God has rejected Saul as King. He has had Samuel anoint David as Saul’s successor. Saul realizes this and tries to kill David on numerous occasions. Jonathan, Saul’s son, loved David as his own soul.
“And it came to pass, when he 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.” (18:1)
Saul commanded his son Jonathan and his servants to kill David. Jonathan stands up for David and Saul relents and chooses not to have David killed.
“And Saul spake to Jonathan his son, and to all his servants, that they should kill David. And Jonathan spake good of David unto Saul his father, and said unto him, Let not the king sin against his servant, against David; 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.” (19:1, 4-6)
Jonathan commits himself to protect David at all costs. This could be seen as treason, but God protects Jonathan. Chapter 20 tells how Jonathan protects David. A covenant is made between Jonathan and David. In their last meeting together, Jonathan and David renew the covenant.
“And Jonathan Saul’s son arose, and went to David into the wood, and strengthened his hand in God.17 And he said unto him, Fear not: for the hand of Saul my father shall not find thee; and thou shalt be king over Israel, and I shall be next unto thee; and that also Saul my father knoweth. 18 And they two made a covenant before the Lord: and David abode in the wood, and Jonathan went to his house. (23:16-18)
Saul and Jonathan die in a battle with the Philistines.
Jonathan exemplifies what a friend should be. Selfless, encouraging, protecting, integrity, concerned more about the other person then themselves, willing to die for their friend. He received no benefit for his loyalty. He required nothing but the opportunity to serve.
Do we have anyone we are that loyal to? Or anyone who is that loyal to us? Jonathan was a blessing to David and ultimately to Israel.
This is the kind of friend we should strive to be!
Tom Stearns, WASI Chaplain, 907 715-4001