1 Samuel 18 (Week 9) - Friendship + Jealousy

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Before diving into chapter 18, let’s leaf back to the very end of the last chapter we studied. After David threw the stone, sinking it into Goliath’s head, he ran out to where the Philistine lay. As King Saul watched the young boy cut off Goliath’s head, he asked the commander of his army who the boy was.

I had lots of questions about this, since I didn’t reference it in the blogpost (though I did in our live Bible Study here in Denver). It seems strange, doesn’t it? Why, if Saul had already had David come to play the harp for him, 16:21 even stating:

And David came to Saul and entered his service. And Saul loved him greatly, and he became his armor-bearer.

So why is Saul asking who this boy was? We do know that Saul’s mental state declines though the rest of 1 Samuel but I don’t think that’s it. Think of the life of a king, president, or any high profile leader. Consider all the people they come into contact with each and every day. Folks are always coming through their office. Their home. They are constantly meeting with the public. With heads of state. Maybe some individuals bring their families or their assistants and their own people of service. King Saul is not unlike our leaders today as a multitude of people come through his path each day, week, and month.

I can’t even keep everyone straight, can you? With six kids at five schools and each of them in sports and activities and doing playdates with friends from all over the place, sometimes even I lean over to my husband and need him to remind me why someone looks familiar!

As we begin reading chapter 18, the story of who David is, continues. After the young shepherd tells Saul that he is the son of your servant Jesse of Bethlehem (17:58), Jonathan enters the scene. We’re told that the prince became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself (18:1).

I always thought the way this was worded seemed a bit strange. They were friends, sure. But what was different about it?

The Hebrew word used here in 18:1 is not a sexual love, but instead one that is used for political and diplomatic alliances (1 Samuel 16:21 and 1 Kings 5:1). In fact, this type of covenant (Hebrew word beriyth) was also used between God and Abraham (Genesis 15:18), as well as between God and Moses (Exodus 24:7-8; 34:27; Deuteronomy 5:2) and means a treaty, alliance, pledge, or agreement. If we dive deeper into their story, we learn that within the lines of their agreement, Jonathan would be second in command in David’s future reign (1 Samuel 23:16-18) and David was to protect Jonathan’s family (1 Samuel 20:14-16).

The Message writes their friendship beautifully as it shares in 18:1 that:

By the time David had finished reporting to Saul, Jonathan was deeply impressed with David—an immediate bond was forged between them. He became totally committed to David. From that point on he would be David’s number-one advocate and friend.

We will continue to see three amazing traits of their friendship through these next weeks:

Loyalty, sacrifice, empathy, sacrifice, and simply being emotionally present for one another.

Characteristics of friendship that we too, should emulate!

Verse 4 tells us that:

And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt.

Can you imagine what kind of person Jonathan must have been? The significance of this gift to David was that he recognized the shepherd turned soldier would one day be king over Israel. This was to be his title. His future. But jealousy did not rear its ugly head in the prince, like it did the king.

Jonathan walked so closely with God that he knew his father’s mistakes cut off the family line to the throne…and yet we see no anger. No sadness or attempts to persuade God from the decision He’d already made.

I’m thinking about all the times I try and persuade God from His plans, as if I know better. And as much as I’d like to deny it, sometimes my eyes do grow green with envy as I hear about a friend’s book being published or house being remodeled.

Jonathan should have been king. He was a good man, didn’t make the same mistakes of his father or have Saul’s heart. And yet God’s plan for Jonathan’s life wouldn’t include his own crown, but rather being friendship and support for the man who would.

Sit and think of something you want so badly. And then think of your best friend living it instead. Would you be the kind of friend who would support her and throw confetti with a genuinely happy-for-her heart? Could you do it? How do you get to the point where you rally around a friend who has everything you thought was yours? Perhaps a marriage, a pregnancy, the job of your dreams.

We need to get to the point of trusting Christ enough to embrace the idea that He knows what He’s doing. Our plans and dreams may be good….but His plan is perfect. Sometimes they don’t make sense to us, but just because it doesn’t make sense to our mortal eyes, does that mean it’s not right? We know God does not make mistakes. He’s not about to start with your life.

Spend some time in silence this week as you drive your car or do the dishes. Take away the noise and distraction for a bit so you can be wholly listening to God’s quiet voice. Pray to Him, search His heart as you release your expectations, dreams, and plans to Him. Live with open hands, giving it back to the Father who created you. He will most certainly show you what calling and assignment He’s birthed you for. Because if we have but one life….don’t we want the one He has placed us on this earth for?

Queen Esther’s uncle encouraged the young woman that she was born for such a time as this (Esther 4:14). An ordinary girl, turned queen that saved her people from death. We may feel ordinary, but because we have God within us, we are far from typical and average. We too are born for such a time as this. We just need to figure out what the this is.

Pray that He shows you.

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I can't wait to continue on next week!

Take Joy,