceth me of sin?" (Jn. 8:37,40,46)

" I have sinned" (19:5)

The very words of Judas (Mt.27:4). Again, we see clearly David as a type of Christ

19:5 Saul wanted to slay innocent blood





David's men =  the uncertain disciples; Jn.14:1; 15:4, 20

David couldn't live in the Jerusalem area, near the temple, as he wished, because of the persecution (Ps. 84:3,10)

Christ didn't stay in Judea because the Jews sought to kill him (Jn.7:1)

God did not deliver David into Saul's hand (23:14)

Jn. 10:39

Saul: " Where is he?" at the feast (20:27)

Jn. 7:11

David cried out in appeal to Saul

Jn. 7:28

Saul's seeking to kill David ran into problems because of David's popularity with the people

Jn. 7:30,31; 10:39-41- David as a type of Christ

Saul also persecuted the people of Israel at the time, resulting in some of them going forth to be with David (22:2)

David's men represent the followers of the Lord Jesus (cp. Heb. 13:13). David's motley crew were bitter men, " them that are set on fire...whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword" (Ps. 57:4). So rough were they that David says that having to live with them almost destroyed him spiritually (1 Sam. 26:19). This typology would explain why the body of Christ seems full of bitter men and women with hard words- who eventually will be the rulers in Messiah's Kingdom, after the pattern of David's men.

Saul's spies aimed to deliver  David into Saul's hands (23:20)

Lk. 20:20

It can be taken as read that Saul expected the Israelites to inform him of where David was; he was to be seen as public enemy no.1

Jn. 11:57

Saul had a network of spies watching David (18:20,24; 19:11,19; 23:7,13,25; 24:1; 27:4)

Mk. 3:2; Lk. 6:7; 14:1; 20:20

Saul " sought" David, implying a great level of mental effort (19:10; 23;14,15,25; 24:2; 25:26,29; 26:2,20; 27:1,4; 2 Sam. 4:8)

The Jews sought to kill Christ (Mt. 21:46; Mk. 11:18; 12:12; 14:1,11,55; Lk. 19:47; 20:19; 22:2,6; Jn.5:16,18; 7:1,11,25,30; 8:37,40; 10:39; 11:8,56; 18:4,7,8)

David bore a charmed life from Saul's persecution; humanly, he should surely have perished (23:26,27; 27:1)

Jn. 7:30

To the Hebrew thinker, there is an unmistakeable similarity between the Hebrew words Shaul and Sheol (grave); it is a matter of pointing. In the same way as Judas personified the Jewish system and the flesh behind it (hence they are both called the devil), Saul too personified what was evil; he was the great enemy, the satan, of David, as the Jews and the flesh were the great satan for Christ. In this we see David as a type of Christ.


David’s bringing the ark to the place which he had prepared (1 Chron. 15:12) is the basis of the Lord’s words in Jn. 14:1-3. Clearly the Lord saw David as Himself, and us as the ark. The ‘bringing up’ or ‘lifting up’ of the ark (1 Chron. 15:12,22 RVmg.) to a perpetual dwelling place has evident reference to the resurrection. And when the ark was finally brought or lifted up to Zion, David / Jesus dealt bread and wine to the people (1 Chron. 16:3). One practical encouragement from this typology is that the memorial feast is a celebration that in fact we, the ark, have in prospect already been brought or lifted up into the eternal place prepared for us in the Kingdom.



(1) The extent to which David was a type of Christ is shown in Ps. 89:20-27. This is concerning " David my servant" , but evidently this passage describes the future glory of Messiah, David's son. " The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone" (Ps. 118:22) is clearly quoted in the New testament with reference to Christ's exaltation. But in the context, these words are part of a personal prayer of praise from David for God's healing of him.

(2) See David and Goliath .