These men were, after all, battle-hardened warriors with a daredevil streak. And natural rivals. But mutual loyalty took priority over career calculations.
- From the get-go (18:1), Jonathan and David hit it off. Have you ever felt that way about another guy?
- What do you make of Jonathan’s vow (18:3)? Why does maintaining a deep friendship require deliberate effort?
- What do Jonathan’s words, in 20:9, tell you about the transparency a close friendship requires?
- Their covenant (20:14-16) committed David and Jonathan to sacrificial care for each other. How do we know (see 2 Samuel 9) that David took this obligation seriously?
- Jonathan’s concerns were as strong for David’s welfare as for his own, we’re told in 20:17. What did this mean (23:17) for prospects of succeeding to his father’s throne?
- Commitment to God (23:16) anchored David and Jonathan’s relationship. Is another man encouraging you to stay strong in your faith? Are you doing the same for him?
Spend Time in Prayer: Ask God to help you build a mutually supportive relationship with at least one other man—one that digs deep into matters of faith and character.
1 Samuel 18 1 After David had finished talking with Saul, he met Jonathan, the king’s son. There was an immediate bond between them, for Jonathan loved David. 2 From that day on Saul kept David with him and wouldn’t let him return home. 3 And Jonathan made a solemn pact with David, because he loved him as he loved himself. 4 Jonathan sealed the pact by taking off his robe and giving it to David, together with his tunic, sword, bow, and belt.
1 Samuel 20 8 Show me this loyalty as my sworn friend—for we made a solemn pact before the Lord—or kill me yourself if I have sinned against your father. But please don’t betray me to him!”
9 “Never!” Jonathan exclaimed. “You know that if I had the slightest notion my father was planning to kill you, I would tell you at once.”
10 Then David asked, “How will I know whether or not your father is angry?”
11 “Come out to the field with me,” Jonathan replied. And they went out there together. 12 Then Jonathan told David, “I promise by the Lord, the God of Israel, that by this time tomorrow, or the next day at the latest, I will talk to my father and let you know at once how he feels about you. If he speaks favorably about you, I will let you know. 13 But if he is angry and wants you killed, may the Lord strike me and even kill me if I don’t warn you so you can escape and live. May the Lord be with you as he used to be with my father. 14 And may you treat me with the faithful love of the Lord as long as I live. But if I die, 15 treat my family with this faithful love, even when the Lord destroys all your enemies from the face of the earth.”
16 So Jonathan made a solemn pact with David, a saying, “May the Lord destroy all your enemies!” 17 And Jonathan made David reaffirm his vow of friendship again, for Jonathan loved David as he loved himself.
1 Samuel 23 15 One day near Horesh, David received the news that Saul was on the way to Ziph to search for him and kill him. 16 Jonathan went to find David and encouraged him to stay strong in his faith in God. 17 “Don’t be afraid,” Jonathan reassured him. “My father will never find you! You are going to be the king of Israel, and I will be next to you, as my father, Saul, is well aware.” 18 So the two of them renewed their solemn pact before the Lord. Then Jonathan returned home, while David stayed at Horesh.