Use this children’s Sunday School lesson about David to teach children about how we should treat our enemies.
Intro Game: Soothing the King
Tell kids to line up one side of your play area. You stand at the other end with a toy musical instrument behind you. Tell them that you’re King Saul. When you say, “Go!” the kids will try to run past you to play the musical instrument. If you tag any of them before they can play the musical instrument, they’re out. Once one of them does play the instrument, the round is over.
Students who are still in the game return to the other side of the play area, and you signal the new round to begin. The last student in the game becomes the new King Saul.
So far, we’ve learned about how God told Samuel to make Saul the first king of Israel. But after Saul had been king of Israel for a long time, he started to do things that God didn’t want him to do. God told Saul that he couldn’t be king anymore and God told Samuel to choose David to be the next king.
Saul didn’t know that David had been picked to be the next king, so, whenever Saul was in a bad mood, David would play music for him and make him feel better.
When the Philistines attacked Israel, it was David who was brave enough to go fight the huge man, Goliath, and kill him, even though David was only a young teenager. God helped David beat Goliath with only a sling and a stone, and Israel won the war against the Philistines.
Today, we’re going to learn about what happened next to Saul and David.
(Read 1 Samuel 18-24, 26 with your students, or read the following story as a summary.)
After David killed Goliath, he went back to live in the palace with King Saul. King Saul had a son named Jonathan, and David and Jonathan became best friends.
David also joined the army and won many more battles for Israel. All of the Israelites loved David, and they made songs to sing about him. When King Saul heard the songs, though, he became jealous. He thought that people were starting to like David more than they liked him.
Saul was in such a bad mood about it that he asked David to play some music for him so that maybe he could feel better. But while David was playing his instrument, King Saul picked up a spear and threw it at David. He tried to kill David because people liked David more than him, but David moved out of the way, and the spear missed him.
Saul said he was sorry and blamed it on his bad mood. Then, he sent David to fight in another war against the Philistines. Saul hoped that David would die in the battle against the Philistines, but he didn’t.
Then, Saul said, “David, I want you to marry my daughter, Princess Michal. All you have to do is kill one hundred Philistines.”
King Saul thought, “David will never be able to kill a hundred Philistines. They’ll kill him for sure.”
Do you think David can kill a hundred Philistines?
David did not kill a hundred Philistine soldiers. He killed 200 Philistine soldiers, and so, King Saul had to let David marry Princess Michal.
Meanwhile, King Saul kept getting more and more jealous of David. Finally, he told his son, Jonathan, and the rest of his soldiers to kill David. But Jonathan was David’s best friend, and he warned David to run away.
David went home, but some of Saul’s soldiers came to kill him. Seeing them coming, Princess Michal, David’s wife, helped David escape out the window.
Some of the soldiers who liked David more than Saul went with him and they made their own army in the desert. They would attack Israel’s enemies, but would never attack King Saul or his army. Two times, King Saul and his army went out chasing David so that King Saul could kill him.
One time, David and his army were hiding in a cave. King Saul didn’t know they were in there. so he went into the cave to go to the bathroom. While King Saul was going to the bathroom, David snuck up and cut off a piece of Saul’s robe.
When Saul walked back out of the cave, David followed him and said, “Look!” He showed him the piece of Saul’s robe he had cut off. “I could have killed you today, but I didn’t. Why are you trying to kill me?”
Saul was glad that David hadn’t killed him and he said he was sorry for chasing David and trying to kill him. He said he wouldn’t chase David anymore and went home.
But a little while later, Saul got jealous of David again. He took his army to chase David and try to kill him. This time, when it was dark, and everyone was sleeping, David snuck into King Saul’s camp and took Saul’s spear and water jug.
When David had snuck back out of King Saul’s camp, he yelled at him and said, “King Saul, look! I have your spear and water jug. I could have killed you tonight, but I didn’t. Why are you trying to kill me?”
So again, King Saul said he was sorry and went home.
David and Jonathan were best friends. Do you have a best friend? What do you like to do with your friend?
God gave us friends so that we could help them and have fun with them.
Why was King Saul trying to kill David all those times? (Because Saul was jealous of David.)
What would you have done to King Saul if you were David?
Even though King Saul was chasing David and trying to kill him, David knew that it would be wrong to hurt King Saul back. Remember, when someone hits you or does something wrong to you, be like David and don’t hurt them back.
Game: Sneaking Up on Saul
Remind students that David snuck on King Saul twice, but didn’t hurt him. In this game, one student at a time will be David. All the other students will spread out around the play area and close their eyes. They’re all King Saul. David will try to sneak up and tap one of them. If any of the other students hear the David, the David has one more chance to try again. Whether the student succeeds or fails, they become a Saul as you choose a new David.
Game: Friend Relay Race
Remind students that David and King Saul’s son Jonathan were best friends. Have them choose a partner. Then, each pair will complete the following steps of the relay race together. The first pair to complete all the legs of the relay race wins.
Leg 1: Skip in step together.
Leg 2: Give high fives to each other.
Leg 3: Walk back to back.
Leg 4: Link arms and spin each around.
Leg 5: Hop in step together.
Play again if time permits but make students choose a new partner.
God, help us to have a loving heart that even loves our enemies. When someone does something wrong to us, help us to do something good for them. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
You can also find this lesson for Kindle or in print in my book, Samuel and David: Children Sunday School Lessons on the Boy Prophet and the Shepherd King.