1 Samuel 18:   “David And Jonathan Become United As Friends


Jim Bomkamp

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1.     INTRO:


1.1.     In our last study, we looked at chapter 17 and the incredible story of David and Goliath.


1.1.1.  David had been called upon to play the harp for Saul, however he had still remained shepherding his father’s sheep when he wasn’t with Saul playing the harp.


1.1.2.  Saul and the army of the Philistines pulled up in battle against each other, each upon a mountain with a valley in between.  Then, for forty days a giant named Goliath came out twice a day and taunted Israel to send out a representative warrior for him to fight, saying that if their warrior won that the Philistines would serve Israel.  However, if he won then Israel would serve the Philistines. 


1.1.3.  Everyone in Israel was in fear and dismay at the awesome size and appearance of this giant, and no one was willing to risk his life and step out to fight as a representative of God’s people. 


1.1.4.  David happened upon the battle scene as he was bringing supplies for his brothers on the front line.  Then, when David saw and heard the giant give his taunt of Israel, he was offended that anyone would dare to defy the God of Israel, and he pondered going himself out to fight against the giant as he inquired as to what reward was offered to the man who would kill the giant.


1.1.5.  David then convinced Saul to give him a chance to defeat Goliath when he explained that even though he was a young man that he had already had the Lord give him mighty victories in battle when he as a shepherd had killed with his own hands a bear and a lion.


1.1.6.  Finally, we saw that by the hand of the Lord that David killed the giant with a sling and a small stone, and then that the Philistines had fled in fear in every direction since their hero was dead.  The Israelites had then pursued the fleeing Philistines and had a great victory in battle over them.


1.2.                     In our study today, we are going to look at chapter 18 and the incredible bond of friendship that began between David and Jonathan, the son of king Saul.


1.2.1.  We’ll see that Jonathan’s soul becomes knit to the soul of David and that Jonathan makes a lifelong commitment to David to serve under him when the Lord makes David king over Israel.


1.2.2.  We’ll look at some of the things that caused this incredible bond between David and Jonathan to occur.


1.2.3.  We’ll see that from the hand of the Lord that David begins to gain favor with people throughout Israel after his conquest of Goliath, however this leads Saul to become angry and jealous of David, and ultimately Saul attempts to murder David.


1.2.4.  We’ll contrast two different lives in our story, the life of Saul and the life of David.      Saul, because he is not following the Lord any more, becomes more and more self-centered and egotistical, and this leads him to become jealous to the point of attempting to murder David.      David, who is following the Lord, seeks to diligently serve king Saul and perform every duty and all that he does as unto the Lord, serving the Lord with all of his might.


1.2.5.  The reason that Saul and David were heading in two different directions has everything to do with their “private life.”      Saul, in his “private life” was constantly scheming and seeking to establish and preserve his own kingdom (he was building his own kingdom at this point not the Lord’s kingdom).           Because of his “private life” Saul succumbs to outbursts of anger, jealousy, and ultimately murder.      David, in his “private life” worshipped and sought after the Lord.  He was always spending time with the Lord and inquiring of the Lord concerning any decision that he made.           Because of his “private life,” David carried out all of his duties with diligence and all of his might, and though he could have sought to retaliate against Saul and somehow seek his own revenge for the way that Saul sought to treat him, David refrained from this and constantly just kept his eyes upon his Lord whom he served.           What a man or woman does in his/her “private life” spills over into every action and decision he/she makes in life.               What is the quality of your “private life” before the Lord?           We see throughout the rest of this book of 1 Samuel that because of the quality of David’s “private life” before the Lord that though he could so easily have become bitter and revengeful against Saul because of the way Saul treated him, that he does not give in to those temptations but just goes quietly about his business of being faithful to the Lord and to his earthly king.           We see also that though David had been anointed as king by Samuel, David determines to let the Lord bring that reality to pass.  He doesn’t now try to manipulate the situation, plot some sort of an insurrection to make him king, etc.               How we all can and should learn from David to wait upon the Lord instead of scheming!


1.2.6.  Oswald Chambers in “My Utmost For His Highest” writes the following about the importance of what constitutes what he calls our “master ambition” in our “private life” before the Lord, “I have to learn to relate everything to the master ambition, and to maintain it without any cessation. My worth to God in public is what I am in private.  Is my master ambition to please Him and be acceptable to Him, or is it something less, no matter how noble?”      What is your “master ambition” in life?  Is it to please and be acceptable to the Lord?


1.2.7.  In the book, “Power Through Prayer,” E. M. Bounds gives the following examples of men greatly used by God who spent much time alone with the Lord each day, and I share these just so that you and I might be encouraged to take some steps to broaden the quality and amount of time that we spend alone with the Lord each day,


“The Marquis DeRenty, to whom Christ was most precious, ordered his servant to call him from his devotions at the end of half an hour. The servant at the time saw his face through an aperture. It was marked with such holiness that he hated to arouse him. His lips were moving, but he was perfectly silent. He waited until three half hours had passed; then he called to him, when he arose from his knees, saying that the half hour was so short when he was communing with Christ. 


Brainerd said: “I love to be alone in my cottage, where I can spend much time in prayer.”


William Bramwell is famous in Methodist annals for personal holiness and for his wonderful success in preaching and for the marvelous answers to his prayers. For hours at a time he would pray. He almost lived on his knees. He went over his circuits like a flame of fire. The fire was kindled by the time he spent in prayer. He often spent as much as four hours in a single season of prayer in retirement.


Bishop Andrewes spent the greatest part of five hours every day in prayer and devotion.


Sir Henry Havelock always spent the first two hours of each day alone with God. If the encampment was struck at 6 A.M., he would rise at four.


Earl Cairns rose daily at six o’clock to secure an hour and a half for the study of the Bible and for prayer, before conducting family worship at a quarter to eight.


Dr. Judson’s success in prayer is attributable to the fact that he gave much time to prayer. He says on this point: “Arrange thy affairs, if possible, so that thou canst leisurely devote two or three hours every day not merely to devotional exercises but to the very act of secret prayer and communion with God. Endeavor seven times a day to withdraw from business and company and lift up thy soul to God in private retirement. Begin the day by rising after midnight and devoting some time amid the silence and darkness of the night to this sacred work. Let the hour of opening dawn find thee at the same work. Let the hours of nine, twelve, three, six, and nine at night witness the same. Be resolute in his cause. Make all practicable sacrifices to maintain it. Consider that thy time is short, and that business and company must not be allowed to rob thee of thy God.” Impossible, say we, fanatical directions!  Dr. Judson impressed an empire for Christ and laid the foundations of God’s kingdom with imperishable granite in the heart of Burmah.  He was successful, one of the few men who mightily impressed the world for Christ.”


2.     VS 18:1  - 1 Now it came about when he had finished speaking to Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as himself. -  The soul of Jonathan becomes knit to the soul of David


2.1.                     Let’s consider the reasons why Jonathan’s soul became knit to David’s soul:


2.1.1.  Jonathan had seen how that David was a valiant warrior, for David had courageously laid his life on the line that the Name of the Lord not be blasphemed by Goliath, and, the Lord had given David an incredible victory over the giant.  Also, Jonathan had observed how that David had just jumped right into the battle pursuing the fleeing Philistines.


2.1.2.  Jonathan admired the faith in the Lord and courage of David, and he knew that it exceeded his own, for Jonathan had opportunity but had not been willing to go and to come against Goliath in battle.


2.1.3.  At the conclusion of chapter 17, we saw that after slaying Goliath and cutting off his head that David had joined with Saul’s army and pursued the fleeing Philistines killing many of them in battle.  Then, when David had returned, Abner the commander of Saul’s army, brought David, who was carrying Goliath’s head, to king Saul.  Saul had then inquired of David of his father’s name so that he could reward David’s father, allowing him now to live tax free in Israel.  It was at the end of this conversation of David with Saul that this verse commences and thus it was as a result of how David handled himself speaking with king Saul that drew Jonathan towards David in this way.


2.1.4.  David and Jonathan were of a “kindred spirit.”      There is a saying that goes like this, “Blood is thicker than water, but a kindred spirit is thicker than blood.”  Jonathan understands that David is going to supplant him as the next king over Israel, however this fact did not dissuade Jonathan from devotion to David because he loved David, for he and David were of such a “kindred spirit.”      I have heard twisted people claim that because of the love that David and Jonathan had for each other that they had a homosexual relationship, however this is as wrong as it is ridiculous.  There is a bond of “friendship love” that men can have with each other, and likewise women can have with each other, that is incredibly strong, especially when the Lord is the center of both peoples’ lives.  When I first became a believer and began to live in a house with a couple of other brothers in Christ, I was shocked at the depth of the love, commitment, and fellowship that we three had with each other in Christ.  This brotherly love literally rescued me from the fires of hell pulling me out of a lifestyle of sin that could easily have engulfed me, as it did to so many others in those days.  Ecc. 4:12 was a verse that we three in the house used to speak about for this verse reveals the strength that a kindred brother or sister in the Lord can give a person, “12 And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.


2.1.5.  God gave David favor with Jonathan.      One of the great blessings that we as Christians have is that God often arranges things and works in peoples’ lives and hearts to give us favor with men.  Many times the people that the Lord gives us favor with don’t even have the same faith as we have, however God places it in their hearts to have favor towards us.      There are many Biblical examples of God causing His people to gain favor in the eyes of men and then His using this for His purposes, for instance:           Moses had favor with Pharaoh in Egypt and was placed as second in command over the kingdom.  This helped position him to lead God’s people out of Egypt.           Joseph had favor with men wherever God placed him, whether in Potapher’s house or with Pharaoh himself, and thus as second in command over Egypt he was able to save Israel from the famine that had spread throughout the land.           Ruth had favor with Boaz and thus was redeemed by him, and in her story the scripture creates for us a beautiful picture of the redemption that we have through Jesus Christ, our kinsman redeemer.           Esther had favor with the Persian king Ahasuerus and thus was able to save the nation of Israel from slaughter at the hands of evil Haman.           David had favor with Saul (this only lasted a while) then with Jonathan, and the Lord would use this bond with Jonathan for the sparing of David’s life when Saul later sought to kill David.  David also gained favor with all the people in Israel which helped him many years later when he began to reign as king over Israel.           Daniel had favor in the Babylonian court and then later in the Medo-Persian administration after Babylon fell, and thus Daniel became positioned so that he could be used by the Lord to interpret the king’s dreams.


3.     VS 18:2-4  - 2 Saul took him that day and did not let him return to his father’s house. 3 Then Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. 4 Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, with his armor, including his sword and his bow and his belt. -  Jonathan loved David as he loved himself, and he made a covenant with David and gave him his robe, armor, sword, bow, and belt


3.1.                     David no longer would be a shepherd boy tending his father’s sheep for he had been accepted into fulltime service under Saul.


3.2.                     David as the one who had been anointed as the next king would again be able to serve in the king’s palace and presence, as he had done when he had played the harp for Saul, and being there would help him to be better prepared when it would be his turn to begin to reign as king over Israel.


3.3.                     The covenant that Jonathan made with David was made with the knowledge that the Lord had chosen David to be the next king in Israel, rather than himself.  However when David was made king, the agreement was that Jonathan would serve as second in command under David.  We can see that this is the nature of this covenant in the following verses:


3.3.1.  1 Samuel 20:16-17, “16 So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, “May the Lord require it at the hands of David’s enemies.” 17 Jonathan made David vow again because of his love for him, because he loved him as he loved his own life.


3.3.2.  1 Samuel 23:16-18, “16 And Jonathan, Saul’s son, arose and went to David at Horesh, and encouraged him in God. 17 Thus he said to him, “Do not be afraid, because the hand of Saul my father will not find you, and you will be king over Israel and I will be next to you; and Saul my father knows that also.” 18 So the two of them made a covenant before the Lord; and David stayed at Horesh while Jonathan went to his house.”


3.4.     Jonathan’s giving to David his own royal robe, armor, sword, bow, and belt was an act of submission to David in light of David’s future role as king over Israel, but it also demonstrates the selflessness of Jonathan in thinking of his friend’s needs over his own, for David the shepherd boy had none of the attire or fighting equipment befitting his new role as a warrior and a leader in Israel.


4.     VS 18:5-9  - 5 So David went out wherever Saul sent him, and prospered; and Saul set him over the men of war. And it was pleasing in the sight of all the people and also in the sight of Saul’s servants. 6 It happened as they were coming, when David returned from killing the Philistine, that the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with joy and with musical instruments. 7 The women sang as they played, and said, “Saul has slain his thousands, And David his ten thousands.” 8 Then Saul became very angry, for this saying displeased him; and he said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, but to me they have ascribed thousands. Now what more can he have but the kingdom?” 9 Saul looked at David with suspicion from that day on. -  David gained favor with the people, however this ended up making Saul jealous and suspicious of him


4.1.                     We see here that David was faithful to king Saul, going on every mission that his king sent him. 


4.2.                     More than just being faithful to go out wherever the king sent him, David ‘prospered’ in all that he did.  David ‘prospered’ because he was diligent, dedicated, loyal, and faithful to his king, and moreover because the Lord’s hand was on his life.


4.2.1.  We Christians ought to always work hard and be diligent in our secular work and also in the service that we perform for the Lord, for this is what the scriptures tell us to do:      We ought to be hard working and diligent in all of our work, as Ecclesiastes 9:10 tells us, “10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might; for there is no activity or planning or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol where you are going.  We ought to consider that our real employer in all that we do is the Lord, and we ought to perform the work we do then in order to please the Lord, as Col. 3:23 says, “23 Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men.      I remember a Christian friend one time telling me that in the Christian rock band ministry that he led that he felt the conviction that his band ought to be the best rock band around, for what he was doing he was doing as unto the Lord.  All of us ought to have this mentality about our service to the Lord.


4.2.2.  My earthly dad instilled into my mind at a young age that a job is not worth doing if it is not worth doing right!  How much more so this ought to be true if what we are doing is for the Lord!


4.3.                     David gains so much favor in the people’s eyes here that as he is returning from killing Goliath and then having a great victory over the fleeing Philistines that the women from all of the cities of Israel were coming out and singing and dancing and playing musical instruments as they chanted, ““Saul has slain his thousands, And David his ten thousands.”


4.4.                     David’s getting more recognition than Saul by these women caused Saul to become very jealous and suspicious of David, and very soon we will see that Saul’s jealousy turns to murderous thoughts.


4.5.                     It is telling here that Saul says of David, “What more can he have but the kingdom?”  Even Saul sensed somehow that the Lord was granting David great favor among the people in preparation for that day when they would accept David as their next king.


4.5.1.  Remember, Saul had no idea that Samuel had already anointed David to be the next king over Israel.  That anointing was a private affair.


5.     VS 18:10-11  - 10 Now it came about on the next day that an evil spirit from God came mightily upon Saul, and he raved in the midst of the house, while David was playing the harp with his hand, as usual; and a spear was in Saul’s hand. 11 Saul hurled the spear for he thought, “I will pin David to the wall.” But David escaped from his presence twice. -  Saul first attempts to kill David with his spear


5.1.                     Notice here that this evil spirit that torments Saul was sent ‘from God.’  In the scriptures we see from time to time that the Lord actually uses evil for His own purposes in handing out His judgment upon men.


5.2.                     Beware, for the sin of jealousy is a very wicked sin for it is the breeding ground for murderous thoughts.


6.     VS 18:12-16  - 12 Now Saul was afraid of David, for the Lord was with him but had departed from Saul. 13 Therefore Saul removed him from his presence and appointed him as his commander of a thousand; and he went out and came in before the people. 14 David was prospering in all his ways for the Lord was with him. 15 When Saul saw that he was prospering greatly, he dreaded him. 16 But all Israel and Judah loved David, and he went out and came in before them. -  Saul becomes afraid of David because the Lord was with David and prospering him greatly, and Saul appointed David a commander of 1,000


6.1.                     We’ll begin to see now that Saul hoped that by assigning David more and more combat duties and leadership offices that David would be killed in battle and therefore would be no more a threat to Saul’s kingship.


7.     VS 18:17-27  - 17 Then Saul said to David, “Here is my older daughter Merab; I will give her to you as a wife, only be a valiant man for me and fight the Lord’s battles.” For Saul thought, “My hand shall not be against him, but let the hand of the Philistines be against him.” 18 But David said to Saul, “Who am I, and what is my life or my father’s family in Israel, that I should be the king’s son-in-law?” 19 So it came about at the time when Merab, Saul’s daughter, should have been given to David, that she was given to Adriel the Meholathite for a wife. 20 Now Michal, Saul’s daughter, loved David. When they told Saul, the thing was agreeable to him. 21 Saul thought, “I will give her to him that she may become a snare to him, and that the hand of the Philistines may be against him.” Therefore Saul said to David, “For a second time you may be my son-in-law today.” 22 Then Saul commanded his servants, “Speak to David secretly, saying, ‘Behold, the king delights in you, and all his servants love you; now therefore, become the king’s son-in-law.’ ” 23 So Saul’s servants spoke these words to David. But David said, “Is it trivial in your sight to become the king’s son-in-law, since I am a poor man and lightly esteemed?” 24 The servants of Saul reported to him according to these words which David spoke. 25 Saul then said, “Thus you shall say to David, ‘The king does not desire any dowry except a hundred foreskins of the Philistines, to take vengeance on the king’s enemies.’ ” Now Saul planned to make David fall by the hand of the Philistines. 26 When his servants told David these words, it pleased David to become the king’s son-in-law. Before the days had expired 27 David rose up and went, he and his men, and struck down two hundred men among the Philistines. Then David brought their foreskins, and they gave them in full number to the king, that he might become the king’s son-in-law. So Saul gave him Michal his daughter for a wife. -  David is made the kings son-in-law


7.1.                     Saul had promised that for the man who would slay the Philistine giant that he would give his daughter to him in marriage, however Saul did not keep his word on that and immediately give his daughter to David in marriage.


7.1.1.  In fact, we are not told that any of the things were done for David that king Saul promised he would do for the man who would kill the Philistine giant, Goliath.


7.2.                     Saul initially tells David that he can marry his oldest daughter, however it is evidently the case that when David is told that in order to marry her that he had to win so many battles over the Philistines, David declines the offer stating humbly, ““Who am I, and what is my life or my father’s family in Israel, that I should be the king’s son-in-law?”


7.3.      When it became time to give this oldest daughter to David, Saul reneges on his word to David and gives this daughter to Adriel the Meholathite for a wife.


7.4.     However, Saul had another daughter, Michal.  Saul finds out that this daughter was in love with David.  So, Saul again has David informed that he is to become the kings son-in-law and this time to marry his daughter, Michal.


7.5.     Saul’s motive for giving David his daughter Michal to be his wife is so that she would become a snare to him and the hand of the Philistines would be against him, for he decides this time that in order to be given his daughter in marriage that David had to bring to him the foreskins of 100 Philistines.   Saul is thinking that surely David would be killed trying to kill 100 Philistines in order to bring their foreskins to him.


7.6.     At this offer from Saul to marry his daughter Michal, David is again humbled but this time determines to take Saul up on his offer when he realizes that no dowry is involved only the capturing of the foreskins of 100 Philistines.  However, rather than David being killed in battle trying to get 100 Philistine foreskins, before the end of the day David and his men kill 200 Philistines and David brings their foreskins to Saul.  Therefore, Saul gives his daughter Michal to David, and she becomes his wife.


8.     VS 18:29-29  - 28 When Saul saw and knew that the Lord was with David, and that Michal, Saul’s daughter, loved him, 29 then Saul was even more afraid of David. Thus Saul was David’s enemy continually. -  Saul becomes even more afraid of David as he continued to see the Lord’s hand in David’s life as well as the love of his daughter Michal for David


8.1.                     It is interesting that it never mentions anywhere that David loved Michal.  We will see later in 1 Samuel that this marriage to the king’s daughter soon turns foul.


8.2.                     Saul now continually views David as his enemy.


9.     VS 18:30  - 30 Then the commanders of the Philistines went out to battle, and it happened as often as they went out, that David behaved himself more wisely than all the servants of Saul. So his name was highly esteemed. -  David continues to excel even above all of the other servants of Saul


9.1.                     David was a man who always behaved himself wisely we see here.  The Lord was with David and gave wisdom to David as He prospered him in all that he did.


9.2.                     David just became more and more ‘highly esteemed’ all across Israel. 


10.            CONCLUSIONS:


10.1.                As we consider this story and the two contrasting lives of Saul and David, and that what made the difference between their two lives was their “private life,” I would ask you to consider again what your “private life” before the Lord is like? 


10.1.1.                     What is the quality of your quiet times with the Lord each day?


10.1.2.                     Is your meditation continually upon the Lord and pleasing Him, being the person that He wants you to be, and being used by Him as His servant?  Is this your “master ambition” in life?


10.2.                As we consider how that David was continually being diligent, hard working, and faithful to the Lord in all of his duties, doing all of his work as unto the Lord, is this true of your life also?  Do you see yourself as working for the Lord and pleasing Him in all of your work?


10.3.                Let’s make it our prayer also today that as happened with David that the Lord would grant us favor in the sight of men so that as a result He can use us according to His purposes.  

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