The Friendship of David and Jonathan
18 When he finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan became attached to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. 2 Saul took him on that very day and did not allow him to return to his father’s house. 3 Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. 4 Jonathan stripped off the robe that he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his fighting attire, and even his sword, his bow, and his belt.
David’s Successes Arouse Saul’s Suspicions
5 David went out whenever Saul sent him, and he succeeded. So Saul appointed him over the men of the war, and it pleased all the people and even pleased the servants of Saul. 6 When they were coming back after David had returned from striking down the Philistine, the women went out from all the cities of Israel singing and dancing to meet King Saul with tambourines, with joy, and with three-stringed instruments. 7 And the women sang as they danced, and they said,
“Saul has struck down his thousands,
but David his ten thousands!”
8 Saul became very angry, and this saying displeased him, and he thought, “They have attributed to David ten thousands, but to me they have attributed thousands! What more can he have but the kingdom?” 9 So Saul was watching David with suspicion from that day onward.
10 On the next day, the evil spirit from God rushed upon Saul, and he prophesied in the middle of the house. Now David was playing the lyre with his hand on that day as usual, and the spear was in Saul’s hand. 11 Then Saul hurled the spear and thought, “I will pin David to the wall.” But David eluded him twice. 12 Now Saul was threatened by the presence of David because Yahweh was with him, but had departed from Saul. 13 So Saul removed him from his presence, and made him commander of a thousand, so he marched in and out at the front of the army. 14 And David was achieving success in all his ways and Yahweh was with him, 15 but when Saul saw that he was very successful, he was severely threatened by him. 16 However, all of Israel and Judah were loving David, for he was going forth and marching ahead of them.
David Marries Saul’s Daughter Michal
17 Then Saul said to David, “Here is my older daughter Merab. I will give her to you as your wife. Only be a brave warrior for me and fight the battles of Yahweh.” For Saul thought, “My hand will not be against him, but let the hand of the Philistines be against him.” 18 But David said to Saul, “Who am I, and who are my relatives, the clan of my father in Israel, that I should be a son-in-law to the king?” 19 But at the time Saul’s daughter Merab was to be given to David, she was given instead to Adriel the Meholathite as wife.
20 Now Saul’s daughter Michal loved David, so they told Saul, and the matter pleased him. 21 And Saul thought, “I will give her to him, so that she may be a snare for him and the hand of the Philistines may be against him.” So Saul said to David, “For a second time you can become my son-in-law today.” 22 Then Saul commanded his servants, “Speak to David in secret, saying, ‘Look, the king is pleased with you, and all his servants love you. So then, become a son-in-law of the king.’ ” 23 And Saul’s servants spoke these words to David privately. But David said, “Is it insignificant in your sight to become the son-in-law of the king, as I am a poor and lightly esteemed man?” 24 So the servants of Saul informed him, saying, “This is what David said.” 25 Then Saul said, “This is what you must say to David: ‘The king desires no bride price except for a hundred foreskins of the Philistines, to avenge himself on the enemies of the king.’ ” (Now Saul had planned to allow David to fall by the hand of the Philistines.) 26 So his servants told David these words, and the matter pleased David to become the son-in-law of the king as the specified time had not expired.
27 And David got up, and he and his men went and struck down two hundred men of the Philistines. Then David brought their foreskins, and they presented the full number to become the king’s son-in-law. Then Saul gave him Michal his daughter as his wife. 28 When Saul realized that Yahweh was with David and his own daughter Michal loved him, 29 Saul was threatened by David still more, so Saul became a perpetual enemy of David. 30 Then the commanders of the Philistines went out for battle, and as often as they went out, David succeeded more than all the servants of Saul, and his name became very esteemed.
Jonathan Intercedes for David
19 Now Saul spoke to Jonathan his son and to all his servants about killing David, but Saul’s son Jonathan liked David very much. 2 So Jonathan informed David, saying, “My father Saul is trying to kill you; now please take care! In the morning you should stay in the hiding place and conceal yourself. 3 I will go out and stand at my father’s side in the field where you are, and I will speak about you to my father; if I find out anything I will tell it to you.” 4 So Jonathan spoke well about David to his father Saul and said to him, “The king should not sin against his servant David, because he has not sinned against you, and because his service for you has been very good. 5 He put his life in his hand and attacked the Philistine, and Yahweh brought about a great victory for all of Israel, and you saw it and rejoiced! Now why should you sin against innocent blood by killing David without cause?” 6 And Saul listened to the voice of Jonathan and swore, “As Yahweh lives, he will not be put to death!” 7 Jonathan called to David and told him all of these words. Then Jonathan brought David to Saul and he was before him as formerly.
David Has to Flee Again
8 War came again, so David went out and fought against the Philistines and defeated them thoroughly so that they fled before him. 9 Then the evil spirit from Yahweh came upon Saul while he was sitting in his house with his spear in his hand. And David was playing a stringed instrument in his hand. 10 So Saul tried to pin David to the wall with the spear, but he eluded Saul, so that he struck the spear into the wall, and David fled and escaped that same night.
11 Then Saul sent messengers to David’s house to guard him and to kill him in the morning, but Michal his wife told David, saying, “If you do not save your life tonight, then tomorrow you will be killed!” 12 So Michal lowered David through the window, and he went and fled and escaped. 13 Then Michal took the household god and put it on the bed and put a quilt of goat’s hair at its head and covered it with the clothes. 14 And Saul sent messengers to arrest David, but she said, “He is ill.” 15 So Saul sent the messengers to see David, saying, “Bring him up to me in the bed, so that I can kill him.” 16 When the messengers came, to their surprise the idol was on the bed with the quilt of goat’s hair at the head. 17 Then Saul said to Michal, “Why have you deceived me like this and sent away my enemy, so that he escaped?” Michal said to Saul, “He said to me, ‘Let me go, why should I kill you?’ ”
18 So David fled and escaped, and he came to Samuel at Ramah and told him all that Saul had done to him. Then he and Samuel went and stayed in Naioth. 19 And it was told to Saul, “David is in Naioth in Ramah.” 20 So Saul sent messengers to capture David. When they saw the company of the prophets prophesying and Samuel standing as chief over them, then the Spirit of God came upon Saul’s messengers, and they also prophesied. 21 So they told Saul, and he sent other messengers, and they also prophesied. Again Saul sent messengers a third time, and they also prophesied. 22 Then he also went to Ramah. When he came to the great cistern which was in Secu, he asked and said, “Where are Samuel and David?” Someone said, “Look they are in Naioth in Ramah.” 23 So he went there to Naioth in Ramah and the Spirit of God came upon him also, and he walked along prophesying until he came to Naioth in Ramah. 24 He also stripped off his clothes and prophesied before Samuel. He lay naked all that day and all night. Therefore they say, “Is Saul also among the prophets?”
The Effective Prayer of Faith
13 Is anyone among you suffering misfortune? He should pray. Is anyone cheerful? He should sing praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? He should summon the elders of the church and they should pray over him, anointing him with olive oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous person accomplishes much. 17 Elijah was a human being with the same nature as us, and he prayed fervently for it not to rain, and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. 18 And he prayed again, and the sky gave rain and the earth produced its fruit.
19 My brothers, if anyone among you should wander away from the truth and someone turns him back, 20 he should know that the one who turns a sinner back from the error of his way will save that person’s soul from death, and will cover over a great number of sins.
1 In my distress I called to Yahweh,
and he answered me.
2 “Deliver my life, O Yahweh, from lying lips,
from a deceitful tongue.”
3 What shall be given to you,
and what more shall be done to you,
4 The sharpened arrows of a warrior,
with burning charcoals from broom trees.
5 Woe to me, that I sojourn in Meshech,
that I dwell among the tents of Kedar.
6 Too long my soul has had its dwelling
near one who hates peace.
7 I am for peace, but when I speak,
they are for war.
This generation has more opportunities for communication than any before it, with email and social networking making it possible to interact with others 24/7. Yet suicide rates are higher than ever, and antidepressant medications have become almost standard fare. We have more connections than ever before, but they’re not relationships. We still feel alone. People need authentic community—a sense of communing with someone—to feel whole and healthy.
The story of David and Jonathan portrays the true nature of friendship: “the soul of Jonathan became attached to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul” (1 Sam 18:1). Jonathan could easily have been jealous of his friend; David was a great warrior and had just been brought into the household of Jonathan’s father, the king, as the king’s protégé (1 Sam 17:48–58; 18:2). Instead of being jealous, Jonathan responded with love and kindness, and the two became the most steadfast friends.
Authentic relationship is built on trust, which often starts when one person sacrifices himself for the other. Jonathan made such a sacrifice: “Jonathan stripped off the robe that he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his fighting attire, and even his sword, his bow, and his belt” (1 Sam 18:3–4). Because Jonathan loved David as a friend, their relationship grew into a deep-rooted loyalty. When we share that deep trust and loyalty with a friend, we can grow in God’s will together. We all need someone we can rely on; David and Jonathan demonstrate how powerful such a relationship can be. They teach us what it means to follow Yahweh with someone else at your side.
In the early Church, authentic relationships were not just an idea—they were a way of life: “Is anyone among you sick? He should summon the elders of the church and they should pray over him, anointing him with olive oil in the name of the Lord” (Jas 5:14). The early Church didn’t respond to sickness or pain by saying, “I’ll pray for you.” They actually prayed. Just as Jonathan, in one swift action, gave David the honor of being like the king’s son, so the early Church swiftly took care of their own. They made friends by being loyal, as Christ was loyal to them. They created community by showing love and kindness without requiring that kindness to be returned. But the return on investment was great: It laid the foundation for a worldwide movement.
How can you show authentic friendship to others?
Author: John D. Barry & Rebecca Van Noord
Publisher: Lexham Press
Publication Date: 2012
This 365-day devotional walks you through the Bible in a year, following a custom reading plan that delves into the stories of the Bible from five unique perspectives.