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How did David and Jonathan show their concern (love) for one another? Can we act like them too?


"The soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul" (I Samuel 18:1).

They made a covenant with each other

"Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul" (I Samuel 18:3). The terms of that covenant are not stated, but we gather that they swore loyalty and protection to each other from other verses. David feared for his life, but Jonathan could not believe that his own father would harm David (I Samuel 20:1-3). David asked for protection from Saul under the terms of the covenant that he and Jonathan had made. "Therefore you shall deal kindly with your servant, for you have brought your servant into a covenant of the LORD with you. Nevertheless, if there is iniquity in me, kill me yourself, for why should you bring me to your father?" (I Samuel 20:8). Jonathan extended the covenant with these words, "'The LORD God of Israel is witness! When I have sounded out my father sometime tomorrow, or the third day, and indeed there is good toward David, and I do not send to you and tell you, may the LORD do so and much more to Jonathan. But if it pleases my father to do you evil, then I will report it to you and send you away, that you may go in safety. And the LORD be with you as He has been with my father. And you shall not only show me the kindness of the LORD while I still live, that I may not die; but you shall not cut off your kindness from my house forever, no, not when the LORD has cut off every one of the enemies of David from the face of the earth.' So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, 'Let the LORD require it at the hand of David's enemies.'" (I Samuel 20:12-16).

"Then Jonathan said to David, "Go in peace, since we have both sworn in the name of the LORD, saying, 'May the LORD be between you and me, and between your descendants and my descendants, forever.'"" (I Samuel 20:42).

David honored that covenant long after Jonathan died in battle. Though God destroyed most of Saul's house because of Saul's sin, "Now David said, "Is there still anyone who is left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan's sake?"" (II Samuel 9:1). David found that a lame son of Jonathan survived and David cared for him as his own. "Now when Mephibosheth the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, had come to David, he fell on his face and prostrated himself. Then David said, "Mephibosheth?" And he answered, "Here is your servant!" So David said to him, "Do not fear, for I will surely show you kindness for Jonathan your father's sake, and will restore to you all the land of Saul your grandfather; and you shall eat bread at my table continually."" (II Samuel 9:6-7).

"Love never fails" (I Corinthians 13:8).

They shared their possessions

"And Jonathan took off the robe that was on him and gave it to David, with his armor, even to his sword and his bow and his belt" (I Samuel 18:4). " Love suffers long and is kind" (I Corinthians 13:4).

Jonathan protected David, even though it meant defying his father

"Now Saul spoke to Jonathan his son and to all his servants, that they should kill David; but Jonathan, Saul's son, delighted greatly in David. (19:2) So Jonathan told David, saying, "My father Saul seeks to kill you. Therefore please be on your guard until morning, and stay in a secret place and hide. And I will go out and stand beside my father in the field where you are, and I will speak with my father about you. Then what I observe, I will tell you." Thus Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul his father, and said to him, "Let not the king sin against his servant, against David, because he has not sinned against you, and because his works have been very good toward you. "For he took his life in his hands and killed the Philistine, and the LORD brought about a great deliverance for all Israel. You saw it and rejoiced. Why then will you sin against innocent blood, to kill David without a cause?" So Saul heeded the voice of Jonathan, and Saul swore, "As the LORD lives, he shall not be killed"" (I Samuel 19:1-6).

Love "does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things" (I Corinthians 13:5-7).

"Then Jonathan, Saul's son, arose and went to David in the woods and strengthened his hand in God. And he said to him, "Do not fear, for the hand of Saul my father shall not find you. You shall be king over Israel, and I shall be next to you. Even my father Saul knows that." So the two of them made a covenant before the LORD. And David stayed in the woods, and Jonathan went to his own house" (I Samuel 23:16-18).

Notice that even though Jonathan is the son of the current king, Jonathan did not envy the fact that David would be the next king and that he would serve David. "Love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up" (I Corinthians 13:4).

David's sorrow at Jonathan's death

"How the mighty have fallen in the midst of the battle! Jonathan was slain in your high places. I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; You have been very pleasant to me; Your love to me was wonderful, Surpassing the love of women. How the mighty have fallen, And the weapons of war perished!" (II Samuel 1:25-27).

Even though the death of Saul and Jonathan placed David on the throne, David had nothing but kindness and respect for his friend and his father. "Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil" (I Corinthians 13:4-5).

Can we act this way too?

Any two people who truly love each other will act in a similar fashion. After all, that is what God means by love.


See also:

Questions and Answers regarding Love
Questions and Answers regarding Friendship