We Three Kings

We Three Kings

Duncan Macleod

We Three Kings

A study for youth leaders by Duncan Macleod.

The inspiration for this study comes from Gene Edwards’ book, A Tale of Three Kings, Tyndale, 1980 & 1992.

In preparation for this study, you should brush up on the story of David’s life, as found in 1st Samuel 16 to 31, and 2nd Samuel 1 to 24.You could watch the video:

King David, 1985, starring Richard Gere as David,

or David, with Leonard Nimoy as Samuel.


In the firing line David has risen from farm boy to army commander and national hero. The amazing defeat of Goliath, public enemy number one, has made David bigger than the king, Saul.At first Saul takes a shine to David, even inviting him to become part of the family. David gets married to Saul’s daughter Michal, and is soul friend to Jonathon, Saul’s son.

But now, Saul is going mad. He’s afraid that he’s losing God’s blessing. And he knows that people are preferring David to him. Maybe David will take the kingdom off him.

How does David react when Saul starts throwing spears at him?
What would have happened if David had thrown a spear back?
What difference to David’s character does ducking instead of reacting make?

Gene Edwards writes :

“One, never learn anything about the fashionable, easily-mastered art of spear throwing. Two, stay out of the company of all spear throwers. And three, keep your mouth tightly closed. In this way, spears will never touch you, even when they pierce your heart.”

David in a triangle Saul made it clear to his family that David was a dead man. If David should appear in public, he was to be dealt with nastily. An awkward situation for Saul’s family – this was their brother-in-law.Michal continues to live with David until the day her father’s men come to take him away. He escapes.

Jonathon continues to see David. He puts a good word in for Saul, and brings back communication from his father.

David’s loyalty to Saul comes from his recognition that Saul his rightful king, and the father of his wife and best friends.

In the end, David breaks away completely, to hide by himself.

Family loyalty can make it hard to deal with conflict directly.

In what ways could David have learnt from the principles outlined on Tension Losers,Bonnie’s page on conflict resolution?
In what ways could David have become like Saul?
How can you ensure that you don’t become a ‘Saul’, placing others in an unfair situation because you are the one in authority. The Code of Ethics for Presbyterian and Methodist youth leaders includes an undertaking related to the recognition of the power tied up in positions of respect and authority.

I will deal truthfully with others, encourage open discussion and respect others.
I will not take advantage of people, either for my own benefit or the benefit of others.I will not become emotionally dependant or intimately involved with anyone that is in my care. I will not abuse, harass or exploit anyone.

In the face of revolt Absalom, the handsome son of David, appears in 2 Samuel 13 to 19. After killing his half brother, Amnon, for raping his sister, Absalom goes into exile for three years. He is summoned back to Jerusalem by David, and after two years, is reconciled with his father.While living in Jerusalem, Absalom builds up a following among the people of Israel. He conspires to seize the kingdom of Israel off his father.

David, instead of hunting down Absalom, as Saul had hunted him, leaves Jerusalem and goes into hiding.

What does David do to protect the kingdom of Israel, without becoming another ‘Saul’.
Can you recognise the ambitious Absalom in your own attitudes towards people in authority?

What are the risks that you would take if you let others challenge your authority? What are the risks that you would take by not allowing others to challenge your authority?