1 Samuel 18:1-23:18 Cultivate Godly Friendships

    1 Samuel 18:1-23:18           October 19 2008

    In the aftermath of his victory over Goliathy , David’s life
changed. King Saul brought him to reside in the royal
household . In his new environment David discovered a lasting
friend in Jonathan , the king’s oldest son. At the same time he
became a bitter enemy of the king.
    David proved to be an extraordinary military leader. So
Saul gave him an important position in the military. David’s
exploits made him a celebrity among Israelite women . They
sang choruses about the youthful soldier. Jealously infuriated
Saul, and in his rage he attempted to kill David.
    David assured his king of his loyalty . He married Saul’s
daughter, but this only rekindled Saul’s irrational fear. The
king ordered David’s death. However, Jonathan warned David
and he escaped. The two men entered in a covenant of friendship.
Nevertheless. Saul’s repeated attempts to murder David forced
him into exile. David sought and received assistance from
Ahimelech. one of the priests at Nob.
    David sought refuge among the Philistines. However , the
king of Gath did not trust the Israelite whose reputation was
built on killing Philistines. David escaped harm by pretending
insanity. He returned to Israel and hid in a cave in the
wilderness. His family joined him .Eventually his band grew to
about four hundred warriors. David placed his parents under
the protection of the king of Moab while he and his army
remained in Judah.
    Saul’s fury did not abate with David’s absence . In
retaliation for helping David , Saul slaughtered the priests
at Nob. Men, Women, and Children died in the massacre, only
Abiathar escaped the slaughter.
    With the Israelite military divided in loyalty between
Saul and David, the Philistines saw an opportunity to Attack .
They laid siege to an isolated town. By this time David’s force
consisted of six hundred soldiers. After inquiring of the Lord ,
he went to rescue the besieged city. When Saul learned of the
situation, he too sent troops to Keilah. Their mission, however,
was to kill David. Jonathan contacted David and the two
renewed their covenant of friendship.

    1. Commit to Friends (1 Sam. 18:1-4)

1Sam. 18:1   After David had finished talking with Saul,
Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him
as himself. 18:2   From that day Saul kept David with him and
did not let him return to his father’s house. 18:3   And
Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him
as himself. 18:4   Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing
and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword,
his bow and his belt.

    It appears that David spoke with Saul at length, and he may
have explained his actions as an expression of his faith in the
Lord, thus attracting the love and loyalty of Jonathan (1 Samuel
18: 3; 14:6; 19:5). Their friendship endured even when it became
clear that David was to replace him as the successor to his
father’s throne. Saul kept David with him . (1 Samuel17:15).
Jonathan made a covenant with David . The initiative comes from
Jonathan. The terms of the agreement are not here specified
(1 Samuel19:1; 20:8,13-16,41-42; 23:18) but would appear to
involve a pledge of mutual loyalty and friendship. At the very
least, Jonathan accepts David as his equal. Took off the Robe. . .
and gave it to David. Jonathan ratifies the covenant in an act that
symbolizes giving himself to David. His act may even signify his
recognition that David was to assume his place as successor to
Saul (1 Samuel 20:14-15,31; 23:17 )—a possibility that seems the
more likely in that he also gave David “even his sword, his bow
and his belt” (1 Samuel13:22).

    2. Defend Friends (1 Sam. 19:4-7)
1Sam. 19:4   Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul his father and
said to him, “Let not the king do wrong to his servant David; he
has not wronged you, and what he has done has benefited you
greatly. 19:5   He took his life in his hands when he killed the
Philistine. The LORD won a great victory for all Israel, and you
saw it and were glad. Why then would you do wrong to an innocent
man like David by killing him for no reason?” 19:6   Saul listened
to Jonathan and took this oath: “As surely as the LORD lives, David
will not be put to death.” 19:7   So Jonathan called David and told
him the whole conversation. He brought him to Saul, and David
was with Saul as before.

    Jonathan spoke well of David . Jonathan does not let his own
personal ambition distort his perception of David’s true theocratic
spirit (1 Samuel 19: 5 ;14:6; 17:11; 18:1). Saul listened to Jonathan
and took this oath . ( 1Samuel14:24,44 )for previous oaths that
Saul did not keep (1 Samuel14:39).

    3. Help Friends (1 Sam. 20:8,12-13)

1Sam. 20:8   As for you, show kindness to your servant, for you
have brought him into a covenant with you before the LORD. If I
am guilty, then kill me yourself! Why hand me over to your
father?” 20:12   Then Jonathan said to David: “By the LORD, the
God of Israel, I will surely sound out my father by this time the
day after tomorrow! If he is favorably disposed toward you, will
I not send you word and let you know? 20:13   But if my father
is inclined to harm you, may the LORD deal with me, be it ever so
severely, if I do not let you know and send you away safely. May
the LORD be with you as he has been with my father.

    Covenant . (1 Samuel18:3).  Let’s go out into the field .
Jonathan acted to save David. Cain had said the same to Abel,
but in order to kill him (Gen 4:8). May the Lord deal with me , be
it ever so severely . A common curse formula (1 Samuel 3:17).
May the Lord be with you as He has been with my father . A clear
indication that Jonathan expects David to become king.

    4. Encourage Friends (1 Sam. 23:16-18)

1Sam. 23:16   And Saul’s son Jonathan went to David at Horesh
and helped him find strength in God. 23:17   “Don’t be afraid,”
he said. “My father Saul will not lay a hand on you. You will be
king over Israel, and I will be second to you. Even my father
Saul knows this.” 23:18   The two of them made a covenant
before the LORD. Then Jonathan went home, but David remained
at Horesh.

    You will be king over Israel . (1 Samuel 18:4; 20:13,16,31).
I will be second to you . Jonathan’s love and respect for David
enable him to accept a role subordinate to David without any
sign of resentment or jealousy (1 Samuel 18:3; 19:4). This is
the last recorded meeting between Jonathan and David. Saul
know this . (1 Samuel 18:8 ; 20:31). Covenant . (1 Samuel 18:3;

            The Hebrew verb rendered "sin" in 1 Samuel 19:4
is the common term for sin . Its basic meaning is "to miss a
mark." It describes an archer who shoots an arrow at a bull’s eye.
However, the arrow falls to the ground before reaching the target,
Sin is falling short of God’s goal for one’s life.
            Here , however , the object was human rather than God.
Jonathan warned his father not to sin against David because David
had not sinned against Saul . The terminology presumes a covenant
relationship . In this case it was between a king and his vassal.
David, the vassal, had been loyal to his king. Therefore the king had
an obligation to protect – not to take – the life of the vassal.
            Nonetheless the terminology retains its spiritual
Implication . Because Israel existed in covenant with God  , the
behavior of king and vassal was prescribed by God . The king
served at God’s pleasure and Therefore was accountable to God, a
reality implied in the words "sin against innocent blood."  Killing
David would violate the sixth commandment. Hence the sin
would be such a heinous violation of God’s law that it would demand
the death penalty (Deut. 19:10-13).