There are hundreds of friendships and companionships in the Bible, but few compare to the perfect example of David and Jonathan. David was the captain of Saul’s bodyguard and a high ranking member of his army. He had slain Goliath and helped tear the Philistines to shreds; he had killed his ‘tens of thousands’ (1 Samuel 18:7). Saul attempted twice to kill David, and despite this Jonathan stayed by his side because “the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David,” (1 Samuel 18:1) and the two became as brothers, as well as brothers-in-law.
David and Jonathan were both powerful warriors. Jonathan in 1 Samuel 14 inspires a huge victory for the Israelites when he and his shield bearer took on the Philistine army alone. David, as we all know, defeated Goliath when he was just a boy with nothing but a sling and a stone. He then grew up to become a great warrior who fought along with Jonathan on some of the worst battle grounds in Israel.
When soldiers fight, they tend to bond with the people around them. When people survive traumatizing experiences together, they are able to relate very well and bond over these things. Jonathan’s soul was knit to David’s by God, this was even before they had fought together much at all (1 Samuel 18). The two were like brothers, not just because David married Jonathan’s sister but because they were bonded together by love from God. This is the love that all of us should have for our ‘brothers’ in Christ and is described in 1 Corinthians 13. This does not mean what modern culturethink it means. If you type ‘Jonathan and David’ into Google, one of the options was “Jonathan and David Gay”. There needs to be an understanding here that there is a cultural difference. When Jonathan and David kiss in 1 Samuel 20:41 it should be understood that the Israelites were a very intimate people. They were very emotional and would often tear their clothes when weeping. In addition, even the NT Christians were instructed to “greet each other with a brotherly kiss” Romans 16:16. Therefore, anytime men kiss in the Bible there is no homosexual undertone, don’t let people read into cultural differences in that way.
David and Jonathan had a friendship so strong that nothing Saul could do would split them up. At one point an evil spirit comes over Saul (1 Samuel 19:9-10) and he attempts to kill David. So David speaks to Jonathan fearing an assassination plot, and Jonathan tells him. So,like two teenage guys that fear danger they make a plan. Jonathan is to find out Saul’s intentions and then secretly tell David what Saul intends to do. Jonathan is the reason David escapes; he risked his own life to save David because of his caring for him. Maybe this should be kept in mind the next time we want to stab a brother in Christ in the back?
For years Saul was chasing David throughout Israel and the surrounding countries, and on several occasions David was almost caught. On these occasions, Saul was caught in complete vulnerability. Both times David spared his life for two reasons. First, God had given him permission to do as he pleased with Saul and David decided to spare his life. Secondly, David loved Jonathan, and, David was Saul’s son- in law and therefore would not kill him.
The two loved each other and cared for each other above all else. Nothing but death could come between them and they wanted to rule Israel together. The two of them would do nothing to betray each other and would have united Israel and their two houses. David and Jonathan both show grace and mercy to one another under pressure, as well as unyielding friendship and gratitude. When David learned about the deaths of Saul and Jonathan he wept and tore his clothes.
This should be the model for all of our friendships. Somehow we don’t know how to make personal relationships anymore. The average high school girl enters high school with twenty friends and leaves with three. Our “friends” now tend to be the people who pick on us the most and cause us the most pain. I once witnessed my high school valedictorian being swirlied by his two friends, so what do you do? Simple, don’t talk to the people that cause you pain, stop spending any effort on unhealthy relationships because the ones that matter will be much more fulfilling. If there is somebody that you would weep and fast for then cherish that person and let them know how important they are to you.
The early Christian church was one of the most closely bound organizations on Earth when it was started. They were instructed to get along, not slander each other, and to work together even through divisions. All throughout Paul’s letters there are examples taken from Jonathan and David. Greeting each other with a brotherly kiss and protecting each other from danger, and settling disputes with others by working together.