Bible Society of South Africa
Xanthe Hancox

Friendship – Day 13

Jonathan and David – Jonathan’s self sacrifice

Bible text(s)

3Jonathan swore eternal friendship with David because of his deep affection for him. 4He took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, together with his armour and also his sword, bow, and belt.

1 Samuel 18:3-4GNBOpen in Bible reader

One of the most famous stories about friendship, in the Bible, is the story of Jonathan and David (1 Samuel 18 – 20). After his victory over Goliath in 1 Samuel 17, David essentially becomes part of the royal family. Saul had promised his daughter in marriage to the man who killed the Philistine champion, and so David marries Saul’s daughter. As part of Saul’s family and the royal court, David spends much time with Saul’s eldest son, Jonathan.

Despite their different backgrounds, a shepherd and a prince, David and Jonathan found a kindred spirit in each other – a shared outlook, a united purpose, common ground – that brought them close together. Moreover, this was expressed in a dedicated love; they loved each other as they loved themselves. Each of them would put the other first. Verse 4 tells us that Jonathan removed his princely robe and placed it on David. He even gave David his sword, his bow and his belt. In other words, Jonathan willingly laid aside the symbols of his position as the crown prince of Israel and gave them to David.

This kind of love can also be seen in 1 Samuel 23:17. There, Jonathan reveals to David that he knows David will ascend to the throne of Israel after Saul. However, Jonathan is not jealous of David. He intends to stand by David, even as David assumes a throne that should have belonged to Jonathan. What a picture of selfless, personal sacrifice!

Would you befriend a person who is given a position of honour and wealth that was meant for you?

Bible Society of South Africav.4.16.20
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