1 Sam. 18:1-5; 20:35-42 - EW Commentary
A. David, Jonathan, and Saul.
1. (1 Sam. 18:1-4) The friendship between David and Jonathan.
1 Now it came about, when he had finished speaking to Saul, that Jonathan committed himself to David, and Jonathan loved him as himself. 2 And Saul took him that day and did not let him return to his father's house. 3 Then Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. 4 Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, with his military gear, including his sword, his bow, and his belt.
a. When he had finished speaking to Saul: When David finished the "after-killing-Goliath" conversation with Saul, his fame in Israel was assured. He performed a remarkably heroic deed and was initially welcomed by the leadership of Israel.
b. The soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul: Jonathan, the son of Saul, appeared before in 1 Samuel 14. He is the remarkably brave man of faith who initiated a one-man war against the Philistines.
i. Jonathan was a lot like David. They were approximately the same age, though Jonathan was probably at least five years older. They both were bold, both were men of great trust in God, and both were men of action. Most of all, both had a real relationship with God.
ii. At the same time, Jonathan and David were different. Jonathan was the first-born son of a king (1 Chronicles 9:39) and David was the last-born son of a farmer. This made Jonathan more than a prince, he was the crown prince. By everyone's expectation Jonathan would be the next king of Israel.
c. The soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David: This happened after David had finished speaking to Saul. Jonathan heard David give an extended explanation of his heart, his faith in the living God, and Jonathan knew that he and David had the same heart. They could not be such close friends until Jonathan knew that about David.
i. The way most people think, Jonathan was the one who had the most to fear from David's success. Yet he loved David, because what they had in common - a real relationship with the Lord God - was bigger than any difference.
d. Saul took him that day: David would never again be just a shepherd. David still had a shepherd's heart, but would be more than a shepherd.
e. Then Jonathan and David made a covenant: Two men, each on track for the same throne - yet they made a covenant of friendship that would prove stronger than jealousy, than envy, than ambition.
f. 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: When Jonathan gave David the robe and his armor, he said by this action, "You will be the next king of Israel. You should be dressed and armed as the crown prince. God's hand is on you and these rightfully belong to you." Because Jonathan was surrendered to God he could see the hand of the Lord upon David. He knew David's destiny and was perfectly willing to set aside his ambition to honor the Lord's choice.
g. Gave it to David: For his part, David received the robe and Jonathan's armor. But he did not then say or think, "Good Jonathan. We all see who is boss around here. Now get out of my way because I'm going to replace your father as soon as I can." It would be some 20 years until David would receive the throne of Israel and replace Saul. If Jonathan was ready to recognize David as God's choice for the next king, David was willing to let God put him on the throne, and to do it in God's timing. Both of these men were thoroughly submitted to the Lord.
i. David couldn't receive Saul's armor but David received Jonathan's armor, not only because they were more similar in size. More importantly, they shared the same soul. They both loved God and lived more for Him and for others more than for themselves. David and Jonathan both knew that if the circumstances were reversed, David would do the exact same thing for Jonathan - because they had the same soul.
ii. If the issue of "who will be the next king?" were not settled in the hearts of Jonathan and David, they could never have had this kind of close love and friendship. They loved each other more than the throne of Israel because they loved the Lord more than the throne of Israel.
iii. Some people read a homosexual relationship into the love between David and Jonathan. They suppose that two men cannot love each other without it being something the Bible clearly says is immoral. But the relationship between David and Jonathan shows the Bible doesn't condemn real love between men, only a sexual relationship between men.
2. (1 Sam. 18:5) Wherever Saul Sent Him
5 And David went into battle wherever Saul sent him, and always achieved success; so Saul put him in charge of the men of war. And it was pleasing in the sight of all the people, and also in the sight of Saul's servants.
a. David went out wherever Saul sent him, and behaved wisely: David was fully submitted to Saul and sought to serve him wisely in every way. David knew the way to be blessed. It was to work hard to be a blessing to his boss. He would not undercut Saul's position or authority in any way.
i. Where did Saul send David? Saul set him over the men of war. This is a remarkable promotion - a man perhaps in his young twenties is now a "general" in the army of Israel.
b. He was accepted in the sight of all the people and also in the sight of Saul's servants: David quickly became popular both among the people and among the leaders (Saul's servants). This was not because David was a yes-man-people-pleaser-sycophant kind of man. David did not seek this popularity and did not depend on any of those carnal tools to gain it. David became popular because he was a man after God's own heart and people could see the love, the wisdom, and the peace of God in him.
i. We might imagine Saul's initial reaction was positive. "Good," he thought. "My new assistant is well received. Everyone thinks I made a brilliant choice in bringing him on staff. This is working out well."
2. (1 Sam. 20:35-40) Jonathan tells David about Saul's state of mind through the pre-arranged signals.
35 Now it came about in the morning that Jonathan went out to the field at the time agreed upon with David, and a little boy was with him. 36 He said to his boy, "Run, find now the arrows which I am about to shoot." The boy ran, and he shot an arrow past him. 37 When the boy reached the location of the arrow which Jonathan had shot, Jonathan called after the boy and said, "Is the arrow not beyond you?" 38 Then Jonathan called after the boy, "Hurry, be quick, do not stay!" And Jonathan's boy picked up the arrow and came to his master. 39 But the boy was not aware of anything; only Jonathan and David knew about the matter. 40 Then Jonathan gave his weapons to his boy and said to him, "Go, bring them to the city."
a. Is not the arrow beyond you? In 1 Samuel 20:21-22, Jonathan and David determined that if the arrows were shot at a shorter distance, then David could know that Saul's heart was favorable to him. If the arrows were shot further beyond, David could know that Saul's heart was still hard and he determined to destroy
i. It took courage for Jonathan to communicate with David, even secretly - because he knew that if his father became aware of it, he would focus his murderous rage against Jonathan again. There was something noble in Jonathan's commitment to David as a friend.
ii. "But there is something still nobler - when one dares in any company to avow his loyalty to the Lord Jesus. Like David, he is now in obscurity and disrepute; his name is not popular; his gospel is misrepresented; his followers are subjected to rebuke and scorn. These are days when to stand up for anything more than mere conventional religion must cost something; and for this reason let us never flinch." (Meyer)
b. A small thing - the signal of a single arrow - told David his whole life was changed. He would no longer be welcome at the palace. He would no longer be welcome among the army of Israel. He would no longer be able to go home. David now knew he would have to live as a fugitive, on the run from an angry, jealous king determined to destroy him.
i. Sometimes our lives can turn on a small thing. One night of carelessness may change a girl's life forever. One night with the wrong crowd may give a boy an arrest record. It often times does not seem fair that so much in life should turn on small moments, but a lifetime is made of nothing but many small moments!
ii. "You have hoped against hope; you have tried to keep your position; you have done your duty, pleaded your cause, sought the intercession of your friends, prayed, wept, agonized. But it is all in vain; the arrows' flight proves you must go wither you may." (Meyer)
3. (1 Sam. 20:41-42) The tearful farewell of David and Jonathan.
41 When the boy was gone, David got up from the south side, then he fell on his face to the ground and bowed three times. And they kissed each other and wept together, until David wept immeasurably. 42 Then Jonathan said to David, "Go in safety, since we have sworn to each other in the name of the LORD, saying, 'The LORD will be between me and you, and between my descendants and your descendants forever.'" So David set out and went on his way, while Jonathan went into the city.
a. They wept together: David and Jonathan loved each other, and had a strong bond of friendship. But David couldn't stay, and Jonathan couldn't go. They remembered their bond of friendship back in 1 Samuel 18:1-4, when Jonathan gave David his armor and princely robe. It was Jonathan's way of saying, "David, I recognize that you are God's choice to be the next king, not me. I'll lay aside my right to the throne, and help you take it. This armor of a prince, and the robe of a prince, belongs to you now, not me." Jonathan and David probably envisioned working together, as partners, as friends, both before and after the time David became king. But now all that was gone, so they wept together.
b. But David more so: If Jonathan had reason to weep, David had more so. The pain of being apart was bad enough, but it was worse for David because he was cut off from everything, and destined to live for many years the life of a fugitive.
. "Behind you is the sunny morning, before you a lowering sky; behind you the blessed enjoyment of friendship, wife, home, royal favor, and popular adulation, before you an outcast's life." (Meyer)
c. Go in peace, since we have both sworn in the name of the LORD: Jonathan knew he might never see David again. In fact, David and Jonathan will only meet once more, shortly before Jonathan's death. But David now left for a life of hiding, secrecy, and danger. But Jonathan could send David away in peace, because they have both have agreed to honor each other not only in life, but to honor each other's families beyond their own lifetimes.
i. Jonathan might have been threatened by David, but instead he loved him and was loyal to him. Jonathan, with his excellent character before God, served an important role in David's life. David might have started to think that Saul was rejected simply because he was wicked, and David was chosen simply because he was godly. But if God just wanted a godly man to be king, why not Jonathan? God's choice of David was a reminder that God has His own reasons for choosing, reasons we can't always figure out.
d. So he arose and departed: David will not return to "normal life" until Saul is dead and David is king. This is a pretty bleak road for David to walk, but it is God's road for him.
i. Was David in God's will? How can anyone set out on such a bleak road and be in the will of God? Because God often has His people spend at least some time on a bleak road, and He appoints some of His favorites to spend a lot of time on that road - think of Job, Joseph, Paul, and even Jesus.
ii. This bleak road is important in David's life, because if God will put David in a place where people must depend on him, God will teach David to depend upon God alone. Not himself, not Saul, not Jonathan, not anyone except God
iii. This bleak road is important in David's life, because if David will be safe now and promoted to king later, David must learn to let God be his defense and his promoter.
iv. This bleak road is important in David's life, because if David is to be set in such a great position of authority, David must learn to submit to God's authority, even if it is in a man like Saul. David could have decided to challenge Saul's authority, thinking "I'll stay around here and gather loyal people away from Saul and to myself. I'll start a campaign to bring me to the throne." But David wouldn't; he would submit to Saul's authority, trust the Lord, and just leave."
v. "Let God empty you out that He may save you from becoming spiritually stale, and lead you ever onward. He is always calling us to pass beyond the thing we know into the unknown. A throne is God's purpose for you; a cross is God's path for you; faith is God's plan for you." (Redpath)
1 Sam. 18:1-5; 20:35-42 - T. Constable Exposition
1 Sam. 18-1-5 - David and Jonathan
1 Now it came about, when he had finished speaking to Saul, that Jonathan committed himself to David, and Jonathan loved him as himself. 2 And Saul took him that day and did not let him return to his father's house. 3 Then Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. 4 Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, with his military gear, including his sword, his bow, and his belt. 5 And David went into battle wherever Saul sent him, and always achieved success; so Saul put him in charge of the men of war. And it was pleasing in the sight of all the people, and also in the sight of Saul's servants.
• We have already seen that Jonathan was a man of faith and courage (1 Samuel 14:1-15). Jonathan found a soul brother in David, a man who committed himself to trusting and obeying God as he did. This common purpose on the deepest level of life is what accounts for the love Jonathan and David shared for one another (1 Samuel 18:1). Jonathan loved David as he loved himself (1 Samuel 18:1; 1 Samuel 18:3; cf. Leviticus 19:18). He loved David, as he should have, since David had committed himself to glorifying God and fulfilling His will even at the expense of his personal safety.
• Some homosexuals have tried to use the writer's statements of Jonathan's love for David as support that their lifestyle has good biblical precedent. However the Hebrew word 'aheb, translated "love" here, nowhere else describes homosexual desire or activity. Rather, when homosexual relations are in view, the Holy Spirit used the word yada, translated "know" in the sense of "have sex with" (cf. Genesis 19:5; Judges 19:22).
• Saul responded to Jonathan's affection for David, and presumably David's bravery, by keeping David with him even more than the king had done previously (1 Sam; cf. 1 Sam 14:52). Evidently Jonathan realized David's gifts and God's will for David's life (cf. 1 Samuel 23:17), and he humbly deferred to him (1 Samuel 18:3-4).
• This is a virtual abdication by Jonathan, the crown prince." [Note: Gordon, p. 159.]
• The crown prince of Israel gives us one of the classic examples of self-humbling for the glory of God and the welfare of His people that we have in all of Scripture (cf. Philippians 2:5-8). Jonathan's humility is all the more remarkable since chronological references in Samuel seem to indicate that Jonathan was about 30 years older than David. [Note: See the chronological chart at the beginning of these notes.] His response to David's anointing was appropriate, and it contrasts sharply with Saul's response, which follows.
• When Jonathan took off his robe (a symbol of the Israelite kingdom; cf. 1 Samuel 15:27-28 . . .) and gave it to David (1 Samuel 18:4), he was in effect transferring his own status as heir apparent to him . . ." [Note: Youngblood, p. 707. Cf. Gunn, p. 80.]
• The covenant of friendship referred to in 1 Samuel 18:3 was a unilateral (binding on one party only) covenant in which Jonathan committed himself to David with complete disregard for self. The gift given by Jonathan served to ratify the covenant and honor David." [Note: Laney, p. 61.]
• Jonathan's selfless action reflects his submission to Samuel's oracle that Saul would not have a continuing dynasty (1 Samuel 13:13-14). Rather than trying to perpetuate Saul's dynasty, as Abner later tried to do (2 Samuel 2:8-9), godly Jonathan turned over the symbols of the crown prince to David.
"In our political world, where power plays such an important role, what would be thought of a prince who voluntarily renounced his throne in favor of a friend whose character and godly faith he admired?"
• David's commitment to God resulted in his prospering (the fertility motif). David acted wisely, the literal meaning of the Hebrew word translated "prospered" (1 Samuel 18:5; 1 Samuel 18:14-15), also because God was with him (1 Samuel 18:12; 1 Samuel 18:14; cf. 1 Samuel 16:13). Not only did Jonathan love David, but all the people, including even Saul's servants, those people who were most loyal to the king, did too (1 Samuel 18:5). God blesses personally those who relate to Him properly. They also become channels of blessing to others (cf. 1 Samuel 2:30; Genesis 12:2).
• Saul may or may not have known at this time that Samuel had anointed David. His growing jealousy seems to have mounted as a result of David's increasing ability, success, and popularity with the people that stemmed from God's help (grace).
B. David Driven out by Saul 19:18-20:42
1 Sam. 20:35-42 - David's final departure from Gibeah 20:35-42
35 Now it came about in the morning that Jonathan went out into the field for the appointment with David, and a little lad was with him. 36 He said to his lad, "Run, find now the arrows which I am about to shoot." As the lad was running, he shot an arrow past him. 37 When the lad reached the place of the arrow which Jonathan had shot, Jonathan called after the lad and said, "Is not the arrow beyond you?" 38 And Jonathan called after the lad, "Hurry, be quick, do not stay!" And Jonathan's lad picked up the arrow and came to his master. 39 But the lad was not aware of anything; only Jonathan and David knew about the matter. 40 Then Jonathan gave his weapons to his lad and said to him, "Go, bring them to the city." 41 When the lad was gone, David rose from the south side and fell on his face to the ground, and bowed three times. And they kissed each other and wept together, but David wept the more. 42 Jonathan said to David, "Go in safety, inasmuch as we have sworn to each other in the name of the LORD, saying, 'The LORD will be between me and you, and between my descendants and your descendants forever.'" Then he rose and departed, while Jonathan went into the city.
The previous section of text (1 Samuel 16:1 to 1 Samuel 19:17) gave evidence that God was preparing David to become king. This one (1 Samuel 19:18 to 1 Samuel 20:42) narrates the events that resulted in the rift that separated Saul and David. There were two events that were especially significant: God's overruling Saul's hostility against David at Ramah (1 Samuel 19:18-24) and Jonathan's failure to heal the breach between Saul and David (ch. 20).
• The next morning Jonathan proceeded to communicate Saul's intentions to David in the way they had previously planned. Jonathan probably used a very young boy as his arrow retriever so the lad would not ask embarrassing questions or figure out what was happening. God permitted David and Jonathan to say good-bye face to face. They had anticipated that such a parting might be impossible (cf. 1 Samuel 20:22). David gave proper respect to Jonathan as the king's son even though they were best friends (1 Samuel 20:41). Saul's rebellion against God's will had made their companionship impossible. They parted, reminding themselves of the commitments they had made to each other and to their descendants (1 Samuel 20:42; cf. 1 Samuel 20:16; 1 Samuel 20:23; 2 Samuel 9). David and Jonathan decided not to see each other again for their mutual protection (but cf. 1 Samuel 23:16-18).
• This chapter reveals that both Saul and Jonathan realized that David was the Lord's anointed who would one day replace Saul. However, their responses to this inevitable situation were opposite because their desires were opposite. Saul wanted to see his own plans fulfilled, but Jonathan wanted to see God's will done. Jonathan ended up choosing David, his natural rival, in preference over Saul, his natural father. His sister Michal had made the same choice. David later kept his covenant with Jonathan (2 Samuel 9:1), showing that he was a covenant-keeping individual similar to Yahweh. This is another evidence that David was a man after God's own heart (1 Samuel 13:14).
• The main character in this pericope is Jonathan. His attitude to God's will contrasts positively with Saul's attitude. Rather than opposing God's will and His anointed, as Saul did, Jonathan humbled himself before God's will and supported the Lord's anointed, David. Jonathan faced a terrible tension since Saul's attitude divided Jonathan's loyalty. He solved this problem by putting God's will first. He submitted to the domestic authority of his father, and to the civil authority of his king, by obeying Saul, except when obedience to Saul conflicted with obedience to God (cf. 1 Peter 2:13-17).
1 Sam. 18:1-5; 20:35-42 - Pulpit Commentary
1 Sam: 18-1-5 - David and Jonathan
v. 1: Now it came about, when he had finished speaking to Saul, that Jonathan committed himself to David, and Jonathan loved him as himself. - When he had made an end of speaking. This conversation took place as soon as the pursuit of the Philistines and the collecting of the spoil were over. There would then be a muster of the Israelites, and Abner would naturally present the youthful champion to the king, who is represented as having virtually forgotten him, and as anxious to learn his history; nor had his stay been long enough for Abner to remember him. As this conversation is narrated as an introduction to the account of Jonathan's friendship for David, the last four verses of ch. 17. ought to be prefixed to ch. 18. A new beginning commences with them, in which we are told of the commencement of this friendship, of the growth of Saul's hatred, and of the trials which befell David, proceeding on the king's part from bad to worse, till at last he was driven away and compelled to lead the life of an outlaw. But by his envy, cruelty, and bad government Saul was alienating the minds of the people from him, and preparing the way for his own downfall and David's ultimate triumph. The episode of Jonathan's love is as beautiful as Saul's conduct is dark, and completes our admiration for this generous and noble hero. The soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David. These kindred spirits had so much in common that, as David with modest manliness answered the king's questions, an intense feeling of admiration grew up in the young warrior's heart, and a friendship was the result which ranks among the purest and noblest examples of true manly affection. The word rendered knit literally means knotted, tied together firmly by indissoluble bonds.
vv. 2-4: 2And Saul took him that day and did not let him return to his father's house. 3 Then Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. 4 Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, with his military gear, including his sword, his bow, and his belt. - Saul took him that day. Bent solely on war, Saul gladly took so promising, a young soldier as David to be one of his bodyguard (1 Samuel 14:52), and henceforward he was constantly with him. Thus in two ways, first as a musician, and now as a soldier, David was forced into those intimate relations with Saul, which ended so tragically. For a while, however, those happier results ensued summed up in 1 Samuel 16:21. Jonathan and David made a covenant. We are not to suppose that this happened immediately. David continued on friendly terms with Saul for a considerable period, during which he went on many expeditions, and grew in military renown (see ver. 5). And thus the love which began with admiration of David's prowess grew deeper and more confirmed by constant intercourse, till this solemn bond of mutual friendship was entered into by the two youthful heroes, by which they bound themselves under all circumstances to be true and faithful to one another. How nobly Jonathan kept the bond the history proceeds immediately to tell us; nor was David subsequently unmindful of it (2 Samuel 9:l, 7). Jonathan stripped himself of the robe, etc. In confirmation of the bond Jonathan gave David first his robe, the meil, which, as we have seen on 1 Samuel 2:19, was the ordinary dress of the wealthier classes; and next his garments, his military dress (see on 1 Samuel 17:38, 39), worn over the meil, and which here seems to include his accoutrements, - the bow, sword, and girdle, - though elsewhere distinguished from them (2 Samuel 20:8). In thus clothing David in his own princely equipments Jonathan was showing his friend the greatest personal honour (Esther 6:8), and such a gift is still highly esteemed in the East.
v. 5: And David went into battle wherever Saul sent him, and always achieved success; so Saul put him in charge of the men of war. And it was pleasing in the sight of all the people, and also in the sight of Saul's servants. - David went out. I.e. went on military expeditions (comp. ver. 30). As the verb has thus a technical signification, it makes a complete sense, and the verse should be translated, "And David went forth (i.e. on warlike enterprises); whithersoever Saul sent him he prospered, and Saul set him over the men of war." These expeditions were not upon a very large scale; for it is not until ver. 13 that we read of David being made "captain over a thousand." Still, even while only a centurion in rank, yet, as being in constant attendance upon the king, he would often temporarily have the command of larger bodies of men, or would go on campaigns as one of the king's officers. As it is mentioned that his promotion caused no envy because of his great merits, it follows that it was rapid enough to have given occasion to ill will under ordinary circumstances. Behaved himself wisely. This is the primary meaning of the verb; but as success is the result of wise conduct, it constantly signifies to prosper. This verse is a summary of events which may have occupied a very considerable space of time. It was only gradually that David's fame became so great as to rouse all the worst feelings in Saul's mind. SAUL'S HATRED OF DAVID (vv. 6-16).
1 Sam. 20:35-42 - David's final departure from Gibeah 20:35-42
vv. 35-38: 35 Now it came about in the morning that Jonathan went out into the field for the appointment with David, and a little lad was with him. 36 He said to his lad, "Run, find now the arrows which I am about to shoot." As the lad was running, he shot an arrow past him. 37 When the lad reached the place of the arrow which Jonathan had shot, Jonathan called after the lad and said, "Is not the arrow beyond you?" 38 And Jonathan called after the lad, "Hurry, be quick, do not stay!" And Jonathan's lad picked up the arrow and came to his master. - The next morning Jonathan went out into the field, not at the time, but "to the place" appointed, taking with him a little lad, as less likely to suspect a reason. Having shot at the mark, he sends him to pick up the arrows, and as he runs to do so he shoots one beyond him, and, calling aloud, gives David the sign that there was no hope. To keep the boy's attention engaged he gives him hurried commands - Make speed, haste, stay not. Instead of the arrows the written text has "Jonathan's lad gathered up the arrow," i.e. that one especially which Jonathan had shot beyond him, and to which his rapid commands referred.
vv. 39-42: 39 But the lad was not aware of anything; only Jonathan and David knew about the matter. 40 Then Jonathan gave his weapons to his lad and said to him, "Go, bring them to the city." 41 When the lad was gone, David rose from the south side and fell on his face to the ground, and bowed three times. And they kissed each other and wept together, but David wept the more. 42 Jonathan said to David, "Go in safety, inasmuch as we have sworn to each other in the name of the LORD, saying, 'The LORD will be between me and you, and between my descendants and your descendants forever.'" Then he rose and departed, while Jonathan went into the city.- His artillery. I.e. his weapons. To get rid of the boy Jonathan sends him home with his bow and arrows, and then David arose out of a place toward the south, or "from the south side" of the stone Ezel, and while not forgetting in his repeated obeisance the honour due to Jonathan's dignity, yet friendship prevailed, and they kissed one another and wept sore, until David exceeded, i.e. broke down, and was completely mastered by his grief. And so they parted, David to begin a life of danger and wandering, while Jonathan returned to the city to be a dutiful son to Saul. Phillipson remarks, "The scenes in this chapter are some of the most affecting presented to us in history, whether in old or modern times, and we may Well wonder at the delicacy of feeling and the gentleness of the sentiments which these two men in those old rough times entertained for one another. No ancient writer has set before us so noble an example of a heart felt, unselfish, and thoroughly human state of feeling, and none has described friendship with such entire truth in all its relations, and with such complete and profound knowledge of the human heart."
1 Sam. 18:1-5 Exegesis
This morning we will look at a love story; nope, not about a man and woman but about 2 men. I don't want you to answer, but what is going on in your mind right now? I got your attention didn't I?
Our sinful world sees the relationship of David and Jonathan as a romantic one. The problem with the world of course, and sadly even with supposedly Christian churches today, bits and pieces of Scripture are interpreted out of context. Our passage today, 1 Samuel 18:1-5, is one of those which can easily be misinterpreted out of context. Were David and Jonathan lovers? In a way they were but we must look at the relationship through God's eyes and through God's infallible word the entire Bible!
And so, before reading our text, let us note a few things; let's have a Preface to 1 Samuel 18:1-5.
1. David was a godly man and was a testimony to the whole world, especially to Saul and family.
2. There are at least 4 types of "love" in God's Word! Unfortunately there is only one English word for love; but loving pizza, loving the Packers, and loving your spouse are not the same type of loves, or at. There is emotional/romantic type of love; thereleast, shouldn't be is brotherly love; there is motherly love; there is lustful fleshy love; and there is godly agape love; each type of love is different! The Hebrew word for love in our passage today is only used in another passage; we read in 1 Samuel 16:21 in the NIV.......
The same Hebrew word for love in 1 Samuel 18 is used here in 1 Samuel 16:21 and we can already see that love in our passage is not an erotic type of love.
And let us always note that Scriptures can interpret Scriptures (all is written by God!). And so,
3. God forbids homosexuality! God did not create man then another man! Leviticus 18:22 and Romans 1:26-28 are a few verses calling homosexuality as sin against God.
And so with these truths in mind, let us read our passage for today and note the biblical principles for us from 1 Samuel 18:1-5...
Let us summarize the story by looking at the 3 main characters. Our focus for today will be on David and Jonathan. But because he plays a key role in David's and Jonathan's lives, let us note a few things about Saul.
Saul has been king of Israel for a while now but as we noted in previous chapters, Saul was getting old and more and more wicked, refusing God. Saul did recently witness the power of God through David by defeating Goliath.
1. What did Saul do?
Earlier, Saul allowed David to go back and forth to Bethlehem, but now...
a. King Saul kept David. Therefore, David really did not have a choice but to obey and stay with Saul's family. And why did Saul keep David?? Saul was selfish!
b. in v5, Saul made David a high ranking army officer. We note that this made all the people happy.
How did Saul impact David's life?
In summary, we can note this: Saul made decisions for David's life and David was obedient!
You know sometimes God places authority figures in our lives who we may not like and we can easily miss God's wonderful plan for us when we grumble and complain instead of just obeying; unless they ask you to sin of course then we should obey God instead of people.
a. we already noted David's obedience to his authorities!
b. and again from v5, David was always successful.
What does this say about David? How can David obey his leaders without sinning and be able to do things successfully??
David had supernatural powers! David yielded to God's leading and power!!
How should we deal with authority figures we don't like? - follow David's example!
And finally, what can we say about 3. Jonathan?
a. v1b: became one in spirit with David? What type of spirit did David have??
And so, what did became one in spirit with David meant?? Jonathan was a godly man!
b. v1c: Jonathan loved David as himself? We already noted earlier that this was not a romantic or a lustful type of love! Was it motherly love? - I don't think so, as we will note the other things that Jonathan did. And so, it likely boils down to a brotherly type love or a godly type of love. We already noted that both David and Jonathan were godly men, therefore, it was more than brotherly love that they shared; Jonathan loved David in the Name of God!
c. and we see the active results of the godly love Jonathan had for David:
v3: Jonathan made a covenant = a binding agreement! God does not tell us specifically but what do you think they agreed on??
Likely David and Jonathan made a covenant to continue to pursue godliness!
d. v4: Jonathan, a Prince who had authority over David, gave everything to David. Godly agape type love thinks of the betterment of the other and gives unconditionally!
And so, what biblical principles from this passage can we apply to our lives today?
1. Let us be like David who yielded to God's leading and power! Pray always, Lord Jesus, lead me and empower me to do the right things!
2. Let us be like Jonathan who looked for a godly person to love in the Name of the Lord!
The opposite of this of course must be avoided: Do not partner with someone who is not a committed Christian!
3. Commit with someone to pursue godliness together!
Of course this is ideal with your spouse; but let me suggest, like David with Jonathan, also find a person of your gender and faith partner with them!
How do we do this? Of course, first and foremost, pray and ask God to bring a person in your life; then,
a. Be at church together on a regular basis!
b. Study the Bible together!