God gives us a great example of friendship in the relationship of Jonathan, Saul's son and David, the future king of Israel. Their bonds formed quickly and lasted a lifetime through much adversity and even separation.
I Samuel 18
:1 And it came to pass,
when he [David] had made an end of speaking unto Saul,
that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David,
and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.
:2 And Saul took him that day,
and would let him go no more home to his father's house.
:3 Then Jonathan and David made a covenant,
because he loved him as his own soul.
God tells us twice that Jonathan loved David as his own soul. When God tells us something twice it is established. What is it to have a friend? What is it to be a friend? God gives us a great example and principles they adhered to.
:4 And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him,
and gave it to David,
and his garments,
even to his sword,
and to his bow,
and to his girdle.
1. Friends put God First
The first and foundational principle of their friendship is that they both put God first. They made a covenant before God.
:10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love;
in honour preferring one another;
2. Nothing in the world can come between friends
The second principle is that they were loyal to each other and did not let anything come between them. This is the purpose of Jonathan giving David his clothes. The robe represents position, authority and standing (prince). Jonathan's sword and bow represents the power and strength of the king's son. The garments signify all his personal possessions and the girdle--the belt worn around their loosely flowing garments, also an intimate personal article of apparel--is indicative of the length at which Jonathan would go to be loyal to his friend; even to the giving of his girdle. We see that demonstrated later in the Word.
3. Friends stand up for one another
In chapter 18 Saul becomes jealous of David's success and the adoration of the people and he knew that the kingdom would be taken away from him so he decides to kill David because he had become afraid of him--God is with David and not him. Saul, not only physically attacks him with a javelin but he also tried to set him up to be killed. This surely must have bothered Jonathan and he goes to his father on behalf of David.
I Samuel 19
:1 And Saul spake to Jonathan his son,
and to all his servants, that they should kill David.
:2 But Jonathan Saul's son delighted much in David:
and Jonathan told David, saying,
Saul my father seeketh to kill thee:
I pray thee,
take heed to thyself until the morning,
and abide in a secret place,
and hide thyself:
:3 And I will go out and stand beside my father in the field where thou art,
and I will commune with my father of thee;
and what I see, that I will tell thee.
:4 And Jonathan spake good of David unto Saul his father,
and said unto him,
Let not the king sin against his servant,
because he hath not sinned against thee,
and because his works have been to thee-ward very good:
:5 For he did put his life in his hand,
and slew the Philistine,
and the LORD wrought a great salvation for all Israel:
thou sawest it,
and didst rejoice:
wherefore then wilt thou sin against innocent blood,
to slay David without a cause?
:6 And Saul hearkened unto the voice of Jonathan:
and Saul sware,
As the LORD liveth,
he shall not be slain.
:7 And Jonathan called David,
and Jonathan shewed him all those things.
And Jonathan brought David to Saul,
and he was in his presence, as in times past.
Stop and think about this for a moment--empathize. You have a very dear friend-a soul mate if you will--and your father is so jealous that he decides to kill him. You know that God is with your friend and he has done nothing wrong to elicit that kind of action. Also, your father is the king and, no matter who you are, you do not oppose the king. It took wisdom (from God) and courage to oppose the king for David. What a comfort to Jonathan's and David's hearts for Saul to change his mind.
Unfortunately Saul's cease-fire was only temporary. David goes to battle and has a great victory and Saul becomes possessed with the evil spirit again and as David plays the harp for Saul to soothe him Saul tries to kill David with a Javelin. There is now no soothing Saul and David flees the city. (I Samuel 19:8 - 19)
:24 A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly:
and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.
Friends stand up for one another.
4. Friends are honest with each other
After Saul tried to kill David again David had to go to Jonathan and tell him as much.
I Samuel 20
:1 And David fled from Naioth in Ramah,
and came and said before Jonathan,
What have I done?
what is mine iniquity?
and what is my sin before thy father,
that he seeketh my life?
David--What did I do? Your dad is still trying to kill me!
:2 And he [Jonathan] said unto him,
God forbid; thou shalt not die:
behold, my father will do nothing either great or small,
but that he will shew it me:
and why should my father hide this thing from me?
it is not so.
Jonathan--My dad said he wouldn't kill you, he wouldn't do that without confiding in me; he tells me everything. I find that hard to believe.
What a difficult situation. Jonathan wanted to believe his dad but here David is accusing his father of trying to kill him again. Here is a possibility of hurt feelings and doubts. But David was completely honest.
:3 And David sware moreover, and said,
Thy father certainly knoweth that I have found grace in thine eyes;
and he saith,
Let not Jonathan know this,
lest he be grieved:
but truly as the LORD liveth,
and as thy soul liveth,
there is but a step between me and death.
David brings the case before Jonathan that Saul wouldn't tell Jonathan because him and David are great friends. David also confesses before God that what he said was the truth and that "there is but a step between me and death." How eloquently put, it really conveys the danger that David is in.
Jonathan and David then devised a plan to test to make sure Saul wants to kill David. David is required to eat at the king's table on the new moon but he makes up an excuse that he has to be at a feast in Bethlehem for a yearly sacrifice. If Saul is at peace with this explanation than all is well. If he gets very angry than they know he seeks his life. (I Samuel 20:4-9) Jonathan promises to tell David of the outcome yet David is still concerned. So they go out into a field to pray.
:26 Every man shall kiss his lips
that giveth a right answer.
Honesty is welcomed heartily.
:9 Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart:
so doth the sweetness of a man's friend by hearty counsel.
:17 Iron sharpeneth iron;
so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.
Continued Next Week . . .