Study Guide

Jonathan in 1 Samuel

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Jonathan is the son of Saul and best friend to David. That's a very interesting place to be, considering the tiny, insignificant little detail that Saul is trying to kill David. Despite Saul's whacky mind and plans, David and Jonathan become very close. It's actually only because of Jonathan that David lived long enough to be king (20:1-3) in the first place.

As Saul's rage against David grows, Jonathan warns David and even spies for him. Yep, that's right, Jonathan gives David the skinny on his own father so that his best bud can gain the upper hand—or at least protect himself. Needless to say, the friendship between Jonathan and David creates a rift between Jonathan and his old man.

Jonathan wants to know why his father wants to kill an innocent guy like David, to which we say, fair question. And this weirdness drives Jonathan to David, whose friendship matters more to him than his somewhat crazy father. Although Saul can never find David while he is on the run, Jonathan makes his way to David and encourages him not to give up. The two men make a covenant with each other. David promises not to harm any of Jonathan's descendants (20:4-42).

In the end, Jonathan never sees David become king and dies on the battlefield with his father Saul (31:1-2).

Poor Jonathan is really a man stuck between one very rocky rock and one very hard hard place. On one end, he has his father and the future throne of Israel. On the other, he has his best friend, David, who should be king. A man trapped in Jonathan's predicament is not going to have an easy life. Or a very long one for that matter.

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