Shortly after David slew Goliath, he “went out wherever Saul sent him, and behaved wisely” (1 Sam. 18:5). Saul even appointed David to serve as the leader of his men of war, giving a favorable platform for David to gain a favorable impression among the people. “So the women sang as they danced, and said: ‘Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.’ Then Saul was very angry, and the saying displeased him” (1 Sam. 18:7, 8). From that point on, Saul not only hated David, but “the distressing spirit from God came upon Saul” (1 Sam. 18:10). After a failed attempt at killing David, the apostate king sent messengers to find him.
“So David fled and escaped, and went to Samuel at Ramah. . . . Then Saul sent messengers to take David. And when they saw the group of prophets prophesying, and Samuel standing as leader over them, the Spirit of God came upon the messengers of Saul, and they also prophesied” (1 Sam. 19:18–20). In fact, Saul sent messengers three times before he himself went in search of David. In each case, David’s persecutors prophesied with the group or school of prophets.
The school of the prophets served as a safeguard against apostasy. Because the Israelites failed in eradicating the nations whom God had commanded them to destroy, they mingled with the Canaanites and soon adopted their customs. “To meet this growing evil, God provided other agencies as an aid to parents in the work of education. From the earliest times, prophets had been recognized as teachers divinely appointed” (Education, 46). To help provide a counterinfluence against social corruption, Samuel gathered young men who strove for spiritual and academic excellence, who later become known as the sons of the prophets.
From these places emerged young men who could be trusted by the nation to serve as leaders and counselors. Through these special operations, the prosperity of the nation was promoted. Not all of these prophets were directly inspired to communicate messages directly from God. These prophets were to serve as teachers of the people to bring the nation back to the way they had walked away from.