Summary: 1 Samuel 18:1-5 shows us a remarkable expression of faithful love.
The battle between David and Goliath is over. Israel’s champion and savior, David, has killed Goliath. The armies of Israel then routed the armies of the Philistines and chased them all the way back to their own territory. After that Saul’s commander of the army, Abner, brought David to Saul so that Saul could find out about David’s family. Saul’s son Jonathan was at that meeting. Today’s text tells us what happened next.
Let’s read about David and Jonathan’s friendship in 1 Samuel 18:1-5:
1 As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. 2 And Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father’s house. 3 Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. 4 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. 5 And David went out and was successful wherever Saul sent him, so that Saul set him over the men of war. And this was good in the sight of all the people and also in the sight of Saul’s servants. (1 Samuel 18:1-5)
How many of your Facebook friends are real friends? In other words, how many of your online friends would help if you were in trouble? Professor of evolutionary psychology Robin Dunbar put that question to the test. Citing a “dramatic revolution in our social world,” he wondered if the size of your social media network had any correlation to having more friends in real life.
The average number of Facebook friends possessed by people was around 150. But, out of those 150, only 28, on average, we recognized as low-level “friends.” But when participants were asked how many of those friends would help out in a time of need, emotional distress, or other crisis, the average answer was four. Around 14 would at least express sympathy.
Conclusion: we might have 150 or even 5,000 Facebook friends, but our true relationship with the vast majority of these people is essentially insignificant.
Jonathan’s friendship with David is one of the truly remarkable expressions of faithful love given to us in Scripture.
1 Samuel 18:1-5 shows us a remarkable expression of faithful love. Jonathan’s love for David is expressed in attitudes and in actions.
Let’s use the following outline:
1. Love Is Expressed in Attitudes
2. Love Is Expressed in Actions
I. Love Is Expressed in Attitudes
First, love is expressed in attitudes.
There are two attitudes that I want us to examine regarding Jonathan’s faithful love for David.
A. Love Is Strong
First, love is strong.
It is helpful to keep in mind that David was most likely still a teenager. Twenty was the age of conscription into the Israelite army at that time and, until he appeared on the battlefield, David was serving as shepherd on his father’s farm in Bethlehem. On the other hand, Jonathan was much older than David. Jonathan was already a soldier in Saul’s army. In fact, he commanded “about six hundred men” (1 Samuel 14:2). Some time prior to the battle between Goliath and David, Jonathan and his armor-bearer went to a Philistine garrison and killed twenty Philistine soldiers. This action caused panic throughout the Philistine camp, and they started killing each other. Eventually, the Philistines fled, and through the leadership of Jonathan the Lord saved Israel that day (14:23).
So, Jonathan was older than David. He was a national hero having defeated the Philistines, and he was perhaps even a hero to David, who would have known about the exploits of Jonathan. Jonathan was a courageous warrior who had previously saved the nation of Israel (14:1-23). Furthermore, Jonathan gained great recognition as the nation’s savior and he was tremendously popular among the people (14:45). Moreover, Jonathan was in line to succeed his father Saul as the next king over Israel.
Therefore, it would be quite understandable if Jonathan was jealous of David’s victory over Goliath, and his sudden, meteoric rise in popularity. Yet, astonishingly, verse 1a says, “As soon as he [that is, David] had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David.” This is the beginning of a deep and lasting friendship. Instead of there being rivalry between the two there is tremendous unity, and it is Jonathan who expressed faithful love in this friendship.
The Hebrew word for “knit” (qašar) in the expression “the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David” is very strong. One dictionary says that this word “denotes binding or tying something to something. It is also used of a binding together of human beings.” Jonathan bound himself to David in the strongest possible way.