Saul & David:
God Teaches About Domestic Violence

Where is God in all the domestic violence going on?  Does He really care?  Yes!  Because God not only cares, but loves us and wants to preserve our lives, His Word includes instruction and advice about domestic violence.  One of the places we find this is in the story of King Saul and David in the book of 1 Samuel, in the Old Testament. The story of Saul and David provides a study of the patterns often seen in cases of domestic violence.

 Domestic violence is a pattern of misuse of power and control used against a household member or intimate partner.  It is an attempt to coerce, intimidate, and control through emotional, verbal, physical, sexual, financial, religious, or other means.  Domestic violence is more about power and control than about gender.  The domestic violence we see King Saul carry out against David is between two males, yet it shows many of the patterns typically seen in spousal abuse today.

 The story of Saul and David helps us to understand what goes on in domestic violence relationships. Even if you've already left such a situation, this portion of 1 Samuel can help you to

        Deal safely with a domestic violence relationship

        Understand what may have happened in a past relationship

        Protect yourself in future relationships

        Teach your children to recognize and respond to domestic violence that might occur in their future relationships 

 You are encouraged to read ahead through chapters16-26 of 1 Samuel.  You will see that Saul showed many of the characteristics frequently seen among domestic violence abusers, including:

      1.      Blames his abuse on David, the victim  
2.      Has history of not taking responsibility for his actions, and using excuses
      3.      Narcissism (the world revolves around him and what he wants)
      4.      Extreme jealousy
      5.      Controlling, watches his victim's every move
      6.      Likes to bend or break the rules and defy the "system;" is rebellious
      7.      May lie or not keep his word
      8.      Repeatedly abuses, asks for forgiveness, then repeats the abuse
      9.      Becomes obsessive about David and stalks him
     10.  His religion was mostly an outward "show" to impress others
     11.  He twists the intents and meanings of others, and sees evil in others' motives
     12.  Lacks empathy, and a willingness to sacrifice others to get what he wants
     13.  Is insecure
     14.  Uses his position or power as a license to abuse
     15.  Had difficulty loving his son 
     16.  Probable trauma or generational sin in his upbringing (see Judges 20)
     17.  Can at times seem "possessed" or "out of his mind"

  As you read these chapters in the Bible, you will also see that Davidís experiences matched those of many domestic violence victims today.  He:

      1.      Tried to appease his abuser and had to "walked on eggshells" around him
      2.      Found that all his efforts to appease his abuser and avoid violence didnít work
      3.      Grew up with abuse in his family of origin: his brothers were abusive to him, and father treated 
             him as inferior
      4.      Found that some people were not willing to believe he was being abused
      5.      Was stalked after fleeing his abuser

 The story of Saul and David has much to teach us about dealing with domestic violence.  We have a God who provides wisdom from His Word to meet our every need (2Timothy 3:16) and who has promised to teach and guide us (Psalm 25:8, 9; Psalm 23:3)!

 Discussion Question:

1.  Do you recognize any of Saul's characteristics in a domestic violence perpetrator you have known?  If you have been a victim of domestic violence, do you recognize any of David's experiences in your own life?  

2..-An abuser's background may provide clues for predicting future abuse: growing up with abuse; having trouble with authorities or the law; abusing a previous partner.  Can you see any of these patterns in an abusive person you have known?

Copyright 2005   Judy Kennedy