Jonathan & David—Souls Knit Together in the Lord
“The soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul….Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul…Jonathan made David swear again by his love for him, for he loved him as he loved his own soul. the Lord is between you and me forever…David rose from beside the stone heap and fell on his face to the ground and bowed three times. And they kissed one another and wept with one another, David weeping the most. Then Jonathan said to David, ‘Go in peace, because we have sworn both of us in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘The Lord shall be between me and you, and between my offspring and your offspring, forever’…Jonathan, Saul’s son, rose and went to David at Horesh, and strengthened his hand in God…And the two of them made a covenant before the Lord.” (1 Samuel 18:1, 3; 20:17, 23, 41-42; 23:16, 18)
When I was about nine years old, I had an illness that kept me out of school for over two months. I fell behind in my reading skills, so my parents found a tutor–who became my father’s only and best friend. God used my illness to orchestrate this friendship, for which I am very grateful. Male friendships, like that between Jonathan and David are rare. Our present society would immediately disagree, pointing to the numerous love relationships between gay men. But close male heterosexual friendships can have a significant positive impact on a man’s life. The Bible tells us so.
Ny father and his friend did not have a friendship anywhere near as intimate as Jonathan and David. We first hear of their friendship in 1 Samuel 18, and the first thing we learn about their relationship is that Jonathan’s soul was united with David’s soul. Since this truth is repeated in 1 Samuel, so it captures our attention. I suppose that there are unbelievers who have had this experience, but I have only had it as a Christian. There are a few women friends whom I have loved immediately upon meeting them. Has my soul been “knit” to theirs like Jonathan’s was to David? I suspect not. It appears that Jonathan’s priority in his life from that moment became protection for David (1 Samuel 19:1-7; 20:1-42). Jonathan incurred his father’s jealous wrath toward him to shield his friend. I am hard pressed to find an equivalence to Jonathan’s brave actions on David’s behalf.
Jonathan also strengthened David spiritually, which is of great relevance to men and women today. It appears that very soon after meeting, Jonathan and David made a covenant of friendship based on their love for God. The essence of their agreement showed in their mutual trust and affection. Jonathan proactively reminded David of the fact that God was the One who would keep them together spiritually, even when they were separated geographically (20:23, 41-42). Jonathan also gave David the encouragement he needed by reminding him that God would strengthen him when he needed help (23:16). Perhaps God used Jonathan’s reminders when David was alone and frightened by the opposition. “David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.” (1 Samuel 30:6).
Do you have a friend who strengthens you by reminding you about God’s love and strength? Will you pray for a close friend who can help you live for and grow in Christ?